The squared circle.

An offhand comment Kirk made in the previous thread leads me to try this experiment.

As regular readers know, this has been a lively place of late. Our discussions/fights/shoving matches over the upcoming elections have made our threads beefy, but unwieldy. Really, some people, on some days, would just rather talk about dogs. But after watching the Palin interviews from yesterday, I’m sure we still have a few things to get out of our systems, so this is now the open, election-only thread. No holds barred! Mixed martial arts! Cage match!

If you want to have tea-party chat about dogs, or rougher chat about anything else, see the previous thread. But for All Things Electoral And Particularly Palin, this is your thread.

(Speaking of mixed martial arts, Alan and I had our first extended look at Ultimate Fighting last Friday — the bar TV was tuned to Spike while we waited for the Dirtbombs. It was, without question, the most awful thing I’ve seen in…well, maybe ever. We watched a man get his face pounded to a pulp while another man straddled him and [shudder]. The winner welcomed his 7-year-old son into the ring afterward to accept the crowd’s cheers. “That kid better enjoy it,” Alan said. “Because in a few years he’s going to be changing his dad’s diapers.”)

Posted at 12:18 pm in Current events, Housekeeping |
 

110 responses to “The squared circle.”

  1. brian stouder said on September 12, 2008 at 12:26 pm

    Well, since I had the high honor and distinct privilege of being the Last Straw, let me also hasten to try and be the first!

    What I saw of Palin’s Not Ready For Prime Time interview was an overly serious Charlie Gibson, and a forward-leaning, frightened politician.

    And, hearing the rightwing radio lip-flappers today, they seem to have clearly judged that she didn’t do so well, since they are back-pedaling and defending, instead of crowing and chest-thumping.

    What is somewhat breathtaking is how shamelessly and unabashed the yappers are; not even taking a breath between going on about how attractive Palin is, and how she creates excitement; and how empty suited Obama is – whose only real ability is to wow a crowd with his speeches

  2. Randy said on September 12, 2008 at 12:32 pm

    I know she’s brighter than Quayle, but this is looking pretty familiar after seeing that interview. But just think, we could have “Commander In Chief: The Reality Show” if she ever has to assume the role.

  3. beb said on September 12, 2008 at 12:33 pm

    What surprises me is the way some people who are party regulars, bloggers or operative, have totally bite into the Palin is teh greatest thing. You would think this conventional conservatives would have a more subdued opinion abaout someone so obviously out of her league as a vice presidental nominee. I mean, I think Obama could have and should have picked someone less dull then Joe Biden, the Dems version of Harold Stassen. Where are the Republicans who favor McCain but are less than thrilled about Palin?

  4. Julie Robinson said on September 12, 2008 at 12:43 pm

    What concerned me (beside the blank look after the Bush doctrine question) was that she said it’s okay for Irsrael to bomb Iran if it thinks they have nuclear weapons. Seems like a pretty good way to usher in Armageddon.

    And that will be my only comment for the day. I’ve allowed myself to become overinvolved in political infighting lately, and except for that interview, turned off the radio and TV yesterday. It was a good break. Time to tend my garden.

  5. coozledad said on September 12, 2008 at 12:53 pm

    All I’ve got to say is, if she’s qualified to be a Wal-Mart greeter, then I have a promising future in particle physics.
    I have more thoughtful, introspective sheep roaming the place.

  6. alex said on September 12, 2008 at 12:57 pm

    This kind of reminds me of being cordoned off into the separate protestor area of the convention.

  7. Jolene said on September 12, 2008 at 1:11 pm

    Guess who’ll be conducting Sarah Palin’s next televised interview? No idea? None other than that paragon of hard-hitting, objective journalism, Sean Hannity.

  8. Colleen said on September 12, 2008 at 1:26 pm

    I was going to suggest we have an Election Discussion Salon here at NN.C for the duration….

    Yeah. Someone didn’t study. She also needs to stop that little “tsk” sound she makes when she’s being folksly. And the overuse of the other person’s name.

  9. LAMary said on September 12, 2008 at 1:30 pm

    I want John Stewart to interview her.

  10. moe99 said on September 12, 2008 at 1:31 pm

    She also didn’t sit up straight. I was my mother for once, yelling into the tv screen.

    ps: I keep waiting for Palin supporters to weigh in in her defense. What gives?

  11. MichaelG said on September 12, 2008 at 1:37 pm

    She looked better than I have on several of the many occasions on which I’ve been caught out not knowing squat. Yeah, Colleen, I find that overuse of peoples’ names annoying too. It’s like it’s some kind of technique they teach somewhere. She also has a mother in law voice.

  12. Mindy said on September 12, 2008 at 1:50 pm

    What Mary said – bring on Jon Stewart. That would make her fizzle as fast as she flared. Let’s hope she looks as bad or worse in future interviews as she did last night.

  13. brian stouder said on September 12, 2008 at 2:01 pm

    Say, here’s one of my only criticisms of Barack Obama:

    the limited debate schedule.

    John McCain keeps saying he wants more debates, and I think Obama should publicly accept that, and agree to (say) 3 or 4 more than the three already scheduled

    http://www.youdecide2008.com/2008/08/21/official-2008-obama-mccain-presidential-debate-schedule/

  14. LAMary said on September 12, 2008 at 2:06 pm

    They re-ran the Daily Show from the first night of the Republican Convention last night and I enjoyed it all over again. The Fred Thompson and Joe Lieberman excerpts were especially wonderful.

  15. moe99 said on September 12, 2008 at 2:18 pm

    OT (grin) but this apparently is the top song in Pakistan right now.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iIsvsm9xgrg

    This was provided to me by a friend in Germany.

  16. Gasman said on September 12, 2008 at 2:21 pm

    Sarah Palin is an intellectual lightweight at best. Her choice was calculated pandering geared to mobilize the evangelical base for the election with no thought given to the actual possibility of her being president. I imagine that a McCain administration would try to minimize her duties and responsibilities as much as possible. To say that she is uniformed is putting it very kindly. The thought of her in the oval office should give us all pause. She struck me very much as the fairer sex’s answer to Dan Quayle. Is this really the best the Republicans can do?

    What is interesting is that while they wooed and courted the evangelicals, even Reagan, Bush I, and W did not really let them into their inner circles of power. They fawned over them just enough to keep them straggling behind the parade, but didn’t really do much to actively pursue their agendas after the elections were over. Lip service yes, real action, no. The evangelicals have never really been savvy enough to realize that they have been used, or as they say in Texas, “rode hard and put up wet.” Palin’s pick is the latest version of this same strategy for duping the evangelical ditto-heads. Except now there is the very real possibility that someone who possesses a stunted intellectual grasp of world politics and whose Pat Robertsonesque messianic views of Armageddon could unleash the might of the U.S. military to fulfill her delusional notions of being a Christian warrior princess. This makes her a genuine threat to the entire planet.

  17. brian stouder said on September 12, 2008 at 2:26 pm

    Hey moe – there’s no goin’ OT in our new politics pen, dammit!!

  18. nancy said on September 12, 2008 at 2:29 pm

    She lost me with her no-hesitation answer to the question about her selection. Show me a lightweight who doesn’t even ask “who, me?” “why me?” and “am I ready?,” even in her heart of hearts, and I’ll show you the makings of a monster. She’d have come across much better if she’d confessed to having a tiny smidge of doubt. Because we sure did.

  19. Gasman said on September 12, 2008 at 2:33 pm

    Nancy,
    I too, was nonplused by her snap answer to that question. I’m sure the conservatives will point to that as clear indication that she is ready to lead. It struck me as uninformed arrogance on her part. She has yet to provide an example of any order that she gave to the Alaska National Guard while Gov. that would give some indication that she has indeed had experience in that regard.

  20. Jolene said on September 12, 2008 at 2:36 pm

    A propos the “no expression of doubt” issue, did anyone wonder what she meant by “reforming this country”? Part of her response to the readiness question was about the mission she and McCain are on, which she described as reforming the country and winning the war.

    And, yeah, I noticed the bad posture too. It was distracting.

  21. brian stouder said on September 12, 2008 at 2:51 pm

    did anyone wonder what she meant by “reforming this country”?

    An excellent question. We know she’s NOT talking about “this country”s train-wreck foreign policy, which I think is issue A1A; and the GOP’s current “I got mine” mindset doesn’t look set to change, with people like this worldclass “earmark” rainmaker, ‘my way or the highway’, lip sticked pitbull at its head!

  22. Dexter said on September 12, 2008 at 3:04 pm

    At least that stupid Dana Perino is finally off the hook as the resident dum-dum in the Bush-McCain tight circle.
    Perino faked her way out of never even having heard of The Bay of Pigs Invasion , and deer-in-the-headlights-Palin obviously never heard of The Bush Doctrine.
    When Gibson asked her, I immediately thought, “pre:emptive aggression” would have been a snappy answer. Palin HAD NO CLUE !! I was surprised; this was the structure of the “reasoning” that got us into Iraq, and she never heard about it, but goddam-sure didn’t hesitate on the “going to war with Russia” question!
    Biden will destroy her in the debate.

  23. Danny said on September 12, 2008 at 3:04 pm

    Actually, Brian, the a few things that McCain said that were promising:

    “When I’m president, I will order a stem to stern review of government, modernize how it does business and save billions of dollars. I will veto every single bill with wasteful pork-barrel spending spending. You can count on it. I’ll make ‘em famous, and you will know their names.”

    And…

    “Let me offer an advance warning to the old, big-spending, do-nothing, me-first- country-second Washington crowd: Change is coming,”

    I think he has a credible, many-year record in the Senate in regard to trying to bring positive, bipartisan changes to government.

  24. Jolene said on September 12, 2008 at 3:05 pm

    Another question: What did you all think of Gibson and the questions he asked? A good part of the reminded me of a dissertation orals or, considering the level, an oral exam for a senior thesis in political science. The half glasses contributed, I thought, to an air of condescension. He didn’t seem to me to be at all friendly to her, which I thought could be done even in the context of a challenging interview. Mainly this concerns me because I don’t want her fans to be able to dismiss Gibson and other potential interviewers as part of the hated liberal media.

  25. John said on September 12, 2008 at 3:10 pm

    Which Johnnie Mac is running? The one who shot the bird to the right in 2000 or the one who has kissed every pompous ass to get their blessing?

  26. moe99 said on September 12, 2008 at 3:23 pm

    Gibson was the same way with Obama. Do we want a double standard–with women getting easier times? I don’t think so.

    And Danny, if you think McCain is going to change things, take a look at his major donor list. And after that, if you still believe that, I have a bridge to sell you.

  27. brian stouder said on September 12, 2008 at 3:30 pm

    Actually, Danny, be careful what you wish for

    I will veto every single bill with wasteful pork-barrel spending spending. You can count on it. I’ll make ‘em famous, and you will know their names.”

    Someone posted a link hereabouts the other day, wherein McCain proclaimed his absolute opposition to ALL of the $65 billion worth of earmarks in the last budget……………and a little checking found that Israel’s entire appropriation for the year was included in the list of “earmarks” – so that McCain could have (correctly) been said to be anti-Israel!! (they have since ammended his absolute opposition to earmarks!)

    AND – McCain is anti-ethanol!!Do you know that Minnesota was the first state in the union to mandate minimum ethanol blends of fuel? McCain is agin’ that, and agin’ subsidies for ethanol production. Lots of farm state folks were at the GOP convention in Minnesota, and they were ‘really disappointed’ (quoting American Farm Bureau Federation spokesperson Anne Steckel) in McCain and the GOP’s anti-ethanol platform plank.

    The 2004 GOP platform was FOR it, as a way to promote energy independence; and McCain is against it, as a way to distance himself from Bush.

    Obama/Biden should loudly trumpet this; when they talk about “green” economic initiatives, they should immediately remind all those Indiana and Ohio and Illinois and Missouri and Iowa and Kansas and Nebraska corn and bean farmers that THAT means increased demand for their coprs, and better prices.

    If the folks still don’t wanna vote for Obama, maybe they’ll at least SKIP voting for the guy who will cost THEM the most money – John McCain (and remember, if McCain has ANY hope of winning, an indispensible ingredient is traditional farm-state [red state] support). And not for nothing, the D convention actively courted the farm state folks with many rural events, and the R’s only had one “rural event” – a shooting excursion put on by the NRA

  28. Gasman said on September 12, 2008 at 3:38 pm

    Danny,
    The biggest problem I have with McCain is his willingness to pick a running mate that is so vapid and obtuse. He is nothing but a big ol’ Pander Bear, and not the cute, cuddly, bamboo munching type. He’s more the grumpy snarling type that is quick to hurl the C-bomb at his own wife. (The same wife that pays for all of his houses which he cannot seem to find.) It shows his willingness to suck up to whomever is footing the bill for his presidency. “Ya’ dance with them what brung ya'” was a favorite of Molly Ivins. “What brung” McCain would be evangelicals, lobbyists, defense contractors, and the oil/coal/nuke-you-ler industries. Boy, some maverick.

  29. Danny said on September 12, 2008 at 3:44 pm

    Brian, I’ve seen some scientific discussion over the years about the merits of ethanol as a fuel. Specifically, it is disputed whether corn derived ethanol as an automotive fuel results in a net energy gain or loss. Since then, I have read blurbs about switchgrass and other plants being possible better alternatives to corn crops.

    Here is a wikipedia entry that provides some useful information and links. I think the jury is still out.

  30. brian stouder said on September 12, 2008 at 3:51 pm

    Danny – no doubt the jury IS still out, and indeed, things keep shifting in favor of ethanol. The new POET plant hereabouts

    http://www.poet.com/about/showDivision.asp?id=5

    is moving toward getting a 25% “bonus” amount of ethanol per bushel of corn, by utilizing the cellulosic material (cobs, etc) over and above what is produced from the corn.

    By way of saying that the R&D and evaluation, testing and production IS going in the right direction, and meanwhile the mandated Renewable Fuel Standards (rfs – wherein a state like Minnesota says ‘10% of the fuel in this state must be renewable’, which McCain and the GOP is opposed to) is driving demand – which is a very, very good thing for farmers…..and farmers vote.

  31. Danny said on September 12, 2008 at 3:54 pm

    Gasman, I hear you. McCain does have a certain mercenary vibe to his drive to the presidency. But, as we all know, rarely is there a person vying for that job who does not have some peculiarities along those lines.

    And as to campaign donors, I’d say both sides of the aisle dance with who brung ’em, which is part of what I was getting at when I remarked that Clinton caved to the abortion lobby on partial-birth abortion.

    Regarding nuclear power, are you against that? I’m not. It can be done right and there are some very innovative ideas that I’ve read about in recent years that involve unmanned, subterranean plants.

    I mean, it’s just part of the solution. Along with wind, solar, clean-coal etc. But it definitely has to be part of the solution for the near-term.

  32. John said on September 12, 2008 at 4:02 pm

    I pass, every day to and from work, mobile nuclear reactors. Each is powerful enough to light up a small city. I would rather have this technology than the coal, oil, or natural gas fired power plants.

  33. Jolene said on September 12, 2008 at 4:05 pm

    There must be a lot of behind-the-scenes stories associated w/ the Palin pick that would be fun to know. As I mentioned a while back, I’m fascinated by what the serious Republicans who have to defend Palin must think. A day or two ago, an Oklahoma congresswoman was straining to sound offended by Obama’s “lipstick on a pig” comment. I imagined Kay Bailey Hutchinson turning down the opportunity to comment, saying, “She may have deep-sixed the Bridge to Nowhere, but that’s a bridge too far.”

    It’s also interesting to think about what it’ll be like on the bus, if, as I’ve been reading, they spend most of the rest of the campaign stumpimg together. McCain is a bon vivant, a friend of Warren Beatty. He is uncomfortable talking about religion because his religiosity is of the sort that I grew up with–the kind where everyone is a nominal Christian and everyone goes to church, but the primary role of religion in daily life is as a framework to instill and enforce basic morality. Seems like that’ll be an odd fit w/ a traveling companion who prays for God’s blessings on pipeline construction projects.

  34. brian stouder said on September 12, 2008 at 4:14 pm

    McCain is a bon vivant, a friend of Warren Beatty

    and also a friend of Anne Hathaway and her busted ex-boyfriend. Rachel Maddow showed a picture of McCain and the ferret faced Rick Davis boarding “A-list con man Raffaello Follieri”s yacht, on McCain’s 70th birthday in 2006

    http://thesuperficial.com/2008/09/anne_hathaway_raffaello_follie.php

  35. mark said on September 12, 2008 at 4:25 pm

    First, Brian:

    Palin has the enthusiasm of the Republican base because a) she is conservative and b) she gives us a chance to win.

    She is not, from a foreign policy perspective, prepared to be President. Obama is. Using that criteria only, I rank preparedness as 1) McCain, 2) Obama, 3) Biden and (a distant 4) Palin. None of them have much of what I would call experience. You have your admission.

    Obama’s foreign policy readiness does not come from being a US Senator, a state senator, a community organizor or from living in Indonesia while a kid or travelling to Africa to visit family. His preparedness comes from spending the last 19 months studying the issues thoroughly under the tutelage of a host of very learned experts.

    Palin will be brought up to speed the same way. Like Obama, she is a quick study. If she wins, her education will be prioritized by active threats/issues, not by predictions of what the press may ask next.

    Second, what a bunch of foreign policy experts we have here! You all knew exactly what Gibson meant by “Bush Doctrine” and you all knew that Gibson’s then undisclosed meaning is the only and the obvious meaning. You all knew that it didn’t mean that the United States has the claimed right to treat countries that harbor or support terrorists as terrorists, which is what many thought it meant when we invaded Afghanistan.

    And you all knew that the Bush Doctrine didn’t refer to a (controversial) policy of aggressive democratization as a means of attacking radical Islam overseas.

    And you all knew that the Bush Doctrine has nothing to do with (an even more controversial) policy of increasing military unilateralism in a single super-power environment.

    No, all of you experts knew that the mere invocation of “Bush Doctrine” refers always and only to pre-emptive and/or preventive war. Silly me, I always thought there were critical differences between pre-emptive and preventive war and that the differences are what is distictive to what is sometines called an aspect of the Bush Doctrine, but from the comments here I must have been stupidly wrong.

    So, here is an easy one for you: What do you think of the Putin Doctrine? To save time, if you are thinking I ought to clarify what I mean, you first tell me what You think it is. If you want to post only half an answer, that is fine. That is about when I would break in to condescendingly tell you you are wrong.

  36. Gasman said on September 12, 2008 at 4:32 pm

    Danny,
    I live in our nation’s nuclear capitol – Los Alamos, NM – and I am dead set against nuclear energy. Why? First, to date, it is the least cost effective form of energy. On paper, it looks great, but all of the nuclear power plants are nowhere near as cost effective as initially proposed. Reactors are big money pits.

    Second, what to do with all of the nuclear waste? Again, just a couple of miles from my house is the road that all of Los Alamos National Lab’s nuclear waste must travel when shipped out for long term storage. There is no technology that man has invented that has not failed. One screwup at a waste storage facility like WIPP in Carlsbad, NM could pollute a water table for thousands of years.

    Third, all technology fails at some point. Even with the best minds in the world collaborating, we’ve lost 2 space shuttles. We’ve already had a few semi-serious problems at reactors in this country and at least one big one in Chernobyl. Saying we won’t have more as we increase the number of reactors is kind of like saying we’ll have fewer auto accidents if we double the number of cars on the road. One catastrophic failure could kill tens of thousands.

    Fourth, it is a real national security issue. As more nuclear waste takes to our highways en route to long term storage facilities, there are more opportunities for international or domestic terrorists to obtain the material for a “dirty” bomb. You don’t need much skill, just truck bomb stuff and nuclear waste. An organized set of terrorists, foreign or domestic, would have even more opportunities to obtain the vital ingredient.

  37. Danny said on September 12, 2008 at 4:41 pm

    Okay, since I am not one of the aforementioned critics and experts on the Bush Doctrine, I don’t get to play here. I wouldn’t mind taking a guess on Putin Doctrine, but I’ll let others go first. And don’t cheat by searching the internet. Let’s have some non-openbook answers. I’m curious to see how we all do.

    By the way, in case any of you are interested in the other contest, I am winning the IQ/Common-Sense/Personality contest in the below thread. I’m the only nominee so far…

  38. alex said on September 12, 2008 at 4:50 pm

    Nice attempt, Danny, to show you and Mark aren’t one and the same.

  39. brian stouder said on September 12, 2008 at 4:52 pm

    Well, I ain’t got no personality, ner brains; and Pam’ll tell ya that ‘common sense’ and I have never met!

    but I DID win “the last straw” honors herein NN.c-land, so there!

  40. LAMary said on September 12, 2008 at 4:53 pm

    I don’t know, Alex. Have you ever seen them together?

  41. Danny said on September 12, 2008 at 4:55 pm

    LOL!

    No way could we be the same. Mark’s posts are way more thoughtful than mine. Also, he has travelled a good bit and unfortunately I have not. Plus he said the other day he’d love to have a beer with Biden. There ain’t enough beer in the world for me to say that.

  42. Gasman said on September 12, 2008 at 4:58 pm

    Mark,
    The point is not that Gov. Palin did not know THE answer to Charlie Gibson’s question, the point is that she did not know ANY answer. If she had fashioned a response that mentioned any of your possibilities, she would have looked much smarter, but she did not, and therefore, she does not.

    It is also irrelevant how any of us would have answered as we have not been picked to be VP or had our resumés inflated to include foreign policy expertise.

    By the way, she hasn’t just padded her resumé, she has had resumé enhancement surgery.

  43. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 12, 2008 at 5:07 pm

    Hey, didja know the Bible says “There is no God”? Psalm 14:1.

    Exact quote.

  44. Jolene said on September 12, 2008 at 5:08 pm

    Mark, I’ll confess that, when Gibson asked about the Bush Doctrine, I asked myself, “Does he mean pre-emptive war?” And I wouldn’t have been able to articulate the distinction between pre-emptive and preventive. In fact, I’d have used pre-emptive to refer to what I now understand to be preventive war. I’ve been trying to think about how she might have gotten him to spell out what he was asking about so she could react to the substance rather than the label, but it’s not obvious how that could have been done.

    Her response on this item might not have attracted so much attention if her performance in the interview as a whole had been stronger.

  45. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 12, 2008 at 5:18 pm

    Oh, and the Bush Doctrine is that whoever takes the last beer has to make the next run to refill the fridge.

    Wait, that’s the Busch Doctrine. Sorry, i’ll have to get back to y’all on that other one.

    Somewhere, deep in a broken crevice of my soul, is an overlong column that no one under 45 would even get (limiting the already feeble worth of writing it) about how love the Palin family or hate them, this fall is turning into an incredible amalgam of “Twin Peaks” and “Northern Exposure.” Neither show really fills the bill on its own, but mixed and mangled together, you have the political/media tableaux laid out that we’re currently doing a slow pan across, with Angelo Badalamenti bkgd. music — when a moose walks across the street, and the music fades into a honky-tonk piano tune coming from inside “The Brick.”

  46. Danny said on September 12, 2008 at 5:31 pm

    Jeff, I thought it was, “Sheeeeiit-Howdy! We’re gonna kick all yer’alls’ aces. Yeeeeeehaw!”

    Which, undoubtedly, is why many top-notch intellectuals have come to admire it and show an affinity. Elegance. Simplicity.

  47. mark said on September 12, 2008 at 5:35 pm

    Gasman,

    Yes, she flubbed the question, but largely because she was hesitant in her fist instinct- to clarify a dumb question. And a more practiced politician would have taken advantage of the ambiguity to move the question to safe ground and kill a few minutes.

    The answer she ultimately gave was spot on: substantial, credible evidence of imminent threat justifies pre-emptive attack (or war). I view this as a repudiation of Bush’s preventive war “doctrine”. I don’t think she was thinking in those terms, but I take solace in the fact that her instincts and (presumably) education took her to pretty solid ground.

    The preventive war approach says that we can’t wait until the threat is “imminent”, I guess because our new enemies are too diabolical or technology moves too fast or some other crap. There may be cases where this approach ought to be followed, and gaining nukes makes the most compelling case. But as a “doctrine” it sucks.

    First, Americans are good enough to protect themselves the hard way. I can spend weeks planning an elaborate crime, but I’m not guilty of anything until I take at least one affirmative action to implement the plan.

    Second, a doctrine of preventive war makes it very hard for our friends and enemies to predict what we will do. A State Department friend relayed this comment to me, attributed to a diplomat from a not friendly country: “It doesn’t matter if we think your [US] policy is rational, but damn it man, it has to be understandable.”

    Third, preventive war doctrine is so vague it permits multiple, conflicting pre and post act justifications. Think Iraq. Personally, I think Iraq was about democratizing the middle east. But who knows (at least from the outside looking in)?

  48. coozledad said on September 12, 2008 at 5:40 pm

    I know I’ve said this before, but it’s particularly pertinent now. Todd, man, a bit of friendly advice:Lose the flavor-saver before you hit the courtroom.
    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/2008/09/alaska_lawmakers_vote_to_subpo.php

  49. Snarkworth said on September 12, 2008 at 5:42 pm

    Here’s what’s wrong with Palin’s Bush Doctrine answer:

    http://jamesfallows.theatlantic.com/archives/2008/09/the_palin_interview.php

    And, Mark, granted that some of us would flail a bit on that question. But, we’re not running for vice president.

  50. Gasman said on September 12, 2008 at 5:48 pm

    Mark,
    I agree with much of what you said characterizing the Bush Doctrine – a title a bit grandiose for just being a bunch of bullies on the international stage. For 225 years or so, we at least had some pretense of provocation when we attacked another country. We didn’t this time. For all of that 225 years we thought that unprovoked attacks were the stuff of cowards and dictators, and in my estimation, it still is. We can afford to be more just.

    I believe a strong motivation for the Iraq war was the recreational factor. In Bush and Cheney you have two Viet Nam War era chickenhawks that just couldn’t bring themselves to fight in a war that they said they supported. Five Deferment Dick assiduously avoided military service of any kind and W was more interested in drinking beer and chasing skirts than in flying cool planes in a safe stateside locale. On top of that, after going AWOL, W continued to cash his checks for service not rendered. As old men they both felt the need to prove that they still had “huevos elephante” by waging war vicariously.

  51. Danny said on September 12, 2008 at 5:54 pm

    I believe a strong motivation for the Iraq war was the recreational factor.

    That reasoning doesn’t pass the smell test for me.

  52. caliban said on September 12, 2008 at 6:26 pm

    John McCain riding in like Lochinvar is enough to make you puke. The lipstick disturbance is beyond asinine for obvious reasons. But, whoa. McCain’s offended by what he perceives as sexist commentary? Didn’t he tell people in public that Chelsea Clinton was homely because Janet Reno was her dad? I think the asshole said that. Didn’t he talk about lipstick and pigs and Hillary Clinton so many times they’ll never all be accounted for?

    Didn’t he call the treasure-chest wife he ditched his maimed ex-wife for a trollop and a cunt?

    Yeah, but, he’s a maverick. Right. After Keating, he had to do something. He latched onto Kerry and let him do all the heavy lifting. Kerry pursued Iran-Contra criminality, exposed spectacular Constitutional malfeasance for cash, and years later when Swift Boat vengeance came around, McCain was as detached as he was bombing Hanoi. What makes a war hero? Getting shot down and recreating your own narrative ad nauseam ad alia, or ahving your crewmates relate acts of heroism?

    Invading Iraq was a foregone conclusion when the 2000 election was purloined. Project for the New American Century tried to talk Clinton into it in ’98.

    Meanwhile, I’m bemused by all of the lists being proffered of questions to ask Gidget Goes to Cheney’s Bunker. I’d ask just one. “Is there anything you’ve told the truth about in the last three weeks?” There is a sense of regressing past adolescent to childish to infantile in repeating the same asinine lies over and over. Somebody needs to stick a wad of Dubble-Bubble in her mouth next time the Gov to Nowhere brings up the Bridge without acknowledging the access road.

    Sadly, I believe Americans are such supremely inept participants (consumers) in faux democracy that charlatan savants can have them hoodwinked. Get it good and hard.

  53. alex said on September 12, 2008 at 6:28 pm

    The Iraq War never passed the smell test. The Republicans really deserve a long time out for this.

  54. caliban said on September 12, 2008 at 6:34 pm

    Any discussion of invasion justification brings up W’s Daddy. Poppy actually sent a diplomatic envoy to Saddam to basically encourage him to redress the gross injury of 20 years worth of slant drilling of Iraqi oil by the Kuwaitis. Her name was April Glaspie. Nobody’s heard of her since.

    When it comes down to face to face, in politics, in illegitimate wars, in honest intellectual debate, Shrubs and McCain have a lot in common. Always the sleaze that says “Let’s you and him fight.”

  55. brian stouder said on September 12, 2008 at 6:50 pm

    a non-sequitur – I just heard that a 20′ storm surge may well go down the Houston ship channel. Hopefully the storm turns a bit – one thing that occurred to me, thinking of those casino ships that broke loose in Katrina, is that the battleship Texas might bust loose and go onto the San Jacinto battlefield.

    Here’s hoping that folks are out of the way in general

  56. moe99 said on September 12, 2008 at 7:54 pm

    Gasman, the reason for the Iraq war was an Oedipal complex pure and simple. Bush 2 has always wanted to show his dad who really has the cojones in the family and this was the perfect opporturnity because dad had to swallow it lock, stock and barrel. It was perfect revenge as far as W was concerned.

  57. Catherine said on September 12, 2008 at 8:02 pm

    Oil. The only reason that really makes any sense for this effing war. Follow the money, folks.

    All the more reason that a coherent, multi-faceted plan for achieving energy independence is near the top of my personal issues list. It’s not just economics; it’s national security, local jobs (see the exchange about ethanol, above) and the environment, all rolled into one lovely package. Too bad it’s easier to argue about pigs and lipstick.

  58. caliban said on September 12, 2008 at 8:09 pm

    Brian,

    I’d wonder more about the over under on transformers in their morte form as oil rigs washing up like horseshoe crab shells on my beach in Hilton Head. But maybe they aren’t actually there:

    http://www.newshounds.us/2008/07/23/fox_claims_there_are_no_drilling_rigs_in_the_gulf_of_mexico.php.

    Drilling is the perfect nexus for degenerative American politics. It obviously doesn’t make a lick of sense. Meantime, drilling is not quite so dangerous as storing nuclear power biproducts, which can’t be stored. Best slution so far: concrete. Plytobuum devours concrete. Before the cement trucks have finished dumping at the top of the decomissionning ramps, the trucks are degrading.

    You could try to explain this to McCain until hell froze. Anyway. The problem with what passes for political discourse is this spineless genetic moral decrepitude that causes otherwise decent reporters to handcuff an outright campaign lie to a mild defense and claim balance. Assholes. Pointing out that in the long run maybe Kerry pulled his crewmates out of harm’s way but some white buck seersucker Nixon buttboy made a bunch of bullshit up, and that was fair trade for W just japped on his Guard Commitment, well how was any of that fair, or balanced, or reality-based?

    Of course, at this point, chief Repubs have said “This isn’t about issues”. What’s it about, you assholes, mind control?

    I’d contend that American voters shat the bed in 2000 and 2004, but I don’t believe the majority did. Anybody that believes W won in Volusia County without blocking roadways, activating RR crossings, etc., and anybody that believes Scalia and his homunculus Clarence had no axe to grind, or knew what was going to happen ahead of time.

    How seriously do you take your vote for President? In 2004, voting irreguoarities in Cuyahoga County, after most of the votes were counted, lasted hours after the voting booths closed. Anybody that doesn’t thing that idiot psychophant Blackwell cheated is an idiot.

    I suppose that even though McCain is a ghoulish mindless hack, h get’s away with murder. In the area of Congressional investigations, McCain embraced Kerry, who really knows what he’s doing, prosecuting. Look. If you’re talking about inexcusable behavior, Raygun adnministration murdered priests, nuns, diplomats. They manipulated international markets and the ub=nternal oerations of actual governments. An aside: Boy in Reagan years, murdering nuns was just oneof those things. Here’s a deal. Well, Catholic

    They killed great men. They thought, I don’t know, they were greater? Actually, I doubt they thought they were greater. They killed Ateler. They blew up Omar Torrijos’s helicopter.

    I’d say. If you died in the wool conservatives had admitted W was a full-of-shit golem set forth by Project for the New
    American Century. Well Fuck You. Daniel Pipes? Cheney Pipeline? Ypu could all be gunned down for treason.

  59. Fritinancy said on September 12, 2008 at 8:14 pm

    Gasman, you had me at “she hasn’t just padded her resumé, she has had resumé enhancement surgery.”

    Maybe the “enhancement” was responsible for the poor posture. Beauty-pageantry standards must have fallen; “carriage” used to count for at least a couple of points.

    By the by, it looks like McCain has some odd notions about how to reassure us about his running mate’s qualifications. Check out the video here: http://verbatim.blogs.com/verbatim/2008/09/mccain-inserts-foot-into-own-mouth.html

  60. caliban said on September 12, 2008 at 8:29 pm

    So blow up sitting out there in the Gulf? Where do blind assholes like that get off?

  61. caliban said on September 12, 2008 at 8:45 pm

    She doesn’thave a resume. She falls short of Shelley Vincoueur. She is inexcusable. Dumbass piece of shit. If you want to consider looking across, I’d suggest Local Hero. This nitwitwouldn’t get it.

    Most of you actually believe in , I don’t know. I sure as shit don’t. You think Americans have brains? I sure as hell don’t. I think they’re so goddamn stupid it’s hard to understand.

  62. caliban said on September 12, 2008 at 8:48 pm

    Look, you idiots. Do we believe

  63. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 12, 2008 at 10:02 pm

    Alex — I’m still voting for McCain-Palin, but “The Iraq War never passed the smell test. The Republicans really deserve a long time out for this” constitutes the best, most straightforward and coherent argument for voting Obama-Biden i’ve seen here. The smell comes from a different septic tank, IMO, than you think, but “time outs” are a better reason to vote a party out than “they’re so goldarn stupid it’s hard to understand.”

    Putting a Dem in the White House alongside Pelosi and Reid scares me much more than McCain does, but “de gustibus non disputandum.” No disputing, but voting does operate according to taste — check out Paglia at Salon.com.

  64. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 12, 2008 at 10:03 pm

    C-ban, “Local Hero” is my favorite movie of almost any, ever; try that point again? I’ll listen close, i promise.

  65. Bruce Fields said on September 12, 2008 at 10:46 pm

    “Putting a Dem in the White House alongside Pelosi and Reid scares me”

    Why?

  66. beb said on September 12, 2008 at 10:47 pm

    This thread was a lot more belligerent when we weren’t supposed to be talking about Palin. Now that we’re supposed to only talk about Palin…. not so much fighting.

    Sadly, cornn is not a good choice for producing ethanol. It’s expensive to grow and is used for feedstock for cow, pigs and chickens. Diverting corn to ethanol jacks up our food prices. Brazilian sugar cane has a better return on investment because once the sugar has been squeezed out of the cane, the cane can be burnedto fuel the distillation process. In the US natural gas is used for distillation.

  67. Mosef said on September 12, 2008 at 11:07 pm

    You guys are all so sad.

  68. caliban said on September 12, 2008 at 11:11 pm

    Palin is inexcusable. Why does Charley Gibson buy into this absurd bullshit about deference? She has got to be kidding. You can’t make this up. Look. It’s one thing when she lied. Then she lied again. Then she lied her ass off. Like Happy Jack. Lied, lied, lied, lied, lied. It’s how they do. Liars. Bigtime liars. Revolting pieces of shit.

  69. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 12, 2008 at 11:39 pm

    Fairness Doctrine, Supreme Court justice nominations, abortion on demand as a civil right, further judicial involvement in pay and employment matters, taxes as default mode — all will whiz through if the exec and leg branches are both Dem locked, and judicial is nearly stable, teetering on Justice Kennedy.

    Mind you, i’m giving all good liberals further reason to actively support Obama, but thanks for asking. Must sleep, too many late nights watching TV (Olympics, conventions, Charlie making fool of self).

  70. Dexter said on September 13, 2008 at 12:12 am

    LA Mary…I hope none of your loved ones were on the train…

    http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-traincrash13-2008sep13,0,2874450.story

  71. MichaelG said on September 13, 2008 at 12:38 am

    What is this “smell test” y’all keep talking about? It only conjures up images of dogs sniffing assholes.

    Corn based ethanol is one of the worst scams ever sold to the American people. It’s expensive in energy and water to grow. It’s expensive in energy to transport, expensive in energy to convert and has far fewer BTUs than gas. You have to burn 20 gallons of the stuff to get what 15 gallons of gas will give you. It’s a loser all the way. Some of the various grasses may be viable ethanol sources if ADM and Cargill and their legions of lobbyists would allow their use which they won’t. In Brazil they use sugar cane waste products for ethanol. Stuff they were throwing away anyhow. Burning your food just isn’t smart.

    Jeff, I can’t for the life of me figure out just what it is you’re so smug about.

  72. Gasman said on September 13, 2008 at 12:50 am

    Jeff (tmmo),
    I have never understood the visceral loathing that conservatives have shown for Nancy Pelosi. She seems to have replaced Hillary Clinton as the recipient for pent up conservative rage. Why? She has proven to fairly timid when it comes to taking on the Republicans and has at best led an ineffectual Democratic controlled congress.

    In my opinion, she needs to grow a spine and actually inflict some pain on the Republicans to make them feel what it’s like to be on the receiving end of a truly controlled congress. She seems to like the idea of strong leadership, she just doesn’t seem to know how to provide it. She gets a C+ in my book. She has not been the scourge of the right, so why punish her so?

  73. Gasman said on September 13, 2008 at 1:09 am

    As I write this, Galveston is bracing for hurricane Ike. My wife and I have spent much time in Galveston and remember her, and her citizens very fondly. If you are the prayerful type, they sure could use yours right now. My thoughts and prayers go out to my coastal Texas friends. If you can, stay high and dry. Godspeed.

  74. brain stouder said on September 13, 2008 at 1:28 am

    michaelg says –

    Corn based ethanol is one of the worst scams ever sold to the American people. It’s expensive in energy and water to grow. It’s expensive in energy to transport, expensive in energy to convert and has far fewer BTUs than gas. You have to burn 20 gallons of the stuff to get what 15 gallons of gas will give you.

    but – that equation is shifting into the positive side, with continuing advances on utilization of cellulosic materials. The way I view it, we have spent generations subsidizing farmers to NOT grow crops; why the hell not mandate minimum ethanol blends, and subsidize further research, thereby opening new markets for farmers, while they grow all the crops they can? They already have the equipment and know-how to grow vast amounts of corn and I don’t begrudge them making some money.

    Agreed that we have a ways to go – but the only way to do it is to do it; and indeed, Senator Clinton’s and Senator Obama’s repeated references to green economic initiatives can be a deal-sealer for these farmers all across what would nominally be red-state farmland – so long as they are reminded that McCain is opposed to ethanol.

    Jeff – I apologize for what might be mistaken as a harsh tone, so trust me that I say this with a smile on my face(!) – but once again I have to call Bullshit Bullshit Bullshit on ya!!!

    Fairness Doctrine,

    what? I’m sick and tired of Rush Limbaugh (et al) – but Fairness Doctrine ain’t happenin’….although if McCain wins, the first thing Limbaugh will do is start hosing him down, and openly start hoping for the onset of our national Palindrome contest…and then McCain and the GOP may well hope for a bit of “Fairness”. Anyway – I have not seen Obama advocate for the Fairness Doctrine

    Supreme Court justice nominations,

    Again – who do you think McCain will nominate? All this “Maverik” malarky might just turn out to have some meaning afterall…such as with moderate Supreme Court nominations, such as will pass in the Democratically controlled Senate.

    abortion on demand as a civil right,

    What does this mean? Federal funding for abortion? Ain’t in the cards, bucko. The whole abortion canard is about as pertinent as arguing about returning to the gold standard, or de-funding public schools. In any case, we have elected a Republican president and a Republican congress at the same time for several years (ignominiously ending in 2006), and what did that get you? Was the abortion issue “advanced” either way? No. If you got your dream Supreme Court, and they struck down Roe V Wade, what would change? Nothing. That case took it out of state hands, and even a reversal would only return it to the states. Maybe a state or two actually would move to ban it again, but I bet not….or if they did, there would be an electoral uprising not seen since the anti-tax Republican wave that RWR rose to the White House. You cannot really be AGAINST government control of your life, and FOR it at the same time, can you?

    further judicial involvement in pay and employment matters

    What does this mean? You would allow discrimination based on gender or race? OSHA might be a sort of bogey-man, but on the other hand, one doesn’t have to look much past that coal mine catastrophe a year ago (with the company owner who physically looked like the groundhog character from Winnie the Pooh) to see that we will always need such agencies

    taxes as default mode

    well, being default anti-tax is penny wise and pound foolish, when one considers what its worth to have bridges that don’t fall down, and food and drugs that won’t kill us (or our pets), and a defense department that can defend us.

    By way of saying, Jeff, that the Republicans had me solidly 8 years ago (and still mostly, 4 years ago), and they realy had work to lose me.

  75. Dexter said on September 13, 2008 at 1:51 am

    If yas want an education on switchgrass-to-ethanol, RFD-TV has a lot of programming on the topic.
    Gasman, right on. Pelosi , why, you’d think she is an operative for Cheney, with her do-nothing Congress and her squelching of any talk to impeach Bush.
    We all know Bush had the veto power to stop any stop-the-war action, but none of the other measures were invoked other. Old Mike Gravel shouting about cloture last summer and all the fiery talk by Dennis Kucinich were dismissed as the work of kooks.
    It amazes me and is dismaying how USA citizens don’t talk about total withdrawal from Iraq immediately…we have been brainwashed to believe some good is taking place because of the US occupation of Iraq. Most folks simply refuse to believe the truth…they settle for fear-mongering of the Right.

  76. Jolene said on September 13, 2008 at 2:16 am

    Great response, Brian. Am just dropping in to post a couple of links re the selection of Palin and the remarkable response she has evoked. The first piece is a WaPo column by Marc Fisher based on his observations at a McCain-Palin rally in Northern Virginia this past week.

    Many of the people he talked to at the rally were attracted to Palin because she is just like them, not because she has specific experience of any kind or because she has demonstrated a specific kind of expertise or even because she has been demonstrably successful as a mayor and governor. Instead, they see her as an icon of a lifestyle that they share.

    In discussing his conversations with the people he met, Fisher focuses on changing conceptions of the role of expertise and experience, something that I’ve been thinking about a lot in relation to the election. Here’s the closing passage of Fisher’s column:

    “In this hyperdemocratized society, the national conviction that anyone can succeed is morphing into a belief that experience and knowledge may almost be disqualifying credentials.

    Like many at the rally, Victoria Robinson-Worst sees Palin’s lack of experience as an asset. “I know people who have experience who are totally incompetent,” said Robinson-Worst, who lives in Loudoun County, designs wedding flowers and raises two children. “And I know people who have no experience who step in and get it right. I mean, women can do amazing things.”

    This is where culture wars, identity politics and self-suffocating academic theories of deconstructionism have led us: Authority is suspect. Experience is corrupting. Ignorance is strength?

    Next will be “war is peace.” Or have we already heard that one?

    Yesterday, Fisher hosted a web chat focused mostly on this column. Check it out if you’re interested. You’ll see that the Post’s readers had a wide variety or reactions.

    Obviously, attraction to candidates has never been an entirely rational process, but the power of personal biography as opposed to a record of achievement in the case of Palin seems unusually strong. Is there anything new here? Is the Palin phenomenon only a worry to liberal academic snobs? Am interested in your thoughts.

  77. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 13, 2008 at 8:54 am

    Re: Fairness Doctrine —

    http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=27185

    Kerry and Durbin have called directly for a re-institution of it, and Obama has refused to state any position at all, which leads me to assume he will support and sign such legislation . . . which the FCC has said would have to be applied to the internet if instituted.

    Re: Abortion —

    Candidate Obama: “The first thing I’ll do as President is sign the Freedom of Choice Act.” What is the Freedom of Choice Act? Senator Barbara Boxer, co-sponsor of the bill, has said: “The Freedom of Choice Act supersedes any law, regulation or local ordinance that impinges on a woman’s right to choose. That means a poor woman cannot be denied the use of Medicaid if she chooses to have an abortion.” In other words, state governments and the federal government would be mandated to fund abortion with taxpayer money. (ht Justin Taylor)

    And my non-smug apologies to all women who hear this as bias, but most proposals for federal action on “equal pay for equal work” would end up creating myriad panels and appeal processes. Part of my skepticism on the whole librarian/trooper-boss dispute is how i’ve spent the last twenty years watching hours of management time and many public and non-profit dollars go into frivolous civil rights commission filings that took years to be rejected before full hearings, because the process — which i’m not advocating eliminating, please note — is so open to abuse by inept, incompetent, and disturbed employees fighting demotion or dismissal. An entire economy of lawyers and consultants has sprung up to manage a process that is meant to protect the weak but mainly benefits the canny.

    I’d say more, but my name is already on enough non-disclosures for settlement that i signed with clenched teeth, hearing just how much it would cost us to prevail, which we would have, but only after doing damage to our core mission as an agency. And the ones the city and county have had to sign for the same reasons . . . oy.

    The infrastructure initiative that Obama is proposing is something i wish only the best to him if a successful candidate; Palin’s whole Bridge to Nowhere point is letting federal funds like CDBG and transpo dollars go where local leadership knows it’s best needed, and not be designated, or “earmarked” in Washington to a particular contractor and sited for a particular developer. Yes, she “kept” the money — it looks to me like this is a point where Obama and Palin agree.

    Mmmm. Obama-Palin? Eh, guess that won’t happen, except in one of those funky Electoral College scenarios. Y’all do have Dec. 15 on your calendar, right?

  78. Linda said on September 13, 2008 at 9:02 am

    “Palin’s whole Bridge to Nowhere point is letting federal funds like CDBG and transpo dollars go where local leadership knows it’s best needed, and not be designated, or “earmarked” in Washington to a particular contractor and sited for a particular developer.

    Jeff, it’s touching that you believe that this would somehow be less corrupt. In truth, the money would not go to a necessarily better place, but a place/person/contractor with better local connections. The recent scandal in Chicago, in which state money has been sent, on the behest of a local pol, to a “tutoring” program where nobody is ever tutored, but where they work hard to re-elect the pol in question, is an example of this: http://newsblogs.chicagotribune.com/clout_st/2008/07/state-after-sch.html

    And, knowing how earmarking works, I have no doubt that’s how it works in Alaska.

  79. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 13, 2008 at 9:14 am

    So if the choice is only between local corruption and Washington corruption, i like DC’s flavor because . . .? In general, Chicago always an exception, it’s easier to vote mayors and county commissioners out for this stuff than it is incumbent senators and Dan Rostenkowskis. Push for transparency and support your local paper and put the decisions closer to home is still my pref’n.

    Somewhat germane to the heat and light hereabouts, thanks to a column this week on evangelicals in this year’s election season by Terry Mattingly —

    “Meanwhile, some Americans are getting confused and even angry about all of this, even though they admit that they know little or nothing about evangelicalism.

    According to surveys by Ellison Research of Phoenix, 36 percent of Americans polled indicate that they have no idea “what an evangelical Christian is” in the first place. Only 35 percent of all Americans believe they know “someone very well who is an evangelical,” while a stunning 51 percent are convinced they don’t know any evangelicals at all. On the left side of the aisle, some critics have grown hostile.

    One of the surprises of a new Ellison study is “how much abuse is aimed at evangelicals,” noted company president Ron Sellers. “Evangelicals were called illiterate, greedy, psychos, racist, stupid, narrow-minded, bigots, idiots, fanatics, nut cases, screaming loons, delusional, simpletons, pompous, morons, cruel, nitwits, and freaks, and that’s just a partial list. …

    “Some people don’t have any idea what evangelicals actually are or what they believe — they just know they can’t stand evangelicals.””

    * * *

    http://www.shns.com/shns/g_index2.cfm?action=detail&pk=RELIGION-FAITH-09-10-08

    I can only add to this that i think the only real “shifts” in the complex and diverse evangelical world politically are a) increased interest in the environment, but continued skepticism about environmentalism per se, b) a stronger, not weaker interest in abortion related legal questions, and c) a youth/younger ease on civil unions and less hyper-concern about same-sex marriage, but the same general resistance to creating full status equivalence with marriage (which i’ve kept saying here i think will be a moot point within ten years anyhow, marriage being handed back to churches and the governmental side being simple civil union contracts for terms in most states by 2018).

    My last media related point in this overlong pair of comments (and then i’m going to watch college football in the rain, yahoo!) is that they still say this borderline funny thing about places like Saddleback and Wasilla Bible — “looks like a warehouse.” No felt banners, no stained glass, and reporters don’t know what to call it, even though they’ve become common even in BosWash over the last twenty years. Talk about needing to explore the world; try visiting an evangelical church just once — you’ll find one within a few miles . . . looks like a warehouse.

    Danny, e-mail me if you want a funny story on warehouses and felt banners (sorry to everyone whose church has felt banners, which i’ve helped make myself a few times).

  80. nancy said on September 13, 2008 at 9:33 am

    Well, I know what an evangelical is, and we had quite a few of those warehouses in northeast Indiana. (Around the Pointes, the stone-and-felt-banner kind predominate. Ah, Episcopalians.) Here was my first lesson in how they roll:

    I’m in a jewelry store buying ink for my Mont Blanc pen, a foolish indulgence, a gift from my new boyfriend, who thought a writer should have a $150 pen. I buy ink in the plastic bottle. The clerk said, “Let me show you something,” and brought out a leaded-crystal inkwell, Baccarat I believe, with gold accents.

    “Mercy,” I said. “Who’s buying that?”

    “Just sold one to Rev. P—-,” he said, the Rev. P—- being one of those warehouse-keepers. I expressed shock that a man of God would fritter away the church’s money on such a thing. He rolled his eyes. “You don’t know Rev. P—-,” he said.

    I guess I didn’t. It was the first of many entertaining stories I heard about Rev. P—-, including his sanctuary lockdowns for special collections, his extravagant gifts to comely ladies he was trying to impress (I’m talking a new Ford Mustang for a shopgirl where he bought his suits), and, of course, the usual sexual-shenanigan stories, most of which were about his son, who was his second-in-command at the warehouse. Let me put it this way: The concept that blowjobs “aren’t sex” didn’t originate with Bill Clinton.

    Of course not all warehouse-keepers are like this. One runs the new No. 1 warehouse in town (the P’s church having melted down and split, in part over the congregation’s unpleasant discovery that they were obligated to pay Rev. P—-‘s six-figure salary until his death). He’s very big in the local GOP, as is his wife. They, too, believe in enjoying all of God’s bounteous gifts while still on this earthly plane. Their house burned down one night — very sad. Like many of the newly homeless, they had to rely on the kindness of strangers, but only until the stores opened. The paper interviewed Mrs. Warehouse the next day, restocking her household at? The Salvation Army? Target? No. Marshall Field.

    I’ve known enough evangelicals to know they’re not all of a piece, and I certainly believe you, Jeff, when you say you just barely cracked a five-figure income. But excuse me for rolling my eyes at these Gospel of Prosperity types who deliver the goods so efficiently for the GOP. Putting wealthy suburbanites on spiritual weight-loss diets so they can pass through the eye of a needle doesn’t really sound like God’s work to me.

  81. Danny said on September 13, 2008 at 10:06 am

    I agree whole-heartedly with you, Nancy, about the prosperity-gospel types. It’s a travesty.

  82. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 13, 2008 at 10:52 am

    Sure, but i’ll offer this thought experiment — i make a sterotyped observation about an ethnic/cultural minority, followed by three quick anecdotes “that i actually experienced” about members of said minority in line with said stereotypical behavior, tied up with a generalization about that group as a whole with a pro forma “but i know they’re not all like that.”

    I’d get sizzled, and rightly so, if i did that with Boravians or Alpine lepidopterists or Viola players (google “viola jokes” and laugh your rosin off). Still trying to be neither smug nor annoying, just persistent about keeping the guy lines tight on our happy little shelter from the storm here at NN.C.

  83. brian stouder said on September 13, 2008 at 11:04 am

    Hang onto the guy line, Jeff! You said Kerry and Durbin have called directly for a re-institution of it [the Fairness Doctrine], and Obama has refused to state any position at all, [emphasis added] which leads me to assume he will support and sign such legislation.

    Excuse me… (koffkoff bullshit koffkoff), but first, ANYTHING from Human Events immediately raises red flags. The folks at Human Events regularly send me junk e-mails*, offering FREE loads of bullshit, such as copies of Corsi’s anti-Obama pack of errors, insinuations, and outright lies; or Anne Coulter’s latest self aggrandizing polemic.

    Second, given Ms Palin’s Bush Doctrine schlomozzle, I wondered precisely what the Fairness Doctrine encompasses, and here is an interesting link.

    http://www.answers.com/topic/fairness-doctrine

    (an interesting passage from there: The fairness doctrine grew out of early regulation of the radio industry. As the medium of radio expanded in the 1920s, its chaotic growth caused problems: for one, broadcasters often overlapped on each other’s radio frequencies. In 1927, Congress imposed regulation with its passage of the Radio Act (47 U.S.C.A. § 81 et seq.). This landmark law established the Federal Radio Commission (FRC), reestablished in 1934 as the Federal Communications Commission. Empowered to allocate frequencies among broadcasters, the FRC essentially decided who could broadcast, and its mandate to do so contained the seeds of the fairness doctrine.

    See, Limbaugh (et al) can rail against Big Guvmint all he wants, but the broadcasting empire he thinks he built for himself in the “free market” world of broadcasting actually depends very much on Big Brother regulation and enforcement of “who can broadcast” on the public airwaves at specific frequencies)

    BUT THE MOST IMPORTANT POINT is, Third,

    BZZZZZT!!

    Jeff assumes that Obama supports a reimposition of the Fairness Doctrine, but he simply does not.

    http://www.broadcastingcable.com/article/CA6573406.html

    from the article:

    There may be some Democrats talking about reimposing the Fairness Doctrine, but one very important one does not: presumptive presidential nominee Barack Obama. The Illinois senator’s top aide said the issue continues to be used as a distraction from more pressing media business. “Sen. Obama does not support reimposing the Fairness Doctrine on broadcasters,” press secretary Michael Ortiz said in an e-mail to B&C late Wednesday. “He considers this debate to be a distraction from the conversation we should be having about opening up the airwaves and modern communications to as many diverse viewpoints as possible,” Ortiz added. “That is why Sen. Obama supports media-ownership caps, network neutrality, public broadcasting, as well as increasing minority ownership of broadcasting and print outlets.”

    *Today’s bit from them, with “Obama’s Ego” in the subject line: Dear Fellow Conservative, Our nation stands on the brink of taking a disastrous turn to the left. The choice we make today will shape generations to come. Every liberal special interest group from MoveOn.org to Big Labor to radical environmental extremists are laying it all on the line in 2008 with one goal in mind: handing a President Barack Obama a filibuster-proof Democrat Senate. They want to seize total control of our government.

    Good God!! The Horror!! The folks trying to win the November elections will….will….will TAKE OVER THE GOVERNMENT!!! AAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!

  84. alex said on September 13, 2008 at 1:15 pm

    Jeff, I wasn’t aware the Dems were planning to federally preempt local efforts to limit abortion, but then it wouldn’t surprise me either.

    On the other hand, the Republicans have intervened federally to allow pharmacists the right to inject their personal beliefs into the dispensation of birth control. The pro-life movement appears to have a much broader agenda than the simple altruistic mission of saving lives. I’ve long felt that if they were really serious about that which they claim is the cornerstone of their movement, then they would welcome sex education, which would go a long way toward eliminating the taking of said lives, and they’d be unequivocally in favor of birth control.

    If they want to micromanage pregnancy at the microscopic level, then they’re injecting their religious beliefs way too far into public policy, as well as into the bodies of women who very much resent it.

  85. LA Mary said on September 13, 2008 at 2:10 pm

    Dexter, thanks for your concern. My kids usually take that train to see their dad on weekends, but older son has started college and has a Saturday morning class, so no Friday trip to dad’s this weekend. They would have been on that route, but probably on the next train because my sons don’t get their stuff together fast enough to be on the 3:35.
    I’m sure they will find more fatalities on that train, since the engine was driven into the first passenger car about two thirds of the way. I’m concerned about some of colleagues since the hospital where I work has a shuttle to the metrolink station in Burbank, and lots of employees take it. The train originated at 3:35 in downtown LA, and would have been in Burbank, one or two stops before where the crash happened, around 4:15. Lots of folks leave a little early on Fridays if they are not on the clock, so I’m keeping good thoughts for my coworkers.

  86. Gasman said on September 13, 2008 at 2:27 pm

    What horrific fate would befall this nation if a Democrat returned to the White House? Don’t even try and trot out that Tax-and-Spend bullshit, because we all know it is a canard meant to reflexively invoke fear. As I recall, the last time we had a Democratic president, we had a robust economy and a balanced budget and actual job creation. Oh, our constitutional rights were also intact. Was there anything positive that we have had during the last 4 elected Republican presidencies? If we are tallying horrors, I’d say that the Republicans have decisively trumped the Democrats.

  87. brian stouder said on September 13, 2008 at 4:27 pm

    Well, aside from Gospel of Prosperity types, we have Gospel of Manufactured Housing types, like this place (northwest of Houston)….which hopefully didn’t get washed away by Ike

    http://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/8196

    The CEM (Creation Evidence Museum), opened in 1984, proudly bills itself as a “scientifically chartered museum.” Its founder and director, Carl Baugh, Ph.D., sees it as a natural extension of his life’s work — to topple Darwin’s theory of evolution by proving that people and dinosaurs lived together. Dr. Baugh (whose doctorate, it should be noted, is in Philosophy and is from a correspondence college in Australia) is a 66-year-old Baptist minister who — miraculously, perhaps — still has a full head of thick, brown hair.

    but on the other hand, a biblical-scale flood might be just what they’re looking for –

    The Deluge is important to the Creation Evidence Museum, because, despite its attempts to cite really big men with really big feet who have lived in our lifetimes — Shaquille O’Neal and an eight-foot-tall guy wearing “a suit we made for him” are mentioned — Dr. Baugh’s main justification for his giant human footprints is that every human who lived before the biblical flood was a giant. To prove this, the museum is building a suitably titanic “hyperbaric biosphere,” in which it hopes to reproduce “Earth’s original pre-Flood environment” — lots of oxygen, lots of atmospheric pressure — and grow dinosaurs.

  88. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 13, 2008 at 4:29 pm

    Pharmacists shouldn’t have a “personal” option, any more than i should as a juvenile court employee have a “personal” option to specifically forbid abortion as an option during a mediation. My supervisor and i (she is not a Christian, btw) discuss this often, and we work carefully with how to properly deal with family pressures to abort and not to abort in a juvenile’s life. Tricky, but my job is not to press for or refuse to serve in situations where the subject comes up, and i think it fair to extend the same expectation to pharmacists . . . requiring Catholic hospitals to provide such services gets into more complicated areas of ethics and policy (except see the Grove City College option, which makes it simple again).

    But from what Palin has said, i think she’d agree that an ethical, professional pharmacist should dispense, or find a different job if they can’t deal with that issue coming up, or just remember no one can stop you from saying a prayer for that person quietly after they leave. Or as i use for my sig file, “Live your faith, share your life.” Be loving, and be gentle, because you don’t know the whole story, even (especially!) when you think you did.

    To completely contradict myself — wouldn’t the Creation Evidence Museum getting washed away by a flood be a total hoot? Without fatalities, of course. God is an Iron.

  89. Jim said on September 13, 2008 at 5:09 pm

    Nancy, I grew up in Rev. P’s church. All I can say is that you’re right.

  90. Catherine said on September 13, 2008 at 5:55 pm

    Mary, I’m sending hopes and prayers out for your colleagues and everyone on that train.

    Jeff, this has been bugging me since last night, your thing about “abortion on demand as a civil right.” Last I checked, it IS a legal right in this country, as in most of the civilized world. Leaving aside moral issues, which I’m sure we could have an interesting conversation about, allow me to ask you some purely pragmatic questions. Do you really think you can turn the clock back on this right? Do you think it’s a good idea to drive this practice underground? And do you think we should try to legislate our way out of this and other moral dilemmas?

  91. Suzi said on September 13, 2008 at 6:09 pm

    “Last I checked, it IS a legal right in this country, as in most of the civilized world.”

    Why do you think it’s wrong to terminate a pregnancy, Jeff?

  92. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 13, 2008 at 7:22 pm

    For starters —
    http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=there-are-more-boys-than-girls

    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Asian_Economy/FH05Dk01.html

    Add in 90% of all Down Syndrome diagnoses aborted in the US for the last ten years (citations frequent at nytimes.com the last two weeks for some reason), and you’ll see the source of my unease. I don’t, never have, aren’t likely to support the Human Life Amendments i’ve seen bandied about because, like a good conservative, i have a healthy respect for the Law of Unintended Consequences. I don’t think a three week embryo is absolutely morally equivalent to a thirteen year old, just as the law makes note of variation in a crime of passion versus premeditation, or of a 99 year old’s killing by medical negligence versus a drunken accident killing a pregnant 23 year old mother of two. We don’t want to say one life is worth more than another, but in justice we do it effectively all the time.

    What most of the largely unmeasured middle believe about pre-born life is not that we think fetuses are of the exact same value as a three year old, but we believe the law should hold that they have some value — which some object to — and that we currently have set that value a bit too low, especially on the more viable end of fetal human life, and the effects of that imbalance have impacts all through society.

    Catherine, this is not an issue i intend to flail about with much ’round these parts, but it does go to why my pref’n is towards McCain-Palin, and against Obama-Biden. Obama voted specifically against protecting an infant “accidentally” born during a botched abortion, and enough nurses have told me, horror on their faces, about such events to convince me that this legislation is not political posturing, which has been the Illinois dismissal of the bill and part of Obama’s defense of voting against it three times.

    But when folks say “why do you think a fertilized ovum is the same value as a living person,” my answer (nb: clearly, i’m not a Catholic or in the running to be a bishop!) is that i don’t, but i think they have *some* human value, and the “right” claimed by some under Roe v. Wade is that no rights truly accrue until birth — and Obama’s votes would add “an approved birth.” Rick Warren didn’t (DIDN’T) ask Obama or McCain when life began, he asked “when does a fetus get human rights?”

    That question is still in play, and this election is part of the debate. Unrestricted abortion throughout a pregnancy is what i resist, to which you may fairly tell me “then don’t get anyone pregnant.” Fair enough, but don’t make me pay for it, either.

  93. brian stouder said on September 13, 2008 at 7:37 pm

    I don’t think a three week embryo is absolutely morally equivalent to a thirteen year old

    I agree with you, but McCain flatly disagrees with both of us, Jeff. Remember that snap answer he gave?

    Rick Warren didn’t (DIDN’T) ask Obama or McCain when life began, he asked “when does a fetus get human rights?”
    That question is still in play, and this election is part of the debate.

    In all seriousness, I cannot help but view this statement (or exclamation!) of yours as a distinction without a difference.

    Afterall, how can “human rights” be extended to a being whose human life has not yet begun? And yet McCain didn’t hesitate for one nanosecond, nor did he elucidate his snap answer….and yet many right wing lip flappers wasted no time criticizing Obama for a lame joke (“above my pay grade” – which should have appealed to the het-the-government-off-my-back conservatives) as he formulated a more thoughtful answer than McCain would ever hope to!

    But, as my man Barack says, “Enough!”

  94. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 13, 2008 at 8:06 pm

    ‘Scuse, that second link should have been — http://www.cbc.ca/correspondent/060416.html — my files are in piles on my desktop as shoddily as they are in reality.

    Brian, i’m arguing that rights *do* begin at conception, but their import shifts over time, just as they do between a young person killed by negligence and an elderly person who dies from a med error. Ask any doctor or risk manager after the third highball and they’ll tell you, or any sober lawyer. Ever seen the beginning of “A Civil Action”?

    This is the tone deafness that sets in with abortion debates, and why i tend to avoid them. I can say that rights begin at conception, but not treat a fetal death exactly the way i would an infant, a teen, an adult, and not think i’m being morally incoherent. A good Catholic moral theologian would disagree, as do you. Pro-choice logic is usually rooted in “no rights until birth” and then they are also absolute and unvarying . . . until and unless you start talking about “quality of life,” which is determined by . . . ahhh, i’m just not going there. Buckeye meltdowns can be fun to watch when it isn’t a Tuesday night in early November.

  95. Jolene said on September 13, 2008 at 8:28 pm

    Here’s a new article about Palin’s governance, both as mayor and governor. Scary.

  96. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 13, 2008 at 8:52 pm

    Good thing Biden never did a thing for the credit card industry in Delaware a’tall, or helped any family members or friends get jobs.

    D’y’all notice the running theme in these stories — how dare McCain and Palin keep putting people into management jobs who didn’t come up through the system, but are hiring people they know, from smaller or different settings rather than life employees of the same agency?

    Here’s a free one, really — tee off on McCain taking economic advice from Carly Fiorina, who dismantled HP from a going concern to a half-value sale-table cast-off.

    OTOH, they have Douglas Holtz-Eakin up in Wasilla giving Palin her economic policy and programs orientation right now (just heard an interview on NPR where they closed with that little factoid). He’s top notch for sensible, steady growth policy making, and he sees a rational health care policy (albeit not single payer national) as the most important competitiveness issue for American business in the next few years. Fiorina and Romney, yecchhh. Holtz-Eakin, ooh-rah.

  97. Jolene said on September 13, 2008 at 9:08 pm

    Right now, CNN is running back-to-back specials on Palin and Biden, as they did w/ Obama and McCain last weekend.

  98. Jolene said on September 13, 2008 at 9:38 pm

    It wasn’t so much her appointments that put me off, Jeff, as the secretiveness and vindictiveness. I sense a meanness in her. That’s the scary part.

  99. Joe Kobiela said on September 13, 2008 at 9:50 pm

    A few thoughts,
    As far as Palin being a Governor, so was Carter, Regan. and Clinton.
    Abortion, personally I am against it, but morally I figure it is not my call, but I don’t think the government should pay for it.
    Sex ed, I don’t give a rat’s ass what you teach, I don’t think it is the school system responsibility to teach sex ed to your kids, that should be the PARENTS responsibility.
    The problem is the way we glorify unwed pregnancy. I know unwed mothers have been around for all times, but it still dosn’t make it right. Some one a few day’s ago called Palins new grandchild a bastard baby,well guess what? so are all the other left wing actress kids, including Murphy Brown’s years ago, but no the Hollywood ilk glorify it. Was Mccain a hero for getting shot down? No, he was a hero for the way he lived and acted for the next 5.5 years as a pow. As far as the so called trooper gate in Alaska goes, the guy tazered his 10 year old, he should have been fired.
    I am going to keep a open mind for the next few weeks on this race, and try to look at it from both sides, hope you do the same.
    Living the aviation dream,
    Joe

  100. coozledad said on September 14, 2008 at 8:44 am

    I suppose by some of this logic we should be looking at cliff-diving presidential nominees, or stock car drivers, or skateboarders. Even if they happen to be borderline psychotic alcoholics.
    But McCain has nothing to do with it, really, does he? Hell, you could even put someone on a ticket solely because they didn’t get many pimples in high school, and the party faithful still understand what it’s about. It’s about foetuses, negros and above all, those remaining taxpayer funded programs that have yet to be looted. Social Security, the FDIC.
    The Republican eutopian vision is rooted in inequity. The freedom that unrestrained economic disparity alone can provide is what they mean when they’re chanting USA, USA.
    Couple that with a latent fascination for torture and militarism, and you’re begging for a Charles Taylor style government. The preening religiosity is just a slick lardy icing on the whole rotten cake.

  101. Suzi said on September 14, 2008 at 12:20 pm

    So if some kind of rights begin at the moment of conception, uh, how does government get inside the woman’s body to ascribe, protect, legislate, enforce etc. those “rights”? Are you going to require some sort of registration with the local medical/legal authorities with each pregnancy test?

    Potential for viable personhood is not the same as personhood.

    Palin would not allow any other woman the right that she had the benefit of to choose whether or not to deliver a Downs baby.

  102. Suzi said on September 14, 2008 at 12:23 pm

    More on Palin — her Cheneyesqe governing style:

     
     http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26691018/

  103. Suzi said on September 14, 2008 at 12:30 pm

    I remember Rev P and his big fancy cars and his offsprings’ sporty little cars and their love for living large, oft seen dining & wining at the pricey local eateries, all this after having the audacity to take up multiple collections at church services if one didn’t deliver enough cash. And his followers would say in dripping, maudlin tones, “Oh pastor works so hard, God wants him to have fill-in-the blank.”

  104. moe99 said on September 14, 2008 at 5:56 pm

    So Jeff, abortion tops the economy for you? We appear to be headed for a huge economic meltdown w/ $800 billion in debt to foreign countries (read China) for the Iraq war with the likely bill to be trillions upon trillions?

    Perhaps you want all these unwanted babies to be born so they can shoulder some of the debt we are leaving to our children and their children? (only said slightly tongue in cheek)

    Are you also opposed to birth control pills as a form of abortion? IUDs?

  105. moe99 said on September 14, 2008 at 8:27 pm

    http://angrybear.blogspot.com/2008/09/roubini-and-bail-in-this-weekend.html

    I’m back from our church retreat weekend and it seems nothing has changed it’s only getting worse. Here’s a taste of the above article:

    Roubini and the Bail-in this weekend

    Eloquent plea to watch the happenings and interpret the results for today. I cannot say it better….rdan

    If Lehman collapses expect a run on all of the other broker dealers and the collapse of the shadow banking system

    Nouriel Roubini | Sep 13, 2008

    It is now clear that we are again – as we were in mid- March at the time of the Bear Stearns collapse – an epsilon away from a generalized run on most of the shadow banking system, especially the other major independent broker dealers (Lehman, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs). If Lehman does not find a buyer over the weekend and the counterparties of Lehman withdraw their credit lines on Monday (as they all will in the absence of a deal) you will have not only a collapse of Lehman but also the beginning of a run on the other independent broker dealers (Merrill Lynch first but also in sequence Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley and possibly even those broker dealers that are part of a larger commercial bank, I.e. JP Morgan and Citigroup). Then this run would lead to a massive systemic meltdown of the financial system. That is the reason why the Fed has convened in emergency meetings the heads of all major Wall Street firms on Friday and again today to convince them not to pull the plug on Lehman and maintain their exposure to this distressed broker dealer……

    The reason why Lehman is having a hard time to find a buyer is that it is most likely insolvent. If you had to mark to market the value of it illiquid and toxic assets (the $40 billion of commercial real estate assets, its remaining residential MBS and CDOs, its holdings of real estate private equity funds) Lehman is most likely insolvent (i.e. has negative net worth with liabilities well above its impaired assets). So leaving aside the potential and now dubious value of its franchise (an option to the value of a much slimmed down financial institution) no financial institution should be paying even a single penny to buy an insolvent firm. That is why all the potential suitors of Lehman (such as Bank of America and others) are waiting for the government to provide another sleazy Bear Stearns deal where the government would buy at higher than market value the toxic assets of Lehman (the commercial real estate assets for example) so as to make the net worth of the remaining institution positive and worth buying. But such action – borderline illegal in the case of Bear as pointed out by Paul Volcker – would be a scandal in the case of Lehman and severely exacerbate the moral hazard problem.

    But here lies the conundrum of this Lehman crisis: no one seems to want to buy for a positive price Lehman unless there is a public subsidy (taking off their toxic assets off the firms’ balance sheet). The government cannot afford to provide the subsidy as the moral hazard problems are becoming severe. But then if on Monday no deal is done Lehman collapses and goes into Chapter 11 court and you have the beginning of a systemic financial meltdown as the run on the other broker dealers will start. Thus, what Fed and Treasury are trying to do this weekend is another 1998 LTCM bailin or Korea 1997 bailin, i.e. trying to convince all the major institutions to either support a purchase of Lehman or maintain their exposure to Lehman if no buyers is found. Can this bail-in work? It is not clear as there is a major collective action problem: you can’t only convince half a dozen major Wall Street firms to maintain their exposure to Lehman. You need also to convince all the other counterparties of Lehman (including the hedge funds and the other broker dealers and banks) not to roll off their claims and credit to Lehman. This is a much more messy collective action problem and coordination game than in the case of LTCM and Korea where the number of involved counterparties was more limited (less than 20 in each case).

    Paulson and Bernanke and Geithner (the troika managing this financial crisis) have all made public statements in the last few month to the necessity of finding an orderly way to close down – rather than bailout – a major and systemically important non bank financial institutions: the embarrassment and losses for the Fed that the bailout of the creditors of Bear led made it paramount to avoid another Bear like bailout. That is why they are now playing tough with Lehman and its creditors. But in this game of chicken the Fed and the Treasury may end up being the ones to blink. Faced with the risk of a generalized run on the other broker dealers they may decide that greasing again a deal for the purchase of Lehman may be less costly and less risky than testing whether the system can orderly work out a collapse of Lehman (something that is highly uncertain). Even in the case of the Bank of America purchase of Countrywide such public subsidy was significant (the FHLB of Atlanta lent to Countrywide over $50 billion and Bank of America has most likely received plenty of tacit forbearance from the Fed to support its takeover of an insolvent Countrywide). So implicitly or explicitly the Fed and the Treasury may decide – however reckless and moral hazard laden that choice may be – to provide some explicit or implicit subsidy to a private purchase of Lehman.

    The trouble is that, in spite of all public statements regarding the need to provide an orderly demise of large broker dealers, the Fed and the Treasury have done nothing to create such insolvency regime for such broker dealers. So the only option for Lehman – if a buyer is not found – will be the one of ending up in Chapter 11 and trigger massive losses on its counterparties that will in turn trigger a run on such counterparties….

    Read the whole damn thing and then let’s think about who is going to be the candidate who will best grasp what is going on here and figure out how to tackle it. Keeping in mind that the architect of this disaster, Phil Gramm (who was responsible for the deregulation that permitted this to come to pass) is back in McCain’s highest levels advising him on economic issues. And probably trying to cover his weiny little ass as well.

    I don’t think McCain has the brain cells to comprehend what is going on here.

  106. Catherine said on September 14, 2008 at 8:30 pm

    Jeff, I think we agree about 98% on the abortion issue. Here’s why I asked the abortion question, above. I’m trying to understand how Rove and his ilk have managed to make this such a wedge issue.

    Legally, as I understand it, Roe v. Wade is basically settled law. There are maybe 2 Supremes who would strike it down, and all that would do is send it back to the states. Meanwhile, both raw numbers and rates have been dropping — my guess is because of the magic combination of better social supports and negative social pressure. So why is this a political issue? Very little is going to change legislatively. The question of when rights accrue is an important one, and I think thoughtful grownups could find much common ground on that.

    I guess it just pains me that this essentially moot issue is being used by the Roves of this world to divide voters; and more so that it is used to redirect discussion of really serious topics that the government *can* and *ought* to do something about, as moe points out above.

  107. coozledad said on September 14, 2008 at 9:09 pm

    I’m no financial analyst, thank God (because I suspect many of them are preparing to be rousted from their homes and burned alive by angry mobs), but the bond market will be safe enough until you can convert your holdings into dried beans and fruit. Keep in mind these will be trading at prices close to platinum futures, at least until the invisible hand of the market and widespread starvation reminds key investment strategists that you can’t fucking eat platinum.

  108. brian stouder said on September 14, 2008 at 10:06 pm

    del posted a link on the ‘Saturday Morning Market’ thread (above) to a very interesting NYT article on Sarah Palin….highly reommended reading!

    Here’s a funny nugget from right near the beginniing

    When Ms. Palin had to cut her first state budget, she avoided the legion of frustrated legislators and mayors. Instead, she huddled with her budget director and her husband, Todd, an oil field worker who is not a state employee, and vetoed millions of dollars of legislative projects.

    And four months ago, a Wasilla blogger, Sherry Whitstine, who chronicles the governor’s career with an astringent eye, answered her phone to hear an assistant to the governor on the line, she said.“You should be ashamed!” Ivy Frye, the assistant, told her. “Stop blogging. Stop blogging right now!”

    Maybe if McCain had picked Mark Souder (who is, come to think of it, a lot like a male equivalent of Sarah Palin), The Proprietress would have gotten a similar “Stop blogging!! Stop blogging right now!!” phone calls!!

    Maybe this is what the McCain campiagn means by the the 3 in the morning phone call…they’re ready to MAKE those calls!

    Aside from that – I agree 110% with moe; we are in a serious set of rocky rapids, regarding the financial system, and I am not at all sanguine about John McCain’s flatly acknowledged economic ignorance, nor Sarah Palin’s proudly asserted commitment to bullet-point dogma, as opposed to more thoughtful approaches to complex problems.

    Barack Obama has brains, and he ain’t afraid to openly use ’em.

    One almost gets the impression that dogmatic, “government is always wrong”, do-nothing conservatives (who might also use that enigmatic term from moe’s post above: “moral hazard”) would just as soon let the damned system implode, for some ideologically pure reason.

    But financial panics and market crashes (which we used to have all the time, a century and more ago) – while they may not present the “moral hazard” of bailing out people we’d rather see take a hit – also decimate small and mid-sized businesses, and the people who depend on them, and cause years of turmoil and needless suffering generally….and that leaves aside the ‘opportunity costs’ incurred when people with good products and ideas simply cannot go to market as quickly as they would have (if they can get there at all) absent the panic.

    McCain would turn to Charlie Black or (as moe reminds us) Phill Gramm, and get bad advice, which he would implement. And Sarah Cipher Palin…??? What would she do?

    Maybe she’d think long and hard, and refer back to leading economists from where she went to school, and carefully formulate an action plan, which she would then articulate to the nation, in a generally calm and reassuring way.

    Maybe

  109. beb said on September 14, 2008 at 10:12 pm

    Your mileage may vary but here’s the thing about “evangelicals” for me . These are the people who picket the funerals of slain American soldiers, claiming they deserved to die because of America’s support of equal rights for gays and lesbians. These are the people who murder doctors because they preform abortions. Burn down clinics, fill them still stinking liquids, harass the people who work at family planning clinics even though these clinics provide many services for women besides abortions. These are the people who, because they do not believe in birth control, believe that no one should have birth control, or because they do not believe in sex education (ie family planning) believes that no one should be taught sex education. Evangelicals are so upset about that they don’t want girls innoculated with the HPR anti-virus.

    Evangelicals believe that 9/11 happened because of gays and homosexuals. They believe that they can pray away hurricanes, homosexuality, drought….

    These are the people who believe the world was created less than 10,000 years ago and that dinosaurs road on Noah’s Ark. All the evidence that the world has existed for billions of years is waved away. These are the people who refuse to believe in evolution because it contradicts a book whose origins can’t be traced back more than 2/3 of its probably existence. These people are willfully ignorant, profoundly bigoted, profoundly hypocritical. They so totally fail to understand Jesus’s teachings that if he were to come back today, he’d turn around and walk away.

    That’s what evangelicals are to me.

  110. Danny said on September 14, 2008 at 11:23 pm

    Well, you’re wrong, but do you need a tissue?