Tuesday, October 28, 2008

We Are Rich

I must be dreaming. I am ready for my big hand out, that I am told is coming my way. The reports are that Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley are anticipating giving year end bonuses totaling over $20 billion dollars. Certainly, having taken part in the govemment bailout plan, where $125 billion dollars of taxpayer money was provided to save the system from collapse, these firms must be sending thank you notes to all of us, with checks enclosed. It is our first dividend on our investment.

But, in a move that almost causes one to recoil in horror, these firms are not giving these monies to John Q. Public (I would never say Joe the Plumber) but are handing out these enormous bonuses to keep their employees happy.

The report from MSNBC news indicates that the AVERAGE bonus to a Goldman employee is estimated to be $210,000, to a Merrill worker at $110,000 and to those toiling at Morgan of $138,000. WHAT PLANET DO THESE COMPANIES LIVE ON?

I understand that a satisfied employee is a more productive employee. I know that they dare not risk losing their key personnel to others in these tumultuous times. I hear the rhetoric and REJECT IT.

What about the disgruntled and dissatisfied customers? We have bitten our lips, held our tongues and emptied out our wallets. We are living in a new reality and these companies still believe we are in the days of excess. IT IS THE WORST PR MOVE EVER.

Barney Frank says that Congress will be powerless to stop these bonuses from being disbursed. He stated that regulation was sure to follow (I assume after January 20th) that would address these procedures and put adequate safeguards in place. WHO CARES WHAT THEY DO NEXT YEAR?

To paraphrase what was once asked of Joseph McCarthy, do you have no shame, once and for all, do you who have taken us down a path of destruction, have no shame?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

it all adds up

John McCain is in serious trouble. It appears clear that his chances for the Presidency are on life support.. A perfect storm of disasters have attached to Senator McCain from which he is unable to shake free. In no particular order, these calamities are:

1. President Bush- The latest Gallup poll shows his favorability rating at 25 %. It is almost impossible to contemplate a situation where the public has less respect for a President's positions and his intellect. The problem for John McCain is that he has voted with the President over 90% of the time. Having spent over a quarter of a century as a member of the Republican party, McCain must deal with a public that refuses to find a disconnect between the Senator and the President.

2. Sarah Palin- The latest CBS/NYTimes poll shows a 31% favorability rating for the Alaskan governor. As Palin's approval rating has dropped precipitously, Senator McCain has been forced literally to stand (and sit) by her, and give support to the unsupportable. The choice of Govenor Palin as his vice presidential candidate now appears to have been an impetuous act of desperation by Senator McCain. It is an error from which he cannot hide.

3. The economy- 83% of those questioned in the latest Gallup poll, stated the economy was getting worse. Republican practices of deregulation, banking on the market making all necessary corrections, are thought by most to be the baseline reason for this economic tsunami. Try as McCain might to convince the public that he is as outraged as anyone at these past practices, he is going down with this ship.

4. The Iraq war- The latest CNN/Opinion Research poll states that 32% of Americans favor the war and 66% oppose this conflict. The Republicans, and McCain in particular, are tied in to extending this conflict for the indefinite future. The cost in lives and dollars has taken an enormous toll on the psyche of many Americans. Even though this is an issue that is not as much a drag on McCain's candidacy as the others herein discussed, on balance it is an uphill battle for him to overcome an unpopular war.

Day by day, Senator McCain's voice grows fainter in the face of these crushing numbers. If he is unable to turn these figures around between now and November 4, on that day it appears that he will be rendered silent.


Saturday, October 25, 2008


Don't you have a very hard time with people whose ego appears unchecked? On many occasions, we are in the presence of people who feel by the benefit of their place in the employment world,or their economic successes, or their standing in the community, or some other accomplishment large or small, that they are in some way special. I am not overly fond of those people. I think I have become one of them.

When I turned to writing these short essays earlier this year, I met with immediate positive feedback. The first piece I penned (I understand nobody really pens anything) was quoted, in part, in a national magazine. This spurred me on to consider myself a writer of untapped potential. The pieces began to flow on virtually a daily basis. While none found their way to an audience of more than a dozen at most, if anyone (including those within my household) gave me any positive feedback, the size of my stature as a writer grew, at least in my mind.

I found myself quoting pieces I had written to anyone who would listen. I discovered ways in almost every conversation to make reference to something I had recently put down on paper. I noticed that my very closest friend, who had read my early essays religiously and was an almost daily part of my review of everything me, stopped reading my blog. He was too busy, or too distracted, I thought, not disinterested or fed up with my self congratulations.

I tried to figure out a method to be writing with both hands, but still be patting myself on the back at the same time. I was witty, I was incisive, I was voicing opinions that all of us think but can't articulate clearly. I was taken with myself.

Then, within the last several weeks, I learned that one piece might find its way to being published in a book full of essays of various writers. More recently, a response I wrote to the NY Times regarding an op ed of Warren Buffett, was included in the letters to the editor. I frantically sent out e-mails to 40 or 50 of my closest and dearest, announcing my accomplishments, like I had just given birth to sextuplets, or been awarded the Nobel prize.

I have decided this must stop. I know people don't need, or want, to hear me talk about myself or my writing. They want to hear about anything but that. I want to hear about anything but that. I hope I don't need an intervention. I want to be like one of those smokers who quit cold turkey. If you hear me discuss anything about my writing the next time I am with you, I give you permission to make the L (loser) sign with your hand. It will be a little reminder to me to move the conversation elsewhere. I don't really mean to be this self absorbed.

Oh, by the way, if you like this piece, please comment on my website and pass along my info (tooearlytocall.com, that's tooearlytocall.com) to all your friends.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

12 days

I said to my son that I didn't know if I could get through the next 12 days. There is a saturation point at which the brain shuts down. Shakespeare was right ( tomorrow and tomorrow creeps....). If I have to look at those faces, if I have to listen to those words, if I have to think of the possibilities if the unthinkable happens.

My son directed me to an article by Larry David in today's Huffington Post. I found myself laughing out loud as he seems just as neurotic and overwhelmed as me. I am sure that those on the other side are feeling just as hapless and probably much more hopeless, as the polls point towards a Democratic victory. We must be a nation of head bashing, hand wringing wrecks as we wait out the days, hours, seconds and nanoseconds until November 4.

I cannot read one more poll, and try to interpret it. I cannot listen to one more misstatement and try to ignore it. I cannot even listen to one more endorsement for the candidate of my choice, as I wonder how anyone could still be persuaded to change his or her mind at this point.

I avoid people who don't hold my views. I am tired of discussions among those who share my views. I have heard the arguments, I know the talking points. I long for the ability to sit back and enjoy a baseball game, or football game for a few hours, but the magnitude of the election is relentless. I hate that we have so many television shows devoted entirely to what happened today and what is going to happen tomorrow in the lives of the candidates. The tv clicker has a mind of its own as it directs me to these channels whether I want to go there or not.

We are all in need of a mental vacation. If the fact that we are losing our jobs and our life savings wasn't enough, we are unable to extricate ourselves from the political follies. I can only imagine what a brain scan of the candidates would reveal. Barack Obama has spent almost 2 years of his life speaking and speaking and speaking some more in his efforts to overtake first Hillary Clinton and now John McCain. As for Senator McCain, he has now had to devote a great deal of his mental energies to try to make up for the disasters Bush and Palin have placed before him.

12 more days. 12 more days. 12 more days.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A new beginning

If we are fortunate, election night will signal a rebirth for us with endless possibilities. If this occurs, and Barack Obama becomes the next President of the United States, then what has gone before will be but a bad memory. In anticipation of a November 4 victory for the Democrats, I have compiled a list of "out with the old, and in with the new" items:


2. Uzis
3. Unqualified hatred of foreigners, gays, blacks,immigrants and intellectuals
4. Rush Limbaugh
5. Fox News
6. Unregulated greed
7. Torture
8. Rampant wiretapping
9. War for oil
10.The Bush doctrine
11. Diminished global respect
12. Vice President Cheney
13. Black and white answers to complex problems
14, Mean spiritedness
15. Voter suppression
16. Fiscal irresponsibility
17. Sarah Palin
18. President Bush
19. Insanity


1. All children who were left behind
2. Diplomacy
3. Intellectual curiosity
4. 47 Million people who were previously uninsured
5. Clean air
6. Justices who support Roe v Wade
7. Books
8. Fundamentally sound economic policies
9.The Constitution of the United States
10. Soldiers home, safe and sound, from Iraq
11. Al Gore
12. Equal protection for all
13. The middle class
14. Vice President Biden
15. Gays, foreigners, blacks, immigrants and intellectuals
16. Hope
17. Respect from around the globe
18 President Obama
19. Sanity

Monday, October 20, 2008

Ignorance is not bliss

We have been informed by many of much recently. We have heard facts and figures. We have learned of staggering debts. We have been advised that countries, not just individuals, or banks or massive companies, are going bankrupt. The numbers don't make sense, and the concepts swirl around us in a never ending blur. It is all more than we can comprehend. The worst part of this is that we don't believe that there is anyone at the rudder able to lead us through this storm.

I am not talking only of the current resident in the White House. Without a doubt, his seemingly daily entreaties to all of us to keep faith in a system that is exploding gives us no confidence, and leads us to question not just his wisdom but his sanity

The concern is compounded by the fact that we were informed by leaders in Congress, and by both our Presidential candidates that passage of the economic stimulus package was needed at once or the sky would fall. When Congress failed in its first attempt to secure enough votes to give a $700 billion injection into the ailing patient, we wrung our hands and worried that tomorrow would not come. When Congress then added $150 billion of pork to the package to make it palatable to some holdouts, and sufficient votes were garnered, we assumed the worst was behind us. However, it seemed like before the final vote was cast, we were being told that the money would not work its way into the system for weeks, and it would be much longer than that before the effects of the money were felt in our economy.

Within days we were then told of a second plan, that wasn't even originated in our country. Our problem was now everyone's problem, and the dominoes were strewn all over the globe. We were to become equity owners in many of our banks, with a good portion of a $250 billion dollar infusion being invested in a few select lenders. This news seemed only to reenforce the belief that our original bailout had to be bailed out.

If the best and the brightest seem to be taking shots in the dark, what is that telling us? We all want to be secure in our minds that there is a real answer out there and that there are real people out there who can find it and implement it. President Roosevelt once said that there was nothing to fear but fear itself. In today's world, what we fear is that the answers elude us, or worse, that there is no answer at all. Until the day comes when we believe in our hearts and our heads that a solution is on the horizon, and that our political and economic advisors are steering us in the right direction, I do not think that we will be able to break free from the concerns that grip us.

Friday, October 17, 2008


Yup. It's another guest post from my son, Richie. This also appears on his blog, The View from the Seven-and-a-Halfth Floor

What Would Joseph Smith (founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, also known as the Mormon Church, and husband to too many wives to count) Do?

Try to change California law to define marriage as being between one man and one woman, of course! That's right, the Mormon Church is one of the key backers of California's Proposition 8, an initiative on the November ballot that is attempting to Constitutionally define marriage as a union between a man and a woman, and simultaneously strike down California's recognition of same-sex marriages.

Before you go shouting "hypocrisy," it is important to point out that present-day Mormons do not practice polygamy (with the exception of tens of thousands of fundamentalists, who have been excommunicated by the mainline Church). Tacitly recognizing that social norms change (and that Utah wouldn't receive statehood if polygamy were still practiced there), and with a well-timed revelation from God, the head of the Mormon Church struck down the practice of polygamy over a century ago.

This is not the only time that the Mormon Church was affected by changing social norms. Their founder, Joseph Smith, was opposed to slavery, which was still legal in the United States at the time of the religion's founding. Joseph Smith, however, was no great civil rights crusader, either: His holy book exalted the white race above all others; blacks, as inferiors, were barred from the priesthood, an injustice that wasn't undone until another revelation (this one a little behind the times) in 1978.

In its early years, members of the Church were subject to violent persecution (Joseph Smith was jailed and killed for spreading his religion). Thankfully, changing social norms and increased religious tolerance have allowed Mormons to practice their religion freely and safely anywhere in the United States. Heck, we even had a Mormon contender for the presidency this year.

But, by the Church's apparent logic, changing social norms had nothing to do with their decision to abandon polygamy, nor with their more recent decision to accept black people as equals, so therefore changing social norms cannot be considered when deciding to whom we grant certain rights. Setting aside that whole pesky separation of church and state issue, and disregarding the fact that the Mormons accept that their holy book is dynamic and editable by their President, the Church has evidently decided that defining marriage as monogamous and heterosexual is a universal and unchanging maxim (not-too-distant Mormon history be damned!) that merits meddling in state affairs but--unlike those other hot-button issues--does not merit any modern prophecy and revelation.


There, I said it.

UPDATE (7:20PM): Shortly after posting this, a group of dissidents--technically ex-Mormons, since they have left the Church over this issue--delivered a stack of letters and petitions to LDS headquarters protesting the Church's stance on the issue of gay marriage and its involvement in Prop 8. This also serves to demonstrate that the leaders and followers of a religion do not always see eye-to-eye, and there are likely many Mormons who remain committed to their Church but uncomfortable with its stances on civil rights.

UPDATE (10:15PM): Choosing sides: Mormons for and against Prop 8.

Buy Bye

Warren Buffett's "Buy American. I am." is a thoughtful, well intended piece trumpeting the long term benefits of investing in the stock market now. The flaw with Mr. Buffett's theory is that it overlooks the essential predicate for his position being feasible.

The ugly truth is that most Americans don't feel that they have sufficient assets remaining to be able to 'park' monies in the market for the next 15 to 20 years before seeing their investment pay off. Unless you were lucky or smart enough to have sold high, and now be in position to buy low, you have seen your net worth plummet in the past months.

If you are like me, whatever is left in the markets may be there long term only because the gate is open and the horse is out of the barn.

For us, unlike Mr. Buffett, we don't have the luxury of taking whatever we have not invested in the markets and plunking a portion of it into a raging inferno. We need the safety net in our pockets to get us through these difficult times.

So Mr. Buffett, while I applaud your desire to give us sage advice, I am afraid for most of us it is too little too late.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Is that all there is?

I got used to it, like waiting for the Monday night football game. It became a centerpiece of activity in my home. We would gather round the tv set, rooting for our favorite, shouting and screaming when things were not going our way, often shaking our collective heads that what was being portrayed on the screen had no touch with the reality of the day. It seemed like the longest running show in town, and it has no more episodes to run. The debates are over.

How will I fill the vacuum? From what seems like the beginning of creation until last night, we have been given an endless barrage of comments, replies and retorts. We have seen the candidates on the defensive and on the offensive. We have heard completely offensive statements, and been subjected to statements that could not be defended. We have listened with disdain to distortions, and half-truths. We have been overwhelmed by the candidate of our choice and underwhelmed by everything said by "the other" one. We have fallen in love with everything good and right in our champion, and have wondered, often loudly, how anyone in their right mind could possibly consider a vote for the unworthy opposition.

We got a brief glimpse of the fringe players in each party. We heard the rhetoric repeated ad nauseum. We left some of the participants in the dust ( Rudy Guiliani, what were you thinking?) and others wondering how everything got away. John McCain was pronounced dead early on, and is still standing, though he seems about to fall over at some points these days. Barack Obama took on the Clinton organization and steamrolled them into submission. We have seen what seems like a 100 round prizefight or a Tour de France that lasted for almost 2 years. Can there be anything left to say in the brains of the candidates that has not been said 10,000 times already?

What remains is the inescapable conclusion that almost everything discussed carries little or no relevance today. Like the poster that portrays New York City at the center of the universe, and the rest of the world having virtually no significance, the ECONOMY has now overwhelmed all other issues. We are shaken to our core and want to know only who got us into this mess, and how do we get out of it. The Democrats ( and most of the country) believe that the Republican mis-administration has led us into this nightmare. John McCain can only try to disassociate himself from the party that has put him into a leadership position for the last 26 years. His attempts to create a chasm between the economic crisis and his part in its occurrence, have largely been unsuccessful.

To tell you the truth, my head is spinning from everything that is going on these days. Like almost everyone else, I am walking around in a daze, unable to fathom what is happening. In less than 3 weeks, with the millions of words that each candidate has spoken over the course of 2007 and 2008 floating somewhere in the universe, we will pull the levers and wait for the outcome. Like people standing over a slot machine, we will stare intently to see if we have chosen a winner. Let us hope for all our sakes that the answer is a resounding yes.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Arrest Sarah Palin

Whatever happened to politicians attempting to bring out the best in all of us? How has this been replaced by the lowest form of speech, intended only to bring out the beast in us? How has the stirring mandate of John Kennedy for one to "ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country", been replaced by the hateful vile that now comes from the mouth of Sarah Palin?

She is yelling "FIRE" in a crowded theatre. She talks not of truths, but makes incendiary remarks meant only to flame the crowd into a frenzy of mass hysteria and contempt for Barack Obama, for the Democratic party, for blacks. She appeals to the basest instincts in her listening audience. She does this intentionally and with forethought. For this, she should be condemned, and hauled off the stage. For this she should be arrested. and charged with breach of the peace.

"The offense known as breach of the peace embraces a great variety of conduct destroying or menacing public order and tranquility.It includes not only violent acts but acts and words likely to produce violence in others. No one would have the hardihood to suggest that the principle of freedom of speech sanctions incitement to riot... or to exhort others to physical attack upon those belonging to another sect" Cranwell v Connecticut 310 US 296,308 ( 1940).

Palin embodies the worst of the Republican 'southern strategy', referring to a method of carrying Southern states in the latter decades of the 20th century and first decade of the 21st century .The underlying theory was to exploit racism among white voters. This strategy, while not originating with Richard Nixon, is often attributed to him. But even Nixon used some subterfuge and subtlety in his approach, campaigning on a platform of states rights and "law and order". These were code words intended to warn his audience to take action against civil rights laws that would have been repugnant to their racist views

.Bob Herbert, a New York Times columnist reported in 1981 of a discussion concerning Southern politics with Lee Atwater . "You start out in 1954 by saying "nigger, nigger, nigger". By 1968 you can't say "nigger"- that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states' rights and all that stuff".

It is ironic that this Strategy was used in 2000 as a method to defeat John McCain's attempts to run for President.At that time, a push poll suggested to conservative Republican South Carolina primary voters that McCain had fathered an "illegitimate black child".

But nothing could possibly rise to the level of the recent Palin comments. All pretense is gone. When Palin repeatedly speaks of Obama palling around with a known domestic terrorist, she crosses a barrier that is not to be crossed.When she says that "this is not a man who sees America like we see America", she does not speak to the subconscious of her audience but their conscious fears. She would suggest, by her words, that the enemies of the state are one with Obama. Such words cannot be tolerated or ignored in a civilized society.

Volunteer to Suppress the Vote!

Another guest post from my son, Richie. This also appears on his blog, The View from the Seven-and-a-Halfth Floor

(Alternate Title: Shut Out the Vote!)

Back in 2002, when I was a college student in New Hampshire, there was a tight and contentious senate race between Jeanne Shaheen (Dem) and John Sununu (Rep) (interestingly enough, it is being re-waged as I write this). In the run up to election day, the Republican party initiated a campaign of lie-spreading and fear-mongering on state college campuses, telling students such falsehoods as: (1) that they could not vote in New Hampshire if their family lived in another state; (2) that they would lose some or all of their scholarship money if they voted in New Hampshire; (3) that they had missed a voter registration deadline, even though New Hampshire had same-day polling-place registration at the time (and may still do so, though Republicans in the state house were trying to eliminate it at the time). [Related: Here's an article from The Dartmouth about the incident, and here's a blog post from BlueHampshire from 2006, both of which echo what I have just written]. The Democrats, as well as the college, pushed back hard against these lies.

Then, on election day, the Republicans sent thugs to the polls (I think some of them may have been real-life attorneys, but mostly they were just assholes) to intimidate and interrogate students. Stretching voter registration laws to their extremes, and then often simply breaking them, the Republican Voter Suppression Team challenged the validity of many students' voter registrations, without cause, creating long lines and confusion at the polls. Their efforts may have scared some voters away from the polls. (Full disclosure: I voted absentee in New Jersey because of doubts about a scholarship I received, sown by the Republican scare machine. I decided it wasn't worth the anxiety of voting in New Hampshire, despite a complete lack of evidence that doing so would affect my scholarship eligibility.)

Well, now the McCain campaign is actively recruiting vote suppressors for the upcoming election, and it's not too late to sign up! Don't be fooled by language like "fair", "transparent", "integrity", "open" and "honest" in their recruiting materials (apparently someone in the McCain campaign can still type "integrity" with a clear conscience). DO, however, take notice of the glaring and purposeful omission of phrases like "get out the vote," "make sure all votes count," make it "easy" and "straightforward" to register and vote, etc). Let me make this clear: Republicans, and John McCain's campaign specifically, are completely disinterested in making it easy or straightforward for people to vote, and have demonstrated this fact repeatedly, year-after-year in state-after-state. Even this year, the McCain campaign continually cries "voter fraud" because a couple of idiots decided it would be funny to try and register "I.P. Freely" and his friends to vote; At the same time, the campaign is actively trying to undermine voter registration efforts, early and absentee voting, and distract from efforts to investigate actual, provable, ongoing voter suppression by janky Diebold machines, and state and local officials. In fact, they'd like to make it a whole lot harder for anyone who might not vote Republican to vote (poor people, black people, poor black people, old Jews, etc). But since they can't just go and rescind the Voting Rights Act, as well as the 15th and 19th Amendments to the US Constitution, they have to resort to intimidation tactics.

That's where you come in! If you're a lawyer or a law student who slept through that whole class about ethics, or if you're just an angry, bigoted McCain supporter who's been honing your intimidation skills at campaign rallies/hatefests, you can help violate the Constitutional rights of millions of Americans, and potentially manipulate the outcome of this election!

On the other hand, if you happen to be of the opinion that all Americans of at least 18 years of age, regardless of race or political persuasion, ought to have the opportunity to vote in the upcoming election, and you value the Constitution which grants us this right, consider the following alternative:

Election Protection

Election Protection is a non-partisan effort to ensure that every eligible US citizen has the opportunity to register and vote, and further to ensure that every vote is properly counted.

(Full disclosure: Robert has signed up to volunteer for Election Protection this year)

Friday, October 10, 2008

Letting the Ayers out

I am thinking of running for political office. Just to make certain there are no skeletons in my closet that can be paraded out to deflect from the legitimacy of my candidacy, I think it critical that you know the following:

1. I stole a baseball card from my counsellor when I was 6.
2. When I was 11, I told 3 girls in the same night that I wished the phone wasn't there to separate us.
3. I had a crush on my Fifth grade teacher (she later became my Aunt).
4. I was a lazy student.
5. I am a bad driver.
6. I think I am funnier than I really am, and I think my singing voice is better than it really is.
7. I had pre-marital sex.
8. I once had a photo taken of me mooning the camera.
9. I get up almost every night to pee.
10. I drink diet soda.
11. I stole a sticker from Yankee stadium after the last game.
12. I don't like people who point fingers, make baseless accusations and seek to focus scrutiny on anything but their own shortcomings.

I feel so much better having gotten all these terrible secrets out in the open.

As such, I wish to formally announce my intention to move to Alaska and run against Sarah Palin when her term for Governor expires. We all know her 15 minutes is about to run out, and I am coming to get mine.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Get out the vote

As I listen to the numbers on the road to 270, I am encouraged but wary. What evil trick are the Republicans holding in abeyance, waiting to spring on an unsuspecting country? As the red disappears and blue crops up in places that were seemingly Republican strongholds, I want the election to move forward now. Let's not wait for 4 more weeks. What if the economy begins to strengthen? Will all those that have jumped ship from the Republican sinking boat, be tempted to get back on? What if Obama really has fathered 2 black children (oh, I forgot, he does have 2 black children)? Then it struck me. Let's not wait. Let's get out the vote now.

31 states permit no excuse early voting . That means that even if you could make it to the polls on election day, you don't have to choose November 4 as the day when your decision is made. Certain other states permit you to be an 'in person' absentee", by which method you appear in person before the election date, apply for an absentee ballot, fill it out and submit it to the election official. Some states require a valid excuse to vote early, such as college attendance or sickness. But what all of these states have in common is a right for you to do something other than pull the lever on election day.

So, I want you first thing today to take the necessary steps to qualify to vote absentee. Then I want you to circulate this e-mail to everyone you know, and everyone you think you know, and urge them to take this bold step towards independence from the shackles of the voting system. By next week at this time, I want enough absentee ballots cast by those who count, to make the counting on November 4 irrelevant.

Let's make sure we don't have to listen to a month more of personal attacks and insinuations. We have heard all we need to hear . We know all we need to know. We have, as a collective, made up our mind.

For all those grandmothers and grandfathers in Florida who have now heard of McCain's threat to use Medicare reform as a basis for generating more money into the economy, don't wait to cast your vote. No more hanging chads. No more voter suppression. You know what you have to do. You are not waffling. You are ready to protect yourself. You are ready to vote. It is the ultimate early bird special.

For those of you who have recently joined the ranks of the Republican disenchanted, you will never again be made the fool by the Republican rhetoric. You don't have to stand for their efforts to Palinize you for the next 4 weeks. You know the mess that is America, and you know where the blame lies. Get your absentee ballot, cast your vote, and let McCain talk until he is BLUE in the face, knowing his words are falling on deaf ears.

Let's have the first absentee ballot election in US history Let the voting booths be silent on November 4. Let's end this now.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

I'm Going Nucular

Is there some fundamental reason that the Republicans not only mangle every important policy issue but that they insist on destroying the English language? Is this the heritage passed down from one great intellect (Bush) to another (Palin)?

I don't mean to sound nasty, but is it impossible to get a concrete position out of the Republican Vice-Presidential candidate? I found the restraint of Joe Biden incredible as he listened to Palin's talking points reiterated ad infinitum irrespective of the question posed. As Biden listened and responded with clarity and precision to the question asked, on many occasions it appeared that Palin did not even feign to direct her comments to the inquiry. It felt like I was watching people talk not on different planes but on different planets.

I know that there were millions of Republican supporters holding their collective breaths, hoping that Palin would not do a repeat Couricesque performance. If she escaped calamity, she would be deemed a success. To those people, I am sure we will hear of her composure and ability to answer the tough questions. I believe there might even be a spike for the Republicans because she did not disintegrate on stage. But her performance was so lacking in depth and substance that it was frightening. Viewed against the succinct and specific comments from Biden, Palin's "answers" were often difficult to fathom. She took us on a repeated journey to nowhere, and hoped we would not notice. I noticed.

Facts were treated like some terrible disease to be avoided by Palin at all costs. Failed Republican policies of the last 8 years were not to be addressed, in Palin's view, as that was looking backward not forward (I guess voting records and policy positions of McCain would also fall in that category). Republican disasters at home and abroad were to be ignored, and we were just to accept, with a wink and a smile, that everything would change under yet another 4 years of Republican rule.

When I hear over and over, the "I know what it is like to be you" stance as the predicate for how to govern, I can't help but start to shake. It made me feel good when Joe Biden had a very human moment in talking about the difficulties he has had to face in his life, and seemed able to one up the Republicans on the humanity front. By the way, Democrats also know what it is like to be you, and they know better than the Republicans how to govern us out of the mess that has been created.

I refuse to accept this noise as a responsible, appropriate approach to deal with the magnitude of the problems that face us. Palin has made her grand entrance, now let her make her grand exit and spend the next 5 weeks sequestered, and away from public analysis. Let us not have to deal with the distraction that is Palin and let us go back to finding real answers to real problems. If this does not happen, and I am forced to listen to her talking points right up to the election, I may go nucular.