Friday, October 31, 2008

Kick the football, George

Sometimes I get the weirdest responses from strangers whom I’ve just met. Always funny. And always unexpected.

Example #1: once the airline cancelled our plane and rescheduled the next day on one of those little regional prop jet jobs. I got on the plane – and got right off. “Too damned small,” I told the flight attendant. The pilot looked at me kinda funny.

By hook and crook and circuitous routing, I did manage to fly to Minneapolis in time for a short business deal.

A few days later, the Mystery Woman and I were at the airport when I decided I needed to double-check on our seat assignments. As I walked up to the ticket counter, the aforementioned pilot happened to walk by. “Hey,” he said to the ticket agent behind the counter, “That guy walked off my plane.”

Before I could open my mouth to ask about my seat assignment, the agent looked me in the eye and wanted to know: “What kind of chicken shit are you?”

True story.

Example #2: We were at the cash register at the venerable old Haufbrau’s eatery in Austin. “How was everything?” asked the guy behind the counter. “My steak was kind of tough, “ I said, holding out my money. He grabbed my twenties and grunted: “It’ll be better next time.”

True story.

Example #3: I was talking to the postal inspector because someone had swiped two envelopes containing absentee ballots right off our mail box. “Wait a minute,” she said. “Before we go any further, who did you vote for?”

True story.

How do these strangers know I will think it’s funny? Seriously. Is there a Charlie Brown sign on my back? Maybe I should scowl more?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Give politics a rest

Let’s take a break from all this political BS.
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The best selling book in America is not copyrighted. The Bible. I thought the Gideons owned it.
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A couple of weeks ago, TV Guide sold for a dollar. Not just the magazine. The whole damned business. Such is the steep decline of Old Media.
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Hummingbirds spend most of their lives within hours of starvation. So says Sheri Williamson, author of “A Field Guide to Hummingbirds of North America.”
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A strange thief visited our mailbox and swiped three envelopes. Two were Absentee Ballots. The third was a large manila envelope with a hand-written address to a friend across town. It was delivered. The two Absentee Ballots were never seen again. We can only speculate the thief grabbed the ballots after seeing the Obama sign in our front yard. But why would he go to the trouble to drop the third envelope in the blue mailbox down the street? Minnesota Nice?
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Paul Douglass, long-time Minneapolis weather guru, wrote this today in the StarTrib: “Pundits have been connecting the dots between weather, election turnouts and potential upsets for decades, but new research suggests that it may be more than hot air…the 2007 Journal of Politics suggests precipitation can greatly affect voter turnout, much more than temperature…rain favors Republican candidates; every inch of rain translates into and extra 2.5% of the vote. Proof that Democrats have the more sunny disposition.
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OK. Break’s over. Return to your fighting positions.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Sarah Palin carries diva vote

I am ready for this election to be over. Nobody has anything new to say. All we’re doing now is waiting for gaffes and gotchas -- or, god forbid, snipers.

Dignity is in short supply. Fear is plentiful. Ideas are old. Candidates are tired. Voters are tired.

Thanks to early voting and absentee voting, more Americans have voted than ever before. That volume muffles last-minute claims/counter-claims. Polls have hardened. But the campaigns keep slinging vitriol like it really matters.

It’s still the economy.

The primaries run too long; the general election too short. We need less time picking the party favorites and more time vetting the principle candidates. Election reform.

I have never seen a campaign so filled with rancor, lies, and nasty robo calls. The right has demonized the left. And the left has ridiculed the right.

I’m worn out. I don’t even want to hear my candidates speak anymore. And I sure as hell don’t want to hear theirs.

Here’s where I fall off my high horse. I race for the mute button every time I hear the shrill, sarcastic voice of the She-Bush. That woman single-handedly has kept the $150,000 wardrobe issue alive for a full week. Sarah Palin has certainly locked up the Diva vote. I'm weary even of her hotness. Substance, not merely style.

What was McCain thinking?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

McCain stumbles on Meet the Press

Several times John McCain got lost in his own words today while appearing on what had always been a familiar show in the past. Meet the Press is a regular haunt for the old warrior. He should have been comfortable on the set.

Maybe it was fatigue, maybe it was age. But several times he fumbled with words as he struggled to keep his thoughts on track. The final slip came when he tried, and failed, to name the five former secretaries of state who have endorsed him. Twice he tried to dredge up the name of George Shultz. And twice he lost the thread. In the final attempt, McCain again named four but the fifth eluded his recall and ended with his voice trailing in despair, “and one more.”

As host Tom Brokaw was laying out the next question, McCain blurted out “George Shultz. It was George Shultz.” Obviously he was not listening to Brokaw but rather, he was struggling to close the open gestalt in his head.

Each of us of a certain age have experienced the same kind of stumble. But not on Meet the Press. And not while running for the highest office in the country.

McCain and I are about the same age. He’s old. And Sarah Palin could be next in line.

I don’t want Sarah Palin to be a melanoma away from being president. Nor a heartbeat. Nor a stroke.

I don’t want that woman anywhere near the White House.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Palin pays hair stylist $22,800

Palin stylist draws higher pay than foreign policy adviser

By JIM KUHNHENN (AP)

WASHINGTON (AP) — An acclaimed celebrity makeup artist for Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin collected more money from John McCain's campaign than his foreign policy adviser. Amy Strozzi, who works on the reality show "So You Think You Can Dance" and has been Palin's traveling stylist, was paid $22,800, according to campaign finance reports for the first two weeks in October. In contrast, McCain's foreign policy adviser, Randy Scheunemann, was paid $12,500, the report showed.

McCain's campaign said the payment covered a portion of her work in September and a portion of October. An earlier campaign finance report showed Strozzi was paid $13,200 for a portion of September.

In recent days, McCain and his running mate have tried to douse a furor over how their side spent their money. The Republican National Committee came under scrutiny after the party committee reported earlier this week that it had spent about $150,000 in September on wardrobe and cosmetics after Palin joined the GOP ticket.

In an interview with the Chicago Tribune and Fox News on Thursday, Palin said the clothes bought for the Republican National Convention were not worth $150,000 and said most have not left her campaign plane. She also said the family shops frugally.

"Those clothes are not my property. We had three days of using clothes that the RNC purchased," Palin told Fox News in an interview that aired Thursday night.

There was no evidence of additional clothing purchases in the most recent reports.

The Obama campaign has said it paid for hair and makeup costs associated with interviews or events, but neither the campaign nor the Democratic National Committee has paid for clothing.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Sarah Palin doesn't wear well

Actually, I did not want to write about politics today. But the Republicans make it necessary. Mandatory. Obligatory. And so damned easy.

The RNC spent $150,000 to dress up Sarah Palin. That’s more than I paid for my condo.

And then the handlers prop her up in front of Wal-Mart to give a Joe Six Pack speech.

What’s the word I’m looking for?

Hypocrite.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Newspapers just an old habit?

Before I retired, I usually read four newspapers every morning. It was part of my job for years and years. Decades.

And now, no matter where I live, I always subscribe to at least two newspapers: the local rag and the NY Times. Before you heat the tar and fluff up some feathers, I don’t read the NYT solely for hard news.

Rather, I fancy the NYT opinion writers plus the paper’s coverage of arts, science, book reviews and features of all sorts. Some of the best writing in America (unlike this sentence fragment). Besides, I rather like having ink on my fingers.

Today, there was a new dawn. I accepted that I had gone over to the dark side. Without realizing it, I have become part of the news consumption future.

For years my morning routine has been to make coffee, turn on some classical music and read the newspapers. Period. I’m a hardcore news junkie. Gotta have it to get my pacemaker pumping. Anticipation.

This morning, I realized I made coffee and turned not to my newspaper but to my computer so I could scan various news aggregators. Whew. Nothing much happened overnight.

Then, before sunup, I sat down with the first newspaper of the day. Twice while reading the StarTrib, I got up to check the computer. Plus a quick peek at CNBC to see how the stock market opened. Back to the newspaper. On deck -- The NY Times.

Then it dawned on me – the newspaper was not current enough for today’s 24-hour news cycle. My newspaper, not even a day old, was filled with old news.

The new reality is that the newspaper industry must come up with a vigorous new business model if they are losing old junkies like me. And they better hurry. I've watched the delivery guys and only four people on our block have home subscriptions.

Excuse me, I’ve got to check CraigsList for a new minivan.

That’s a cruel inside joke. Craigslist has hurt newspapers more than any other electronic innovation. When is the last time you looked for a car in the classifieds?

What? You say this is old news?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Saturday Night Live tasteless, juvenile

For a long time, I had difficulty understanding how the Saturday Evening Post could come out on Friday. I never figured it out.

Add to that the troubling thought that Saturday Night Live comes out on Thursday, too. Sigh.

And now I am weighted down with the vision of Sarah Palin's guest shot on a show where one of the skits featured a guy shooting ping pong balls out of his butt. She didn’t need to go anywhere near there. Seriously.

I didn’t think SNL was funny, except for Tina Fey’s brief riff on Palin. Nor did I think Palin was funny. And I’m positive she did not need to risk eternal hellfire and damnation by sharing the stage with such tasteless, juvenile humor. Seriously.

She does that quite well enough with her own teleprompters. Seriously.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

McCain, Palin stir hatred

Now it begins. Death threats.

An ACORN community organizer received a death threat and the liberal-leaning voter registration group's Boston and Seattle offices were vandalized. (AP)

What the hell is this? Civil War Two? The civil rights fights of the 1960’s?

Hundreds of thousands of anti-Obama robo calls (maybe millions) are fomenting unfounded fears across the country. Yet they have produced scant evidence thus far to support their claim that Acorn has committed wholesale voter registration fraud across the nation.

If Republicans are so afraid of “the wrong people voting” why doesn’t the GOP mount a similar voter registration drive in friendly precincts? Wouldn’t the higher voter turnout be a net gain for America?

Instead, their lawyers file lawsuits to suppress voting. While the robo calls roll on.

Sarah Palin and John McCain are running a two-faced dirty campaign. In public, they piously point to McCain taking the microphone from the misguided Minnesota woman (kudos). But then they sign the checks for more robo calls.

Now comes GOP Congresswoman Michele Bachman’s charge that the media needs to expose “un-American” members of Congress. Just Google McCarthyism and HUAC witch hunts. A Republican gestalt left open all these years?

Death threats.

It only takes one nut, one bullet and a gun.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Angry man runs angry race

He did to Joe the Plumber what he did to Sarah Palin. John McCain thrust Joe into the national spotlight without proper (if any) vetting. Tax dodger. Unlicensed. Unloved by the plumbers union.

Backfire. Once again, anger has clouded McCain's judgment.

In Joe’s defense, he has held more press conferences than Gov. Palin.

By Thursday night, McCain was apologizing to Joe for dumping him onto the national stage – without any concern for the consequences to Joe.

At this hour, it is unknown if McCain has apologized to Palin. But he should. He used Palin without any regard for her or for the nation.

Country First my ass.

His campaign is faltering despite goofy stunts in which McCain attempts to turn the national attention away from the national economic crisis.

Democrats have someone to vote FOR: Barack Obama. Republicans only have someone to vote AGAINST: Barack Obama. Their anger is not patriotic. It is hatred.

Republican lies have not worked. Character assassination has not worked. Grandstanding stunts have not worked. McCain has run a lousy campaign ever since he turned it over to the hate-mongers from the Karl Rove team.

Racism is the only hope McCain has left. I hope I'm wrong.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Say goodnight, Sarah

A well-meaning conservative friend sends me Joe Biden gaffes followed with the question: “What if this were Palin?”

Here’s one of the better Biden quotes: “Look, John's last-minute economic plan does nothing to tackle the number-one job facing the middle class, and it happens to be, as Barack says, a three-letter word: jobs. J-O-B-S, jobs.”

Why doesn’t this make national news? Because it is not news. Long ago, Joe Biden accepted full ownership of his gaffes.

That one (Sarah Palin) doesn’t even know when she is goofing up.

Media bias? I submit it’s more a case of ignorance about the way media works than bias. Frankly, I am glad the media has the courage to withstand the withering incoming fire from the right. Spiro Agnew has not yet left the building.

As for last night’s debates – thankfully, they are done. Old news soon.

Poor John McCain. The format hurt him as well as his own words. He lost the battle of the split-screen. At times, he looked downright scary. He talked scary. He was scary. But Obama never took the bait and remained cool, collected. (Am I biased? Of course.)

After the last eight years, we don’t need another cowboy in the White House.

The presidential race is not over, certainly, but if he were smart, McCain would re-focus his twilight on an attempt at saving GOP seats in the U.S. Senate. But I don’t think his ego will allow him to share the spotlight.

There's a reason he's a maverick.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

It's the stupid economy

This is the new national conversation.

Last week we met some friends for burgers. We looked forward to the low-key evening. How are your kids doing? Grandchildren? Any trips planned? Do you think you’ll go back to work? Should Brad Childress get fired? How about those ‘Horns.

Often (at our age), the big question is how’s your health? Not this time. Almost immediately, the conversation jumped into the economy.

Bam. One son has not been able to find steady work for a year, is divorced, and living in his parent’s home.

Bam. Another adult child is having a difficult time getting pre-approved for a home loan.

Bam. The ten-year-old van needs replaced but it is worth very little as a trade-in and credit is very expensive -- if you can find anybody who has money to lend.

Bam. One guy wants to sell his business but the economic slowdown has caused the value of the business to drop to near nothing.

Bam. A friend has seen her retirement savings shrink by 40 percent in a matter of days. The funds took a life-time to build.

This is personal.

Not once did anyone mention the presidential election, nor either candidate, nor either political party. Not once.

Our problems are real. Our problems are bigger than politics.

I wish our politicians were.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Main Street versus Wall Street

I desperately wish I could write that either the Democrats or the Republicans have THE ANSWER to our financial crisis. But I cannot.

Here’s the truth: the economy is out of the hands of either John McCain or Barack Obama. For the short term, our fate is in the hands of Secretary Paulson and Chairman Bernanke. Are they smart enough, tough enough? We’ll know soon enough.

The bailout, most believe, will be a double-header. Next up – the credit crisis. One of those guys will be our next president and will get his turn at bat.

So will his grandchildren – the payoff for these massive bailouts will last a long, long time.

Unfortunately, this mess has crystallized into a national attitude of “us vs. them” where Main Street feels like we are told to pay for the excesses of Wall Street. And we are.

No wonder we are angry. This is wrong on so many levels.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Screw politics, screw the economy

As you know, the news lately has not been good. The presidential campaign has turned mean and the economy has turned even meaner. Not a happy time in America.

Not until I stepped out on the screened porch (where I’m writing this).

The Fall season is gentle and beautiful at my adopted home in Minnesota. Next door, our neighbor’s front yard is beginning to fill with red leaves. Deep red leaves. From just the right angle, you can frame her red tree in the same picture with the orange tree across the street. In three-part harmony, our other neighbor’s tree is turning yellow.

An easy wind hums softly through the tree tops. This fall day is absolutely gorgeous. In an instant, I forget about politics and finance. This day is too good to miss. Intoxicating.

This summer, we’ve had a chipmunk (or maybe ground squirrel) living under our front porch sidewalk. Fast little creature. Curious but stand-offish. As I neared the screen door, there he was looking at me, cocked and ready to run if I got too close. I froze, not wanting to scare him away.

In a reflex move to stretch this delicious moment, I did something I’ve never done in my life. I was surprised to hear a gentle tune coming from somewhere inside me. I was singing to a goddamned ground squirrel. The little bugger seemed to enjoy it, too. He hung around a few moments more before scampering into his hidey hole.

I told you the day was intoxicating.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

McCain-Palin dancing in the dark

A word or two of clarification regarding my remarks yesterday about John McCain. Don't mistake my words for affection. I do not like the MoFo. But I do honor his military sacrifice and am saddened by a campaign that does not match his past service to his country.

In truth, neither presidential campaign can wear a halo. But the McCain/Palin campaign is descending into the dark netherworld of hatred and bigotry. The politics of fear.

A growing number of respected conservative writers agree.

This week, nationally syndicated columnist David Brooks described Sarah Palin as a cancer on the Republican Party. Can’t get much stronger than that.

I try to rise above the muck. Sometimes, like with yesterday’s first post, I succeed. But often I feel obliged to shovel back.

That’s what worries me. America is in for some tough economic times Check your mail for third-quarter losses to your 401K. Tough times ahead. Likely for years.

We need to be pulling together – not apart.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Sarah Palin -- U.S. Senator?

I just had the most frightening thought of my entire life.

What if Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, is found guilty? His case is about to go to the jury.

Stevens is up for re-election and obviously it’s too late to nominate someone else. His name will stay on the November ballot.

He could be re-elected – as he has been for 40 years – and then have to step down. Gov. Sarah Palin could then nominate herself to fill the vacant seat when she and McCain lose the presidential election.

Oh noooo. Say it ain’t so!

Free John McCain

I hate to see an honorable man like John McCain get so trashed. Not by Obama, but by his own campaign. The hacks are in control and it shows.

What a sharp contrast there is in Sarah Palin by day and John McCain by night. The disconnect is jarring. Palin is all attack all the time. Yet at last night’s debate, McCain was as near civil as he could get while sharing the stage with someone he disdains.

Palin needs to dial it back. Her incendiary remarks are dangerously close to inciting violence. She needs to take control of the audience. Cries of “kill him” should be squashed on the spot. Immediately.

McCain is losing. I think he will lose. The deck is stacked against him.

The economic downturn will not be resolved by election day.

He has not raised enough money and is beginning to pull out of key states like Michigan.

He cannot draw a decent crowd without Palin at his side.

His stunts have not worked. Grandstanding has not worked.

Dirty campaigning is not working.

Most political observers know that the John McCain running in 2008 is not the same John McCain that ran in his last presidential race. The difference? This time, he has let the dirt merchants from the George Bush campaigns muddy his campaign with their hate, lies, and division, Karl Rove lives.

Free John McCain. He’s going to lose. At least let him lose with his head held high. Let the man talk about the issues that he believes in his heart to be right.

Let John McCain describe his unique solutions for the America that he loves.

We owe it to him.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Where have all the statesmen gone?

Shut up. Just shut the **** up.

Don’t waste my time with any more negative campaigning. I’m sick of it. No more personal attacks. We don’t have time to waste on who did what with whom in the past (McCain/Keating or Obama/Ayers). Stop the swiftboating. Who cares?

We have an escalating worldwide financial crisis that will consume the next president. We are fighting two wars. Our jobless rate is at warp speed. Social Security and Medicare beg for a fix as Boomers start to line up. Plus health care, education.

National debt is in the trillions. Our government is at the abyss of socialization.

And the best you can come up with is Keating? Ayers?

Give us a plan. Not a press release.

How long have we been subjected to attack ads? Twenty years? Thirty years? Forever? Going negative only feeds the polarization. Dirty politics begets dirty government. And the bastard offspring are dangerous.

For the sake of the country, don’t vote against someone – vote FOR the candidate you genuinely believe can best lead us over the mountains.

Until further notice, choir practice has been canceled.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Best investment advice: shoebox

The yacht is usually the first to go. Then the Jag and the vacation homes. But don’t think the Wall Street titans are facing a soup line like many Americans. Not yet, anyway.

Their accumulation of wealth has been astonishing. In 1982, it took about $159 million to make the Forbes 400 list. Entry price today is $1.3 billion.

What did the greedy bastards do with the money? They put on a never-ending party. Last year the head of a private investment firm spent $5 million hosting his own 6oth birthday party. The excesses are unbelievable. Click here to read more.

Showy oceanfront homes are on the block. Does $32 million sound like a bargain to you?

Brokers like it hot, and just months ago they were spending $50,000 – even $100,000 – in high end strip clubs. If they liked the performer, tips ranged from a $10,000 line of credit at Bloomingdales to a pair of $125,000 earrings. Guess what? The big money guys are still going to the NYC strip joints.

If more voters only knew …

This just in: a 12-ounce bag of Lay’s Potato Chips costs $7.39; a 20-ounce bag of Cheerios, $8.29; and a 19-ounce of Progresso beef barley soup, $4.29. That’s in Akiachak, Alaska.

Not here. Not yet.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Bailout money going fast

The new definition of fast money. Two weeks ago, the federal government bequeathed $85 billion dollars to American International Group to tide them over. AIG has spent $61 billion already. As of Friday.



MIDLAND, Texas (Reuters) - President George W. Bush said on Saturday that benefits from the recently passed financial bailout would take time to show up in the U.S. economy.



In 2003, Americans owed about $593 billion in home equity loans. Today, the tally is in the neighborhood of $1.1 trillion. That amount does not include mortgages.



Most frightening observation uttered on Wall Street this week: “We’re dealing with the next situation.” Meaning: there’s more to come. The stock market did not rebound despite getting the $700 billion ransom when they held a gun to Congress’s head.



Students starting college this year likely have never dialed a telephone.



There IS hope. Boutique movie theaters have opened in Minnneapolis complete with full service bars. The sommelier recommends a fruit-forward Chilean cabernet to accompany your Raisinettes.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

I hate spunk

Damn these 24-hour news cycles and their short attention spans. I think the vice presidential debate will play a bigger role than we imagine in the history of America. The debate offers a two-way window into the candidates' heads -- and into ours.

I commend this wrap-up by Nancy Kruh published in the Dallas Morning News. For the record, I do not know Ms. Kruh nor do I know her politics. I just think she did a good job of compiling differing reactions. As for me, I'm with Lou Grant – I hate spunk.
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Balance of Opinion: Style versus substance

Reaction to the Thursday face-off between vice presidential nominees Sarah Palin and Joe Biden has turned into a war over what wins a debate – style or substance – and which of the two matters most to voters.

Peggy Noonan is dazzled by Ms. Palin's performance, affirming her as "the star" of the event, while Mr. Biden was "the second male lead."

"Her syntax did not hold," the Wall Street Journal columnist writes of Ms. Palin, "but her magnetism did. ... There were moments when she seemed to be doing an infomercial pitch for charm in politics. But it was an effective infomercial."

So much so that Ms. Noonan declares that the Alaska governor "saved John McCain again. ... She is the political equivalent of cardiac paddles: Clear! Zap! We've got a beat! She will re-electrify the base."

Creators Syndicate columnist Michelle Malkin describes Ms. Palin as "warm, fresh, funny, confident, energetic, personable, relentless and on message. She roasted [Barack] Obama's flip-flops on the surge and tea-with-dictators declarations, dinged Mr. Biden's bash-Bush rhetoric ... and exuded the sunny optimism that energized the base in the first place.

"Mr. McCain has not done many things right," Ms. Malkin writes on her blog. "But Sarah Palin proved that the VP risk he took was worth it."

The Washington Post's Michael Gerson senses that "people who deal with words for a living will probably find Mr. Biden's performance more professional. But the most consistent goal of the candidates was clearly to be seen as the Main Street populist. And here Mr. Biden simply cannot compete. For all his talk of Scranton and Home Depot, he is a senator playing at being an average person. Ms. Palin – on the evidence of 'Yah,' 'Doggonnit!' and 'Darn right!' – is an average person. That may not be the best qualification for high office. But I suspect that many Americans find it attractive."

Mr. Gerson's colleague Eugene Robinson has other suspicions: "Whatever you think of Ms. Palin's mugging, eye-rolling and other theatrics – some viewers doubtless saw it as evidence of freshness, resolve and spunk; others, like Lou Grant in the old Mary Tyler Moore show, must have been muttering, 'I hate spunk' – you still wanted to hear what she and John McCain proposed to do about the mess we're in. That was something she didn't deliver, and my hunch is that we'll hear that assessment from voters in the coming days."

Andrew Romano doubts Ms. Palin "convinced many skeptical swing voters that she's qualified to lead the free world." In contrast, the Newsweek analyst writes, Mr. Biden "did what he came to do – make a clear case against John McCain. And he did it with answers that were more detailed, less rhetorical and far more responsive to the questions. You may disagree with his arguments. Many will. But it's impossible to say he wasn't polite, persuasive and well-informed."

To Joe Klein, "the fact that Ms. Palin made it through the debate without running off the stage shouting, 'I can't do this!' should not obscure the fact that there was only one person whom anyone with any sense – even John McCain, I imagine – would trust as president. Mr. Biden's performance was strong and, happily, gimmick-free. ...

"What [Ms. Palin] did show was some folksy charm and some energy," the Time columnist writes. "But that's not enough to change the trajectory of this race, especially since nothing that was said in this debate will be remembered, or remarked upon, a week from now."

Nancy Kruh is a freelance writer in Dallas; her e-mail address is nkruh@balanceofopinion.com.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Sarah Palin, Sweet Thang

She winked at me. Several times. Sarah Palin, aka Sweet Thang, winked at me through the television camera during the debate. She’s so cute.
What a flirt.

But, Sweet Thang plays by her own rules. And she darned well wasn’t going to play by the moderator’s silly rules. She did not answer many questions and, instead, answered questions that only she could hear. That’s slick. She’s slick. Ask her a question—any question – and she’ll tell you about energy. Just like the Energizer Bunny. Sweet Thang makes a good bunny. Yes, I know that’s sexist but she started it. Beauty Queen.

Sweet Thang said she wants the little ole Constitution to give her more powers as vice president. She means she wants control of the U.S. Senate. She got the idea from Dick Cheney. I told you she was smart. Smartest Beauty Queen of all.

In a yet-unnamed morning newspaper, Sweet Thang probably read the bad news about the jobless report. It’s not “looking backward” if you read it real quick, hon.

“The government is out with more bad economic news this morning: The job market began to deteriorate even before the financial crisis reached a more serious stage two weeks ago.

“Employers cut 159,000 jobs in September, more than twice as many as in August or July, the Labor Department reported. It was the biggest monthly decline since 2003, when the economy was still losing jobs in the wake of the 2001 recession.

“Forecasters had been expecting a loss of about 100,000 jobs in September.

“The new number was especially worrisome because the government conducted its survey during the week of Sept. 8, before the credit crisis took a new turn for the worse on Sept. 17.”

But don’t you worry your pretty little head about it, Sweet Thang. Maverick is going to get money from Cowboy to give to Wall Street and it will surely trickle down. You follow? No? Heck. Let’s get a six-pack and talk about energy. Drill, baby, drill.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Sarah Palin, terpsichorean

Sarah Palin is ready for her dance with Joe Biden.

Palin, also known as wife of the First Dude, has been studying the mess with the stock market. And she’s got the numbers down cold. A bear market means the kids get no allowance.

Her handlers had Palin rehearse at McCain’s ranch so she would be more comfortable. Palin could see Mexico from Arizona.

Jay Leno thinks she’s ready: “I think she knows all three branches of government.

Full disclosure. All of this is a lift. For two reasons:

(1) to have a little fun, and
(2) to underline how quickly Sarah Palin became a national punch line.

McCain and his handlers from the Bush Administration would have been much smarter to let Palin loose in real-time press conferences where she could have polished her rough spots. The outcome certainly could not have been any worse. It was a mistake in both tactics and strategy.

Breaking News: we’ve found Sarah Palin’s playbook for tonight’s debate between the vice presidential candidates:

http://tinyurl.com/4fu2as

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Veep debates should be a good show

The veep debates haven’t even started and moderator Gwen Ifill is already taking fire for her new book “The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama.” Conservatives say this points to bias – and racism. The book hits the shelves in January.

Review Ifill’s interviews on PBS. She has earned a reputation for even-handedness.

Not me. I’m biased. Without apology.

Ifill has had a rough start. This week, she was carrying a stack of research for the debate when she fell and broke her ankle. The injury won’t stop her from doing the show, however.

Palin will just have to come up with some other excuse if she wants to cancel. (A college professor dryly observed that someone’s grandmother always dies just before mid-terms.) And McCain has a history of canceling campaign events going back years.

Did you see where Dave Letterman caught John McCain in a bald lie about canceling a guest shot because the senator had to get back to Washington for the economic crisis? Instead, McCain was caught on camera getting make up for an interview with Katie Couric. In fact, McCain did not go to Washington until the next day.

Question: if McCain will lie to David Letterman, what makes you think McCain will tell the truth to you?

I told you I was biased -- but that's a good question.

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