Thursday, July 31, 2008

McCain Accuses Obama of Everything

In the absence of a substantive campaign Senator McCain has been playing the accusation game. Each week, or every other day, McCain accuses Obama of something or other. It really doesn't matter what McCain accuses Obama of; one can almost fill in the blank. Examples of some of the accusations are listed below.

McCain accuses Obama of playing the race card.
McCain accuses Obama of pandering on Iraq.

McCain accuses Obama of ducking out on visit to wounded troops.
McCain accuses Obama of being willing to lose the war in order to win the election.
McCain accuses Obama of flip-flopping on the Holocaust.
McCain accuses Obama of just being a celebrity
. (Aren't all politician celebrities?)
McCain accuses Obama of being soft on Cuba.
McCain accuses Obama of "doublespeak.
McCain accuses Obama of "pandering" to 65% of the voters. (What about the other 35%?)
Etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc

The main problem with this approach is that it doesn't tell us what McCain will do for the country if elected president. He doesn't even tell us why we should vote for him. In fact, the constant array of accusations may tell people why they shouldn't vote for McCain. This is a carefully planned strategy designed to wear away at the image of Senator Obama. Unfortunately for McCain it's a poorly planned strategy that will ultimately wear away his own image. There is one ultimate accusation that McCain can make that will assure his election.

McCain Accuses Obama of Being Better Presidential Candidate.

McCain Campaign Announces Appointment of Paris Hilton and Britney Spears

The McCain campaign announced that two special positions were recently created. Paris Hilton has been appointed special director of fund raising for the state of California and Britney Spears has been appointed special director for relations with the evangelical movement. Ms. Hilton's credentials are impeccable and she is the right person to coordinate contributions from the key state of California according to an unnamed source within the McCain campaign. Britney Spears spiritual contributions to the Republican cause are well known. Her deep religious convictions make her the ideal person to work with the evangelical leaders in an effort to maximize support from this group throughout the country. The picture of Senator McCain with these ladies speaks for itself.

There have been unfounded rumors about misconduct regarding these two sterling young ladies which the McCain campaign sought to squash. Another unnamed source within the McCain campaign was quoted as saying, "The morality of these two young ladies is beyond question." Britney Spears who has been nominated as a mother of the year by numerous organizations, goes to church daily and is a model for clean and sober people in Hollywood. Ms. Hilton’s ability to leverage financial opportunities is unique and there is no doubt that she can bring a fresh, new approach to Republican fund-raising in California. Both Ms. Hilton and Ms. Spears said they are eager to work With Governor Schwarzenegger.

Republican Attack Ads Sink to New Level of Absurdity

The latest Republican attack ads against Senator Obama attempt to portray him as no more than a celebrity and desperately attempt to link him up with Paris Hilton and Britney Spears. These pseudo-attack ads trying to link Senator Obama to two stupor-stars of dubious intellect and reputation will likely confuse the viewers who know that Senator Obama has nothing to do with these two "young ladies." It may leave them as confused as the Republican campaign for presidency. The so-called attack ads are an insult to the people they are trying to influence, the American people. Apparently, Republican self-deception has reached the "outer limits" of what poorly put together minds can conceive.

Senator McCain who insists on attaching himself to an administration that has patented the use of self-deception, is running a campaign that is going rapidly in reverse. Other than reiterating the expected Republican pledge about not raising taxes, Senator McCain has spent much more time attacking Senator Obama's qualities than clarifying what McCain do for this country if elected president. Time is running out and it is clear that the Republican Party is getting more and more desperate. The latest attack ad is likely just a warm-up to even more vicious attack ads that will be released in September and October. By then, the Republican attack ad team will be pairing up Senator Obama with Kermit the frog and Miss Piggy. If they do, they will be giving Senator Obama a better supporting cast in Senator McCain is likely to surround himself

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Firearms (aka guns) Required in Georgia Town

An article by Matthew Bigg (Reuters) points out that Kennesaw, Georgia north of Atlanta "had little prominence until it passed a gun ordinance in 1982 that required all heads of a household to own a firearm and ammunition." The article goes on to state that, "The Kennesaw law has endured as the town's population has swelled to about 30,000 from 5,000 in 1982. When the law was passed in 1982 there was a substantial drop in crime ... ' and we have maintained a really low crime rate since then,' said police Lt. Craig Graydon. ' We are sure it is one of the lowest (crime) towns in the metro area.'”

It doesn't sound like Kennesaw is a town for the weak and wimpy. "There's been no move to get rid of the law. Why would you?" said Robert Jones, president of the Kennesaw Historical Society. "The law is a great tourist attraction. It's the town with the Gun Law. People in Europe feel they need to be protected by the government. People in the U.S. feel they need to be protected from the government," said Jones, the owner of a .357-caliber Magnum.

Kennesaw is a place that the mythical Dirty Harry or the non-mythical Wyatt Earp (picture left) would have been proud to call home. It might have been a bit troublesome for Wyatt because he have posted ordinances that said no guns in certain parts of Dodge City. In any event the famous lawman would have been able to display his Colt 45 or other weapon of choice.This is not something just for the men, as one lady who works in a Kennesaw shop, said she lived alone and was taking no chances. "I wouldn't hesitate to use it," she said of the gun she keeps loaded with hollow-point bullets. "My little .22. It'll do whatever I want it to." Annie keep your gun!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Kermit the Frog Rumored to Be on Obama's Shortlist

Persistent rumors have begun to circulate that Kermit the Frog is on Obama's shortlist for vice presidential running mates. No one in the Obama inner circles would confirm these rumors other than to say off the record that the senator is certainly interested in going green. Attempts to locate Kermit have been unsuccessful and he is rumored to be hiding out with Miss Piggy. Efforts to contact Miss Piggy have been futile, and one reporter who allegedly got inside of her house was seen flying out the second-floor window.

There are questions about Kermit's qualifications to be vice president of the United States. However, an unnamed friend of Kermit's said, "Kermit has a demonstrated history of leadership in times of crises and has also displayed a unique ability to get along with all creatures." The animal world is naturally quite excited about such a prospect, particularly frogs and toads. Effingmeyer Toad, a state representative from Mississippi, has gone on record stating that, "Frogs and toads have the greatest possible vested interest in the quality of water in this country and can make a significant contribution to water conservation in drought stricken areas."

When Senator McCain was asked about Kermit's qualifications, he is reported to have responded, "A frog? I wouldn't put anything past Obama. That's too far liberal for anything America could ever tolerate." It is actually not known whether Kermit is a liberal, moderate or a conservative. For that matter, it's not even know whether he is a Democrat. There is no record of Kermit ever voting in any election. Nor has Kermit held any public office. These factors should not be any barrier to Kermit running as vice president in view of the qualifications and performance of many members of Congress.

Stay tuned for further rumors.

How Obama Became Acting President

"He never would have been treated as a president-in-waiting by heads of state or network talking heads if all he offered were charisma, slick rhetoric and stunning visuals. What drew them instead was the raw power Mr. Obama has amassed: the power to start shaping events and the power to move markets"

The above paragraph is taken from an op-ed piece by Frank Rich in the New York Times. Of course, as we all know, the New York Times is a highly biased source. It has been at the forefront of Democraticliberalism (one word). My own take on this is that if nature abhors a vacuum, so does leadership. Leadership has not been forthcoming from the White House, rather "mis-leadership" has been the order of the day.

Study shows clearly: Media has been harder on Obama

Research from George Mason University's Center for Media and Public Affairs shows clear evidence that TV news has been mostly negative toward Obama, and more negative than toward McCain. The so-called love affair between the media and Obama seems to have been more of a rumor than a fact. Does this mean if you whine now enough and long enough people will come to believe you? Let's hope this isn't the start of a new trend. Whining is bad enough, political whiningought to be a capital offense.

read more digg story

Friday, July 25, 2008

Obama Goes to the Wall: McCain Attacks Obama

On Thursday, July 24th, Barack Obama gave a speech to a crowd of 200,000 people in Berlin, Germany. The number of people that attended that speech is as noteworthy as anything Obama could have said. My opinion is that he gave a good speech, one consistent with his message of hope. I will leave it to others to debate the historical merits of his speech. A portion of that speech is presented below.

"That is why America cannot turn inward. That is why Europe cannot turn inward. America has no better partner than Europe. Now is the time to build new bridges across the globe as strong as the one that bound us across the Atlantic. Now is the time to join together, through constant cooperation, strong institutions, shared sacrifice, and a global commitment to progress, to meet the challenges of the 21st century. It was this spirit that led airlift planes to appear in the sky above our heads, and people to assemble where we stand today. And this is the moment when our nations -- and all nations -- must summon that spirit anew."

On Thursday July 22, in Rochester, New Hampshire, John McCain said, "This is a clear choice that the American people have. I had the courage and the judgment to say I would rather lose a political campaign than lose a war. It seems to me that Obama would rather lose a war in order to win a political campaign."

Joe Klein, reporter for Time magazine said of McCain's comments, "This is the ninth presidential campaign I've covered. I can't remember a more scurrilous statement by a major party candidate. It smacks of desperation. It renews questions about whether McCain has the right temperament for the presidency. How sad."

Many of those who oppose Senator Obama have said that his speeches are mostly rhetoric, empty of significant content. If Senator McCain's speech is an example of significant content, then this nation cannot subsist on it.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Sweatshop in Queens Produced Clothes for Macys, Gap, More

"New York state labor officials are bringing one of their largest cases ever against Jin Shun, a clothing factory in Queens, New York that employed Chinese immigrants. Inspectors say the company cheated its workers out of more than $5 million in pay; instructed workers to lie to state nspectors; required 6 and 7-day workweeks, and more."

Before we go about policing the other nations of the world for their violations of human rights it is necessary for us to make sure that we have adequately policed our own nation. The picture of the sweatshop above is hardly a dingy ill-lit area in an old factory building. Rather, it is in a modern setting with modern equipment. There is no way this could have been going on without many people knowing about it. One wonders how long it was operating beforeit was finally closed down.

read more digg story

Crude Oil Prices: Crude Oil Baloney

In an earlier post I suggested that the decline in crude oil prices from $147 a barrel to $127 a barrel couldn't be completely explained by a sudden drop-off in demand. An article in the Financial Times discusses the bankruptcy of SemGroup which in the process of covering its hedging activities could have caused $10 increases in the prices of crude oil.

Traders sold oil futures as news emerged that tropical storm Dolly was set to miss oil and natural gas installations in the US Gulf of Mexico.

Oil traders said SemGroup could have exacerbated the spike in oil prices this month, when the market experienced unprecedented swings of more than $10 a barrel, as the company was buying back some previous bets on lower prices.

The bankruptcy of SemGroup, which describes itself as the fourteenth largest US private held company, affects approximately $3.1bn of debt, according to court filings. Oil company BP is the largest creditor, with almost $160m.

SemGroup bet in the futures market that oil prices would fall as a way to hedge its positions in the physical market. But as prices jumped this month to a record of $147.27 a barrel from less than $100 a barrel at the beginning of the year, the mounting losses triggered large margin calls from banks – a request to put up more collateral – draining the company’s cash reserves.”

While this particular instance does not in another itself account for significant crude oil price increases, it does provide evidence that the trading in crude oil futures is very volatile and can be influenced by traders. Crude oil prices dropped to $125 a barrel on Wednesday and there is some in the industry who are talking about the possibility that crude oil prices could eventually drop as low as $100 a barrel. A 30% plus decrease in crude oil prices in the absence of a significant drop-off in demand suggests the heavy hand of speculation. Those who continued to deny the influence of speculation need to be reminded of the line from Macbeth, "Methinks the lady doth protest too much."

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Fighting Al Qaeda and the Taliban with Panties

In response to the brutal military regime in Burma, the women of that country launched an unusual counteroffensive. "The Panties for Peace campaign was launched by the women’s organization Lanna Action for Burma on Oct. 16, 2007, in the hopes of bringing an end to the military regime’s rampant abuse of Burma’s population – and the abuse of Burma’s women in particular. The basis of this protest is the superstition of the male led military junta. They believe that contact with women’s garments, particularly those that cover the lower half of the body is emasculating."

The brutality against the Burmese people and the Burmese women in particular is an extremely serious situation. However, the notion of using women's panties against violent people has potential for circumstances outside of Burma. What if the American military adopted this idea and, with the help of American women, launched an all-out blitz against the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and terrorists wherever they may be found. In view of the highly misogynistic nature of the Taliban, Al Qaeda, and most terrorists it is likely that they would find contact with women's panties highly threatening, perhaps even immobilizing.

One of the problems confronting American and NATO forces in Afghanistan is the ability of the Taliban and Al Qaeda to find refuge in Pakistan. Supposing that at the height of Taliban and Al Qaeda attacks, American B-52s dropped special bombs designed to release hundreds of thousands of women's panties over the areas in which these groups were fighting. In an effort not to come in contact with the women's panties these groups could not function in a military manner and could be surrounded and captured. Furthermore, the passes leading to and from Pakistan would have saturation bombings of women's panties such that no piece of bare ground or rock was uncovered by the aforementioned garments. This would effectively cut off the entry and exit routes into Afghanistan. Think of it; neutralizing a deadly enemy without killing any of them or risking the lives of American soldiers.If this works, the potential for using women's panties as a means of interrogating terrorists would also be explored. More on this later

Oil Prices: Supply and Demand? Some Questions!

On July 11, 2008, crude oil prices hit a high of over $147 a barrel. Today, crude oil prices were hovering at about $127 a barrel. If the price of crude oil is truly determined by supply and demand, we suddenly had a significant drop-off in demand. The belief in the supply and demand theory has taken a bit of a hit as crude oil prices have dropped over $20 in 11 days. We heard about the Enron loophole and crude oil speculation was driving up the prices much as 30% or more. Then the "other" experts told us that the price of oil wasn't a result of speculation but a result of supply and demand. Chairman of the Federal Reserve Ben Bernanke testimony before the Senate committee supported the notion that the price of crude oil was a result of supply and demand. So much for credibility.

It is likely that "some" degree of speculation pushed the price of crude oil to its record heights. Once the price began to back off, the owners of crude oil contracts (we don't dare say speculators) began to sell off their contracts in fear that the price would soon begin to decline. Once a few people sell off, then a few more people sell off, and the next thing that happens is a "correction." It remains to be seen how much more the price of crude oil declines in the coming days and weeks.

If I were an owner of crude oil contracts I would be a little nervous now. There is no doubt that supplies of crude oil worldwide have been under pressure. But for the short term, and probably for the intermediate term, crude oil prices will remain high. However, in the not-too-distant future are factors such as T. Boone Pickens multibillion-dollar investment in wind power and others looking to make money in alternative energy could have more of an impact on the long-term price of crude oil then we had been led to believe. Also, the recent trend towards the manufacture and purchase of more fuel-efficient cars can have an impact on the price of oil. If Americans persist in this trend so-called speculation in crude oil prices might become less lucrative.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Obama Challenges McCain to a Basketball Game for the Presidency

In a radical break with tradition, Senator Barack Obama challenged Senator John McCain to a game of one-on-one basketball to determine who would be the next president of the United States. In view of his slight age advantage, Obama is willing to give McCain a three basket head start. The game will be refereed by Rush Limbaugh, with the Reverend Al Sharpton as backup. One of the conditions of this game is that both senators will donate all of the campaign contributions which they will no longer need to spend to the United States treasury in an effort to solve the fiscal crisis confronting this nation.

Most people view Senator Obama's age advantage as a major factor in making him the overwhelming favorite. However, McCain has said off the record that he will body check Obama off the court. Furthermore, if the game gets really physical, McCain is purported to have stated that, "I will put some major bruises on Obama." When Obama heard this he is reported to have laughed and said, "That dude will never lay a hand on me." In order to sharpen up his game Senator McCain is reportedly working out with the Boston Celtics under the special tutelage of Paul Pierce. Pierce will also be able to help the senator interpret any gang signs that Senator Obama might be inclined to use.

Senator Obama has been working out with the USA women's Olympic basketball team. His wife Michelle has been at every workout and monitoring his progress very closely. Excitement about this game has risen to a fever pitch, even eclipsing the anticipation for the Olympics. Dick Vitale has been selected as the play-by-play announcer, and Magic Johnson and Charles Barkley will provide commentary at halftime. Stay tuned for further announcements.

General Motors Near Bankruptcy: An inside Job

Led by a management that could never see the future of automobile manufacturing, and a labor union that would never let go of the past, General Motors is once again near bankruptcy. Its stock price is at a 50 year low and the company is shutting plants and cutting health-care costs in an effort to stay alive. The once great automotive giant sells only 23% of the cars bought in this country. And, in view of the circumstances surrounding General Motors closing of plants, there is a possibility that Toyota could overtake it in 2008, but most likely sometime in 2009.

In order to increase its liquidity by $15 billion, General Motors warned of more tough times ahead. Broad cutbacks include a 20 percent reduction in payroll for salaried workers, elimination of health care for older white-collar retirees, and suspension of G.M.’s annual stock dividend of $1 a share. The company also will slash its salary costs by 20 percent by the end of the year through buyouts, early retirements, attrition and possibly layoffs. G.M. has about 40,000 white-collar workers in the United States and Canada. In June GM will cease production at four North American assembly plants that make S.U.V.’s and pickups by 2010. Apparently the management of General Motors has finally discerned that high gasoline prices will not go away. So the company that made its reputation on big, powerful cars and trucks will refocus on building smaller more fuel-efficient vehicles.

It's not just about the kinds of cars the General Motors manufactured. It's also about the quality, or lack of it, of the vehicles they produced. Each year when Consumer Reports comes out, the most highly rated vehicles in terms of performance, and most certainly reliability are generally Hondas and Toyotas along with other foreign cars. General Motors cars with a few exceptions have lagged far behind. The issue is not whether quality cars can be built in America, because they certainly can. The Toyotas and Hondas we drive are built in plants in America. Classy BMWs are built in a plant outside of Spartanburg South Carolina. General Motors will have to rescue itself. Let's hope it can.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Short Selling America

In case you hadn't noticed, there is a severe economic downturn in this country concurrent with the vast majority of stock prices continually decreasing over the past year or more. If you are unfortunate enough to own shares of banks, then the decrease in share price has been precipitous, or more like falling off the edge of the cliff. With the economy and the prices of stocks continuing to head downhill, America holds its collective breath wondering where and when it will end. The vast majority of investors have suffered declines in their portfolios, both stocks and mutual funds, and the choice seems to be between waiting the storm out or "going to the sidelines with cash."

There is another option in the investment arsenal that is called "short selling." When you short sell a stock, your broker lends it to you. The stock will come from the brokerage's own inventory, from another one of the firm's customers, or from another brokerage firm. The shares are sold and the proceeds are credited to your account. Sooner or later you must "close" the short by buying back the same number of shares (called covering) and returning them to your broker. Short selling is a risky investment technique, but at times like this it can lead to substantial profits. Do not do this without doing considerable research and talking it over with your brokerage firm!

Some investors have been making a steady income by short selling General Motors, Lehman Brothers, Toll Brothers, and the number of other stocks whose prices have consistently declined for the past year. Short selling has gotten a bad name because it has been blamed for decreasing stock prices. There is nothing wrong with short selling and it by no means explains the decreases in stock prices. In a way, it seems somehow un-American to make money by selling somebody else's stock. Well, there is nothing patriotic about watching your investment portfolio shrink from month to month to month not knowing when it will turn around. I want to make it clear that this post should not be construed as a recommendation to get involved in short selling. Rather, the purpose of this post is to point out that for people who know what they are doing, short selling the majority of stocks in America has been a profitable, if vaguely un-American, investment option during the past year.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Hillary the Democratic Nominee 2008?

Hillary has been vilified, torn to pieces, stomped on, and told to give it up until she finally conceded that Barack Obama would be the Democratic nominee. But wait, there are stirrings in her political grave site. People are talking about Hillary becoming the presidential nominee of the Democratic Party at the convention in Denver. Are these people delusional? Not necessarily because there is talk among Hillary supporters of having disaffected Obama delegates switch their vote to Hillary. They point out that all she needs is 175 delegates to change their vote and she will be the nominee.

In an article in the Huffington post, John Tomasic discusses this possibility as a result of the work of a PUMA (Party United My Ass), Hillary supporters who have never given up. He goes on to say to, "Obama's recent controversial positions and the deep dissatisfaction that has resulted among many progressive Obama supporters has apparently opened a window for the reluctant Democrats Obama has been trying intermittently and with mixed results to woo since the long season of primary voting wrapped up -- when Clinton suspended but never officially ended her campaign."

While this is not a likely event, it can't be ruled out entirely. If it happened it would be almost without precedent and certainly throw the presidential contest into chaos. It would certainly throw the Hillary haters and bashers into a state of profound shock, one which they might never recover from. SHE”S BACK.

Senator McCain Explains Away Phil Gramm

Last Thursday, former Senator Phil Gramm, currently chief economic adviser for the McCain campaign, called America a "nation of whiners" whose economic complaints are mostly "mental." I'm sure most Americans were relieved to know that their economic concerns and hardships could be relieved by a pep talk. Senator McCain had immediate collateral damage to with and said, “Phil Gramm does not speak for me. I strongly disagree." Senator McCain went on to state, "that people who've lost their jobs or are struggling to pay bills aren't suffering from a " 'mental recession.' America is in great difficulty, and we are experiencing economic challenges."

Given that Phil Gramm is a vice president for UBS, and is largely responsible for the so-called "Enron Loophole" along with his wife Wendy Gramm, it is unlikely that he is suffering any economic hardships at this time. It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words. The photo presented with the courtesy of Politgal1 ( is probably worth several thousand words.

It's a shame that Senator McCain has a chief adviser who is so out of touch and contemptuous of the vast majority of Americans. If you are not an affluent American and have concerns about: health insurance; your ability to make your mortgage payment; whether you can pay for the gasoline to drive to work and take your children to school; the increasing price of food; and a host of other concerns, can you really afford to vote for a man whose chief economic adviser is so insensitive to your concerns and issues.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Madonna Exploiting Everyone

It's hard to keep track of the various celebrities and personalities that Madonna has been seen with and alleged to have some relationship with. I guess that's just part of being Madonna. When you're 49, and not exactly the youngest, hottest woman on the front page, you need to keep doing things that will keep you there. In doing so, a number of other people get used and abused. Again, that's probably just part of being Madonna. If nothing else, Madonna serves as a diversion from thinking about the recession, the housing crisis, the unending war in Iraq and other minor details.

Madonna is a great success at keeping herself in the public eye. A recent Yahoo article links her with Alex Rodriguez (A-Rod), Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, Vanilla Ice, and a number of other people. It's really hard to keep track. There's even a scene of her locking lips with Gwyneth Paltrow. In view of all the people that Madonna has been associated with I'd be awful careful before I'd lock lips with her, not that such a thought ever entered my mind. Madonna's big thing these days is her devotion to the Kabbalah which involves Jewish mysticism and special rites and rituals. Madonna's free to the study anything she wants, but there are a lot of Jewish people, myself included, who wish she'd study something else, perhaps high in Tibetan Himalayas.

Madonna is totally about Madonna and is the epitome of the "me" generation. She's a study in self-absorption and if somebody called her narcissistic I'd be the last person to disagree. Why am I writing about her? This is supposed to be a blog about political, economic, and social issues. I maintain that Madonna is one hell of a social issue. She's been around for more than to 25 years, and given her physical condition its likely that she'll be around for another quarter of a century. That'a daunting thought. It's likely Madonna will continue to come up with new things to amuse us and keep herself in the headlines.

President Bush's Nightmare

The scene is a president's bedroom at the White House on November 15, 2004. The time is 3 a.m. in the morning.

George is thrashing in bed and screaming out "No, no, no." Laura is awakened and rubs her eyes. George continues thrashing and screaming incoherently.
Laura reaches out and shakes the president's back. "Georgie, Georgie, wake up, wake up." George does not respond and continues moaning. Laura finally punches him in the arm and this awakens George.
"What's happening?" he asks, breathing heavily.
"You tell me. You are the one who was screaming and moaning in the middle of the night."
"That's right! I was having a terrible nightmare. Oh, Laura you couldn't imagine what was happening to me."
"Georgie, just tell honey buns and I'll make it all right," Laura says soothingly.
George takes a deep breath and tries to calm himself. "It was July 4, 2008 and everything was going wrong."
"What do you mean? asks Laura.
"Johnny McCain is going to be the nominee, and he's barely speaking to me."
"There's no way that man's going to be the nominee," Laura says emphatically.
"I know that," George says. "I know that. And that's not the worst of it."
"Tell me honey buns," Laura says.
"My popularity ratings are the lowest in history, the war in Iraq seems like it will never end, a terrible recession is happening, millions of people are losing their homes, and Israel is going to attack Iran." George is once again out of breath and panting.
Laura takes him in her arms and strokes his brow. "Honey buns, it's all just a nightmare. It's November 2004 and you told me that the war in Iraq would be over within a year. So it's impossible for the war to be going on in 2008. Isn't it?"
"Sure, sure," George says.
"Besides, your popularity ratings are very high. How could you ever become the most unpopular president in history? It's simply not impossible," Laura insists. "The economy is doing fine, and housing sales are booming. Didn't Alan tell us that we’re in the greatest period of prosperity in American history."
"I seem to recollect that. Perhaps it was on the memo that I didn't read. But you're sure you remember it don't you?"
"Yes, Georgie." I read all of your memos."
"Sure do appreciate that hun. You know I can keep track of all these details. But what about Israel attacking Iran?"
"They'd never do that without your permission," Laura says with great determination. "You need to remember that you're the leader of the free world and the best president the United States of America ever had."
"Yes. You're right." George breathes a sigh of relief. "I'm so glad I married you. Everything is going to be fine."

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Headache for Laura Bush: Dreams for Maureen Dowd

In a column in today's New York Times, Maureen Dowd attempts to portray what appears to be a potentially very offensive book about the first lady, Laura Bush, as just another book that

anyone might read. With utter unctuousness Ms. Dowd says, "It’s the sort of novel Laura Bush might curl up with in the White House solarium if it were not about Laura Bush. It would be interesting to hear how that lover of fiction feels about being the subject of fiction." This is an incredible, unsupported assumption on the part of Ms. Dowd. It assumes she knows the reading habits of Laura Bush, particularly with regard to sexually detailed novels. Given what Ms. Dowd says later, it is unlikely she has such information.

In the very next paragraph in her column Ms. Dowd says, "You don’t get any fingerprints from Laura Bush. When you look into her eyes during an interview, you feel as if she is there somewhere, deep inside herself, miles and miles down. But though she is lovely and gracious, the main vibe she gives off is an emphatic: “I am not going to show you anything ." Why would Laura Bush want to expose herself to, and I do not use that term loosely, the prying eyes of the press? In particular, why would she want to reveal anything regarding her inner self to Maureen Dowd, who is an ultra-liberal who has said many nasty and unkind things about her husband and his administration?

I don't fault Ms. Dowd for saying critical things about the Bush administration because that is her job as a columnist. However, I do find Ms. Dowd's style of writing to be offensive because of her smugness and the way she seems to imply "I know what's right, and you don't; therefore you are a lesser being than I." Ms. Dowd’s sharp scalpel continually carved away at Hillary Clinton as if she were some being from the nether worlds. I imagine Ms. Dowd is beginning to have a bad case of indigestion regarding Senator Obama’s move to the center. Alas.

I cannot make any judgment on this book because I have not read it. I'm reacting to Maureen Dowd's column and her statements and her description of what the book contains. When I read this book, and I surely will, even if I were to find it offensive I would strongly defend its right to be published because I am an ardent believer in the rights of free speech. I have said many things in my blog that would have put me at risk in other countries. I would also defend Ms. Dowd's right to say what she wants in her column. I just don't like what she has to say or how she says it. When I wrote the header to this post I was tempted to say Wet Dreams instead of Dreams, but that would have been offensive.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

McCain Pins Obama to the Wall

The presidential election was all but decided when Senator McCain uttered the magical Republican incantation. What is this magical incantation? Whenever a Republican presidential candidate wants to assure his victory he states that the Democratic candidate will raise people's taxes and the Republicans will not. Thus when McCain said that Obama will raise taxes the race became essentially over. It doesn't matter whether this is true or not, because this accusation sticks like wonder glue to the Democratic candidate.

Senator Obama naturally refuted Senator McCain's statement. His campaign political team worked overtime in showing that this was not true and how Senator Obama's tax plan would be beneficial to most of the middle class. The newspapers even challenged Senator McCain's assertion. None of this will matter because as long as you are defending yourself you are climbing uphill. It's a little like responding to the infamous question that has now become a terrible cliché, "When did you stop beating your wife?" All the other issues in the campaign will fade into the background. What about Iraq? Doesn't matter. What about the economy? Doesn't matter. What about the price of gasoline? Doesn't matter.

Senator McCain will now repeat the following refrain endlessly until his victory on Election Day.

Senator Obama will raise your taxes I will not.
Senator Obama will raise your taxes I will not
Senator Obama will raise your taxes I will not.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Our New President: Nancy Pelosi

Educated Press September 18, 2008. Breaking News. Henry Heimlich. This evening at 6:30 P.M. President of the United States, George Bush, and Vice President of the United States, Richard Cheney, were kidnapped in the middle of a reception for the president of Uganda by the Swassian ambassador and his wife. The Swassian ambassador was talking with President Bush while his wife made her way to Vice President Cheney. Simultaneously, they pulled out small unusually shaped pistols and put them to the respective heads of the president and vice president. The Swassian ambassador shouted that the weapons were lethal and he and his wife would not hesitate to use them. Secret Service agents immediately pulled their weapons out and surrounded the president and vice president. President Bush said "Everybody stay calm and we will resolve this situation. Men put away your weapons so that no one gets killed, especially me."
The Swassian ambassador and his wife slowly maneuvered their respective captives until they were all together. The ambassador shouted, "Nobody gets in our way or they both get killed." A bright white beam suddenly surrounded the four of them and, to the amazement of the hundreds gathered at the reception, they all disappeared. What the people inside the reception did not know was that a large flying saucer had suddenly appeared over the White House. Planes had been scrambled and were in the process of intercepting the saucer when it moved upward at an extraordinarily high rate of speed into the outer atmosphere and then it was gone.

Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates were seen huddled together immediately after disappearance of the president and vice president. Senate majority leader Harry Reid, also in attendance at the reception, soon joined the conferring parties. Condoleezza Rice was handed a portable microphone and told everyone present that they would be detained for questioning and held into the room until further notice. At that point Condoleezza Rice, Robert Gates, and Harry Reid left a main ballroom and hurriedly walked with a cordon of Secret Service agents to the oval office. They were soon joined by the Secretary of the Treasury, Secretary of Health, head of Homeland security, and Karl Rove.

Two hours later Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice went to the White House press room and read the following statement."At approximately 6:30 p.m. this evening President of the United States George Bush and vice president of the United States Richard Cheney were kidnapped by aliens posing as the Swiss ambassador and his wife. They were apparently beamed from inside the White House ballroom to a flying saucer located above the White House. The saucer flew into outer space at speeds exceeding 100,000 mph and then disappeared from all ground and satellite radar screens. I have conferred with secretary of defense, Robert Gates, and Harry Reid, Senate Majority Leader, and other members of the Cabinet, and we all agree that according to the presidential succession act of 1947 that since there is neither a President nor Vice President to discharge the powers and duties of the office of President, then the Speaker of the House of Representatives shall, upon his resignation as Speaker and as Representative in Congress, act as President. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi will arrive at the White House within the next hour and be sworn in as president of the United States. May God save America."

Friday, July 4, 2008

Karl Rove's third term

Paul Krugman of the New York Times makes very cogent points about what is happening in the political campaign wars. He stated the following:

"The willingness of the McCain campaign to engage in these tactics, employing such tainted spokesmen, tells us that the campaign has decided to go negative — specifically, to apply the strategy Karl Rove used so effectively in 2002 and 2004 (but not so effectively in 2006), that of portraying Democrats as unpatriotic."

Picture of Paul Krugman

I believe Karl Rove to be a totally immoral man. He will do anything at all to achieve his ends even if it means defaming people, or as in the case of former Governor Seligman of Alabama, helping to put them in jail on false charges. (Blogger's words)

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Senator Obama Convincingly Wins Second Presidential Debate

Senator Obama gave a sterling performance in the second presidential debate while Senator McCain seemed tired and old beyond his years. Senator Obama spoke crisply and emphasized his key points while making good eye contact with the audience. Senator McCain continued his ineffective attack on Obama and repeated most of his points from the previous debate. It is questionable as to whether Senator McCain actually reads the newspapers. He was still harping on the importance of the surge and victory in Iraq when today's papers carried statements from the outgoing British commander in Afghanistan that the war was unwinnable. Message to Senator McCain: we're losing in Afghanistan.

Senator McCain emphasized his experience but talking about events that occurred during the Reagan administration, and even referring to Teddy Roosevelt, made him look out of touch with the current economic crisis. Senator Obama made a point of emphasizing the need for a lead it to be able to "look around the corner" and think about what's going to happen next as opposed to always being in a reactive state. While Senator McCain appeared to be more cordial at first, he clearly has disdain for the younger man who is now increasingly being seen as a good more commanding leader despite his lesser experience. McCain fails to see that experience in an of itself is not a recommendation for leadership.

While Senator McCain saw the provision of health care as responsibility, Senator Obama saw it as a right of all Americans. Senator McCain's emphasis on turning to the private sector for health care seems ill chosen when the financial private sector has collapsed and the health-care private sector is best known for its attempts to deny or limit to policyholders. A woman in the audience had a good question when she wondered if we should make health care more like a public utility. Unfortunately neither senator chose to address this issue.

When Senator McCain referred to Senator Obama as, "That one," he lapsed to a level of disrespect heretofore not seen in presidential debates. Senator McCain's one attempt at a "new initiative" whereby the government would buy up mortgages, turns out to be in the plan that was passed by Congress last week. If Senator McCain can't be bothered to read, then he ought to have better staff members who read what he should and remind him of what he should know. This was an evening Senator McCain needed to win in a fashion that would turn around the campaign. Unfortunately for Senator McCain, the evening turned out the exact opposite of what he needed.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Arianna and Others “Huffed” at Obama

Now that Senator Obama has all but officially been declared as the nominee of the Democratic Party, he has begun to move his political stance to the middle. In the last couple of weeks he has spoken up in favor of national security interests, indicated his interest in continuing support of faith-based social services, and voiced his objection to the Supreme Court ruling against the death penalty for rape of minors in Louisiana. This is a natural move if he wants to become the next president of the United States. The ultra liberal wing of the Democratic Party has taken exception to these moves. They want the purest of liberals to lead Democrats out of the wilderness back into power.

The headline in the Huffington Post, under Arriana Huffington’s byline, was, "Seven Things Barak Obama Should Do to Keep from Blowing It. Ms. Huffington went on to outline seven steps Senator Obama should undertake to assure his victory in the November election. Ms. Huffington's advice is well worth reading, and most of it is good common sense. However, one wonders whether she is talking as a reporter/journalist or as a presumed leader of the Democratic Party. The Huffington Post quoted Will Marshall, president of the centrist Progressive Policy Institute as saying, "I've been struck by the speed and decisiveness of his move to the center."

The Los Angeles Times expressed its concern with the headline, "Obama is shifting toward the center.” This was followed up by a statement that recent changes by Obama carry some risk that he will diminish the image he has sought to build as a new type of leader who will change how Washington conducts business. Unless I misremember my history, seizing the center is how most candidates have gone on to become president. It is likely that Obama is focusing on the broader electorate which he will need to win over in order to secure a victory in the electoral College. For those of us who have forgotten, but certainly not Al Gore, in order to become president you need to win the majority of electoral College votes, which is different then getting the most votes on a nationwide basis. In any event, it is unlikely that Senator Obama will shift so far right that he will become indistinguishable from Senator McCain, solely on political issues.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Scientists Warn that Miley Cyrus Will Be Depleted by 2011

"At current usage levels, Miley Cyrus will be drained dry of entertainment value by 2011." The blog and the first line of the post are taken from the Onion. It's good to know that all of America's natural resources are being monitored. Even if Miley is entertainment value is gone by 2011 rest assured that she will still be onstage for many years after that time.

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