Talk about giving the finger to Wall Street.
I'm afraid a lot of people are going to credit or blame right-wing conservatives for the failure of this bailout package today.
Before you follow their lead, consider that both Tom Udall and Steve Pearce voted against it, while Heather Wilson voted for it.
What does this mean? Well, my interpretation is that people who hug the middle were for it, while those who are further along the spectrum, either left or right, simply weren't having it.
To the left, it was a fat bailout of Wall Street banks without any provisions that would also bailout struggling homeowners. I have to admit, I'm feeling this one. Not only would it be just and fair to spread the largess around, I also don't quite get why we'd saddle ourselves with mortgage debt without also trying to keep those homeowners paying their bills.
To the right, it was simply socialism. Not quite sure how they can keep on this track so I'll let the folks over at Rio Grande Foundation clue us in on this one. Frankly, I think its clear that capitalism would implode without government interference--and as we have continually lessened regulation over time this is our lesson. We're having to learn it, *again.*
And just who are these middle people?
I tend to think they're the establishment people. You know, instead of left/right, they converge in the middle and look to the top. Just a thought...
Monday, September 29, 2008
This had my tongue wagging along with just about every person I know. What was up with that? Does it show a condescending attitude on the part of McCain? Or was it a sign of that famous temper he has?
Talking Points Memo suggests it may be the temper, if an account by Jonathan Weisman in the Washington Post about that high-level meeting in Washington D.C. last Thursday regarding the Wall Street bailout package is any indication:
Jonathan Weisman has a fascinating, even riveting narrative of what went down in Washington on Thursday as John McCain made his play to commandeer the high-level negotiations over the bailout bill. And TPM Reader TW called my attention to a passage that may help to explain the smoldering hostility that made it impossible for McCain even to make eye contact with Barack Obama during last night’s debate.
TPM has the relevant passage from the Washington Post story here.
My visit to Legacy Christian Church on Sunday was interesting not only for the political angle, but also for my own personal reflection. I rarely go to church, but as many of you know I was raised to be a churchgoer, and not just in a passive Sunday morning service kind of way. For this reason, being in church, regardless of the type, isn’t a strange experience for me.
Around 9:30 Sunday morning I began getting ready to go to Legacy. As I was automatically putting on a skirt, it dawned on me that a lot of women at the service would probably be wearing slacks. After all, when I watched the early morning service online, I noticed women in slacks on the stage. Nonetheless, I had almost a gut reaction that I had to wear a skirt. I’ve noticed this over the years when going to other services as well, or simply walking into churches wearing anything but a dress. Even as a tourist. I always notice it. Personally, I think this is somewhat amazing…that something can be so inculcated that it pops up like this decades removed from my childhood.
While I was at the service, I had a moment of wishing I was still a churchgoer, of missing that Sunday morning community. Fast on the heels of that came this strong feeling that if I were going to go to church it wouldn’t be at Legacy. Not because of the message, but because it simply isn’t my culture. And frankly, I think I'd have this reaction regardless of what church I visited.
Where I’m from, we do things differently. Our prayers are different, our way of interacting is different, and our services are most definitely different. This isn’t a bad thing, just an observation about my reactions.
None of this means that I couldn't integrate into a different church just fine. It's just a description of some gut reactions I had, based in feelings rather than logic. It strongly occurred to me that when it comes to just visiting, I kind of prefer the church I grew up in. And I think this is about culture more than anything else. This past Sunday morning I definitely had a bit of insight into how my upbringing influenced my own personality. Indeed, I’m a product of my environment in many ways. And you guys can decipher that however you wish.
Ps: I should say that aside from general disagreements I have with the message being disseminated from the pulpit at Legacy, in general I liked the pastor. When I compare him to a lot of other evangelical pastors (that I’ve mainly seen on television), I liked his style and persona. He was low-key but a charismatic speaker at the same time.
After the first debate on Thursday, I was struck by something happening over on CNN: the table's initial reactions to the debate were significantly more pro-Obama than my own. In fact, a live focus group on CNN gave Obama a resounding debate "win" over McCain, which led their website coverage the next day. On Sunday, a USA Today/Gallup poll showed the same thing: Obama "won" the debate by 12 points.
These findings are curious to me, and I wonder why my own perceptions are not more aligned with other debate-watchers. I think most of us live-blogging, and much of the media as well, felt that Obama missed a lot of opportunities, and that the debate was no more than a draw. But a 12-point Obama win, according to a random sample? How could such a difference in perception be explained?
It also occurs to me that many of us likely rated Al Gore and John Kerry's debate performances much higher than most Americans, yet now we're rating Obama's debate performance lower than most Americans. What gives?
I wonder if we're so nervous about this election and our expectations are so high, that we've lost perspective on how well our own candidates reads to the American people. I wonder if the last two elections have turned out so badly for us that we expect at any moment for the worst to happen. I wonder if as much as we fervently believe the American people had to have had enough of Republican policies and all they have wrought, we fear they can still be swayed by the politics of fear and negativity that paved the way for our losses these last eight years. Are we all hopeless cynics by now?
I wonder also how our perceptions will play out against the nation's come Thursday night. Is this same group of us who felt that Obama did worse than the country thought he did harder on and more embarrassed by Sarah Palin than everyone else? In many ways, this will be the first snapshot of American opinion about Palin since her disastrous interviews. The only polls we've seen about her come from the first week she was nominated. How will the expectations game play out three days from now?
I'm itching to find out.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Saturday, September 27, 2008
As a child, Paul Newman was one of my favorite actors. I was especially struck as a young person by Cool Hand Luke -- truly a great anti-establishment movie although I didn't know it then. That egg-eating scene is pretty remarkable. I also love Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, which is a pretty unique addition to the western genre--very 70s. I've probably seen all of his early movies, and most of the later ones. I never got tired of watching Paul Newman act, like I do with some long-time actors who seem to rely on the same bag of tricks in every movie. Newman was pretty fabulous from the beginning all the way to the end.
Friday, September 26, 2008
Well, McCain has decided to debate Obama tonight after all. I'd like to point out that while McCain said he was suspending his campaign, in fact it continued to barrel ahead on the ground all over the country. Also, it appeared to me that inserting himself into the negotiations in D.C. didn't help things. If anything, it came across as politicking and may have actually derailed it all. Then, this morning he actually accused Obama of using the meeting at the White House yesterday for political purposes. This from the man who manufactured the reason Obama had to be there in the first place. It all looked like political theater from my couch in Albuquerque, that's all I'm saying.
Anyhow, it seems we are to have a debate, instead of an Obama town hall. Check back here...we'll be having a good time hashing it out in real time.
(join the conversation in the comments)
7:00 First Question: Watch'ya gonna do about the economy
Obama: oversight, possibility of getting the money back and equity investment, CEO pay reigned in, helping homeowners
This is a final verdict on 8 failed years of George Bush...and John McCain
McCain: haven't been feeling so great lately, but feel better now because of the bi-partisanship to solve it. the magnitude of the crisis--the greatest fiscal crisis of our time. ok: oversight, loans to small business.
Obama: We've got to be accountable all the time not just during a crisis. The fundamentals of our economy...are not sound. We have to be concerned with the crisis of ordinary people week in and week out. Not just when wall street is in trouble.
McCain: We gotta fix. But I have a fundamental belief in the American worker.
7:10 ish: Are there fundamental differences in your approaches?
McCain: I would reign in spending. He wouldn't. He is the earmark guy.
Obama: Earmarks account for 18 billion dollars in last years budget. he's proposing 300 billion dollars in tax cuts to wealthy people. I think 95% of working families need tax cuts.
McCain is taking aim at pork barrel spending. Obama is taking aim at tax cuts for rich people instead of working people.
McCain....Hello! Look at Obama!
McCain, if you hadn't noticed, won't look at Obama.
McCain wants to have two tax brackets...is that what he said? He'd get rid of progressive taxation!
From the comment section:
I cannot believe McCain just spewed the lie - AGAIN - that folks making $40K will have higher taxes under Obama. It's been misproven, and here we need Lehrer to make that point, too. All news orgs discredited that McCain statement. -- Maggie
I love that Obama keeps calling McCain "John," but McCain avoids looking OR referring to Obama. Can he not pronounce "Barack"? Afraid he'll slip? -- Mjae
Obama: says some things will have to be delayed but some things can't be delayed...have to get on track to becoming energy independence. And we can't delay health care. Rock on!
McCain: we have to examine every department of government and cut spending.
ok...but what of your priorities will be delayed, John? Do you have proactive priorities?
Obama: John calls me liberal, but thats mostly been me just opposing Bushes wrongheaded policies.
McCain says we need a spending freeze on everything but defense and veterans.
Obama says that's like using a hatchet instead of a scalpel.
Lehrer isn't having any of their answers...how's the bailout going to affect the big picture of your presidency he wants to know.
Obama: no doubt its going to affect our budget. no doubt there will be tough decisions...in order to make those we have to know what our values and priorities are. if doing that is $300 billion in tax cuts for the wealthy and leaving out health care then he's your guy.
McCain: well I want to make sure we aren't turning over the health care system to the government. OH....the Socialist Bogeyman!
McCain: the problem is that spending is out of control.
Obama: John, its been your prez, who you've voted with 90% of the time, who presided over all this spending.
McCain: I'm a maverick!! I opposed the torture!!
7:39: What is the lesson of Iraq?
McCain: You can't have a failed strategy that causes you to nearly lose a conflict. (I don't think I accurately caught that--it was quite convoluted!) We're winning in Iraq.
Obama: Should we have gone into the war in the first place?
From the comments:
Thank you! Finally Obamam isnt being so nice anymore -- Kat
Note to McCain: You can't use cute catch phrases twice or they lose their luster. Haven't you learned anything from your esteemed VP pick? -- Maggie
Obama's first line about lessons in Iraq should be about not having gone there to begin with... -- Trevor
Back to the big boys...
McCain: It's no longer about whether or not we should have gone into Iraq. It's about the surge.
Obama: Yes, that's a tactic in 2007, a tactic in a war that started in 2003. You were wrong all the way through those years. The question is one of judgment.
McCain: But there's progress! and he defunded the troops!
Obama: He opposed funding for troops in a legislation that had a timetable. I had a problem with legislation with no timetable. The question is about wisdom. Afghanistan has deteriorated...McCain said there was no threat there...and most acknowledge now that the war on terror starts and ends there.
From the comments:
Obama doesn't know the difference between a tactic and a strategy? Obama should have responded that he does, and the difference is a Palin pick versus the Biden one. -- Yeva
This is good stuff....even if Obama loses this question 10-9, he's not backing down and he sounds strong and decisive -- Trevor
7:50: Afghanistan, Obama, do you think more U.S. troops should go there?
Obama: yes, as quickly as possible. Al Quaida is the threat, and the central front is there.
McCain: we have lessons to learn from Afghanistan, from history. he'd attack Pakistan.
Obama: coming from you...who threatened extinction of North Korea and bombing Iran...
McCain: I have a bracelet
Obama: I have a bracelet too
From the comments:
Did you love how he looked pointedly at McCain when he said the troop numbers in Iraq vs Afghanistan was a "strategic" mistake??? -- Mary Beth
What McCain just said "If you're gonna pull a gun on someone, you'd better be prepared to pull the trigger..." that was an exact quote for one of my soap opera's this morning. lol. -- Kat
Oh snap! "Sung songs about bombing Iran"!??!?! -- Saleem
It's interesting to note the difference between McCain speaking capably based on his own beliefs and knowledge base...and blatantly pandering to the right. -- Byzek
Text from one of Anne's colleagues "McCain is GI Joe!" -- Heather
I agree with that, Jeff... David Brooks' column today basically got to that point too. McCain as Senator as opposed to McCain as Presidential Candidate -- Maggie
8:03: What is your reading of the threat from Iran?
McCain: if they aquire nukes its an existential threat to Israel. we can affect Iranian behavior through a collaboration with our allies...a league of democracies.
Obama: if Iran gets nukes, its a real threat and could set off an arms race. we have to do this through tough diplomacy and collaboration with all countries.
McCain: he'd talk to the bad guys!!
Obama: I reserve the right as Potus to meet with anyone of my choosing if I think it'll keep Americans safe. Kissinger, one of his own advisers, said we should meet without pre-conditions. This does not involve inviting them over for tea. And he doesn't even want to meet with Spain!
McCain: I've known Kissinger for 35 years!!
From the comments:
Ok, but why are we acting like North Korea has anything to do with "talking to them" instead of "giving them lots of money"? -- Byzek
8:16: And Russia? What's up there?
Obama: a resurgent Russia is a threat to peace and stability
McCain: I looked into Putin's eyes and saw three letters: the K the G and the B
From the comments:
It always baffles me how candidates in debates will talk about other regimes as if they're not going to hear what was said. -- Byzek
why doesn't McCain bring up how Palin is neighbors with Russia, ya know? -- Mary Beth
McCain's opening line on Russia should have been, "I can't see Russia from my house but..." Heather
McCain says Obama doesn't have enough experience, in a nutshell. (palin anyone?)
Obama says national security is about economic security at home.
McCain: Oh...and by the way, I served in Vietnam!!
NPR had a great, if disturbing, story about 30 Christian churches that are planning to flagrantly violate the prohibition against advocating or opposing political candidates from the pulpit.
As tax-exempt organizations -- receiving a financial benefit from the federal government -- there must be a separation of church and state. Churches are free to talk issues, advocate for positions, etc., but the line is drawn when it comes to using tax-free dollars to campaign for or against candidates. That's separation of church and state, and it's a HUGE part of our constitution that ensures freedoms for the wide range of diversity of religions and churches in this nation.
It appears some Christian pastors feel they're above all that.
"Bottom line is, I'm a spiritual leader in this community, and spiritual leaders need to make decisions. We need to lead spiritually, and we need to be able to speak about the moral issues of the day. And right now, the moral issues of today are also the political issues of today," Pastor Gus Booth said.
Pastor Booth will endorse Republican nominee John McCain — four months after delivering a sermon opposing the two main candidates seeking the Democratic presidential nomination.
In May, Booth told his 150 congregants of the Warroad Community Church in Warroad, Minn., that the next president will determine policy on issues like same-sex marriage and abortion."If you're a Christian, you cannot support a candidate like Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton," Booth said.
...Booth sent an article about his sermon to the IRS so the agency wouldn't miss it. He and his elders knew he would be jeopardizing the church's tax-exempt status."Big deal," he said. He added that he can get it back the next day because churches are automatically tax-exempt.
Besides, he said, electing "Godly people is more important than money."
Pastor Booth is not alone on this one. Now over 3o pastors plan this Sunday to preach politics from the pulpit and campaign with tax-free money to a captive audience. Oh my, but would I love for there to be media coverage of any walk-outs.
Two weeks ago, more than 100 pastors squeezed into a hotel meeting room in Washington, D.C., to learn about the Pulpit Initiative, a brain child of the conservative legal group, Alliance Defense Fund."What's been happening is that the government has been able to go into the pulpits of America, look over the pastor's shoulder, and parse the content of their sermon. And that's unconstitutional," [Defense Fund lawyer] Stanley said. "No government official should entangle itself with religion in that way."
[Ohio Pastor Eric Williams] says it's also the attempt of some churches to move aggressively into politics."I ask myself, 'Hmm. Why would a religious leader want to oppose a candidate? Why would a religious leader want to stand up and ask for my support for a candidate who's running for office?' They want to gain influence in the governmental process," Williams said.
..."My concern is that an extreme segment of the Christian faith today is seeking to establish themselves as the public religion of our nation," Williams said.
This is such an important issue. We see what's happened as fundamentalist Christians have tried to hijack the Republican party, making candidates like McCain stray far from their voting records to court the "base."
And you can bet these same pastors, if liberal or (God-forbid) Muslim churches started campaigning from the pulpit, would be screaming bloody murder for government intervention - calling for National Guard troops or CIA-infiltration to stop them.
It's gross, it's irresponsible, hypocriticical, and unconstitutional. I am glad that I belong to a church that actually stays hypervigilant about protecting this line between issues and political campaigns and will cut a speaker off mid-sentence if they appear ready to cross it. That's protecting EVERYONE's religious freedoms.
Big hat tip to The Fix, which spotted an Internet ad the McCain campaign already purchased for tomorrow's wallstreetjournal.com. According to the ad, "McCain Wins Debate!" Kind of difficult to win if you're don't even bother to show up, don't you think?
See the ad here.
BREAKING NEWS: AP says John McCain will attend the debate after all. Did the ad shame him into it?!
Maggie reposts one of the best campaign statements she can recall:
"John McCain sought to change the subject from his out-of-touch response to the economic crisis with a big announcement that he was 'suspending' his campaign. But the only thing McCain really wants suspended is the American people's disbelief. In fact, he's been in full campaign mode the entire time...
"When McCain finally arrived in Washington, almost twenty-four hours after his announcement -- and after Congressional leadership announced a deal in principle -- he huddled with his lobbyist campaign advisors while his running mate held a political rally and his political spokesmen and surrogates were out in full force, continuing to attack Barack Obama.
"So make no mistake: John McCain did not 'suspend' his campaign. He just turned a national crisis into an occasion to promote his campaign. It's become just another political stunt, aimed more at shoring up the Senator's political fortunes than the nation's economy. And it does nothing to help advance this critical legislation to protect the American people during this time of economic crisis."
Bonus Speculation, via The Atlantic:
Marc Ambinder: "The CW in Washington this morning is that McCain's suggestion for the grand, high-stakes summit meeting was the very thing that caused all of Washington to explode."
Thursday, September 25, 2008
The video clips of Palin's interview with Katie Couric are good, but lets look at this one first. It's a CNN video montage of her press handlers shooing away the press during her two day whirlwind through NYC meeting important men earlier this week. I've been chuckling about it all day.
hat tip to Peter St. Cyr, who had his own 32 second moment before being separated from the Alaskan Governor.
Maggie points out:
The Rumproast tally of "McCain/Palin's EPIC FAIL day. (Via Bethany.)
Quoted verbatim (except that I took out an f-word for Mr. C):
"I haven’t seen anyone compile everything that turned sour for McCain and Palin yesterday, so let me take a stab at it. If I missed anything, please let me know in the comments.
- The NY Times reports that Rick Davis’ lobbying firm was receiving 15,000 a month up until last month from Freddie Mac.
- Campbell Brown’s “Free Sarah Palin” rant on CNN goes viral.
- New Washington Post/ABC News poll shows Obama up nine points over McCain.
- New Fox News poll shows Obama up six points over McCain.
- The National Inquirer releases the identity of the man Sarah Palin allegedly had an affair with in ‘96.
- A super creepy video of Palin’s former “witch hunter” pastor laying hands on her in ‘05 starts circulating via YouTube. [UPDATE: It gets even worse.]
- Palin’s interview with Katie Couric is a full-blown disaster.
- The media and punditry immediately call bullshit on John McCain’s blatantly transparent political stunt of “suspending” his campaign and asking for Friday’s debate to be postponed. Morning roundup here.
- Obama doesn’t fall for McCain’s bullshit.
- Neither does the American public.
- Alaskan state rep calls for investigation into tampering by McCain campaign for interference in Troopergate investigation.
- David Letterman turns hard on McCain for canceling his appearance on the Late Show (and lying about the reason) and fills the vacancy with one of McCain’s harshest media critics, Keith Olbermann.
- Right after Letterman’s show, Craig Ferguson eviscerates McCain as well.
- Internal talking points about McCain’s campaign suspension are accidentally emailed to the media.
- Laura Bush says Palin lacks foreign policy experience.
- It’s revealed that McCain met with former Clinton supporter Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild while Obama was waiting for him to return his phone call about the financial crisis.
Okay, I’m exhausted, but I’m sure I’ll be adding more. In all of my way-too-long adult life, I’ve never seen a presidential campaign have a worse day than what the McCain/Palin camp endured yesterday. Let me know what else I missed (or got wrong) and stay tuned."
Did anyone hear or see clips of Katie Couric's Sarah Palin interview last night or this morning? WOW.
Once again we see Palin ignoring the specific questions in order to recite campaign talking points, taking very long pauses after a question is asked, and trying to use her "aw shucks" charm to get out of a tough moment.
To think the McCain camp is trying to get out of the VP debate with a straight face!
Video here (if I wasn't at work - thanks corporate filter! - I'd load the video onto this post, bc you've gotta see it).
My favorite part:
Couric: But [McCain]'s been in Congress for 26 years. He's been chairman of the powerful Commerce Committee. And he has almost always sided with less regulation, not more.
Palin: He's also known as the maverick though, taking shots from his own party, and certainly taking shots from the other party. Trying to get people to understand what he's been talking about - the need to reform government.
Couric: But can you give me any other concrete examples? Because I know you've said Barack Obama is a lot of talk and no action. Can you give me any other examples in his 26 years of John McCain truly taking a stand on this?
Palin: I can give you examples of things that John McCain has done, that has shown his foresight, his pragmatism, and his leadership abilities. And that is what America needs today.
Couric: I'm just going to ask you one more time - not to belabor the point. Specific examples in his 26 years of pushing for more regulation.
Palin: I'll try to find you some and I'll bring them to you.
Side note: Palin's accent kills me. You've gotta watch the video to see the transcript come to life.
I also love Couric doing this interview, because the gender dynamic there is neutralized. Palin's "aw shucks"-ness, her big smiles after giving an answer that is completely preposterous, go absolutely nowhere with Couric. They didn't go anywhere with Charlie Gibson either, but having a woman interviewing Palin prevents that sexist critique McCain so loves to apply to professional interviews. Sitting next to an intelligent, professional, aware woman like Couric, Palin's inexperience screams even louder.
"I've proposed that the federal government reduce the risk posed by these troubled assets, and supply urgently-needed money so banks and other financial institutions can avoid collapse and resume lending."
Early on in his address to the nation last night, George Bush said he proposed the bail-out plan. I realize this is pretty standard--the work of his administration is "his" work.
But his almost complete absence from the round-the-clock frantic work during this economic crisis makes it glaringly obvious that he didn't propose the plan...hence my immediate thought that, wait, it's Paulson and Bernanke proposing that bailout.
It's been Paulson and Bernanke running the show these last few weeks, not Bush.
And when I heard him claim the bail-out as his proposal I couldn't help but wonder, who's really been running the show for the past 8 years?
Then as he droned on with his high schoolish economics lesson...as if the American public hadn't already done their homework for the past few weeks figuring it out on their own...I kept waiting for him to cop to the fact that he's leaving us in the hole.
A big financial hole due to not just this bailout, but to the outrageous sums he's spent on war-making, the degree to which he's let our foreign debt grow, and his inability to accept that taxation is necessary to run the government.
But he never did.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
McCain wants to cancel the debate in order to "...return to Washington to focus on the nation's financial problems."
That article has him meeting with his financial advisers, something Obama did last week.
To McCain and the Republicans:
This election IS going to happen, regardless of the economy. The American public is highly anticipating this debate--because we deserve to make our own assessment of who is best suited to get us out of this mess.
So stop trying to duck the debate.
"Suspends campaigning," huh? Really? How convenient. Does anyone actually believe that?
I don't suppose that keeping the debate as scheduled would be a valuable opportunity for McCain to demonstrate to America why he should be elected President, then? Because from my vantage point, now's a better time than ever for the country to actually listen to what these two have to say about domestic policy, and to do so in two days.
But it does look oh so presidential to cancel events in an attempt to gain some momentum. I will give him that.
I'm finding Campbell Brown really interesting these days. First, the interview and its repercussions, and now, she's writing that the McCain campaign's ban on media access to Sarah Palin is sexist.
It's an interesting way to turn the McCain camp's own lines around on them. McCain says that media critiques of Palin have been sexist, and so therefore the media won't be allowed to interview his VP. Campbell's saying that by not giving Palin the chance to defend herself, McCain is himself sexist.
I call upon the McCain campaign to stop treating Sarah Palin like she is a delicate flower who will wilt at any moment.This woman is from Alaska, for crying out loud. She is strong, she is tough, she is confident. And you claim she is ready to be one heartbeat away from the presidency. If that is the case, then end this chauvinistic treatment of her now. Allow her to show her stuff.
Now of course, I think many of us do believe that McCain is in fact chauvinistic, but I think we can all agree that the real reason the media isn't allowed to interact with Palin is because McCain doesn't want her to make a mistake or show her inexperienced cards. But this spin puts him in an interesting corner. She's calling on McCain to either grant the access he fears because of very real, non-sexist reasons, or to stop calling others sexist when they're simply trying to do their jobs.
I guess marrying Republicans doesn't cloud over everyone's vision. ;-)
I've largely not weighed in about the comments of Bernalillo County Republican Party Chairman Fernando C. de Baca because they just seemed so over the top. Better to just let my reporting buddies ferret it all out, which they did--go to the blogs of Heath Haussamen and Peter St. Cyr for all the ins and outs.
The truth is that Hispanics came here as conquerors," he said. "African-Americans came here as slaves. Hispanics consider themselves above blacks. They won't vote for a black president.
In the course of talking to him [BBC Reporter Jon Kelly], I explained that some of the older generation people, like my grandfather, would always tells us as youngsters that Hispanics came here, I guess it was their way of having us, lifting our spirits, and they would say remember your ancestors came here as conquerors. And those were his [grandfather’s] words. And then they would draw the comparison of the other groups, the Native Americans and so on.
C. de Baca has had time to grow with the rest of us in this regard. But when an actual taped interview with another BBC reporter surfaced, it becomes very clear that dismay and upset over C. de Baca’s comments are well-founded. Here's what he said on tape--again, the highlights are mine:
I feel strongly that Hispanics will not support, in my generation and the generation around my age, are not going to support the Democratic candidate for president primarily because there is a strong feeling that African Americans during the civil rights movement took advantage, full advantage, of all the benefits and programs that the government offered, that were supposed to be offered to all minorities. But we were left behind, we were left sucking air, and we resented that ever since the 60s, and I don’t see how a black president is going to change that.
C. de Baca has been explaining his comments to anyone who will listen, and would like for us to all understand that he was speaking about OTHER Hispanics, rather than himself. He says he was just explaining the reality that Hispanics in an older generation aren't going to vote for a man who is black.
I could get this explanation had his comments not sounded so First Person and so Matter of Fact.
But despite the fact that all the big-wig Republicans in the state, including Bernalillo County's own Darren White, who is running for Congress, have condemned the comments and called for C. de Baca's resignation, the Bernalillo County Republicans aren't having it.
Local attorney and executive board member of the Bernco Republicans Doug Antoon was interviewed by St. Cyr about their decision to not give C. de Baca the boot. The audio is hard to hear (for me) but Heath Haussamen has given a good synopsis.
Not to mention, Antoon said, the BBC is a bunch of Liberals:
Antoon accused BBC News of being “a rather very liberal international broadcasting company.” He said the organization was taking C. de Baca’s comment -- that Hispanics won’t vote for a black president because, as conquerors, they consider themselves above blacks, who came to America as slaves -- out of context because of its political agenda.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Sunday, September 21, 2008
When we were all live blogging here during Obama's speech at the Democratic convention in Denver, my 8 year old niece Mylah was watching and taking notes. This is her report about what he said, with some personal comments at the end.
The government should help us, not turn away.
When Mr. Obama is President, he will do more to make sure that every kid in America gets a good education.
When Mr. Obama is President, he will make sure that all health insurance companies in America pay what they are supposed to pay and that it will be easier for everyone, even poor people to get health insurance.
We should all put our Country first.
Like Mr. Obama said "Change doesn't come from Washington, it comes to Washington."
We can't turn back to the past 8 years.
I think that Mr. Obama will make it possible for us as a country to move forward.
Sometimes I feel like I don't fit in, and it would be awesome to have a President that looks just like me.
God Bless America.
Friday, September 19, 2008
Just in case you don't quite understand what "bail-out" means...here is part of Paulson's statement this morning justifying the massive one that's happening as we speak:
The federal government must implement a program to remove these illiquid assets that are weighing down our financial institutions and threatening our economy. This troubled asset relief program must be properly designed and sufficiently large to have maximum impact, while including features that protect the taxpayer to the maximum extent possible. The ultimate taxpayer protection will be the stability this troubled asset relief program provides to our financial system, even as it will involve a significant investment of taxpayer dollars. I am convinced that this bold approach will cost American families far less than the alternative – a continuing series of financial institution failures and frozen credit markets unable to fund economic expansion.
FYI: "Remove" means "Buy"
So, here is what he said:
The banks are paralyzed--they are refusing to issue credit.
Since the world goes round due to the American average person's credit-backed consumption, the lack of credit is Really Bad.
The government experts think the solution is for us (as in, you and me) to purchase "illiquid assets" (mortgages) from the investment banks.
By doing so, we show that the taxpayer will always ultimately be willing to back the banks. We let those guys survive, so they can go back to giving us credit.
I believe this is the concept. and, Paulson says, it'll be less painful for us than the alternative...
Thursday, September 18, 2008
From the East Texas inbox today:
So I saw Obama was out your way today, McCain got yelled at during a town hall meeting by an anti-war group. That was funny.
And I HEAR that "Community organizers" don't have any REAL responsibilities so I was wondering if I can come work for you because I just despise responsibility. lol. If I have to hear Sara Palin's nasally voice one more time I'm gonna vomit.
...AND I DON'T like the fact that a poor girl like me who doesn't have enough money to invest any money, has to basically BAIL OUT (federal takeover/loan for big corporations = poor and middle class putting more money in the man's pocket) these rich folks (who do have enough money to invest some money) so they don't lose all their money. Now how is that fair?
Not very fair if you ask me, sister.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
SunCal released a statement yesterday saying that Lehman Brothers has nothing to do with its New Mexico property.
But Lehman Brothers purchased a 20 percent stake in D.E. Shaw, which is the capital partner in the Westland property, back in March 2007. The article on Shaw's website makes it sound like they got a down payment with "future contingent payments."
Maybe things changed between March 2007 and the bankruptcy?
This is germane because the SunCal plans on the west side of Albuquerque are huge...and they want to float bonds backed by taxpayer money to pay for their infrastructure. Otherwise known as Tax Increment Development Districts.
Don't take me wrong. I don't want SunCal to collapse, and I certainly hope D.E. Shaw doesn't. We've had enough.
Plus, I agree that a planned development would be a lot better than anything piece-mealed out there, if its going to happen (which I think should be a question rather than a given).
But the TIDDs have a lot of inherent risk for taxpayers. And at the moment, we're seeing SunCal have major difficulties in other parts of the country.
It really does beg the question: what happens if a company goes bankrupt and can't complete a project after all those bonds have been sold, when the future tax revenue meant to pay the bonds is dependent on completion of the project?
This is a question that applies across the board when it comes to how New Mexico hands these districts out.
I reallllly wish that McCain would turn down the volume on his hypocrisy button. I am in no way suggesting that this only comes from Republicans, but here's the latest example that irks my not-enough-coffee yet brain to no end:
(From Political Wire)
Yesterday, Sen. John McCain "used an appearance before a blue-collar crowd near Youngstown, Ohio, to take a class-tinged shot at Barack Obama," according to Politico.
Said McCain: "He talks about siding with the people just before he flew off for a fundraiser in Hollywood with Barbra Streisand and his celebrity friends... Let me tell you, my friends, there's no place I'd rather be than right here with the working men and women of Ohio."
However, according to the Los Angeles Times, Sen. John McCain spent the previous night at the Intercontinental Hotel in Miami at a $50,000 per person Republican party fundraiser that raised over $5 million.
Look, everyone wants to raise money. We get that. Of course McCain would jump at the chance for a high-dollar fundraiser... and oh look! He in fact did just that the night before! Give me a break.
While I'm at it: stop this ridiculous backpedaling on the "fundamentals of our economy are strong" statement. You said it, so own it. After all, you've supported those same fundamentals with every vote you've ever made in Congress, so why wouldn't you believe they're strong? Trying to lecture us on the definition of the word "fundamentals" is a pathetic joke. Debating definitions didn't work for Bill Clinton, and it won't work for you, John McCain.
But thanks for inventing the Blackberry. How awkward that you don't even know how to use it to check "the e-mails," though.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Carly Fiorina, former CEO of Hewlett Packard and currently one of McCain's economic advisor, has a tendency to speak the truth as she sees it, and it doesn't always go well with politicking...which is not about truth so much as P.R. most of the time.
This time she said she didn't think Sarah Palin was qualified to run Hewlett Packard, and later had to defend the statement...
After asserting that not only couldn't Palin run HP, but that neither could McCain, Obama or Biden, Fiorina went on to say that a major corp was not the same as being Prez or VP.
"It's a fallacy to suggest that the country is like a company," she said.
Hello! Thank you Ms. Fiorina!
So why is it then that the Republicans constantly compare running the country to running a company? It's like a mantra.
Monday, September 15, 2008
Gene takes on the Democrats this morning, wondering where the protesters were when T. Boone Pickens came to town given he was a primary bank-roller of the "swiftboating" of John Kerry.
For those of you who don't remember, that was the emergence of some Vietnam vets and conservative organizations who attacked Kerry's service in the Vietnam war, saying he didn't deserve his Purple Heart or Bronze and Silver medals. The attacks were so loud that they gained a lot of political traction even when virtually every one of the actual crew members who served with Kerry disputed the allegations.
At the time, I personally found it amazing that the Republicans would attack someone who served on a swift boat in Vietnam, given their usual deification of that kind of service.
Anyhow, I can only speculate, but these days I figure a lot of Democrats see Pickens as someone who's come over to the other side in a period in which Republicans have one, and only one it seems, mantra in their playbook: drill, drill, drill.
So, you know, it kinda goes like this-- "lets offer Pickens a little hospitality even if he did attack John Kerry's vietnam war service through rumor and innuendo."
But Gene's warning is a good one: fool me once, shame on you...fool me twice, shame on me. Pickens ain't no Democrat.
I do have one question about the column. Gene repeatedly uses the terms "progressive" and "Democrats" interchangeably. What's up with that? Are all Democrats in New Mexico progressives? Does the word have no meaning? Do tell.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Pine Tree didn't win in end, but Luke's 32-yard interception return set them up for an early lead. Luke is my nephew. This picture was in the paper. Now, every person in the family has a picture without having to buy 20 papers.
Friday, September 12, 2008
From my inbox this morning, a women's roundtable on Palin:
MB: "I didn't stay up for this...but I'm reading about it this morning on Slate. This is by far my favorite passage in the article: 'Palin attempts to fake it for 25 seconds with a swirl of generalities before Gibson, showing all the gentleness of a remedial social studies teacher, interjects.'"
Me: "That clip played on NPR this morning and it was squirmingly good. Of course, she's so full of over-confident crap she doesn't realize once how embarrassed she should be. Also, she said 'nucular' three times. Really."
Y: "She also ignored his calling her out as hubris. Maybe she doesn't know what hubris means?"
Me: "'Straight-talkers' don't use words like hubris. :-) "
MB: "The scary thing to me is that, predictably, Fox news had a headline of 'Palin: Ready to Lead' in regards to this interview. Where in contrast, The Nation's article said something to the effect of 'Ready to lead? She wasn't even ready for this interview.'"
H: "This was on in the background when I was getting ready at the gym last night. I heard her stumble over the Bush Doctrine question. Fortunately, I was standing by a fan to cool off which drowned out most of her annoying accent. Thank God I couldn't see the TV from where I was standing. She annoys the HELL out of me!!! Did y'all see Matt Damon's comments on her? He was hilarious. He basically said that McCain will most likely die in office and she will be our next president. Scary!"
MB: "Matt Damon also said that he demands to know if she thinks dinosaurs were here 4,000 years ago, and that we need to know this because she'd have the "nucular" codes! He seemed so serious; I don't know if he meant to be funny."
H: "I wondered about that comment, too. Did she say somewhere that she thought dinosaurs were here 4,000 years ago?! God help us!"
(Cue our veering off to discuss Matt Damon's hotness, which obviously I started...)
Video clip of Charlie Gibson's interview with Sarah Palin here.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Another bank is suffering from the mortgage crisis fall-out. Actually, the New York Times says Lehman Brothers is in an “all-out fight for its survival.”
The bank was a major underwriter of mortgage-related securities before the subprime crisis hit, and its shares are down 90 percent from last year. Its situation wasn’t helped this week when its stocks lost 45 percent of their value in the wake of the Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae bail-out:
Lehman’s announcement came a day after the bank’s shares plunged 45 percent to $7.79 a share following reports that its efforts to secure a strategic investment from Korea Development Bank had failed. Investors also feared that the federal government would not bail out Lehman as it has mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and investment bank Bear Stearns.
From the sounds of that, Lehman went looking to Korea for a bail-out.
The bank’s managers say it’s an “extraordinary time” for their industry and “one of the toughest periods in the firm’s history.” Their plan for survival is to retrench. They’ll reduce their balance sheet and focus on their “client-facing businesses.”
Significant balance sheet reductions may involve investments the bank has in California’s SunCal Corporation.
The Wall Street Journal devoted significant space to SunCal in its examination last week of the bank's problems.
SunCal is the largest land developer in the western U.S., according to the WSJ. Here in New Mexico, the company made quite a splash last year by buying the 57,000 acre Atrisco Land Grant on Albuquerque’s west side from the Atrisco heirs for $250 million.
Since the Atrisco acquisition, SunCal has aggressively pursued the creation of tax increment development districts. These districts would funnel future tax revenue to pay off bonds sold to finance infrastructure for the company’s development of the land grant acreage. The company refers to itself as Westland in New Mexico.
The Wall Street Journal report describes Lehman's activities with SunCal in California as a "bet":
The bank had investments to the tune of $2.2 billion in SunCal that have been written down to $1.6 billion, and the WSJ says those write offs could keep happening.
The Wall Street Journal also sheds some light on SunCal Corporation and its business practices:
SunCal was founded as a modest real-estate company by Boris Elieff, a Macedonian immigrant who moved to California from Chicago during the 1930s, worked for a local bank and started buying up distressed property.
His sons, Bruce and Stephan, have expanded the business into the largest land developer in the Western U.S., acquiring 250,000-house lots that were valued at $4 billion at the peak.
“We often couldn’t compete with them,” says Robert McLeod, CEO of Newland Communities, a large land developer. “They often outbid us.”
SunCal spokesman David Soyka says: “With the benefit of hindsight, it appears that everyone overpaid at the peak in this unprecedented credit crunch.”
Others were clamoring for a piece of SunCal during the boom period. In late 2005, Lehman syndicated $320 million in loans on several SunCal projects.
The properties include the 2,000-acre McAllister Ranch in Bakersfield, Calif., which was supposed to give rise to 6,000 homes and a professional golf course. Today it is a shimmering expanse of construction debris and dirt, and is in default on some of its debt. By contrast, some of the Lehman-SunCal better-situated properties include 248 acres on the Orange County waterfront and a parcel overlooking a country club adjacent to Beverly Hills.
The Orange County Business Journal last spring provides a more in-depth look at the relationship between SunCal and Lehman Brothers, as well as a more detailed look at the problems with SunCal projects.
But, it doesn't indicate any problems in New Mexico.
In fact, the company's chief operating officer told the Journal at the time that "certain submarkets are holding up better than others."
The SunCal property in New Mexico was not financed by Lehman Brothers and a SunCal public affairs representative told the Albuquerque Journal last March that the "issues" with some of the companies other developments "have no bearing on Westland" since it's a legal entity separate from other SunCal projects.
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
Here's my explanatory bit on the form based codes being considered by the EPC at the moment:
Green Growth Gambit
Depending on whom you talk to, five new zoning codes currently being considered by Albuquerque’s Environmental Planning Commission are either a positive step forward, toward less sprawl and more transit-oriented development, or they’re potentially a Trojan horse that will allow developers to more easily deviate from existing neighborhood sector plans.
The new codes are called “form-based,” which is a wonky way to describe a new way of regulating how the city develops.
Instead of focusing on how land can be used, as traditional zoning does, form-based zones regulate the form and type of a building, and how it relates to the street and the surrounding neighborhood in general.
The idea is that the encouragement of a certain type of built environment will create mixed-use, pedestrian friendly and transit oriented development, which Albuquerque’s long-range plans call for.
it's long...you can read the rest on NMI
Monday, September 08, 2008
In lieu of a real post, because I've been on mental vacation today:
- Watched the premiere of The Rachel Maddow Show tonight... whoopee! My girl makes me grin, played spooky clips of Sarah Palin speaking to her church in June, AND calls Pat Buchanan "Uncle Pat." Love!
- Here in Dallas, the "10 Most Beautiful Women" contest is sponsored by a plastic surgeon. Only in Dallas. Or maybe LA. Vegas?
- Reading Revolutionary Road, and cringing my way through its beautiful, biting prose. From a few months back: Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bronx is Burning: 1977, Baseball, Politics, and the Battle for the Soul of a City is the kind of book I'd love to write.
- Speaking of baseball, spent yesterday watching the Sox spank the Rangers, which featured a monster homerun from Papi (otherwise known as Mr. Best Smile Ever). And a four-year-old briefed me on Mike Lowell's injury status, which might tell you something about the stellar parenting that young boy enjoys. ;-)
- Can't wait for the poll bounce to go back down... couldn't stomach any of the poll results this weekend at all.
- Still beaming about Marjorie's foray into fashion writing
- We're spending the weekend in Charleston. Any tips?
Sunday, September 07, 2008
From my letter to the editor inbox today comes this note from fellow blogger M.G. Bralley, who while photographing the McCain/Palin rally here in Albuquerque yesterday became more and more puzzled by Cindy McCain's peacock look.
I didn't know you're the fashion tipster, but I have a question;
Republican Presidential candidate Sen. John McCain's wife Cindy arrived in Albuquerque yesterday wearing a fluorescent green dress with a fluorescent orange vest.
Is she being flashy trying to upstage Governor Sarah Palin because her husband has a younger woman intruding into his life or did she have to match her brightly colored sprained arm's bandage?
Just trying to figure you women out.
Well, Mark, I know we can be pretty darn hard to figure out. But in this case, let me lay your mind to rest. I highly doubt this is indicative of one of those cat-fights you guys always like to imagine.
No, what we have here is more evidence of Cindy McCain's penchant for designer clothes, plain and simple. And hey, can't blame a wealthy woman for wanting to look spectacular. I think she looks pretty darn good.
Ps. As to the cast, I do think she could do a better job of color coordination...there's a little clashing going on there.
Pss. Love the picture you took of both McCain and the Palin hubby hitching up their pants at the same time. Now that might indicate something...but you guys are gonna have to fill us gals in on that one.
These photos were taken by Mark at the McCain/Palin rally yesterday. Nice job, as ever!
Saturday, September 06, 2008
The fashionistas over at Vanity Fair are getting in on the political game. Since the notion that Barack Obama is an elitist is being pushed by the R's they figured they'd break down the pricetag of one of Cindy McCain's outfits during the RNC. Their fashion experts tell us that if her earrings are the real deal, she was wearing in the ballpark of $300,000 last Tuesday night:
Oscar de la Renta dress: $3,000
Chanel J12 White Ceramic Watch: $4,500
Three-carat diamond earrings: $280,000
Four-strand pearl necklace: $11,000–$25,000
Shoes, designer unknown: $600
Total: Between $299,100 and $313,100
In their words, the price of a Scottsdale split-level hanging from her ears.
Thursday, September 04, 2008
It says a lot, I think, that I'm calm and bored enough listening to the McCain speech to keep it playing in the background without risk of an angry blood clot... But what's there to get riled up about? It couldn't be any milder or full of holes. But maybe he's revving up for a big finale. ;-)
I love Jay Smooth. I hope you guys check his stuff out. Here's his bit on last night's mock-fest at the RNC.
I'm much less entertaining and witty than Jay Smooth, but I had more to say about last night's mockery of community organizing, which you can read below. You know, Rudy G. was off the charts on the topic, but I've reserved my comments for her...since I'm asked to consider her presidential material.
How did white women win the vote, Mrs. Palin?
Sarah Palin may have shown last night that she was chosen as Vice Presidential running mate to John McCain primarily for her penchant for mockery. Because next to personal descriptions of herself and her family, that's what she did in her address to the Republican National Convention, with a light dose of policy here and there.
I could write off most of it as just a bunch of politicking without much substance, and get a kick out of her obvious ability to deliver a line. But then she got to her mockery of community organizing, and I all of a sudden realized I actually was finding out something about Sarah Palin.
Community organizing, at its most basic level, is about bringing ordinary people together so that they can have more power to make their voices heard. Heard by decision makers, that is.
Palin, through her disparagement, is telling us that she's been the kind of elected official who ignores or even opposes the work of grassroots community groups. Because I simply refuse to believe there are no community organizers in Alaska.
Read the rest of this commentary over on NMI
It's clear from Sarah Palin's speech last night that she doesn't know any community organizers, which says a lot about her as a mayor and a governor.
You know, folks in the community organizing world have noticed that Obama flies the organizing flag. The language of community organizing is sprinkled throughout his speeches, and he highlights his organizing experience front and center, rather than his time as president of the Harvard Law Review, or his years as a constitutional law professor.
Why does he think its an important thing to honor, while Palin disparages it?
I was pleased to see that, out of all Palins ad hominem attacks last night, Obama chose to respond to the belittling of community organizers in his campaign's personal email to me this morning. ;-)
Here's what David Plouffe told me:
...worst of all -- and this deserves to be noted -- they insulted the very idea that ordinary people have a role to play in our political process.
You know that despite what John McCain and his attack squad say, everyday people have the power to build something extraordinary when we come together.
Both Rudy Giuliani and Sarah Palin specifically mocked Barack's experience as a community organizer on the South Side of Chicago more than two decades ago, where he worked with people who had lost jobs and been left behind when the local steel plants closed.
Let's clarify something for them right now.
Community organizing is how ordinary people respond to out-of-touch politicians and their failed policies.
And it's no surprise that, after eight years of George Bush, millions of people have found that by coming together in their local communities they can change the course of history. That promise is what our campaign has been about from the beginning.
Throughout our history, ordinary people have made good on America's promise by organizing for change from the bottom up. Community organizing is the foundation of the civil rights movement, the women's suffrage movement, labor rights, and the 40-hour workweek. And it's happening today in church basements and community centers and living rooms across America.