Friday, October 31, 2008
1. While many conservatives, myself included, probably feel MORE comfortable with Governor Palin than Senator McCain, you are voting for the TOP of the ticket. And John McCain will be 72 in January 2009. Ronald Reagan was 74 when he started his second term.
2. While Senator Obama's lack of serious experience is troubling, we should actually be more worried about his JUDGMENT. Someone who is inexperienced but smart could surround himself with good advisers. Bad judgment is another case entirely. Two examples: The surge in Iraq where Obama will not admit he was wrong. He harps on the mistake of the Iraq War but would have compounded it tremendously by precipitously withdrawing. I would cite Cambodia, 1975 as a lesson.
3. Who do you trust? McCain has a long history of being a maverick with plenty of spine. His family has served this republic honorably and long for four generations. When allies like Israel, Taiwan or perhaps Poland are threatened who would you trust to make the right decision? The only thing we can trust Senator Obama to do is talk and look for a UN mandate.
4. Jeremiah Wright. By his own words "a virtual father and someone he could not condemn any more than his white mother or grandparents"...UNTIL HE HAD TO THROW WRIGHT UNDER THE BUS FOR POLITICAL REASONS. Obama was in this man's congregation FOR YEARS and listened to the hateful invective in which Wright attacked the United States. Would you sit through years of sermons like that unless you agreed??
5. Economically Obama would look to redistribute wealth via taxes. Taxes should not be a means to redistribute wealth, taxes should fund the common defense, necessary services and a basic social safety net and that's it.
6. In 1992 conservatives unenamored of George HW Bush argued that putting a Democrat in office would 'renew' the conservative roots of the GOP. We got eight years of Bill Clinton's fecklessness as a result. Whether or not you love McCain (or Palin) you know what you will get with Obama.
Zogby, a left-leaning pollster, has the race in a dead heat in his latest single-day tracking poll. It's still a long shot with McCain in uphill battles in Pennsylvania and Virginia and a host of other swing states but it's close. By the grace of God and Divine Providence...
"I pray for the welfare of this great republic
which I believe would be far better served by Senator McCain
but in this as in all things
THY WILL BE DONE."
NEW YORK, Oct 30 (Reuters) - Chief financial officers of U.S. companies still prefer Republican presidential nominee John McCain over Democrat Barack Obama by a wide margin...according to a new survey.
CFOs are much less optimistic about the U.S. economy and about their own businesses, and expect it will be much harder for their companies to access credit over the next six months, the survey by Financial Executives International and Baruch
College's Zicklin School of Business found.
Sixty-two percent said they hoped McCain would win next week's presidential election, compared with 15 percent who prefer Obama...
Twice as many said McCain was best able to handle the economic crisis than said so about Obama, the survey found. The survey, conducted electronically between Oct. 2 and Oct. 17, included responses from 290 corporate CFOs.
Monday, October 27, 2008
There is no better explanation for what is wrong with the potential Obama presidency and how we arrived at this point than the short essay by Mark Levin that I linked to this post. I agree with everything Levin says, and he states my own beliefs and unease clearly and concisely. Read the whole thing. Here are significant excerpts:
There is a cult-like atmosphere around Barack Obama, which his campaign has carefully and successfully fabricated, which concerns me. The messiah complex. Fainting audience members at rallies. Special Obama flags and an Obama presidential seal. A graphic with the portrayal of the globe and Obama's name on it, which adorns everything from Obama's plane to his street literature. Young school children singing songs praising Obama. Teenagers wearing camouflage outfits and marching in military order chanting Obama's name and the professions he is going to open to them . . . I dare say, this is ominous stuff.
Even the media are drawn to the allure that is Obama. Yes, the media are liberal. Even so, it is obvious that this election is different. The media are open and brazen in their attempts to influence the outcome of this election. I've never seen anything like it. Virtually all evidence of Obama's past influences and radicalism — from Jeremiah Wright to William Ayers — have been raised by non-traditional news sources. The media's role has been to ignore it as long as possible, then mention it if they must, and finally dismiss it and those who raise it in the first place. It's as if the media use the Obama campaign's talking points — its preposterous assertions that Obama didn't hear Wright from the pulpit railing about black liberation, whites, Jews, etc., that Obama had no idea Ayers was a domestic terrorist despite their close political, social, and working relationship, etc. — to protect Obama from legitimate and routine scrutiny. . . And, of course, while experience is crucial in assessing Sarah Palin's qualifications for vice president, no such standard is applied to Obama's qualifications for president. . .
The worst aspect of Obamania is that the voters have lost the ability to scrutinize the candidate.
. . . my greatest concern is whether this election will show a majority of the voters susceptible to the appeal of a charismatic demagogue. This may seem a harsh term to some, and no doubt will to Obama supporters, but it is a perfectly appropriate characterization. Obama's entire campaign is built on class warfare and human envy. The "change" he peddles is not new. We've seen it before. It is change that diminishes individual liberty for the soft authoritarianism of socialism. It is a populist appeal that disguises government mandated wealth redistribution as tax cuts for the middle class, falsely blames capitalism for the social policies and government corruption (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) that led to the current turmoil in our financial markets, fuels contempt for commerce and trade by stigmatizing those who run successful small and large businesses, and exploits human imperfection as a justification for a massive expansion of centralized government. . . Rather than pursue the American Dream, he insists that the American Dream has arbitrary limits, limits Obama would set for the rest of us — today it's $250,000 for businesses and even less for individuals. If the individual dares to succeed beyond the limits set by Obama, he is punished for he's now officially "rich." . . . And so it is that the middle class, the birth-child of capitalism, is both celebrated and enslaved — for its own good and the greater good. The "hope" Obama represents, therefore, is not hope at all. It is the misery of his utopianism imposed on the individual.
Unlike past Democrat presidential candidates, Obama is a hardened ideologue. He's not interested in playing around the edges. He seeks "fundamental change," i.e., to remake society. And if the Democrats control Congress with super-majorities led by Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, he will get much of what he demands.
The question is whether enough Americans understand what's at stake in this election and, if they do, whether they care. Is the allure of a charismatic demagogue so strong that the usually sober American people are willing to risk an Obama presidency? . . . while America will certainly survive, it will do so, in many respects, as a different place.
Since the '06 season, the Tigers have honked badly -- 88-74 in '07, a seven-win dropoff from '06 and six games off the wild card pace; 74-88 and last place in the AL Central this year as three starters from the '06 AL champs (Verlander, Rogers, Robertson) combined for a 27-41 record and ERA over 5.
Are the Rays en route to a Tiger-like downfall? Unlikely -- the Rays have good young players and a better overall pitching staff than the kitties. Consider that the Rays' fourth starter this year (Andy Sonnanstine) will be the #5 in '09 because David Price will surpass him. But their weaknesses (bullpen gaps, hitters' soft spots) have been exposed in the last six games dating back to game 6 of the ALCS. And the Rays play in a division even tougher than the AL Central.
Don't underestimate the Yanks or RedSawx. The latter (to The Monk's chagrin) is one of the three or four best-run franchises, has a great farm system and good young talent. The Yanks have a solid farm system with some top talent, and ridiculous financial resources. Remember, the Sawx won 95 despite a subpar Beckett who missed 20% of his starts, a collapse by Buchholz, Big Papi's various injuries, and have three top-of-the-rotation quality pitchers who are under 30 (Matsuzaka, Beckett, Lester).
The 89 wins the Yanks compiled was surpassed only by the Sawx, Rays, Phils, Cubs and Angels. If that's unimpressive, consider that the Yanks lacked Posada for 2/3 of the year (and he was hobbled when he did play), Matsui for about 1/2 the year, played with a CF who had a sub-.650 OPS, lost their top starter Chien-Ming Wang (19 wins in both '06 and '07) in mid-June, had Darrell Rasner, Sidney Ponson and Carl Pavano start 42 games, and were still in the thick of the playoff chase until Joba Chamberlain went down in early August. And they'll be deep in the Sabathia sweepstakes that could start as soon as tomorrow (first day for free agency filing is the day after the WS ends).
Oh yeah, the BluJs won 86 this year despite losing McGowan for just under 1/2 the season, have a perennial Cy Young contender (Halliday) and two very good pitchers who are 27 and 23 (Marcum, Litsch). That's a good starting four even after they lose Burnett after his career year.
So don't write the Rays in as the new dynasty in the AL East. But that division should be a war zone for years to come.
They contributed to Obama.
And this is the effect:
The lawyers at the Civil Rights Division are already falling into line. Justice recently decided to reverse a policy in place since 2002 to send criminal attorneys and other federal employees to monitor polling places. The decision came two weeks after a September meeting to which the Civil Rights Division invited dozens of left-wing activist groups to discuss voter "access" to the polls.
Justice has also failed to enter the fray in Ohio. As many as 200,000 new voter registrations in that state are suspect, yet Democratic Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner is refusing to follow the 2002 Help America Vote Act that requires her to verify these registrations. The Ohio Republican Party sued Mrs. Brunner, but the Supreme Court said the GOP lacked standing. Justice does have standing -- it is charged with upholding that law -- but has ignored the fight. The Justice excuse is that it isn't appropriate to file litigation so close to Election Day.
Yet that hasn't stopped the Civil Rights Division this month from filing a lawsuit against Waller County, Texas, to correct alleged violations of the Voting Rights Act; a lawsuit against Vermont for failing to report accurately on overseas ballots; and an amicus brief in a case filed by a civil-rights group that is suing to stop the Georgia Secretary of State from complying with voter verification rules. Justice's election suits always seem to side with liberal priorities.
At what point does the United States begin to prosecute voter fraud and implement measures designed to protect legitimate votes that are at least on par with a third-world country like Iraq? Purple-dyeing voters at their first exercise of the franchise means they cannot vote twice.
Jeff was a huge Phillies fan. No one ever explained that well (he grew up in No. Virginia, which was Orioles territory). But it's a fact. And he would have loved the 2008 baseball postseason, at least to date. If the Phillies do the expected and win tonight with another fine pitching performance by NLCS (and potential WS) MVP Cole Hamels, Jeff's friends will feel his absence even more. Of course, as Monkette said early in our relationship, when she missed me she knew it was a positive feeling because that reminded her of what we had together.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
"There should be a moratorium on bonuses,'' Frank, a Massachusetts Democrat, told reporters yesterday in Washington. "They have a negative incentive effect because they are the ones that say if you take a risk and it pays off you get a big bonus,'' and if it causes losses "you don't lose anything.''
This is a good idea if:
1. you want to encourage a massive brain hemorrhage of talent from US banks to less regulated, possibly foreign entities
2. you think that folks work 80-120 hour weeks regularly on Wall Street do it for the base salary
3. you want to rupture the economy of the New York Metropolitan area which generate a lot of revenue from Wall Street bonuses
4. you want to thoroughly nationalize the banking system
By the way, Barney, if you take a risk and it DOESN'T pay off, you generally LOSE YOUR JOB.
Not a prospect, clearly, that the beloved Representative considers remotely likely.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
But the warning signs are everywhere. And all in one place today: the WSJ's editorial pages.
First, read Bill McGurn's dissection of the Obama tax plans, which are summed up neatly by Andrew Biggs of the American Enterprise Institute: "It's interesting that Mr. Obama calls his plan 'Making Work Pay' because the incentives are just the opposite. By expanding benefits for people whose benefits exceed their taxes, you're increasing their disincentive for work. And you're doing the same at the top of the income scale, where you are raising their taxes so you can distribute the revenue to others."
Then, read how the diminishment of American power worldwide during an Obama administration would be disastrous.
And ultimately, Obamanomics would devastate the economy, twice over.
There is no tenet of Obamanomics that is not part of the British economic policies of 1970-79, before Lady Thatcher became Prime Minister. And the socialist disaster of 1970s Britain is one that the US will end up embracing if the American public votes for Obama, a Senate with 60+ Democrat Senators and a larger majority for Nancy Pelosi in the House.
Monday, October 20, 2008
Kudos to Garza and David Price, who pitched with a two-run lead and held it as opposed to the hacks in the Rays' bullpen who coughed up a 7-0 lead needing only 7 outs to win the pennant last Thursday. Garza's pitching was the single biggest reason that the Rays did not capitulate to what would have been a choke job that rivaled the Yanks' bonk in 2004.
And the Rays deserved it -- they outscored the Sawx 43-28 (including 29-5 through the first 24 innings at the Ratway), banged 16 homers (the Sawx had 10 for a total of 26 for the series, yipes) and should have had this thing done last Thursday.
I'm thinking the Mets and Twins are feeling really stupid right now. The Mets traded their top prospect Scott Kazmir to the Rays for Victor Zambrano in 2004 -- a trade that was stupid when made, not just in retrospect. Kazmir is a top lefty (only 26) who has a career ERA+ of 124 (better than Glavine, Sabathia, Beckett, Peavy and better than Drysdale, Marichal and Spahn), 780+ Ks in just over 720 career IP and a winning percentage of .560 for a team that, until this year, was awful. The Twins traded Garza for problem child Delmon Young. Put those pitchers with their previous teams, and both the Mess and Twins would have been in the postseason.
A couple of notes about the broadcast on TBS. No, not the glitch issue from Saturday, this is about the broadcast team. Chip Caray took a LOT of heat last year for being bombastic, talking nonsense off the cuff, and getting his facts completely wrong. He improved this year in all three, although he's still a preening peacock in his delivery. Give him credit where due -- he reads the ball well off the bat and worked better with his broadcast partners this year. That first is important -- Caray's grandad is famous for long drives that the third baseman caught on the infield, and how many "deep" flyballs called by Michael Kay in Yankee telecasts are caught 25+ feet in front of the warning track (Paul O'Neill has previously needled Kay about this)?
Those broadcast partners are a hit and a miss. Ron Darling may have a Yale degree, but he's not capable of putting what he knows into a broadcast. He also comes up with too many irrelevant facts and comments. Buck Martinez is far better. The long-time broadcaster and former manager is better at detailing the strategy of the game and rightly noted that Joe Maddon's thought process in the 8th inning, with a tired Matt Garza on the mound and a bullpen that stank on Thursday, was "is the guy I want to bring in better than the guy I have pitching right now"? As for the studio show -- for next year TBS should ditch Eckersley, light a fire under Ripken's butt, and borrow Chris Singleton from ESPN.
Congrats to the Rays for whupping the RedSax, choking, and rebounding. And for showing the Yanks the blueprint for the future -- young, energetic players who work hard (hear that Robby Cano?).
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Like 2004 when it started against the Yankees prevailing after being down 3-0 and last year prevailing after being down 3-1 vs. the Indians- Bawstin BELIEVES.
Red Sox Nation is celebtrating while Yankee fans like us are wondering whether they've made a deal with the Devil and also where has that confidence and sense of inevitability gone after we couldn't hold the 2-1 lead in 9th in game 7th against the D-Backs.
*of course I hope I'm wrong and the Rays crush these roaches...(Boston are like roaches, aren't they...)
Friday, October 17, 2008
Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:
The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
The fifth would pay $1.
The sixth would pay $3.
The seventh would pay $7.
The eighth would pay $12.
The ninth would pay $18.
The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.
So, that's what they decided to do.
The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until on day, the owner threw them a curve. "Since you are all such good customers," he said, "I'm going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20." Drinks for the ten now cost just $80.
The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes so the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free. But what about the other six men - the paying custom! ers? How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his 'fair share?'
They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody's share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer. So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man's bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay. And so:
The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings).
The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33% savings).
The seventh now pay $5 instead of $7 (28% savings).
The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings).
The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings).
The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% savings).
Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to drink for free. But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare thei! r savings. "I only got a dollar out of the $20," dec! lared th e sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man," but he got $10!" "Yeah, that's right," exclaimed the fifth man. "I only saved a dollar, too. It's unfair that he got ten times more than I!"
"That's true!!" shouted the seventh man. "Why should he get $10 back when I got only two? The wealthy get all the breaks!" "Wait a minute," yelled the first four men in unison. "We didn't get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!"
The nine men surrounded the tenth man and beat him up...
The next night the tenth man didn't show up for drinks, so the nine sat down and had beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn't have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!
And that, boys and girls, journalists and college professors, is how our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore. In fact, they might start drinking overseas where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.
David R. Kamerschen, Ph.D.
Professor of Economics
University of Georgia
I would also add that it could be quite likely that the tenth man actually may employ some of the other men.
The goal of taxation should NEVER to be to redistribute wealth. Taxation should pay for critical services, to provide for the common defense and those who require help to get on their feet [limited entitlement] and to repay those who have paid into the system [Social Security and Medicare]. And if you want to make a meaningful tax cut that spurs spending and job creation you have to cut it from the well-to-do and the wealthy because the first through the seventh men don't pay enough in taxes for cuts to be have any effect!!
A colleague has characterized the Obama taxation plans very well. It may modestly help the middle class but by soaking the well-to-do but not significantly affecting the truly wealthy. Here's why. Warren Buffett pays less taxes than his secretary because he is so wealthy that he's set up to get his income as dividends rather than orginary income. The wealthy - let's say $2 million per annum and above can afford to invest in tax structures that significantly benefit. But those who do well, say from $250,000 to $1,000,000 in income, may not be able to afford the high priced tax help.
Also let's look at this subset of people. Who are they? They are likely to be financial professionals, physicians, attorneys and consultants. They work hard, spending time away from their families to provide for a comfortable lifestyle. They work for their money and at the end of the day with marginal tax rates (federal, state and city) that can exceed 40% actually support an extremely heavy tax burden. And we haven't counted other taxes like property levies sales tax which would make their real tax level exceed 50%
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Krugman is much better known as the vitriolic anti-Bush New York Times columnist than for his work in economics. I am unqualified to really judge whether he deserves this Nobel - I would note that he won the John Bates Clark medal for best economist under 40 earlier in his career.
It is worth noting that the Nobel committee certainly has grown quite progressive, a list of 'politicized' winners of the Peace prize:
2007- IPCC and Al Gore
2004- Mohamed al Baradei
2002- James Carter Jr. [ugh]
2001- Kofi Annan
1993- Yasser Arafat
The most appropriate comment regarding Krugman's secondary career as a pundit (also applies to Frank Rich) is from the 1965 Nobel Physics Prize winner (HT: Tigerhawk)
"I believe that a scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." --Richard P. Feynman *42
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
"I thought McCain kicked his butt."
WAS undecided but now likely McCain as found Obama and the Democratic leadership extremely disingenuous about the subprime collapse.
Thursday, October 02, 2008
Palin: "Darn right it was the predatory lender." Populist ugh. But popular.
Biden: McCain championed deregulation...Joey Danko can't fill up his tank. Effective +1
Biden: Good riposte on Palin's charge that Obama voted to raise taxes on families making $42,000; McCain voted to raise taxes 477 times. Not sure if true but direct. +1
Palin: Avoiding the moderator's questions - questionable strategy?? -1
Biden: the rich aren't listening to this broadcast?
Palin: Decent riposte on $250k only - affects small business
Palin: tax credit doesn't cost anything? budget neutral. Biden doesn't pounce
Biden: got a laugh but long, verbose response to McCain health plan
[Biden has nice smile - grin, even. Palin looks great]
Palin: Barack voted for in 05 the big tax break for Exxon Mobil and I TOLD IT BACK IN ALASKA +2
Biden: Oil companies have made 600 billion since 2001. DOESN'T SOUND RIGHT AT ALL!?!?! [Palin doesn't attack - probably doesn't have the data]
Palin: nice push on energy independence but definitely does not answer as directly as Biden
Palin: Alaska sees climate change anyone else. Not sure what the causes are but I don't want to argue about it. I want to fix it. First governor to appoint climate change subcommittee. +1
Biden: We know the causes. [really] China is building 3 new dirty coal mines a week. We should export technology to fix that. Yeah, sure.
Palin: you've opposed all drilling - "raping the Continental shelf" - nice. +1
Biden: Constitution supports homosexual rights? Doesn't enumerate that.
Palin: Marriage is between one man and one woman! +1
Biden: Obama-Biden doesn't support gay marriage - I couldn't quite make out the mumble!!!! Wow. The gays gonna hate this??? -1
[Palin seems to be getting more comfortable.]
Palin: I admire you Senator Biden for calling Obama out on not funding troops +1
Biden: We are spending 10 billion a month and Iraq have an 80 billion surplus +1
Palin: White flag of surrender...you said "you'd be honored to run on McCain's ticket. +1
Biden: John McCain voted the same way. +1
Good question - nuclear Iran or unstable Pakistan - which is more dangerous?
Biden: both very dangerous- Mac says Iraq is the central front on terror. But attack with come from al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Build schools to win their hearts and minds.
Palin: Both Petraeus and head of al-Qaeda say central front is Iraq - I'll listen to them. +1
Biden: Mac wouldn't sit down with the government of Spain! This sounds like out of context. Palin doesn't answer though
Palin: Strong support of Israel. Israel can create peace. Jordan, Egypt
[I don't believe that Biden/Obama supported putting NATO troops into Lebanon to oppose Hezbollah- maybe I'm wrong but sounds like an odd claim]
Biden: "I haven't heard..." 4x +1
Palin: Obama's reckless comment - nice - but needed to pound it home
Biden: "Our commanding general in Afghanistan said surge principles will not work" - but then "we need more troops" sounds pretty similar
Palin: Good riposte on Biden's claim in Afghanistan
Palin is much more comfortable in her element while Biden clearly very glib after 35 years in the Senate
Palin: values of Main Street Wasilla should be in Washington
Palin: need better standards in education, No Child Left Behind needs more flexibility
Palin: nice moment of levity on Vice President
Biden: Cheney the most dangerous Vice President in history. Overall pretty good though that first comment is too overarching +1
Biden: Nice emotional moment about his family after wife died - almost a little overwrought +1
Palin: We've both taken on our own party.
Biden: Nice rhetoric on "Mac not a maverick" when it counts +1
Biden: Ideology is important on judges. Hates Bork. Not very effective!
Palin: Have had to 'cave' on some budgets to progress. Haven't compromised my principles. Better than Biden's
Biden: Nice comment on Jesse and Dot Helms +1
Palin: I've appointed Democrats and Republicans
Palin closing comment: Gracious. Great finish with Reagan! Freedom is only one generation from extinction +1
Biden closing comment: Reasoned.
Gwen Ifill did fine.
I tried to rate the debate very unscientifically and the ratings just came out even. Thought Biden started out better significantly, Palin picked it up in the middle. Biden finished strong the last comment goes to Palin with invoking Reagan. Overall I'd have to say Biden sounded more experienced and knew issues better which is not a surprise.
Think Palin held against match point but the undecided will break a bit for Biden. Still a battle ahead.