Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Obama Should Quit Race (Part II)

Barack Obama often tells people he’s not in the race to further his political career and this is a good time to demonstrate that. No doubt the Senator had the best of intentions in keeping race out of the picture when he began his campaign, but now it has become the elephant in the room. Reverend Wright’s raillery has managed to insult both African-Americans and “whites” and has derailed all talk of issues at a time when issues should become more and more the focus of the presidential race. Obama has spent months in an indecisive mode, at first refusing to distance himself from Wright and Farrakhan, and then having to do it anyway weeks later as Wright’s fulminations knocked other headlines off the front pages of the nation’s newspapers.

It would be a statesman-like action to step down from the race in the interest of “party unity.” The move would also allow time for leaders to stanch the suppurating wounds which have been opened up as charges of racism fly in often unlikely and irresponsible directions. When every utterance must be confined and examined within the context of race, we have lost more than a little bit of free speech.
There has been a great deal of overstatement and from Reverend Wright and others of the ‘evil intentions’ of European-Americans and other ‘blue-eyed devils.’ Some of my best friends are white people. Many of them did not live in America during the days of slavery, nor did their ancestors. Most of my “white” friends (who are really gray or tan, at best) do not hold themselves superior to anyone on the basis of race or culture. And sure, many whites can just as easily see instances of racism as anyone else , but it is rarely to the degree expressed by Reverend Wright(introduction of AIDS virus to Africa), who is both a victim of and a perpetrator of the very evil he uses to justify his hate.

Now is a good time for Barack Obama to step down from the race. By that very act, he would accomplish a conciliatory feat of such magnitude that it would earn a place in history among other legendary American leaders. At the age of 42, Mr. Obama would gain more experience and surface again in later years with impeccable credentials and leadership qualities. Right now, he appears merely indecisive and lacking in judgment.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Sean Bell Trial: 50 Shots and 50 Witnesses

It would have been nice if Sean Bell hadn’t been killed and was instead married to his wonderful fiancée Nicole. But death had other plans and, in the aftermath, the fate of three NYC police officers was put into the court docket. The three were acquitted Friday and everyone’s suitably pissed.

Naturally, there will be a second storyline to be played out in parallel to the real one. The cops are simply murderous, jumping to the racist conclusion that any person of color exiting a nightclub boisterously in the dark of Gotham must be a thug. The trumpeted line will note the “fifty bullets fired” as if gunfights were really very reasoned and well-thought-out strategies in which the police would have to re-load their six-shooters several times in order to bust that many caps.

A double-stack Glock 19 holds 19 and officers and everybody’s scared and no one knows where the shots are coming from so you act to protect your own life. Pow! Pow! Bam! Pow! Pow! Bam! Pow! Pow! Bam! Pow! Pow! Bam! And soon you have 50 shots. It’s very dangerous to all and sundry, to passersby and people living in the area, to lampshades and babies, and even to passing helicopters . Sean Bell was scared, so were his friends and enemies, and so were the cops. Everyone acted out of fear and Sean Bell got dead.

The prosecution brought 50 state witnesses to the case and conflict abound in the statement they made.

Some said there was an armed man present when the police began firing; others disputed that.

Some witnesses said that Bell had argued with a guy in a witness account about which other people said was a benign conversation.

Some witnesses changed their previous statements.

The police are not immune to criticism and investigation nor should they be. I would just like to know, however, that the critics know a little more about what they’re talking about. How would they defend themselves and their fellows? How would they respond to calls to nightclubs at 2:00 a.m. when the kids in the neighborhood are still up playing Grand Theft Auto Number 4 and some parents are on the rooftops getting lessons in gun control which, to them, means being able to hit your target even if it’s a cop or an innocent citizen.

I would like to hear some of the goofy theories from the critics about how perfectly they would react had they been in the cops shoes.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Indiana Voter Identification Law Upheld by Supreme Court

In 2005, the Indiana State legislature passed a law requiring voters to identify themselves with a photo ID. To anyone who’s been a poll-watcher, that’s a no-brainer. During a hotly contested presidential election a while back, I saw several people who were caught trying to vote in different polling locations. You’d think they’d be embarrassed (if not arrested) but they’d loudly proclaim that an injustice had been perpetrated upon them. They shouted at the poll workers and tried to intimidate us—and the security guard would have to be called to shoo them away.

So the Indiana voter photo ID law has been upheld by the Supreme Court. The law "is amply justified by the valid interest in protecting 'the integrity and reliability of the electoral process,'" wrote Justice Stevens in an opinion conjoined with that of Chief Justice Roberts, and Justice Kennedy. Justice Alito, Scalia, and Thomas agreed, too, but wrote separate opinions. Dissenting were Justices Breyer, Ginsburg, and Souter.

The counter argument is that the law discourages elderly, poor, and minority voters. There may be a small element of truth in this where it applies to the elderly (who don’t drive) but the “poor” and “minority” voters do manage to drive or have driver’s licenses. Perhaps the municipalities should assist those groups in getting photo IDs, as no doubt they will, because our elections tend to be close and voter fraud occurs at a higher rate than one would suspect in spite of the “checks and balances” of the 2-party system.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Becky Quick: The Rebate Check is in the Mail

But should it be called a “rebate” a “bonus” or would it stimulate the economy more if it were called your “winnings?”

Becky Quick is a brainy, cute, and clever financial commentator on CNBC’s “Squawk Box”. You could say that she is appropriately surnamed. Recently, Ms. Quick recounted the story of a New York economics professor who did a study on government give-backs to stimulate the economy. The president went on the telly just yesterday saying that the first wave of checks would soon arrive in the mail. The whole idea of the "rebate" is to get people to pump money back into the economy. But there is a great deal of psychological worry as to whether the scheme will work. Will some people choose to save the money? Will others go on the spending binge which will provide a surge of economic activity? The professor had a theory which holds that the success of the program would depend upon what you called it. Semantics, in other words, was more important than substance.

To prove his theory, the professor set up two groups. Each group would get $50 dollars to do with what they liked. In one group, the government give-back was called a "rebate." In the second group, the give-back was called a "bonus." Can you guess which group pumped more money back into the economy?

Here’s what happened. People getting $50 bucks of "rebate" money spent about $12.50 whereas people receiving "bonus" money spent about $22.00. You can do the psychology yourself.

Maybe a third alternative would better suit the goal of pumping money into the economy: call the give-back money the taxpayer's "winnings." Then maybe they would do what they’re supposed to do: blow it all.

CNBC, Fox Business Channel, and Bloomberg Business Television

The photo features a group of financial analysts from CNBC discussing the Microsoft - Yahoo wrangle. The great thing about watching the financial channels is that it's very confusing. It's so confusing that it can even take your mind off politics. When financial analysts talk about politics, you don't get nearly as much spin as you do from the news networks. While everyone in the world or in politics is concerned about the "bottom line," the financial people are very blunt and honest about it. They'll tell you quickly that they're not interested in anything besides making money. They're the most truthful people in the world.

Quick, Quintanilla, and Kernen may sound like a law firm but it's not. They're the three hosts of CNBC's Squawk Box and they dish the early business news while many people aren't yet awake. Over on the new Fox Business Channel, there’s a show called “Money for Breakfast.” I’m not quite sure what they’re doing over there yet but it’s pretty interesting as well.
I think the Fox Business News covers the usual Wall Street business involving stocks, bonds, ETF’s , CDOs , commodities, and so forth but they also pop in short segments which are pointed at the typical consumer. Fox Business has their bevy of babes and hunks. Of particular note is the segment they do at the end of the day called “Happy Hour” or something like that where they feature a long-haired capitalist and a solid babe who could do Baywatch as easily as she plots the moves of the S&P or the Footsie. There’s yet a third business TV channel and that predates Fox Business by a long shot since it was started by New York’s Mayor Bloomberg in the 1980s. Bloomberg got his start in Billionaire City with an investment firm called Solomon Brothers and I presume he learned his lessons well, making so much money that he went into politics for excitement.
I guess that’s kind of backwards since most people who come from politics go into the world of finance for excitement. Bill Clinton’s done very well in the investment firm called Yucaipa, a firm that manages “sovereign” funds, and that’s caused a bit of a problem for wife Hillary who also knows a thing or two about the Footsie (FTSE). There is some confusion in the Democratic party these days where you have the image of the Kennedys and the Kerrys and somehow you’ve got to mix it up with populism and voice a great deal of anti-capitalist sentiment. I do wish they’d get that together because it’s very confusing, so confusing that I became a Republican at one point. A poor and generally moderate Republican, but at least I'm not bitter as I cling to my guns and bibles and resist the temptation to go bowling.
I've heard so many times from the Democrats that the Republicans were the "party of the rich" that I figured I'd go over there and see if I could catch some manna.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Shifting Sands of the Democratic Primary Process

The Democrat's primary process is always shifting emphasis. The super-delegate process has created more dissensions and conflicts than the problem it was intended to resolve.

After Florida of 2000, there has been a a great deal of emphasis on the popular vote. Counting the Florida and Michigan vote gives Hillary Clinton a popular vote advantage, an argument that will be advanced if she does well in Indiana and not as badly as expected in NC. Hillary is ahead in super-delegates and a win in Indiana could draw more of those. On the other hand, most of the party bosses have made their decision and must push Obama even though they now have serious reservations about his electability on the national level. The polls are drawing close and Cinton has won all the big states except Illinois.

Fortunately, John McCain has always held some views that are consistent with mainstream Democrats. McCain's trying to get people to turn away from the race issue which seems to have obsessed the Obama campaign. Must we all lose focus on the fact that this is a presidential election and we are looking for the best person to lead America? And if we are all to be subject to the charges of racism, who shall be exempt?....and who shall decide the exemption?....and who is innocent?...

John McCain: You Can’t Make This Stuff Up

It sort of bugs me out when I hear people ragging on Senator John McCain about things which are irrelevant to political issues and politics. When I hear some of the things said about McCain, it’s sometimes hard to remember that most people are able to separate political differences from personal attacks. The most scurrilous personal attacks are from those who give lip service to an expected cant just before they launch into the basest litany of pejoratives against the presidential candidate. I expect the worst come from people who not only don’t know McCain, they know nothing of public service. Most people do know that McCain had been a prisoner of war for many years, and many rue the fact because it provides a certain stature, implies an unquestioned heroism, shows a fierce determination and capacity to face adversity. These things give you an advantage in leadership which some may interpret as political. It seems to me that sometimes McCain spends too much time apologizing for being a real live American hero, and seems to do so even in his own books. But lots of people won’t buy any of McCain’s books to learn more about him, preferring newspaper headlines read to them by television pundits, and so I will plagiarize an excerpt from “Faith of My Fathers” and hope that Random House, the publisher, considers this “fair use.”

“Shortly before eleven on the morning of July 29, 1967, on Yankee Station in the Tonkin Gulf, I was third in line on the port side of the ship. I took my helmet back from Tom, nodded at him as he flashed me a thumb’s up, and shut the plane’s canopy. In the next instant, a Zuni missile struck the belly fuel tank of my plane, tearing it open, igniting two hundred gallons of fuel that spilled onto the deck, and knocking two of my bombs to the deck. I never saw Tom Ott again.”

McCain dives into the flames and seconds later one of his thousand-pound bombs explodes, followed by other bombs. Pilots in nearby planes eject into the conflagration. All told, 134 men are dead and dying. Within weeks, and with the Forrestal badly damaged, McCain has volunteered for another squadron on the Oriskany, a ship desperate for aviators, with a reputation for success in destroying targets and losing planes and pilots.

You can’t make this stuff up.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Howard Dean's Democratic Party Suicide Pact

More radioactive fallout from the Obama drubbing in Pennsylvania primary race— reports that Barack Obama didn’t even do well with college students, his most hyped group of supporters.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Howard Dean has a big problem with Hillary’s growing strength and the fact that Michigan and Florida are still in limbo. Florida is the 4th largest state in terms of population and it voted. The candidates did meet the expected condition that they wouldn’t campaign there but the Dems made no move to stop the vote there. They knew there would be a gigantic problem if they tried to stop millions of Americans from voting so the best they could come up with was an agreement from the candidates that they would not campaign there.

Is it Hillary’s fault if the voters in Florida chose Hillary? Is it Hillary’s fault if counting the votes in Florida and Michigan give her a 100,000 vote edge in the popular vote? The “flog-Hillary” crowd makes no mention that Chris Dodd and Dennis Kucinich got themselves on the ballot in Michigan. Is that Hillary’s fault, too?

Howard Dean’s problem is that he must somehow manipulate a resolution without appearing to have intervened. There is much talk of the problem resolving itself, but that is a pipe dream. There has been tremendous pressure to annihilate Hillary Clinton and get her to voluntarily drop from the race. That’s condescending, as if they think the woman is stupid.

Howard Dean is under pressure from the Northeast Liberal Establishment to support Barack Obama. The stratagem involves getting people like Judas Richardson, Robert Reish and many others to go belly up. Alienating Obama means alienating a lot of traditional African-American support and party hacks fear that could be more invidious than “alienation.” They ignore the fact that Hillary Clinton retains a fair amount of loyalty from her traditional and clearer thinking base of African-Americans.

At the same time, Howard Dean knows that Obama can’t win in a general election. Right at this moment, Obama is in a dead heat with John McCain in Massachusetts while Clinton is ahead of McCain in that liberal state. Obama has outspent Clinton 4 to 1 in Texas, Ohio, Rhode Island, and Pennsylvania and has come up with losses in those states. Yet, the Great Ultra-Liberal Establishment is engaged in what Lanny Davis calls a “suicide pact” of the Democratic Party. They’re going to look good jumping off the cliff together, but I ain’t going there.

Ford Motor Company Announces 2008 1st Quarter Profit

I never realized I was a harbinger of economic fortunes. Ford Motor Company reported a net income of $100 million, or five cents per share, in the first quarter of 2008. That’s lots different from the net loss of $282 million, or 15 cents per share, a year earlier. I wish we could afford to buy a new Ford but we are very happy with our old one.

Two years ago when we needed a new car, I blanched white when my wife suggested we look at a one-year old Ford Crown Victoria. I wondered if there was something strange in the water. Appearance-wise, the Ford Crown Victoria was the direct opposite of what we’d been driving. The Hondas we bought had been reliable and were even a little bit fun to drive. If I were going to buy a Ford, it would have to be something like the one in the photo above. The enduring Ford Mustang Shelby GT. The Ford Crown Vic looked like a police car. At my wife’s insistence, I began to do research and learned a great deal about the Ford product.

The Crown Vic was the choice of police departments because it was a safe vehicle and could take a hit. It was also the car least likely to flip when the cops practiced that spin move where you completely reverse direction 180 degrees.
The car was a rear-drive vehicle which represents a different handling mentality but I’d driven plenty of them and was familiar with ass-end steer. Besides, it has some advantages so long as there’s no snow on the ground.

Traction-control and snow tires make the car tractable and practical even in the snow. We have a four-wheel drive truck for when the snow gets really deep and we simply park the Ford and wait until the plow comes through our rural area.
The Ford Crown Vic, even in the civilian version, has a small 8 cylinder engine that puts out plenty of power on the highway. We jokingly refer to it as “the highway cruiser,” but that is a fit appellation. It’s annoying as a rally car but you can’t beat it on the straights where you get comfort, stability, power, reliability, and between 21 to 25mpg depending on how much you want to push it.

The car’s twin is the Mercury Marquis, built on the same platform. Whatever it is, you get Lexus quality at Ford prices. The car has been absolutely reliable and bullet-proof. Our biggest regret, upon buying the car, was hearing a year afterward that Ford would soon stop selling the civilian Crown Vic except as the twin Mercury Marquis. A limited number of Crown Vics would be produced as fleet cars. Too bad. I like the traditional blue oval much better than the medallion in front of the Mercury.

This seems a long introduction when my point is to tell you that Ford is a comeback fighter:

Ford is still a leader in the small trucks area with its F-x50 line in spite of the high gas prices. Tough and durable are basic requirements in construction work.
Ford is also doing well with a small SUV called the Edge. The Fusion sedan is selling well—it’s reliable, nimble, clean, and gets great numbers in the crash safety tests. The Focus is a good choice in the economy class. For a car of its size it also takes a good hit in the crash tests. The Focus takes advantage of a joint Microsoft-Ford development called Sync which appeals to the millenials who are big on tunes. It only makes sense to operate your booming audio system by issuing voice commands. Focus sales are up 23% this year. I know what you’re thinking: “Whatever!...”

A permanent Ford strength is the legendary Mustang brought out in one version or another since 1964 ½ or 1965. There have been some anemic versions but the Mustangs always had pedigree going all the way back to the Ford Shelby Mustang Cobra of the sixties, a gas-pumping, flame-eating, street sweeping monster that could burn its wheels as if they were made of candle wax.

I think Ford is doing a good thing by getting back to its core business of producing Fords. Most likely, Ford will get rid of the yuppie high-priced and finicky Volvo brand. CEO Mulally, according to the Wall Street Journal, has already dumped Aston-Martin, Jaguar, and Land Rover.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

BLOWHARD BOULEVARD: Pennsylvania Primary Fallout

It was very entertaining to watch the Obama spinners on the damage control watch appear on the a.m. television shows. One of the topics touched upon within the Morning Joe program was a discussion of the images Obama wanted to present of himself. Joe Scarborough lamented Obama’s poor choice of words some weeks ago when he spoke of women being “punished with a child.”

One of the funniest lines came from Pat Buchanan on the same show. The pundits were bantering back and forth in search for an apt description of the cool Obama style which did not make “bitter” Pennsylvania people comfortable.
“I think he’s faculty lounge,” said Buchanan.

Later on, Mike Barnacle picked up and elaborated on the “faculty lounge” image that worked with some college kids but is perceived as remote and persnickety in other quarters. The Boston Globe reporter remarked that Obama should forget the button-down faculty lounge look, “loosen the tie.”

“People need a little emotion from the aloof candidate,” said Barnacle.
One of the more ridiculous assertions from Obama spinmeisters is that Obama’s loss was caused by “withering attacks” from Hillary Clinton. That’s a joke and a half and veteran political warriors were ROFLMAO (in a word). Is that a word yet? Joe Scarborough shook his head with a smile, wondering out loud if politics has become a strict domain of “wimps and wussies.” Scarborough echoes the sentiments of most other people with long-time political experience and doesn’t feel the race has been rough at all.

Can you imagine a boy-child coming home in tears from school in the Bronx of today or 1950 and complaining “that girl hit me, mom!” That’s what it looks like to hear some of the whining from the Obama water caddies.

The most hilarious moment came when Rep David Price (D) of North Carolina, a staunch Obama man, took his turn on Blowhard Boulevard. He characterized Obama’s PA defeat as a “double digit non-victory for Obama rather than a loss.” That’s even more surreal than saying a battered and bloody fighter accomplished “a reversal of gravity” instead of a KO in the ring.

MSNBC Pundit Joe Scarborough Sees Through the "Noise"

I’ve gotta’ give my props to MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough for being one of the few pundits to comprehend the full impact of the Clinton double-digit primary win in PA. To the inspiring tune of a Rocky film, Scarborough interviewed a relaxed and triumphant Hillary Clinton on his show this morning. Conspicuously absent was veteran Hillary-hater and Obama enthusiast Mika Brezinksi who apparently decided to spend more time with her family. Mika’s father, a former Carter advisor, is working for the Obama campaign and, as the old saw has it, the apple doesn’t fall very far from the tree. That’s okay in one’s personal life but MSNBC ought to find another job for her, perhaps, where there is not so much an appearance of conflicting interests.

Scarborough pointed out a lame post-election attack by a newspaper which increasingly seems like an Obama owned subsidiary. Scarborough was mischievously gleeful when he prodded Clinton as to why the NYT was trying to “push you over a cliff” at a time when she won a resounding blowout victory in a state where the exit polls had, just hours ago, predicted an Obama victory or at least a narrowing margin.

Scarborough several times wondered aloud “how much does an election cost?” Of course, this refers to the massive million dollar amounts dumped into advertisement by the Obama camp. If the endorsement of most of the PA newspapers and the millions of dollars couldn’t do it, said Scarborough, then there were problems with the Obama candidacy that the mass media hadn’t recognized.

It's quite likely that Obama may one day rue his smug rejection of Hillary Clinton's graceful offer for a spot on her ticket.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Hillary Clinton Blow-Out In Pennsylvania!!!

New PA senator Bob Casey looked pale in his early appearance on Fox News as the station called the Pennslvania primary a big Clinton win not even an hour after the polls closed. The early numbers give the impression of a Clinton blowout should they hold up throughout the evening. Certain to hold up is a big Clinton victory of at least ten points and possibly as large as 20. Hillary Clinton was leading big in all groups except for African-Americans clustered around Philadelphia.

Apparently, the fledgling Senator did not help Obama in spite of the fact that they were inseparable during the Pennsylvania campaign. The Pennsylvania race should be a boost to campaign finance reformers who resist the idea that campaigns can be bought. Huge amounts of dollars flowed into Pennsylvania from the Obama campaign but Pennsylvania is a fiercely independent state which does not follow the conventional rules of groupthink politics.

Eco-Friendly Wars Proposed by Green Party

In The Know: How Can We Make The War In Iraq More Eco-Friendly?

9-11 Conspiracy Resolved: Obama Supporters Take Note

9/11 Conspiracy Theories 'Ridiculous,' Al Qaeda Says

MSNBC Reporter's Notebook: Secret Internal Memo

MSNBC Reporter’s Notebook:
Barack Obama cannot simultaneously eat and speak, chew gum and walk, answer questions without a script. Do not overburden such an inspiring personage with harsh or unpleasant thoughts. Interviews must be conducted in friendly fashion, as suggested by Obama spokesman Jamal Simmons recently. Mr. Simmons has made known the Mr. Obama’s discomfiture with certain other Democratic candidates who dress and speak differently and occasionally use a hostile tone of voice. The following answers to the hostile questions noted below are acceptable to the network producers and should not be met with follow-up questions.

Q.: What do you think of Jimmy Carter’s visits with the Hamas leadership?

A: Just let me eat waffles.

Q: What would you do as president to bring down the price of gasoline?

A: Just let me eat my waffles.

Q. How much of a tax increase can Americans expect from an Obama presidency?

A. Just let me eat my waffles.

Q. What will you do if there’s a bloodbath when you beat feet in Iraq?

A. Just let me eat my waffles.

Q. What will you do specifically to boost the economy?

A. Just let me eat my waffles

News Flash: Barack Obama Wants to Talk with Iran But Not With Hillary or CBS.

Barack Obama wants to become more like the Invisible Man after his poor showing in the one-on-one Philadelphia debate with Hills. The North Carolina Democratic Party cancelled the debate scheduled there for April 27. Voters can expect this shyness and introversion to continue. He wants to limit his appearances only to those where reporters do not ask him tough questions. We can suppose George Stephanopoulos or Charles Gibson will not soon be invited to dinner. Obama doesn’t feel the debate format can reveal the wonderful inner being which mesmerized True Believing Reporters Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann, and many others on the Obama Channel.

The debate was to be carried by CBS before Obama added that network to his list of banned channels which, of course, includes Fox News. Obama has always refused to appear on Fox, even with that nice Chris Wallace, a real reporter with a reporter’s heritage, and son of Mike Wallace.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Barack Obama's Strange Comment on the Credit Markets

The presidency doesn't come with training wheels, Mr. Obama...

Can Obama buy an election with the $41 million dollars he’s raised in March? Outspending Hillary Clinton 5 to 1 may not be enough to win the Democratic nomination as the layers of obfuscation begin to peel away from the Obama mystery. Obama has a great and sonorous voice but the facsimile of knowledge is not the same as the real knowledge required of a presidential candidate. Obama can no longer hide what he doesn’t know to begin with. One of the glaring Obama weaknesses became evident when, in a stump speech, he brought up the topic of the recent collapse in credit markets.

Obama was either dazed or outright lying as he told people that investment companies like Bear Stearns cheated people out of their homes by making loans they could not afford to pay back. Investment firms do not make home loans, Barack. What these investment firms do is “batch” mortgages into investment vehicles called “CDOs” or “collateralized debt obligations.” People then invest in the CDOs just as they do with stocks and bonds. It’s local banks and S&Ls who made the loans and they were encouraged to extend credit freely to potential home owners by free-spending politicians such as yourself.

Certainly, the greed factor comes into play, but if you’re going to criticize that then you must tell people specifically what you propose. Do you propose restoring down payments in the 15-20 percent range before loans can be made? Would you apply standard bank cash reserve rules on investment firms? The fact is that Barack Obama has no clue about how the U.S. economy works. However, the lack of knowledge will certainly not stop Obama from demagoguery on this issue or on any other issue.

Is the Obama "Bubble" Bursting?

Barack Obama accuses other unremittingly but does not easily withstand criticism as reflected in his poor showing in last Wednesday’s Philadelphia debates. He spent most of the week trying to prove that he was no “whiner” and finished the week with new accusations of a “kitchen sink strategy” on the part of Hillary Clinton. Axelrod and cronies must have been searching for a defining slogan and settled upon the “kitchen sink” metaphor but it is not a good one, conjuring up outdated and vaguely misogynistic images of a “wife” as harridan and himself as the noble husband, the victim of unfair torment, a miserable victim who suffers a rain of blows from saucers and kitchen utensils thrown at him. Is Obama an old-style Stanley Kowalski even as he tries to depict himself as a new and different politician? Is this an example of change that needs laundering?

The spell of the Obama media rapture seems to have been broken and all of the soft money flowing into and out of the Obama camp may not be enough to give him the boost he needs in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania votes tomorrow and Pennsylvania may not be willing to take any more from Obama. My prediction is for a Hillary Clinton favorable margin of at least 6 percent in a state where primary elections are most often uncomfortably close.

Hillary Clinton Rallies Voters in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

I went to Liberty High School in Bethlehem Pennsylvania yesterday to attend the Hillary Clinton rally held there. Considering what happened earlier in the week, I expected to hear some fulmination and fireworks from Hillary. Campaign people on Obama’s side were certainly turning up the heat as their candidate slipped in the national Gallup polls. I guessed Hillary would do the same, but I was wrong.

There were only two mentions of her “opponent” and not by name either. Both references were in the context of defending Clinton's proposed programs. Hillary Clinton responded to Barack’s attacks on her health care program by pointing out that Obama’s program left 50 million people out in the cold.

Then, she exhibited scorn of Obama’s charge that she was getting contributions from the big oil companies. Hillary said that neither she nor Obama received campaign money from the oil companies and that such an assertion was patently absurd. On the other hand, Obama received “bundled contributions” from oil company executives which are allowed by FEC rules. Obama’s assertions that he does not receive support from lobbyists is completely false, said Clinton. There are signs that Obama’s image is experiencing something of a meltdown. For the first time, Gallup polls indicate that Hillary is leading nationally among Democrats by one point.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Obama Refuses to Condemn Carter’s Hamas Visit

Five Arab armies (Egypt, Syria, Transjordan, Lebanon and Iraq) invaded Israel in 1948. Their intentions were declared by Azzam Pasha, Secretary-General of the Arab League: "This will be a war of extermination and a momentous massacre which will be spoken of like the Mongolian massacres and the Crusades.

“We like Mr. Obama and hope he will win the election.”

Who said those famous words? John Kerry? Governor Bill Richardson? The latest of the Clinton defectors, former Labor Secretary Robert Reish? If you’d guess any of those, you’d be wrong. The words are those of Hamas chief political advisor Ahmed Yousef. You might have come up with Jimmy Carter, too, in which case you’d be half right. Former president Jimmy Carter is on a free-lance foreign policy cruise to the Mideast to meet with Hamas leaders. Cover for the Carter trip is that he’d get one of the captured Israeli soldiers back but Hamas terrorists are milking his visit for all of its worth. Carter is beating a track into the carpet at his hotel as he is summoned to parlay at Islamo-Nazi Central Command. What arrogance from this former president who failed to obtain the release of a hundred American embassy hostages tied to poles while he was president!

Barack Obama was asked about the Carter trip in Wednesday’s debate and Obama refused to condemn the Carter tete-a-tete with terrorists. Obama is worse than naïve—he would be a foreign policy disaster who says he would hold direct talks with the Iranian regime. That means Amadinajad, a holocaust denier who has called for the country of Israel to be “wiped off the map.”

It’s bad enough that Obama supporters are self-deluding apologists for their candidate’s self-indulgent cant, but they want to deceive you, too. Obama supporters like Rep. Robert Wexler (D-Fla.) routinely tell public lies that redress Obama’s real foreign policy statements and couch them in favorable terms as if he is a friend to Israel. Mr. Obama must add the Carter trip to all the other things he should condemn to have any credibility as a presidential candidate.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Barack Obama’s Gun Control Agenda

In an event described by the New York Times as “one of Mr. Obama’s weakest debate performances”, Barack Obama denied that his handwriting appeared on a 1996 legislative document calling for a hundred percent handgun ban in Illinois. While Clinton took great pains in recent weeks to convey the message that she was no enemy of legal gun owners nor of 2nd Amendment rights, Obama equivocated his position in a lawyerly academic fashion as if it were a 3 credit course in which the professor was careful to avoid favoring one side or another.

Obama is clearly a gun control enthusiast who does not appreciate the right of free citizens to defend themselves. He affirmed support of the 2nd amendment but affirmed also the right of states, towns, and localities to enforce regulations which supersede the 2nd Amendment. The position echoes the liberal plaint that “we have to get guns out of the city.” That means all guns, the way local government would have it in DC if the Supreme Court does not rule against the District.

While most people appreciate efforts to minimize the dangers to America’s dedicated police officers, gun control is most often used to get votes from liberal activist anti-gun groups who presume to benefit the “folks” of the inner-city. The conceit in this is that Obama lives in the well-policed suburbs and has armed security at his disposal. It ignores the fact that there are, in the inner-city, conservative, law-abiding folks who toil at jobs and prefer to live quietly at home, without fear of home invasion or other disturbance. Such “folks” are too keenly aware that police are only minutes away in times of dire emergency when only seconds are available to protect their lives and families.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Obama Attends Phat Party at Rezko's Phat Crib?

Is this more "judgment you can Xerox?" Or is the lawyer more of a liar than Obama? Stuart Levine is a lawyer who testified recently that Obama and his wife were present at a party at the Rezko home in April of 2004 when the Iraqi millionaire and was being pursued by authorities for involvement in the Oil for Food scandal.. The Chicago Sun-Times reported April 15, 2008:

Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama was again drawn into Tony Rezko's corruption trial on Monday, when the prosecution's star witness placed Obama at a party for an Iraqi-born billionaire who was later barred entry to the United States."

Tony Rezko is an Obama friend and financial support who now is a defendant in at least a dozen lawsuits. His trial is going on in Chicago on charges of corruption and fraud.

Rezko helped friend and Senator Barack Obama to buy his Chicago dream house. At the time Obama entered into the real estate agreement with Rezko, Obama knew Rezko was being investigated for corruption and fraud.

The Rezkos bought the empty lot next door and sold part of it to Obama for $300,000 less than it was worth.

Rezko has been an Obama contributor and supporter for many years. Obama says that the real estate deal with the Rezkos was "a mistake."

A New York Times story recently wondered aloud why (Rezko) "would plunge into a real estate investment whose biggest beneficiary appears to have been Mr. Obama" at a time when he was being pursued by creditors for $10 million" of fraudulently obtained money.

Obama has repeatedly said that he cannot recollect any meeting with Auchi, a London-based businessman who is appealing a conviction for fraud in France. According to Stuart Levine, a former Rezko lawyer, both Barack Obama and his wife Michelle were among the guests at a April 3, 2004 party at Rezko's Chicago home for Auchi. At that time, Rezko was trying to impress Auchi with his political connections.

Was Obama's "mistake" a situation in which greed overcame the "good judgment" he vaunts on the campaign trail? In the Chicago world of quid pro quo, this land deal and the continuing smokescreen and lying by the Obama campaign raises a lot of questions. It is high time that the media entered "Fortress Obama" to get the answers. The Obama campaign has been closed, secretive, and not very welcoming to reporters who would like to contact Obama people with direct knowledge of the Obama Rezko Auchi connections.

Obama’s Marriage to Democratic Party: Solid or Just Another One-Night Stand?

Marriage after the first date isn’t such a good idea but many Obama backers aren’t ready to tell their parents they eloped. Deep down, Democrats like Donna Brasile worry that Obama is not ready for prime time. The reasons are not as much for Obama’s “bitter Pennsylvania” remarks as they are for Obama’s glaring inexperience:

Barack Obama hasn't really been tested in a major campaign. In 2000, State Senator. Obama challenged Congressman Bobby Rush, who was had been crushed in a bid to become mayor of Chicago. Rush, a former Black Panther, painted. Obama as "inauthentic" and beat him 2-1.

Obama’s record as a state senator was liberal-left:

• Obama opposed the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996. It was approved 85-14, and signed into law by President Clinton.

• Obama voted “present” on a bill to ban partial-birth abortions.

• Obama was the only state senator to oppose a law prohibiting early prison release for sex offenders.

• Obama backed a total ban on handguns. His spin-doctors tried to convince the media that was the result of a “rogue aide” who filled out a form on Obama’ behalf. That appeared shady when Obama’s handwriting was acknowledged on the documents.

Obama’s positions on other national issues mark him as a left-leaning liberal:

• Obama wants a hurried withdrawal from Iraq, exhibiting a foreign policy naiveté which, if effectuated, would result in disaster and bloodshed extremely beyond his supporters’ imaginings.

• He twice voted "present" on a bill to ban partial-birth abortions. In 1999, he was the only state senator to oppose a law that prohibited early prison release for sex offenders.

• Obama denies he has an anti-Israel stance but among his circle of friends and political supporters is the controversial Reverend Wright, spiritual advisor to Obama, and friend of Louis Farrakhan who calls Judaism a “gutter religion.”

• Obama contradicted himself on the NAFTA issue and a Canadian embassy official’s statement undermined Obama’s attempts at another “interpretation.”

So it seems that many big players of the Democratic liberal elite are already married to Obama. If there are any opposed to the union, speak now or forever hold your peace.

Bill Maher Hosts Former CIA Typist: Hitler Lite

One of the biggest phonies on the current political scene is Michael Schuer, often billed on the TV talk machine as a “CIA Terror Analyst.” Schuer is just bright enough to figure that he can exploit America by swimming in the direction of the minnows. CIA terror analyst? The billing gives the impression that Schuer was exposed to the dangers of covert operations but, in fact, the only dangers Schuer faced was the radiation from the glare of his computer screens where he labored for 22 years.

Schuer did learn to write, however, and has two popular books which capitalized upon the antipathy of the American Left toward America and his allies. Schuer rivals former president Carter in the temperature of his anti-Semitism and often makes such statements that “the state of Israel is not worth an American life or an American dollar.”

There is a tendency for some people to think that the CIA, a noble profession for the most part, is a centrist or even right-wing agency that is closed to any but the most patriotic, but this is not so. Schuer had a clean record, was not an enemy of the state, and knew how to respond to questions in order to get the job. After 20 some years, he got out and began to air his resentments in print. Osama Bin Laden is one of Schuer’s biggest fans and said so. This should have been the kiss of death, but yet Schuer is still popular among the lunatic fringe, and appears as an “analyst” on declining network television station CBS. Schuer’s bootlicking sycophancy and Stockholm syndrome admiration of the terrorism which made him rich has resulted in this brief book review by Osama Bin Laden:

"If you want to understand what's going on and if you would like to get to know some of the reasons for your losing the war against us, then read the book of Michael Scheuer." [

So here’s a clip from the Bill Maher show. I call it “Hitler Lite.”

Aging Hippies Respond to Obama's Call For Change

Further proof that Barack Obama is using new euphemisms to fight yesterday's battles.... This video is provided in the public interest and you are advised to give generously to the Alzheimer's Foundation.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Kewl Guy Richard Belzer Adores Obama on MSNBC

Kewl Guy Richard Belzer is never out of character. Here he vies for "props" and "street cred" from a real kewl guy in sunglasses.

Television actor Richard Belzer (Law & Order) appeared with Mika Brezinski and Joe Scarborough on MSNBC this a.m. to comment and voice his support of Barack Obama. Why the opinions of a television actor should merit a visit upon a show which pretends to analyze politics is beyond me, but it fits with the course of things in the Democratic Party fringe. While Andrea Mitchell appeared earlier as herself to comment on the race, Belzer appears to have got himself confused with the dick he plays on the TV show. He was dressed all in black, except for his hair which is silver gray, and he wore very dark sunglasses a la Phil Spector. All the kewl people will now vote for Obama, I’m sure, adding dramatic new dimension to the Obama “bitter” fiasco during which Obama excoriated Pennsylvania voters for clinging to their gats and prayer books while he knows the price of “arugula” (which dopey Pennsylvanians call “spicy lettuce”) and demonstrates his superior knowledge of the Second Amendment by conjuring up visions of “hunting ducks with a six-shooter.”

John McCain's Book: Faith of Our Fathers

My contribution to the McCain campaign is that I bought two of John McCain’s books at the local Border’s Bookstore. The one I’m reading first is called “Faith of My Fathers”. Mark Salters is co-author and the book jacket says he’s been with McCain since 1989. I’ve always wondered how much writing is done by the principal and how much by the co-author but the important thing is that you can clearly hear McCain’s voice throughout the pages. I’m sure Salters contributed much to the enterprise but the tone and style are distinctly McCain.

I’ve only read about 100 pages so far and would describe the earlier pages as dry, historical, interesting, and astute. The writers are, after all, referring to the naval careers of McCain’s father and grandfathers, both of whom illustriously served in time of war, both of whom had achieved the rank of admiral. These early pages also recount some of the dramatic sea battles of WWII, such as the battles for Guadalcanal and Leyte Gulf. The navy culture is revealed from the inside. These accounts do not suffer from a lack of embellishment. On the contrary, the writers focus on the temporal faults and vices of the book’s subjects. The McCain ancestors had a tendency to excess in matters of honor and vice. McCain’s forebears gambled, cursed, smoked cigars, drank whiskey, kept their word and went to church with their wives.

The book becomes lively and personal as the young John McCain grows up in the naval universe, uprooted often, and inclined toward youthful rebellion. We’ll have more of that later….

Monday, April 14, 2008

Reconstructing the Obama Image on MSNBC

Until Congress passes legislation outlawing television torture, I turn occasionally to the Chris Matthew’s show to see how the smug, smarmy pro-Obama pundits are dealing with the issue du jour. It’s a very dismal business to watch the Chris Matthews show with so many other fine choices. I still haven’t quite got why Matthews calls his show “Hardball” or why he introduces his prospective guests and then, in a way that’s supposed to be sly, he says “Let’s play hardball.” I suppose it is an attempt to persuade people that he will get down to business and ask really hard questions but that rarely, if ever, happens.

The issue du jour today, of course, was Barack Obama’s elitist remarks at a closed and very private San Francisco fund-raiser where the candidate felt licensed to unburden himself of the rancor and distaste he had for Pennsylvania and the people who live here. MSNBC and Matthews are clearly in the tank for Obama so Hardball guests are never fully oppositional to the host (Matthews) who says he felt “a shiver running down my leg when I hear Obama speak.”

One of the guests today deflected attention from Obama’s “bitter” remarks and pointed to Hillary Clinton. How could she call anyone elitist when her family made 106 million dollars in the 8 years since Bill Clinton was president? One would find that an unbelievably stupid remark, yet a commonplace on “Hardball.” It was all so pathetic, boring, inane and fawning.

How could a guy who worked for a major American newspaper be so confused as to make no distinction between mere earnings and the academic and condescending political and social elitism which is part of Obama’s character? There are many people of great wealth who have not lost the common touch, and who could speak with the gardener without condescension, as they would to a rival board chairman.

So, to show that I am a good though somewhat bitter sport and can let go of both gun and bible in the interest of helping my fellow man, I will make some suggestions as to how Obama might use image manipulation to countermand what the mainstream media has just learned. Obama enthusiastically and wholeheartedly believes that what he learned in college is vastly superior to what a farmer learns from livestock, from hunting, from tilling the earth and providing food to the nation.

Obama might go to a horse ranch, put on a cowboy hat, and have someone lead him around on a horse.

Obama might forego his armed secret service guard for an evening of streetside chats with the good citizens of Kensington or Olney in the north-center of Philadelphia.

Obama might visit the Amish country in his shirtsleeves and wield a hoe or drive some plough horses while sowing corn.

Obama might be filmed changing the spark plugs on one of his fleet limousines or perhaps his Cadillac Escalade.

Obama might be filmed attending a stock car race at Pocono raceway.

I will think upon it for another fortnight and come up with other suggestions as the mood strikes me. Also, my readers are welcome to suggest other photo ops with which Obama might again beguile the non-Pennsylvania public and the mainstream media. Remember though, Obama’s elitism is embedded and a profound part of his character. The idea is not to change that, (which will be impossible) but rather to convince others that it is not so.

Rezko Federal Cash Connection: South Side of Chicago

Barack Obama: He Said, He Meant

I saw an ad in the Huffington Post where they were looking for a translator. What language? That was my first thought. English, it said. Here’s the text, in full:

Wanted. Translator for presidential primary contender, sleek and trendy, with unclear policy objectives. Applicant must be well-versed in political and legal double-speak, and capable of extracting meaning from unintelligible sounds. Morality is okay so long as it’s not excessive and may be subordinated to the exigencies of the moment. Interested candidates for this position must demonstrate verbal aptitude and excellent grasp of synonyms, euphemisms, homographs, homophone, and especially homonyms. Words that sound the same but have different meanings or shaded meaning must readily fall from the tongue. Contact Obama campaign headquarters for interview. Salary commensurate with ability. Top pay package, perks, and health benefits for the right spin-doctor.

I wonder if the ad had anything to do with Obama’s remarks at a highbrow fund-raiser in San Francisco. And I wonder if Obama thinks I have got some kind of “antipathy to people who aren’t like them (me)”…. As I sit here in a bucolic setting, amidst the trees and the farm animals, contemplating the spring turkey season, cocking and de-docking my gun, a bible clutched in my free hand, I wonder if Obama has any clue as to who we really are here in Pennsylvania.

Last time I checked, “antipathy” meant hatred or is at least its brother. I don’t have any hatred for anyone, and for Barack (the Blessed One) to accuse me of that goes to show you how far out in space and lost he is. Though I was born in Pennsylvania, I’ve lived in San Francisco, and I expect that Obama was trying to impress a select group of hip and moneyed San Franciscans by trading in class resentments. It was a tasteless thing to do, and his condescending whisperings behind what he thought were closed doors have now revealed what Obama’s handlers have worked so hard to disguise: a thin veneer of pseudo-sophistication covers a grasping bounder so full of himself that he cannot see beyond his nose. Oh, bitter me! My “anti-immigrant sentiment” for even my own mother, born in Italy, is only one small measure of my “frustrations” and lack of worldliness. The “antitrade sentiment” remark completely baffles me. Wasn’t Obama’s anti-NAFTA speech one of the clearest examples of that for which he criticized Pennsylvanians?

Well, the speech revisionists and damage controllers have launched into Defcon III alert with the media finally hearing the discordant false note in Obama’s so-called oratory. Obama himself is doing the three-step with which the media should be now very familiar. First, there is the self-pitying wounded bird Obama denial, delivered with well-rehearsed gravitas. Secondly, there is a mild self-criticism for the ‘poor choice of words.’ And finally there is the diversion of truth which takes the form of new oratorical flourishes.

So I said, well, you know when you’re bitter, you turn to what you can count on….So people, they vote about guns, or they take comfort from their faith and their family and their community.”

Follow the bullshit here. Obama tells a new audience (with the media recording) what he said to his San Francisco audience, but it is a lie told in the second person, as if he were engaged with the San Francisco audience. He uses the words: “You know, when you’re bitter, you turn to what you can count on….” You agree with that, don’t you?

And in the next breath, he launches into more generalized sanitization of his offensive remarks.

“So people, they vote about guns, or they take comfort from their faith and their family and their community,” he meanders on.

And there, Obama generalizes in the third person in this final stage of selective amnesia. But it’s an obfuscation. In the audio recording of Obama’s remarks, Obama tells the San Francisco audience what a bunch of hicks, hillbillies and haters we are in Pennsylvania. Why? Merely to curry favor with the privileged moneyed elite with whom he so strongly identifies. It was that lack of judgment and inexperience that clouded his associations with the indicted Antoin Rezko and with Reverend Wright in Chicago. It continues to this day.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Obama's Message: Uninspiring and Insipid

Leave it to the lawyers to come up with great new euphemisms. The Harvard educated Obama, claiming Divine inspiration, came up with the beguiling phrase of a “parallel public financing system.” Don’t worry, it’s not the same parallel public financing system claimed by Obama pal and political supporter, Antoin Rezko. This scam’s even better because it’s legal.

First let’s translate Obama’s arch expression “parallel public financing system.” You have heard the term “public financing” of presidential campaigns? That one was a reform measure. But now the “Blessed One” (Barack means “blessed” in Arabic) is finagling his way out of reform since his pockets are bulging with cash and has come up with “parallel public financing.” The meaning of Obama’s “Parallel public financing system” means simply that he can continue to spend as much money as possible from the internet while reneging on his support for “campaign financing reform.”

C’mon, you can do this. It’s not as difficult as it sounds. Depart from your literal-mindedness and enter the realm of Obama surrealism. Obama frequently brags that he doesn’t take money from PACs. Wow, what a hair shirt! PACs account for less than 1% of election donations to presidential campaigns so where’s the sacrifice?

Aside from getting over a million buckos from commercial banks and pharmaceutical corporations, Obama’s got the support of fellow lawyers to the tune of 13 ½ million dollars. He’s using a chunk of that to bombard Pennsylvania with an avid buy-the-vote campaign.

An even bigger player behind Obama is billionaire America-hater Goerge Soros and his 527 groups like “Fund for America” or “Progressive Media USA,” which is currently running a $40 million dollar smear campaign targeting John McCain. There’s nothing new under the sun in Chicago Democratic politics. The Obama message has been typically uninspiring and insipid.

And Then God Created MSNBC, The Obama Channel

I was following one of those reader comment threads in one of the major newspapers and everyone was commenting on the foreign policy acumen (or lack thereof) of McCain, Hillary, and Obama. It amazes me that the “debate” has become so focused on slips of the tongue or inadvertent word substitutions. The Obama Channel, formerly known as MSNBC, enthusiastically noted that McCain remarked that the Iranians were arming the Sunnis instead of their natural allies in Iraq, the Shiites. It’s likely that Iran would be supporting anyone with interests running counter to those of the U.S. so it seems idiotic to focus on banal chit-chat to make claims of foreign policy ignorance regarding Senator McCain.

Obama made a similar mistake in choice of words when he got Iran and Iraq mixed up. Obama said that the Iraqi government was supporting Shiite militias rather than the Iranian government. You probably didn’t hear about it since liberal media has a devotional feeling for Obama.

The danger of all this inane chit-chat is that the real issues recede into the quagmire of media ratings and attention grabbing headlines. MSNBC general manager Dan Abrams has descended further into the inferno of cheap headlines by adding cheap comic book graphics around the edges of his broadcasts. Pow! Bam! Whackem, sockem! That sort of thing.

Last night one of the Dan Abrams headlines surrounded by cheap graphics was “Why America Hates Washington.” Is it necessary to have the word “hate” appear in the teaser line? If such taglines are not expressly designed to serve as a magnet for nutcases, the expression does accomplish just that. Only fruit loops and hate mongers seem to email the show with commentary, and the commentary is ever more base and banal.

Barack Obama goes to Washington and I don’t like it very much but I don’t “hate” Obama. I don’t “hate” Cheney either, or Bush though I’m often encouraged to do so. Perhaps this is the perfidious influence of the hatred-spewing Reverend Wrights of the world. Or perhaps it is the hatred-spewing media which creates the Reverend Wrights.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

War in Iraq: WSJ Connects the Disconnect

How To Buy A Laptop Computer

Where is That Olympic Torch Anyway?

Obama Credibility Called Into Question

Utterly ridiculous is Senator Hope and Change’s call for the president to shun the Olympics. I thought Obama’s call was for the U.S. to kibbutz with totalitarians like Ahmadinajad. Grasping and desperate for headlines as his defeat in Pennsylvania looms, Obama postures as the sanctimonious critic of the status quo which supported his rise to prominence in Chicago politics. Where would he have gotten without Rezko money and Jeremiah Wright’s “spiritual” support?

Obama shares with many “progressive” Democrats the one-trick-pony pacifism which will precipitate a loss in an election year where anyone could pin the tail on the donkey. His ludicrous questioning of General Petraeus was inept and fumbling, following along the lawyerly lines of “I’ll give you the answer—you give me the question.” General Petraeus is too sophisticated a man to have burst out laughing at Senator Obama’s naivete but I had severe anxieties in that direction.

Meanwhile, he had to once again face the Rev. Wright dilemma. A voter at a Town Hall meeting asked Obama why he so easily and blithely forgave the anti-Semitism of his former spiritual advisor. Obama claimed to have the support of Chicago’s Jewish population and I expect that response is about as believable as it would be for Louis Farrakhan to claim the same thing.

Microsoft's Yahoo Bid Stirs Corporate Waters

The business news wonks have been buzzing for a couple of months about a Microsoft bid to take over Yahoo, the high-visibility internet entertainment, advertising, and search company with flagging ad revenues.

A funny thing happened in the corporate takeover market when Microsoft kicked off the deal with a bid of $31 per share, a figure that Yahoo chief Jerry Yang didn’t think was strong enough. That brought a lot of new and old players back onto the playing field. Yahoo even reached out to Google, the high-profile, resilient, and highly adaptive internet superstar.

Enter then Time-Warner AOL as a potential partner with Yahoo in thwarting the Microsoft bid. You have to be amused by CNBC’s laconic Joe Kernan who sarcastically mused on Morning Squawk that AOL, which is also not doing well, would drag Yahoo down even further. For that, Kernan got a kick in both legs by nearby colleagues Becky Quick and Carlos Quintanillo. Quick backtrack, but you’ve got to appreciate the guy’s candor and wit.

In this latest development, Time-Warner would combine its AOL segment into Yahoo and put up some cash in return for about twenty percent of the combined company. AOL’s dial-up business would not be a part of the deal.

Microsoft needs to be part of the internet business or runs the risk of becoming irrelevant. Bill Gates is not about to let that happen. He’s reached out to Murdoch’s News Corp, which had also been angling for the internet business. Events are moving so swiftly in the media and internet world that it makes your head spin. Murdoch’s News Corp recently acquired the excellent Wall Street Journal, setting up Fox Business Channel at almost the same time, and now needs a piece of the internet, too.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

World Oil Prices and the Weak Dollar

Is the U.S. going to be able to withstand a rise in oil prices? Click on the title to read some speculative analysis of the current economy....

Questions for Barak Obama

I flipped the channels this a.m. to watch the Obama News Channel and, true to form, the producers were airing another long and tedious clip in which Obama was presented to viewers at the most favorable camera angles and with the same fervent close-ups usually reserved for the hottest Hollywood starlets. What bugs me out most about Obama is that the interval of time between each word varies anywhere from 1 to 3 seconds. This is just too much for the average person, and the mind wanders either to the remote control or to the same loving gaze applied to Obama by acolytes Chris Matthews or Keith Olbermann. Since Obama offers only vague slogans, delivered in sing-song church-like cadences, viewers must imagine that they hear what they want to hear.

It is already many months since Obama has declared his candidacy, and CNBC hasn’t yet asked Obama one serious question except the following:

“Are you comfortable? May we offer you a pillow?”

Okay, I’ve ripped off SNL for that memorable line, but the ethical lapse of judgment Obama shows in accepting real estate favors from Antoin Rezko deserves some questions.

Did you ever notice how awkward Obama is when he has to answer questions from the non-Obama Channels? There was the awkward moment at Philadelphia’s Italian Market. Certainly, Obama might have used the occasion to assure Pennsylvanians he didn’t relish Rev. Wright’s “garlic nose” pejoratives. There was also the fibbing about his contacts with the Canadian embassy officials regarding his vaunted NAFTA position. Obama also had his Dukakis moment when he visited a PA bowling alley in an attempt to pose as a “common man.” And why do Obama’s handlers tell him to avoid last week’s Martin Luther King celebrations in Memphis? And to avoid also a visit to North Philly’s toughest neighborhoods? My guess is it is because his appearance there and his brand of elitist left-liberalism might be embarrassing on the mean streets of the inner city.

Obama hasn’t every won a major political contest. He lucked out in getting a Senate position when his formidable Republican opponent withdrew in the wake of a sexual scandal. Obama then won his senate seat against the articulate radio commentator Alan Keyes, a resident of Maryland, who entered the race only two months before Election Day. It puzzles me that there are people across America who will yet vote for “change you can xerox.”

Friday, April 4, 2008

Demagoguing "Big Oil Company Profits": Exxon & Capitol Hill

It took me far too long to learn that many people in Congress are not any smarter than I am. They just posture better. One example of it was in the recent grilling of oil company executives on Capitol Hill. Judging by the questions, the only thing Congress seems capable of putting into American gas tanks is political verbiage. However, I was interested in the commentaries by various oil executives and found it informative.

Shell oil company U.S. operations executive John Hofmeister said that current prices of barrel oil are “unsustainable” at current levels. He expects bulk oil prices to go down, but criticized the government for what he called a policy of “rationing” of gasoline. The oil man testified that U.S. environmental regulations did not permit off-shore drilling in U.S. oil preserves. But the oil man also believes that domestic drilling is a short term solution which will bide time for the U.S. economy until nuclear, wind, solar, bio-fuels can take up the slack. The time to do that, said Hofmeister, was yesterday.

Don’t expect Middle Eastern countries to help out, the magnate says. Hofmeister mentioned the evolution of OPEC, pointing out that it is currently far more effective at coordinating and controlling oil prices and production than it was ten years ago when the price was closer to $10 per barrel than to $100.

With record profits, oil companies like Exxon-Mobil, Shell, and BP are an easy target for politicians. Exxon’s profits in 2007 were $40 billion dollars. American politicians are accustomed to hearing the angry charges of “fat oil company profits” from their constituents. The criticism is rejected by oil industry analysts who point out that every profit dollar made since 1992 has been reinvested into exploration and capacity expansion.

Removing 18 billion in oil industry tax incentives and oil industry subsidies will mean that the U.S. has less oil not more, and that prices will rise accordingly, said Red Caveney, CEO for the American Petroleum Institute. Caveney appeared on the Fox Business Network channel with Neil Cavuto after the congressional hearings. The executive also pointed out that the oil industry pays the highest taxes of any industry in American and brings more money into the U.S. treasury than any other American industry.

It’s not a message that the public and its Capitol Hill representatives want to hear. Democrat Rep. Ed Markey of Massachusetts told the oil executives recently that consumers were being “tipped upside down and having money shaken out of their pockets.” (video clip neil cavuto fox business) The April 1 testimony was the fourth time oil company executives have been called up to testify before congress during the past year, with sequels sure to follow. Fox News Managing Editor Neil Cavuto joked of putting the testy congressional hearings on DVD and marketing them to reality TV fans.

Oil company executives point out that, without new exploration, oil companies have no choice but to compete with Europe and Asia to buy oil at bulk oil prices in the commodities market. Price increases have occurred in those markets, to some extent, as the result of commodities speculation. Commodities speculation is the business of predicting the prices of fuel and other commodities far into the future. This is an impossible task when demand is volatile, or subject to wild swings. When panic seized the oil futures markets, the price of a barrel of oil soared to $110.00 per barrel.

Fox Business Channel manager Neil Cavuto posed three good rhetorical questions to legislators on a program which aired on April 2. What is congress doing besides grilling oil execs? What has congress done to get OPEC to turn on the taps and increase production? What have you done to allow more land for drilling and research?

Secret Service Protection: McCain, Clinton, Obama

Is it Stylish? Clean-cut crews in sunglasses and the soft bulge of Glocks or Sig-Sauers in the outline are my dream! But it costs about 39, 000 dollars per day for secret service coverage of the political candidates. As the wife of a former president, Hillary Clinton already had secret service protection mandated to her by law. Having a Secret Service squad paving your way through crowds is a sure way of looking presidential. Barack Obama asked for secret service protection long ago, in February of 2007, for precisely that reason. The last thing America would want would be for anything bad to happen to Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, or John McCain while they campaign for the presidency.

In light of the MLK assassination, one could advance the argument that Barack Obama might be more vulnerable to violence by virtue of his half-African ancestry, but that would not be true. President Reagan took a wing shot and nearly died, Kennedy was murdered, Ford was shot at, and these events are not the only ones. Malcom X was prematurely cut down by violence in a Harlem church and his assassins were African-American members of the Fruit of Islam church. Fact is, there are plenty of nut cases in America, plenty of misogynists, and hatred enough to go around for everyone, so there is no reason to think that one candidate needs protection any more than the others.

That said, I don’t know exactly what to think of John McCain, who declined Secret Service protection because of the illusion of power and inaccessibility it creates. McCain doesn’t have to “look presidential” and his campaign style is completely open and accessible. If he worries at all about an assassin’s bullet, he doesn’t show it, nor does his wife, who often travels beside him. Saving the taxpayers $39,000 a day isn’t the only reason to admire John McCain. McCain’s not perfect and he’s not Superman, but one gets the idea sometimes that Superman might want to adopt some of McCain’s qualities and imperturbability in the face of danger.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Obama's Continuing Misadventures in Foreign Policy

Barack Obama’s continuing misadventure into foreign policy ran off a cliff when he continued to repeat the slur-slogan that McCain would fight a “one hundred years war.” If the slogan was not boring in itself, Obama’s repetition of it is. Obama hopes to impress the Obama Channel News Show (MSNBC) with his redundant wit and poseur. It’s a bit transparent that Obama has no foreign policy plan that couldn’t have been contemplated by the average 8th grader. So Obama is left to chant slogans. McCain usually ignores such drivel but today fired back with a controlled barrage that underlined Obama’s lack of sophistication and knowledge in foreign affairs.

McCain commented on Obama’s impulse to leave a “strike force” behind in Iraq. That sounds a lot like a phrase lifted from Adventure Comix but McCain wondered what kind of Strike Force Obama meant, how large it would be, where it would be located, what would be its mission, and raised a bunch more question marks about Obama’s fitness for duty. This came at a time when I was taking it all so seriously so Obama did provide some laughs, but not enough to sustain us for a hundred seconds, let alone a hundred years.

A Little Foreign Policy Lesson There, Kids

Howard Dean Interviewed by MSNBC Nora O'Donnell

Quick shots….

Howard Dean, leader of the Democratic National Committee, appears to be a funny little chipmunk of a guy with puffed cheeks and a bristly way of speaking. He appeared today on the Obama Channel (MSNBC) and was interviewed by Noreen O’Donnell. Dean seemed not to know he was in friendly territory when O’Donnell gave him a chance to defend himself against attacks (by Democrats) on his leadership. O’Donnell had to repeatedly lead Dean back to the question.

“What strategy do you have for dealing with John McCain and the voters of Michigan and Florida?”

Dean’s basic response to her importuning was to say:

“Well, obviously, that’s why I’m here on your program,” he bristled.

Huh? If appearance alone were strategy, Dean should make it a daily occurrence. On the other hand, if he had a plan of any sort, he should have mentioned it. Dean contradicted himself by saying he wanted to have the super-delegates declare whom they’d vote for by July. In the next breath, he said the super-delegates had “every right to do whatever they want.”

Do you get the feeling that Howard Dean is near the break point? Or possibly well past it, as he launched into two rather bizarre statements. How were they going to resolve Michigan and Florida? Well, first you get a nominee by forcing the super-delegates to declare themselves before July 1. Second, you get the nominee to decide the manner in which the Florida and Michigan delegates will be seated. Dean is “sure” that will be a fair process. Who does he think he is, anyway, Pontius Pilate?

Could I Borrow Your Hijab?: Islam and the 2008 Elections

I don’t trust people who don’t like dogs. I suppose that may put me at odds with the nice Muslim lady working at a local Walmart. We exchange pleasantries very often and I truly like her. The same goes for the young Muslim girl who works at a local Border’s Books. We smile and say hello. We will all get along famously so long as I don’t have to live under the Sharia or make our wives and daughters wear chadors or hajibs. Or be cruel to dogs. Or be cruel to blind people needing seeing eye dogs who are kicked out of taxis driven by Islamic taxi drivers.

I hope the “Blessed” One has rejected the imperatives of Sharia Law. The word for “blessed” in Arabic is “barack.” Obama’ Muslim father gave him that name, with the concurrence, no doubt, of his mother. During Obama’s speech at the John Kerry nomination in 2004, Obama expressed concern for Arab-American civil rights. I have the same concern, excluding terrorists. I hope the Blessed One is equally concerned for my right to love dogs and other animals and the right of my country to act positively to defend its citizens.

“If there's an Arab-American family being rounded up without benefit of an attorney or due process, that threatens my civil liberties," said Barack.
Expect Barack Obama to lean over backward to placate supporters like Reverend Wright, who took a trip with Louis Farrakhan to Libya. Farrakhan has often engaged in anti-Jewish diatribes and has no doubt influenced his Christian friend, Jeremiah Wright. It is Jeremiah Wright who shouted his unhappiness with U.S. support of the Israeli state. Wright deplored what he called “state supported terror”—meaning Israel must welcome airborne missiles and homicide bombers from Gaza and the West Bank.

I hope that Muslim Law will soon restore equality to all whom are called “infidel”, including women. Recent progress was made by the acquiescence of CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) to the use of guide dogs for the blind. Muslim store owners and taxi drivers should not deny service to “infidels” who are blind and need guide dogs, said CAIR.

This is an improvement on the positions of some Islamist organization who supported anti-dog cab drivers. The Muslim Association of Canada pointed out that Muslims regard dog saliva as “unclean.” The “saliva of dogs invalidates the ritual purity needed for prayer,” said CAIR at one point. I wonder what CAIR thinks of the saliva of homicide bombers. I expect that is “holy spit.”

Now we can hope that people will speak out to extend the same courtesies to the women of the Islamic world that CAIR extends to seeing eye dogs.
Islam must not sanction the “right” of husbands to beat and kill their wives for any reason.

Islam must make the wearing of the burqa a personal religious choice, not a legal obligation. There should be no pressure on women young or old to “cover.”
Female genital mutilation and “honor killings” must be forbidden.

I wonder if our presidential candidates and congress members feel the same way I do. How far will they go to appease? To what degree will they compromise American freedoms? Do they recognize that respect and tolerance is a two way street and that there is a difference between respecting and submitting.

Well, at least we don’t have to worry about President John McCain wearing a burqa or being infatuated by the exotic customs or notions of "quaint" nations.