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Bonfire of the Vanities

It's like that curse: "May you live in interesting times."

I've been reading the paper this morning on the porch, which, at this rate, will soon be seized, along with the rest of the house, by government regulators. Then sold to Dubai at 30 cents on the dollar. (Then bulldozed.) (And converted to a potato field.)

Prefacing my remarks with the acknowledgment that I don't know anything about nuthin', I'm going to guess that there won't be a "deal" on the bailout today, or this weekend, or for a few days after that. The problem is that the people who have to vote on the bailout, in Congress, are just starting to figure out all the things they don't like about it. Their objections will be both practical and ideological. The public's not really behind it in any coherent way. A presidential contest and hundreds of other congressional elections won't make it easier to find common ground. The president has so little clout remaining he can barely get a tee time.

This bailout offers almost everyone a little something to hate. Liberals cringe at all the money that would go to rescue Wall Street operatives who ought to suffer the consequences of their bad decisions. Conservatives wince at the government nationalizing so many private assets. And the academic economists are not at all sold on this, The Post reports today.

For example: "The premise appears to be that the market is irrationally pessimistic," wrote Greg Mankiw, a Harvard University economist and another former Bush economic adviser, on his blog this week. "That might be so. Nonetheless, one has to be at least a bit skeptical about the idea that government policymakers gambling with other people's money are better at judging the value of complex financial instruments than are private investors gambling with their own."

The Post op-ed page features Sebastian Mallaby saying that $700 billion might not be enough to solve the financial problems, and Charles Krauthammer echoing yesterday's Achenblog (clearly he's a regular reader) in his satirical demand for "exemplary hangings." The Mark Sanford piece mentions something we talked about here as well, "Investment titans recently featured in Vanity Fair trading $60 million beach homes..." He warns of the expanding role of the federal government.

And there's a great Gene Robinson column: McCain as Drama King. He's put his finger on something about McCain that hasn't been fully discussed. McCain is theatrical. So is Palin! Life in a McCain-Palin administration would never be dull. Is that what America wants?

Um, is there a debate tonight? Will there be a financial bailout? What happens next? It's all so interesting! Now excuse me while I make sure my money is still stuffed in that mattress.

By Joel Achenbach  |  September 26, 2008; 8:48 AM ET
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Next: The Debate


Personally, I liked the idea of the debate consisting of Obama + a volleyball with a handprint on it, a la Tom Hanks' shipwrecked movie.

I hate that I can't look this stuff up at work!

Posted by: dbG | September 26, 2008 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Cast Away?

Well, the economy has certainly been shipwrecked.

Posted by: dbG | September 26, 2008 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Well said Joel.

Realize that I only dream of one day knowing anything about nuthin'. (That is, my knowledge about this stuff is actually negative.) Yet it seems to me that buried in your kit is an important observation.

Right now, from what I have read, some of this "bad debt" is already being purchased, just not by Americans. Cash-rich foreign banks and governments are buying some of this debt, both to rescue our economy, upon which the world relies, and because they can tolerate the risk.

I really don't know if this is a good thing or a bad thing. But, to me it does seem, well, an *interesting* thing.

Posted by: RD Padouk | September 26, 2008 10:16 AM | Report abuse

I've been making the Sherman McCoy and Masters of the Universe (as opposed to She-Ra and the Masters of The Universe) reference for days. Just not enough Tom Wolfe fans out there.

Posted by: yellojkt | September 26, 2008 10:24 AM | Report abuse

The "interesting times" curse is apparently of western European origin. Those folks know all about interesting, and generally migrated to the US in pursuit of boredom.

Right now, it seems people on the bridge and upper decks are nattering around, some offering principled explanations for why nothing should be done, others getting into "irrational pessimism".

Downstairs, they're wondering about that thrown rod and the ice water on the floor. I realize that much of the banking system is working just fine (work on my house's expensive new roof began today, thanks in part to a cheap loan). But it sounds as though businesses are having to scramble for routine credit, and I bet people from those businesses are calling their Members of Congress.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | September 26, 2008 10:32 AM | Report abuse

How's that old saw go "A generalist learns less and less about more and more til he knows nothing about everything, and a specialist learns more and more about less and less til he knows everything about nothing."

Or she.

We are having a little class on the anatomy and dynamics of "panic" around here, as folks drive all over town and line up idling their engines for hours to "top off" their gas tanks. In case they, you know, run out.

I think I got one of those emails about it last week: "there's gonna be a gas panic, so fill up your tank now."

Posted by: Jumper | September 26, 2008 10:33 AM | Report abuse

I wasn't aware that our discussions about hangings yesterday were "satirical." I think I'd have tried to make a joke of some sort had I known.

Were the rest of you folks just pulling my leg?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | September 26, 2008 10:36 AM | Report abuse

In our industry, we make the following substitutions:

Posted by: yellojkt | September 26, 2008 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Of course McCain is theatrical. He used to be a fighter pilot. Those guys are all about the drama. I mean, remember "Top Gun"?

Posted by: RD Padouk | September 26, 2008 10:40 AM | Report abuse

No, mudge. I took you as being deadly serious. It's Chuckie K that is mocking the idea. Hence, once again, the Krauthammer/Kristol Opposite Meter points to the correct policy. Drawing and quartering it is.

Posted by: yellojkt | September 26, 2008 10:41 AM | Report abuse

I believe the Generalist/Specialist brain hardwiring also plays into people's choice of candidate.

Here's to knowing everything about nothing. Or at least it seems that way some days.

Posted by: dbG | September 26, 2008 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Top Gun was a drama?

Posted by: dbG | September 26, 2008 10:42 AM | Report abuse

I did a McCain as Maverick photoshop a while ago.

It's even got the nickname on the plane.

Posted by: Mo MoDo | September 26, 2008 10:44 AM | Report abuse

I heard a great line about Top Gun sometime back:

Being a fighter pilot is the only job where they made a movie about it and understated the craziness.

Posted by: yellojkt | September 26, 2008 10:46 AM | Report abuse

I read Gov. Sanford's piece.

Rome had horrible problems with earthquakes and epidemics. I'm not sure what prompted the extraordinary period of migratory barbarians, but Rome seems to have excessively trusted its beat-'em-every-time legions, neglecting to encourage locals in Gaul, Britain, and later Spain and even Morocco to defend themselves.

The actual Fall seems to have been fast and bewildering. Almost overnight, Brits went from having nice Italian dishes for their clotted cream to stone age stuff. Makes you think of certain English movies from the past few years.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | September 26, 2008 10:47 AM | Report abuse

In perspective, $700 billion is not a lot of money. George Soros estimates that "Credit Default Swaps" (CDS) - those financial instruments that Warren Buffet called "financial weapons of mass destruction" - are on the books for about $45 TRILLION.

A CDS is a hedge against the possible default of an investment held by one fund that is guaranteed by another fund. For example, if your retirement fund (RF) holds a $50 million bond in a company at risk (CAR) that RF can hedge against a CAR default by buying a CDS from a big bank (BB) by paying a kind of insurance premium to BB. If CAR defaults, BB pays RF, unless BB has itself also defaulted. In which case, everybody loses.

The $45 Trillion in CDS instruments - also estimated at $65 Trillion, nobody really knows, makes $700 Billion a drop in the bucket. Except that some economists have suggested that the USA itself can face a default in about 10 years because of our borrowing and deficits.

Wall Street, in the form of stock markets, gets worried, panics, and drives down the value of most everything, including RF, CAR and BB. History provides a worst case scenario: It took almost 30 years for stocks purchased in 1929 before the crash to regain their value. Some investors, including RF and BB, were still waiting to recover from the post 9-11 sell-off when the current sell-off started. Nobody is really sure the $700 billion can bandage the wounds, but without it, it's certain the most seriously ill will bleed to death - and their blood is our money.

Posted by: Shiloh | September 26, 2008 10:55 AM | Report abuse

I think some weeks ago we discussed the pros and cons of the "Crazy Dude on the Bus" school of international relations. You know, creating the impression in the minds of foreign countries that they better give 'merica a wide swath because we could just go completely nuts at any moment. I must say I'm not 'fer it.

Posted by: RD Padouk | September 26, 2008 10:55 AM | Report abuse

And McCain was never technically a fighter pilot. He didn't have the chops. He flew the A-4 light attack bomber in air to ground operations. But I have been castigated before for besmirching his aviation skills, five crashed planes not withstanding.

Posted by: yellojkt | September 26, 2008 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Shiloh - that's a great observation. The amount of money potentially in play is completely incomprehensible to me. It's all about perceptions and investor confidence isn't it?

Posted by: RD Padouk | September 26, 2008 11:00 AM | Report abuse

I indirectly swore off irony yesterday. That's gonna last.

Posted by: Jumper | September 26, 2008 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Ahhh, Wilson, the volleyball. The Tom Hanks movie also featured the infamous outhouse from Bakersfield that washed up on the shore, if you recall...

I was listening to NPR, while I was putting together the ingredients for a pumpkin spice cake with butterscotch chips and carmael swirl--one of the guests called the controversy over the bailout not only a difference between Democratic and Republican camps, but a greater divide between populist and Wall Street forces. One had only to listen to the tenor of the folks calling in to comment on NPR to get a full taste of populist rancor, sentiments echoed by some on the Achenblog since the start of the week.

But it's the details, folks. If there is going to be oversight, who'll be providing it and what type of oversight? Who'll be minding the bank? If golden parachutes are to be scaled back for Wall Street honchos, by how much and how fairly applied? Will the bailout occur in stages or in lump sum? What happens if the public becomes stockholders and the bailout becomes a bad investment? A bailout package passsed in haste may make for a lot of waste.

How much to we trust the federal government to handle our money? Or handle anything? A headline in today's paper--a story reprinted from the Houston Chron--reports that FEMA is bungling the Hurricane Ike response in Texas--not as badly as Katrina--but bungling the reponse nevertheless. Also, both Washington Mutual and JP Morgan Stanley Chase (do I have enough surnames and have I gotten the title of this now former investment bank right?) have operations in the Alamo City, WaMU operating a big call center, as I mentioned previously. How will the overnight acquisition of WaMU by MorganSC affect Alamo City?

As far as the debates, I'm waiting to see how much San Antonian and former Jefferson High School (where he was one of three sports editors of the school newspaper the Jefferson Declaration) grad Jim Lehrer will make the questions relevant to the past two weeks' events.

Don't know how hot the debate will be in town tonight--the paper reports that tickets to Jerry Seinfeld's gig here appear to be hotter.

Posted by: Loomis | September 26, 2008 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Here's a nice piece on how those mathematically-skilled science-and-math modelers working for banks did't spot the impending liquidity crisis.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | September 26, 2008 11:05 AM | Report abuse

If only one person shows up for the debate, is it still called a debate?

Posted by: cassandra s | September 26, 2008 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Joel, I really like your kit. I have more questions than I can get answers, and yet if I got all the answers, I still wouldn't know anything. Nothing.

I don't know if "interesting" is the word for the times. But then, old people aren't crazy about change anyway. Yet I can't help but think all of this isn't good for anyone, and I mean the mess we're in now. And I know it is easy to play the blame game, but isn't there some blame here? It's not like this stuff just fell out of the sky. And even if that were the case, there would still be a reason behind it all.

Posted by: cassandra s | September 26, 2008 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra - word from Obama is it will be a "town meeting." Can't believe McCain will let that happen.

Posted by: RD Padouk | September 26, 2008 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Calling it a "town meeting" will get McCain to Oxford faster than a cat hearing a can opener.

Obama should schedule fourteen more just to see how long John can hold out.

Posted by: yellojkt | September 26, 2008 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Perception and confidence, RD, are big factors. But value and risk also play a role. The current meltdown started with the froth in real estate. As home values rose, people bought or re-mortgaged and took equity in cash. Lenders and homeowners took the risk that the over-inflated home value would hold or increase. Those mortgages were repackaged and sold based on that value. The value didn't hold because of the very real perception that real estate was overpriced, markets lost confidence, credit and cash flow began to dry up and the present crisis ensued.

Posted by: Shiloh | September 26, 2008 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Just saw on TV as I walked past the office:

The debate is ON!!!

Or so said Fox "News"

Posted by: a bea c | September 26, 2008 11:30 AM | Report abuse

FEMA is bungling the Hurricane Ike response? Who'd a thunk.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | September 26, 2008 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Excellent points Shiloh, and I clearly yield to your expertise in such matters.

I guess my observation is that investor psychology seems to be, well, nonlinear. Sometimes the way the markets react do not seem proportional to reality. A little bump in the night and everyone runs around screaming. It's this extreme volatility that seems so hard to understand.

Posted by: RD Padouk | September 26, 2008 11:37 AM | Report abuse

NYT says McCain is in too, a bea c. "Town hall" must have done the trick. Of course, the campaign statement also says the campaign is resuming all activities. I really couldn't see that they ever stopped.

I really hope Lehrer asks some questions about the economy. I also hope I get to see it - I have a dinner at which I must appear first. I had hoped to force the Boy to watch.

McCain's biggest advantage in the debate: Palin's Couric interview. Compared with her complete inability to articulate a coherent response he's got to come off better.

Posted by: Ivansmom | September 26, 2008 11:37 AM | Report abuse

With regard to that (very excellent) post and URL about the McCain "voice mail" to Palin, please note that two of the 14 commenters below it failed to understand whether it was a fake or not. These two must be among the "undecideds" we've heard so much about.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | September 26, 2008 11:41 AM | Report abuse

I'm sure the McCain spin will be "my work here is done," thus allowing him to take credit if things work out. Of course, if things don't he can just blame Obama for forcing him away from his Important Work.

Of course, the real victim in all this is poor Ms. Palin. Her debate is back on too.

Posted by: RD Padouk | September 26, 2008 11:42 AM | Report abuse


You with the cat and can opener. Has everybody had their meds this morning?(smile)

Anyone heard from Yoki? I hope she and the family are okay.

It is messy and rainy, without the wind. Still there's a chill in the air. My daughter came by, and took my laundry. I don't have to face that laundry room. I'm good to go.

Posted by: cassandra s | September 26, 2008 11:46 AM | Report abuse

This just in. McCain will debate tonight, so Obama won't have to go it alone. It's time to warm up the big screen, lay in some snacks and settle in for a big night of something. I suspect if McCain does poorly, he'll blame his time spent putting his country first instead of studying his note cards.

Posted by: Jane B | September 26, 2008 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Hey everyone -- take a look at this:

It's very funny (and I *luv* his accent)!

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | September 26, 2008 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Good observation, Jane B! What a clever twist on the dog ate my homework excuse.

Posted by: RD Padouk | September 26, 2008 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Here's another home for a titan of finance. This one, a condo for $80 million, should feed the vanity of almost any CEO.

Posted by: Shiloh | September 26, 2008 11:53 AM | Report abuse

"Victim" and "poor Ms Palin" are these images that should invoke sympathy? We get a sympathy vote here? I don't think so. Anyone that can bead a rifle or shotgun, whatever the case may be, does not get my sympathy because she missed English classes and cannot pull a complete sentence together or fails to understand the dynamics of foreign policy. I know I fail miserably at both tasks, but then I'm not running for the second highest office in the land.

Posted by: cassandra s | September 26, 2008 11:55 AM | Report abuse

OK, folks, I gotta leave early today; we're delivering some furniture to Dottir #2 down in Virginia Beach, so I may not get to Boodle until Sunday afternoon.

Everybody please behave yourselves, and no silliness around here: you know how much I hate that. Scotty, I'm gonna spare you the humiliation of another duct-taping incident, and turn over the conn to Brag while while I'm gone.

Brag, if a squad of ladies attempt to enter the bunker either to "clean it" or "redecorate it" while I'm out-of-pocket, you have permission to go to live-ammo status. But be careful: they're a wily, cunning bunch.

Buenos gnocchis, moo-tchatchkes.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | September 26, 2008 11:59 AM | Report abuse

I have no sympathy for Palin. She lost that the moment she had the hubris to take the job.

Love the Craig Ferguson clip, mostlylurking. What is it about that Scottish accent that drives women crazy? And is it available over the counter?

Posted by: RD Padouk | September 26, 2008 12:01 PM | Report abuse

No harm meant, RD. Just don't see that.

I'm looking at the movie, Micheal Clayton. It is pretty good so far.

Have a good weekend, Mudge. Don't overdo.

Posted by: cassandra s | September 26, 2008 12:07 PM | Report abuse

RD (*ahem*) -- It was me what posted the Craig Ferguson clip.

Scottish accents are delectable, truly. I could be swayed (*ahem* again) by one for hours and hours and hours. Simply yummy.

Hope you're feeling better, btw.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | September 26, 2008 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Oh, yes, that accent. Could listen to Craig all day long.

Can you imagine if he moderated the debate?

Posted by: a bea c | September 26, 2008 12:16 PM | Report abuse

You'd do better than Palin, Cassandra.

Posted by: Wilbrod | September 26, 2008 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Brookes over the the NYT has a strange opinion piece today. He probably regrets some negative reviews of McCain performance he's done recently so he came up with that construct that, as bad the Macster is doing right now if elected he would recover his sanity and be a Great president. Hummm...

Do you think that Romney would look better than Sarah as a VP right about now?
I can't just se McCain asking: Sarah, would you explain to me what those Credit Swab things are yet again?

Posted by: shrieking denizen | September 26, 2008 12:27 PM | Report abuse

"Obama should schedule fourteen more just to see how long John can hold out."

BWA HA HA! Make sure they're scheduled far apart, too ... Seattle then Miami ... to keep 'im puffin'.

Today's fun involves writing about the Basel II Advanced Measurement Approach. Yah. Tough going. I new it would be bad when I had to look up the word "quantile," which appeared in the first paragraph of my research. My head hurts already.

Think I'll take a break and daydream about Craig ... ooh, that man is sumthin else.

Posted by: KPage | September 26, 2008 12:44 PM | Report abuse

knowing nothing is the beginning step toward enlightenment(i think).

bailout shmailout. howzabout this.

cut up that 700 billion in bite size piece of....maybe 150K....and give them to homeowners who need help to pay their inflated mortgages. if i had 150k i could pay off my house tomorrow (with money left over to pay off my credit cards) and i would use my wages to buy luxuries like new shoes for my kids, and braces, and a clarinet for my 12 year old that doesn't need duct tape, etc., etc. i promise i would not use the money to buy a beach house or a mercedes convertible.

seems to me that if the problem is mortgage foreclosures, maybe we should put the money where the problem is.

of course we would be helping people who made bad decisions and some people who don't need or deserve it.

do you suppose any people in the wall street firms currently in line for 700 billion made any bad decisions recently or perhaps do not actually deserve the help that seems to be coming their way?

why is is good to help wall street bandits but bad to help people who made bad choices about home purchases or mortgage configurations?

i don't know how many actual homeowners could be helped this way, but i can feel pretty sure that most of them would not have received six or seven figure bonuses last year for driving the country off a cliff.

but we already established at the beginning that i know nothing.

p.s does anyone think it just the slightest bit odd that mr. paulson used to be a CEO of a wall street firm? and he wants the whole thing to be his baby and his alone?

Posted by: butlerguy | September 26, 2008 12:47 PM | Report abuse


Why do I keep thinking, "Bonfire of the Securities?"

Not to put too fine a point on it, but if McCain really wants a future in drama (a la Fred Thompson or Ronald Reagan) I'd think someone would recommend he do something about those choppers.

And then there's the hair.


Posted by: bc | September 26, 2008 12:51 PM | Report abuse


That would only handle 4,666,666 mortgages.

Note the repeating number, specifically the double triplet.


Posted by: Scottynuke | September 26, 2008 12:53 PM | Report abuse

"Republican lawmakers offered a plan calling for Wall Street firms to purchase insurance on mortgage-backed securities and advocating tax cuts and relaxed regulations."


Posted by: Boko999 | September 26, 2008 1:03 PM | Report abuse

I apologize firsttimeblogger!

They say an awareness of names is the first thing to go...

Posted by: RD Padouk | September 26, 2008 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Bonfire of the Vanities (Italian: Falò delle vanità) refers to the burning of objects that are deemed to be occasions of sin, including vanity items such as mirrors, cosmetics, fine dresses, and even musical instruments. Other targets included immoral books, manuscripts of secular songs, and pictures.

Credit Default Swap securities that made obscene profits for some traders could easily be added.

Posted by: Shiloh | September 26, 2008 1:05 PM | Report abuse

RD, what a lovely word, "hubris." So much better than the one I've been thinking in relation to Sarah, something like "Wilsons."

Posted by: nellie | September 26, 2008 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Since Mudge put me in charge of the bunker, I'm bringing in a Christmas tree.

No, I'm not nutz. I just don't want the hand grenades to clash with the decor. I will paint the grenades different colors and hang them on the tree.

That way, it will not disturb the ambiance.

Oh, the Dektarev machine gun? That will go into the wine cellar, where I'll be making a last stand.

Posted by: Brag | September 26, 2008 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps, Boko, McCain was reaching out to that 50% "no" and 50% "he11 no" constituency. His Hail Mary pass on this one may get him the vote of the angry proles who don't really know what the crisis means to their jobs, their retirement funds, their bills and their bank accounts.

Posted by: Shiloh | September 26, 2008 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Krauthammer a secret Boodler?

That is why I'm bringing all the stuff to the bunker.

Posted by: Brag | September 26, 2008 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Not a Wolfe fan, as I've already mentioned, but I rather like the kit allusion.

Shiloh, right on the bonfire of the vanities. But Tom Wolfe wrote a book called "Bonfire of the Vanities" about Sherman McCoy who was a wall street trader and who fancied himself "master of the universe." The book shows his fall.

Posted by: Wilbrod | September 26, 2008 1:16 PM | Report abuse

McCain is probably playing to Orwell's description of proles:

"It was not desirable that the proles should have strong political feelings. All that was required of them was a primitive patriotism which could be appealed to whenever it was necessary..."

Posted by: Shiloh | September 26, 2008 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Wolfe also used "proles" in his novel, "Bonfire of the Vanities."

Posted by: Shiloh | September 26, 2008 1:24 PM | Report abuse

More fun stuff from the guys who brought you the McCain voice mail...

Posted by: TBG | September 26, 2008 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Wolfe's title was obviously him showing off his classical education. And 'Vanity Fair' was already taken. By both the magazine and the Thackeray novel.

Posted by: yellojkt | September 26, 2008 1:30 PM | Report abuse

thank you, mr. scottynuke: knowing nothing, i cannot compute numbers such as 700 billion on my humble solar-powered calculator.

are we talking about more than 4.67 million foreclosures? if so, this is a disaster even bigger than anyone could have imagined.

Posted by: butlerguy | September 26, 2008 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Wilbrod.

I like the movie, especially the part where he asks the lady lawyer, "and you're going to kill me". He tells her what it is he does, and then says, and you're going to kill me about three times. The lady lawyer looks like a deer caught in the headlights. Of course, I'm partial to George Clooney anyway. He's got that quirky face. He seems to be able to show so many emotions with that face, and bring a whimper out any female within his sight.

I also caught a glimpse of the news. It seems that some folks in major cities across the USA are not liking the bailout one bit. I hope this thing doesn't start snowballing. Without a clear understanding of what is going on, this proabably has the potential to get ugly. You think?

Posted by: cassandra s | September 26, 2008 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of Tom Wolfe, "A Man in Full" is a great read.

Posted by: rhy | September 26, 2008 1:38 PM | Report abuse

The bailout is only $2,200 per man, woman, and child in the United States. Just put it on my tab. I'll pay it off as soon as I get rid of all my other consumer debt.

Posted by: yellojkt | September 26, 2008 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Hey there everybodies...

To paraphrase what's-his-name in the Airplane movies: "I can't believe I picked today of all days to start paying attention to the news again and quit sniffin' glue."

Robinson's "Drama King" assessment seems to be catching on... just heard Margaret (Carlson?) on MSNBC refer to McCain as a Drama Queen.

Butlerguy... Just did the math on how many people could save their homes if the $700B were to be doled out directly in $150K bundles: 4,666,666.

How many families could have health insurance for a year (figuring on $600/mo in premiums): 97,222,222.

How many small business could be started with a $100K grant? 7,000,000.

How many full scholarships at a typical state college (at $13,000/year for 4 years)? 13,461,538.

I'm no economist (nor do I play one on TV), but this bailout thing just looks more and more stupid the more I think about it.

Posted by: martooni | September 26, 2008 1:49 PM | Report abuse

I just subscribed to a new magazine called Slough of Despond.

Posted by: Jumper | September 26, 2008 1:50 PM | Report abuse

It's already ugly, Cassandra. McCain is playing to the uninformed anger of people who don't like the "bailout," unaware that it may be their job or home or retirement that is being "bailed out" by propping up financial markets. Nobody spells that out because pols are afraid it may provoke a panic and run on the banks by the masses. It is also ugly because bipartisanship in resolving the crisis has been undermined by a coterie of pols playing to conservative ideology, rather than to practical remedy.

Posted by: Shiloh | September 26, 2008 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Nice, butlerguy, and nice to hear more from you these last few days. The problem is, the problem isn't just what the problem is.


I mean, the probem started with all those bad housing loans. Then they got chopped into little pieces or sliced thin, bundled into big bouquets of bad loans, and sold. And re-sold. Then suddenly people found out they couldn't pay on those bad loans. Then nobody knew what they were worth, since they were all diced up, except that they weren't worth nearly as much as everyone counted on. Then the good housing loans went bad. This made things much worse. Then nobody knew how much anything was worth. Now the banks don't trust each other so they won't extend credit to anyone, since nobody knows how much these poison bouquets are worth. So nobody can get a loan, so the world is going to hell in a handbasket.

It isn't even convincing fiction. I'm embarassed for the financial wizards, warriors and overlords who should have known better.

I'm with RD and cassandra on Palin. I don't think she knew what she was getting into, not really, but I think she had enough confidence that she didn't care. Some of us meet our limitations gracefully and in private and some have them thrust upon us painfully and in public.

Posted by: Ivansmom | September 26, 2008 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Writer with odd name says lay off the Palin kids:

Posted by: Jumper | September 26, 2008 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Even new jobs flipping burgers are being jeopardized by the financial crisis:

NEW YORK (Dow Jones)--GE Capital's franchise finance arm is becoming more stringent in pricing and issuing loans for new franchisees, a pullback by one of the largest lenders to restaurant operators in the latest sign that Wall Street's turmoil is spreading to small businesses.

Posted by: Shiloh | September 26, 2008 2:01 PM | Report abuse

The figures Martooni gave coincide with my rough calculations.

The problem: The financial markets been torpedoed. They are kaput. Let the guilty jump out of windows, hang or shoot themselves (where gun ownership is legal).
Use the money to bring relief to home owners. That will stabilize the market, bring foreign investment and we can start the financial system from scratch without the rip off artists who got us into this mess.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 26, 2008 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Hmm. I don't think the kids picked their names or that they are delibrately being targeted-- unlike the "ugly duckling crack", or McCain's tasteless joke about Chealsea's parentage.

Sarah used her kids as part of her image, and as thus, that image is open to parody.

But stupid is as stupid does, as Forrest Gump said.

Posted by: Wilbrod | September 26, 2008 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Some legislators are making it clear that this crisis is not just about Wall Street:

...ordinary Americans' ability to make payrolls, buy cars and send children to school "are all at risk here." -Sen. Judd Gregg, R-NH

Posted by: Shiloh | September 26, 2008 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Let's get serious about the alternative spending of $700 billion Martooni suggested:

-Who pays the health insurance premiums for those 97 million people after the first year if the economy collapses?

-When 80% of those new small businesses fail within 5-years, as they do, will the 20% remaining have enough to keep the nation afloat if the economy collapses?

-Will there be jobs for the 13.6 million college grads in 4 years if the economy collapses?

Anonymous suggests starting over "from scratch" without realizing that China, Saudi Arabia, etc. are the most likely debtors in possession for a bankrupt America. Our new masters would have very different ideas about how to run a country.

Posted by: Shiloh | September 26, 2008 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm. Been a long time since I had to "make payroll." Buying a car is, indeed, a real problem. Last I checked, it is possible in this country to send our children to school for free. Except for the car thing, I think that maybe Sen. Gregg is not talking about me and my family and our ilk (Ilk! Ilk!).

Posted by: PlainTim | September 26, 2008 2:39 PM | Report abuse

"...ordinary Americans' ability to make payrolls, buy cars and send children to school "are all at risk here." -Sen. Judd Gregg, R-NH"

What planet has Judd been living on?

Has he been in a napping contest with Rumplestiltskin?

I wonder if he knows that TV's show color pictures now?

And I'll bet my last deflated dollar that he thinks Obama is an elitist.

Better to be an elitist than clueless.

Posted by: martooni | September 26, 2008 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, Ivansmom, for your (as always) elegant explanation. We are all in this together.

Didn't think I'd ever see this, but, okay, it made my day.

Former Palin supporter, Kathleen Parker disses Sarah Palin. "If BS were currency, Palin could bail out Wall Street herself."

I don't know if I'll be able to find it, but I heard on NPR that new legislation isn't necessary, that mere enforcement of the laws on the books would have prevented all those subprime mortgage loans.

Posted by: dbG | September 26, 2008 2:45 PM | Report abuse

I rather liked the Galbraith column that Curmudgeon, I think, linked yesterday. Seemed persuasive to me. Am I missing something?

How many mortgages are in action in this country right now, anyway? Perhaps the gov'mt could refinance everybody's house at current market valuation and with current interest rates, and make up the difference in paying off the original bad mortgage loan. Of course, that would require some kind of magical ability to determine current market valuation overnight, before sellers have a chance to respond to this great opportunity by raising prices. Somehow, I don't see this working.

Posted by: PlainTim | September 26, 2008 2:46 PM | Report abuse

I think Senator Gregg was trying to refer to sending our kids to college. In which case, I would appreciate a bail-out.

Posted by: yellojkt | September 26, 2008 2:56 PM | Report abuse

School is not 'free' anywhere. There are costs, even if you only pay some of them.

It's horrific to me that the people who are supposed to be our 'leaders' are looking to the 'country' for answers. They should NOT be looking to polling to see if it's okay with US if this bill gets passed - or any bill, for that matter. They should vote for the best thing for the country, whatever it is, do the right thing, and that is that.

Of course, they're all looking to a few weeks from now to reelection. It's so disturbing. So what if you don't get re-elected? So then what? I mean, seriously, isn't it better to be able to look yourself in the mirror? I mean, we are SO out of whack with our priorities.

I think wall street got themselves into this mess, they should get themselves out. And while I have a large financial/credit/numbers background, I STILL don't have ALL the information our reps (hopefully) have. Yes, they don't fully understand all of what happened from certain perspectives, but they should understand (again, hopefully) what is going on, what would happen if they do nothing and what would happen if they do what they want, or whatever other options are out there, etc.

Posted by: atlmom | September 26, 2008 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Free schools? Last time I looked, 50% of my Florida property taxes went to the local school system.

Payrolls for small businesses are at risk. And ultimately the payrolls of government employees if people can't afford to pay taxes - or don't have jobs that withhold taxes.

Consumerism is 65% of the American economy. The $100 billion "stimulus" that put a minimum $300 chicken in every pot only made a blip in that economy. In fact, the economy retracted after the stimulus. (I admit, I didn't buy anything - I gave it to the Obama campaign.)

What happens to a consumer society and the 65% of jobs it supports when that economy collapses? Science wonks and door makers will also be looking for other work.

A lot of silly thinking is going on in an otherwise usually thoughtful blog.

Posted by: Shiloh | September 26, 2008 3:04 PM | Report abuse

And really, I'm amazed that anyone out there really wants these bozos in charge of their health care.

Posted by: atlmom | September 26, 2008 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Wait a minute. Seems to me there's a realatively easy, straightforward solution to the mortgage end of this nonsense.

1) The gummint takes over all that bad paper from the mortgage houses, and converts the bad loans into standard 5% loans over whatever time period is needed to pay them off -- 20 years, 30 years, whatever. And then those people (most of them, anyway), make their monthly mortgage payments, just like you and I do. That means the gummint begins to take in cash at the first 30-day mark, with a constantly dfeclining balance, and earns five percent on top of it. So we don't need to put up any part of $700 billion now.

2) The mortgage companies holding the bad paper will have those loans taken off their hands -- but no effing way we're gonna pay them a lump sum for them. They're gonna hold *our* (gummint) paper for 20 or 30 years, as the gummint pays off those bad mortgages -- at 4.5 percent.
So those banks will have a steady, guaranteed 4.5 percent income on that portion of their assets tied up in this crap. If they don't like it -- too damn bad. That's the deal, Don Corleone style. If they meanwhile go under anyway...ooops, too bad. They lose their right to receive those reimbursement payments. But they won't go under because of the mortgage thing; they'll go under for some other reason. Meanwhile, all those bonuses and golden parachutes will be rescinded, and salaries will be capped at a flat $1 mil or $2 mil a year. Any bigshot executive who thinks he can get a better salary elsewhere can go bye-bye. There's plenty of people who can run a company for "only" $2 mil a year salary. These people have to come back to the real world, and it is apparent their stockholders and boards of directors won't do the job, so legislation will have to do it.

3) All the arbitrage and credit swap nonsense is outlawed. All the subsequently unemployed Masters of Universes with MBAs from Harvard, Wharton and Stanford will be sent to the Gulf Coast to run small entrepreneurial businesses rebuilding whatever. Plenty of jobs in rebuilding the infrastructure and starting up global warming solution companies for smart young whippersnappers (and they'll find that housing costs out in America are a helluva lot cheaper than their Manhattan lofts). If they don't like it, they can always get jobs as school teachers and firemen and policemen and garbage collectors, etc. Or maybe learn the plumbing trade.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | September 26, 2008 3:11 PM | Report abuse

I thought Galbraith's column was interesting too, Tim. I hope he's right.

Hehehe, good to see that Obama is going to debate tonight. Nice that McCain will show up too.

Cassandra, I hope you get your laundry back in the shape you want it, and that your daughter's health issues have resolved.

We made it up the mountain, and it is rainy and chilly here. Mr. T had to light the pilot on the gas logs in the house. The temperature is up to 66. That's not warm enough for me.

Posted by: slyness | September 26, 2008 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Go to town and the boodle takes off without me. I'll have to catch up after dark with blackout drive and NVGs, but I like the idea of a Christmas tree in the bunker with hand grenades for ornaments. I have an expert badge (from the army, not girl scouts) in grenade throwing.

dbG-thanks for the Parker link. I will now admit to a secret vice-once a day I like to search google news for "Sarah Palin stupid." Often the results are just about how stupid McCain's choice was, but just as often there is something not so obvious but fun to read. Really must stop, this is how I got hooked on American Idol. In a single season I went from "It's just so stupid I have to check it out" to "sorry, we can't schedule a meeting that night because I have to be home in time for idol." Must get my VP debate viewing party invites out soon!

Posted by: frostbitten | September 26, 2008 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Curmudgeon: the issue with that is that we truly are a global economy, and those people can be hired away all over the world to do all sorts of things that you have no idea - running businesses in other countries.
The idea of wealth envy is astounding in all of this. Most of these people are really trying to make a living, and most of the jobs are not 'hotshots' making $10 million a year. There are administrative assistants, and HR people, and IT people and those who clean the office building and whatever, who really are making under 6 figures who are working at these places, who shouldn't be shut out of having a job because they work somewhere (or near somewhere) where the higher ups are not as bright as they think they are...and even if they aren't - YES someone will hire them away.

Yes, I will willingly take a job for 'only' $10 million (okay, half that even!) to run any company of your choosing into the ground. No takers yet, but I'm waiting for the phone to ring any minute.

Posted by: atlmom | September 26, 2008 3:19 PM | Report abuse

I don't know if this has anything to do with anything, but has anyone noticed how many new banks are being built?

It seems that every building we see being built is a bank "Coming Soon!"

Posted by: TBG | September 26, 2008 3:21 PM | Report abuse

TBG ... that IM thing is just too funny.

Posted by: KPage | September 26, 2008 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Actually, you do get to send your kid to school for free (elementary and secondary school, not college) unless you send your kid to private school, which is how I saw Gregg's comment. If your property were foreclosed, and you had nothing, and you went to live in a homeless shelter -- your kids would still have the same legal entitlement to public education. Of course, if that calamity were to happen to EVERYBODY (a la the Great Depression), the quality of education certainly would be ... diminished. Fortunately, since throwing money at education is not the answer to its problems, presumably the removal of money will create no new problems (gratuitous partisan dig at Republicans).

My crack about the payroll comment is (even) less fair, but still -- the great majority of us work for somebody else, and only a relatively few are in the position of "making payroll." I don't claim that the ability to make payroll is not in jeopardy, nor do I claim that it doesn't matter. My derision is because an appeal based on 'making payroll' is an appeal based on looking at the needs and conditions of a small minority component of the public. If I were making an appeal for the needs of the majority of voters, I would base it on the difficulty for the many to receive a paycheck, rather than the difficulty of the few to write that check.

Posted by: PlainTim | September 26, 2008 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Small businesses struggling to make payroll is one of the Republican touchstones. Conservatives seem to a collection of vicarious entrepreneurs. Even if they don't have their own business, they think they might someday and feel umbrage against taxes and the like on those that do.

It's much like the inheritance or "death tax". Few people are affected by it but many people are outraged by the inability pass on more than ten million to their heirs. Just in case they have a rich uncle somewhere they don't know about.

Posted by: yellojkt | September 26, 2008 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Fortunately, if my Science gig falls through, I have a backup option in the 'lucrative' field of storytelling. Perhaps I could work for Sarah Palin. If she is Pres. Palin at that point, I would prefer to do my work from Ireland (which has very favorable tax policies for artists, writers, and other creative fabricators), thereby helping to increase her experience in international relations. Ireland may have its problems, but I think that it is not on anyone's short list of nuclear targets, and the beer is good. Perhaps good enough to make up for the cuisine.

Posted by: StorytellerTim | September 26, 2008 3:38 PM | Report abuse

A propos of Gene Robinson, "theatrical" indeed...cinematic I would say. Palin is a not-as-sharp Marge Gunderson, I think, but who is McCain? Not quite Gen. Jack D. Ripper, but there has to be a filmic counterpart for his brand of erratic behavior.

Posted by: rikken | September 26, 2008 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Hey, if Krauthammer's calling for exemplary hangings, can we use him to test the gallows?

Is a Kraut Hammer something you pound cabbages with?

Posted by: Cap'n Chucky | September 26, 2008 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Happy Friday afternoon, all. I've been offline for too long. And it will continue, since I'm swamped *and* traveling a lot. But I shall see lots of you in person in just one week! Very happy about that.

atlmom is here? You used to hang out at the horrid mommy blog, didn't you?

Posted by: Yoki | September 26, 2008 3:49 PM | Report abuse

"Making payroll," including paying yourself, is important to the 25 million small businesses and self-employed persons in the USA that pay 56 million people and have to make payrolls of over $2 trillion a year.

Posted by: Shiloh | September 26, 2008 3:50 PM | Report abuse


Col. Nathan R. Jessep from 'A Few Good Men' comes to mind.

You CAN'T handle the TRUTH!

Posted by: yellojkt | September 26, 2008 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Yoki! You is here! We were wondering...

atlmom, I don't THINK that Yoki is ascribing horridness to you, just that the "Mommy Blog" is horrid. I think.

Posted by: ScienceTim | September 26, 2008 3:52 PM | Report abuse


Good point. And as I mentioned, many of those are part of the conservative base. They are very sensitive to taxes, hidden and otherwise as well as excessive paperwork requirements and mandated benefits. I think that for every actual small businessman, there are two or three people that would love to keep that option as a dream.

Posted by: yellojkt | September 26, 2008 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Hey, hey! I agreed that making payroll is (obviously) important. I'm just decrying its use as a populist rallying point, since those who make payroll nevertheless must be outnumbered by those who receive the payroll.

Posted by: PlainTim | September 26, 2008 3:55 PM | Report abuse

National Review columnist Kathleen Parker sees a problem with Palin...

"Only Palin can save McCain, her party, and the country she loves. She can bow out for personal reasons, perhaps because she wants to spend more time with her newborn. No one would criticize a mother who puts her family first.

"Do it for your country."

Posted by: TBG | September 26, 2008 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Ireland, first, and then New Zealand are this week the two countries admitting they are in recession. I expect that in recession the lawyer jobs will go first, then the storytellers (if they aren't the same job).

Posted by: Shiloh | September 26, 2008 4:04 PM | Report abuse

McCain wins debate!

Posted by: TBG | September 26, 2008 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Nu-uh, Shiloh. Ever heard the expression "Everybody is unhappy except the lawyers?" Especially the insolvency lawyers. We expect our corporate practice to be absolutely overwhelmed. I've always wondered, why is all the big money in bankruptcy?

Posted by: Yoki | September 26, 2008 4:07 PM | Report abuse

I certainly did not mean to imply that atlmom is horrid. The blog only.

Posted by: Yoki | September 26, 2008 4:08 PM | Report abuse

I'm so mean. I don't want Palin to quit. I want McCain and Palin to fight it to the end, and lose.

Posted by: slyness | September 26, 2008 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Yello - I absolutely agree, self-sufficiency and being your own boss are part of the American dream. Martooni knows that. But small business and the self-employed do have a very-slightly greater tax burden and some of the same regulatory paperwork of other businesses, and they resent it more because it is so evident, whereas relatively hidden to employees of big business and government.

Posted by: Shiloh | September 26, 2008 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Yoki - welcome back. Several have worried about your silence.

Posted by: Shiloh | September 26, 2008 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Happy (dark) Friday to us all. I am feeling very worried about this.

Cousins from Ireland say that they are long overdue for a correctionary recession -- housing prices are (still) ridiculous -- but would rather not have a depression. They lived depression-like well into the 1980s.

Will be grading papers all weekend. In good news, the rain barrels are fully working. I learned a bit of bricklaying in the process. Makes me want to build a stone wall.

Small happy hour this evening, at Franklin's in Hyattsville. Anarchy Ale or Twisted Turtle or some wheated ale will be on tap.

SciTim -- tried so hard to get to your astro-gig in College Park last night. But, a CPBoy event presented itself.

Yoki -- will lift a glass in the direction of your sheltering Rockies.

Posted by: College Parkian | September 26, 2008 4:16 PM | Report abuse

So does this ad hoc recipe for dinner tonight make me a stupid Dad? (it's already cooking so this is a rhetorical question)

2 Hot dogs chopped up
4 slices of bacon similarly prepared
4 pieces of Virginia ham (deli-sliced, manually shredded)
2 large sliced-up mushrooms
1 can of baked beans
brown sugar
a prayer that it'll taste good to a six year old girl

I'd go out for pizza, but Mrs M has the car *and* the money/cards/whatever and won't be home for another five hours.

Posted by: martooni | September 26, 2008 4:27 PM | Report abuse

There is a storyswap tomorrow (Saturday) night. It's an intimate-type gathering. I plan to roll out a modernization/semi-parody of a classic Jewish folktale. Non-tellers are welcome to attend -- just bring a dessert. To find out more, you can email me at tim(nospace)tales(nospace)'at'(nospace)verizon'dot'net. CP could carpool with me!

Posted by: StorytellerTim | September 26, 2008 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Recipe sounds good to me, Martooni. It's very like my standby menu- minus the bacon, ham and mushrooms - when my nephew and his fishing buddies come home empty handed. Then it's home-made beanie-weenies in bulk, with maple syrup (a personal indulgence) instead of brown sugar, and a touch of garlic.

Posted by: Shiloh | September 26, 2008 4:40 PM | Report abuse

martooni... at lunch today (with bc, no less!) Son of G had a talapia BLT.

There was some discussion over other experience we've had with meaty sandwiches, including and bc told us about having a bacon, sausage, ham and scrapple sandwich.

Your meal sounds similarly, er... meaty.

Posted by: TBG | September 26, 2008 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Shiloh... my mom sweetened up baked beans with canned chopped pineapple. Delish.

Posted by: TBG | September 26, 2008 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Yoki, that is me. Thank you for saying I am not horrid. :)
Yes, that blog is not very exciting.
In any event, did you post there? I don't remember your nick.

And the whole idea of 'making payroll' while one could ascribe to it as has been above, you could also look at it as the employee who hopes his/her employer can make payroll.

Posted by: atlmom | September 26, 2008 4:45 PM | Report abuse

as a vegetarian, it doesn't sound yummy to me, but I bet my 6 YO would eat it (minus the ham).
Ack! Dave Ramsey is saying; you need to send these legislators home if they do the wrong thing.

Doesn't he know that 90% of our reps get re-elected with no opposition? And that everyone thinks THEIR representatives are great, and everyone else's are lousy?

Posted by: atlmom | September 26, 2008 4:47 PM | Report abuse

This is too funny. People get hung up on the most ridiculous things. It's about a young black lab and and an older beige dog FCOL.

"Science journal in doghouse after Obama and McCain upstaged by young pups"

Posted by: shrieking denizen | September 26, 2008 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Yoki! yay!

welcome to atlmom. I too recognized you from the mommy blog. I only lurked there because those folks were way too scary for me. We're much nicer and more interesting on a daily basis.

and howdy to cap'n chucky.

martooni, that sounds tasty and more nutritious than it has a right to be. I don't know where Little Bean falls on that scale yet - do you tell her it is good for her, or let her like it because it tastes good?

And yes, TBG, we are seeing lots and lots of banks being built here. I have to wonder, though, how that construction will progress. It seems like most of them are community banks, and community banks were hit hard with the Fannie/Freddie takeover. Their stakes were wiped out.

Posted by: Ivansmom | September 26, 2008 4:51 PM | Report abuse

A more complete story on Jetman's crossing of the Channel. 13 minutes flight.

Blériot did it in 37 minutes on his homemade aircraft propelled by a 25HP engine.
Additional boodle connections: he made approx. 10 000 SPADE aircrafts propelled by Gnome engines while he was CEO of SPADE.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | September 26, 2008 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Shiloh, good point about paperwork engendering resentment.

But you can't expect gummit employees to cry a river over a small business owner disliking paperwork. It's work.

On the other hand, having a fortune= fun.

I happen to think Bush has been quite anti-small business in catering to Big Business.

My POV: If I have a slightly larger tax burden BUT earn far more than I did when employed, I'm not complaining.

If I have to pay through the nose for health insurance, I'll be yelling, because this is market manipulation.

I happen to believe health insurance discrimination (and added costs) tend to help drive discrimination against the disabled and other groups in hiring.

Small-to-moderate businesses are themselves already at an overhead disadvantage buying health insurance compared to large business. One high-risk employee or employee with pre-existing conditions can give the insurance a perfect excuse to screw the small business for even more money.

Because small to moderate sized businesses with less than 1,000 employees do form a lot of the employment in the USA, this has profound effects on our workplace that laws can't reverse by fiat.

It also means that the trend is "big business is good" because of lower overhead per employee. Unfortunately it means more risk of mismanagement, large-scale corruption, and failure.

Market economics (and near absence of competition) for health insurance is suffocating our economy. We had a similar problem in the Great Depression where there was no minimum wage at all and many businesses were literally refusing to pay people enough to eat that day, citing that they should be happy to have any job at all. Supply and demand economics.

Enter the government, who provided jobs at fair wages. It forced businesses to pay more. The government also increased the overall supply of jobs and money in circulation in the economy. This helped us get out of the Great Depression.

We need alternatives to "market forces" when they're running amok. We didn't need a fully socialized economy back in the Great Depression, and we don't need fully socialized health insurance now.

But we DO need a chance for people to say, "this is outrageous, I have a better choice than THIS." Health insurance costs declined very quickly when Hillary raised the threat of national health insurance reform in the 1990's.

Prices have increased rapidly since then, under a republican government who they know has been completely unlikely to do anything about the problem.

When you factor in increasing housing and energy bills, you can't say that their bottom line has not ALREADY BEEN AFFECTED by the subprime mortgage crisis, and has been so for the last 8 years. When cost of living increases faster than wages (even with annual raises), because people have to spend more for gas and housing, and they may change jobs just to save costs, then yes, businesses all over have been hurting and making do with fewer employees because that's all they can afford.

To say this bailout will instantly save lots of jobs and businesses is unlikely. They've already been lost. While nobody was minding the store.

Posted by: Wilbrod | September 26, 2008 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Wait a minute, I wrote that much? My bad.

Posted by: Wilbrod | September 26, 2008 5:05 PM | Report abuse

I like the black pup! I'll take that one!

Posted by: Wilbrodog | September 26, 2008 5:10 PM | Report abuse

If repossessing homes and writing down the reduced post-bubble prices is insufficient, then it's (the crisis is) based on fractional lending. In which case, the money supply must have just boomed hugely far past any relevent gnp relationship factor. No alarm bells? It really DID go into executive salaries and stock options. Almost all of it.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 26, 2008 5:16 PM | Report abuse

The nature magazine covers, front and back, do have an uncanny (no pun intended) resemblance to each other. McCain, the beige pup, saying "please adopt me" and Obama saying "I'm the smarter dog," -at least that's my biased perception. Knowing that one has at least 7 homes already and the other is really smarter makes it an easy choice.

Posted by: Shiloh | September 26, 2008 5:23 PM | Report abuse

The difference, Wilbrod, between 6% unemployment now, and 25% employment during the Great Depression - however "unlikely" is no assurance that the worst is not possible. The so-called "bailout" may only be a stop-gap measure, but it will save some jobs and bank accounts and homes and retirement funds to some degree - even if it fails.

Posted by: Shiloh | September 26, 2008 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Hey! Is the other one Old Yeller?

Posted by: Wilbrodog | September 26, 2008 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Atlmom, I am very disappointed that anyone here would respond to your first comments by outing you out and associating you with a "horrid" blog. It sounds like a pot meets kettle thing to me.

I want to welcom you here with open arms, all the comments I've ever read from you have been very constructive and I think you have much to contribute to the Boodle.

Posted by: DandyLion | September 26, 2008 5:49 PM | Report abuse

True, I think there needs to be clarity where this money is going first, though.

Carte blanche to this particular government hasn't worked well so far.

So EVEN if a bailout of some sort must be supported, I think we need to not assume that no-bailout would automatically be worse than a bungled bailout. Because, to be honest, this administration is completely capable of bungling it if any administration could be.

Only from that position-- that you're in fact prepared to walk out on the deal-- can you safely negotiate an effective bailout without caving into the panic and pressure tactics of the other side to agree to everything they want without looking too carefully at the information or what is being done.

Nobody wants a doctor that grabs the resuciation padds and uses them without checking to see if the patient is in fact having a heart attack first. Those padds can burn the chest badly.

I do hope my IRA can be saved. I'm very afraid to look at it right now, but I know I've already lost 10% of its value in the last year BEFORE this happened.

But I don't want it to be saved so it can be messed up again in 1-2 years.

Posted by: Wilbrod | September 26, 2008 6:04 PM | Report abuse

The Minnesota debate on the bailouts:

Posted by: Wilbrod | September 26, 2008 6:07 PM | Report abuse

He11, Wilbrod, 30%+ of my meager "wealth" has disappeared during the Bush years. I think the current bailout may limit that to 50% if I'm lucky - and I won't live the almost 30 years it took after the great depression to recover. Everybody who get zapped with resuscitation pads gets burned, regardless of whether or not they're having a heart attack. That's the collateral cost of resuscitation.

Posted by: Shiloh | September 26, 2008 6:14 PM | Report abuse

No, no, DandyLion! I'm delighted that atlmom has joined us, and I remember her as a voice of intelligence,reason and humor on the Mommy Blog. I'm sure Yoki similarly meant no discourtesy to our new Boodler. You have to admit, generally speaking the mommy blog could get a little scary (no fault of atlmom's or yours for that matter). That's why I'm always so happy to see a refugee join us.

Posted by: Ivansmom | September 26, 2008 6:30 PM | Report abuse

Why is WaPo freezing up my computer???? [cry of anguish] it has happened twice this afternoon and it is darn annoying.

Just thought I'd share.

Posted by: Ivansmom | September 26, 2008 6:35 PM | Report abuse

RD, do you ever talk to your bunnies? I don't mean as in "what a good rabbit" but actual substantive conversation? I just read Kathleen Parker's repudiation of Sarah Palin and told Beatrice, "Sarah Palin is toast." Then I commented that would probably mean more to her if she were human rather than a rabbit.

Perhaps I should get out more.

Posted by: Ivansmom | September 26, 2008 6:46 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom... ask Beatrice if she thinks Palin drops out of the race to "spend more time with her family" if she can go back to just being Governor of Alaska.

Posted by: TBG | September 26, 2008 6:54 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, TBG. She just grunted at me. I think that expressed skepticism. She may recall that article I told her about that said Palin long ago expressed a desire to be president.

Beatrice doesn't talk much.

Posted by: Ivansmom | September 26, 2008 6:57 PM | Report abuse

*laughing* Thanks anyway, Beatrice.

Hey... are we live blogging the debate tonight?

Posted by: TBG | September 26, 2008 6:59 PM | Report abuse

I guess I meant "live boodling." Sorry folks.

Posted by: TBG | September 26, 2008 7:00 PM | Report abuse

Getting out more, IM, is not a cure. I talk to my cats and have substantive conversations (as many may suspect). Cats seem to be more understanding and responsive than bunnies, and certainly more intelligent than local dogs. As cooler weather shows, they gather for three or four cat nights.

Posted by: Shiloh | September 26, 2008 7:01 PM | Report abuse

This may explain one reason the average American is pissed about the bailout...


WaMu Gives New CEO Mega Payout as Bank Fails (Fox News)

Friday , September 26, 2008

Nice work — if you can get fired from it.

That's just what one Alan H. Fishman might have thought when he woke up Friday morning.

Fishman was the new chief executive officer for Washingon Mutual — WaMu — the nation's largest savings and loan, which was taken over Thursday night by federal bank regulators and quickly dumped in a fire sale to JPMorgan Chase for the Wal-Mart-like price of $1.9 billion.

But don't cry for Fishman, who reportedly was sky-high — literally — last night, on a flight from New York to Seattle, when WaMu collapsed. Even though he's only been on the job for less than three weeks, he's bailing out with parachute worth close to $20 million, according to an executive compensation analysis conducted for the New York Times by James F. Reda Associates.

That's right, $20 million for 17 days on the job ... and his company failed.

Fishman, who formerly was chairman of Meridian Capital Group, apparently was much coveted by WaMu, which was counting on him to lead the failing thrift out of mortgage troubles that pushed the bank to a $3.3 billion second-quarter loss.

According to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, WaMu threw a $7.5 million bonus at Fishman when it hired him on Sept. 8, and guaranteed him an immediate cash severence of $11.6 million — both of which he gets to keep.

He also was eligible for annual bonuses of up to 365 percent of his annual base pay — set at $1 million — to go with millions of shares of company stock.

Fishman does lose out on a big bonus that would have kicked in had he remained on the job through 2009.

Documents show WaMu was going to pay their new boss $8 million to simply not screw up and get fired — all negotiated as the Seattle-based banking giant's losses climbed to an estimated $20 billion.

Posted by: TBG | September 26, 2008 7:08 PM | Report abuse

Funny that RD mistook me for firsttimeblogger - it is true that Scottish accents are delish - one of the reasons I love Jack Bruce so much (his is even more pronounced than Craig Ferguson's) - and James McAvoy. I have thought about taping Craig F just to hear the accent. Irish is a close second, and one of the great appeals of the Beatles were their Liverpool accents.

Posted by: mostlylurking | September 26, 2008 7:11 PM | Report abuse

I hope some of you will live blog the debate so I don't have to listen. Mr. T controls the TV, which is fine by me, so I expect there will be football and/or Andy Griffith reruns. That's the normal fare.

Posted by: slyness | September 26, 2008 7:14 PM | Report abuse

On the contrary, Dandylion. I had meant it as a "hey, here's atlmom, somebody I recognize when it seems most of the other Boodlers don't, because her posts made a good impression on me." If I'd thought she was horrid on the mommy blog, I would have ignored her (as you all well know). If it weren't for refugees from the mommy blog, we wouldn't have our dear CP and now atlmom. Atlmom, I should have prefaced my remark a bit more courteously by saying all this upfront. I apologize and assure you, madam, of my high regard. I beg your forgiveness in recognition of the rush of quotidian duty.

I lurked for a short while when the mommy blog first started, and I think once posted an appreciation of teenagers when I thought the parents of younger children were expressing an overabundance of dread at the thought of thirteen-year-olds. I used the name Grimm, as I did when I twice posted on the Celebritology blog (one of which won "Comment of the Week" to my utter delight, because Liz Kelly's brother has a Bernese Mountain Dog and I think Liz is at least as funny and acerbic as Weingarten. I'm a fan.)

To fully disclose, on the many live discussions I have posted and been published under the moniker Great White North (with the exception of Michael Dirda's book chat to which I am devoted, where I am Calgary, Canada because I am hoping to find out who Ashcroft and Ashcroft are [just the next province over and excessively well-read], and also a poster from Toronto). And today on Hax I was No OH. But for the most part, I stick to Yoki here and everywhere (Gene's discussion group, Carolyn's discussion group, Tom Sietsema's discussion group, etc.) except Celebritology.

Posted by: Yoki | September 26, 2008 7:15 PM | Report abuse

Mostly, Scottish accents are delish, but I swoon for Irish (big surprise, I'm sure).

Posted by: Yoki | September 26, 2008 7:16 PM | Report abuse

I hope there will be live debate blogging as well. I am stuck with a gala dinner which will eat into it. I plan to leave as soon as it is decent, and catch as much of the debate as I can. Pity the Boy - he's at a birthday party where he's pretty sure he's the only kid who wants to watch the debate. I told him there's always YouTube.

He may be the only one there following the election and I'm pretty sure he's the only one following the financial collapse. I asked him what he knew about it today and he said he thought it sounded like we were close to a mini-Depression. I said he had the basics right, then we talked about the details. I think it is more reassuring for someone like the Boy to understand what is actually happening than to speculate. Kids' speculation is often so much worse.

Posted by: Ivansmom | September 26, 2008 7:19 PM | Report abuse

Hey, when you tell someone you're hiring them at $10 and hour and a guarantee of a years work ($20,000) - and will pay a premature severance equal to the the contract year plus 50% - and then go broke 17 days later, do you still live up to your agreement? The good guy should probably say, "I haven't shown my worth" and forgo the bonus, but that doesn't change the agreement.

Posted by: Shiloh | September 26, 2008 7:22 PM | Report abuse

Oh! Dandylion called me a horrid pot! That's marvelous. Fell free to ignore everything I write, Pat. It'll make your life happier.

Posted by: Yoki | September 26, 2008 7:23 PM | Report abuse


That confabulation looks fine.

As long as you cook it all thoroughly.


Posted by: Scottynuke | September 26, 2008 7:23 PM | Report abuse

Edward Kennedy is in hospital. He did not feel well. Hope he can get well.

Posted by: daiwanlan | September 26, 2008 7:33 PM | Report abuse

So, is the debate Red Carpet show on now? Do they have one of those for the debates? Eh?

Posted by: mostlylurking | September 26, 2008 7:40 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, yes, I do often have detailed conversations with my rabbits. But please don't tell anyone because it is kinda a secret.

Perhaps I got mostlylurking mixed up with lostinthought because they both amaze me no end. But don't tell anyone because it is kinda a secret.

Posted by: RD Padouk | September 26, 2008 7:46 PM | Report abuse

Brain tumor, Daiwanian. Don't think he'll be entirely well, but I do hope he can get out soon.

Yes, Shiloh. But maybe what is called is a limb removal for gangrene instead, and an replacement limb, not resusciation, or antibiotics for a heart infection, if we're following the medical metaphors.

Wilbrodog enjoys being read to and being told the days' plans. However, "substantive conversation" makes him feign sleep (just to annoy me, I'm sure).

Posted by: Wilbrod | September 26, 2008 7:48 PM | Report abuse

Husband home with some news, doesn't mention it to me until Brian Williams mentions it when we're watching the news. A blurb at the NYT:

Wachovia has begun preliminary talks with Citigroup about a potential merger, people briefed on the matter said Friday afternoon.

Feelers have also been extended between Wachovia and Wells Fargo and Spain’s Banco Santander, these people said.

These talks are early, however, and no deal may emerge from them. But it appears that Wachovia is seeking out potential alternatives should the financial rescue package being debated in Washington is not quickly passed, or fails to provide enough help.

Posted by: Loomis | September 26, 2008 7:49 PM | Report abuse

HEY! That's not true! It's just that sometimes, you want to talk at the end of day I'm worn out and half-asleep.

There's only so much insomnia I can muster, especially as dogs aren't allowed caffeine. Bah.

Posted by: Wilbrodog | September 26, 2008 7:53 PM | Report abuse

Totally frivolous, but has there ever been such a "cool cat" candidate?

Posted by: TBG | September 26, 2008 7:55 PM | Report abuse

Grimm, Great White North. Ha!
Soon my dear, soon.
*Crazy waves*

Posted by: ManyMonikered999 | September 26, 2008 8:02 PM | Report abuse

Well, my evening plans are set.

Posted by: RD Padouk | September 26, 2008 8:04 PM | Report abuse

No Yoki, ignoring what you write won't make me happier at all, I happen to be a great fan of yours.

However, I think that greeting posters by exposing their names or blog associations goes against the unwritten rules of decent blog courtesy.

I'm looking forward to meeting you next week. Cant wait, seriously.

Posted by: DandyLion | September 26, 2008 8:05 PM | Report abuse

Ha! If not now, when?

Say, 999, I'm in the NCR-ish, GTA-ish, M-ish areas fairly frequently from time to time, now. Probably again within the next four to six weeks. How much advance notice would you require to have a mini-BPH with any lovely SOso999 [SOs, sisters, mothers, friends, dogs] and me? I always know I am about to go, but seldom can pin down a day until I'm in the airport and about to shut down the BlackBerry. I'm also thinking that Shrieking might make his way up or down there, given sufficient notice. You have my public email.

*Bushed [as in cabin-fevered] Grover-waves*

Posted by: Yoki | September 26, 2008 8:14 PM | Report abuse

And therefore, I apologize to you too, Dandy. Sincerely and heartfeltly. I look forward most genuinely to meeting you next week.

Posted by: Yoki | September 26, 2008 8:16 PM | Report abuse

Yaknow, intellectually I understand that it shouldn't matter a bit, but I can't help thinking how massively cool it would be to have a president who looks this, well, massively cool.

Posted by: RD Padouk | September 26, 2008 8:26 PM | Report abuse

Ha! RD... see my 7:55 post. I couldn't agree with you more!

Posted by: TBG | September 26, 2008 8:28 PM | Report abuse

Indeed TBG! Way ahead of me as usual.

Posted by: RD Padouk | September 26, 2008 8:31 PM | Report abuse

Whew, was afraid I wasn't going to make it home in time for the debate. Now I just hope neither the power nor cable are knocked out. Wicked thunderstorms on the radar and a storm watch until 11:00PM central time.

Canuckistanis-a favor please, if you would explain the "green shift" Stephane Dion is flogging so vigorously and your personal views. 1. It's something to think about besides our economic mess and 2. I really am interested but keep forgetting to ask.

Posted by: frostbitten | September 26, 2008 8:36 PM | Report abuse

Yes, but you put it much better, RD. As usual.

Posted by: TBG | September 26, 2008 8:39 PM | Report abuse

Oh sure flaunt that picture, this is what we have to choose from - so unfair.

Boko and Shriek - if you get the opportunity to meet the wonderful Yoki - you will not be disappointed - such delightful company. I am so regretting not being able to attend the Mega BPH.

Posted by: dmd | September 26, 2008 8:39 PM | Report abuse

His future's so bright he's gotta wear shades

It would be cool to have a hot president.

Posted by: frostbitten | September 26, 2008 8:42 PM | Report abuse

frostbitten, I have the full plan on my 'puter and am reading up on it. I will write to you if I can decipher it.

I know enough to say that it is a carbon tax on VLEs, but with enough business sense to allow some of the incremental costs to filter down to end-consumers.

It also has an incentive plan for green-technology development and commercialization (a good thing) but is unrealistic in its expectation that the Canadian populace is just waiting with baited breath (note the lazy use of cliche!) to reduce its use of carbon-based fuels.

I think that the current leader of the Liberal Party of Canada is a PR disaster. He really believes in what he says (I know him personally, too, and know that) in our best selves, and is an (French-style) intellectual with high ideals and a good, committed heart. He's an ideologue, with the best of intentions. It is idiocy. He must go toward the balanced centre to win (which he won't).

My problem, as card-carrying LPC member and former Quebec-resident when that last referendum on separation was held and on a hair-trigger is, that he was a hero of unity. He saved my Canada. But only as the federal Minister of Interprovincial Affairs (and three months before that he was a professor of Political Studies at UQAM). So I dearly respect him for saving my country in its current incarnation, but I think he is possibly the most disastrous leader of a national political party hoping to be actually elected, ever.

Posted by: Yoki | September 26, 2008 8:49 PM | Report abuse

I should probably just stay out of this, but I didn't see any indecent exposure in Yoki's greeting atlmom, who signed her post as atlmom...Is it umbrage week? Maybe that explains it. A thousand apologies. Anyway, we'll all just mix her up with the other moms, eventually.

Can't wait to see what ties the guys wear tonight...

Posted by: mostlylurking | September 26, 2008 8:54 PM | Report abuse

Saw that pic of Obama in the shades, and realized that he and I both wear the same type, maybe even the same brand (Carrera).

'course, I have no idea what he paid for his, and I would not have bought mine if it weren't for an optician friend who sold them to me at his cost.

I take my eyes very seriously, and learned a long time ago that good sunglasses literally save me a lot of headaches. Fortunately, I require no vision correction even at my my age, though I've noticed some deterioration. I just don't have the old 20/10 acuity I enjoyed up until I turned 40 or so.

On another note, I don't think I'll be able to do any live blogging of the debate tonight. I have some children to ferry around, though I'll be listening to it on the radio unitl I get home...

Have a good evening, all.


Posted by: bc | September 26, 2008 8:56 PM | Report abuse

My dad sent me this today.

read the comments, too.

Posted by: a bea c | September 26, 2008 8:59 PM | Report abuse

*trying to keep the peace*

Thank you, Mostly.

Goodnight, Boodle.

Maybe we'll talk tomorrow (or maybe not).

Posted by: Yoki | September 26, 2008 8:59 PM | Report abuse

Am live boodling but hard to type and watch with same pair of glasses.

Thin striped barber shop tie on McCain. Ice blue shirt with wide Kent or London collar is a bit new for McCain.

Posted by: College Parkian | September 26, 2008 9:09 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, loved No OH. I should have known it was you.

I'd disagree with DandyLion, especially when the poster is using the same nom de blog they've used previously. The Internets are neither a safe nor private place (although the Boodle is generally the former). Context also matters.

frosti, go look quick. HuffPo has video of Palin's swimsuit competition (tomorrow's guilty pleasure, if you will).

Going to bed almost right now. Good night, Boodle!

Posted by: dbG | September 26, 2008 9:09 PM | Report abuse

This is going to be tough I don't know if I can't follow McCain because he's careening around in his opening 2 minutes, or if I just can't focus because I haven't had enough to drink. No beer for me yet though because he didn't say "my friends" or noun-verb-POW.

Posted by: frostbitten | September 26, 2008 9:09 PM | Report abuse

Who let McCain wear that tie? It’s lines keep jumping around on the tv. Did McCain take a sleeping pill, he seems a bit sluggish.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | September 26, 2008 9:10 PM | Report abuse

OMG! He's talking about Eisenhower! Does this man know it's 2008?

Posted by: TBG | September 26, 2008 9:10 PM | Report abuse

Obama's ice burgundy tie might have a tiny repeat pattern, Nice twist on a color that reads from the stage as a bit red but not the typical scarlet.

Posted by: College Parkian | September 26, 2008 9:12 PM | Report abuse

Obama hammering the big idea, that there is a fundamental difference in economic philosophy and this is what drove the deregulation that got us in this mess. McCain agreeing we have fundamental problem, but blaming it on Wall Street and greed. Trotting out American worker spin on "fundamentals." feh

Posted by: frostbitten | September 26, 2008 9:14 PM | Report abuse

I am not going to let you guys seduce me into watching! Bed, bed, bed.

Posted by: dbG | September 26, 2008 9:15 PM | Report abuse

Did y'all hear Chris Matthews right before the debate started refer to McCain's "Capt Queeg actions" tonight?

Posted by: TBG | September 26, 2008 9:15 PM | Report abuse

Bad sneaks...that tiny stripe with high contrast does jiggle on the screen. Surprised that handles let him do this.
His suit is looser than of late...looks better on the torso but the arms need to be tailored


Posted by: College Parkian | September 26, 2008 9:15 PM | Report abuse

Handlers,..... sorry about that. MCCain's looser suit helps. Occasionally he has looked like a stuffed Dublin pug ill dressed at a funeral.
Obama's hair is a bit longer and I see a slight sheen of grey.

Posted by: College Parkian | September 26, 2008 9:17 PM | Report abuse

MCain going crazy over earmarks. Does he think no one knows about Sarah?

Posted by: frostbitten | September 26, 2008 9:18 PM | Report abuse

McCain looks like something out of the 70's with that suit and tie.

Posted by: Aloha | September 26, 2008 9:19 PM | Report abuse

'night, dbG.

Happy to see dmd.

The grave's a fine and private place,
But none, I think, do there embrace.

Aboot to pull out the very old and inefficient laptop and live-blog whilst you get the Canadian-liberal point of view on the "Presidential Debates."

Posted by: Yoki | September 26, 2008 9:19 PM | Report abuse

Boy... Jim Lehrer really wants them to argue with each other.

Posted by: TBG | September 26, 2008 9:20 PM | Report abuse

Hahahahaha! There are bears in Montana!

Posted by: Yoki | September 26, 2008 9:21 PM | Report abuse

Aloha, they have nearly the same suit. Blue fine handed and wool I bet...mostly wool .

Like the blue...not missing Reagan's brown suit at all ever.

Posted by: College Parkian | September 26, 2008 9:21 PM | Report abuse

This is ridiculous!!!

Does Ireland have our infrastructure? Our national security needs? Our land mass? Our COMPULSORY PUBLIC EDUCATION SYSTEM????

Let's send McCain to Ireland. He'd last a couple of hours, tops.

Posted by: a bea c | September 26, 2008 9:22 PM | Report abuse

CP-you fashion maven you. I was wondering what was driving me nuts about McCain's suit. I can see extra space in the arms for his mobility issues, but it does look ill fitting and the tie is hideous on camera.

The grey in Obama's hair looks good. Can't tell if McCain has a slight comb over or if his head is just that wrinkled. Looks like his furrowed brow goes to the nape of his neck.

Posted by: frostbitten | September 26, 2008 9:23 PM | Report abuse

McCain said I shall watch the hand gestures

Posted by: College Parkian | September 26, 2008 9:23 PM | Report abuse

McCain doesn't get it. Earmarks and tax cuts might have worked last week, but people think we need a major change in direction. He's talking tactics while Obama tries to stay on strategy.

Posted by: frostbitten | September 26, 2008 9:26 PM | Report abuse

I do believe Ireland has one of the best school systems, extremely educated population and literacy rates. One of the reasons so many companies have gone there.

Isn't University heavily subsidized there?

Posted by: dmd | September 26, 2008 9:26 PM | Report abuse

McCain looks like my 82-year-old dad looked in his blue suit. I see that same sagging shoulder look.

Obama sure does look better in HD.

I also noticed when they came out that Obama raised his arm high to wave to the audience in contrast to McCain's half-staff wave.

Posted by: TBG | September 26, 2008 9:28 PM | Report abuse

Aloha! It must be strange to be watching this in the afternoon.

Posted by: frostbitten | September 26, 2008 9:28 PM | Report abuse

CP, they may have the same suit but it looks so dated on McCain. Or maybe I'm just being biased...

Posted by: Aloha | September 26, 2008 9:30 PM | Report abuse

Hi Frosti,
No not too strange, just inconvenient as I've got to leave soon for the commute home. I've gotten used to the early live feed of political debates, POTUS addresses, press conferences and NFL football games.

Posted by: Aloha | September 26, 2008 9:32 PM | Report abuse

Thanks dmd. I didn't know that.

What is the ratio of population US/Ireland?

Wait a minute! Who's sending our jobs to Ireland?

Posted by: a bea c | September 26, 2008 9:33 PM | Report abuse

"The problem with a spending freeze is you're using a hatchet when you need a scalpel." Obama in response to McCain saying he'd have a spending freeze.

Posted by: frostbitten | September 26, 2008 9:33 PM | Report abuse

A spending freeze on everything but defense and veterans? What? WHAT?

Posted by: TBG | September 26, 2008 9:34 PM | Report abuse

Obama uses hands symmetrically above the podium. McCain's may be hidden but I see his left hand he a south paw?

McCain simply has the aging mesomorphic body, with the neck folds flush to the shoulders....Obama simply has that lankiness upon which clothes fall gracefully. Obama would not fit in a sub or cockpit well. CPSeal bro is smallish....and fights the Dublin fire plug look............

Posted by: College Parkian | September 26, 2008 9:35 PM | Report abuse

30 seconds tops. That's how long McCain can keep track of one topic. He's making my head spin with non sequiturs

Posted by: DNA Girl | September 26, 2008 9:35 PM | Report abuse

Aloha-I like early football. Sundays with a full day of games done by late afternoon make for great family time.

Posted by: frostbitten | September 26, 2008 9:35 PM | Report abuse

Yes, let's take care of our veterans by not even knowing what Walter Reed Medical Center looks like on the outside, let alone the inside.


Posted by: a bea c | September 26, 2008 9:37 PM | Report abuse

McCain also seems to have caught a bad case of PISS (Palin Incomplete Sentence Syndrome)

Posted by: frostbitten | September 26, 2008 9:37 PM | Report abuse

Make that 15 sec tops. Aiaiai!
Oh now Obama his hitting him with the "Bush". Good!

Posted by: DNA Girl | September 26, 2008 9:38 PM | Report abuse

a be c -- fit is so important. McCain can afford a tailor to adjust the shoulders and arms while gaining the nicer drape of the bodice.

Irish genes --- more of them in Canadia and Americia than on the Old Sod...

Posted by: College Parkian | September 26, 2008 9:38 PM | Report abuse

Obama said "orgy!"

(McCain should stop mentioning "I've been doing this for years." he just emphasizing how old he is.

Posted by: TBG | September 26, 2008 9:39 PM | Report abuse

Let's support veterans by making sure their benefits unattractive enough to keep them on active duty, and if that doesn't work continue stop loss.

Maverick!!! I get to open my beer.

Posted by: frostbitten | September 26, 2008 9:39 PM | Report abuse

Sometimes I miss drinking.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | September 26, 2008 9:40 PM | Report abuse

"that withdrawal is a result of every counterinsurgency which succeeds" I know what the words mean, but haven't a clue what point McCain was trying to make.

Posted by: frostbitten | September 26, 2008 9:41 PM | Report abuse

McCain wears the watch on the right hand.

Obama wears his watch on the left.

Posted by: College Parkian | September 26, 2008 9:41 PM | Report abuse

They are both Southpaws.

Posted by: RD Padouk | September 26, 2008 9:42 PM | Report abuse

Lesson from Iraq - my answer:

Don't get involved in a land war in Asia.

Posted by: astromom | September 26, 2008 9:42 PM | Report abuse

a bea c, lots of high tech companies in Ireland, sometime in the last few years Ireland became one of the leading countries for immigration in Europe (how times have changed). That said small population - few million?

Literacy 99%.

At one point they were actively seeking Irish descendants in North American, in high tech jobs and encouraging them to return to Ireland. I think there has been a slow down in the recent years.

Posted by: dmd | September 26, 2008 9:44 PM | Report abuse

This is one of things I know. In Ireland, everyone who is a citizen or landed immigrant gets free tuition to University. When Himself and I were in the republic last November, everybody we met (barmaids, desk clerks, tour guides, and just people on the street) outside the pub or as a museum docent, were either working on their undergrad degrees or grad quals. It was great. Ireland is not at all the desperate place we think of it; it is filled with human capital and beauty and social programs, and it is a fine society. I remember Aoife and Caitriona. And Maive.

Posted by: Yoki | September 26, 2008 9:44 PM | Report abuse

I think McCain doesn't "oversight" what he's saying much.

Posted by: a bea c | September 26, 2008 9:46 PM | Report abuse

McCain seems to think that because "the surge is working" that is the only possible outcome that could have come from what Obama is now calling a "tactic." Good point.

You know, I think McCain's military experience is highly over rated on the national security front. He appears to have partied as hard while he was at the Naval War College as he did at Annapolis-now he's saying Obama doesn't know the difference between a tactic and a strategy. NNNOOOOO effing way, that is exactly his own problem.

Posted by: frostbitten | September 26, 2008 9:46 PM | Report abuse

Obama is literally beating McCain about the head about the Iraq war.
And all McCain has to say is nahnahnah Obama doesn't understand anything and we're winning we're winning we're winning nahnahnah

Posted by: DNA Girl | September 26, 2008 9:46 PM | Report abuse

Yes astromom, Bush fell for the oldest trick in the book.

Posted by: frostbitten | September 26, 2008 9:47 PM | Report abuse

I'm glad to hear Obama repeating, "That's not true."

Posted by: TBG | September 26, 2008 9:49 PM | Report abuse

a bea c -- McCain's tie is wider than Obama,s....which supports your 70s reaction. McCain's tie not seams wider.....more of a Windsor style.

PIZZA deliv....hope I did nto miss anything. Seven boys are here playing RISK! Risk, the game of world domination!

OK. Now i will bet that McCain is a lefty.

Posted by: College Parkian | September 26, 2008 9:50 PM | Report abuse

oh, no!!

Obama said we need to provide Aleve to the families of soldiers.

This war is a headache, to say the least..

Posted by: a bea c | September 26, 2008 9:50 PM | Report abuse

Not fair. McCain is a very old man, and disabled in his arms because of torture. I have no dog in this race, but I don't think it is fair to compare their physical strength as a distinguisher.

Posted by: Yoki | September 26, 2008 9:50 PM | Report abuse

CP - I am a southpaw as well, and wear my watch on the right hand,

Posted by: dmd | September 26, 2008 9:51 PM | Report abuse

Betting that Obama's pin is a rectangle flag.

Obama seems to have buttoned cuffs. McCain's hands are more hidden....betting that he sports buttons, not cuff links.

Both candidates are double miked: podium and lapel clip.

Posted by: College Parkian | September 26, 2008 9:54 PM | Report abuse

Sneaks, you made me giggle. I know what you mean.

This is actually better than watching the debate.

Posted by: slyness | September 26, 2008 9:54 PM | Report abuse

I understand they are both lefthanded. Being a lefty myself, I approve.

Posted by: slyness | September 26, 2008 9:56 PM | Report abuse

So, switching topics for a minute, how do I end a fruitfly infestation? They keep drowning in my wine.

Posted by: a bea c | September 26, 2008 9:57 PM | Report abuse

McCain threatened Russia out loud over Georgia and the crap he's been saying about Iran, and he claims Obama is being intemperate with Pakistan?!

He's got some nerve.

Obama is calling him out on it. Good.

The commentators who thought Obama would be timid or "too" cool? Idiots.

Posted by: DNA Girl | September 26, 2008 9:57 PM | Report abuse

Oh, Yoki, I don't mean my clothing comments this way....the rhetorical impact of clothing is silly in its way, yet powerful. McCain moves very fluidly...very different physicality than say Bob Dole.

I am sure that McCain is simply lower against the height of the podium. Actors know to wear lifts in their shoes, because we silly people interpret tallness and length as better...sigh....lots of silliness in us, as human beings.

Posted by: College Parkian | September 26, 2008 9:59 PM | Report abuse

For all the talk of Obama's weak spot being Foreign Policy - I believe he is doing well.

Posted by: dmd | September 26, 2008 10:00 PM | Report abuse

a bea c... search high and low for what they're coming from or for. I had an infestation a while ago and discovered a few days later that I had failed to clean out the coffee grinds from my small French press. Believe it or not, they were coming from there.

Another time, it turned out to be a slice of apple that then-toddler Son of G had left under an end table.

I really do keep a clean house. Really!

Posted by: TBG | September 26, 2008 10:01 PM | Report abuse

Two lefties in the race. CPDot2 will be vindicated!

Posted by: College Parkian | September 26, 2008 10:01 PM | Report abuse

I would like to say that the civility and tenor of this debate is quite good.

Posted by: College Parkian | September 26, 2008 10:03 PM | Report abuse

McCain learned the wrong lesson from Vietnam. It wasn't that the troops didn't have the support to "win," they won all the battles and could have in perpetuity. The problem is that we didn't have a clear path to "victory," which is a political concept. To be victors all the north Vietnamese had to do was stay in the fight. To lose in Iraq and Afghanistan all we have to do is get stuck there for a decade or more. (Which we will BTW, so I fear Obama is going to be a one term president through no fault of his own.)

Posted by: frostbitten | September 26, 2008 10:05 PM | Report abuse

Do we another "league of democratic nations"? Wouldn't NATO mainly cover that?

Posted by: astromom | September 26, 2008 10:05 PM | Report abuse

DMD, do most lefties were a watch on the right? i have never worn a watch, ever. I have an astonishing internal not use an alarm clock either. i do use my cell phone to time some things, but classrooms always have clocks.

Posted by: College Parkian | September 26, 2008 10:06 PM | Report abuse

Bed this time for sure. I've been sitting here typing and listening.

I can't believe McCain said he hadn't been Miss Congeniality. First thought in my head was that Sarah Palin was. Bad move.

a bea c, I've set out dishes/bowls with white bottoms. Fill with water and a little dish detergent and leave them out. It seems to attract them and they drown.

Ireland? More than IT, they've transformed themselves into a major financial center too. There's a reason I work Dublin hours from Philadelphia.


Posted by: dbG | September 26, 2008 10:06 PM | Report abuse

CP, I have an astonishing inner clock too.

Unfortunately, it's always 10 minutes late. :-)

Posted by: dbG | September 26, 2008 10:08 PM | Report abuse

Oh, Obama continues to disappoint me with calling Iran's Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization (so does McCain). I don't care what you think about a country's actions, you don't call their standing army a "terrorist organization." That changes the whole picture vis a vis international laws of war and what then keeps our enemies from saying the same of us?

Posted by: frostbitten | September 26, 2008 10:08 PM | Report abuse

Proof that McCain is stuck in the early 20th Century: he mentioned France, Germany, and England as part of a league of democracies to fight Iran, and left out Russia and China, two of the most powerful nations today. Dude!

Posted by: a bea c | September 26, 2008 10:09 PM | Report abuse

Ack..ak...akakaka..ackmadinnerjacket sitting down across the table

Posted by: DNA Girl | September 26, 2008 10:09 PM | Report abuse

CP-the classrooms at UVA have the honor pledge where the clocks would be.

Posted by: frostbitten | September 26, 2008 10:11 PM | Report abuse

What is that large black bar behind them in the center of the background?

Posted by: TBG | September 26, 2008 10:11 PM | Report abuse

About the ill fitting suit for Mc Cain. I do not think this is due to shoulder sensitivities. He has worn lightish clothes for years, including his famous shetland crew neck sweaters. McCain looks like my O'S relatives, stocky and short in middle age.

I believe someone tried to loosen the look for McCain, but did not really think about fitting the sleeves. Drape of clothing works best when fitting at the shoulders and across the back and arms, then falling fluidly with gravity a great shaper of fit. The fall line is a great deal like telemark skiing.....I must sound nutty by now....shall we blame 4H programs and sewing for the county fair each year? yes, that is it!

Posted by: College Parkian | September 26, 2008 10:12 PM | Report abuse

Obama is stripping the foreign policy costume off McCain. Stupid journalists will probably try to be "fair" and say they both did ok. But the truth is Obama has a much deeper and clearer command of issues. No surprise.

Posted by: DNA Girl | September 26, 2008 10:13 PM | Report abuse

TBG - I think its part telepromter, part camera hiding place.

Posted by: astromom | September 26, 2008 10:14 PM | Report abuse

Tight-ish clothes, as in snug.....

Posted by: College Parkian | September 26, 2008 10:14 PM | Report abuse

Has anyone else noticed that McCain never looks at Obama?

Posted by: astromom | September 26, 2008 10:16 PM | Report abuse

I'm bored with the debate. I'm going back to Season 2 of Heroes on Hulu.

Posted by: yellojkt | September 26, 2008 10:17 PM | Report abuse

Lou S'nuke? Is that our S'nuke's brother?

Posted by: TBG | September 26, 2008 10:18 PM | Report abuse

Obama is clearly more comfortable. Reminds me of my high school days competing in Contemporaneous Speaking. You could always tell when someone drew a topic he/she truly knew-spoke to the big picture, supported with details. The ones who crammed during the prep period had a lot of details and hoped the judges could connect the dots.

Posted by: frostbitten | September 26, 2008 10:19 PM | Report abuse

I can't wait until the VP debate. That's gonna be fun.

Posted by: TBG | September 26, 2008 10:19 PM | Report abuse

I'm a confirmed lefty, but I wear my watch on my left wrist, right side up. I also use a computer mouse with my left hand, but with the buttons and scroll wheel still right-handed..

Ok, I'm laughing. Obama just called Ahmadinejad Ahmadinejad, but McCain called the President of Iran A'medini'ah. Which is just ignora'nt.

And now McCain is talking about the KBG!

Posted by: Yoki | September 26, 2008 10:19 PM | Report abuse

What text is on the scrim?

becomes destiny
these ends

Posted by: College Parkian | September 26, 2008 10:20 PM | Report abuse

"That great young president, Saakashvili."


Posted by: TBG | September 26, 2008 10:20 PM | Report abuse

Declaration of Independence!

Does McCain think he's Bob Dole with that Sharpie?

Posted by: TBG | September 26, 2008 10:21 PM | Report abuse

I think they're losing Middle America with this Russian issues.

Posted by: TBG | September 26, 2008 10:21 PM | Report abuse

So let's watch Ukraine and make sure than the Ukrainian's, uh, Ukraine, uh, Ukraine is our friend.

Posted by: Yoki | September 26, 2008 10:22 PM | Report abuse

I would like to hear them articulate exactly what they think our relationship with Russia is likely to be, and what their strategy would be to move it from there to where we'd like it to be.

Posted by: frostbitten | September 26, 2008 10:24 PM | Report abuse

McCain needs to quit referring to votes he made in the senate before some of this election's voters were born.

Posted by: frostbitten | September 26, 2008 10:26 PM | Report abuse

McCain talks and I hear the teacher from the Peanuts. Is that bad?

Posted by: astromom | September 26, 2008 10:27 PM | Report abuse

I was thinking the same thing about McCain's references to "years and years" of his experience.

Posted by: TBG | September 26, 2008 10:27 PM | Report abuse

TBG -- may I confess to you? In 1987, while running through the capitol building at full tilt just before 7PM, I rounded a corning, running, running, I say, in hose and heels, only to crash into Bob Dole AND PROPEL HIM TO THE GROUND. He could not get up easily. I tried to help him and he kept brushing me off. When he got up, he said, "slow down, there, little lady."
I was running to arrive at a reception for Mike Mansfield, beloved senator from MT.

Posted by: College Parkian | September 26, 2008 10:27 PM | Report abuse

I hope Obama says the truth... that we're not safer than we were before we invaded Iraq. Think he has the guts for that?

Posted by: TBG | September 26, 2008 10:27 PM | Report abuse

astromom-that's better than the whistling teeth I hear. Sounds just like a former boss who should have retired about 20 years before he did.

Posted by: frostbitten | September 26, 2008 10:29 PM | Report abuse

Energy. Consider this. Russia has about 40% of the pr. Saudi Arabia has 70% of pr, and the Alberta oil sands probably have 90% of world upr.

Don't worry about US energy self-sufficiency (which is just a dream), worry about where all the other prospective reserves are, and where the refined product will come from, and what the American governmental regime will have to do to get its hands on it and them.

Posted by: Yoki | September 26, 2008 10:29 PM | Report abuse

Ha! Same thing happened to me with Bella Abzug in 1975, CP, only she didn't call me "little lady." Oh no... something much, much, MUCH stronger than that!

Posted by: TBG | September 26, 2008 10:30 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, I am the same as you for a mouse, also play golf right handed, tennis left handed. Knit (well tried to knit) right handed.

I think the watch thing for me comes as a reaction to being told I should wear it on the left because everyone else does - that logic tends to send me in the other direction - on reason I could never be a true conservative - natural desire to go against the flow - (for better or worse).

Posted by: dmd | September 26, 2008 10:30 PM | Report abuse

McCain keeps bringing up Reagan. Doesn't he know he's already won the rep nomination. I barely remember Reagan and he was President most of the time I was in the Army.

Posted by: frostbitten | September 26, 2008 10:32 PM | Report abuse

CP! I'm shocked, shocked! You ran down a senator.

Posted by: Yoki | September 26, 2008 10:33 PM | Report abuse

It is very striking the differences in their references, Obamas seem very much in the present or recent history, McCain seems to dwell farther back, stuck in a cold war mentality?

Posted by: dmd | September 26, 2008 10:34 PM | Report abuse

This debate decorum is fine and inspiring. Both speak in measured and clear and firm tones. I fear that the VP debate will be uncomfortable.

Posted by: College Parkian | September 26, 2008 10:35 PM | Report abuse

I love all the little veteran children and I'll take care of them. They know that. I'll take care of them.

Posted by: DNA Girl | September 26, 2008 10:36 PM | Report abuse

YES! He is saying it. The world hates us. We need to fix that!

Posted by: TBG | September 26, 2008 10:36 PM | Report abuse

I was a POW. I can take care of everything.

Posted by: DNA Girl | September 26, 2008 10:37 PM | Report abuse

Yoki! Yes, me, I did that. But TBG ran into Bella Abzug, she of the hats and moxie and feminist braggadocio. She wins, our TBG.

Posted by: College Parkian | September 26, 2008 10:37 PM | Report abuse

I think the best line thus far was Obama's that China is as conspicuous in its presence in Latin America and Africa as we are in our absence.

McCain seems to think his assurances that "I know...I have what it takes.." are all we need.

Cindy McCain needs to ditch the pron star hair.

Posted by: frostbitten | September 26, 2008 10:38 PM | Report abuse

Exhibit 1. Idiot David Brooks: They both did fine.

Posted by: DNA Girl | September 26, 2008 10:39 PM | Report abuse

Creepy yes, DNA Girl. Paternalistic pablum.

Posted by: frostbitten | September 26, 2008 10:40 PM | Report abuse

The dress is back:

Cindy McCain's cherry red knit, with a ruffle bow bodice. LOVED Michelle Obama's watered print silk of greens punctuated by the Barack-burgandy tie.

Cindy's hair is TOO flowey now in a boho soho style that I feel too old to wear.....

Posted by: College Parkian | September 26, 2008 10:41 PM | Report abuse

Is it over? I was trying to ignore it while my bride watched and listened. All I got out of it was McCain saying over and over "What Senator Obama fails to understand is ..."

I don't care much for that dodge, having had it sent my way by (pardon my bias) dopes.

Posted by: Fifty | September 26, 2008 10:41 PM | Report abuse

Frosti -- high fiving you on the simultaneous hair note.

Posted by: College Parkian | September 26, 2008 10:42 PM | Report abuse

A gaffe free debate, but I was really hoping for McCain to be more obviously lost.

Posted by: frostbitten | September 26, 2008 10:42 PM | Report abuse

Exhibit 2. Idiot Clarence Page: Debate not memorable. Barrage of facts. These two were acting as if it was a debate. No emo stuff. Nothing stood out.

And this on PBS. I dread to think what's going on in the rest of the idiot box.

Posted by: DNA Girl | September 26, 2008 10:45 PM | Report abuse

No sound bites. No rousing phrases, like

"You're no Jack Kennedy"
"there you go again"

No blood sport for either side, which I think is good.

Obama looked presidential and slow to anger.

McCain was more on the offensive but not overly strident.

Posted by: College Parkian | September 26, 2008 10:46 PM | Report abuse

Back at ya CP.

Fifty-I was hoping Obama would get a bit testy and go into a bit of rant against McCain for saying that. A simple "John repeating that over and over doesn't make it so" would have been a start.

Posted by: frostbitten | September 26, 2008 10:46 PM | Report abuse

Beshloss redeems the lot, hallelujah: Serious policy, issues discussed. We saw potential commanders in chief tonight (don't agree with him on the plural, but at least he's not disappointed that it wasn't a WWF show).

Posted by: DNA Girl | September 26, 2008 10:48 PM | Report abuse

I noticed that McCain never looks at Obama. And both have been asked by the moderator to look at one another when refuting a point. McCain may feel it's beneath him to look at Obama. Perhaps it is a tactic to dismiss him, Obama that is.

Posted by: cassandra s | September 26, 2008 10:49 PM | Report abuse

I took one for the team and switched over to FOX to take in a little of what they were saying over there. I don't know what debate they were watching, but they seem to think McCain did much better than I do.

I was yelling at the TV too much to remember exactly what they were saying. They didn't say Obama did poorly, but they were hyping McCain's performance more than I think it deserved.

Posted by: astromom | September 26, 2008 10:49 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm, good points in your 10:46 CP. It was nice not to have a "battle of sound bites."

Did anyone else here Obama say "nice job John" when they shook hands?

Posted by: frostbitten | September 26, 2008 10:50 PM | Report abuse

SCC-hear not here

Posted by: frostbitten | September 26, 2008 10:52 PM | Report abuse

CP - I'm surprised that you thought McCain was more on the offensive. Particularly early on, I thought Obama was going at McCain more.

Posted by: astromom | September 26, 2008 10:52 PM | Report abuse

Brooks grudgingly admits that at no point did Obama not look presidential. Still insists debate was a draw, but again notes unhappily that McCain needed more than a draw, and people will see that Obama is smart.

Posted by: DNA Girl | September 26, 2008 10:54 PM | Report abuse

Thanks y'all. I missed the whole thing but this was just like being there, without having to hear the debate itself. Really, I appreciate it. The Boy and I will catch highlights tomorrow.

Now I have the night to myself and I plan to spend it in hours and hours of sleep. Buenos gnocchis, y'all, vay con queso and fondue.

Posted by: Ivansmom | September 26, 2008 10:56 PM | Report abuse

Frostbitten: that would have been awesome, especially if Obama delivered that response in an authoritative yet relaxed tone.

McCain condescends with "what you fail to understand" and a smooth rebuff might have set that on its ear.

Given the current poll standings, a draw in the debate is a win for Obama. (Point made better by DNA Girl, but I type slow.)

I don't think I can bear to watch the VP debate. Perhaps McCain will take Kathleen Parker's advice, ditch Palin, and draft his friend Senator Lieberman, all before next Thursday. That would be one wacky campaign!

Posted by: Fifty | September 26, 2008 10:56 PM | Report abuse


Glad to hear from you. We were getting a little worried.

And no, Slyness, haven't got the laundry back yet. Night, boodle. Sweet dreams.

Posted by: cassandra s | September 26, 2008 10:57 PM | Report abuse

Oh dmd. I just love you. Somebody tells us what to do? How well does that work? Not well at all.

As a confirmed lefty, though, I take it as my vocation to prove that I am pretty well trustworthy physically. I can sit at a table and control my elbows; why do the dextrous talk themselves into a fantasy that only they can control their space? I can skate and ski and ride dressage and take either side of the ski lift without mowing-down my lift-mate. I can shovel snow without throwing it back onto the driveway. I don't really see any difference in physical grace between the left-handed and the right-handed. I assume the right-handed majority feel threatened by our right-brained creative abilities and physical and mental agility, and must persuade themselves that whatever we do is inferior. I don't feel suprerior in every respect (and I will be the first to say that we *suck* at computation and spacial relationships [or maybe that's just me]) but I don't think that being sinister is sinister.

Posted by: Yoki | September 26, 2008 10:57 PM | Report abuse

Great commentary, folks. I was knitting furiously in front of the TV, trying not to look at McCain's hideous tie. Thought Lehrer let McCain go on and on way too long. And Obama needs to stop saying, John's right. That works in the primary, now - not so much.

Posted by: mostlylurking | September 26, 2008 10:58 PM | Report abuse

Astromom, I think we are both right.
Obama seemed to me harder a bit on the issues.

McCain a bit harder on Obama's record.

I want to read the transcript but I think Obama was specifically gracious on the acknowledging of MCCain on the good (relatively) torture stance.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 26, 2008 10:58 PM | Report abuse

I'm with Fifty; won't be able to watch the VP debate. Semester's on, can't risk a brain hernia that might result from prolonged exposure to PISS

Posted by: DNA Girl | September 26, 2008 11:02 PM | Report abuse

Having grown up somewhere else, it was nice to get history lessons from McCain.

Now I know I have to work even harder on my canvass this Sunday. State of the union addresses are bad enough as they are without listing every accomplishment of every Republican president for the last 40 years.

Obama's state of the union addresses will be infinitely more interesting and relevant.

Posted by: a bea c | September 26, 2008 11:05 PM | Report abuse

So funny, CP and TBG. I know you don't know these names (though I know about Bella Abzug and Bob Dole [you should be ashamed of running over an old veteran, CP!]) So we've all offended the eminent! I've had the privilege of offending a bunch of eminent Canadians (Marc Lalonde, Pierre Trudeau). I'm hopeless.

Posted by: Yoki | September 26, 2008 11:07 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, those French names trump, clearly, and we know PT.

My grandmother, born in Ireland but lived long and died in Kansas, said, of my mishap.
"Dole, you say,? well harrumph. He's a Tory." She called Repubs that.

Posted by: College Parkian | September 26, 2008 11:10 PM | Report abuse

Thank you dear Cassandra. I've been thinking about and missing you too. Love, love love.

Posted by: Yoki | September 26, 2008 11:12 PM | Report abuse

lol, CP. (!)

Posted by: Yoki | September 26, 2008 11:15 PM | Report abuse

Yawn. That's what I think of the debate. Going out into the rain for a ciggie, then to bed. Yawn.

Good night Boodle.

Posted by: Brag | September 26, 2008 11:25 PM | Report abuse

Good debate. Agree with Cassandra re: McCain should have given Obama some eye contact...if a ploy, it failed.

Obama held his own, and btw, looked very handsome and debonair.

McCain is a fighter. I worry more about Paylin.

But only McCain really gave a specific answer to how to solve the banking crisis: a freeze on spending.

As to the colossal financial mess we are in, both dems and repubs let the mortgage morph of no credit loans (especially via Frannie and Freddie) get out of hand to buffer their careers using lobbyists and support from big business (whose top echelon were also making fortunes). It was the "don't ask don't tell" convenient precident. Common sense went out the window and into McMansions and second homes.

We need more answers from the candidates on how to solve this crisis.

Posted by: eidrib | September 26, 2008 11:27 PM | Report abuse

Aaaarrrrrgh. I was looking forward to listening to As it Happens from the CBC on public radio, with their usual Friday night campaign panel, but nooooo, our local public radio station is having extended post-debate discussions with a studio audience and call-ins. Here's foreign policy problem #1, sometimes it's not that we think we're the best country in the world it's that we think we're the only country in the world.

Yoki-when you've made your way through the whole green shift paper please share your thoughts more fully.

Toodles boodle, sweet dreams, and fondue.

Posted by: frostbitten | September 26, 2008 11:47 PM | Report abuse

i agree that the was uneventful and not likely to persuade people in one direction or another.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | September 26, 2008 11:49 PM | Report abuse

I started listening to the debate on my way back from Columbia this evening, as I had to take our dog to our handler. She's showing this weekend; we're hoping for some points. I thought Sen. Obama did a pretty good job of providing specifics that framed the contrasts between the candidate's respective positions in the realm of taxes. I also thought that both candidates artfully dodged the question of which programs would be forfeited in the context of the current fiscal crisis. I missed the last hour of the debate when I arrived home as our Dane muscled his way out of his kennel, wreaking havoc in the laundry room. It took that long to clean up the mess. The talking heads on CNN were in collective agreement that the debate was a draw, a result that didn't bode well for Sen. McCain. IMHO, Sen. McCain's rush to Washington didn't accomplish much, and will probably impact him negatively among some circles. I watched Gov. Palin's interview with Katie Couric and was amazed that most of her responses consisted of a fragmented jumble of three or four talking points that didn't make much sense. Thursday's debate should be pretty revealing in the context of the candidate that can answer directly and coherently. Gov. Palin knows how to give a non-answer. I'm off to the beach tomorrow with the band for the purpose of competition, the day of our 16th anniversary. My girl...talkin' about my girl...

Posted by: jack | September 26, 2008 11:50 PM | Report abuse

A love song...

Posted by: jack | September 26, 2008 11:57 PM | Report abuse

Some people have their brushes with fame; CP bowls them over. Nearly changed the course of history.

I didn't see the debate. Cassandra, one theory (from law) is that as a person in a debate, you engage the decision maker (or the moderator as proxy). It's not meant as a personal slight to the other person; it's intended to communicate "I'm addressing the issue, not engaging in a personal argument". So maybe that's what McCain was doing, but I don't know. If Obama was directing a lot of his attention towards McCain, that may have been a tactic of advocacy as well. The theory in that case is that Obama wants the viewer to identify with him, accusing McCain as the the representative of the Bush years.

frosti, the theory behind the Green Shift is that CO2 producers will pay a punitive tax intended to act as a disincentive for end users. This is supposed to be offset by decreases in personal income tax. It is not going over well with most voters for several reasons and it's pretty much become the incredible vanishing party platform.

Posted by: SonofCarl | September 26, 2008 11:59 PM | Report abuse

Another conservative was unimpressed by Palin's performance with Katie Couric

"Palin's just babbling. She makes George W. Bush sound like Cicero." Ouch.
Rod Dreher also writes for the Dallas Morning News

Now I really am calling it a night.

Posted by: frostbitten | September 27, 2008 12:13 AM | Report abuse

But not before saying thanks SofC

Posted by: frostbitten | September 27, 2008 12:14 AM | Report abuse

I will miss the VP debate. May you not have to cringe.

Posted by: eidrib | September 27, 2008 12:32 AM | Report abuse

I figured McCain developed the "don't look" stance as a POW - don't acknowledge the captor, or in this case, the opponent. Don't know if that's the case. Wish Lehrer would have said, why don't you look at Sen Obama? The polls aren't looking good for McCain, hope that keeps up.

Happy Anniversary, jack!
I've got sunshine
On a cloudy day.
When it's cold outside,
I've got the month of May.

Posted by: mostlylurking | September 27, 2008 12:34 AM | Report abuse

Dontchajusstlove Son of Carl? Well done. SoC. I stand corrected.

Posted by: Yoki | September 27, 2008 12:40 AM | Report abuse

You're probably right, mostlylurking.

Hi Yoki!

Posted by: eidrib | September 27, 2008 12:48 AM | Report abuse

Think I'll go wipe the debate out of my mind by watching an episode of The Tudors I taped from CBC earlier this week. I'm not even sure which season this is - I think it could be Season 1, as Anne Boleyn is not Henry's wife yet.

Best news I got today - Seasons 1 and 2 of The Extras (Ricky Gervais) are waiting at the library for me.

Posted by: mostlylurking | September 27, 2008 1:14 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the debate play-by-play, especially the Great Suit Expectations, CP. That is definitely an angle that won't be covered by the talking heads-- the art of visual rhetoric through fabric.

Posted by: Wilbrod | September 27, 2008 1:36 AM | Report abuse

Nope, no Lou in the Nuke family tree... Wha'd I miss?

Not the debate, of course, you all did a fine job of commentary. Hey JA or somebody -- Howsabout we get WaPo to team with MSNBC and run the Boodle on a slow crawl at the bottom of the screen for the VP debate?

And forget fruit flies, we've got a very vigorous cricket wedged between the wall and the vanity in our bathroom. Even the cats have given up trying to get it. *holding hands over ears*

*escaping-to-the-car-and-the-weekly-grocery-run-while-wishing-all-a-wunnerful-weekend Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | September 27, 2008 6:06 AM | Report abuse

"--the art of visual rhetoric through fabric" is a great phrase and definitely "on kit" as combustible fuel for the "Bonfire of the Vanities," whether ignited by Wolfe or Savonarola.

Posted by: Shiloh | September 27, 2008 7:05 AM | Report abuse

Morning, all. I feel like I know everything of substance about the debate, without having to go through the pain of actually watching. You folks are awesome.

Rain here, all night, and still coming down. It will be a wet football game this evening.

Yoki, I do exactly the same with the watch and the computer mouse! Before word processing, I took my watch off when I was composing because it was in the way. Not an issue any more. Ironing is the only thing I've ever had trouble with, because on older irons the cord was on the wrong side. The cord on the current iron moves so it's not a problem.

Happy weekend, all!

Posted by: slyness | September 27, 2008 7:12 AM | Report abuse

Looks like I missed out on all the fun here last night... was too busy throwing things and curses at the TV.

I think McCain managed to keep his inner "Grandpa Simpson" mostly reined in, but there was definitely a vibe that he was just dying to yell at Obama to get the hell off his lawn.

Obama came out ahead, I think, but he needs to let a little more fire loose. Cool is cool, but sometimes "enough is enough" ain't enough. Show us the fire in your belly. If he wants to convince people that he's just as pissed off as they are about the status quo, then he better drop the professorial talk and work on his yellin'.

I want to hear yellin'. Not mindless yellin' like what comes out of Grandpa Simpson's pie hole, mind you. I'm talkin' about yellin' with passion and meaning.

These times *demand* yellin' with passion and meaning -- preferably based on reason.

Memo to candidates: "The country is pissed off. Get with the program or crawl back under the porch."

Posted by: martooni | September 27, 2008 7:34 AM | Report abuse

God loves us so much more than we can imagine through Him that died for all, Jesus Christ.

Morning, friends. Son of Carl, I've never really participated in a debate. Thanks, for the heads up. I thought the looking at each other became a problem because the moderator kept insisting that they do that. The moderator wanted them to look at each other when refuting points, but both men looked at the moderator, McCain more so than Obama. I don't think it would have been so noticeable if the moderator had not kept insisting. I mostly watch body language because sometimes captioning doesn't do such a good job with talk. In my opinion, Obama seem more comfortable in his clothes than did McCain. But to me, McCain always seems uncomfortable in his clothes. Perhaps it is just his body shape. I have that problem too. Of course mine is the weight.

Morning, Slyness, Mudge, Martooni, Scotty, and all.*waving*

I think we still have the water issue here. And that's all good. It does put a damper on going outside, and there won't be any sun that we can see. Perhaps I will retrieve my laundry today. Anything is possible.

I hope the weekend is going great for everybody. It has been a tough week for a lot of folks, but perhaps better times are on the horizon.

Slyness, please tell me Wachiova isn't on the meltdown in Charlotte? Is every bank going to go belly-up? I wish I could understand this. Is this point where people start jumping out of windows? What happened to us?

I don't know who will win the election to be the next President of the United States of America, but someone probably needs to give him a pay raise going in because he most certainly has his work cut out for him. And those that keep the history books need to make sure they have all the messes listed and put names in their respective places, not hide this can of worms in lofty language and honorable phrases.

Thanks, Yoki.

Time to swim.

Posted by: cassandra s | September 27, 2008 7:46 AM | Report abuse

And not only will it be hard on the next President, but "we the people" will share in that difficulty. Almost everyone agrees that reining in spending will be the way to go in becoming fiscally responsible, and yes, everyone hollers yes, but, oh, the doing of that! It is like cutting out stuff in your home budget, you know you need to do that, but the doing of it is not pretty. One has to bite the bullet. We are a nation of "excesses" in that following a line of discretionary spending have never been our strong suit.

And as for the tax thing. We need to get over ourselves, and get over quickly. One gets what they pay for. When I worked I complained about the money they took out of my check every week, but do you know now that I don't work and do not contribute to that fund, I miss it. I think most people would rather work than be given a hand-out. And paying taxes is part of that plan. It has to be done fairly. The more one has, the more taxes one pays. And I'm from the school, if you have more, you should pay your share, just like the regular person that perhaps does not have the same as you. It is a fairytale that the Republican party has hollered and cried about for many years, yet people want the things that taxes buy. In my small town, if the trash isn't picked up or the rodents kept under raps, city hall becomes a war zone. Wake up people, these things cost, and taxes pay for them. You cannot have your cake and eat it too.

There is nothing shameful in working for a living. I started working when I had to have a work permit to do that. And I worked before having that permit. I was the oldest of three girls, and my mother was a single parent. We did not have degrees or high paying jobs, but we worked, and it felt good on Friday to get that little bit of money. We did not steal it or do ugly to get it, we worked for it. There is honor in working. We as a nation have lost that honor because greed became our god. Humanity is our most precious natural resource. All the others pale in comparison. Somewhere along the line, we as a nation forgot that.

Posted by: cassandra s | September 27, 2008 8:16 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, you all.

Thanks for all the commentary, dear boodlers, because, truth to be told, I fell asleep after the first 30 or so minutes in my chair in front of the tv. My husband stayed awake the whole time and woke me up to go to bed. He thought the debate was probably a draw.

In those first 30 minutes that I did watch, I was very pleased with Obama's intelligence and civility. That's just the kind of voter that I am.

Regarding boodle discussion of candidates comfort in their clothes.....Obama comes across to me, as comfortable in his skin, that is to say, no matter where he is, no matter what he is wearing, he's the same, mostly cerebral. But, yes, being slim and energetic gives a more youthful appearance at any age.

I probably won't watch the vp debate, because I would be too embarrassed for Palin. Shame on McCain & Co. for picking her, she is not vp material. Kind of like the little retired general Perot shoved into the vp debate so long ago, just embarrassing for all.

Have a wonderful weekend, all. We're packing up the kitchen for cabinet refacing next week. Hopefully it will be nice once it is over. Am going to throw out a lot of stuff in the process. Living in one place for so long, we have accumulation tendencies.

Posted by: VintageLady | September 27, 2008 8:19 AM | Report abuse

From Capeheart, a comparison of Ms. Palin

Ms. Teen South Carolina (2007)

Posted by: DNA Girl | September 27, 2008 8:20 AM | Report abuse

Happy anniversary, jack and good luck at the dog show. We were going to get a room in DC this weekend at hit the National Book Festival, but I pulled the plug on the reservation Thursday night because the weather just wasn't going to cooperate. I hope Neil Gaiman doesn't mind.

Posted by: yellojkt | September 27, 2008 8:28 AM | Report abuse

This Canadian election is proving that colourless politicians give you...not a whole lot.

I get the feeling that all the leaders are missing the boat and are campaigning on last years news.

I keep hearing the line from that old song running through my head...

Promises, promises, promises, fill your life...Oh promises, promises...

Posted by: dr | September 27, 2008 8:29 AM | Report abuse

I was wondering if anyone could point me in the right direction.

Is registration closed for the Mega BPH? I was slightly out of touch during the run-up and start of the new school year and missed a few announcements. Now I've cleared it w/ the family and my Obama volunteer coordinator, and I'd love to attend.

Went to the WetPaint Wiki, but didn't find anything there.

Posted by: a bea c | September 27, 2008 8:32 AM | Report abuse

Here is a very funny contest to find the most inarticulate political speaker.

The Patriot's Quill is pretty savvy political blog.

Posted by: yellojkt | September 27, 2008 8:39 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra: the problem as I see it is that almost 50% of income earners don't pay any taxes at all (maybe it's 40% or so, but still). As in, they get tax credits for all sorts of things.
What we really need, is to collect taxes on everyone - even if someone pays just $100 per year, because their income is small, then at least they are contributing, not looking to the government for: what's in it for me.

To keep repeating that we need to tax those who make $250k or higher more, well, that's not going to solve ANYTHING. There just aren't enough of them - and the top 1% of income earners already pay over 20% of taxes - how much is 'fair'?

We have more people who make a lot less, there aren't that many people who are in the top tier (how the whole thing works - right - ? there are tons of people in a company making not much, only a handful who make hundreds of thousands of dollars). The ONLY way to 'get more money' is to start taxing those who don't make so much. The people who have a lot have a lot more incentive to move their money elsewhere and find loopholes and hire people who help them pay less.

And...those in top don't have much more to give. I think I pay about 50% of my income (okay, well, so I don't work - my husband's income - but really, that's one reason I don't work - taxes (and the craziness)) - to taxes. It's insane. I don't have much more to give, really (we are not in the bracket that Obama keeps dissing, but I hope to be there someday, seriously. I don't understand the whole idea that everyone just wants to punish those who make more...don't we all aspire to that someday? And why punish someone who is doing well - aren't they the ones creating wealth and jobs and etc...?).

No offense taken...anyone.

Posted by: atlmom | September 27, 2008 8:43 AM | Report abuse

Great idea! It's obvious that the single parents making minimum wage with no health insurance or retirement benefits aren't pulling their weight.

Posted by: Bokko | September 27, 2008 8:55 AM | Report abuse

a bea c- Probably too late for a t-shirt, but not too late to attend the mega BPH. E-mail TBG at boodler [at] mac [dot] com for details if she doesn't see your comment and respond quickly.

Posted by: frostbitten | September 27, 2008 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Everybody pays FICA and that is the most regressive tax we have since dollar one is taxed and it vanishes after about 100k. It's the mildly upper middle class making 80-100k that get hit with the highest net rates.

And I am very sympathetic to the whammy that a second income brings because of the marriage tax. If only we had elected Dan Quayle when we had the chance.

Posted by: yellojkt | September 27, 2008 9:02 AM | Report abuse

DNA Girl-your 8:20 is just wicked. Wickedly funny!

Posted by: frostbitten | September 27, 2008 9:04 AM | Report abuse

a bea c! I'm pretty sure there is not a firm deadline to show up for the megaBPH. When TBG and BC and others see your message, they'll let you know.

Posted by: Yoki | September 27, 2008 9:11 AM | Report abuse

atlmom: 100% of American wage earners pay payroll taxes of 7.65% on the first $97,500 of income. Those making $250,000 are exempt from that 7.65% on over 60% of their income. The president at a salary of $400,000 does not pay that 7.65% on over 75% of his salary. A person making minimum wage has about $1,000 a year withheld from their income. It is disingenuous to say they "don't pay any taxes at all." That's simply not true.

Posted by: Shiloh | September 27, 2008 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Most of those taxes, for those making very little, are refunded due to many tax credits. That's what I mean.
I am at the moment a big proponent of the fairtax.
Barring that, I think some sort of very easy income tax would look like this;

deduction of $50k (or something, let the guys with the numbers figure it out, it might even be $100k, for all I know).

Some % over that, send to the feds. Like, say, 15%? And then no deductions, nothing.

Of course, my thoughts are that the feds are taking all our money, we need them to STOP - the reason the states are in such a mess is that people send way too much to the feds - so the states can't fix their infrastructure. I really don't understand any politician who thinks we should send money to DC only to have THEM decide how the states should spend it (i.e., infrastructure projects). Those closer to the problems/issues, should be the ones to solve them. The feds shouldn't be fixing bridges, the states/local governments should.

Posted by: atlmom | September 27, 2008 9:24 AM | Report abuse

It's not the number of people in the top 1, 10 or even 20% of income distribution that matters when reforming the tax code, it's the concentration of wealth. And, it is the tax code which has fueled that concentration. While I personally favor a progressive income tax system that does tax higher income, and especially capital gains, at higher levels (and that is voting against self interest in the Frostfam case) I'd settle for just making sure the actual taxes paid by the top are at the same rate as those at the bottom.

Also-tax policy is more than a way to raise revenue for government. How we do it tells us, and the world, what we value as a people.

Posted by: frostbitten | September 27, 2008 9:26 AM | Report abuse

During his opening remarks McCain wished Ted Kennedy well, saying that he had been admitted to the hospital. Of course we had already been told by our local news that Ted had been released and was back in Hyannisport. It’s a nit, but I found it funny that McCain was already behind in the news. I thought Obama did ok and McCain was better than I thought he’d be. I hope Obama is a bit less gracious next time. He can be cordial without being so darned agreeable.

Busy day of errands. Very foggy here today. We will finalize our trip plans and then I’ll ask some questions. Can’t believe the MegaBPH is just a week away. I’m very nervous and excited about meeting everyone.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | September 27, 2008 9:29 AM | Report abuse


No offense taken. Yes, poor taxpayers get tax credits in some form or other. And perhaps your percentages are correct, I don't know. My point was more or less, the working factor. And yes, many people aspire to do better, to have more, that is all part of the American dream. And yes, I can understand you want to keep it, not give it to those poor taxpayers or whatever. My point was that taxes, like anything else, need to be done on as equal a basis as is possible. How? I don't know. The few history books I've read tell us that society has always had those that had more, and those that had little. It reads that way even in the Holy Scriptures. This is not new. It was this way when most of us screamed in the world. It will be so when we leave it. Don't get attached. And don't get carried away with the idea of leaving it to "my children". They will have a party and blow it in a few days or maybe not. The point, dead men don't get to say. And if they do, who listens. They're dead.

Posted by: cassandra s | September 27, 2008 9:29 AM | Report abuse

a bea c, I ordered a shirt but cannot attend the MBPH, you may have mine if TBG hasn't already mailed it, just let her know asap!

Posted by: CB | September 27, 2008 9:35 AM | Report abuse

(Oh, I was referring to no offense being taken by me, but I also don't want to offend others, so I'm glad I didn't offend you).

I hope my second explanation explained more of what I think. I know I can get some thoughts down, and then leave some of what else I think out, and I know it can sometimes come across that I have no sympathy, or whatever. Which is hardly the case.

Yes, we all have to pay taxes. ALL - no matter the income. When you talk about 'minimum wage,' it seems like a straw man, as pretty much no one makes minimum wage for long (raises are often as long as you show up and do the job, when you don't make much) - as the min. wage is kinda low.

Anyway, I think we pay way too much to the feds (mentioned above) - realistically, when you say that 7% for FICA - it is disingenuous. The politicians would have you believe your employer pays the 'other' 7%, but seriously? If they didn't pay that? Your wages would be higher. So really, you ARE paying the 15+% to FICA. Ridiculous.

So again, we pay too much in taxes. They should be much lower. The feds are hungry pigs - they just spend and spend - THEY NEED TO STOP. They need to live within their means. They need to get out of the way (one reason this whole 'bailout' pisses me off is that the feds were part of the problem in the first place - so now they want to 'solve' it? It's like those people you work with who create problems so they can 'solve' them and then they try to look like the hero).

There are so many things that could be done - but the politicians don't think it can get them re-elected, so they don't mention them. Then people only vote for who they think is 'cool' or looks good or can give them a bigger piece of the pie.

We have the second highest corporate tax in the world. Why not make it zero? The corporations/businesses hire people to get them to not pay taxes, don't you think their profits would increase by quite a bit if we did this? Now you're saying: oh, no, how will we get revenue? Well, companies don't pay taxes - people do. So if the company gets to keep more, then either employees, stockholders or customers will benefit - and it's INDIVIDUALS who pay the taxes anyway, in some form or another.

Posted by: atlmom | September 27, 2008 9:44 AM | Report abuse

OMG. I forgot about the t-shirts!

Um. Hey TBG! The checks in the mail!

I mean I'll pick up a money order on my trip to the big city to-day.

Yoki. I probably have the most flexible schedule (none) so you and Shreiking Denizen can consider where you're staying and where he works to figure out a good time/place to meet and I'll be there.
Ottawa's chock full of good spots now. Sparks St, the Market, Elgin St., Preston St. Or, for low rent fun, Pizza 'n' Quartz at the Prescott.

Posted by: Boko | September 27, 2008 9:44 AM | Report abuse



The International Mega Boodle Porching Hour (IMBPH) will be held on Saturday, October 4, 2008, at Buffalo Billiards at 1330 19th Street in NW Washington, DC.

We'll be in the Victorian Room from 5-8 p.m. (at least that's the formal part of the event), with food and drink service available.

More news to follow, including a regular BPH on Friday evening at the normal BPH location (McCormack & Schmicks, 1652 K Street downtown, a few blocks from the Mega BPH location, and the Washington Post's main offices), guests (if any actually accept our invitations), other activities (if anyone isn't too full of food and drink), and clothing options (bc is considering the 'all leather, but as little as possible' option).

Lurkers are welcome.

We look forward to seeing you there.


Yr Hmbl Int’l Mega BPH Planning Committee

We now return you to your Regularly Scheduled Boodling."

Posted by: TBG | September 27, 2008 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all.

Had to do some quick backboodling to catch up, probably missed a few nuances and details.

I enjoyed the debates, and even had the kids listen and watch for a little while.

I watched from about 9:30 on CNN - what was the deal with that crazy real-time audience reac graph on the bottom of the screen? Interesting idea, but I have no idea where the data came from or the methods utilized to generate the graphic. Electrodes taped to heads or in seats? Seemed to me that the graph showed things as more positive when Obama was speaking, but if it were a Dem-dominated audience, I'd expect that. On a related note, if you went to FOX for post-debate analysis and spin, and they said McCain won, are you surprised? It's FOX, for goodness sake.

As far as the debate - seemed to me that this was the opening round. Just jabbing, looking for openings, learning the opponent. Taking shots where you can, but mainly trying not to lose.

The next round should be much more interesting, since the opponents know more about each other.

Martooni, was talking with my Mom about the debates, credited you with the Grandpa Simpson bit.


Posted by: bc | September 27, 2008 9:49 AM | Report abuse

I wish I had an income that comes with a big tax bill because that would mean I'd have more money to put in my pockets.

Right now I have a small income, of which I have to send a good chunk off to the tax people right away, then sit on my hands for a year to wait until they send most of it back. And you all know what happens if you're late sending that money in.

Where's the sense in that?

Why the hell won't they give *me* an interest-free one year loan for thousands of dollars?

Can I send *them* a bill for late/non-payment penalties on that loan?

The crazy thing is that if I *did* send them a bill, they'd be stupid enough (or distracted enough by shiny objects) to pay it.

Posted by: martooni | September 27, 2008 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Yoki. I only need 1.5 hours notice of a meeting. 2 hours if we don't want to alarm other patrons.

Posted by: Boko | September 27, 2008 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Oh, please do come to the MBPH if you're considering it.

You'll get to meet a lot of really great people.


Posted by: bc | September 27, 2008 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Martooni: I have forced my husband to put his deductions (is that the right word? When you fill out the W4 (if that's the right form...) and you fill out all those numbers) at the highest possible number, so if anything we owe some in April. Try changing that number, so you have more in your pocket. You should NEVER wait til you file to get your money back.

I used to change it weekly on my company intranet where you could do that. So my paycheck would be different as I was trying to figure out what the IRS was trying to figure out.

Please don't misunderstand. I really truly think that to live in a society, one must participate (why I send so much to charity). So it's not the worst thing. The worst thing *IS* that they WASTE the money. You and I could and do do a better job than they do in DC spending OUR money. I always feel that they lose sight of the fact that it is not THEIR money.

Posted by: atlmom | September 27, 2008 9:54 AM | Report abuse

And, why are we boodling and not blogging? Is there a FAQ I missed?

Posted by: atlmom | September 27, 2008 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Oh, my, I had been glossing quickly and reading ATLmom as ALTMom, as in, ya know, alternative mom. And alternative is such a great adjective that can swing many, many directions.

Me, a refugee from the blog that was hijacked often by horridity. Some really great folk there, clearly, but I hightailed it out within the first week.

Can you bear another RoF -- rhetoric of fashion (fabric?) comment? A colleague and friend who studies many aspects of material culture and I chatted last night at our neighborhood bar before leaving to watch the debate. Both Sarah Palin's penchant for a mauve-magenta pink and the Obama family's embrace of burgandy-hued reds is fascinating on the national political stage. Until now, the only safe red was a

But both the Palin pink and Obama ruby share this: the hue relies on blue undertones.

Blue undertones are very good on most skin types. But, the subtle shift toward the fushia zone is new. Very new.

There you have some fabrical Sound and Query, signifying a much ado about nothing....

MEGA BPH -- to the masses of mediums there. I will wear my Boodle shirt proudly on Sunday am to stalk Frosti in her Amy Ten Miler moments. But, will launder and send off to any far flung boodler who wants it. Aloha? Rainforest? Daiwanian? Pacifica?

Posted by: College Parkian | September 27, 2008 9:56 AM | Report abuse

I thought some of the most interesting post-debate commentary was given by third party candidate Ralph Nader, who was a guest on Bill Maher's show last night. A clever bit of scheduling by the Maher staff.

As far as news about North Carolina's Wachovia (and McCain and Obama really didn't address the bailout during the debate, did they, despite Lehrer's repeated attempts?), there's this from our paper (plus a huge feature story about how WaMu's takeover puts local jobs at risk). The story about Wachovia in our paper is a reprint of reporting by Marketwatch:

"Wachovia isn't feeling any 'liquidity pressures,' and there's no certainty a merger will be hammered out, according to a report in the online edition of The Wall Street Journal, which cited an unnamed source. ....If sold, Wachovia, with assets of $812.43 billion, would topple Washington Mutual as the largest bank failure in the nation's history."

Our paper also gives us Garrison Keillor's column every Saturday. An good take about Americans' sense of moral outrage. Why it is that sex scandals always seem to enrage us more than corporate greed? I don't think the notion of stocks, pillories and branding the brawny part of thumbs are too far-fetched. A link to Keillor in the International Herald Tribune:

"Poor Senator Larry Craig got a truckload of moral condemnation for tapping his wingtips in the men's john, but his party proposes to spend 5 percent of the GDP to buy up bad loans made by men who walk away with their fortunes intact while retirees see their 401(k) go pffffffff like a defunct air mattress, and it's business as usual."

Posted by: Loomis | September 27, 2008 9:56 AM | Report abuse

College Parkian: Apparently, that has happened in other places as well. I'm not too worried. Actually it's kinda funny. My 'real' name is unusual, and it gets butchered about all the time, no one knows how to say or spell it. So it's kinda funny that people do that with my nickname too.

I gotta get up and get these kids outta the house...but I just am not motivated...

Posted by: atlmom | September 27, 2008 10:00 AM | Report abuse

I love you so much cassandra!

Posted by: Anonymous | September 27, 2008 10:00 AM | Report abuse

"employees, stockholders, customers will benefit", and all this if corporation get to keep their taxes?

I don't know. Sounds like trickle down. Does it work?

Posted by: cassandra s | September 27, 2008 10:01 AM | Report abuse

And to the very boodle-yummy newbie of ALTmom, thank goodness that someone else is posting huge and long and interesting economic reform posts. I thought that mine of yesteryore about a zero-based budgeting, ground zero reform along ecological economics lines was over the top. (Might'ed lost me boodle esteem or luv.)

ALT, to boodle is to respond in the thread to JA's kit. Yes, tis blogging but the kit part is JA, our boodle thread our responsive blogging.

Kit-kaBoodle: a blogging subculture.

Posted by: College Parkian | September 27, 2008 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra! Sure, trickle down works, but I don't like to live on crumbs or dribs and drabs...trickle-down for mice, but not for men.

OFF to the stuff of the day.

Posted by: College Parkian | September 27, 2008 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Let me correct myself: Wages over $97,500 are exempt from the 6.2% Payroll tax, but 100% is subject to the 1.45% Payroll tax.

And employers who must match the 7.65% deduct that as a business expense and do not pay taxes on that tax.

Finally, it is NET corporate income (net profit) that is taxed at 35% and many large corporations pay no taxes at all or considerably less than 35% after tax credits and deductions for businesses.

Many small businesses operate as IRS Sub-chapter S corporations and do not pay a corporate income tax. Their corporate income (form 1120), like self-employed persons, is taxed as personal income (form 1040).

Posted by: Shiloh | September 27, 2008 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra: think about it. First, all that money they spend on figuring out their taxes in the first place, and figuring out how to avoid paying it. You and I, we don't have those kind of resources - so we don't have all that time and money to spend figuring out how NOT to pay taxes.

Also, companies that are moving overseas will come back or not move away or whatever, because they ARE moving to other countries, due to our tax burden on corporations.

AND, as I mentioned, companies/corporations DON'T PAY TAXES. So if the company had more, either they'd lower their prices (so consumers would benefit), they'd pay more to shareholders, or their stock would rise (shareholders benefit) or they increase pay for their employees (employees would benefit). Or they invest in themselves (or other companies) and expand. One of those HAS to happen. Unless you think there is something else that could happen?

That's different than saying that if you decrease taxes on the upper tier then it will trickle down. At least inherently I think it is. Cause you're talking about individuals vs. companies - again, even if you're wealthy (but not warren buffet) you hardly have the resources a company has, but companies are very astute when it comes to the bottom line - individuals less so....

I mean, seriously, I could be totally wrong, but I don't think so. Whatever it is, I know within my very soul that what we have sucks, and anyone (politician or otherwise) saying we can just 'tweak' it to make it better (or fair, even worse) is ridiculous. Cause that's what reagan thought, and look where we are now.

And really, we don't pay taxes to be 'fair' or 'patriotic' or redistribute wealth. We do it to pay for necessary government functions. Personally, I don't think most of what they do in DC is necessary.

Posted by: atlmom | September 27, 2008 10:09 AM | Report abuse

atlmom... you made sense in earlier posts, but the idea that setting corporate taxes to zero because those corporations just might use those savings to pay their employees more (who would then pay more taxes to make up the difference) is about the most naive thing I've ever heard.

Corporations are NOT in business for their EMPLOYEES. They are in business to make money for their shareholders and everyone else can just go pound salt.

Corporations do not care what they make, how they make it, or who gets hurt in the process so long as they make MONEY and shareholders get their dividends and the top echelon of management can afford $3000 shower curtains.

To think that these same companies would pass tax savings on to their workers' paychecks (let alone extra profits from increased worker productivity)... well... I've got some "beachfront" property and a bridge or two I could sell you, but you gotta act fast.

Posted by: martooni | September 27, 2008 10:10 AM | Report abuse

I love you too, anonymous.

Posted by: cassandra s | September 27, 2008 10:14 AM | Report abuse


I think you pretty much said what I was thinking.

Posted by: cassandra s | September 27, 2008 10:18 AM | Report abuse

R.I.P. Paul Newman :-(
But, I think he'll get in...

Posted by: DNA Girl | September 27, 2008 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh... "loose nukes," Lou S'nuke, I get it now.


Posted by: Scottynuke | September 27, 2008 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Underlying a lot of anger over taxes is the idea of wealth transfers. Deep down most people like to see the rich pay "their fair share" or even a bit more, until we think it is transferred to "welfare queens." We don't mind, much, being taxed for infrastructure as long as it is spent on the road we drive to work, not in some country backwater far away (NoVA vs. Southwest VA, or Metro Twin Cities vs. Greater MN). However, transfer of wealth is exactly what is needed sometimes. Should a child in Mississippi, a citizen of "the greatest country in the world" be unhealthy, poorly educated, and poorly paid for a lifetime just by accident of geography? Or, is there a level of basic access to the benefits of living in a great nation all should have?

One of the most powerful arguments against the federal government having a large role in health care, education, or even infrastructure building is that the people closest to the problems, and closest to their constituents, are in the best position to solve those problems. As a mayor I can tell you that is often moose hockey. If it were up to half my constituents the other half would freeze in the snow.

At least the Canadians call it like it is. Right on the finance web site you can go to "Social Transfers" and "Health Transfers" and track where the federal tax dollar is going back to provinces for those purposes. I have no idea if Canadians think this is fair, or if the transfers are going to the right places, but it's refreshing to see a transfer called a transfer.

A final ramble. What is an earmark but a transfer? My irritation with earmarks is not that wealth is being transferred from one state to another, but that it isn't being done to address a national consensus priority. Bridges-ok, let's agree to send money where it is needed to keep bridges from falling down. If you want a new bridge pay for it yourself? The point is not that the federal government builds/doesn't build bridges, but that a well reviewed, publicly vetted, priority is set and followed.

Posted by: frostbitten | September 27, 2008 10:19 AM | Report abuse

RIP indeed, Mr. Newman. *SIGHHHHH*

Posted by: Scottynuke | September 27, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse

I am not an expert on the federal budget, but I understand that about three-quarters of it is taken up by entitlement payments - Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid. If we are going to make changes, it will involve cutting payments to the old and the poor. I've noted before that I don't particularly need Social Security (although it will make the personal budget more flush) and will consider sending some back. As Frosti noted, tax policy is a sure indication of our values as a people.
Do we have the collective will to make the social safety net better? If McCain is elected, I'd say there's no chance. If Obama is, maybe we can make a start.

Notice that I did not comment on the fairness to myself of not benefiting from Social Security, even though I've paid in my whole career. There is more to life than complaining about taxes.

Posted by: slyness | September 27, 2008 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Yoki: " I will be the first to say that we *suck* at computation and spacial relationships [or maybe that's just me]"

Well, for most of the past 8 years I have worked for a left-handed astrophysicist ( ). Draw your own conclusions.

Posted by: ScienceTim | September 27, 2008 10:22 AM | Report abuse

atlmom, to the list that slyness posted, add defense. To make a real dent in federal expenditures, we'd need to spend significantly less in one or more of those areas.

What do you recommend as an objective reduction in federal spending and where would you seek it? (Trying not to sound like Jim Lehrer here!)

Posted by: Fifty | September 27, 2008 10:24 AM | Report abuse


You are such a splendid individual. You are so gracious. I know that folks making 250,000K a year will feel picked on, but they also had no problem taking huge tax cuts from Bush and Republican congress.

Where did our spending go? Well, most of the spending is done by those in the lower third of our economic ladder. All Obama is doing is saying that we return the tax code back to where it was in Clinton's era.

The fact that the give back is so large for the less well compensated folks is a telling factor to the absolute wealth redistribution that took place under our current President.

Money spent by these folks is absolutely necessary in many communities. Because the multiplier effect of money being spent over and over, it drives our economy.

Further, on issue after issue that Mr. McCain addressed, he would state his public position, but then there was the body of work that everyone, with a bit of work, could see. Take any issue, Veterans rights, banking policy, recent energy policy, torture, invasion of American's privacy... you name it, and McCain has been showing one face, but doing nothing for the issue.

McCain is also our Zelig. He pops up in some of the oddest people, especially when it comes to the Lobbyists who he was saying are "behind bars." McCain was sharing birthday cake with Bush out West during Katrina. He vacationed and shared investments with Charles Keating. McCain also shared birthday cake a couple of years ago with Raffaello Follieri!

He gets around, and, where ever he goes, there are deals made. Only when someone is caught like the Abramoff case, does Sen. McCain feel compelled to speak out in horror of what happened.

McCain's sort of creepy call out to the Vets totally belies his voting record and vocal support. Why is he rating out in the 20%-age range by vet groups? Why? is Mr. McCain unable to be non-partisan if he isn't the recipient of support, but rather giving support to someone from across the aisle?

McCain was asked for several months to support the New GI bill and offered none, and, at best, said that it was flawed. Did he vote up or down on it? No... I presume he was off somewhere eating cake.

Maverick? All hat, no cattle.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | September 27, 2008 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Awww, terribly unhappy about Paul Newman's death. Not unexpected, to be sure, but it's sad anyway. Just makes me wonder if he was able to vote on an absentee ballot. . .I'm sure he would have wanted to.

Off to the farmers market and all those other Saturday errand things.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | September 27, 2008 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Loomis, here's the local story on Wachovia, not that it will tell you anything new:

On tax policy, what Frosti said.

Posted by: slyness | September 27, 2008 10:30 AM | Report abuse

firstimeblogger? Local Fmrs Market?

And yes, sad sad news.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | September 27, 2008 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Morning all. I kinda sorta watched the debates. Lot of wandering in and out. I have to sit still all day, so I have a hard time doing so in the evening.

I thought there was little new revealed of substance, but I didn't expect there to be. Debates are always much more, well, Gestalt than that.

Anyway, I think that although McCain avoided any real Senior Moments he did come across as condescending, which is probably not a good thing. And I thought he looked a little schlumpy for such a big night.

Obama did what he needed to do. He looked Presidential, held his own, and avoided any gaffes.

My frustration with Obama is that his delivery lacked fire and passion. He didn't really, you know, sell his words in the way that I know he is capable of doing.

Still, the polls say he swayed more uncommitted voters that did McCain, and that's the important thing.

Posted by: RD Padouk | September 27, 2008 10:34 AM | Report abuse

altmom, wealthy individuals have good tax accountants. and it only takes one good one.

i should know. i can see beverly hills from where i live (when it's not smoggy). :-)

r.i.p. paul newman

Posted by: L.A. lurker | September 27, 2008 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Got busy a little while ago, got the call from a friend that Paul Newman passed away.

He'll be missed.

Gotta run, more later.

A very unassuming man, quiet and reserved, with a *very* sharp dry wit.


Posted by: bc | September 27, 2008 10:37 AM | Report abuse

First of all, thank you all, especially CP, for delivering the visuals on the debate last night. The only homegrown comment came from my son who told me that Obama was blinking more than McCain. Really?

One thing that stuck out at me in the beginning of the debate was when McCain was speaking of the current financial crisis. I swear he was about to say, "since, [small hiccup], the Great Depression", instead he seemed to change that line in the last split second to, "since, [small hiccup], within our lifetime."

Same difference if you ask me.

Posted by: DandyLion | September 27, 2008 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Atlmom, Boodling is part of the Achenblog vocabulary. More can be found at - let's see if I get this right, I am notoriously bad at this sort of thing -

In Oklahoma, atlmom, people may receive minimum wage their entire working lives. Even with our low cost of living, most can't afford to raise a family on that. So their and my taxes go to the federal gummint to help pay for, among other things, the food stamp and federally-matched insurance programs they need because they can't live on their salaries. Also, at least with some employers, they would not in fact raise employee salaries if they did not have to pay FICA taxes. Just as, even before insurance costs went so high, they did not offer employee insurance if they didn't have to. This is particularly true of the small businessman here. Finally, we have several local corporations with hefty balance sheets who benefit mightily from federal (and state) corporate tax breaks. While the local guys are good charitable givers and help in the community, the monetary benefits to their investors and shareholders from tax policy do not, in fact, trickle down to the consumers.

On most questions of transportation and utility infrastructure, health, food and consumer protection research and enforcement, defense, and cross-border law enforcement, the federal gummint is a more reliable source of across-the-board funds than individual state gummints.

Posted by: Ivansmom | September 27, 2008 10:39 AM | Report abuse

My sound bite I wanted to hear last night...

We've had eight years of a cowboy president. A maverick should scare us even more.

Posted by: TBG | September 27, 2008 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Short new kit coming soon, on the debate, but just wanted to say how sad I am to hear of the passing of Paul Newman. He was both a great actor and a great human being.

Posted by: Achenbach | September 27, 2008 10:42 AM | Report abuse

oops, i meant atlmom. i also kept transposing those letters in my head.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | September 27, 2008 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Gut morninkz, Boodlers!
Yawn. After debate, more yawn's. Slept in this morning. Will post after new kit.

Posted by: Brag | September 27, 2008 10:54 AM | Report abuse

joel, d'ya like mccain's montana bears comment last night?

Posted by: L.A. lurker | September 27, 2008 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Paul Newman's life was so full that the obituary writers will have had some difficulty squeezing it into the space available.

I expect a run on the spaghetti sauces.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | September 27, 2008 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Sean Quinn, live blogging on, said to watch the debate again with the sound off. He says the body language shows McCain coming across as an angry old man.

Posted by: TBG | September 27, 2008 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Dave... the Post doesn't seem to be worried about space. There's a great obituary on Newman here...

Posted by: TBG | September 27, 2008 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Morning All
It has been a busy week and I am just now trying to catch up. I didn't get to see the debate last night,but my bro was surprised how well McCain did. Hopefully i can catch the next one or two.

Kinda of cool in west by god today,we have been getting a fair share of rain the last 2 days. It is desperately needed.

Sorry to see Paul Newman pass and in his honor and memory I will eat a few hard boiled eggs for lunch. I really loved "cool hand luke"

Posted by: greenwithenvy | September 27, 2008 11:22 AM | Report abuse

I don't think I've said often enough how much I appreciate your economic and financial posts. Everything you say is rooted in reality and common sense. Whenever I hear people advocating flat taxes or eliminating corporate taxes, they have no real feel for the numbers other than the feel-good gut sense. Without corporate taxes, my individual taxes would go up and I doubt many companies would pass the savings onto the customer. Many have advocated not taxing stock dividends since they have been taxed once already. While there is some merit, that opens the door to all sorts of shenanigans.

A lot of the nonsense in our economy is caused by screwy tax policies. The S&L crises was caused by the unequal taxation of capital gains that encouraged real estate speculation. I don't know of any tax policy that is the root cause of our current fiasco, but I bet there is some underlying silliness going on.

Posted by: yellojkt | September 27, 2008 11:28 AM | Report abuse

New kit, and Joel quoted Cassandra.

Posted by: frostbitten | September 27, 2008 11:29 AM | Report abuse

New kti.

Posted by: yellojkt | September 27, 2008 11:30 AM | Report abuse

OMG. Sarah Palin has infiltrated the Boodle.

Posted by: CC | September 27, 2008 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Of course, it would be NICE if the feds COULD prioritize properly all the infrastructure that is needed, but they've done a piss poor job so far (the whole 'earmark' issue) that I really do think they need to be cut off. That's why I say that the money should be 'closer to home.' Because although it would be a good deal if the feds could properly prioritize, they do not, we've seen it, and sending them more money is not going to help any of us.

The thing is, I think most of us are saying the same thing. We would all like to help those who can't help themselves (as, opposed to, say, those who don't WANT to help themselves). It just seems to me that our gummint is doing such a bad job of it, maybe i'm too cynical, but i don't see how giving them more money and power will work any better.

I mean, seriously, if I had more, I'd be giving away more.

So just lower corp taxes so we are not in the top five of industrialized countries on corp taxes. Does that help? to say that corps would just give more money to their shareholders probably is pretty disingenuous. With all the talk of the 'evil rich' I do know some people at the top of corps and their first priority isn't just shareholders, it is also customers and employees. Because if you are an employer, you DO want the best employees, and if other employers start paying their employees more, you have to give more to yours or you will lose them. And talk to employers, they HATE having to train new employees, it costs too much money.

I would like to say, however, that I am quite impressed by ya'll and the level of discourse on this blog (boodle?). Keep it up. It's so sad that the politicians in DC are only worried about their elections, rather than having a high level of discourse.

Posted by: atlmom | September 27, 2008 12:36 PM | Report abuse

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