A silver lining.

Please, God, could it be true? The NYT, today:

After years of flooding Americans with credit card offers and sky-high credit lines, lenders are sharply curtailing both, just as an eroding economy squeezes consumers.

I realize there’s a hardship factor to this, that many Americans rely on plastic to pull them through dark times, but I’ve never been one of them, for which I’m thankful. I carry a balance from time to time, but never for longer than a few months. So when you tell me I may soon see fewer credit-card offers in the mail, this is good news to me. Although I suspect I won’t. Whenever I pay off a balance in full, I can usually look forward to another sheaf of offers arriving in the mail within a few weeks. You’d think paying off a card would send the message, “Done with credit, thanks,” but the industry hears, “Send me some more cards; I just don’t have enough.” Funny how that works.

Some months back, I did a story on credit cards for a business magazine, and had the refreshing experience of talking to an honest spokesman for the plastic industry, the sort of woman you might call “flinty.” As I trotted the array of complaints consumer advocates have against credit-card companies, she batted them away like big fat pitches over the middle, but one phrase stood out: “It’s an unsecured loan, what do you expect?” Meaning, if you’re willing to take out a loan to eat a nice dinner, you should expect to be nickel-and-dimed over it.

(As for me, I find it helps to think of what and where that restaurant meal will be in 24 hours. It almost always settles the credit-or-debit-card debate for me.)

I usually stay away from topics like this, because the comments swiftly devolve into self-administered back-patting and accusatory finger-pointing, perhaps at some neighbor or friend who abuses plastic. My sister said she knew mortgages were a scam when a friend was able to get a 100 percent mortgage, plus a five-figure sum in cash to pay off her Visa and MasterCard balances. That suggests a truly insane societal attitude toward debt. So in the comments, refrain from self-praise and tell us a time when you used plastic creatively, when it saved your life, or when you scammed the creditor, instead of vice versa. (Another story from my sister was about another friend who took out a zero-interest card for a full year, immediately got a four-figure cash advance, bought a one-year certificate of deposit, let it simmer for its term, cashed it in, paid off the card and pocketed the interest. She did this every year and used the profits for Christmas shopping. Yeah, too crazy for me, but if you have the fortitude…

Because it’s Halloween week, some scary bloggage today:

Hey, gents! Go to your happy place before you read this. Ah, medical-news research turns up some gems sometimes.

I don’t watch those “Real Housewives” shows. Maybe I should:

In the first episode, a shopgirl convinced Sheree to buy a purse by alleging that the cowhide—or snakeskin, or raptor pelt, whatever it was—had been treated with Botox. I dare you to imagine what the aesthetic qualities of a product boasting such a selling point might be. And I am secure in the knowledge that Sheree, owning one, knows that she’s better than me. “I was upper-middle-class growing up,” she says, “but I left that behind.”

One week from today, we’ll be post-election. Hold that thought.

Posted at 10:50 am in Current events |
 

81 responses to “A silver lining.”

  1. LA Mary said on October 29, 2008 at 11:12 am

    The Real Housewives of Atlanta makes one yearn for the depth and intellectualism of the Real Housewives of Orange County. It’s that bad.

  2. Jeff Borden said on October 29, 2008 at 11:19 am

    For those of us of a certain age, there was a time when using a credit card paid dividends in two ways. The first, of course, was immediate gratification, but at one time, you also were allowed to claim credit card interest as a deduction on your IRS filings. If, like me, you were childless and renting an apartment, it was about the only write-off available. So, I carried a fairly sizable balance figuring, in essence, the Feds were helping me pay off my debts.

    The rules were changed many years ago to eliminate that deduction and then the interest on credit card debt became nothing but a burden.

    I’ve always thought these pieces of plastic should be called “debt cards.” Perhaps more consumers would then realize that every time they were used they were adding more debt. Or, maybe not.

  3. brian stouder said on October 29, 2008 at 11:24 am

    Hey, gents! Go to your happy place before you read this

    Good God!! I mean – Goood Gaaawwwd!!

    Forget your happy place; that article is just horrible! (I think the stench when his stiches burst was referred to three times as “horrible” – but I ain’t re-reading it to count!)

    Election? What election? (or in his case – No Erections, for pity sakes!) Although come to think of it, the McCain campaign might grab hold of this guy’s penis as just the tool to illuminate what happens with “socialized medicine”

    (sort of a Joe the Plumber for the nether regions)

  4. Connie said on October 29, 2008 at 11:59 am

    You got it Brian, Goood Gaaawwwd!! Far worse than my brother’s very painful swollen experience. I should have skipped that link.

  5. nancy said on October 29, 2008 at 12:05 pm

    But kudos to the Brits for allowing the quote “I can’t get a hard-on” into the paper!

  6. whitebeard said on October 29, 2008 at 12:16 pm

    I loved all those credit card offers in the old days, especially the ones with the thick plastic card with your name embossed on it instead of those cheap, filmsy cards they are using these days.
    Why? Because you could use the thick card to scrape a light coating of frost off your car’s windshield. It surely beat hunting for the regular scraper on a dark morning in The Soo.
    Nowadays I save up my old credit and debit cards, hammer out the name and number and erase the magnetic strip. It will be handy today if I go out because we had our first snow last night, nothing like the electricity-shedding storm further south, in New Jersey, but still snow, nevertheless.
    The winter of our financial discontent will soon be upon us in full force and I will need many more scrapers.
    I am trying to write a freelance story about auto leasing and my lead paragraph seems to change every day as the automotive world is shaking and is shaken.

  7. whitebeard said on October 29, 2008 at 12:20 pm

    The Brits view some words as less taboo than we do. My British-born co-worker had to suggest to her mother who was a volunteer in a local hospital that she stop using the phrase “Keep your pecker up” as she said goodbye to male patients she was visiting.
    In Britain, this would mean “keep your chin up” because pecker is slang for mouth. I don’t imagine that pucker up your pecker for a kiss would be used much here in the U.S. either, at least not in seemingly polite circles.

  8. del said on October 29, 2008 at 12:47 pm

    whitebeard, pucker your pecker? That’s rich. Reminds me of my days in landcaping when a leering young man on our crew spoke admiringly of a passing woman’s backside. He called it a “nice pooper.” Ewwww.

  9. del said on October 29, 2008 at 12:48 pm

    Ah, the Soo. Where lonely sailors take refuge with madame mitigation at Hannah’s.

  10. beb said on October 29, 2008 at 1:06 pm

    (Another story from my sister was about another friend who took out a zero-interest card for a full year, immediately got a four-figure cash advance, bought a one-year certificate of deposit, let it simmer for its term, cashed it in, paid off the card and pocketed the interest….)

    With credit card interest running typically 16% I can’t imagine any CD’s offering interest high enough to pay off the cash advance and the interest and leave any cash on hand for Xmas shopping.

  11. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 29, 2008 at 1:35 pm

    “One week from today, we’ll be post-election.”

    From your keyboard to God’s ears . . . i’m not so sure. Maybe by 1:30 pm on Wednesday. But i’m more sure McCain’s team has a concession speech written (and in third draft) than Obama does.

    Of course, years from now, the manuscript of the “unused Obama concession speech” will be worth a tidy sum!

  12. John said on October 29, 2008 at 1:51 pm

    Are we going to engage in a little EV predicting? By 10 Eastern, I don’t believe that there will be any doubt as to who won.

  13. beb said on October 29, 2008 at 2:00 pm

    Remember that in 2004 John Kerry was winning until late afternoon when suddenly something changed. With so many forms of electronic ballot reading and or voting it is possible to make the numbers come out to anything you want — the goal being to win large enough to avoid a recount yet not so large as to be suspicious in and of itself. So until McCain concedes anything is possible.

  14. Jolene said on October 29, 2008 at 2:06 pm

    I think it will be earlier than that, John. The polls in Virginia and Florida close at 7 PM. If McCain loses either of those states, it’s very unlikely he will win the election. Also, the Indiana polls close at the same time. Obama is less likely to win there, but it’s presently tied. If he did win in Indiana, it’d be all over.

  15. Jolene said on October 29, 2008 at 2:07 pm

    It was only the exit polls that were in question in 2004, beb, not the election results.

  16. alex said on October 29, 2008 at 2:08 pm

    If you think that church sign in Harlan isn’t a barometer of Hoosier stupidity, check this out:

    http://www.news-sentinel.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20081029/NEWS/810290358

    Gun store owners are having a banner year thanks to the demagogues who’ve convinced crazy people that Obama’s going to outlaw guns. Just what the world needs — more nut jobs armed to the teeth.

  17. Gasman said on October 29, 2008 at 2:12 pm

    As if all the other incidences of the corruption and hubris of the Republicans were not enough, there is this gem in todays WaPo:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/10/28/AR2008102803090.html

    I’ve already written to the entire NM congressional delegation as well as the entire Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. If enough outraged voters bitch and moan, maybe this cynical attempt by the fattest hogs to take one more pass at the public trough can be stopped.

    Why am I supposed to be convinced that the Republican Party offers anything except graft, lying, corruption and greed?

  18. John said on October 29, 2008 at 2:17 pm

    Jolene,

    I think you are right. But, by 10, there should not be a single shred of hope for the McMavericks.

  19. Gasman said on October 29, 2008 at 2:28 pm

    Yet another example of fine, patriotic, God fearing supporters of the McCain/Palin ticket;

    http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2008/10/mccain-miami-rally-getting-ugly-down.html

    Should we collectively hold our breath waiting for McCain to denounce this behavior?

  20. Jeff Borden said on October 29, 2008 at 2:46 pm

    Sheeeesh.

    It seems apparent the conservative movement needs enemies. The Soviets played that role for decades, but the collapse of the USSR created the need for a new bunch of villains.

    The enmity once directed at Commies is now aimed at liberals, minorities, immigrants, gays, the intellegentsia, media and educators.

    This is not anger that will recede after Nov. 4. Even if Obama-Biden win in a landslide, the dead-enders will be placing the blame everywhere except where it belongs. Expect the biased media, ACORN, illegal contributions, etc. to be cited. Few will focus on the terrible campaign run by McCain, the awful choice of Sarah Palin, the overall desire by a majority of Americans for a change, etc.

  21. Jolene said on October 29, 2008 at 2:47 pm

    It’s not just Hoosiers that are laying in arms, Alex. This WaPo article, which was cited in the article you linked to, gives examples from several parts of the country. In addition to fear of new restrictions imposed by an Obama administration, people also claim that the weak economy produces dangers that make them want new weapons.

    When I read stuff like this, I just have to shake my head. Even though we are in a shaky time, we live, relatively speaking in an incredibly politically stable part of the world. It’s just hard for me to understand the mindset that would lead to a decision that a gun is the solution to a weak economy and a potential new president who has given no evidence that he has any inclination to impose additional restrictions on gun ownership. Some people must have a very frail sense of their place in the world.

  22. Jim in Fla said on October 29, 2008 at 2:48 pm

    I think it will be earlier than that, John. The polls in Virginia and Florida close at 7 PM.

    Part of the Florida panhandle (which is heavily Republican) is in the Central time zone. If the networks are smart (see Bush v Gore 2000), they won’t call Florida before 8:00 PM Eastern.

  23. brian stouder said on October 29, 2008 at 3:03 pm

    Jeff –

    Few will focus on the ….overall desire by a majority of Americans for a change, etc.

    THAT’S the key.

    Back when Ronald Reagan was president (the first four presidential votes I ever cast* were for him – two primaries and two general elections), Patrick J Buchanan had a line that he weilded whenever anyone bitched and moaned about how ridiculous the presidency of the old B-movie actor was; he would say:

    “Your argument is with the American people”

    That is a line that I intend to re-commission, starting next week

    *fun facts to know and tell: Uncle Rush never voted for Ronald Reagan, ever. Just as with the Vietnam war, which he skated past, when it came to his turn to step to the plate, he took a pass

    PS. – Pam just called to say that we have a NEW TRACK RECORD!! (think of Tom Carnegie/Indianapolis motor Speedway) no less than FOUR McCain phone calls today!! And they’re REAL people!!

  24. Jolene said on October 29, 2008 at 3:19 pm

    You’re right, Jim. I was looking at a table that showed the times the polls close by state. It only mentioned the earlier closing time, but I’m sure they won’t be calling Florida until the polls close in both time zones. Here’s the table, just in case anyone is interested in seeing what times the polls are open in various places.

    The NAACP has filed a lawsuit asking Virginia to keep the polls open later than the scheduled time and make other arrangements to ensure that there’ll be adequate opportunity for people to vote. They claim that the current allocation of voting machines is inadequate to accommodate the likely turnout in African American communities. Given that our governor, Tim Kaine, was one of Obama’s earliest supporters and remains one of his most ardent fans, I’d think he’d have made sure that whatever is needed is in place, but,`heck, what do I know.

  25. Jeff Borden said on October 29, 2008 at 3:26 pm

    Brian,

    This is why GOP rhetoric continually baffles me. The party acts like there are a couple of dozen crazy leftists out there chanting for change when something like 80% of Americans believe the nation is on the wrong path.

    I did not know that about Uncle Rush and Ronald Reagan. I do know his b.s. excuse for not serving in Viet Nam –he had a bad knee from high school football– has been debunked. He was 4-F because of a pilondial cyst on his posterior. Ahh, well. An Obama presidency would be manna from heaven for Rush.

    More interesting would be the relationship between an Obama administration and Fox News. The Obama folks have been more and more confrontational with Bill O’s network with more than one linking Fox directly to the RNC and McCain. I imagine it would be nearly impossible to completely freeze out Fox, but I’d expect some form of retribution.

    Watching Fox –more like trying to watch Fox– just gives me a headache, but the shoutfests on MSNBC are pretty awful, too. Maybe that’s why Rachel Maddow is drawing a large audience. She delivers her commentary and conducts her interviews in a civilized manner.

  26. LA Mary said on October 29, 2008 at 3:41 pm

    We’re a little election blitz deprived here in SoCal. Lots of ballot initiatives and endless ads for those on TV. No on prop 8, yes on 2, no on 7, maybe on 10….

  27. Julie Robinson said on October 29, 2008 at 3:53 pm

    Brian, we got a McCain call this morning, and just as I was winding up to berate their despicable mailers, the guy hung up! I guess they’ve been told not to waste a second. Darn, I would’ve enjoyed that, too.

    Thanks, Beth, message received and the CD is being purchased!

  28. Connie said on October 29, 2008 at 4:02 pm

    Confederate battle flag, Obama yard sign

    My husband answered a couple of those McCain real person calls. He says it may have been a real person, but he was locked to his script and completely unable to hold any kind of conversation. My husband likes to hold strange conversations with telemarketers, etc.

    Link fixed, thanks Jolene. Try again, Mark, you may have tried it while I was still trying to fix it. Worked for me.

  29. Jolene said on October 29, 2008 at 4:03 pm

    Connie: Your link doesn’t work. Want to try again?

  30. mark said on October 29, 2008 at 4:09 pm

    It still won’t work (the link). But I’ve seen both before so it isn’t too hard to imagine them together.

  31. del said on October 29, 2008 at 4:10 pm

    Jeff Borden, I’m interested in how Obama handles Fox News too. He stood tall during the campaign when he refused, for the sake of the public interest, to appear on Fox. Others by contrast compromised and advanced their own personal interests in getting face-time on Fox.

  32. mark said on October 29, 2008 at 4:16 pm

    del-

    Obama did an interview with O’Reilly a month ago or so. Should you change your vote now that you know him to be a compromising, personal interest advancing, face-time grabbing, public interest disregarding, politician? Or would you like to reconsider the hyperbole?

    Maybe Obama will just outlaw Fox. That’s OK with you, right?

  33. mark said on October 29, 2008 at 4:18 pm

    connie-

    got it, thanks. Flag is a little bigger than I’d imagined and I’d placed it somewhere in North Carolina, not Indiana. Must be a transplant.

  34. Beth said on October 29, 2008 at 4:20 pm

    Hi Julie — glad to help. If you have any other messages to send to your hubby, just let me know. 🙂

  35. Jolene said on October 29, 2008 at 4:21 pm

    He has since appeared on Fox, though, del. He was interviewed by both Chris Wallace and Bill O’Reilly. The O’Reilly interviews (One sit-down was strung out over three nights.) were kind of amazing, although not that different from his interviews w/ other people. It’s hard to understand how he gets anyone to come on given how disrespectful he is. Then, the crowning touch is the post-interview conversation in which an underling is invited to tell him how wonderfully objective, probing, and all-around wonderful the interview was.

  36. nancy said on October 29, 2008 at 4:29 pm

    Of course a gun won’t help you in a down economy, but never underestimate a gun owner’s power of self-delusion, which surely rivals any woman who ever asked if these pants make her look fat. They’re all the hero in their own movies, in which they save the world from anarchy and then get the girl, perhaps by shooting her boyfriend’s belt buckle off, causing his pants to fall and reveal a flabby ass.

  37. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 29, 2008 at 4:29 pm

    In Martinsville? No need for them to be a transplant, mark, that’s a Hoosier living there, sure enough. Pro’ly fourth or fifth generation.

    That Florida panhandle thing was what got the networks in trouble on Election Night, 2000; they called before the central time zone panhandle came in, on eastern time closing, and Pensacola’s Joe Scarborough went ballistic, let alone Dems — later debate was over Fox’s cousin of George Bush in their production office being part of the decision to announce Florida for cousin George before the whole state had voted, which led to commitments by all networks to follow certain protocols for calling states on the air.

  38. Jeff Borden said on October 29, 2008 at 4:30 pm

    Mark,

    Outlaw Fox? My Lord, what would The Daily Show do for hilarious clips? The network is a comedy gold mine.

    I saw clips of the Obama-O’Reilly interview. I would guess that Obama figured he had nothing to lose by appearing. I doubt he swayed any of your typical Fox viewers, but he also blunted any assertions by Bill O that he was afraid to appear on “The Factor.”

    My interest in how Fox will fare with an Obama administration is largely rooted in its role as the mouthpiece for the GOP. The network has been able to attract the most powerful members of the Bush Administration, requiring other media to cover the statements they made on Fox. Those officials have been treated with deference bordering on sycophancy. I doubt that kind of access to top administration officials will happen if Obama is elected. This will leave Fox on the outside looking in.

    The network will still draw its core audience of aging, angry white males. Where else are they going to go? But I doubt Fox will be breaking much in the way of news from either the White House or Congress.

  39. mark said on October 29, 2008 at 4:46 pm

    jeff-

    You should check out neil cavuto on Fox Business channel. He’s great and the audience will grow regardless of elections.

  40. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 29, 2008 at 4:57 pm

    Jeff B — If Fox is only based on aging, angry white males, why are their ratings going up? Everyone knows that AAWMs are growing smaller as a demographic group . . . something about infarcting ourselves into the margins.

    Really, i don’t know what the demos on their audience are, but i keep reading online about their ratings being way higher. More people here than i know out in meatspace watch Sean Hannity; i really can’t think of a soul i talk to face2face that has ever said they watch the guy, let alone O’Really.

  41. paddyo' said on October 29, 2008 at 4:59 pm

    The small-bore, long-bore(ing) gunnies think they’re living out the (mercifully unmade) sequel to “Red Dawn” . . .

  42. alex said on October 29, 2008 at 5:10 pm

    Jeff TMMO, are you sure you’re not reading about Fox having higher ratings in the same places that say Fox is the only “fair and balanced” network?

    You are right, though, about Martinsville. When I was in school at IU in the ’80s, I knew black students who said they’d been refused service at the Martinsville McDonald’s.

  43. Jeff Borden said on October 29, 2008 at 5:20 pm

    Mark and Jeff TMMO,

    As you guys know, the real deal with ratings is in the demographics. Everyone wants those 25- to 54-year-olds, which is so sad to an old guy of 57 like me.

    There’s no question Fox beats the blazes out of CNN, MSNBC, etc. in total viewership. But MSNBC viewers, in particular, skew about five years young than Fox, on average.

    Consider Countdown vs. The O’Reilly Factor. Last week, Countdown had an average total audience of 2.2 million vs. 3.4 million for The Factor. But Keith Olberman’s audience averaged 935,000 viewers in that prime 25-54 demo while 742,000 tuned into Bill O’Reilly.

    Another part of my premise is that we tend to watch and listen to things that support our general outlook. If the country at large is turning away from the conservative movement, it stands to reason that a network closely aligned with that movement will not be drawing as many viewers.

    Listen, I am not betting againt Uncle Rupert. I don’t care for him much, but I give the devil his due. He knows how to draw readers, listeners and viewers. I’m raising the question of how the network will adapt after eight years of close cooperation with the Bush Administration.

  44. LA Mary said on October 29, 2008 at 6:18 pm

    Jeff,
    The in-house Brit says Rupert goes with the prevailing winds. If it becomes unprofitable for him to stay wacko right wingy, he will become as lefty as he needs to be.

  45. Jeff Borden said on October 29, 2008 at 6:29 pm

    LA Mary,

    I’ve no doubt you’re correct. He’ll sail under any flag if there’s money involved.

    Only a Londoner would know for sure, I guess, but my sense is his ownership of The Times has not changed that quality broadsheet for the worst. I’m pretty sure he didn’t add a Page 3 girl to the mix.

    I don’t have access to the Wall Street Journal on a regular basis, but again, I’ve heard few complaints. He’s smart enough to understand that while local newspapers continue to slash their business coverage –yes, Chicago Tribune, I’m talking to you knuckleheads– there’s a large audience for readers who want sophisticated business news.

    The fascinating thing about the Fox empire is the way it feeds itself. On a Sunday night, an episode of “The Family Guy” shows Stewie dressed in a Nazi uniform adorned with a McCain-Palin campaign button. On Monday morning, the nabobs on “Fox and Friends” get the vapors over said Fox program.

    Rinse and repeat.

  46. Jolene said on October 29, 2008 at 6:35 pm

    Murdoch hosted a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton’s 2006 senatorial campaign, so he certainly is not above linking himself to whoever has power–and, of course, neither is she.

  47. Jolene said on October 29, 2008 at 6:39 pm

    I’ve been wondering about election campaigns in other countries–in particular, whether they include some of the dopey elements that ours do. Would a British politician take up Joe the Plumber? Would the French care about the cost of a candidate’s wardrobe?

    I just don’t know anything about campaigns in other countries–except that they are shorter and less expensive than ours. I keep thinking that people overseas must shake their heads in wonder when they hear the potential leader of the free world taking up the incidental comments of a blue-collar worker as a major element of his campaign, but maybe their campaigns are just as bad.

  48. Jeff Borden said on October 29, 2008 at 6:50 pm

    Jolene,

    I’m no expert but I believe that in most Western European countries and the U.K., the election cycles are much more compact. Just look at how long McCain and Obama have been running! It’s just about the length of a Congressional term.

    The Europeans aren’t immune to tittering about their candidates or public figures. Scan the British tabloids and you’ll find all sorts of flotsam and jetsam about their leaders. Then again, the French newspapers couldn’t care less about the sexual foibles of their prime minsters and presidents. I know the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal was treated in France as another example of silly Americans. Mon Dieu! Of course a powerful man would have a mistress.

    Ironically, one of the reasons I supported John McCain in 2000 was because he was just about the only politician talking about the corrupting influence of money on elections. I truly hoped for campaign finance reform, but that is probably a very distant dream these days.

  49. LA Mary said on October 29, 2008 at 7:07 pm

    Jolene
    Same in-house Brit is amazed that Joe the Plumber would be someone the Right would use. Working class folks in most countries are on the left. Like they used to be here, come to think of it.

  50. MichaelG said on October 29, 2008 at 7:23 pm

    That’s one of the great mysteries, Mary. How have the Republicans bamboozled the working class into voting against their own interests for so many years?

  51. kayak woman said on October 29, 2008 at 7:29 pm

    Del: I grew up in Sault Ste. Siberia and my dad was a banker there. Rural Hannah came in one time with a Canadian check and my dad told him the bank didn’t accept checks from Canada. Rural told my dad that if there were any problems with the check, he would collect the money. My dad agreed to accept the check and there did end up being a problem, so he called Rural up. Rural was as good as his word and the check was made good. Not sure what Rural did to collect the money.

    No point to make here, mainly just a memory.

  52. brian stouder said on October 29, 2008 at 7:32 pm

    Say – a digression. The following youtube made me laugh until my eyes watered…plus, I’m always a sucker for Pearl Jam music.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xLd22ha_-VU

    It is a “mis-heard lyrics” video for Yellow Ledbetter – which is just funny! ‘Course, the song is unintelligible anyway….another one that is linked there is a Mis Heard Lyrics video for Evenflow (itself a TREMENDOUSLY MARVEOUS Pearl Jam tune..!!)

  53. LA Mary said on October 29, 2008 at 7:33 pm

    The answer I give the Brit is that since Reagan, the republicans have been working on issues like abortion, prayer in schools for a while, some distant evil enemy, and patriotism. It was the commies back in 1980 and it’s terrorists now. Gay marriage seems to have filled in for prayer for now. Abortion continues.
    It’s interesting the McCain does not even suggest in his speeches that he will give the working class a tax break. He says Obama will redistribute wealth but he will create jobs. No tax breaks really, just somehow making job creation possible. Trickle down is the term, isn’t it? Remember Reaganomics?

  54. moe99 said on October 29, 2008 at 7:38 pm

    Well, McCain is due in Defiance tomorrow for a campaign stop. I bet the folks there are in a collective swoon right about now.

  55. brian stouder said on October 29, 2008 at 7:40 pm

    Trickle down is the term, isn’t it? Remember Reaganomics?

    No no no- it was Supply Side economics, based on the Laffer curve, which posited that – if you have a 0% tax rate, you get no revenue; and if you have a 100% tax rate, you get no revenue….so that at some point between zero and one hundred percent taxation (ie – at the TOP of the Laffer curve) you would reap the most tax revenue.

    If, in 1980, you thought tax rates were just too high (ie – too far toward the 100% end), then a tax CUT would actually produce more tax revenue! (And of course, whatever the rate ever IS, it is almost certainly TOO HIGH!!)

    This – I bought!

    ‘Course, shortly after the Reagan admin got into power, their credentialed numbers cruncher and key budget guru, David Stockman, confided that the whole thing was just a ‘Trojan Horse’ to get their trickle-down theories passed….so Mary gets full credit afterall!

  56. brian stouder said on October 29, 2008 at 7:52 pm

    Say – here’s a link to a funny little youtube video that Mitch Harper posted on his website FWOb.com

    It shows a lightening strike during an Obama speech in the rain the other day; pretty cool!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=apCY7qnajR8

  57. LA Mary said on October 29, 2008 at 7:53 pm

    I was trying to remember that name. David Stockman.

    Here’s something to keep you busy. Just keep clicking on different things in the picture.

    http://www.palinaspresident.us/

  58. Catherine said on October 29, 2008 at 8:00 pm

    Ah, trickle down economics. My friend Denise accidentally called it “sprinkle down” economics during our high school trip to DC and was roundly laughed at. Turns out she was right.

    Can I add one to the Confederate flag + Obama sign? My neighbors have an Obama sign + a “Yes on Prop 8” sign. Proposition 8 is the one that seeks to ban gay marriage. Several visitors to my house have said “Huh?” The only thing I can come up with is that they’re Baptists.

  59. basset said on October 29, 2008 at 8:02 pm

    back to English language for a minute… my mother was a Brit & her favorite expression of frustration & exasperation was:

    “(sigh) well, shit the bed!”

    she also used to refer to any enterprise doomed to failure as “like shoveling shit against the tide.”

    and I wonder sometimes why I ended up working in The Mainstream Media…

  60. Catherine said on October 29, 2008 at 8:06 pm

    And yes, Mary, way upthread you mentioned that we are presidential election blitz-deprived here. Here’s what else we’re missing: Autumn. Fall in my neighborhood looks like this: Things turn brown and the leaves fall of the sycamores. Yard signs appear for propositions I’ve never heard of. People wait for brush fires. I saw a coyote on the street this morning. Send rain!

  61. moe99 said on October 29, 2008 at 8:13 pm

    Had to drive down to Olympia this am for a meeting. On they way down heard the first part of a radio ad for my ex (who is running as the Dem for state treasurer). Good thing I don’t carry firearms or violence would have been done to the radio. He’s campaigning as an outsider, yet he’s been a state legislator in Olympia these past ten years and worked as a consultant and an aide to a governor down there for another 15. The other thing that sticks in my craw is that he hasn’t paid me for his share of some college expenses for the youngest that I paid a while ago, yet he’s managed to raise $200K for his race. Jerk.

  62. Linda said on October 29, 2008 at 8:37 pm

    Reminds me of a quote by the late Lewis Grizzard about a free spending ex-wife: “She melted the numbers right off the credit cards.”

  63. del said on October 29, 2008 at 9:04 pm

    Mark, I knew that Obama’d appeared on Fox. Credit is due, however, for holding off for so long.

  64. del said on October 29, 2008 at 9:09 pm

    LA Mary and kayak woman, thanks for the palinaspresident link. I clicked on the oil derrick and heard Palin say, “Drill baby, drill.” That made me think of The Colbert Report’s clip from Larry Flynt’s porno “Whose Nailin’ Palin?” D’ya think it’ll make it into the script? Which of course leads back to Sault Ste. Marie’s famous brothel, Hannah’s.

  65. Suzi said on October 29, 2008 at 9:38 pm

    I apologize in advance if this was already recommended, I enjoyed it:

    I’m The One You’re Talking About
    Posted by NanceGreggs in General Discussion: Presidential
    Thu Oct 23rd 2008, 02:40 AM

    http://journals.democraticunderground.com/NanceGreggs/453

  66. beb said on October 29, 2008 at 9:41 pm

    Jolene says: October 29th, 2008 at 2:07 pm

    It was only the exit polls that were in question in 2004, beb, not the election results.

    Au contre. Exit polling has had years of demonstrated reliability. The only times ballot counts did more match exiting polling was in 2000 and 2004, two elections where the Republican Party was involved in some serious voting fraud.

  67. brian stouder said on October 29, 2008 at 10:04 pm

    Mary – loved the Palin picture. The car that shoots off the Bridge to Nowhere made laugh out loud!

  68. basset said on October 29, 2008 at 11:49 pm

    and speaking of “Nailin’ Palin”…

    http://www.236.com/feed/2008/10/25/wtsfw_way_too_safe_for_work_na_9801.php

  69. Gasman said on October 29, 2008 at 11:50 pm

    Palin has officially gone off the reservation. Here’s Blitzer’s take:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dnFvf664Ups

    How long before McCain shivs her?

  70. joodyb said on October 29, 2008 at 11:57 pm

    Laffer was on Bill Maher Friday. What a goofball. Maher nailed him with this little memory jog:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LfascZSTU4o

    oh, the jokes we used to make about the Laffer curve.

  71. Dexter said on October 30, 2008 at 12:28 am

    I wonder if the World Series just meant a lot more years ago…I have seen pictures of a mechanical baseball diamond in NYC’s Times Square and thousands of fans watching the progress of the game in the street.
    The World Series ended tonight and an old favorite of mine, Charlie Manuel, is the champion manager, as his Phillies won.
    I see it made zero impact here. Maybe with the election looming, people just can’t diversify their time spending.

  72. Dexter said on October 30, 2008 at 12:35 am

    You guys realize what a phony Bill Maher is? He just goes with the flow. Years ago, he was critical of a potential Iraq invasion. However, when Shock and Awe blasted Baghdad to smithereens he couldn’t wait to praise Bush on his next show…I couldn’t believe it as the minutes rolled by and he went on and on about how wrong we were to criticize W Bush; I knew then and there Maher was a phony.

    As the months went by and the public turned against Bush and the war, so did Maher. His show probably attracts few conservatives and he probably figured he should try to tune in to his viewer-base.
    His opinions he expresses are clearly just uttered for ratings. If Bush’s war was popular, Maher would jump right back on the bandwagon. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if he voted for W in 2004.

  73. basset said on October 30, 2008 at 1:17 am

    deceit and phoniness in the entertainment industry? say it ain’t so!

    now for our second baseball reference… you’re probably right, Dexter, the Series doesn’t count for nearly as much as it once did, and neither does baseball in general. kids would rather play basketball, or soccer, or not play at all – when was the last time you saw a genuine pickup baseball game with no uniforms, league structure, or parents in charge?

  74. Dexter said on October 30, 2008 at 1:26 am

    you are right, bassett…the only place I have noticed lots of kids playing unorganized sandlot baseball is in Cincinnati.
    I’m not really objective here , though, as I am a baseball romantic who can get lost in time with books and audio-tapes of the old days of baseball…how I’d love to go back to 1924 and see the Washington Senators win the World Series…OK…I realize I’m over the top here!

  75. Gasman said on October 30, 2008 at 1:56 am

    Dwight,
    Both Maher and Dennis Miller were quick to promote Bush’s recreational war. I really can’t view them in a favorable light anymore.

    As for a meaningful World Series, I’m holding out for the Cubs. Why not? The White Sox and Reds overcame their demons. I figure it’s the Cubs turn next.

  76. Hattie said on October 30, 2008 at 2:40 am

    Reading about that poor man reminded me that there are advantages to being a woman. And Sarah Palin grinning from the sidebar was quite a shock. She’s so uncaring.

  77. MichaelJ said on October 30, 2008 at 8:51 am

    With Halloween in mind, here’s a great place to shop for your loved ones. The L.A. Coroner’s gift shop:

    http://lacstores.co.la.ca.us/signpost.htm

    Thanks to Ken Levine for the link.

  78. MichaelJ said on October 30, 2008 at 9:03 am

    Dexter is right. Maher sucks. He’s many things but funny isn’t one of them. Miller is beyond description.

    What’s this “your comment is awaiting moderation” stuff?

  79. nancy said on October 30, 2008 at 9:45 am

    Because for some reason, Michael, you changed your handle from MichaelG to MichaelJ. The computer thinks you’re a whole new person. Maybe you are.

  80. MichaelJ said on October 30, 2008 at 10:04 am

    You’re right! It’s early and I was just on the first sip of coffee. “J” is my minniminisha. Really, it’s probably the dementia.

  81. del said on October 30, 2008 at 10:20 am

    I’ve had my coffee too this morning and noticed my own dementia. On edit: The Colbert movie would be “Who’s nailin’ Palin?” (not, whose . . .)