Monday, September 29, 2008

Just Pointing Out the Finger-Pointer

The below quote, emailed by a reader, is from an AP story on the economic bailout failure. "It just drives home the differing STRATEEGERIES of the two candidates," the reader wrote.
Within an hour of the House defeating the bill, Obama sought to calm fears by saying: "I'm confident we're going to get there, but it's going to be rocky." McCain issued a statement from senior policy adviser Doug Holtz-Eakin that blamed Obama and Democrats for the legislation's failure — even though more Republicans than Democrats voted against it.

I dunno about you, but I think you take the measure of a man not during good times but during terrible times. This is when people show you who they truly are. Would you want to work for someone who pointed fingers during a time of crisis rather than focusing on the immediate issue at hand? (I've been around people like this before, and it's dreadful, and these people are usually the biggest bonehead in any organization.)

And would you want such a person to lead the free world?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

"Sincerely, Martin J. Sullivan"

In the last year AIG stock traded for as high as $70 a share. It's trading as of right now at $2.99 -- about the price for a gallon of milk.

Last week the stock was trading at a low of $1.25 a share, or about the price (sale price, I should say) of a can of Progresso Rich & Hearty Chicken Pot Pie soup.

So, in advance of this collapse, what were its investors told? I pulled the below from the AIG annual report, which you can read here. We'll just let these words speak for themselves, with no further comment.

One more thing: Forbes listed Sullivan's CEO compensation at $11 million. And when he left the firm earlier this summer, he was reportedly paid out a $47 million severance package. No doubt about it: One could buy quite a lot of Progresso Rich & Hearty Chicken Pot Pie soup (and deflated AIG stock) with that sort of coin.

Heckuva job, Marty.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Let's review:

1) John McCain suspends his campaign and now doesn't want to debate Obama on Friday and he draws the ire of David Letterman for canceling an appearance and then shows up at the CBS studios for a campaign interview (for the campaign he had just suspended) with Katie Couric instead.
2) The news comes just as Obama surges in the polls and Sarah Palin underwhelms during another Couric interview around the same time as the Palin "protection from witchcraft" Prayer Video surfaces. Meanwhile, bloggers like Andrew Sullivan continue to outshine mainstream media journalists like Couric by exposing serious misgivings regarding Palin's ability to tell the truth.
3) While this is happening, the National Enquirer reports about Palin's alleged marital infidelities (I personally don't give a boo about her personal life, though it would make her a complete hypocrite), and the McCain camp reportedly has suggested that the VP debate next Tuesday be canceled so he and Obama can debate Tuesday in St. Louis rather than Friday in Mississippi, as if four days' difference will give him (one of 100 U.S. Senators) the time to make the economy all better? It definitely does give him four more days to prepare, and Palin lord-knows-how-many-more days to prepare for the, ahem, "rescheduled" debate, if indeed it ever happens.

It makes one wonder.

Someone needs to ferret out some honest truth here. Where's Kitty Carlisle when you need her? Dancing and singing in heaven, I bet, where it no longer matters that her stock portfolio has hit the shitter and a former beauty queen from Alaska with a penchant for mistruths is the potential president-in-waiting behind a 72-year-old two-time melanoma survivor.

Monday, September 22, 2008

A Peek into the Crystal Ball:
Five Potential Sarah Palin Moments

I'm not saying any single one of these things will happen ... these are merely five potential and unconnected future events, big and small alike, that I could imagine happening. You can let me know in the comments which scenario is most likely.

1. December 2010: Palin wins Dancing with the Stars

2. March 2017: VH-1 "I Love 2008" special premieres. Palin gets 30-second segment featuring jokes from several comedians I've never heard of, sandwiched between longer segments on Mad Men and Gossip Girl.

3. September 2013: A triumphant Vice President Sarah Palin cuts ribbon to officially open the Bridge to Nowhere and uses the occasion as a call to arms against the excesses of Big Government.

4. July 2009: Palin lands job as host of Trading Spaces, wins Mrs. America contest and unveils her new line of designer lipstick.

5. January 2021: Not having appeared to have aged a single day in the 11 years, 11 months and 4 days she has served as president, President Sarah Palin completes her second full term after having had succeeded the late President John McCain, whose tragic death involving a team of Alaskan sled dogs is still a frequent source of investigative reports and internet blog rumors, despite all assurances to the contrary based on the comprehensive 850-page Palin Report led by Secretary of State Todd Palin.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

2008 Emmy Awards: A Pictorial Review

Socialized Capitalism

Watch this vintage Ronald Reagan diatribe against "big government" and Socialized Medicine.

And then think about the $700+ billion bail-out of greedy corporate fat-cats in the financial sector who will be gorging at the public trough because of their alarmingly poor judgment. Socialized Capitalism. Oy.

And it's probably the right thing to do. Oy.


A philosophy that welcomes government largess only for the rich and the powerful and corporations is ... shameful. And it runs counter to everything that conservatism should be.

We could have had national health care for all Americans, like Harry Truman wanted more than half a century ago, for much, much cheaper. Republicans have always opposed it. "There you go again," Reagan told Jimmy Carter in 1980. Oy.

A government that is paying billions a month for an unjust war sold under false pretenses also should run counter to true conservatism as well. The amount of money we've spent in Iraq would have paid for a very sensible and comprehensive national health care plan for all Americans.

Socialized Capitalism and billions of taxpayer money wasted on boondoggle projects appear to be the legacy of eight years of "conservative" rule? If Democrat Warren Buffet saw this coming, how come the Republican administration didn't?


Friday, September 19, 2008

My Take: Some Election What-Ifs

I. Could Barack Obama lose Florida and Ohio and still win the election?

Yes. I think it's very possible. See scenario below. (As always, click to embiggen the map.)

This puts Obama with 274 electoral votes, four more than needed for victory. This is good news, I think, for those of us with legitimate worries regarding both these states. Recall the Florida shenanigans of 2000 (which cost Gore the election) and the Ohio shenanigans of 2004 (which probably cost John Kerry the election). Hours-long voting lines ... uncounted ballots ... malfunctioning voting machines ... improper purging of voters lists. Fie on election officials in both these states! And in a razor-thin election, like both 2000 and 2004, these things are unconscionable.

II. Could Barack Obama lose the electoral vote count and still win the election?

Yes. See below scenario in which McCain gets 267 (to Obama's 264) but doesn't reach the 270 electoral votes to win.

What happens then? The race is kicked to the U.S. House of Representaives, where Democrats should still have the majority. Result: President Barack Obama. (Fun Fact: If you read The Federalist papers, you'll discover that the Founding Fathers pretty much assumed that no candidate would ever win the election in the electoral college and that all presidential elections would normally be decided in the house. What they didn't see coming was the emergence and dominance of American political parties, which they called "factions." The Founders hated "factions."

III. Will this be a close election?

Despite the scary "McCain is leading" poll numbers in recent weeks, I still think if Obama wins, he wins in a landslide, with Bill Clinton-like electoral numbers, as pictured in the below map, wihch is my official PREDICTION MAP. ( still has Obama losing the electoral college as of today, based on polling.)

And if McCain or Palin really mess up in a debate or two, and if John McCain still keeps acting like this, and Palin keeps making "window into her soul" gaffes like this, then Missouri and North Carolina and Indiana might turn, too.

Keep hope alive, mis amigos.

(Maps generated using the map generator.)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Coming Tomorrow!

Election Maps. And an election prediction. I think the post, which I've already written, has something to do with the 47 cups of coffee I've had since 5:30 this morning.

Now, it's time for No. 48.

Keep hope alive.

George Bush In Perspective: Part I

Remember when George Bush wanted to privatize social security? You know, put it in the market. As in the stock market. You know, the market that has rapidly been destroying American wealth all week?

Thank God that never happened.

Remember, too, when George Bush ran for president in 2000 as a "compassionate conservative" who would be a careful, prudent steward of the econony who would not balloon the deficit and who promised a "humble" foreign policy.

No need to thank God, cuz that never happened.

George Bush in Perspective: Part II

The Dow Jones Industrial Average on Bill Clinton's last day in office: 10587

Stock market low today as of 30 seconds ago: 10459

Are you better off than you were 8 years ago? My mutual funds aren't.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Mean Girls

For your consideration, here are two quotes of the day.

I. "'Sarah Barracuda' -- she's proud of that name now, she uses it in her campaigns," said her former mentor. "But she got that name from the way she conducted herself with her own teammates. She was vicious to the other girls, always playing up to the coach and pointing out when the other girls made mistakes. She was the coach's favorite and he gave her more playing time than her skills warranted. My niece was on her team; she was a very good player. I used to sit there in the stands, and I would wonder, Why on earth is Sarah getting so much playing time?" Source:

II. “She’s a child, inexperienced and simplistic,” she [R. D. Levno, a retired school principal] said of Sarah. “It’s taking us back to junior high school. She’s one of the popular girls, but one of the mean girls. She is seductive, but she is invented.” Source: Maureen Dowd writing in today's New York Times.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A Tale of Two Ads

Below is one of Barack Obama's new attack ads. Some of the liberal blogosphere say it's his harshest ad so far. These bloggers are happy to see this new toughness. I say he has to do better.

It's a good ad, but just exactly who does it win over? It gets people who already support him, like me, to nod their heads. Other than this group, this isn't exactly a water cooler discussion starter. Believe it or not, but that blue collar guy who could put Obama over the top in Virginia doesn't care what Time magazine or any of the other media outlets quoted in the ad think.

Below is an ad from I believe it is that organization's first attack, and I think it's better than the Obama ad.

What's the difference between the two ads? The first ad is more targeted to the head and rational thought processes, and the second ad is targeted to the gut and the heart.

Obama doesn't need to win over thoughtful and rational people -- these well-meaning people (on both sides, by the way) already know who they're voting for. And such an appeal to the intellect didn't do John Kerry, Al Gore or Michael Dukakis much good.

He needs to win over people's passions, touch their hearts, make them laugh, make them mad. He needs to give them something they'll talk about at work the next day or at the family dinner table that night. Has anybody seen this ad so far in the election cycle? I haven't. And if Obama can come up with *that* message, he'll win.

This campaign will be won if Obama is passionate, not if he's dispassionate and professorial.

His passion will win him the election, and his dispassion will make him the president that America deserves.

(Coming later this week: I'll flesh out my earlier passing thoughts on why I think Obama will lose the election if it's close, but if he wins, he'll win big. I still feel this way. More later.)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

"Experience 101"

Dick Cavett posted this gem today on the New York Times website. Recommended for lovers of language, rationality and parenthetical asides.

Not recommended for those who are awaiting the rapture.

They Weren't Acting Like the Press ...
They Were Setting an Example for the Press

The women of the view -- Elisabeth, too -- just showed the Fourth Estate a thing or too.

At the beginning of the show, Barbera Walters said that John McCain had promised that Sarah Palin will go on The View before the election is over to discuss the issues.

I bet she doesn't.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A Freshman Essay

"What's the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull? Lipstick."

-- Sarah Palin, during her GOP convention acceptance speech, borrowing from the old misogynist joke, "What's the difference between a woman with PMS and a pit bull."


So what is the difference between Sarah Palin and a pit bull? This is a fair question, and I'd like to tackle the answer as if I were a freshman in high school. A freshman assigned, in his first-semester composition class, to argue the thesis that "Sarah Palin and pit bulls are very different." Here goes:


Sarah Palin and pit bulls are very different. For example, Sarah Palin wears lipstick, whereas pit bulls, who do not have the requisite oppossable thumbs that would enable them to apply lipstick, do not and cannot wear lipstick.

The differences do not stop here:

Pit bulls don't wear up-'dos and glasses, and don't look like sexy librarians. In fact, pit bulls usually are barred from public libraries and have neither the authority nor the moxie to threaten to fire librarians who refuse to censor books, unlike Sarah Palin.

Pit bulls generally aren't theocrats, as well, and pit bulls do not belong to churches that await the rapture. Pit bulls also are generally against Alaskan secession, according to most reputed published sources, including Wikipedia. Moreover, a pit bull has never been selected as a vice presidential candidate by a major American political party, unlike Sarah Palin, and a pit bull has never been second in the line of succession to the most powerful and demanding job in the world.

Pit bulls also don't have the capacity for speech and human forms of communication, unlike Sarah Palin, who is quite adroit at reading campaign speeches from a teleprompter.

In summary, there are many differences between Sarah Palin and pit bulls. Moreover, whereas an angry pit bull can inspire fear, trepidation and worry in all humans, an angry Sarah Palin only inspires fear, trepidation and worry in liberals, most moderates, Democrats, people with Ph.Ds, people who fear Alaskan secession and John McCain's dermatologist.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Sunday, September 07, 2008

John McCain gets BarackRoll'd

John McCain spoke in front of a green screen when giving his convention speech. So get ready for a bunch of these! Stephen Colbert already had some fun with the same video last week, when he showed McCain speaking in front of a dead guy in a crypt.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Brilliant and Asisine. Still.
A Quick Review of Palin's Speech

Well-written speech. Really. Well-done. A lot of it was complete bullshit, and she didn't mention Bush once, and she mocked Barack Obama's past as a community organizer (how awful), and she continues to mislead on issues such as her "opposition" to pork and the Bridge to Nowhere, but it was delivered well and the person who wrote it did what he needed to do.

But I'm sticking by what I wrote BEFORE all the negative publicity started hitting, about her daughter's pregnancy, about Troopergate, about Alaskan secession, about her Church attendance, about all that.

Small-town America and many others will love her speech. Really. Her Alaskan accent ... her adorable family ... the way she bites down and scrunches her face when she wants to make a tough point. Brilliant.

But could she really be president of the United States? Does she really think, as she stated last night and which has become a Republican talking point, that she has more experience to be president than Joe Biden or Barack Obama? Can she really be a reformer/outsider when the party with her harsh conservative philosophy/worldview has held both the Presidency and Congress for most of the last eight years? Asinine.

Brilliant and Asinine.

$50 Million ... 60 Pennies

Rudolph Guiliani, the conservative who spent $50 million to win exactly one delegate before withdrawing from the Presidential race, is throwing red meat to the Republican masses tonight in St. Paul.

I saw most of the speech; in fact, it is continuing as I write this. I'm also spending this time browsing my Rudolph Guiliani "Countdown to Victory" 16-Month 2007-2009 calendar, which I bought for 60 pennies on clearance at Borders earlier this year.

In a post by Andrew Sullivan on the speech, titled "One Very Off Moment," he writes:

The one moment that stays with me tonight, oddly enough, was not Palin's speech. It was a line from Giuliani, a New York mayor with a young second third wife and gay friends, mocking a "cosmopolitan" who was brought up by a single mother. It was that Barack Obama's rise could "only happen in America." And it was designed to mock him, the first African-American candidate for the presidency of the United States.

I won't forget that.

Klassy. With a K.

"I don't understand why it is that all of a sudden you can't tell the truth about Barack Obama because some people are getting rained on."
-- An unnamed Republican, complaining about the abbreviated convention schedule on Monday because of fears about Hurricane Gustav.

The Daily Show audience jeered.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Republican Men Who Have Sex With Men But Who Are Not Gay (the RMSMBWANGs)

Here's wishing all those closeted gay Republicans lots of hot "I'm not gay" gay sex during the Republican convention. You know, the RMSMBWANGs (pronouced Rims-Bwangs).

If the ads on the gay sex web sites are any indication, then it looks like they'll be paying for lots of illegal, hot gay sex. Even though they're not gay. Even though they want to limit the rights for those men who have the audacity to both have sex with men and admit that they are gay, too.


You know that nobody would be making an issue of this if they didn't make an issue of US first.


Speaking of Republicans who hate gays, here's a list of Sarah Palin's gay-hatin' ways. I wish people would leave her daughter alone, but as U.S. Rep. Barney Frank points out, they're the ones who keep harping on family values. So when people "bring it on," why are they so shocked and offended?