Friday, October 31, 2008

If you like Pat Boone, check this video out!

I got a robocall on behalf of Dana Rohrabacher my incumbent Congressman this afternoon. He got Pat Boone to record it for him. No Shit! Dana is well known as the least effective nemesis of illegal aliens in Congress. He tries to pass himself off as a closeted gay. The rumor is that he is a pedophile. It would be nice if he was defeated this year. I doubt it. My district is the most gerrymandered and Republican packed, in the country. The people here would vote for Jeffrey Dahmer if he had an (R) after his name on the ballot.

I'm 57 and I remember Pat on the radio when I was 5 or 6 years old. The big hit I remember and it must have been his last one, was "Love and Marriage". Ya'know, goes together like a horse and carriage. Even my Mom was too hip for Pat. She was more of a Mario Lanza kind of girl.

I wish I could tell you about the Robocall but I almost immediately screamed, "Fuck You, Pat", into the receiver and slammed it down. I guess I'm getting a little tense and irritable, with the election coming up and all, as you can probably tell by the irrational and obscene postings I'm putting up today. Sorry.

I don't have the heart to put up anything by Pat Boone. He's too fucked up. I got something much better for you. It's definitely in the Pat Boone tradition of Pop musical interpretation. CLICK on the title. Who doesn't like Larry Welk? Topical, hip, yet bizarrely, almost surrealistically, wholesome. Watch it all the way through. His comment at the end is the best part. He thinks it's a modern Spiritual. Well. who can really say it's not.

Let's pump our way to energy independence. Oh Baby!

I live in an old oil town, rapidly turning into a seaside paradise, populated by refugees from the Peacock Throne. There are still some oilfields on the South West side of town, with scattered pumps throughout the old downtown area. The South Coast oil deposits in California were once considered important. In those days consumption was a lot less and the deposits contained a lot more oil. Still, every little bit helps. The oil guys in town say those pumps will be producing long after we're all dead.

I noticed something yesterday. Last Summer, when oil was $140 a barrel, all the pumps were busily bobbing up and down. Yesterday, almost none of them were. Greedy fucks at Chevron Oil. Lookin' for a gusher to help solve our energy dependence problem, Sarey Paleface? Golly! Maybe you should bob up and down on my big throbbin' cock. That's a renewable resource you have the technology to tap into immediately.

Warm Up the Colon Cams!

Brit Hume will be stepping down as head anchor and editor in chief of Faux News, after the election. He has, from the beginning, given legitimacy to an organization that sorely needs it.

Who will Roger Ailes get now to replace Brit? Shep Smith? Steve Doocy?

My pick? Katie Couric!

Any way you look at it, gaping colons are in Fox's future. They will likely be sore but will they fill your needs?

Will a herd of RINOs save McCain? I guess he's not appealing to the base anymore.

Look who McCain is traveling with on his big, last weekend push, to save his candidacy. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tommy Ridge, Charlie Crist and Rudy Giuliani, these guys are all pro choice, urban, big government, RINOs. Maybe he's decided the hivehead isn't doing it for him.

Any port in a storm.

Three more days and a wake up

There are several States where presidential polling is too close to call. They are Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Indiana, Missouri, North Dakota, Montana and Nevada. These are all Red States but it is unreasonable to assume that John McCain will win them all. It is my guess that Barry O will win less than half. Which States among these each candidate wins will have a big effect in their respective electoral college total.

The bottom line is that Barry can lose all these States and still win comfortably. Johnny McCrash needs to win them all and also take two out of three, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Virginia. There is some small hope that a miracle could happen and he could win Ohio. Close but no cigar.

If everything goes exactly right for John, he still loses. The threat posed by four more years of a Republican Presidency is still too great. Do not fall into complacency. Go out and vote. Call your parents, your siblings, your friends. Talk to your neighbors and the people you meet at church on Sunday. Talk to the guys at the soft ball game this afternoon, or at the tavern, playing pool. Influencing even one more person to vote for Obama doubles your power in the voting booth. In my State Obama already has a huge lead. It doesn't matter. Driving up the vote totals will send a message to Washington that we are tired of cynical Republican bullshit, corporate and agrarian welfare, unilateral foreign wars of petro hegemony and the encroaching theocracy of the fundamentalist, xenophobe, Luddites.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Catholic Church Hierarchy in America Goes For Broke

Catholics make up 25% of the American population. Everybody, everywhere in America, lives with, works with and knows Catholic Church members. I do. I am a Registered nurse. They are mostly women. Maybe you consider it a real profession or not. If it is a profession, it is a bootstrap one. Nurses don't usually come from families with money, status or influence. Lots of minorities. A lot of immigrants. A lot of people working their way up from poverty. Real people, not too sophisticated but plenty smart. People who want what they do to make a difference. I don't want to throw superlatives around but Registered nurses are pretty good people. If you want to use one word that best describes what they are, I would suggest the word focused. At any given time, they tend to be aware of their situation and the potential challenges and have a plan to deal with them. It's a good way to be, if you're a nurse and not bad, no matter who you are. I would have to say that all nurses, because of the nature of the work, give a lot of consideration to the spiritual aspects of life. How could they not. Some may be atheists, but not casual ones. Most are religious. A lot of them are Catholics. I grew up with Catholic kids. I knew a lot of Catholics before I became an RN but probably most of what I know about the nature of Catholicism comes from my interactions and friendships with Catholic nurses over the years. When you work with somebody in nursing, you get a pretty good idea of the kind of person that they are, by the way they practice and handle situations that come up. Nurses can be reserved and reticent when dealing with patients and families. That's because what they say in that role can affect people in major ways for the rest of their lives. Conversely, when communicating with each other, they are usually brutally and graphically honest, for the same reason. This spills over into conversations about friends, family, philosophy, politics, religion, sexual relationships, everything. It's not something that you turn off and on. Not all of the Catholic nurses I have known are devout but most of them go to mass and make sure their families do too. They take the sacraments. A lot of them send their kids to parochial schools. I think they are the kind of people who are the backbone of the Catholic Church in America.

The Catholic Church has now drawn a line in the sand over the issue of Abortion. Over the years they have seen their influence over the personal lives of the faithful diminish and fade away in many ways. Many traditional virtues that are core to Catholicism have been modified to fit the lifestyles of the faithful in America. Chastity has taken on some pretty elastic qualities. Divorce does not have the same definition it once had. I can honestly say that I have never met a Catholic woman, my contemporary or younger, who did not believe in and practice, some form of artificial birth control, who was not also completely celibate. I have not met one who wished their daughter to become a nun or who believed that priests should not marry. In traditional Catholicism, charity is emphasized over the acquisition of personal wealth. The Catholics I know believe that the welfare of the family is the most important concern of it's members and the acquisition of wealth is important to family welfare. You may be a Catholic but you are a Mendez or Reilly or Okuli, first. The sons or daughters of affluent parishioners who, well into adulthood, do not find constructive purpose in life or start a family of their own, will not now find censure from within the church. That is an issue for the parents to address. I could go on.

The Bishops of America have been mobilized by Rome to address their flocks directly on the subject of abortion. The Bishops have put pressure on the diocesan priests to do the same. American Catholics have been put on notice that they are to regard any politicians views, public or private, on abortion as the primary motivation to vote for or against them, overriding all others. All others.

Nurses talk about dead babies. Like soldiers talk about close combat. Like sailors talk about fire, flooding and collision at sea. It's one of those things that happens and you need to know about. Nobody likes dead babies but it happens. When the subject of dead babies comes up, so does abortion. Nurses don't much like abortion. Everybody dies. Sometimes it's a blessing. Abortion isn't like that. You'd think nurses and especially Catholic nurses would be uniformly opposed to abortion. You'd be wrong. One of the first things you learn in clinical practice is that your values, as obviously right as they may seem to you are not shared universally. People make their own life decisions. Then they live with the consequences. If you force your beliefs on others, it's you who live with the consequences.

If Catholics vote as a block against politicians on the pro choice side of the abortion issue, Barack Obama will not become President. The Democratic majority in Congress will be gone. State legislatures from coast to coast will be reconfigured. This is not conjecture or editorial comment. There are more than enough Catholics to make this happen. Seems like a pretty simple equation to me.

If we wake up on Wednesday morning and Barack Obama is elected President, the hierarchy of the Catholic Church in America will have been dealt a cruel blow. It will be a rebuke by their parishioners to, once and for all, stay out of the secular life of the nation. I don't know why the Churchmen have chosen this particular place and time to make their stand but they have. Maybe they feel they have no choice. Maybe they see the end coming and want to pare the church down to the genuinely obedient. They will insist it was not their choice to make but God's will. Whichever. It's done.

The Church has bet much of what authority it has left, on this issue. Soon the American Church may be like Europe's. A place to go for baptisms, weddings, funerals and history class field trips. It's a shame. Religion has a place in the life of America and the American tradition but freedom of religion is even more important. Choosing to do God's will and being told what God's will is, are not the same thing. If the Catholic Church is to survive, the old poofter in the white mu mu and red slippers needs to learn that.

Should we trust the polls?

The polls have been pretty stable. The race is tightening up as undecideds make their decisions. Obama has leads in a lot of States that Republicans usually win and there are toss ups in States that Republicans always win. Electoral vote wise, it looks good for Obama. Popular vote wise it looks like it will be close in a lot of States.

I'm kind of expecting a surprise on election night, are you? Where I am, it feels like Obama is going to win, big. This is an area that always goes Republican. We always get a lot of Republican literature. We get phone calls from Republican phone banks. There are always a lot of Republican bumper stickers on cars. Brightly colored gardens of yard signs sprout on the street corners in the last week of elections. These things always happen. They didn't happen this year and there is less than a week to go. We even have a very hot, barometer like Right/Left proposition adding a ban on gay marriage to the State Constitution and I haven't really heard much about it. Some articles in the paper. A few TV ads. I've seen more excitement generated about school bonds.

How do pollsters get the phone numbers of the people they call? I've had the same phone number for a quarter century and no pollster has ever called me about politics during a National election. Are the polls missing something? I'm thinking maybe they are. The question is what are they missing?

We'll find out on election night.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

You can't trust kids

Looking back from a perspective of four or five decades, it always seems to me that until about the tenth grade I had a very sheltered and idyllic childhood. Then I start to really think about it. It wasn't very sheltered at all. It's just that I was a child and didn't think in terms of good, bad, right or wrong. Things just were the way they were. It was an experiential process not a judgemental one.

I remember when I was very young, there was a little gang of us boys who roamed the neighborhood. There was a little girl that always wanted to come along with us. We always told her no. She would beg, whine and cry. Finally she would take off her clothes, throw herself down spread eagle on the ground and writhe around for a little while. Jesus, I wonder what her father was doing to her at home. We usually let her tag along.

About that time, I had a friend named Ronnie, whose father had a junkyard on a commercial street a couple of blocks away. Ronnie didn't have any other friends and now that I think of it, he was about as close to a drag queen as a six year old can be. I used to like to go to his house at the junkyard. Ronnie's father would buy or take in pawn, just about anything. The house was filled with other people's treasures. You would meet the most amazing people there. There was a sailor that came in from Lemore, every weekend, to visit his electric guitar and amp. He sat on their living room couch for hours, smoking, playing country, rock and roll, and blues. He never got the axe out of hock. He was always welcome. He played good.

My kindergarten teacher was a pretty young girl. She would play the piano for us. We would lounge about on the floor around her. Sometimes she would have us sing. Sometimes just listen. I used to like to lie on my back and wriggle underneath the piano bench, until I could look up her skirt. Some girls giggled so loudly one time, she caught me and I spent the rest of the day standing in the corner. She didn't seem to carry a grudge though.

I always remember starting to drink at fifteen and smoke at seventeen. That's not true though. Those were the ages at which I started to smoke and drink all the time. When I was six or seven, two kids lived across the street from me named Denise and her little brother Terry. Their stepfather drove beer truck. Whenever he was home he and usually several friends were always drinking beer, he stole it off the truck. The empties always went into a washtub sink in the garage, to be rinsed out later. We would drink the dregs. You could get a little buzz. In the third grade, there was a kid in my class named Corky Morrow. His parents always had him mix drinks for them in the evenings. It was considered a hip thing to do. Corky started to bring a thermos of drinks to school in his lunch box. His parents liked Bourbon, so we got Old Fashioneds, Manhattans and Rusty Nails, icy cold, every day with lunch, for most of that year. Afternoons were very relaxed, in the third grade. I remember sharing cigarettes with Kent Bascomb in the fourth grade. He always had a pack. He said they never bothered you, if you bought them from the machines at gas stations. He was right. Now that I think about it, I smoked quite a bit, right along, from a very early age, maybe even at Ronnie's junkyard.

I always considered myself honest but I used to steal as a child. I never considered it stealing unless it was from an actual person. I would never steal a candy bar from Chappy's liquor, because Chappy owned the store and I knew him. It was alright to steal one from the Thriftimart though, because that was a big company and I did, all the time. I used to steal liquor from Sav-on Drugs, before I was old enough to pretend I was old enough to buy it. It's never a good idea to try and get adults to buy liquor for you. A friend of mine's father once promised to buy me a bottle each of MacGregor Scotch and Smirnoff Vodka. He took the money and all he brought back for us, was a gallon jug of cheap Red Mountain wine. He bought liquor for himself with the money. He said we were too young to drink hard liquor. What an asshole. You can't trust adults.

I will keep my mining stocks.

China is the World's largest producer of gold. They don't export any. When was the last time you saw a Chinese Panda coin offered for sale? The long gold play is unwinding and every day gold is dumped in New York. Overnight the Asians buy. The dollar is increasing in value rapidly as other currencies plummet but for millions around the World, gold is still the hedge of choice as their countries economies crash and burn.

South African mines are languishing, beset by labor problems, power shortages, no money for capital improvements and a rapidly deteriorating political climate. In the West, the strength of the dollar is causing gold and gold mining stocks to plummet, along with the rest of the commodities and equity markets. The big Western mining companies are still flush from record sales during the gold bull of the last few years. Insider buying intensifies as stock prices continue to be pushed down. Juniors are being bought up for peanuts. Those companies that continue production are stockpiling, even though comparatively, gold prices remain high.

Big money cannot find shelter in gold. There just isn't enough gold. Hence the current strength in the dollar. Who knows, maybe the dollar will remain strong. I doubt it. Current deflationary trends only make the relative cost of the huge American debt load, on a personal and governmental level even more unmanageable than it already is and debt is piling up faster than ever. The monetary base is expanding like crazy. The consumer doesn't see it because it's all being top loaded but it's happening, none the less. The level of American debt is such, that the only way out is massive dollar devaluation. 500% over the next few years would probably do it. The trick is to do it without destroying faith in the dollar and avoiding a 5,000% devaluation or 5,000,000%. Once you start inflation, it's difficult to stop and what tools are available to stop it with?

I don't believe that gold is a magic metal. I don't believe we are heading for a bleak post apocalyptic Mad Max future where oil will be fought over by deranged, motorcycle riding, mutant tribesmen. Gold is a stable form of universally recognized portable value. It is rarer now, on a per capita basis, than ever before in history. Soon, no matter what else happens, it will increase in value. Gold is money. It has been for 5,000 years. In 5,000 more it may not be. My investment horizons are not that long. Beaten down as they are, I will keep my mining stocks.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Conspiracy Theories

Somebody needs to sit the Republican smear machine technicians down and reacquaint them with the proper application of the "One Big Lie" propaganda technique. The best way to discredit a person or group through the use of smears is to invent a scenario, which while patently false cannot be disproved. You invent a chronology, complete with motivation, perpetration and goal. Then you tell the story, exactly the same way, over and over again. You tell it using as many sources as you can, through whatever different mediums you can and never let up. Eventually, the outlandish lie begins to become the truth. People begin to assume that something so many different people have said, over such a long period of time, must have some basis in truth and if there is some truth to it, maybe all of it is true. Once enough people start to give the big lie some credence, others begin to believe it's true. In the end, the target of the one big lie is ruined and even historians condemn them. This is a technique that works.

Barry Obama has been subjected, over the last several months to a vast array of conflicting accusations. According to the stories, some in the media but primarily on the Internet, he is an agent of Islamic terrorism, the Afro centric black church, wealthy corporate interests, the Weather underground, or Kenyan Luo nationalists. His culpability ranges from being groomed for evil purposes from the time he was born, in either Africa, Hawaii, or the mainland US, to casual corruption for money, just in the last few years. He is purported to be everything from an Islamic fundamentalist to a Marxist ideologue to an agent of the capitalist overlords. The entities providing him funding for his rise to prominence have peen presented as variously any number of Islamic nations and terrorist organizations, the Black Muslim Church, the World Communist conspiracy, a pan African political cabal, American organized crime or George Soros. We are asked to believe that none of these evil masters has yet asked anything of him but knew all along, in some cases decades ago, that he would become the President of the United States. The point is that these scenarios are all so wildly divergent that they are mutually exclusive. All but one must be blatant lies. Since, so far, there is no evidence to support any of them, nobody, even the most twisted reactionary wing nuts, believe any of them.

The campaign of smears against Barack Obama has not been effective. There are too many conflicting stories that come from the same overtly partisan sources. There are too many different motivations, too many subversive activities supposedly engaged in and too many evil masters being served. We are left not knowing if Barack's motivations for treason are religious, political, racial or just for money.

If it were me, I would have kept the story much simpler and closer to the actual truth. I don't want to go into an actual storyline, it might end up all over the internet.

How Well You Pay Attention In The Seventh Grade Can Affect Your Spiritual Development

I started seventh grade in the Fall of 1963. It was a big change. We went from a single class room, dedicated teacher, elementary school to a junior high school with several single hour class periods and the opportunity to choose a couple of elective classes from several offered. I took typing and band. I wish I had worked harder on typing.

It was the middle of the baby boom school years. New schools were opening all the time. Many of the teachers were right out of college and teaching subjects that they had majored in. Sometimes they weren't the greatest teachers. They had the advantage of teaching subjects they knew well and were interested in. Science was a general class with some natural and some physical science. My teacher was a guy named Mr Harris. He was a little older but still shy of thirty. Hitch in the Air Force. A little time over seas. Kicked around a little. College on the GI Bill. Wife and two young kids. Devout Southern Baptist. Great teacher. I looked forward to class. Got straight A's. Even won the science fair that year with my pathetic little rat maze.

We had a unit on genetics. We learned all about the monk Gregory Mendel and his studies of the pea plants in a monastery garden. DNA was pretty cutting edge then. They weren't teaching that in junior high. We learned about chromosomes and the exchange of genetic material in sexual reproduction. We learned about how haploid genetic material combined together to form a new complete diploid chromosome. We learned about how genes determine varied physical traits in a diverse population. We learned about dominant traits and double recessive traits and learned how that dictated the mathematical frequency of physical traits within a population. I figured out how my red hair and freckles were the result of double, double recessive genes. I didn't look upon this as a lucky break.

We learned about fruit fly research. How because of their relatively simple genetic code and a generational span of only a few days, they were the research specimen of choice in the study of animal genetics. We saw a lot of pictures of fruit flies with different traits and graphs showing the mathematical frequency of traits in a given population. If you had the pea stuff down, you could get the fruit flies. If not, it was just bugs. The bottom line was that it was about the predictability of genetic traits, not fruit flies. I'm not the brightest guy in the World. I always wished I was smarter but it's not something you can really change. I liked science class though. I liked Mr Harris. I paid attention in science class in the seventh grade. I have a pretty good handle on genetics, as shown by trait variation in sweet peas and fruit flies, 45 years later. It's helped me in life. Really. Taking band helped in my appreciation of music, even if I don't play any more. Typing was pretty much of a bust.

After genetics we had a unit on Charles Darwin. We learned how different environmental challenges allow species to evolve because of genetic variation within the population. If you got the sweet pea and fruit fly stuff, the concept of evolution of the species was eye opening. If you didn't, it was just another fairy story. School curriculum is pretty methodical. They taught Mendel and Darwin in seventh grade science. Everybody takes seventh grade science. They assume everybody got the concepts. They referred to these concepts a lot later on down the line but never really went back and hit the basics again. They did this in all subjects. There is so much to cover. It may be a mistake.

Sarah Palin went a lot farther in school than the seventh grade. She is the daughter of a high school science teacher. She made some statements this week that indicate she may not have learned the basics of genetic theory. This is corroborated by her religious beliefs, which specifically deny Darwinism. If you accept Darwinism, you have to get a little more sophisticated in your religious beliefs. Once you understand the basics of Mendel and Darwin, they are pretty hard to deny. Scientific knowledge changes the way that a person looks at the World around them. It's just my opinion but I think the more you know the better and not just about science. I think it's true of most things.

On the other hand, if you don't know too much, it's comforting to have leadership that reinforces your ignorance. From a strictly Darwinistic perspective though, it doesn't do much for your chances of survival.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Polls about Pols are Poles apart

Presidential polls are wacky right now. Some have Obama way ahead. Some have it a very close race. A few even have McCain with a narrow lead. How can this be?

The big difference between polls is mostly due to who they think will vote, not how those asked say they will vote. The single best predictor of who will vote has always been and will always be, a previous pattern of consistent voting. Republicans have been very good, for a very long time, at getting their people out to vote. The Democrats, not so much.

If the same people voted this election as voted 4 years ago, the election would be very close, like it was 4 years ago. McCain could win, as Bush did four years ago. Elections in America are always decided more by the people that don't vote, than by the people that do. Most pollsters are counting on the fact that more young people, more minorities, more urban poor, will vote in this election, favoring Obama. What they don't really know is to what extent this will be true. Some question if it will be true at all, since it has never been the case before. The result is that the polls differ widely. The Democrats are encouraged by the polls that show Barry way ahead and pulling away. The Republicans keep hope alive by pointing to polls that show it is still very much a horse race.

I think there may be a bigger turnout this election than previously. Election turnout, especially during Presidential years has been increasing over the past several cycles but this has been true for Republicans as well as Democrats. The increase in voter registration this year, would tend to indicate a much larger turnout. Polling not focused on choice of candidate but voter enthusiasm also indicate a possible larger turnout for the Democrats. There is clearly some degree of apathy among fiscal conservatives, who are less than thrilled with the mainstream choices, indicating they might not vote in numbers as large as usual, although generally once a voter, always a voter.

I don't think anybody is really sure how it's going to go next Tuesday. I think that's the way it should be. I look forward to staying up late and watching the returns. Maybe we'll have hot dogs and beer and wave little flags about gaily.

Liberal Bad, Conservative Good

The reason democracies work is that they are found in liberal societies. In liberal societies populations are educated and there is freedom of information. In liberal societies people are free to express diverse opinions. Liberal societies exhibit diversity in lifestyle choice among the inhabitants.

The main tenant of the Bush doctrine is to force democratic government onto societies that have not undergone modernization and where societies are illiberal. These countries then become our allies. These are places where societies are not secular. These are places where there is not freedom of information. These are places where literacy is limited to the upper classes. Democracy, introduced into illiberal societies does not produce governments sympathetic to Western ideals. Domestically, the Bush doctrine seeks to create a more illiberal society in America. It is no wonder that other industrialized Western democracies increasingly view America as if it was a third World banana republic on steroids.

It would be naive to think American leadership doesn't understand this. While virtually all other modern industrialized countries are improving their educational systems and encouraging their populations to broaden understanding of the World around them, the United States has been moving backward. Educational levels and literacy are actually decreasing in America and have been for decades. Real information is not readily available. The population is becoming more insular, xenophobic and dependent on primitive religious superstition than was true half a century ago. The government used to censor sensitive military information during times of war. Currently, the government routinely censors huge amounts of information relating to virtually every area of its operation. The censorship of war news has reached ridiculous levels. It's like they are using Orwell's 1984 as a blueprint. This was the hallmark of the Stalinist Soviet empire. There is no reason for this other than to encourage ignorance and passivity among the general population. This is not some kind of conspiracy theory. It's just true.

In an illiberal democracy, where the people have neither the tools nor the information to make informed decisions, electoral outcomes and public opinion can be manipulated by the information the people are allowed access to. One only has to look at the effort the government goes to in discrediting the intellectual class and institutions of learning in this country, that disseminate real information indiscriminately, to see where our democracy is headed.

Mississippi Blue?

I'm wondering if Mississippi might go blue. It has almost a 40% black population. If the black turnout is high and they vote almost unanimously for Obama and he also gets a third of the white vote, he would easily win.

What? It could happen.

No McCain/Palin Bumper Stickers

Orange County, California is one of the most reliably Republican Counties in America. This is true across almost all demographics, including our many diverse ethnic groups. One of the ways in which this has always been apparent is in the way our citizens decorate their cars with bumper stickers. There are a lot of support our troops and military affiliation bumper stickers. There are a lot of religious bumper stickers. There are a lot of anti drug bumper stickers. There have always, especially around election time, been a lot of political bumper stickers. Presidential, Congressional, local offices and various propositions are all usually advertised on the bumpers of the local family vehicles. There are still a lot of bumper stickers on the cars but very few having to do with the coming elections.

I have no idea why.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Proposition 8

I'll try this once more. About a different subject this time. We have a proposition on the ballot in California to amend the State Constitution to deny same sex couples the right to marry. There is a reason that this should not pass. It has nothing to do with homosexuality. Just like civil rights laws have nothing to do with racism. Just like the equal rights amendment has nothing to do with feminism. We don't need these laws. Instead, any law which differentiates the treatment of individuals on the basis of race, sex, religion or anything else, should be declared unconstitutional. Prop 8 is about limiting every one's rights as an individual. This is something the government should not be involved in.

If you, as an individual, have any beliefs that are not sanctioned by the majority, you are in danger of being constrained from practicing those beliefs. This is wrong. It doesn't matter if your beliefs are stupid beyond the bounds of normal reason. It doesn't matter if they are provably wrong. As long as the practice of those beliefs doesn't interfere with the life, liberty and pursuit of happiness of others, they should be allowed. This protects the freedom of everybody. Once you decide to legislate how people can and cannot live their personal lives, all personal belief and preference is in danger. Legislated intolerance is much worse than personal intolerance. Time and time again it has led to war, genocide, oppression and enslavement. Christians, Jews, gypsies, homosexuals, communists, intellectuals, scientists, black, brown, yellow, the question isn't where do we stop. The question is why start.

You personally have the right to believe whatever you like, about anybody at all, for whatever reason. That's the whole point, isn't it. You don't like homos? Live with it. They're what, 2-3% of the population? It's a self selecting, self limiting group. Most of them wouldn't get married if you tried to make them. This shouldn't be a problem for anybody. Why make it one? Enough said. You think different? There's the comment button. Sound off.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Can't Touch the Medrassa Boy Now

Where are we now in the Presidential campaign, as the last week before election day looms? Scotty McClellan continues to actively campaign for Obama, you gotta wonder why Barry allows this. Scotty doesn't have a big following. The former Republican governors of Massachusetts and Minnesota have drank of that transformational, cafe-au-lait, Kool Aide and now do the zombie dance for the One. Boy about town Charley Crist, reject for the VP spot, in Florida, says he is not campaigning for Johnny in his must win State, because he was never asked. This is not even a well crafted lie. It reeks of sarcasm and personal enmity. Another log cabin heard from. Pro choice Tommy Ridge of Pennsylvania, has the courage not to bother with a half assed lie. That's why they made him the Homeland Security Czar. He simply states that McCain would have had a better chance in Pennsylvania and the rest of the country, if he had been chosen as the Veep. He's right but that's only my opinion. The Republican organizations in the must win States of Florida, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Ohio and several others, are now saving their money instead of mounting a last minute push and beginning to build their war chests for 2010, where they feel they may have a better chance to advance the Republican cause. John McCain and Sarah Palin continue to do their thing, oblivious to the fact that it is the wrong thing. Or maybe they know it's wrong and just think it's too late to flip flop. Either way, it's a slow motion train wreck. Absent viable candidates, the only thing the Republican machine can do, is continue to try and tear down the Medrassa Boy's meat house.

And where in the World is Barry O? Last seen shuffling alone, through the humble streets of his old Hawaiian neighborhood, dressed in old jeans and flip flops. There to visit his aged , ill and possibly dying granny, the woman who largely raised him. A woman of humble origins, who grew up during the depression, labored in a defense plant during the War, then worked her way up to a senior executive position in the banking industry, at a time when women were relegated to the teller window. It's a blatant rope a dope move but a smart one that he can never be criticized for. How long can he stretch it out? The longer the better. He's way ahead on points. When they write it down in the record books, a win is what counts. Just ask George Bush. Let the crash artist and the moose gutter flail away, trying for the knockout. They're too punch drunk to notice Barry's not even in the ring. Given a last week alone, with the full focus of the press upon them, they may destroy themselves.

The Dollar is Strong But Ephemeral, More Conceptual Than Real

The means of production is an all encompassing concept. It includes the crops and cattle in the fields, the mineral wealth in the ground, power plants with their whining turbines, factories and workshops around the World, the transportation systems and sales outlets that distribute goods. The American dollar is the life blood that nourishes and enables the means of production to supply the World with the necessities of life. There are other currencies but only the dollar is universally accepted and available in the quantities necessary for the transfer of value required for the maintenance of the World production/consumption cycle.

The means of production is rapidly contracting now. Much more money is owed than available for purposes of consumption. Money is being drained from circulation and held by the investor class, World wide, to pay debt and as a store of wealth, rather than being used as an instrument of trade, because continued production is not profitable. You can't just give stuff away, production costs must be covered. The rich aren't any happier about this than anyone else. The fact is that the value of money constantly degrades. Its value is inextricably tied to the vitality of the means of production. Holding large amounts of it, for long periods of time, is a fools game. Those with real wealth just don't know what else to do, so they keep gathering up what money they can.

Nobody knows what to do. Watch the markets today. Watch the value of the means of production contract. Watch the money being drained from the system as it grinds to a halt. Everything is part of a cycle. Death is always a necessary part of any cycle. It's the least fun part.

I'm not dead yet. I have a little money. That's a good thing. At least for me. At least for now.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

They Still Didn't Like Each Other Very Much

Some wingnut troll found naked pictures of Barack's mom on a vintage porno site and posted them. I don't know who originally found them, they're all over the Righty Siteys. Surf around a little, you'll find them.

I don't think they're photo shopped. It looks like her. They're not bad. Clearly taken by a man who could center and focus a picture and not one put off by short, pale girls with large, slightly lumpy buttocks. Very nice breasts. Pointy and perky, though they don't look like they are built to last. The setting is a tawdry, drab, swinging sixties bachelor pad, with a trimmed Christmas tree off to one side and a suitcase stereo with jazz albums strewn around, on the other. The only apparel the young woman has on in the picture, are a pair of dated, gaudy, high heeled platform pumps. For the record, she doesn't look the least bit coerced or uncomfortable. Good for her. This could be a little awkward for Barry. If he's smart, he won't even comment.

This reminds me of an episode that occurred on the Seawolf, late on one long Summer deployment. A couple of forward ICs were standing in the chow line, a young 3rd and his leading 1st. They didn't like each other much and the 3rd was always dogging the senior man. The kid turned to the guy and hit him with the oldest one in the book.

"Jesus we've been at sea for a long time, I'm as horny as a goat. Say, do you have any naked pictures of your wife. That would a very nice thing to have."

The 1st grumpily replied that he certainly did not, in a tone that implied he found the idea repugnant.

Then the zinger from the 3rd. " I could let you borrow some of mine, they're nasty, I've got a shitload."

The 1st class' mouth fell open then clenched. He flushed bright red and went for the other guy's throat, thumbs punching brutally down on the other guy's prominent Adams apple. He was in a blind rage. He would have killed the guy.

We pulled them apart. After we watched for a little while. This was in plain view of 20 to 25 guys, right outside the goat locker.

Normally, shipboard violence is not tolerated on subs. There are good reasons for this. They try to screen out the guys with this potential and send them to bird farms, where they get great evals and advance quickly. There could have been serious consequences, for something like this. It was an act of deadly force. Nobody that saw it happen could deny it. The 1st disappeared into the wardroom for a few hours.

In the end, the 1st was made to apologize, publicly, to the 3rd. He sounded like he meant it and by then, I bet he did. The 3rd accepted the apology and apologized himself for a joke that was in poor taste, at the wrong time, in the wrong place. There could have been a court martial and DD. There wasn't. There was no NJP, no reprimand in any service jacket, not even any lingering concern that he would do anything like this again. The 1st made Chief after that and since he was already in a Chief billet, stayed aboard. The two guys worked together from that point on, with no problems. They still didn't like each other very much.

I don't know what this has to do with naked pictures of Obama's mom. It just reminded me, is all.

The Big Bama Soars Over The Big Sky

Montana State University at Billings released a poll today showing a 4.2% lead for Obama over McCain, 44.4%-40.2%. Montana hasn't been a Democratic State since the Lion of the Senate, Mike Mansfield, last roared and that was a very long time ago.

I don't believe that Barry can actually win Montana. It's just not going to happen. Even if he does, it doesn't make much difference. They have an insignificant number of electoral votes. I do think that the race there is closing. I doubt that the political science department in Billings is full of wild eyed liberals, looking to skew the poll. Montana is one of those States that may not be burdened with an excess of lefty higher education or urban pockets of socialist parasites hungering for poverty level entitlements but they are a literate, informed and thoughtful bunch. They are not swayed by what others think or tell them to think. They are a big gun owner State but they are not worried, at all, that anybody is going to take their guns away, ever. There aren't a lot of gay pride festivals there, so maybe they don't feel threatened by the homos. They go to church but they mostly get baptized in the river, not in the Spirit. If somebody needs an abortion there, they do it out in the barn, with the vet tools. They have troublesome minorities in Montana but nobody is offering a solution to the problems posed by the Mormons and Hutterites.

It's clear a lot of them have been thinking, lately. I wonder if McCain will pull his campaign out of the State. That would make the Dogsled Diva very unhappy.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A Sea Change At College Station

Texas A&M is not your normal American College. The student body is 95% white, 99% Republican and virtually run by the infamous ROTC Corps of Cadets, compete with sabers, spurs, jack boots and jodhpurs. They may smoke a little dope there but nobody protests nothin', ever. Racism is not an issue there, they're for it.

The student newspaper, The Eagle, usually prints sports news, mostly football. They worship a white God in College Station and his only begotten son, Bear Bryan.

The Eagle doesn't usually endorse candidates for the President of the United States of America. They didn't endorse LBJ in 1964. This week, they gave an only slightly qualified endorsement of Barack Obama for the Presidency. The qualifications were no more harsh than those I would make myself. They praised John McCain for his service to the country. They blistered the paint off the Alaskan Queen. They are, essentially, signing on to the whole transformational figure in American politics package, lock, stock and barrel.

I'm not going to try and analyse what this means in terms of the Texas political scene. I don't pretend to understand anything about Texas, that you can't learn from listening to old Kinky Friedman albums, while at least 600 miles away. I'll just say that if John McCain is having problems beating a liberal black community organizer, from the South side of Chicago, at Texas A&M, he's having real problems. Fundamental problems.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Neck Anchor For Sale---Click this Title

I saw this posted. I love looking at mansion ads on the Internet. Every once in awhile you run across one that is monumentally edificial. This qualifies. What a place. It's everything a person would normally need in a Santa Fe, New Mexico getaway and just the right amount more. Add another wing with 20 or so guest rooms and you would have a very nice small luxury resort. I'm sure the replacement cost would be at least several multiples of the asking price. Somebody is taking a bath here and they have just the bathroom for it. The price they are asking is so cheap that most people who could consider it would be soon broken by tax, maintenance and upkeep costs and I bet they would knock a million or so, at least, off the asking. I would classify this home as tastefully excessive.

Rich people are suffering if they are offering deals like this. If I was rich, I wouldn't want this place. It's just way too much. I wouldn't mind spending a few days here though. One of the coolest bathrooms I've ever seen. Master bedroom is nice but nothing special. You could keep a parade of interested trophy wife applicants moving through. The living room is just about right, for a large train station.

Take the tour. Look at the pictures. Read the text. Tell me what you think.

Anyone interested? No finders fee required. Just a weekend invite please.

Better bolt your Laziboy to the floor, install some seat belts and go into full recline mode

Have you been watching the economic news. They are trying to sell the idea that the worst is over. The markets are stabilizing. We will have a few quarters of decreased economic growth in Asia and flat growth here, then World trade and commerce will rebound off this "soft" landing. Inflation is not a problem. Deflation is the problem we must combat. Lower interest rates. Inflate the debt and pump more money into the economy. Get Americans borrowing again. The dollar is strong and getting stronger. A second consumer stimulus program of several hundred billion dollars is in the works, probably before the new Congress convenes and the new President takes office.

What a load of crap. Watch out below!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Two Weeks From Today

Momentum in the Presidential campaign has been running in two week waves, with one party gaining momentum for two weeks and then the other. As the election nears, gains and losses of support, with each wave, are becoming smaller for both parties. There are fewer people who are not firmly committed to one candidate or another. The waves of support, for both candidates are forming classic bull patterns, with levels of support continuing to both peak and trough at higher levels of support. Obama is peaking and troughing at higher support levels than McCain.

A two week period of relative Republican polling gains is now within a day or two of ending. Despite this, Obama is at fifty percent levels of support or greater in some of the nationwide polls and McCain manages to reach parity in some, on a level of plurality. This continues to give the Republicans hope. Obama now has a majority in all demographics except white men in their fifties and sixties and white protestants who regularly attend church, with a huge advantage accruing among older white protestants who regularly attend pentecostal or charismatic churches and identify abortion as a major political issue. McCain is also doing well with military officers, older white enlisted men and active members of traditional veteran's fraternal organizations. The Republicans are losing support among the investor and professional classes. The myth that racists will vote Republican this cycle is proving false. They are holding their noses and pulling the lever for Obama, as long as they don't fit into an otherwise strongly Republican demographic. This is the first election in over thirty years, where gun ownership, in and of itself, has not been a bellweather issue for Republicans.

No matter how you look at the situation, Sarah Palin's VP candidacy has been a mixed blessing for McCain. She has helped mobilize the non-elitist Republican base, who were disappointed with President Bush and will spur them to higher voting percentages. Believe it or not, there is still a non neocon, intellectual Republican elitist faction. They controlled the party, until Nixon hit on the, if you build it they will come, moral majority strategy that transformed the party, starting in 1968. They are horrified by the hive head queen and what's left of them are bailing out, if not from the party yet, from active participation.

McCain is going to take some of the battleground states. He has a good chance of holding on to Florida, Indiana, North Dakota, maybe even Missouri. Democrats, on the other hand look like they will take Virginia, Iowa, Nevada, New Mexico, possibly North Carolina. These are all States that the Republicans usually win. No recently Democratic States are up for grabs. Virginia along with Nevada and New Mexico would be enough to put Obama over the top or if not Nevada and New Mexico, then Iowa. It's unlikely to come down to that but there is no denying that if everything falls apart for Obama in the last two weeks of the campaign, it could still be close.

The story of the Republican party this cycle is increasingly the story of the Evangelical Christian movement in America, as the mouse that roared. Far fewer Americans attend church every Sunday than a generation or two ago. Those that do attend, have been moving, not so much to Pentecostal congregations but to more traditional mainstream churches that have picked up strands of the pentecostalist's charismatic DNA. This makes them see themselves in a more militant role, politically. They are more likely to vote, to donate and to become politically active. Their clergy tells them to and they believe that God mandates it. The charismatics were courted by the Republicans to bolster a weakening coalition into one that could continue to win elections. As the coalition continues to weaken among other groups, the charismatics demand and get increasing consideration for their continued support. A tipping point has now or soon will be reached, where further concessions to fundamentalist Christians will cost the Republican party support in other areas of the coalition. This is especially true among fiscal conservatives, who see fundamentalist Christians as lower class, largely uneducated, often lazy, consumers of Social Security, Medicare and other even more poverty level specific, social welfare entitlements.

Both of the major political parties in America are in constant flux. This year it is the Republicans more than the Democrats. In order to win elections, the Republicans are now having to offer the same levels of entitlement spending as the Democrats and in some cases increase them. They find themselves in the unenviable position of having to support hugely increased spending on the military and bank bailouts. Fiscal conservatives have no unified voice in government at this time. The next political cycle will see an exponential increase in deficit spending, no matter who comes out ahead. There are several possible outcomes, the best of them are grim.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

What do you make of this?

For a generation, Colin Powell has been the the Bush house nigger. He was the man the Bushes, father and son, loved to hold up to the World, proving they weren't the racist scumbags that everyone always suspected they were. First as chairman of the joint chiefs of staff for Poppi, during the first Gulf War, then as Secretary of State for the retard boy during the onslaught of the unilateral foreign wars of aggression against Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran. He was never anything less than a brave and faithful servant to both of them, while carrying their water, even as foul as it no doubt was. After he left, he never gave revealing interviews or wrote tell all books. He does not criticize them now. He does not point out their mistakes or categorize their failings, no matter how well he is acquainted with them.

He talks of the need to bring better educational opportunities to America's youth. He talks of the need for America to reach out more effectively to our neighbors around the World. He says now, that he supports Barack Obama for President and calls him a transformational figure but says that it hasn't been a quick or easy decision. I think he gave valid reasons for the decision, though I am sure the Right Wing talking points will be all about his and Barack's mutual blackness, tomorrow.

In the less than four years since he left government service, Colin Powell has had a chance to gather the fruits of his lifetime of service to the nation. He sits on numerous corporate boards of directors. He is in demand as a highly paid speaker. He has had access to and the respect of, the movers and shakers in American society. He has made millions. This endorsement will be seen as a violation of trust. His life of privilege will be over. This endorsement insures it. It will also make him an outcast within the military circles in which he spent the majority of his life. It is quite a sacrifice to make. He will be back to where he was all those decades ago, when he began his military career, surrounded by overt racial hatred and the silent treatment. It is ironic that this endorsement, certainly one of the most courageous and honest of his life, will be largely symbolic. Those who he might have influenced have already decided. For those in support of Obama, it comes too late. McCain/Palin partisans will move away from Powell, not McCain. Maybe this will restore some of the pride and self respect, that Powell gave up all those years ago.

Things have changed less in America than most people think. Maybe now the real change will begin.

Friday, October 17, 2008

The banks will soon be flush lending out government money. They can get 4% interest.

We are told that the government needs to recapitalize banks because they are unable to make loans. The question is who are they making loans to? What do these loan applicants need money for? There is no sector of the economy that is expanding. Nobody is asking for venture capital. There is no new construction starting. Nobody is hiring. Retail sales are plummeting. Unemployment is skyrocketing. Many States are starting to run out of the reserves to pay benefits to the jobless. Credit card companies are cutting off consumer lines of credit to the over extended, as they begin to forecast hundreds of billions in defaults in the next few years. Real estate prices are still declining and the foreclosure rate continues to increase. In times like these, it's unlikely that anybody asking for money, is a good risk to pay it back.

Unable to interest anyone else in their Ponzi schemes, the bankers have turned to Uncle Sam. They will dine off government money as long as they can. No loans will be made, except to themselves. I wonder how much money the government will give the bankers, before they catch on. I wonder who the bankers think will participate, once the government goes broke?

The Oracle calls a bottom

Warren Buffet says he is selling bonds and buying stocks. That's good. I already own a bunch of stocks, they're just worth a lot less than they used to be. DUH!

He expects to soon hold no cash or bonds. He says cash and cash equivalents will ultimately only decrease in value. I wish I had some cash to divest myself of. DUH!

I'm sure his advice is sage but fail to see how I may, at this point, profit by it. Somehow, I don't feel Warren really expects the majority of people are going to be able to profit from his advice. Is this some kind of sly "Richest Man in the World" humor?

They brought him out again this morning

George Bush has no aptitude for public speaking. He isn't comfortable doing it. He has the lowest public approval rating of any President. Outside of America he is a figure of universal derision. He is in the last months of his term and wants nothing more than to go home and drink himself to death.

His handlers have been bringing him out almost every morning for two weeks to address the public on the evolving economic crisis and the government's efforts to alleviate it. They must think it will have some positive effect on the situation. It hasn't been a very effective strategy, so far.

They must be scared shitless.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Let's Put Abortion Behind Us

No issue is so divisive in American politics as abortion. It is certainly not a black and white issue. Everyone has their own idea of what is right. I doubt we will ever come to a satisfactory consensus.

I say, take it down to the lowest common denominator. Overturn Roe versus Wade. Let the people decide. City, County, State, National level, whatever they decide. Only let the smallest most cohesive group trump. A City can outlaw abortion in a County where it is legal. A County can allow abortion in a State where it is illegal. A State can outlaw abortion even if the National government allows it. Everybody gets their way. Kinda.

It's not probably what most people want but maybe it's something we can agree is better than anything else we're likely to get. In the meantime, this issue, which takes up a disproportionate amount of national discourse, tears the country apart.

How About Calling It The Minimalist Party?

Four years ago, this is not where I thought the Republican party would be. Bush won the presidency for a second term convincingly, and majorities in both houses of Congress even in the face of a restive populace. It turns out that the crop of victories the Democrats will reap next month were already flourishing in the fields of national discontent. This was evident in the humiliating defeat Republican majorities in Congress suffered two years ago. I thought Pennsylvania and maybe even Wisconsin would move into the permanent Republican sphere by this time. Instead, the Old Dominion has turned blue. North Carolina threatens to follow. This doesn't mean much in terms of Congress. A rose by any other name, is an apt analogy. In Presidential politics, the implications are profound. The Southern block has, one way or another, been stalwartly united throughout the entire history of the nation. If it dissolves, real democracy in America takes a giant leap forward. The only strong block of Republican States left will be the mountain and prairie West. Nevada, New Mexico and North Dakota may vote democratic this year, but they are demographically idiosyncratic and can never be counted on with certainty by either party.

It is self evident that America is ripe for political change. The platforms of both political parties clearly do not reflect the current desires of the American people. How long will we allow ourselves to be offered only a choice between what we see as the lesser of two evils, rather than a choice that gives us only those things that we all agree we must have and leaves the rest up to personal choice or at least government at a more local level. I am of the opinion that intelligent, educated, fiscal conservatives will not long remain in the Republican party after the coming rout. They have been hounded out of the leadership and have no voice in Washington. They may move into the Libertarian party and redecorate or more likely, form a new party. If they do it right, they could gut the Democrats with defections and pick up reliable support from the growing ranks of independents. The Republican party would almost immediately dissolve. The neocons and Palinist Luddites share no common ground. I would join a new party if they ditched the religious wackos, xenophobes and war mongers. It would be better if we lightened the load and streamlined government function in this country, before it simply grinds to a halt completely.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I'm Sick Of It. Fuck'em.

I've watched a lot of Presidential debates. I always get excited about them. I always end up disappointed. The more I watch the less excited and more disappointed I end up getting. The dialogue always ends up coalescing around the contents of the stump speeches and the canned talking points. Within a week after the beginning of a campaign, I've heard everything of substance that I'm going to hear and from that point on the candidates become more and more guarded about what they let out, lest they commit the error that dooms their candidacy. I don't know about everyone else but I find these debates incredibly boring. They show me nothing but disrespect and insult my position as a citizen and voter because of the guardedness and obfuscation. I end up being less sure of where the candidates really stand than I originally thought. I end up knowing nothing about who they really are. Almost any other type of exposure to the candidate would be more welcome than one of these stupid debates.

It doesn't even have to be about the issues. I'd like to hear them talk about the upcoming NBA season or the MLB season coming to a close. I'd like to watch McCain, Obama, Palin and Biden play in a late night, high stakes poker tournament. I'd like to spend a semester rooming with them at a college dorm. How 'bout we all go non qual, non rated on a 90 day run, underway on nuclear power, mess cooking, field daying, spending mid watch on the planes, chain smoking, drinking triple strength coffee from the boiler in crews mess, spiked with hot chocolate mix? I want to know what they see as beautiful and why. Where they would spend time if they could go anywhere at all for as long as they wanted.

I'll tell you the truth. I don't give a shit where they stand on the issues. It's not important. It doesn't matter. I want to know what kind of man or woman is in there. I want to see how they deal with the stresses and decisions of life and the people that they are going to be leading, as a nation, through it. Do they have the strength, compassion, perspective and insight to be the leader of all the people and not just the ones who pay the freight or share their orientation? This is exactly the kind of information they try the most to hide. Fuck'em. Hard.

This is not a Republican against Democrat problem. This is a corruption of the system by both parties, who don't want to show us who we are really voting for. We end up voting blind and we pay a terrible price for it. Over and over and over again.

Money Talks, Wall Street Walks

It has not gone unnoticed that it was the Democrats in Congress who shepherded through the massive seven hundred billion dollar banking bailout bill or that it was the Republican side of the aisle in the House, that nearly succeeded in torpedoing it.

Quietly, over the past two weeks, from coast to coast, the entire investor class and their raucous West side legion of drovers, jounglers and camp followers on Wall Street, have quietly changed over to membership in the Democratic Party. It is rumored that real estate brokers and insurance agents are also making the move. So far, there has been no substantiation of this story. CNBC anchor Maria Bartiromo was set to break the story this morning but failed to make the announcement. She has been unavailable for comment and was reportedly last seen trudging shoeless, down the steps of Bill Clinton's Harlem town house, in a stained blue dress, smelling of cigar smoke, with a smear of Blue Star ointment on her chin. We hope to hear from her soon.

In other news, attendance at Sarah Palin campaign rallies has fallen off precipitously. Apparently someone has been targeting trailer parks across the Appalachian region and Mississippi basin with very authentic looking Email notifications from Kenya, concerning the disposition of the Mombasa Sweepstakes Grand Prize, which will be paid off by monthly installments over twenty years, in fermented goat urine and powdered rhino horn.

Tracks End

The debate tonight will be John McCain's last chance to convince America that he is better able to serve as America's chief executive than Barry O. It really shouldn't be that hard. He just needs to reassure them that being fourth from the bottom of his class at the Naval Academy, as a legacy admission, is a more valid educational preparation than graduating Magna Cum Laude from Harvard Law School as Editor of the Law Review. He needs to remind people that only sixteen of his twenty two years in naval service were taken up by long, drunken binges of fornication and barroom brawling, punctuated regularly with negligent airplane crashes. He needs to show them that even though he is the oldest man who has ever run for President and his short term prognosis is guarded, he is more fit to handle the stress of the Presidency than a cool, athletic and decades younger man, with no known history of multiple stage IV malignancies. He needs to point out that the hordes of inbred, racist mutants, expected to come out of their trailer homes, survivalist bunkers and meth labs to vote for him on election day, barely tolerate him. They only tag along because of the presence of his running mate, who exercises over them some unnatural, pheromonal sex mojo, men and women alike. There is nothing to fear. He is a good man. He is a live man. He is a man capable of limited voluntary movement in all extremities, nominally oriented to his surroundings and whose speech, while slightly garbled, is intelligible and consistently more reasoned than random utterance. How many past Presidents could claim more than this?

Bob Schieffer, who will be moderator for tonight's debate, even though he is from Texas, is unfortunately, an unrepentant member of the wildly liberal mainstream media. He will try not to give John McCain the chance to present his case to the American people. He will instead ask only unfair and slanted questions. Questions about things the people don't care about or even need to know. The economy. Jobs. Social Security. Health care. Unilateral foreign wars for the establishment of petro-hegemony. Those damn liberals. So full of hate and secular humanism.

George Bush is not an Evil, Torturing Retard

I'm disappointed. For years I have surmised that orders to torture terrorist suspects came to the CIA directly from the White House or at least Blair House. It turns out that the CIA came up with the idea and began implementing it on their own. Only later, after Tora Bora, when Abu Gharib was up and running, did they reveal what they were doing to the Bush team and ask for written authorization. That the Bush White House gave them the authorization with very little prompting doesn't soften the blow. It turns out that Condelezza Rice and John Ashcroft were the ones that made the decision to give written permission for the CIA to use torture as an interrogation technique. It's possible that by that time, Bush was already so out of it that nobody even told him or if they did, he really didn't understand.

It isn't enough for me that Bush is a retard. I need him to be an evil, torturing retard. And what about Cheney? Is he really nothing more than an irascible, old, face shooting cardiac?

I am disconsulate.

Setting Up The Next Oil Crisis

A year ago, the price of oil was rising inexorably and impossibly. When it became apparent the rise would continue, buying became frantic. Suppliers were desperate to hedge against future price increases. Speculators bought and held, selling when they had made their target price to yet more speculators, who did the same.

When prices peaked in July, huge supplies of oil were available for refining. With prices now rapidly falling, no one wants to buy oil. Suppliers are running down stocks, knowing they can replace it cheaper, the longer they wait. Oil held off the market by speculators is readily available, in addition to the fresh pumped stuff. There is a glut. OPEC is having to cut production. There are no ready buyers and the price is not to their liking. They are in no rush to pump or sell. They have all the time in the World and a good deal of the cash. Sand and shale sources, with higher production costs, have a hard time competing, when prices go South. Production slows as personnel are let go to economize. At some point, supply will reach equilibrium with demand. Then it will dip a little lower. Oil prices will have reached their lows. They won't be as low as many would like. They won't be as low as they were a few years ago or maybe even last year.

The cycle will start again. The last price peak was $140 a barrel. Next time will be a lot higher.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Snake Oil

I am amazed. Watch CNBC. These guys never learn. The markets have found their bottom. Things will be getting back to normal. Now is a good time to buy stocks. The volatility is over.

Nothing has changed. It's still a consumer driven economy. The consumer is still tapped out. He owes too much. He makes too little. If he lives in a more responsible manner it will be years before anything changes and in the meantime economies around the World will be contracting. Profits will be decreasing. Commodity prices may remain depressed in some sectors but boom, bubble, bust cycles in energy and food will continue and the cycles will speed up.

If the stock markets rise it will be because of inflation and not increased valuation. They will likely go down a lot more before they go up.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Help Me, John McCain!

There are just 3 weeks left before the election. Obama is starting to pull ahead of McCain in States that the Democrats haven't won in decades. The Congressional contests are starting to look like they will be a slaughter for Republicans.

John McCain can turn things around but he has to take radical steps and quickly press his advantage home. What he has been doing has not been working. The only McCain campaign promise that has been well received has been his promise to buy up all the bad mortgages and then reprice them for the mortgage holders, according to what the home is currently valued at. This is a plan that resonates with voters he needs to win over to achieve victory. He needs to build on this plan and go farther. Since the Treasury has decided to print trillions of new dollars anyway, it doesn't matter how much he gives away.

First, he should eliminate the idea that the homeowner should have to pay back anything. The fact that a homeowner was willing to go into debt in the first place to get a house, shows good faith. It isn't his fault that the price turned out to be more than he could afford or that its value has now decreased. He should be rewarded for taking that risk. We should just give him the house. He will have to pay the property taxes on it and lay out money for upkeep, that's more than enough. If there are nicer houses in the neighborhood that are currently in default and vacant, the homeowner should have the option of a free upgrade to that house. Families that haven't been able to afford a house should not be punished. They should be given houses from the pool of those currently in default. If not enough houses exist, the government should fund the building of modest but adequate homes for the houseless. A reward for the responsibilities incurred by being American. This would stimulate the building trades. We need that.

There is more that John McCain could do. Many people have been forced deeply into credit card debt. This is affecting their ability to borrow the money that they currently need to make ends meet. To get the economy rolling, we need to get Americans borrowing again. They can't do that with maxed out credit cards. John McCain should promise to pay off all the credit card debt. This will get many undecided voters off the fence.

I don't have a mortgage or any credit card debt. I didn't even get a damn stimulus check. My tax guy says I made too much money. I don't think it's so damn much. After the carnage in the stock markets over the last few months. I'm not feeling too flush. I think John McCain owes me something too. Just like the other guys, I'm not asking for anything I don't deserve. By risking my money in the market, I help to build the American capitalist system. Now that I am hurting, John McCain should make good my losses. I'm not looking for a hand out. I just want back what is mine.

If John McCain knows what's good for him, he better think about what's good for me, the American voter.

It's a Fresh Start. Don't Mind the Wreakage and Bloated Bodies.

The stock markets are volatile in a way they have not been in 75 years. Commodities are getting beaten up. World wide, we are experiencing an influx of liquidity into the economy that has never happened before. Leading the charge is the United States Treasury, pumping trillions of dollars a week into World banking institutions. They're buying all the bad bonds. They are insuring all deposits. Everybody wins. Nobody loses. We're in the money. All the while, they are still warning about a continuing lack of funds and the threat of deflation. They have taken leave of their senses.

The result of this huge, continuing influx of cash can only be an inflationary holocaust such as has never been seen before. Normally it takes at least eighteen months for inflation to show up in a system after the addition of new money. I don't know if it will take that long this time. I do know that when it comes, it will come like a tsunami, sweeping everything in its path away.

Do not be distracted by the pretty shells on the beach. Seek high ground.

This is a Different Thing

People keep writing and saying that there is a credit crisis because there is no money to loan. This seems to me to be incorrect. There is more money than ever. It is available to be loaned. It is begging to be loaned.

The problem is that there are few loans to be made with adequate prospects of being paid back and the rates of interest being charged do not justify the risk. Therefore no loans are being made. This is a different thing.

How can a problem be fixed if it isn't even properly identified? Our leaders are either lying to us or grossly incompetent. I'm betting there are some of each.

Maybe By Several Percentage Points

I am only enthusiastic about Barry O when I confront my loathing for the inhabitant of the White House for the last eight years and the likelihood that John McCain offers only more of the same. I get positively militant when I consider that the Salmon Slut could finish up his term and win as many as two additional terms. Normally I would discount the idea that this could ever happen but Bush managed to be elected twice. Go Figure.

The polls are still uncomfortably close. Some are within the range of error. Barry is at or slightly above 50% while McCain trails behind. This is good. Barry has a substantial advantage in the electoral college as opposed to popular vote. This is good. Best of all, unlike me, most of Barry's supporters are very enthusiastic about his candidacy where as the vast majority of McCain's supporters don't even like him at all. The Screeching Fishwife is a two edged sword. Those that like her, virtually worship her. Everybody else, she nauseates, including the majority of Republicans who actually made it past the forth grade or who concede that these might not be the end of days.

I think there will be a higher turnout by Obama supporters and Palin supporters than generic ticket punching Republicans. This should favor Obama. I believe that any undecided voters left at this point will finally lean toward Obama, if for no other reason than he is more physically attractive and his wife isn't an obvious stoner robot.

I believe Barry will win a clear majority, maybe by several percentage points, easily winning in the electoral college and avoid another theft of the Presidency by Republican criminal elements during vote counting or Supreme Court adjudication.

These are the Times

There doesn't seem to be much consensus on what the markets will do Monday and after that it's any one's guess.

At times like this, it is good to remind ourselves that it is unlikely that the World is going to come to an end or even slow down all that much. Six billion plus inhabitants make it a pretty busy place, usually. When all is said and done, life goes on. There are always risks. There are always opportunities.

The system that the World is currently using is a capitalist one. Some may want to change this and they may but not tomorrow. When we have a market crash like this, ownership gets cheap because it's risky. I think it's smartest to buy into organizations that provide and facilitate the things that people really need. People will still want shelter, power, food, fuel, communications, transportation, at the very least. Sex and intoxicants, while they may not be, strictly speaking, necessities, are always in demand. People are going to be willing to sell those things they don't really feel they can afford to keep and others will be willing to buy them, if they are for sale cheap enough. Currencies become unstable at times like these, some will hold up better than others, begging arbitrage. Small amounts of easily transported materials with high intrinsic value may become highly prized mediums of exchange, gaining added value. Your labor may or may not be deemed valuable by others, depending on what you can do. Opportunity knocks.

Some people suffer in times like these. Ultimately, it is up to each of us to do the best we can, to make sure that we do not fall into that category.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

American Car Companies Deserve To Go Broke

Ford Motor Company has announced it will sell it's 1/3 share in Mazda. It says "Mazda plays no part" in it's future plans for the American market. Ford could use its ties to Mazda to build automated plants that produce the kind of cars sold and driven all over Asia. Is Ford insane?

Like all Japanese car makers, Mazda is active in producing the micro mini class of cars for Asian buyers. These cars are limited to 660cc of engine displacement. These cars can be had with super economical overdrive manual or CVT transmissions. They can function as city cars or cruise the freeway at speeds well in excess of posted limits. Rapid acceleration can be busy with the manual but still plenty zippy. Four 250 pound Americans would probably bog it down but for most people, in most conditions, there would be no problems keeping up with traffic. These cars produce very low emissions. They get 55+ MPG in mixed driving conditions. Conventional wisdom is that cars like this aren't suitable for or saleable to the American public.

I have always driven and been fascinated with small vehicles. I like 5occ motor scooters. I liked the little Honda and Mitsubishi cars that they sold in America for a few years in the middle seventies. People bought them. You used to see a lot of them and compared to today, gas was cheap. People weren't as concerned with issues of ecology but bought them anyway.

The truth about small cars is this. They have just as many parts as a big car. The manufacturing process is just as expensive, sometimes more. The only real fabrication savings is in the raw materials used and since small cars need light, strong parts, there's often not much of a savings or any to build them. Big cars can be sold for bigger money and produce bigger profits. This is why Detroit sells us big cars. They don't believe that Americans will pay the same money for a small car. They are clearly wrong. A five year old Toyota Echo will cost you more, on the used market, than a loaded up Camry and the Camry is one of the best selling cars in America.

Ford is stupid and deserves to go broke. GM is even stupider. Neither of them makes a decent small car that is competitive quality wise, with the Japanese. They have built up a well deserved reputation for producing terrible small vehicles. I once owned a Chevy Vega. Chevy Vega engines lasted about 24,000 miles, none of them made it to 40,000, ever. They could have made durable small vehicles. World War II surplus jeeps were a common sight on American roads for 30 years after the war ended. They had a real nice little 4 cylinder engine. Detroit just dropped the ball, over and over again. They are still doing it.

One Man One Vote

My father-in-law lived in one of those red states with a big sky and not many people. He was a life long Republican. He was active in the community. In the church. In service organizations. In politics. He was not a big donor. He had no money. He did what he could.

His town had an aging demographic. There were a lot of retirement homes. Assisted care facilities and skilled nursing establishments both in town and in the outlying areas. Most of the residents didn't get out much or have many visitors. My father-in-law visited them often. Many of his life long friends and associates lived in these places. Many he befriended after they moved in. He would bring them the things they needed. Circulate reading material. Just sit and talk. He was very popular and a valued friend. He organized and went to a lot of funerals. Not many men like him around anymore, they all said.

When election time came around. My father-in-law made sure that all his friends were signed up for their absentee ballots. He made sure they got mailed in on time. He gave his friends any help they needed, to get it done. They all voted a straight Republican ticket, hundreds of them. He started doing this in the early '60s. He did it until he died, in 1993. He always maintained that there was nothing wrong with what he did. That they all wanted to vote the way they did or would have, if they still could understand. It's probably true. There might be those that have a problem with it. There are guys like my father-in-law in communities all over America.

ACORN and like minded organizations have been making an effort to give people who don't usually participate in American democracy, the opportunity to do so. It is making the Republicans very unhappy. I don't understand why.

Friday, October 10, 2008

One Big Lie. One Glaring Omission

Heard Bush talk. Tried to blame everything on the real estate bubble. When will they admit it goes much deeper than that. Is housing to blame for the national debt? Did it cause the trade imbalance?

He said people are worried about their retirement accounts and investments. What about their jobs, you fucking dipshit? More and more of them don't even have jobs. Half that have jobs, still go into the red each month, whether they have mortgages or not. Why were the people kept at the same low wage, year after year, no medical benefits, no retirement plan, while the fat cats walked away with billions? Bush has said, over and over that we need to get Americans borrowing again. He is insane, as well as retarded. Stick yer fuckin' flag pin up your ass, you illiterate, drunken, coke snorting, draft dodging, catamite, frat boy billionaire. You are no American and no friend to the American people.

I think he must be an Islamist sleeper agent, born in Kenya, trained by old weathermen, funded by Saudi oil sheiks, sent here to destroy our way of life. He did a good job.

She's A Distance Runner

In a way, you have to admire John McCain. He is destroying himself in the name of the cause. At this point he has no real friends or admirers. There will be no good outcome and then he'll die. Cindy will move on. Whatever you think of him, whatever his motives, the man has guts.

Sarah Palin is another animal altogether. She is creating a viable niche brand. When this campaign is over, she will emerge as a messianic leader for a significant minority of the American public. She will perfect her skills with the press. She'll get even better with her public, once she's out on her own. They will donate money to her NoPro. They will pay to meet her in large halls. They will buy the books ghost written for her, by the millions. She can have her own syndicated radio show. The coffee mug sales alone, will pay off the house in Wasilla. Fox news will hire her. The televangelist community will carry her water. Whether she stays in the Republican party or starts her own movement, she will be a political power broker and cultural touchstone, for the foreseeable future. She'll never be hungry again. Not her, not Todd, not darling little Triggy. Praise Jesus.

Make a plan for her! Oh Lord! Make a plan!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Bush to Speak

President Bush will address the nation tomorrow. He wants to assure us of our safety, during this economic crisis.

That will be exciting. I can hardly wait.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Der Volk Remember

People laugh in the US at the notion of hording. Generations in Germany grew up hearing about long periods of war and the privation before and after. One of these periods was the hyper inflationary crisis of 1923. Having a little something stashed away, a little food, a little wine or even more than a little, made a difference.

Well, things have been better in Germany, these last decades. They have a little more to stash away. One of the things they are looking to stash is gold, coins, ingots and bars. Precious metals dealers in Germany report unprecedented demand. They have exhausted all available stocks and have taken orders for all they can reasonably promise in the next few months. They have quit taking orders and shut down, for now.

I'm Calling It

Over on the fundo blogs, they are inventing reasons why McCain won the debate. One guy on Red State predicted McCain by a landslide. A popular scenario emerging, is that there are a huge number of here to fore loyal, blue collar, Democratic voters who won't even reveal to their families that they can't vote for Obama but will pull the lever for McCain, in the privacy of the booth. The reasons for these defections are always related to issues of patriotism, ie. His wife isn't proud of America, he pals around with terrorists, his pastor hates White people. It's not that he's Black but he is, after all, the Medrassa Boy.

This is the kind of tinfoil hat stuff that people make up when hope is gone. Just like the Democrats, the last two cycles, when the chin poking, shoulder shrugging, dyslexic, Texas moron won.

That's enough for me. Even the faithful know it's over. Obama will win, probably by a good margin. It might even be better than that. The Dems will do better in Congress, than they think and they think they are going to do very well.

The bad news is, the economy is going to be in the tank for years, no matter who wins and that will give the Democrats plenty of opportunity for gratuitous social spending. That's assuming anyone will lend them the money.

Before He Takes His Rest

I keep expecting that the equities markets will rally. It's been 5 days straight down and the Dow is below 9500. The S&P below 1000. It looks like the market will open lower Wednesday. There are still a few hours to go, so how much lower is still in question. The European markets are off their lows but they could fall off before closing.

I'm watching CNBC. One of the interesting questions that people are beginning to ask in Europe is whether the EURO can survive the current crisis. The consensus is beginning to be that it can not. It doesn't surprise me too much. It's an artificial construct. The stronger nations will want to pull out. The weaker economies will have no say.

What is surprising is that nobody is questioning, at least openly, whether the US Dollar can survive. Some people must be starting to question its viability. I know I am. I guess the repercussions that would follow its failure are too profound for anyone to think about yet.

I still have a lot of dollars. I'm glad I do. Nothing else would have held up half as good these last few months. I think the dollar is a straw man. A dead man walking but I also think he has a way yet to walk, before he takes his rest.

UPDATE: 4AM PT announcement of a joint, global, central bank interest rate cut, 50 basis points. That's a first. Maybe the markets will open up after all. I bet it sells off later.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Debate Two

I think I'm a fiscal conservative. I'm certainly more conservative than anyone who's run for President since Barry Goldwater. There usually is no correlation between fiscal responsibility and party affiliation in politics, in this country, just a difference in how they will spend the money they don't have. The last fiscal conservative to hold the White House was Herbert Hoover. The most fiscally conservative since Hoover was Bill Clinton. I don't pick my candidates based on spending proclivity. It would be futile. Neither McCain nor Obama is likely to be thrifty. They didn't address this issue with any believability. McCain is more likely to fund war and keep the taxes of the wealthy low. Obama probably will treat old people better and make health care more affordable. Both will let Congress run big deficits. Neither cares about decreasing the national debt. I go with Obama.

On defense, both are way more hawkish than me. I believe in a military establishment, for deterrence and defense only, neither need be expensive. McCain says he is a cool hand on the tiller. He has shown time and again he has a hair trigger and is quick to fight. He likes a big stick and a heavy hand. At least Obama was against Iraq and wants to get us out of there. Both seem to want to ramp us up in Afghanistan and Pakistan, big mistake. I think Obama is less likely to get us into even more wars. I go with Obama.

I'm not crazy about Obama's healthcare package. McCain was unable to even articulate his healthcare plan coherently. Obama wins by default.

On the economy, neither one of them even has a clue. Both of them said the same thing. Once again, McCain was less articulate, to the point that he seemed confused and mentally impaired.

There wasn't anything new tonight. Same old stuff from both of them. Obama is a better communicator, it shows. McCain did a lot better than I thought he might. He's smarter than Palin. He is waaay better on his feet than Bush. Who isn't? Both stayed away from name calling and personal smears, smart boys. Nobody wants to hear it and it damages the the name caller worse than the subject.

I'll be honest. I don't like either one of these guys. Obama's not about change. McCain's not a maverick. Palin is a dingbat, religious wacko with a simplistic world view, without even the basic knowledge to learn what she needs to know, to lead the country. Biden is a jaded old pol, with the disconcerting tendency to bleed into his head but of the four, he is the guy I'd go with.

I'll be even more honest with you. I actively dislike John McCain. Surprise, surprise. Every time he addresses the camera as "My Friends", my teeth grate. I don't think he's my friend. I don't think he has many friends. It tells me he is a lying, insincere, little cocksucker. People that address you like that, are usually trying to get you to do something nasty. People that say it all the time, always turn out to have criminal tendencies. I don't like the fact that he is so old and sick. The obvious implication is that he won't function well or even at all, through the coming term. More than that, old, sick people, are self absorbed and tend not to care about others. That's not what I want in a President. Obama is younger, with two little girls he loves very much. I think he will be personally motivated to serve America better, in regard to its future.

Tuesday Night Fight

Last week the RNC turned the Roller Queen loose in St Louis. She got in her licks. She didn't win on points and she never took Scranton's favorite son to the mat but she went the distance. That's more than anyone thought possible. She knows how to take a punch, never miss a step and keep on smilin'. Eskimo Todd found that out, long ago. Now, all the Guys and Gals out there know it too. I think she got McCain a big bounce. It wasn't so much that he picked up any points but that he didn't lose any this week, after a blood bath on the Street, with the loss of trillions in equities, much of it in the pension funds and 401Ks of Mr and Mrs Sixpack.

Tonight, Jet Jock John goes up against the Medrassa Boy himself, in their semi final match, Town Hall style, refereed by "Short Bus" Tommy Brokaw, no holds barred. Medrassa Boy is at the top of his game, fresh from his single handed victory over Billary, the fearsome Arkansas Trailer Park Tag Team. It's not that they've never been licked, they have, often but they just absorb that lickin' like a mother's caress and keep on cummin'.

Jet Jock is a long time crowd pleaser but decades past his prime. Below the belt don't signify with Droolin' Tommy, the only belt he's watchin' for, is his next big belt of Old Overholt. The Medrassa Boy is looking for an easy victory but has plenty in reserve, if the going gets tough. Does "Crash the Plane" McCain have one more effort left in his metastatic old frame? Can he turn things around and land like a pig in shit, like he has so many times before.

We'll soon see.

The Politics Of Testosterone. A River Runs Through Him.

You gotta love Vlad Putin.

Does he even own a shirt? He was a KGB agent. He shoots bears. He is a martial artist extraordinaire. He fucks beautiful, teenage, gymnast girls who specialize in genitally exposing, contortionist poses. He plays table tennis, wearing only a speedo. He is a master fly fisherman.

He is like Elvis. He is like Chuck Norris. He's like a Dick Cheney wet dream, only heterosexually based.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Real Estate Based Derivatives Are Not The Problem

For the last 35 years, most American money has eventually ended up overseas, because that's where we get our stuff. The companies that take in the money, trade it to their governments, for local money, that they can use for operating expenses and to expand their business. These governments trade the American money back to the US government for bonds, that they then hold, collecting interest. They use these bonds as the basis to print local money, as their own economies expand.

American national debt is now 10 trillion dollars. Most of it is held by foreign governments. America doesn't have the money to service this debt, it must create new debt to do it. The American public is still sending money overseas to get stuff. The amount of debt created now increases exponentially. The US government is behaving exactly like the insolvent homeowner, who gets mortgages on which the interest doesn't have to be paid but increases in principle and maintains a lifestyle he can't afford by continually refinancing his house on the strength of it's supposed increase in value. All the money received during the frequent refinancing, ends up overseas, to be traded for more interest bearing, US government bonds.

This is a classic economic bubble. It is not under control. It cannot be be brought under control. It will burst. If not now, sometime in the future. When this happens, it won't be good. This is the main problem facing the US economy. Declining real estate values have nothing to do with it, they simply cause the real problem, which has not yet surfaced, to be glimpsed. This is what makes the markets, world wide, shivver.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Cain and Abel. Who Gets the Nod.

The Democratic party owes a great deal to Bill and Hillary Clinton. Bill has been the only popular Democratic leader in this country, since the ill fated Kennedy brothers. Hillary, while she may not have been the co president that she would have us believe, was more than a first lady. Together, they did more to resurrect the party than anyone else in modern times. While it's not a story that inspires everyone, Bill's rise to prominence, from humble and inauspicious beginnings, is a uniquely American, political success story, whether you like him or not.

They understand American politics. They understand their unique position, in American political history. It is sad, that following Hillary's unsuccessful bid for the Presidency in 2008, they have been unable to put aside their disappointment and work to unite the party before the general election. In doing so, they squander their political legacy and abdicate the party leadership that they have earned.

It is difficult to understand why they would do this. It certainly cannot be because they hope Barry will lose and Hillary can try again in 2012. Even they must realize the futility of that. Obama is the darling of the liberal and African American component of the party. If he is defeated, given the current situation and the incredible vulnerability of the McCain/Palin ticket, these two factions of the party, at least, will blame them and withhold their support. There can be no Democratic presidency without that support.

The Democratic coalition was destroyed in 1968, not by the deaths of the Kennedy brothers and not by Johnson's debacle in Vietnam. It was destroyed by the foisting of party stalwart Hubert Humphrey onto the ticket, ahead of the more liberal and popular Eugene McCarthy, at the open convention. It took a long time for the liberals to forgive the party, even though those responsible soon paid for it, with their political lives.

I do not know whether an Obama defeat would cause another generation long rift in the Democratic party or usher in a liberal reformation. If it happens, time will tell.

Blind Justice

Did OJ Simpson kill his ex wife and her young friend, on the doorstep of her Brentwood home, all those years ago? I believe he did. Most people do. He got away with murder. That's the truth.

What is also the truth is that he was found not guilty of the crime, in a court of law. He is, technically, innocent of the crime.

Now, he has been found guilty of a number of felony offenses, during an altercation with professional memorabilia collectors, where members of OJ's entourage brandished weapons and demanded the return of objects, that OJ disputed the rightful possession of. Is he guilty of these offenses? A jury has found it to be so.

Here's the rub. Normally, a celebrity involved in a situation like this might not get more than a hand slap. If he was willing to pay off those offended, charges might not even be filed. Maybe that's not fair but it's the community standard, in the celebrity friendly town of Las Vegas. The judge in this case will have wide latitude in imposing sentence. OJ has never been convicted of a crime before. Justice is supposed to be blind.

How blind do you think it will be?

I'm not crying about poor OJ. If he spends the rest of his life in jail, so be it. He is an odious individual. Cops always say that if a perp isn't guilty of the crime he or she is charged with, that they have previously gotten away with far worse and deserve to go to jail anyway. In most cases, this may be true but is that the way the justice system should operate? What is important here is the possibility that our system of justice is often not fair or objective in the degree of prosecution and punishment meted out to offenders depending on their relative position in society or law enforcement's sentiment toward them. It's easier to see this in the case of OJ, than in more mundane situations, involving regular people.