<!-- Begin meta tags generated by ORblogs --> </meta name="keywords" content="progressive, liberal, politics, government, edit, language, grammar, accuracy, honesty, clarity, world, news, media" /> </> <!-- End meta tags generated by ORblogs -->> Editor at Large: September 2008

Monday, September 29, 2008

Polls say Obama won debate

A Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg survey shows that registered voters who watched the debate preferred Obama over McCain, 49 to 44 percent.

A USA TODAY/Gallup poll that asked "Which candidate offered the best proposals to solve the country's problems?" picked Obama over McCain 52 to 35 percent.

For those who missed the debate, 236.com has a 1-minute CliffsNotes version for you:

Friday, September 26, 2008

Palin channels Miss Teen South Carolina - again

Bet you didn't know that the $700 billion bailout is all about "the health care reform that is needed to shore up the economy"...

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Obama effigy found hanging at private Oregon university

A custodial crew at George Fox University - a Christian university in Newberg, Oregon - found a life-size cardboard cutout of Barack Obama hanging from a tree Tuesday morning.

University President Robin Baker urged students to show that the incident has no place in Christian ideals. "We absolutely cannot hate those around us and say we love God," he said Wednesday. "It is not possible. Yesterday was not a good example of what it means to follow Jesus."

But as a commenter responding to the story in The Oregonian noted:
Is this really surprising? George Fox is proudly intolerant, asking its students, faculty, and staff to take a loyalty oath proclaiming their opposition to homosexuality. You can't welcome intolerant people to your campus and then expect to them to be tolerant in every *other* aspect of their lives. Play with fire, and get burned. Stock your campus with intolerant people, and--surprise!--they will act intolerant. (DaveJ2007)


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Was Palin wearing a swimsuit when she said this?

In an interview with Katie Couric scheduled to air on CBS tonight, Sarah Palin was asked whether “there’s a risk of a Great Depression” if the $700 billion government bailout fails to pass.

Palin's reply:
“Unfortunately, that is the road that America may find itself on, not necessarily this as it’s been proposed has to pass or we're going to find ourselves in another Great Depression, but there has got to be action taken, bipartisan effort; Congress not pointing fingers at this point at one another, but finding the solution to this, taking action, and being serious about the reforms on Wall Street that are needed.”


Dear Senator Biden: Keep your mouth shut

Joe Biden can't seem to open his mouth without saying something inflammatory, embarrassing, untrue, or just plain stupid.

Maybe Obama would be better off with Hillary...what do you think?

Was it "positive thinking" that created the financial crisis?

In an op-ed in today's NY Times, Barbara Ehrenreich says, "Greed — and its crafty sibling, speculation — are the designated culprits for the financial crisis. But another, much admired, habit of mind should get its share of the blame: the delusional optimism of mainstream, all-American, positive thinking.


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

How to solve the financial crisis

Ted Rall offers some suggestions that just might work:

1. Declare a Bank Holiday. As FDR did in 1933, Bush should shut down the financial system--banks, stock and currency exchanges--for a week or so to avoid panic selling, cool down market volatility, and give Congress time to craft carefully considered legislation rather than the spend-a-thon slapped together over the last Black Weekend. It bodes ill that liberals and conservatives alike have so little faith in the plan. Take some time; get it right.

2. Reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act. The current mortgage meltdown couldn't have happened without Senator Phil Gramm, now a key economic advisor to John McCain. In 1999 Gramm led the repeal of the Depression-era legislation that had separated commercial from investment banks, allowing Citigroup and other companies to sell mortgage-backed securities that blurred the line between Main Street and Wall Street. Let the financiers handle derivatives, structured investment vehicles, and other arcane financial instruments. Banking should return to its dull, staid roots as a business that pays interest on deposits and collects interest on loans without imperiling those deposits.

3. Bail out homeowners, not lenders. Stop doling out hundreds of billions, even trillions, of dollars, to a few banks and issue the cash to the disaggregated tens of millions of Americans who will spend the money and stimulate the economy instead. Which brings us to…

4. Abolish predatory interest rates. Millions of people in danger of losing their homes would not be in trouble if their banks weren't charging usurious interest rates. Every primary homeowner should be automatically refinanced to a floating 30-year mortgage, with the interest rate set at 1/4 percent point above the fed funds borrowing rate. Similarly, all consumer credit card debt should be refinanced to prime plus 1/4. The same goes for student loans. Secondary and vacation homes don't qualify. Unemployed homeowners can apply for hardship deferrals, allowing them to skip mortgage payments until they find a job. Payday loans ought to fall under similar guidelines. In Utah, the average interest rate on payday loans is 521 percent! Of course, reforms will cut deeply into lenders' earnings. Many banks would be at risk of going under, which is why…

5. Banks that fail should be nationalized. As should investment banks and any other institution that needs federal taxpayer money to avoid failure. If we the people fund 'em, we the people own 'em. If and when the economy recovers, the Treasury collects the spoils and cuts our taxes.

6. Withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan, and slash defense spending. Christopher Whalen, managing director of Institutional Risk Analytics, tells USA Today the government may have to cover $1.4 trillion in bad mortgage debt. That's a lot of money, but I have good news: we can get it. In 2007, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq would cost at least $2.4 trillion through the next decade--even more if Obama or McCain keep their pledges to send more troops to Afghanistan next year. Cutting our losses and cutting the $515 billion a year Defense Department appropriations budget would help finance the clean-up of the mortgage meltdown.

George Will: "McCain Loses His Head"

When conservative stalwart George Will thinks something is awry with a fellow conservative, we should probably listen.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Palin is losing her luster

According to a Research 2000 poll, Sarah Palin's superstar sheen is starting to fade. On Sept. 11, 52 percent approved of her and 35 percent disapproved; on Sept. 18, only 42 percent approved while 46 percent disapproved.

So in just one week, Palin's approval ratio went from a plus 17 (52 : 35) to a minus 4 (42 : 46) - a 21-point collapse.

At that rate, her approval rating by election day will be approximately zero.


How Bush and McCain bankrupted the U.S.

As recently as a few months ago, when it was already clear that the financial markets were in turmoil, Bush was trying to continue his do-nothing economics. "The President's hands-off attitude is reminiscent of Herbert Hoover in 1929 and 1930," Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) said in March. Last year, Bush was telling reporters that he wasn't very good at economics since he received only a "B in Econ 101" (in reality, he received the equivalent of a C-). However, this hands-off approach is what has propelled the current financial crisis. According to the Washington Post, both Republican and Democratic lawmakers alike "said the crisis is in part a result of insufficient government regulation on Wall Street." "Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke need to face squarely the vast array of mistakes made by the Bush administration's financial regulators over the past eight years," notes Jakabovics. Last year, instead of aggressive measures to help home mortgage borrowers, lenders, and investors work out payment problems with federal supervision, the Bush administration embraced Paulson's "voluntary debt workout plan, called Hope Now, which (let's be frank) failed to help homeowners or the larger home mortgage marketplace," Andrew Jakobovics of the Center for American Progress observed.

McCain often says he tries to model himself after President Teddy Roosevelt, but Herbert Hoover might be a better comparison. Over the past year, McCain has described the economy's fundamentals as "strong" at least 18 times. He said it most recently on Black Monday: "Our economy--I think still, the fundamentals of our economy are strong." His rhetoric echoes what Hoover said on Oct. 25, 1929, a day after what is now known as Black Thursday: "The fundamental business of the country, that is the production and distribution of commodities, is on a sound and prosperous basis." McCain is now trying to portray himself as a financial wizard, someone who believes "in excess government regulation" and "warned" federal officials of a potential subprime mortgage crisis as far back as two years ago. In reality, McCain has been clueless about the economy. "I'd like to tell you that I did anticipate it," McCain said in November 2007 of the financial crisis, "but I have to give you straight talk: I did not." In fact, he has been a leading advocate of deregulation. New York Times columnist and Princeton economics professor Paul Krugman has pinpointed Phil Gramm as one of the architects of the current financial crisis and the "odds-on favorite to be the Treasury Secretary" in a McCain administration. Gramm orchestrated the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act in 1999, which "destroyed the Depression-era barrier to the merger of stockbrokers, banks and insurance companies." He also pushed the Commodity Futures Modernization Act in 2000, which made legal "the mortgage swaps distancing the originator of the loan from the ultimate collector." The Nation writes that "those two acts effectively ended significant regulation of the financial community."


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Anti-Palin rally in Alaska is biggest ever

Over 1,400 people showed up at this anti-Palin rally in Anchorage—apparently a new record for a rally of any kind in Alaska. Here are some of the protestors' signs.

OMG, ROTFLMAO..."Obama Waffles"!

Those "Values Voters" sure do have a great sense of humor, don't they?

Monday, September 15, 2008

Sarah Palin's reading list

In her acceptance speech for the VP nomination, Palin quoted fascist writer Westbrook Pegler on the moral superiority of small towns. Palin either didn't know or didn't care that Pegler is also an avowed racist who once suggested that Robert F. Kennedy should be assassinated. When Kennedy was contemplating his own run for the presidency in 1965, Pegler expressed his fervent hope that "some white patriot of the Southern tier will spatter his [Kennedy's] spoonful of brains in public premises before the snow flies."

As Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., notes, "It might be worth asking Governor Palin for a tally of the other favorites from her reading list."


Friday, September 05, 2008

Songwriters ask McCain-Palin to "cease and desist"

This campaign season, Republicans have been using a lot of songs from artists who wouldn't have given permission if asked, and some who have spoken up to ask that their songs not be used in the future.

Here's the No-Thanks-GOP playlist so far.

Van Halen - "Right Now"
Van Halen management says the band had no idea McCain was planning on using "Right Now" during his big entrance in Ohio. "Permission was not sought or granted nor would it have been given."

Jackson Browne - "Running on Empty"
(Already mentioned in a previous post)

- "Barracuda"
Ann and Nancy Wilson condemned the usage, adding that Universal Music Publishing and Sony BMG have sent a cease-and-desist notice to the McCain-Palin campaign, according to CNN. "We have asked the Republican campaign publicly not to use our music," the group said in a statement.

- "Still the One"
Proving that campaign vetting should extend beyond vice presidential contenders (or those vetting the potential veeps), McCain sparked the ire of the song's co-writer, the founding member of Orleans and current New York congressman, John Hall.

Frankie Valli
- "Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You"
Warner Music Group (WMG) appears to have demanded that YouTube remove "Obama Love," a montage of press fawning over Sen. Barack Obama that had been posted on Sen. John McCain's official YouTube channel. "This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by Warner Music Group," says a message on YouTube.


Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Levi Johnston: "I don't want kids"

Before Levi Johnston's MySpace site was mysteriously removed (at the behest of a certain presidential campaign, no doubt), it contained some interesting quotes from Mr. Johnston:
"I'm a f---in' redneck."
"I live to play hockey. I like to go camping and hang out with the boys, do some fishing."
[If anyone messes with me,] "I'll kick ass."
And on the part where it asks about children, he wrote, "I don't want kids."

So poor Bristol Palin is stuck with an adolescent jerk who doesn't care for children, wants to kick ass, likes to hang out with the boys, and is a redneck.

Like mother, like daughter?

What McCain said to Levi Johnston

In case you don't know him by name yet, Levi Johnston is the designated father of Bristol Palin's baby. Who is Bristol Palin? She's Sarah Palin's 17-year-old daughter. Who is Sarah Palin? She's John McCain's running mate (see my previous post, "What's wrong with Sarah Palin?").

McCain was there to greet Levi and Bristol when they arrived in St. Paul, Minnesota, today. Why are they in St. Paul? Because Mrs. Palin is giving her big "Who am I?" speech tonight, and apparently her kids and their sex partners need to be there to help show us who Mrs. Palin is.

Anyway, in this photo McCain is saying something, rather emphatically, to Ms. Palin's sex partner - er, Mr. Johnston. What do you think he's saying?

"Don't worry, Levi, when I'm president I'll hire you both as interns."

What's wrong with Sarah Palin?

The main thing that's wrong with Sarah Palin is that there doesn't seem to be anything right with her. But we'll let John McCain worry about that. Meanwhile, here's a sampler of the ever-growing list of what exactly is wrong with Sarah Palin.

1. She was elected Alaska's governor a little over a year and a half ago. Her previous office was mayor of Wasilla, a small town outside Anchorage. She has no foreign policy experience.

2. She is strongly anti-choice, opposing abortion even in the case of rape or incest.

3. She supported right-wing extremist Pat Buchanan for president in 2000.

4. She thinks creationism should be taught in public schools.

5. She's doesn't think humans are the cause of climate change.

6. She supports McCain's "Big Oil first" energy policy.

7. McCain met Sarah Palin once at a meeting; then they spoke a second time, last Sunday, when he called her about being vice-president; and then he offered her the position.

8. Her appearance on a morning "shock jock" radio show earlier this year was described by the Anchorage Daily News as "plain and simple one of the most unprofessional, childish and inexcusable performances I've ever seen from a politician."

9. Palin supports gunning down wolves from airplanes.

10. She took an unnecessary risk with the health of her own child.

11. She supports failed abstinence-only programs.

12. She is under investigation for allegedly abusing her power as governor to help her sister in a messy divorce.

13. She lied about her plans for the "Bridge to Nowhere."

14. She has big money ties to Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens, who has been indicted for political corruption.

15. She exploits her son's Iraq service for political gain.

16. During her time as mayor, Palin drove a town deep into debt.

17. She tried to ban books from her local library.

18. She slashed funding for teen moms (ironic, isn't it?).

19. She thinks the war in Iraq is "a task that is from God."

20. She failed at running a car wash.

Stay tuned for more...