Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Brian McLaren has hope

Regular readers know that I am rather unfond of Brian McLaren, formerly known as a man who had something to say. Of late, McLaren has been shilling (rather extravagantly) for Barack Obama, who has never had anything to say. Recently, he has penned a series of essays entitled "Why I'm voting for Barack Obama, and hope you will too". Here's part 3. Selected responses below.

He begins:

Thanks for all the positive responses to this series of posts.

You're welcome. I, however, find you to be a nauseous pretender to my religion. Suffice to say, your gratitude is presumptuous, to some degree.

I’m a Matthew 25 guy. That means that I take very seriously Jesus’ words about caring for “the least of these.”

What kind of jackass starts an essay by saying that he's the sort of guy who adheres to a line of scripture? I like Sarah Palin. Does that make me a Judges 4 guy?

I don’t believe a nation’s moral greatness is measured by how many tax breaks it gives its richest individuals and corporations, or by it's kill-power in terms of weapons and readiness to use them,

Of course, neither does anyone else. That said, our ability to care for the least of these is dependent, to some degree, on our "kill power". Think Bin Laden and Putin would support SCHIP, if given the chance?

So when I come to an election, I don’t just ask, “Which candidate will do the most for me and my nuclear family?” I extend my concern.

How magnanimous. McLaren's nuclear family does quite well for itself, incidentally, partly on account of McLaren's political advocacy. But who am I to question motives? I'm for more kill-power, after all.

I extend it to my extended family, which includes people with special needs and disabilities, people with chronic illnesses, gay people, poor people, people of advanced age, people with histories of addiction and crime and mental illness.

Great, everyone loves disabled people. So why does he support Obama? In the process of touting his own altruism (something McLaren does quite frequently), McLaren has buried the lede, so to speak. I get it, dude, you are the least selfish voter EVER. Move on.

I extend my concern even farther.

Oh, for crying out loud.

How about people who live less than an hour from my front door – in inner-city Washington DC, in impoverished sections of Baltimore – how will they fare?

An hour? So Mr. Matthew 25 lives in a freaking exurb? Indeed, it is so.

Or how about people in states like Ohio and Michigan … where hundreds of thousands of people are unemployed because too many American corporations shipped jobs overseas?

Just to throw out two random battleground states that just so happen to be vital to the electoral victory of the guy I am endorsing. That said, Michigan and Ohio's jobs didn't go overseas. They went to Mexico, and (more frequently) the way of the dodo. But nobody would confuse McLaren for a policy wonk.

from Mexico to Chile to South Africa to Burundi. Which candidate will do the most for the least of the least of these?

What is Barack's proposal for poor people in Chile? I mean, since McLaren cares about them so much. Anyone?

And it’s also a matter of war, because a nation at war has fewer resources to be generous.

This is so stupid, it practically drools. I could write a dictionary, but just take my word for it.

Which candidate best understands poverty and economic vulnerability through the closest experience of it?

I dunno. Maybe the guy who spent the better part of a decade in a !@#$%^& POW camp? You think that guy might have some insight? If McLaren pulls the "south side of Chicago" line, I'm gonna get a breakfast invitation next week.

I don’t doubt that Senator McCain would make national defense his top priority as president, and I don’t doubt that he would be most ready to sustain or expand our war-making activities around the world. But I’m ashamed of our nation being known for rushing to war. I would like to be known for helping the poor.

Then quit shilling for Barack Obama and help the poor. Americans help the poor more than any other nation (on a personal and policy level). If Brian McLaren expects Russia to stand and applaud our efforts, then he is deluded, which, of course, he is.

In the end, I truly believe that a nation that helps the poor will have fewer enemies

Hey, worked for Jesus. What? Oh, that's right.

That other-oriented mindset is, to me, a powerful reason to support Barack Obama for president.

Is this the other-oriented mindset that compelled him to give one percent of his income to charity even though he had dual six figure salaries coming in, and who picked a running mate with a similar, um, "mindset"? The people I know who actually care about the poor give money and time to churches and charities.

But then, why would I expect McLaren, a wealthy author who lives in an affluent Maryland exurb, to give a damn about putting money where his mouth is? For that matter, why should I give a damn about his shoddily-supported conclusion that Barack Obama would make a better president that John McCain? I don't, and neither should you.

McLaren ends in parenthetical.

(You may be wondering, “What about the unborn? Aren't they among the least of these?

Actually, I was wondering why we are touting wealthy skinflints for their other-oriented mindset, but these are good questions as well.

And what about other living creatures - endangered species and the threatened ecosystems on which they depend? Aren’t they among the least of these?”

Well, no, I wasn't wondering that. Considering animals to be among the least of these would be a barbarous trespass against Christ's intended meaning. But, barbarous trespass is certainly in McLaren's wheelhouse.

I plan to address these issues in upcoming posts. Stay tuned.

And I'm betting he cares an awful lot about those issues. He cares so much. You can trust him based on how much he cares, which is a lot. He cares more than you, and you, and you, and you, and...

Monday, September 29, 2008

Monday Musings

On this day in history... Some minority of some sort was the first to accomplish something that had previously been accomplished... I dunno, first Asian Sailboating champion? Let's go with that. I'm not gonna do research for you people. Let's muse.


So, you remember last week when I said McCain could hand himself the election by taking a bold and principled stand against the bailout? Yeah, that wasn't what I had in mind, either.

I mean, I'm sure Congress appreciated having someone available for late night coffee runs, but...


For one day, Minnesota Twins fans are rooting for the Detroit Tigers. Yeah, I can tell you just about how that goes.


The bailout bill is drivel, and will become moreso if Hopeface gets his hopeful little hands it. Just in case you were unaware of my stance on the issue.


The Democratic Newswire (aka the Associated Press) has a devastating piece on Sarah Palin's sleazy kickbacks. She got free salmon and a facial, it turns out. Oh, and she bought a house that had a carport that impinged upon a neighbor's property line and was suppose to remove the carport, but didn't remove it.

So did Brett J. Blackledge wake up Sunday morning, look in the mirror and say "I've justified my existence this week,"?

Cause he shouldn't have, if he did.


Meanwhile, MBNA bought Joe Biden's vote on bankruptcy legislation by hiring his son at an independent consultant and purchasing his house at $200k above market value. Also, Barack Obama had a convicted felon help him get a sweet deal on his...

What? Oh, we're just sticking to stories about free salmon? What about the Pentagon-bombing terrorist who shepherded Obama through the Chicago... No? Still on carports? Never mind, then.

I can't imagine why people don't buy newspapers anymore.


Bloomberg has a piece with the headline: "Paulson Must Make $700 Billion Rescue for Banks"

This is a refreshing departure from the WSJ's opinion editorial entitled "Paulson Should !#$% This Up on Purpose!"


Meanwhile the BBC reports that warships have surrounded Somali pirates. Yeah, the Brits get all the cool news while we read about carports and get fatuously obvious commentary from our economic magazines. No wonder all the Brits think we're mouth breathers who eat at Cracker Barrel.


Is it too early for Packer fans to start the chants of "Fire Thompson"?

This should get the ball rolling on that front.

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Republicans Fighting the Bailout

Exciting? Yes.

Game changing? Emphatically, yes.

Symbolic? I hope not.

Fight on good soldiers. Common sense and the will of the American people reside with your efforts.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Disturbing Roommate Conversation

Kevin: Hey Leroy, what's up?

Leroy: Oh, not much. How's Lisa?

Kevin: Again, my wife's name is Khris, but she is fine, to answer the question behind your question.

Leroy: So, yeah, I'm just munchin' on some cheesesticks.

Kevin: I guess so.

Leroy: How do you forty-five the line?

Kevin: That is esoteric beyond all reason.

Leroy: I disagree, but how do you do it?

Kevin: As it relates to cheesesticks?

Leroy: No, the defensive line. How do you forty-five it?

Kevin: I sense that, in certain respects, we have moved beyond a discussion of food.

Leroy: Yeah, this is more of a business question.

Kevin: Clearly.

Leroy: I was told I need to forty-five the defensive line. You know stuff.

Kevin: I do.

Leroy: Tell me stuff.

Kevin: We are talking about the sport with a defensive line consisting of ends and tackles, so called. We are on the same page here?

Leroy: Now we are getting somewhere.

Kevin: You don't play sports. The doctor won't let you, citing "obvious reasons".

Leroy: That seems off topic. I was told to forty-five the line, and I intend to do it.

Kevin: Okay, the term you are looking for is "fortify".

Leroy: Now I'm confused.

Kevin: It means "to augment". You know, vitamins and such.

Leroy: You lost me. Look, I've got a new job, and they want me to fortee-fi the line, or whatever it is. How do you do that?

Kevin: Well, you scour the roster for the best available personnel, which is obvious.

Leroy: Hold on, let me grab a pen.

Kevin: So are we meeting for happy hour? I've been here for 45 minutes.

Leroy: Oh, that's not happening. So... Scour.... Personnel...

Kevin: And then, I suppose, you might look to make a trade, or acquire a free agent.

Leroy: See, this is what the Lions are looking for.

Kevin: I'm sorry, did you say the Lions?

Leroy: Yeah. They had an opening, so I put in a call.

Kevin: I'm sorry, was this opening that of the recently departed Matt Millen?

Leroy: Yeah. It was all over ESPN. Don't you follow sports?

Kevin: Tangentially. Do I understand correctly that you are Matt Millen's replacement?

Leroy: Someone must have tipped you off. But yes, I am the new coach for the Detroit Lions.

Kevin: Um, Matt Millen wasn't the coach.

Leroy: Duh. That was his problem! So we need to trade for some agents to forty-five the line. This is good stuff.

Kevin: At minimum, your knowledge base exceeds that of your predecessor. I thought you were a Packer fan.

Leroy: Um, yeah. I have like six jerseys.

Kevin: So, how do you reconcile your allegiances here?

Leroy: Look, I can make up words too. I am skittlecrotch in the pulchritude. Boombleebo.

Kevin: Actually, pulchritude is a word.

Leroy: But you see my point.

Kevin: So how can a Packer fan run the Detroit Lions?

Leroy: Hold on... Team is from... Sorry, jotting this down... Team is from... Detroit.

Kevin: You can't root for two football teams.

Leroy: Wait, the Lions are a football team?

Kevin: Hypothetically.

Leroy: Then why haven't I heard of them?

Kevin: Have you heard of Barry Sanders?

Leroy: Well, yeah, he's the guy who left that team that sucks... Oh, wait, now it's getting clearer.

Kevin: How much are the Lions paying you?

Leroy: $800k per year.

Kevin: Willikers!

Leroy: All in Ford stock.

Kevin: Oh, so its a pro-bono gig.

Leroy: Yeah, it's pretty good. Anyway, I should go, Calvin Johnson is on the other line.

Kevin: Calvin Johnson?

Leroy: Yeah, I was told to cut payroll, so I'm cutting the expensive players first. He's PISSED. You know, superstar egos. I've never seen him play. Is he any good?

Kevin: Emphatically, yes.

Leroy: Well, I'll probably take some heat for this, but that's what coaches do. Does LaDainian Tomlinson play for the Lions?

Kevin: Nope.

Leroy: I'm running out of options.

Kevin: Just be sure to watch your luggage.

Leroy: Everyone keeps telling me that. Say hi to Sara for me.

Kevin: Um... Will do.

A Message From Hopeface

Vote for me this November...

Or I'll kill this damn poodle!

Don't think I won't do it.

I'm Barack Obama, and I approve this message.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Glass houses

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad think the United States is done.

In a related note, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won't live to see 2018. You won't see that on CNN, but it is true. Anyone wanna start an office pool?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Monday Musings

The Detroit Lions are anemic, but you knew that. Let's muse...

John McCain could hand himself the election in the next 48 hours. How? By opposing this ridiculous bailout. By the time this thing gets through the Countrwide Congress, it will be a trillion dollar paean to banking special interests. We already gave them $300 billion. That's not change, that's more of the same.

The AIG bailout was necessary (or arguably so) on its own accord. A blank check is not. A measured approach that allows some banks (cough, Citibank, cough) to suffer the consequences of their egregious decisions, while focusing diligently on those who cooked the books, is warranted here. Funding golden parachutes for Citibank's execs and randomly targetting innocent bogeyman (e.g. shortsellers, who are targetted seemingly because the public doesn't know what shortselling is) is unconstitutional.

There is time for McCain to wisen up. The working framework of the bill has just been released, and McCain can call for a multi-faceted approach. In doing so, he can rightly note that the bill will be a smorgasboard for special interests. He could also note that it's, like, you know, going to cost us all of our money.

The public isn't going to like this idea, but needs an articulate defender of it's misgivings. McCain has played this role before, and he can play it again.


And could you imagine what this would do to the Obama campaign? He'd have to, you know, actually read the bill. Could you imagine how he'd handle McCain's position in a debate?

"Um, well, my opponent, you know, uh, he wants to, uh, he wants to stay the course, and you know, uh, that's, you know, uh, uh, Pat Paulsen and is, you know, I mean, uh, and, uh, you know, uh, the American people, you know, that's above my pay grade, but I, uh, think, uh, you know, uh, uh, the situation there is, you know uh, it's time for a change."


Tragically, the former drummer for Blink-182 and some DJ were injured in a plane crash over the weekend. Perhaps they were injured by some of the DEAD PEOPLE rattling around the plane... For crying out loud, was Fats Domino on the plane too? Dreadfully point missing, the press.


Was reading a story about undecided voters. Patience testers, they. What I find especially irksome is that they tend to pride themselves on their worldliness and cynicism. One of those interviewed noted that he expect candidates not to keep their campaign promises.

Fair enough. They most assuredly won't. What they will do, however, is make up a whole bunch of stuff out of whole cloth in an attempt to convince Captain "Last Minute" in Colorado. If it weren't for undecided voters, candidates would be allowed to be exponentially more honest.

These same people rail about negative campaigning. More than any other subgroup, they are influenced by negative campaigning.


Speaking of which.


Taco Bell has a new plan to get me to eat like a man. Communicating vis. Adam Corolla, they are introducing a "Big Box Meal", .

First of all, what does this cost? About $6.50? I know people who spend six dollars on fast food. It's a very particular type of person I like to call, oh, what's the word??? Oh, right, "WOMAN". $6.50 gets you a fast food meal at cougar hangouts like Panera and Noodles. Men spend $3.

Second, let's look at this meal. Is that a "Baja Blast" in the background? Why don't they just call it carbonated pilates? Oh, and nothing sweats masculinity like cinnamon twists.

Earl: Hey, spliff me some Cinnamon Twists!

Dennis: Absolutely...

Earl: Um, I didn't say nuzzle my ear and tell me your secrets.

Dennis: Oh, sorry, I thought it was some sort of code.


Oh, and the ad is set in a sushi bar. Because if there's anything a woman likes to eat, it's raw octopus, horseradish and fish eggs.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Making fun of Dailykos

Well, I dunno if she is with Dailykos in any official capacity, but Diana Hsieh is unpleasant enough to throw in with the peanut gallery. Like most liberals, she doesn't like Sarah Palin. Incidentally, she also is not a fundamentally decent human being. Her full post is here. Entirely fair commentary is below.

Before delving in, I'll note that the name of this blog is "Noodle Food: A Daily Dose of Philosophical Food For Your Noodle."

Now, if this were a "baby pooped today" blog, I would cut Mz. Hsieh some slack. Alas, the chick pretends to have ideas, and so she is fair game. Evisceration cometh.

The title of Hsieh's piece is "The Worship of Retardation". Um, excuse me? To be fair, Hsieh is a Chinese name, with all that entails about selective fetal distruction. Nonetheless, this is a horrible title for anything.

She begins thusly:

"I wish Sarah Palin's youngest son Trig -- afflicted with Down's Syndrome -- the best life possible to him. Yet based on my experience working with a man with Down's Syndrome in a high school job at a movie theater, I regard his life as inherently tragic and likely quite miserable."

I kid you not, that is what this woman said. Let's construct a syllogism here:

1) Trig Palin has down syndrome.

2) I knew a guy who worked in a movie theater.

3) Blank.

4) The lives of those with down syndrome are inherently miserable.

What the IHOP? I used to work at a calling center with a dark-haired man. He had a hard time with women. Conclusion: All men with dark hair have a hard time with women. Is Mz. HSSHSH's world, this is sound thinking.

Most of all, however, I'm disgusted by the the worship of retardation exhibited by Christians in response to Trig's rise to national prominence, as in this National Review article by Michael Franc:

In fairness, I am a Christian, and I am evoking this post. Guilty as charged, I guess. But Franc is the one accused of retardation-worship, so let's hear what he has to say.

Per Michael Franc:

But these special children, and the special adults they grow up to be, inspire something else of equal importance. When these little, unexpected ambassadors of God enter our lives, they offer us the opportunity to rise to that greatest of all challenges — to treat others as we would want to be treated. Their presence, in short, elevates all of us.

What a horrendous thing to say. Those born with mental disabilities should be executed on sight? That Michael Franc is a... Oh, wait, you mean he is saying simply that these children have value? That seems reasonable. What is the problem again?

"That's a good expression of the mind-set of so many of today's devout Christians. They are not content to limit reason to make room for faith."

Of course, reason abounds in this particular screed (see above). And how, pray tell, would reason inform our opinion on the issue?

They go further: they laud retardation as a virtue. In the process, they must -- and do -- disparage normal human intelligence as a vice.

Not to Mz. Shah. If you are going to make light of retardation, do make an extra effort to utilize proper punctuation. Superfluous colons are of no virtue to anyone. That said, isn't it better to be extraordinary than ordinary? Is the author arguing that mediocrity is not a vice?

Normal human intelligence gave us the housing crisis, the Holocaust, and Jimmy Carter. Nice work, "normal human intelligence". Normal human intelligence sucks because the normal human has no intelligence to speak of. As such, most of us faithy people rely on wisdom, which comes from God. I'll take a wise Trig over a normally intelligent Diana Hsbeksistn any day.

"Such people are not motivated by a soft heart. If they were, they would adamantly defend abortion as a moral means of freeing parents from the prospect of endless sacrifice to a retarded child."

Of course, regular children receive only occasional sacrifice. Parents are free to cease their sacrifice at a certain point. Thank goodness most children are born healthy. Otherwise we'd NEVER be able to neglect them.

"They would regard abortion as a moral way to prevent the infliction of a miserable, degraded life on the person that will emerge from the womb. Instead, they want to create more mentally defective and perpetually dependent children by outlawing abortion."

I'm trying to make heads or tails of this. Is it possible to inflict life on something? How does that work? Of course, in a world where ideologies literally "create" babies, I suppose nothing is off the table. Not only do conservatives inflict life on retarded people, but they even create them.

"The people who worship retardation reject human reason as a value. They're as anti-man as the deep ecologists who regard mankind as a cancer on the earth."

What the hell is a deep ecologist? Someone who understands the fundamentals of punctuation? This isn't deep, it's more of the same.

That said, how does human reason (ignoring the category error) come to the conclusion that it is better to be dead than alive with a disability? If this is a standard for humanity, then let's get with the killin'. No points for guessing where I would begin that particular blood purge.

"Frankly, one wonders why such people don't lobotomize themselves, if retardation is such a boon to their fellow man."

Oh, good. The "one wonders" dodge. Yes, the author is concluding her bizarrely incendiary post with an equivocal commentary on the mind set of his or her fellow man. Makes sense.

That said, what would be the purpose of paying for a sudden lobotomy when writers like Diana Shizznit are so willing to take our hand and guide us into world of "back lobe" thinking, free of charge? The probable result of mass lobotmy would be a sharp uptick in subscriptions to Newsweek.

If the author is correct, and retardation is not a boon to mankind, then neither are most children. Children tend to be stupid by virtue of the fact that they are, you know, children. The brightest couple in the world runs every risk of having a baby with "normal" human reason. In a worst case scenario, such children grow up to produce lazy blog pieces such as this.

And so on. This is a terrible piece critiquing reasonable people for taking a reasonable viewpoint w/r/t Palin's baby. Mz. Shoe is a poor writer generally, which is hard to swallow when she leverages her skills to bemoan the power of the mentally disabled to alter the American pzyche.

Of course, the most compelling argument against abortion fails any reasonable standard of logic. What better way to shirk this inconvenient fact than by insulting prominent Republicans? Perhaps those with normal human intelligence might make the time to reconcicle the discrepancy here.

Better yet, and instead, why not take their infants to task for, you know, existing. The bastards.

And that's my cultural minute.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

On credit

With the bailout of AIG, and the subsequent tanking of stocks, it appears we are now at the cusp of feeling the tangible effects of the housing bust.

Most analyses of the events transpiring to cause this collapse veer opportunistically toward concrete devils and angels. The consensus among conservatives is that people simply wanted what they couldn't afford. The consensus among liberals is that the government deregulated to the point where collapse was inevitable.

Neither ideology hits the mark here. What's weird is that, even though the housing collapse happened right in front of us, people are confused as to its root causes.

Outside of California (and a couple of other "hot" markets) most houses presently in foreclosure were affordable to the middle class prior to the housing boom. Let's examine a case study. As of 1995, houses in Richfield (a middle-class suburb south of Minneapolis) ran just under $100k. As salaries increased, so did property values, as did the desirability of owning versue renting. This was a good thing.

However, as the market surged, the average Richfield house became unaffordable even to a couple making $50k per year. As such, an average college-age professional could not afford a house. At present, most foreclosures affect those in the middle to lower income brackets.

As for deregulation, few understand what this really means. In the mid-1990s, the desire to increase minority home-ownership became a political issue. As such, lending standards were relaxed under the Clinton administration to accommodate this ideological pursuit.

The result was a market in which people had more control over their risk. Again, this wasn't a bad thing. Some banks were underwriting based on outdated house payment ratios. There is no reason someone making $50,000 per year cannot afford a $1,500 house payment.

During this time, interest rates went down. This was a postive thing, generally, and only the most dishonest partisans pretend otherwise. As such, expensive house became cheaper. Also, banks began leveraging tax incentives that allowed homeowners to write off interest payments on their homes. This led to a massive re-classification of homebuyer risk. Again, not entirely a bad thing. If a $50,000 income can cover a $1,500 house payment, then it can certainly do so with the expectation of a $6,000 tax credit.

So far so good. However:

Recognizing that people were eager to refinance under new rates, a number of former car-salesmen and radio disc jockeys descended on the industry, lured but the high fee/little work ratio of the position. Brokers with no education and no financial background were suddenly pulling the strings of our housing markets.

Worse, mortgage brokers, these folks with no experience and (disturbingly) no fiduciary responsibility to the borrower, were absurdly trusted by banks no deliver homebuyers. Further, there is no requirement that mortgage brokers reveal their commissions, or provide "apples to apples" comparisons of different loan types, or even provide any legitimate paperwork prior to closing.

In a vacuum, this wouldn't be a big problem. Banks could simply blacklist the shadier brokers, and the internet would help shoo customers away from the lowlife. In a normal housing market, with measured growth and stable prices, this would have been the case.

But the bubble didn't happen in a bubble. People who couldn't afford housing loans were snapping up houses, not out of greed, but out of pragmatism. Three years ago, nobody would have told you not to buy a house. For those seeking sound advice, the answer to the question "should I buy house?" was "I have a friend in real estate. Here is his business card."

Banks, whose corporate structures reward compensation for short term results over long-term viability, placed their faith in the former DJs. If you wonder why banks sold so many subprime mortgages, you'll be baffled to know that they actually paid top dollar. Brokers earn enormous kickbacks for the worst of loans, the option-ARM.

In other words, banks were investing heavy dollar amounts to initiate extra expensive loans for poor people with. Worse, they also intitiated them for people who could easily have afforded a nice house, but were persuaded that they could afford a nicer one.

Armed with the extra cash, homebuyers made some startlingly stupid decisions. Condos in the hinterlands (Prior Lake and Savage), planned communities in Rogers, and microscopic "loft-style" apartments in the city centers were commanding upwards of $300,000. $60,000 kitchen and bath remodels, driven by a curious obsession with steel appliances (the olive-green refrigators of our time), forced buyers to refinance their fixed loans into the cockroaches peddled by sleazy brokers.

All of this was built not on greed, per se, but optimism. If the housing market continued to show even nominal gains, the steel appliances and homes in Timbuktoo represent sound financial decisions.

That isn't the way markets work, but property seemed to have a way of bucking normal market trends. Economists explained that houses had tangible value, or that rental prices would serves as a safety net against a downturn. Thank you, economists.

When government DID have the opportunity to leverage legislation to change the course, Countrywide et al... began to line the coffers of legislators. Banks facilitated sweetheart deals for Senators (like, for example, Joe Biden).

At this point "regulation" would consist of condifying what is to become industry standard in response to the crisis. Banks, for example, are ceasing to utilize third-party brokers, who are back to spinning records and selling cars anyway. The housing bill that passed earlier this year was a paean to the special interests who paid for it.

Those citing America's greed would do well to consider that about 95% of mortgages are current. It's not like there was some sort of land grab. In Minneapolis, the hardest area hit is a neighborhood on the cities north side, where houses could be found for under $150,000. It's is hard to ascribe greed to a couple purchasing a two bedroom house that needs new carpet.

We cannot know the extent to which our economy will be compromised. We'll have a clearer picture after the markets respond to Citibank's collapse (I like February 6 as a date for this. We could start an office pool if anyone had jobs), but we would do well to learn all the reasons for our present situation.

The housing crush is sad and fascinating. It is also frustratingly nuanced and complex. If we can understand it, we can learn from it, and be smarter the next time a bubble rolls around.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Tuesday Musings

Hello... Again... Let's muse...

Those who read my blog regularly know that I don't fanboy up on comic book stuff. That said, the current series of Batman films has me following the speculation of who will be cast as the next villain.

Apparently, Phillip Seymour Hoffman has accepted the role as the Penguin. That's about enough to make me get in touch with my inner geek. Pass the Funyons.

If the rumors are true, Hoffman is sort of the Sarah Palin of the franchise. Nolan was in a bind after the brilliant performance of Heath Ledger. The only pick that could distract attention would be to pick arguably the best actor in Hollywood. Apparently, he did just that. You can't put lipstick on a pig, but you can die Philip Seymour Hoffman's hair black.


Seriously, what just happened to me. I need to teach a kid how to throw a baseball, stat.


As I mentioned last week, I vacationed in Door County. I supped as well, though not as frequently as I would have liked. In particular, I enjoyed Julie's Park Cafe. It's a "made from scratch" type place with an emphasis on local ingredients. I have no observation beyond noting that such a thing ought not be notable. We tolerate garbage when it comes to food in this town.

Speaking of...


My wife and I were feeling lazy on Saturday evening, so we headed up to Granite City, the uberchain that has suddenly abounded throughout the Twin Cities. I like it because I have a card that entitles me to cheap beer.

We arrive at the restaurant to find a line out the door. This on a rainy day. Can someone explain to me the mindset that is willing to sit in the rain waiting for a spot at a chain restaurant? Who are these people, and what is wrong with them?


And so we went to Boston's which, near as I could tell, is essentially the same restaurant, minus the cheap beer. Meanwhile, some outstanding, undiscovered restaurant sat with an empty table. Shame on us.


In the attempt to appeal to gullible Catholics (or, as I call them, Catholics), the Obama campaign has released faith-based bumper stickers. According to the Obama campaign these bumper stickers and placards are appropriate for all religions.

Great, nothing like a yard sign that says "I'm faithy: Vote Democrat". Maybe they can stick them in Northwestern Book Store, right by the Christian fortune cookies. Puke.


According to the article cited above, Vera Wang is producing pro-Obama fashion accessories. I'm sure they'll be a hit in Southern Ohio.


Note to Netflix: The first 18,000,000 popup ads were not persuasive. At this point, it is probably safe to anticipate a similar result from popup ad 18,000,001. Seriously, start a viral campaign or something.


That is all...

D.F. Wallace - RIP

On Friday night, a terrible thing happened. David Foster Wallace, Professor of Creative Writing at Pomona College and a flatly brilliant writer, committed suicide. His wife came home to find him dead, which is awful.

I met Professor Wallace once, which, I suppose is the sort of thing you mention in unsolicited eulogies. He was being considered for a position at Pomona College (vice versa, really). As an exercise, he asked us to offer a three page critique of short stories written by other students in the department.

To my surprise he commented on my critique. In blue ink. Complete with smiley faces, the perfunctory kind with two vertical dashes for eyes and a broad ellipses connoting the mouth. From a writer whose name has become synonymous with dystopia, not to mention verbosity (Google "Infinite Jest"... It's length is noted in every single review), I found it curiously empowering. I hadn't prompted a smiley from a teacher since high school.

But Wallace was a fierce antagonist to the profligation of irony in creative media, or, at least, to the ironic affectation that allows us to ignore central truths. He took the business of teaching seriously, having remarked on each of the dozen or so critiques individually. Nothing says "I agree" like a smiley, so he used a smiley.

In a manner of speaking, then, he wasn't verbose at all. Rather, he observed much. His political essay from aboard McCain's Straight-Talk Express (2000 edition), which burst the seams of Rolling Stone magazine, is spectacular in its array of detail. No element of the political campaign escaped his eye. His essay (which played no small role in fomenting my enthusiasm for the candidate) may be the best political piece ever written.

And so, Wallace didn't have to take the time to comment on my typo-ridden little critique. When little colleges have the opportunity to hire great authors, they leap at the opportunity, create special endowments and setup contigency plans for the throng of students certain to seek enrollment in said author's courses, but who cannot be accommodated due to space issues and general considerations related to desirable class size for a small liberal arts school of 1,500 or so.

In short, Wallace was not a jerk. And so his decision to kill himself is troubling.

Committing suicide is a selfish decision, and Wallace (by all accounts) would have agreed with this sentiment. Scanning the myriad obits from authors and friends, each takes care to point to the innate morality of his work.

Suicide is the elimination of everything you represent to the thousands (or millions) of people. It is a bold trespass, not only against the self, but against everyone, or some similar sentiment. From a self-indulgent person, suicide is unsurprising.

For a man to fully understand the calculus at play, to go through the process of preparing a noose, leveraging the proper dimensions to ensure success of the act, knowing when and, more importantly, by whom, he would be discovered...

It is as sad as it is terrifying. A man of remarkable observance, who was acutely, extravagantly aware of decisions and their consequences, who marked pages with unironic smiley-faces and who was authentic and sincere in writing and in person, is now dead of his own doing.

A jest. Infinite indeed.

David Foster Wallce (1962-2008)

Rest in Peace

P.S. Pomona President David Oxtoby's letter is worth reading...

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Friday, September 12, 2008

Guestbook Meanderings

Entered in the Journal of room 702 at the Little Sweden resort in Door County, for official consumption.

What lovely mugs! Contemporary and stylish, yet thematically appropriate, I couldn't take my eyes off of them. In fact, I spent nearly my entire stay admiring your coffee mugs. In retrospect, this was a wasted vacation.

Have a K-A Summer!

Kevin Sawyer

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Silly Season

As anyone following politics knows, Hopeface is reeling, to the degree that the Senator felt compelled to devote some of his smile session with David Letterman to an ill-advised comment about lipstick and pigs. His performance was winsome. Like our current president, Obama is most comfortable one on one, making small talk in an environment where a candidate can say "uh" all he pleases.

And so the bleeding is stopped, but it was a nice ride.

For conservatives, the whole show has been fun to watch. Obama's precious little victim card has been torn up and tossed back in his face, and America at large has been re-acquainted with Keith Olbermann and the DailyKos set. As an added bonus, we were the beneficiary a war against an HIV-infected leather fetishist and a hockey mom. As I said, is been fun.

But this is not the goal. The goal is not to get Obama to make bizarre comments about wrapping fish (was that a botched scriptural reference?) or to poke a stick at Obama's slavish media. The goal is to advance an ethical ideology that will provide the baseline approach for all of the important initiatives associated with the presidency.

Don't get me wrong. Negative campaigning and cheap shots are part of the game. Heck, complaining about the other candidate's negative campaign has become a cheap shot in and of itself.

But the purpose of winning the mudslinging battle does not lie in the hope that the mud will stick, and ultimately sink the other side. In politics, you don't knock a guys teeth out so that he'll die from blood loss; you do it so that he cannot bite you. The goal is to create an unfiltered forum for an ideological platform. If the American people think Barack Obama is sexist (he isn't, and neither are his opponents racist), then McCain is free to make an unadorned case for his ideas about lobbying reform, the war in Iraq, tax cuts et al.

Obama's Letterman performance was amiable, but safe. He is back to square one, re-establishing himself as a nice guy who will represent those voters who want a change of pace. It was a toothless performance with lots of toothy grins.

Barack Obama called this the silly season in politics. For John McCain, it should be anything but. Now is the time to hit the airwaves with a specific policy agenda that reflects an uncompromising conservative stance.

To this end, Sarah Palin has a magnificent opportunity. On this anniversary of the September 11 attacks, her son goes to war, and she will come before the media. Stinging rhetoric served her well when she was establishing herself against gratuitous attacks from unfavorable news media.

As happens so infrequently in politics, people are willing to listen to the substance of her ideology. She should leave the pit bull at home. He's not needed here.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Making fun of Dailykos

What do I like to do, people? Make fun of dailykos, that's what. Here an undressing of DarkSyde, one of their least literal pundist. Full text here. Generous responses below.
Can someone tell me what it is conservatives are so afraid will happen if Obama wins?

What a ridiculous way to begin a political argument. What are you so afriad will happen if McCain wins? Conservatives are afraid that the country will not be run conservatively, which is sufficient to oppose an Obama presidency.
They sure sound angry and terrified about the prospect, but why?

What is DailyKos, if not a bunch of angry people? Incidentally, the most common conservative reaction to Obama’s campaign is akin to Mario and Luigi’s approach to Bomb-ombs: Stay away while it’s flickering, and wait for it to explode. Afterward, collect coins.
It can't be that they're afraid women will be suddenly awarded the right of reproductive choice; women already have it and the GOP did nothing to change that when given the chance of a lifetime.

This talking point is my pet peeve. The chance of a lifetime would be a Supreme Court stacked against Roe. Conservatives will likely see this chance in their lifetime if McCain is made president. But DarkSyde is correct that conservative are not afraid that women will acquire reproductive rights that they already have. Good analysis, DarkSyde.
Fuel prices have tripled under the Republican reign, they seem fine with it, and so we have to assume that that worry is not a factor in the conservative calculus.

Allow me to reconstruct DarkSyde's syllogism:

1. Gas prices have tripled under Bush’s presidency

2. Blank

3. Conservatives are not worried about oil prices

4. Conservatives, therefore, do not worry.

In other words, DarkSyde cannot construct a syllogism even using a blank. If this were LSAT Scrabble, this dude would be headed to William Mitchell.
Nor can they be legitimately concerned that democrats will vastly increase federal spending

“Vastly increase” is hyperlinked to a 2006 USA Today article about unchecked spending. DarkSyde is eating his girlfriend’s chocolates on Valentines Day here. Either conservatives care about wasteful spending, and are hypocritical for supporting Bush, or they are not, and they are consistent in their support of Bush.
Maybe they're worried democrats will be vacationing, sound asleep at the switch, while the intel community frantically tries to warn them of a vast, pending terrorist attack that could kill thousands of innocent Americans.

First of all, you are supposed to capitalize “Democrats” when referring to the political party. Second, if we are talking about the same Democrats, I eagerly await their extended vacation.
What if progressive economic policies wrecked the economy, rocked Wall Street, caused hundreds of thousands of people to lose their homes and jobs, and turned over our national economic future to the tender mercies of fundamentalist Sunni Monarchs and the communist Chinese?

Allow me to dig one layer deeper into this particular party dip by evoking an sport’s cliche. You cannot stop China; you can only hope to contain it. This requires either economic compromises that make folly of our national ethos, or a full-scale pre-emptive war that makes folly of our national ethos. Of course, making folly of the national ethos is part and parcel of the national ethos, which renders soap-box speeches meaningless as a tool of persuasion here.
I guess that's what confuses a lot of voters:

DarkSyde’s explanation for Obama's tanking poll numbers just days after Obama’s vacuous convention speech. Voters are not confused. It’s just that most of them disagree with the fruitcakes at DailyKos.

Conservatives are worried that Democrats might do the same astonishingly lousy job Republicans have done for the last eight years.

No, we are worried that Republicans will do the same lousy job Republicans have done. We are convinced that Democrats elicit our astonishment.

To avoid even the possibility that that might happen, conservatives prescribe electing more members from the same crew who wrecked the country, in what is clearly to any lucid external observer the ridiculous and desperate hope that the same party will fix it all by continuing, uninterrupted, the same policies that produced the damage in the first place.

This is a remarkable trespass against the concept sentence structure by one who claims to advocate lucid external observance.
In the alternate reality fabricated by the seamlessly integrated conservative PR apparatus

Having partaken in the above, I have used a lot of terms to describe the conservative PR apparatus. “Seamless” has precisely four more letters than any of them.
this extension of the failed status quo is called change, in the rest of the world it's one of the better known definitions of insanity.

My kingdom for a semi-colon. Look, I respect John McCain. I think he is a great man who has accomplished much, and who espouses a generally strong set of ideas. Ordinarily this would be insufficient for me to muster up much conviction with respect to the outcome of this race.

And yet, I have more conviction than ever before. The Democrats have nominated someone who not only ascribes to a mediocre ideology, but who also lacks the basic fundamental intellect to defend his ideology on the world stage. Barack Obama is that disastrous blend of ideological excess and nubile politics. Frankly, it worries me that a major party would nominate a clown like Barack Obama.

The dude constructed a diplomatic approach to one-one one discussion on the fly in the midst of a primary debate. That’s insane. Conservatives are simply standing athwart this particular sliver of history, yelling “stop!”

It’s what we do, and there's nothing insane about it.

Monday Musings

I'm headed to Wisconsin. This is fantastic. Let's muse.


Caught Amazing Thailand (the stupidly-named Uptown restaurant, not the country) last night on a whim. It's one of those joints that serves more martinis and cream cheese puffs, with a by-the-numbers ambience and lots of very Thai-looking statues praying tableside.

That said, it was good. My wife's Pad Thai was done right, buoyant and refreshing rather than drowned with fish (or worse, peanut) sauce. I ordered the pumpkin curry (when in Rome) and was amused by the plating. The dish is served inside of the pumpkin. The gourd family is a good match for curry, and they were actually willing to make the dish reasonably spicy. Given the finger-meets-epiglottis state of Thai food in Uptown, you could certainly do worse.


The Los Angeles Times thinks Sarah Palin will be a hard sell in small towns. You know what else is a hard sell in small towns? The Los Angeles !@#$ing Times.

Let's see. Gallup shows McCain having pulled off an 11 point swing since the Palin nomination (from -8 to +3). Does the reporter suppose that the ticket is striking a chord with young urban college graduates?

Jed: You know, McCain is right. Obama isn't offering real change (slams down chopsticks).

Phil: Careful, you got Moroccan kabob in my eye.

Jed: The hell with Sarah Lawrence, I'm going with Sarah Palin. I'm going to Kansas to join jug band.


Jed: ......

Phil: Wanna join the same jug band?

Jed: Yeah, but let's not be gay anymore. Jesus wouldn't like it.

Phil: Good point. I'll go sell the Prius...

Jed: No we'll need that. I'll sell my Vespa.

Phil: ...

Jed: I thought you went to Bennington.

Speaking of small-town condescension, I just perused a London Times article about how Obama is missing the heart of America. This is nothing new. Londoners regards America as some sort of bizarre menagerie, wherein a teeming class of proles is exploited for power by politicians who ideology couldn't POSSIBLY find resonance with real people (else, why would Londonders disagree with it?).

At any rate, here is an excerpt:

"One can drive for miles in the dark past small towns illuminated only by the golden arches of McDonald’s, the olde worlde charms of prefab Cracker Barrels and those unchanging purveyors of nostalgia and fat, Denny’s and Dairy Queen."

Apparently, she hasn't experienced DQs blizzard of the month. Oreo Mint Splash is a change we can believe in. That said, if diversity of cuisine is the standard by which we ascertain the advancement of a culture, then London is downright precambrian. Shepherds pie is the culinary doppleganger to the trylobyte. And, um, speaking of nostalgia... Nice monarchy, London.


Of course, I find nauseous the very idea of Cracker Barrel, and I'm as conservative as they come. There's a lot London doesn't know about me, it turns out.


The DailyKos offers its take on John McCain's convention speech:

"He smiles so rarely during speeches that it is disconcerting; he does it with such a pained grimace that it is very nearly frightening."

I know, it's like somebody took a stick to him for years on end and fine muscle movements are difficult for that reason. If only McCain had that excuse...

The cat apparently found my McCain post to be high on histrionics. Fair enough, but the cat is dangerously out of control. We've seen it time and time again.


Incidentally, do you think the Obama campaign wanted to spend this week talking about loopy religious practices, inexperience, and his role as a community organizer? If I were him, I'd accuse somebody of racism sooner than later.


Folks on the left are already mocking Sarah Palin's church background. Lot's of stuff about snake-handling and speaking in tongues. You know, cause the left hasn't done enough to alienate everyone ever LAST week.

Here is an excerpt from the website of Wasilla Bible Church, where Palin attends:

"If you are visiting... You are free to remain as anonymous as you want to, but we encourage you to stop by the Information Desk in the foyer to pick up a gift bag containing more information about congregational life at WBC."

Sounds innocent enough. Unfortunately (cue Norm MacDonald voice), the gift bag is full of DEADLY POISONOUS SNAKES!!!!

Sarah Palin is a reformer. She is tired of all these m-----f------ snakes in her m-----f-----gift bag. Also, she lead a women's bible study on Tuesday.

Friday, September 05, 2008

RNC - Day 3.56

John McCain takes the stage...


You want a silky backdrop? Ask broadway. Or, at least, don't ask Republicans. What the hell happened here?


You want arrogance? Go with Barack Obama. He has it in spades.

You know what's funny? When Obama talks about being humbled by this or that, he sounds, frankly, like he was expecting this or that to happen to him. That is not humility, but rather entitlement. Nobody would accuse Obama of being humble.

Could anyone, on the basis of this opening, accuse McCain of being arrogant?


You want rhetorical flourish? Obama and flourish were meant for each other. Sarah Palin gave a great speech, but she didn't need flourish. Obama needs flourish the way an interior designer needs pink socks.


Or, alternately, the way R.T. Rybak needs fountains.


You want substance? Well, here's your substance. On energy, McCain is putting everything on the table. This isn't a battle for the hearts and minds of environmental ideologists. Everything should me on the table when it comes to energy independence.


You want peace? John McCain understands that diplomacy is meaningless without the power of our military. Has Obama even bothered to make this connection? Would he even know how to do so?


You want reliable? My friend Jamie noted that liberal rioters nearly killed her en route (hers, not the rioters) to see a movie. If a woman can't even feel safe going to see a movie, for fear of retribution from her political adversaries, then what does that say about the adversaries? What does it say about that for which her adversaries (ostensibly) stand?


You want rhetorical questions? Come back regularly. Rhetorical questions are in my wheelhouse, so to speak.


You want goody-goody gumballs about how awesome hope is? Vote Democrat. You want daffodils and candy canes? Apparently, (if I read the talking points correctly) Joe Biden is your man. Hopeface endures as the candidate of sanguine naivete.


You want a story? Let me tell you a story. When I was twelve years old, my father was arrested for a crime he didn't commit. He is still in prison for same.

You want sorrow? Watching your father go through a public lynching in your home state is sorrow. Watching the very epitome of your manhood die before your eyes, without your being given the right to grieve its death. That's sorrow.


You want character? That's a function the pain extracted on your own person. That's the deprivation of freedom. Unlike me, John McCain had a choice as to whether he extended his sorrow, and he opted for character.


You want conviction? If I could have my father back, I would reflexivly embrace the opportunity. I would trade or compromise just about anything in life to do so. My sorrow is overbearing, and I have not chosen the character to be virtuous in its face. McCain's conviction has made virtue of his sorrow.

That, folks, is the measure of a man.

If you want a poet, an orator, a dude with rockstar qualities to match is rockstar ambitions, then you have my blessings to vote for Barack Obama. You want fluff. He wants fluff. It's a happy confluence. Live deep and suck the marrow rich of that calf's corpse.


You want character? You want change? You want a !@#$ing man? Vote John McCain.

Breakfast is on me.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

RNC - Day 2.13

Rudy Giuliani knows how to work a crowd... Into a frenzy.

If you're gonna roast a guy, it's good to have a New Yorker on your side. I mean, you know, a real one.

I think he has out red meated Fred Thompson here. What a badass. Here's hoping he finds a prominent place in McCain's cabinet. America needs him a hell of a lot more than Queen Rybak.


I am greatly looking forward to Obama's answer to the Iraq question in the debates. If you thought he sounded like a babbling fool at Saddleback (and you would be right)... Here's one scientists bold prediction:

"Um, uh, well, uh, my opponent, you know, uh, uh, uh, uh, uh, Iraq and, uh, you know, that's uh, uh, that's not, uh, uh, the American people, you know. When I go into, uh, you know, a, uh, situation, you know, uh, uh, and, you know, uh, uh, there's, there's Iraq and, I think, uh, you need to consider that. That's in the mix. So you know, uh, uh, uh, uh, uh, both sides, you know, uh, uh, uh, on Iraq."

Suffice to say, it will be the rhetorical equivalent of voting "present".


Watching MSNBC. Keith Oblermann tries to break into Giuliani's speech. I don't blame him. He is cut off, and the camera returns to Giuliani. My sentiments exactly. Shut up, you petulant prick. America's mayor is talking.


I love the way New Yorkers add "R"s to words ending in vowels.


Sarah Palin!!!! Best person ever!!! Amazing!!!!


Bristol's hubby to be has that "hand caught in the cookie jar look". More than you bargained for, eh, son? Lesson learned: Don't have sex with governor's daughters in an election year.


You know who doesn't look uncomfortable at all? Sarah Palin. So much for the Dan Quayle comparisons.

A bit much with the family introductions, but I've been saying that for both conventions. I don't care who your parents are, for either party.


"It's like being a community organizer, but with actual responsibilities."

That's funny, and she delivered it well. To be fair, community organizers have responsibilities. It's just that Barack Obama probably didn't fulfill any of them. Real community organizers do things like, for example, organizing communities. Obama was simply incubating, all sexy and sorta black, until ripe for the national scene.


"That luxury jet was over the top. I put it on ebay"

Is that true? Please tell me that's true.


"We need American sources of resources."

Well, now the left has something to make fun of. Have fun with that one, folks.


What's with the bizarre slide show of landmarks behind Palin? "Mount Rushmore exists! Go McCain".


I honestly didn't expect the harsh tone. I like it, of course, but I didn't expect it. Let me predict Obama's response:

"Uh, well, you've got, uh, uh, Sarah Palin, and, uh, uh, that's not, you know, uh, uh, uh, what, you know, uh, Washington doesn't, you know, uh, uh, need, you know, uh, need, Sarah Palin is not, uh, uh, I think America wants, uh, you know, America wants to come together."


This is a pitbull speech if ever there was one. She seems VERY much to be enjoying herself here. Frankly, I am beginning to worry if she'll be too tough on Joe Biden. I'm being a bit cute, but not that cute. Does anyone doubt now that she'll put her fist up his ass? And she's got fingernails!


That's how you deliver under pressure. That was exquisitely ruthless, and was exquisite besides.

Game. On.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

RNC Day 1.24

Fred Thompson. Yay, Fred Thompson! Okay, that is all.


George H.W. Bush's son is giving a speech in support of McCain. That's a nice touch.

Seriously, though, he gives a good speech. How was this substantially worse than Obama's speech? I'd be interested to know.


So THAT'S why McCain didn't pick Lieberman. I mean, I have nothing but respect for his guts here, but this is the antithesis of a rousing speech. I mean, he isn't even a minority.


"Eloquence is no substitute for a record."

Damn right. It's no substitute for great oratory either.


Wow, he just tore the skin off Obama. Contrast him with Clinton? Never mind the above. This just got interesting. What's Bill going to do, disagree? Clinton was a lowlife, but he was a competent lowlife.


The dig on Lindsey Graham would be funnier if anyone knew who Lindsey Graham was.


I'm watching this on the MSS Fruitcake (MSNBC) and they are immediately criticizing the speech. Welcome to the unbiased media.


CNN Analysis: Some Democrats will be annoyed by this speech. Um, ya think? Democrats are annoyed at the very existence of an opposing party.

Sidebar: Is there anything that compares with the unhinged response to the nomination of Sarah Palin? I've searched for a similar response to Joe Biden, and I just can't find it. Do all my liberal friends go online and become screwballs by night? Like Batman in reverse? Seriously, someone on the left needs to tell these degenerate animals to stop.

Maybe an Obama loss would be sufficient to expunge the banana wing of the party, or to get them to join the green party. I dunno, something. I am tired of sharing Democracy equally with these people. Hand them over to the fringe, where they belong.


Speaking of which, CNN cuts to a weird shot of police lobbing explosives at protesters outside the convention. If only Chris Coleman went to such lengths to protect thirteen year old girls.


According to the polls, Obama is sitting at a 6-8% lead right now. That's the low end of where I expected he would be going into the RNC convention. At this point, this should be sufficient to predict a (very) slight advantage for McCain.

McCain will get a small boost from this convention, will likely win the debates, and has two arrows in his quiver for October. If I had to guess, he wins the popular vote by about 1.2%. The interesting thing is that both candidates could make the case that they should be much further ahead.


And CNN has launched into criticism as well. Anderson "Sexydolt" Cooper is doing his able best to arm the left with talking points. I'm not switching to Fox News. I'll grin and bear it.


The salient question going around now is whether people will embrace evacuation calls in the aftermath of thunderstorm Gustav. For those wondering why 800,000 National Guardsmen weren't in Louisiana in advance of Katrina, this is why. How many dollars has the government spent in preparation for this "hurricane". This does not exonerate any of the public officials who botched the response to Katrina, but it is worth noting that these things hit land literally every year.


Roland Martin is accusing the McCain campaign of being sensitive. He is telling them to defend their candidate without calling people sexist. That is rich coming from a political hack who finds EVERY reason to talk about race, and in fact was hired to provide a racial perspective.

I mean, he's right, but Obama's campaign has thus far amounted to "I'm black, you're racist, and I'm also black." It's about time the Republicans got to play the victim card.


Amy Holmes makes for a hell of a conservative pundit. Intelligent analysis on the fly, poise. I almost regret having to call her pretty. Alas, she is, and I can't help but notice.


David Gergen wonders when the the campaign will let Sarah Palin loose. Um, I could clock the answer to that question within about twenty seconds.


Obama and McCain have located some profoundly uninteresting spokesmen. Tucker Bounds and Robert Gibbs should start their own radio show. Suggested title:



"Crotchet time With Bounds and Gibbs."


Palin's tomorrow. This will be the biggest VP speech in American history, period. I couldn't imagine being in her shoes right now. There is a big part of me that wants her to do well. I wonder if this is merely partisan, or universal. I mean, not universal. Crazy people want her to flop, but I would have to thinks that Joe or Jane Doe is with me on this.


Monday, September 01, 2008

Labor Day Musings

There may or not be a Republican Convention right now. Nobody can tell, so Let's muse.

This is why I vote Republican, people...

Favorite line of protest coverage:

"A group calling itself "Funk the War" temporarily blocked traffic across the Wabasha Street Bridge by leading an impromptu dance until mounted police moved them along."

What's next, impromptu da... Oh wait, they stole my punchline by being sincere. Well, at least I can regard them ironically. They can't take that away from me.


Enough about the damn hurricane. Seriously, Fridley gets hit worse than this every summer.

Funny coverage moment: At one point Geraldo Rivera's camera crew spotted a person in the flood waters. Rivera breathlessly reported:

"There is a man in a life jacket, in the water. Do we know if he's okay?"

Well, yes. It's the people who don't have life jackets on that you have to worry about. This is akin to saying "my God, this is a live construction site. Do you think the people in the yellow hats and the orange reflective gear are okay? Somebody rescue the man in the forklift before that crane drops that giant load of materials on him."


In my previous post, I insinuated that the liberal response to Sarah Palin would be a boon to team McCain. Well, they certainly did a good job of that. It's as though someone launched, Operation "Terrify Ohio", and the troops are storming the beach.

I don't borrow material often, but this is a gem from Mark Steyn at National Review:

"When I heard Governor Palin had a bear hide in her office, I assumed it was Andrew Sullivan breaking in to hunt down the birth certificate."


Saw this headline on CNN.com

"Greek Acropolis Plan Draws Religious Backlash"

I thought to myself, good grief people, let Obama's backdrop issue die already. It was a cheap point to begin with, and all it does is refocus America's attention on his speech.

Then I realized the article is talking about the actual Acropolis.


The State Fair has come and gone, people. In addition to the disastrous hand-made tater tots, I have added Big Fat Bacon (with orange chipotle sauce), Ole and Lena's Norwegian Cheese Curds (w/ lingonberry sauce, hence "Norwegian", the Leprechaun Legs (deep fried green beans) and the Gizmo sandwich to my palette. All three receive my seal of approval.

Also, I saw a fire eating midget. He looked sad. I feel like Nicolas Cage in 8MM. Maybe next year, they can cannibalize the Butter Queen runners up at the Leinie Lodge, a la Interview with A Vampire. I mean, if decency is not object...


Now, if he had been an Oompa Loompa, that would have been different. Oompa Loompas are wonderful, and they teach us things. Magnifiscent bastards, the Oompa Loompas.


Well, those are three movie references that should confuse the search engines.


I'll be back tomorrow with commentary on the "sometimes" convention.