Saturday, September 20, 2008

Points to Ponder:

If Congress does not act, American taxpayers will continue to be exposed to the enormous risk that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pose to the housing market, the overall financial system, and the economy as a whole. [John McCain (circa May 25, 2006)]

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Miscellaneous Musings on Threads of Interest:

Briefly on some stuff of an economic and political nature...

Stubborn Ignorance (Dr. Walter E. Williams)

Some of the common stupidity of political pundits with regards to basic Constitutional budgetary matters is dealt with by Dr. Williams in his usual concise fashion.

McCain aides: Obama 'cheerleading' market crisis

Sen. Obama cannot win with good economic news much as he cannot win with the war in Iraq or Afghanistan not going badly. Things are good in Iraq, mixed in Afghanistan, and the economy has been taking some hits. But Sen. McCain's comment about the "fundamentals of the economy" being "strong" is correct. That the economy has continued to grow despite the problems of the past ten months and we have not have a quarter of negative growth yet{1} points to strong fundamentals indeed.

Furthermore, the way Sen. Obama has tried to disingenuously pin the mess solely on the last eight years shows he is unfit to be president since he does not realize where the root of this problem really lies and which administration deserves a good chunk of the blame for what we are seeing. I will relegate some brief musings I have made on this to a footnote for those who are interested{2} and that is all I will say on this at the moment.

Notes:

{1} Briefly on the Second Quarter Economic Figures and Why We Are Not Yet In A Recession (circa September 9, 2008)

Briefly on the First Quarter Economic Figures and Why We Are Not Yet In A Recession (circa May 1, 2008)

{2} Briefly on the Current Real Estate Situation (circa July 26, 2008)

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Miscellaneous Musings and Threads of Interest:

Some brief comments on recent stories...

MSNBC Takes Incendiary Hosts From Anchor Seat

My view of Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann is not one and the same{1} but it suffices to say that Matthews has been so ridiculously Obama partisan (and Olbermann has been the absolute worst excuse for a "journalist" for a long time) that this demotion was long overdue.

US Government takes over mortgage giants


I hope this is not permanent. The federal government has a poor track record of trying to do anything efficiently besides equip the military and win wars. I would suggest a sunset date on this action when these mortgage giants are allowed to be privatized again and some changes made to regulations starting with the elimination of some of the really absurd programs out there that lent money to people who had no business trying to buy property.{2}

Clinton limits Palin criticism while campaigning

For reasons we discussed recently{3} no doubt!!!

One of Them and One of Us

Often have we said that Patrick Buchanan is a streaky shooter but when he is on, it is usually nothing but net and the above article is an example of what we refer to.

Notes:

{1} Matthews is usually borderline rabid but at the very least he tends to control himself however tenuously. He is a Democratic sympathizer but from what I have been able to glean over the years not the toady that others are. (He can of course also be critical of the Democrats.) Some have opined that Matthews simply had a bad day...certainly that is a possible explanation for it...

In the past four years or so, the power slippage has been even more dramatic with the arrival of the blogosphere as an entity that now must be taken seriously as a source for news and opinion on issues. And bloggers are inclined by nature to discuss what they want to discuss which can often mean the very issues that the mainstream media does not want to talk about.

To make absurdity... well.... more absurd, Matthews' MSNBC colleague Keith Oberman drank the Kool Aid to its last dregs in defending Matthews.

Olbermann is a media footlicker (to put it nicely). I would not worry too much about anything he says. [Excerpts from Rerum Novarum (circa August 24, 2004)]

{2} People are so financially illiterate these days that I believe a course in finance should be taught in high school along with a course in basic reason and logic.

{3} On Sen. Hillary Clinton and Her Being "On Board" for Sen. Obama (circa September 14, 2008)

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Monday, September 15, 2008

In Remembrance of Rick Wright:

A good chunk of my adolescence was consumed by the music of Pink Floyd and thus the loss of another member from that legendary band affects me a bit. Previously it was their first chief songwriter one Roger Keith "Syd" Barrett{1} whose role was relinquished to Roger Waters of whom I have written previously.{2} But now it is Richard (Rick) Wright who has joined Barrett in passing on to the other side.

I started to write something somewhat substantial on Rick Wright but frankly what I wrote is not as good a summation as the Wikipedia entry on him so I will defer to them at this time and fill in a bit myself that they do not cover:

Richard Wright


Wright's music needs to be heard to be appreciated -he was mainly self taught which resulted in him having a quirky kind of style to his playing that was notably unconventional for a keyboard and piano player. Nonetheless, that is what an innovator does. His influences were mainly from the field of what is called "neo-classical" and also from jazz though there was also a touch of the blues as well from his early days.{3} His most significant influence from the former was the German stylist Karlheinz Stockhausen while Miles Davis was probably his primary jazz influence.

Rick did not write many lyrics mainly because Roger Waters (and Syd Barrett prior to Roger) were much better lyricists. Wright was known for his melodic flourishes and ethereal landscapes which he contributed to the earliest work of the Floyd through their work of the mid 1970's. I want to focus at this time in memory of Rick Wright on probably my favourite song of his where he wrote both the words and the music{4} and my favourite track from the 1968 Saucer of Secrets album{5} called Remember A Day. Without further ado...


Remember a day before today
A day when you were young.
Free to play alone with time
Evening never came.

Sing a song that can't be sung

Without the morning's kiss
Queen - you shall be it if you wish
Look for your king
Why can't we play today
Why can't we stay that way

Climb your favorite apple tree
Try to catch the sun
Hide from your little brother's gun
Dream yourself away

Why can't we reach the sun

Why can't we blow the years away
Blow away
Blow away
Remember
Remember


A recording of the song from YouTube can be listened to here -the late Syd Barrett incidentally played slide guitar on this track:



Rest in peace Rick and thank you for your many contributions to the soundtrack of my childhood.

Note:

{1} I just realized I did not write on Syd's passing here though I have in other places -I will try to remember to do so on the anniversary of his birth or death -the former coming next January if memory serves.

{2} Most recently here.

{3} When an early incarnation of Pink Floyd with three of its future members (Roger Waters, Wright, and Nick Mason) played blues tunes. (That band was Sigma 6.)

{4} Well, either this one or Summer '68 but I digress.

{5} The second album by Pink Floyd.

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Dialogue on Sen. Obama, Sen. McCain, Basic Economics, and the Upcoming Election:
(With Kevin Tierney)

Kevin's words will be in burgundy font with his sources italicized.

Well, it's finally happened. The One has demonstrated that he isn't really "change we can believe in." On second thought, maybe he is. He's worse than the most petty and vile of politicians. Deceitful as Bill Clinton may have been, Clinton never sacrificed his own family to advance his career. (As Obama did when he shamefully threw his infirm grandmother under the bus during the Reverend Wright scandal.) The Clintons certainly never demonstrated their prowess by insulting people with disabilities or those with debilitating injuries, as Obama has just done.

Obama stated this week "the gloves are finally coming off" for the 4th time since securing the Democratic nomination. In a recent ad, Mr. Obama mocks GOP presidential candidate John McCain for apparently being computer illiterate. The ad says the following:

"He admits he still doesn't know how to use a computer, can't send an e-mail, still doesn't understand the economy, and favors two hundred billion in new tax cuts for corporations, but almost nothing for the middle class,"

There is also the whole "still doesn't understand the economy" schtick. McCain is no economist but he understands the concept of lower taxes stimulating the economy and higher taxes stifling it. He understands the sort of dynamics that are involved in people's economic behaviour and does not naively presume as Obama and company do that raising taxes will increase revenue. It never does past a very low threshold point because people do not respond to these things statically.

Obama on the other hand when it was pointed out to him that every time the capital gains tax is raised it brings in less revenue still favours doing it on principle because the income disparities "are not right." That is the view of an ideologue and I will take McCain's frank admission that the economics are not his strong suit coupled with his familiarity with the dynamics of how an economy runs over a know-it-all like Obama who presumes to talk out of his ass a lot on a subject to which he is either ignorant or disingenuous about. And considering the Gestapo-like tactics he and his goons are involving themselves in, I do not believe I am obligated to give them the benefit of the doubt on these matters.

Obama is also claiming that McCain's campaign is the "dirtiest in history" which shows how ignorant he is. What about the 1800 election??? The 1828 election??? The 1876 election??? The 1884 election??? The 1912 election??? The 1960 election??? The 1964 election??? The 1980 election??? The 2000 election??? Every one of them an argument can be made was worse than this election and they are not the only ones. But objectively I would say the ones from 1800, 1828, 1840, 1876, 1884, 1912, 1964, and 1980 were worse than this one.

If part of dirtiness is the attempt to steal an election on the part of Democrats then we could throw 2000 and 2004 in there as well particularly the last one. I say particularly the last one cause the same people who bitched about winning the popular vote last time when the total was less than a half million nationwide difference tried to steal Ohio in 2004 despite GWB winning the nationwide popular vote by about three million. Not to mention the silence like whores in church from the Dems viz. what happened in the Washington governors race which was as I called it then "Grand Theft Election."

Heck, I just when writing this response took a minute and made a tab on my weblog on those posts and the others I could find on a quick archive search that discussed the subject of stolen elections. But that is neither here nor there as their hypocrisy knows no bounds obviously -and not just in that area.

Where do we begin? First off, Obama better hope he gets those young liberal voters. He has certainly now conceded just about every senior citizen. (Not to mention those working class individuals like my father who have never used a computer in their lives, and went on to become region directors of unions.) This in itself makes it a stupid ad. However, as Jonah Goldberg points out, this ad is not only stupid, its downright insulting:

"Well, I guess it depends on what you mean by "extraordinary." The reason he doesn't send email is that he can't use a keyboard because of the relentless beatings he received from the Viet Cong in service to our country. From the Boston Globe (March 4, 2000):

McCain gets emotional at the mention of military families needing food stamps or veterans lacking health care. The outrage comes from inside: McCain's severe war injuries prevent him from combing his hair, typing on a keyboard, or tying his shoes. Friends marvel at McCain's encyclopedic knowledge of sports. He's an avid fan - Ted Williams is his hero - but he can't raise his arm above his shoulder to throw a baseball.


Bob Klaus{1} is right that Obama has most of the under 30 voters but McCain was not going to win that demographic anyway. Though if he can take about 40% instead of the more probable 30% that would basically along with the older contingent and the blue collar worker sorts like my late father who identified himself as a Democrat most of his life{2} despite almost never voting for them.{3} The younger crowd go for the charisma and the rhetorical bs. They also do not vote in large percentages whereas the largest demographic in the country is senior citizens. And if my late father (God rest his soul) was alive, he would be screaming to listen to them insult McCain in that way.

McCain is a war hero. PERIOD. That war wounds prevent him due to injuries from doing some things all that well is a given but to mock that is disgusting. I have to say though that his love of Ted Williams tells me something because 'ol Ted was a pretty interesting personality and I can see shades of the Williams persona in McCain. (Both the good and the bad.) I recommend you all read Leigh Montville's fascinating biography of Ted Williams if you really want to see the complexities of the man and get an insight into one of McCain's self-admitted influences.{4}

As Goldberg points out in his Corner post, perhaps we should condemn the governor of New York since he doesn't know how to drive, since transportation is important to the economy. Oh wait, Governor Patterson is blind. Perhaps we should have condemned FDR because the man couldn't walk beyond a few steps, because being mobile is certainly required to be a president. Oh wait, FDR was paralyzed.

Indeed. And when it comes to "dirty campaigning" how about condemning Grover Cleveland for having an affair which resulted in a child? That was a major media sensation back in 1884 when he ran for the first of his two non-consecutive terms.{5} The illegitimate child issue was huge in 1884 as was the 1828 election where the issue of President Jackson's wife was huge. More could be noted but just those two alone trump anything we are seeing this year. Oh and for what it is worth, I do not recall McCain or Obama's campaign basically saying that their opponent deserved to be in the lowest pit of hell as this famous 1840 campaign ditty opposing President Van Buren did:

Who never did a noble deed?
Who of the people took no heed?
Who is the worst of tyrant's breed?
Van Buren!

Who like the wily serpent clings,
Who like the poisonous adder stings,
Who is more base than basest Kings?
Van Buren!

Who would his friend, his country sell,
do other deeds too base to tell,
deserves the lowest place in Hell?
Van Buren!


But then again, Obama has gotten a lot of easier to verify facts wrong so why should we expect him to get the harder stuff correct???

There are two explanations for this fact. The first is that he legitimately did not know that McCain, due to his injuries in service of his country, was prevented from these things. A little while ago Obama claimed that the fact he ran such a great campaign proves he has more experience than VP nominee Sarah Palin, and was proof he is ready for President. You don't hear much about that argument in the past week, and this is more evidence why you don't. It's obvious his campaign is not as strong as he thinks it is. As Mark Hemmingway so eloquently put it, Obama can send an email, but apparently can't do a quick search on Google.

And when the msm is emphasizing how "even" this race is, that is another clue that the Dems are behind because if the situation was reversed and Obama led by 3-5 points among all voters (and 10-12 points among likely voters), they would present it as if he was "pulling away from Sen. McCain in this race" or some equivalent.

Second, Obama knew about this, but just didn't care. Then he becomes worse than even the most vile of politicians. John McCain's injuries in the service of his country are something to be praised, just as are the injuries of all veterans. Not mocked! I'll refrain from saying it is this option. If this is the case, then it says something very troubling about the kind of person Obama is, and suggests something that is beyond despicable about his nature.

Agreed.

So we are left with just being flat out stupid. That's a harsh statement, but its true. Would he like to condemn my good friend John who just came back from Iraq? John can't lift that much because of injuries he sustained fighting for this country. Would Obama like to call him less a man because he cannot lift heavy objects?

Well said Kev.

Notes:

{1} One of those on the thread. (Last name omitted barring permission from him to note it here.)

{2} His father was a Republican who only voted for one Democrat that I am aware of (Adlai Stevenson in 1952 and 1956 over Pres. Eisenhower). My father identified with President John F. Kennedy and was looking forward to voting for him in 1964 (his first presidential voting election) which never happened.

{3} His first presidential election was 1964 (for Goldwater) When I asked him about it, he only remembered voting against Johnson due to what he learned about the man when doing long haul trucking through Texas in the early sixties. In fact, except for the Nixon elections and 1992, my union man father voted for Republican candidates for president.

{4} Montville later authored a similarly solid biography on Babe Ruth which is also well worth reading but I digress.

{5} He lost in a re-election bid in the electoral college despite winning the popular vote in 1888 and then defeated President Benjamin Harrison in the 1892 contest four years after that.

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Sunday, September 14, 2008

On Sen. Hillary Clinton and Her Being "On Board" for Sen. Obama:

This is part of a running dialogue I am having with some friends in private -the following is my response to something sent by Kevin Tierney. Without further ado...

So much for the Clinton's being on board....

http://townhall.com/news/politics-elections/2008/09/06/clinton_limits_palin_criticism_while_campaigning

Obama needs her as his attack dog against Palin, and Hillary has no desire to do so. :)

My response read as follows:

Well, if this election is about "issues" as she says, how about defining the word "change" and how it applies to the Obama campaign. Much like those who whine about "torture" and do not care to explain what they mean by the term or how it applies to the subject of the WOT, I am curious to know what goes into "change" in their minds because based on observation, it means "more of the same" if we judge their actions as opposed to their words.

Rush Limbaugh's "Operation Chaos" needs to give way to "Operation Free Falling" because with all respect to Tom Petty that is what things are on the verge of now for Obama and company if it has not already began (and I believe it has). I do not care about any polling data except one and it is "likely voters." McCain leads there by ten points last time I checked and we have barely gotten going now. There is little the msm can say about McCain now that will make Obama look preferable -if anything McCain hanging back as he did from March to June and only starting to really make a move in July. Even the [Paris] Hilton ads now look good because it set the frame of reference of Obama looking like a celebrity which implies lack of credibility as a politician. Then when Obama at the convention gave that big speech where he had a Nuremberg-like backdrop and concert-like atmosphere, it reinforced rather than detracted from the celebrity label.

Hillary has about as much interest in Obama winning in 08 as she did Kerry in 04. I predict she and Bill will find ways to subtly sabotage this candidacy going into the fall -one way is for her to not go after Palin. This is what "that boy" (cf. Jimmah Carter) is going to get for daring to derail Hillary's party coronation this year. [From and Email Circular to Kevin Tierney and Others (circa September 8, 2008)]

And since then, things not only have not improved but they have worsened -a subject that will be at least touched on in the coming days as time allows for it.

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