As a long-time blogger for a more liberal America, I’m tempted to sign-off this blog and say mission accomplished.
But, I don’t think I will. For one thing, I think Obama’s going to need some help as he takes steps toward an America that lives up to the promise of America. In that journey, I am here to serve. For another, I like to write blog posts.
A debate in Iowa, long ago…
No posts since November 2. What happened? I think I’ve been going through the 3 stages of political grief (in reverse).
At first it was Fear that despite polls, Obama wouldn’t win. Then, Disbelief that he actually won. Then Relief that someone with brains, maturity, and a coherent value system is actually going to be running country; that he will be backed by large majorities in both houses of Congress, and all of this is happening after 8 long years of idiocy. Whew. Unbelievable.
In any event, this is a blog, so what’s the topic of the day? Ah yes, the auto industry. To bail or not to bail….
I have a love/hate relationship with the big American auto makers. I love my car. I’m not sure I love Detroit cars. At the same time American automakers literally invented the car market: Henry Ford, Louis Chevrolet, Cadillac, Nash, Packard….on and on. It’s an American success story. How can we just toss this industry overboard? Particularly at a time of economic panic. Do we really want to dismantle Ford and GM in bankruptcy court? I don’t. Would Japan or Germany dump on their major manufacturers that way? No.
GM and Ford certainly have their problems; some of them self-inflicted, other not. One that’s not, is their “legacy costs” associated with providing health insurance for retirees. GM got efficient. Now they have far more retirees than workers. Should they be punished for that? No. Health insurance should have been nationalized fifty years ago, but the radical right blocked it then, just like it’s blocking it now. It was a massive error to ask employers to provide insurance that really should be social insurance. Now GM is paying the price. And so are we.
But the radical right still doesn’t get it. Yesterday, Mitt Romney announced that he favors letting the Big Automakers die. Who cares what it does to the economy. Apparently he puts Country Second and Destroying Unions First.
One other thought: the automakers are asking for a $25 billion loan. A lot of money. But is it really? Last time I checked, corporations were accumulating huge amounts of cash. For example, Exxon (according to their 6/30/08 10Q statement) has accumulated $35 billion in cash. That’s not just equity or working capital or short-term investments. That’s cash. I guess they can’t figure out what to do with it. Maybe they should loan it to their friends at GM who make the cars that use their fuel.
This could be interesting. The (British) Economist magazine is asking its readers to vote in the American presidential election (no, this is not real balloting—and ACORN is nowhere to be found). So far readers are solid for Obama with most of Obama’s votes coming from India and China. McCain is strong in Cuba and Iraq.
Of course, getting the international vote only reinforces the conservative caricature of Obama as an elitist “world citizen” and “European-style socialist”. But really, the Economist has been promoting capitalism, globalization, and free trade for 150 years. You’d think that’s the kind of “internationalism” conservatives would favor.
Nope. I just checked the opinion pages of the Wall Street Journal. Obama is still a socialist.
In a dispatch from the far reaches of right-wing punditry, Kathleen Parker tells us that she has been scratching her chin and wondering how McCain could possibly have chosen Palin. Her conclusion: his mind was clouded by “sexual attraction”:
One does not have to be a psychoanalyst to reckon that McCain was smitten. By no means am I suggesting anything untoward between McCain and his running mate. Palin is a governor, after all. She does have an executive résumé, if a thin one. And she’s a natural politician who connects with people.
But there can be no denying that McCain’s selection of her over others far more qualified — and his mind-boggling lack of attention to details that matter — suggests other factors at work. His judgment may have been clouded by . . . what?
Science provides clues. A study in Canada, published by a British journal in 2003, found that pretty women foil men’s ability to assess the future. “Discounting the future,” as the condition is called, means preferring immediate, lesser rewards to greater rewards in the future.
I don’t know if we really need science to “provide a clue”. Let’s face it. A beautiful woman can cloud one’s mind. However, I think I prefer a candidate who flirts with, perhaps even has sex with, the source of his clouded mind—rather than appoint her to a high position in government. Maybe that’s the point of Parker’s column. Or maybe she’s saying only women should be in positions of authority, since they apparently don’t have this problem. I don’t know. The column is kind of cloudy.
From the NY Times political blog:
Who was the highest paid individual in Senator John McCain’s presidential campaign during the first half of October as it headed down the homestretch?
… It was Amy Strozzi, Gov. Sarah Palin’s traveling makeup artist, according to a new filing with the Federal Election Commission on Thursday night.
Ms. Strozzi, who was nominated for an Emmy award for her makeup work on the television show “So You Think You Can Dance?”, was paid $22,800 for the first two weeks of October alone, according to the records. The campaign categorized Ms. Strozzi’s payment as “Personnel Svc/Equipment.”
In addition, Angela Lew, who is Ms. Palin’s traveling hair stylist, got $10,000 for “Communications Consulting” in the first half of October. Ms. Lew’s address listed in F.E.C. records traces to an Angela M. Lew in Thousands Oaks, Calif., which matches with a license issued by the California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology. The board said Ms. Lew works at a salon called Hair Grove in Westlake Village, Calif.
W Magazine’s blog reported earlier this month that “the Guv has been traveling with a hairstylist named Angela, who usually works out of a salon called the Hair Grove,” and that she was directed to the salon by none other than Cindy McCain, whose own hair stylist, Piper, works at the Hair Grove as well.
So lessee… $150,000 on clothes, $22,800 on makeup, $10,000 on hair. What, no manicure or pedicure?
Apparently the GOP spent $150,000 on a makeover for Sarah Palin and her family in September. C’mon! The regular folks who appear on What Not to Wear buy “a whole new wardrobe” for $5,000.