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August 2008
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October 2008

Economy - To be or not to be, That is the question

I've been watching the rollercoaster ride, watching, like everyone else the stock markets not so much fall but plummet. The US Federal Bailout didn't pass. Shock (not). There is just so much finger pointing going on. Politicians are such asses.

Blame. There is quite a lot to spread around.

I found an interesting article that talks about the sub prime market and the causes for the collapse. Believe it or not it is not the poor people's fault, but just old fashioned greed.

The question is:

Rhetoric aside, the argument turns on a simple question: In the current mortgage meltdown, did lenders approve bad loans to comply with CRA, or to make money?

And the answer:

Law didn't make them lend. The profit motive did.

So why must I, as a taxpayer, give Wall Street a nice big blank check? I understand that we need to do something to keep the infrastructure - especially the credit infrastructure stable- so that individuals and businesses can continue to do business by tapping into the credit markets. And yes, it is a bad thing when your bank goes belly up. But why must we invest in something which really doesn't give us a good rate of return? I want a return on my investment, and I want some oversight please. If you invest in a high risk, high yield venture, why then when things go south do you get a bail out? Why didn't companies diversify their risks?

I guess I just don't get it.

Oh and by the way - I am singularly unimpressed with our Political Leadership. Don't give me hysteria - give me logical reasons why a bailout should be supported by the taxpayer. And if not, can't you guys come up with some alternatives other than "give me a blank check"?!

Preparing for the Elections- November 2008

Confession: I've TiVo'd the debate last Friday between Obama and McCain, but have not gotten around to watching it. My bad.
This week we have the Veep debate to look forward to: Biden vs Palin. I am not looking forward to watching Palin. She makes me cringe. Is it just me, or does she really sound so vacant about so many things except Alaska, and her family? One great thing about the Palin pick is now we know anyone can be a Veep, even me!

This week our election books arrived. USA elections are really different to what I've experienced in SA. Prior to the elections (held in April and November) the Colorado election commission sends out a booklet with every single ballot item, with the actual proposed text of the statute, as well as a thorough analysis with pros and cons of each. Remember this is just for the State of Colorado. Then we have the Federal portion - this is where we get to elect who we want for President. Then there is a portion that just deals with the County level (like a municipality) and then all the way down to the Town of Erie.

The ballot extends for pages and pages. Unlike in SA where you simply have to put your cross next to the symbol of the party you want and be done with it. Of course now we have to vote not on paper but electronically on "Auto Correction" devices.

Essential Reading for the November Elections

Kevin and I are currently reading all things Obama right now.

I consider the following 2 books essential reading:

Dreams of my father

Audacity of Hope

Both by Barack Obama.

I am busy with a biography called, "Obama, From Promise to Power" by David Mendell which is really a good overview, and provides some interesting insights into Obama's run for not only the State Senate, but the US Senate.

For fairness sake, Kevin and I will also read books on John McCain.

RNC - Cindy and John McCain

The battle of the first ladies is over. Michelle's speech was better. Cindy really needs to get coaching on how to deliver a good speech. And her speech writer should be fired. Overall impression - Cindy does come across as being nice. But she she stay away from policy talk. Use Laura Bush as her model. (In fact Michelle Obama could take some lessons from Laura Bush too.)

McCain's speech:

Unfortunately our TiVo died in the last couple of minutes - just when things were getting good. This speech was really a speech to the independents and other swing voters. No wonder the Republican base is nervous, and so delirious over Sarah Palin.

Here's what I like about it - He talked about reaching across the aisle, about changing the tone of our discourse. Very good. I was really very moved when he talked about how is experience as a POW, being in captivity, being tortured, changed him. If only McCain had been the nominee in 2000! I also think he has worked on his delivery. Short sound bites, nice breaks for the crowds to cheer him. I didn't like too much reference to Sarah Palin (I am still dubious about her.) The part that I watched, when he spoke about Palin - she seemed to get bigger cheers than McCain. (Cindy had the same response when she mentioned McCain.) I find that disturbing that the base is more excited about the VP than the actual nominee.

Jon Stewart's Daily Show, and the Colbert Report (2 very popular Comedy Central "fake" news shows.) are doing some wonderful stuff on the Conventions.

Obama Campaign's Response to Palin Prose

In response to Palin's unveiling last night the Obama campaign emailed their supporters:

Both Rudy Giuliani and Sarah Palin specifically mocked Barack's experience as a community organizer on the South Side of Chicago more than two decades ago, where he worked with people who had lost jobs and been left behind when the local steel plants closed.

Let's clarify something for them right now.

Community organizing is how ordinary people respond to out-of-touch politicians and their failed policies.

Criticism okay. But mockery? Not.

I especially like this part... "Community organizing is how ordinary people respond to out-of-touch politicians and their failed policies."

Republican National Convention - OMG?! WTF?

So, like many I have been puzzled by McCain's VP pick. I mean exactly who is Sarah Palin? To me, it smacked of old boy paternalism. The media seemed crazed to pick to death meaningless details - such as Sarah Palin's teenage daughter's pregnancy - Who cares?

Tonight at the RNC we got a chance to see why McCain chose Sarah Palin over better more well known candidates.


I am impressed. And I didn't even want to be.

No wonder that Republicans and the Fox News talking heads are wetting themselves. She is certainly more exciting than the actual Presidential nominee. Sarah Palin is a new political star.

Now we just have to see how Sarah Palin holds up under vigorous media scrutiny over the next sixty odd days.

I can't wait for the debates. Bring it on!

One speech I didn't like was Rudy's. Very nasty tone. Not a dignified rebuttal of Obama's appeal. Palin has to be careful not to fall into the same trap.