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November 22, 2008

Planning your vegetarian Thanksgiving dinner

Here's something from the Wall Street Journal for all those weenies who got vapors watching Sarah Palin's turkey pardoning photo op.

Check 'em out! They're all turkey-friendly.

Mmm, nothing says "Home for the Holidays" like a puckered, vaguely football-shaped faux turkey polyp.

Okay, this one actually doesn't look all that bad. "A" for effort.

Mmm, pass the gravy. Lots of gravy. Lots and lots....

"We thank thee O bama for this bountiful and cruelty-free blessing we are about to receive...."


I think we're lucky that Obama came from Chicago, because when he started casting about for economic advisors, he had a rich vein of stellar, market-oriented economists to mine. From the beginning, one of the most prominent of these has been Austan Goolsbee, a brilliant, pragmatic behavioral economist, although he has receded into the background a bit since the end of the primaries.

My efforts to read the tea leaves of Obamanomics brought me to this podcast by Megan McArdle (on whom I have a bit of a crush.) McArdle is a former student of Goolsbee's, and supported Obama primarily because of Goolsbee's influence. Megan is a bit squishier on taxes than I am, which is probably why she was able to gin up more "enthusiasm" for Obama than I could (if "enthusiasm" is indeed the correct word here, which it probably isn't.) In short, I think it says something for Obama that both Goolsbee and McArdle would be supportive of his candidacy.

The interview is a bit dated by now, but still worth a listen. They spoke of the current financial collapse in a way that was almost prescient. To hear Goolsbee express his unqualified support for the capital markets, and for commonsense, minimalistic but effective regulation, especially in this context, is very reassuring.

Goolsbee then goes on to make the most compelling and convincing case I have ever heard about the growing problem of income inequality. When he comes to the solution, he is somewhat less convincing, however. Here he simply avers that greater investment in education is without a doubt the panacea for this problem. Perhaps in a lengthier format he could convince me of this, but he doesn't do much in this interview to support this contention, nor does he explain why our current levels of education funding, already among the highest in the world, have proved so inadequate. But whatever.

Unfortunately, Goolsbee is downright lame when talking about the pharmaceutical companies. When Megan expresses her concern that cracking down on Big Pharma could have a deleterious impact on R&D, Goolsbee responds dismissively with cheap sophistry. I guess even a brilliant economist can still have that empirical, quantifiable logic trumped by ideology when he's not careful.

Still, though, I found the interview to be more comforting than not overall. Megan herself is now disappointed by rumors that Goolsbee himself may not find a prominent position in the administration. That does seem unfortunate, but hopefully whatever drew Obama to Goolsbee in the first place is a positive sign -- as, I believe, is Obama's appointment of Tim Geithner to Treasury. We shall see.

November 15, 2008

It's a sad state of affairs...

...when the most sensible policy out of Washington is coming from Charlie Rangel.

UPDATE: Link fixed.

I have no patience for this

Once again, I'm finding myself at odds with some of my very favorite bloggers. And while I find this attempt to blame John McCain for the GOP's recent electoral defeat disappointing, I can't say it's surprising. Indeed, I didn't think it would take this long for the blame game to begin.

It's still BS, though. McCain was dealt such a poor hand and was facing such an enormous headwind that it's a minor miracle he finished as strongly as he did. The notion that (say) Mitt Romney or Fred Thompson could have somehow saved the White House from Barack Obama strikes me as not only foolish, but symptomatic of deep denial regarding how much of a shambles the GOP has become.

Did John McCain make mistakes? Yes, of course. Did his campaign miss opportunities? Sure. Did Sarah Palin ultimately prove more a liability than an asset? It's certainly debatable. But no matter how much we debate all of these issues, they're still secondary. There are, primarily, two huge reasons for McCain's defeat, each of which alone dwarfs all the others combined.

First, the economy. For right or wrong, the party of the White House's current occupant will be assigned the credit or blame for the prevailing economic conditions. Fair or not, it's just the way things are, and our recent economic collapse was almost optimally timed for Obama's benefit (and no, just to be clear, I'm not alleging any sinister conspiracy. For that kind of thing you may go here.)

The second dominant reason is President George W. Bush. (And to be fair, I should include the GOP Congress here, as it wasn't exactly a one-man show.) Bush's "compassionate conservatism" farce has brought us exploding deficits (even excluding WoT expenditures), ballooning unfunded mandates, grossly mismanaged military adventurism, and, to round it all out, the effective nationalization of several large corporations, and the cutting of a ginormous blank check for the Treasury Secretary to go around and distribute corporate handouts as he sees fit, with little to no accountability or oversight.

After eight years in office, people begin to tire of the party in power even under the best of circumstances. But after eight years of this, some people want to blame John McCain for "only" winning 46% of the votes? Give me a f***in' break, people. If the GOP ever wants to be competitive again, it's time for some serious soul-searching on our part. Just saying "It's McCain's fault!" ain't gonna cut it.

November 09, 2008

Guess what I found on my doorstep this morning?

I hope everyone out there in TV-land got their full-page color poster of Barack Obama in today's newspaper of record. Does the print media's coverage of Obama remind anyone else of Teen Beat*, or is it just me?

* Or "Teen Beat-Off," as my friend Andy more accurately described it.

November 08, 2008

In which I earn the scorn of my peers for being a wuss

All right, I'll admit it. I thought 52to48 was kind of a nice gesture. Yeah, I know, I'm a pushover. I realize that some of my very favorite bloggers are contemptuous of the site, and I know where they're coming from... really, I do.


Is it not possible that the people who are submitting these pictures are not the same people who sported "SARAH PALIN IS A CUNT" t-shirts, and attended antiwar rallies with hand-scrawled "FUCK MIDDLE AMERICA" signs? Is it not possible that the new, expanded definition of "Blue America" is not a monolith?

You know what? I get annoyed when people make certain assumptions about me based on the fact that my politics are right of center. We're not all the same, and I bristle every time someone tries to hold me personally responsible for the latest stupid thing that Ann Coulter or Sean Hannity says.

Well if it's not right for them to pigeonhole me in that way, it's not right for me to do the same to them. Sure, there are bitter, hate-filled moonbats out there, and trying to extend an olive branch to that sort is futile. But we know that doesn't describe 52% of the country, right? In fact, I believe those folks are in the minority. There are plenty of thoughtful, decent, patriotic Americans out there who simply thought Obama was the better candidate. And whether we agree with them or not, as long as we remain fractured into warring camps, equating anyone on the other side with the worst of their lot, I don't see how we can ever hope to move beyond the rank partisanship that has soured the political landscape for at least the past decade.

Believe me, I'm not going all Andrew Sullivan or John Cole here. I proudly voted for John McCain, and I'd do the same again today, tomorrow, or next year. When I disagree with Obama (and I expect that to be often) I'm going to say so. Loudly. But in the meantime? I have no interest in putting an "OBAMA IS NOT MY PRESIDENT" sticker on my car, or in spending the next 4 to 8 years in a mindless, sputtering rage because the election didn't turn out exactly the way I had hoped.

So, at the risk of alienating some of my friends on the "Forget, Hell!" side of the aisle, I'm proposing we respond to these folks in kind.

Okay, I'm a sap, I'll do it. You guys can see if you can guess which photo is mine.

November 07, 2008

Obama's cabinet

We only have one data point so far, but it's already caused a stir. Conservatives and liberals alike have been expressing angst about Rahm Emanuel's nomination to Chief of Staff. Conservatives are anxious because he's a partisan street fighter, and the libs are disappointed because he's not a foam-at-the-mouth ideologue. I'm actually happy with the pick, because I take it as an indication that perhaps Obama will indeed try to govern from the center rather than his leftist roots. Plus, I think there's a debt of gratitude involved. Obama's job will certainly be made easier by a Democratic congress, and that's as much due to Emanuel as anyone.

I'm going to be paying closest attention to his economic team because I think that's the most important. I'm also cautiously optimistic about the team he'll put together based on the meager tea leaves I've read. We'll see.

I figure his foreign policy team is the one he's most likely to screw up, but that's probably not his fault. There's not exactly a deep roster of seasoned, competent foreign policy hands in the party. Who knows, maybe Colin Powell will get something in exchange for all the flagrant ass kissing he got up to before the election.

And my favorite thing about all this? I had worried for years that the next Democratic president would appoint either John Edwards or Elliot Spitzer to Attorney General, but I guess I won't have to worry about that anymore (tee hee.)

So what about y'all? Predictions? Hopes? Fears? Bets? Threats?

November 06, 2008

Media climbdown

Now that it's safe to do so, the media is beginning its long walkback on the 2008 campaign. I expect many more such stories in the months to come, including lengthy discourses on Obama's relationships with the likes of Ayers, Dohrn and Rezko. This will be done in an effort to repair their credibility, which was far and away the biggest casualty of this election. I doubt it will work, though.

November 05, 2008

Ralph Nader suxes

I never much agreed with Ralph, but I always respected him and his supporters the same as I would any principled third-party candidate.

And yes, I suppose I also always thought that Barack Obama would one day be called an Uncle Tom by the Left, but I didn't think it would happen within the first 24 hours after the election.


Anyway, there's also a secondary reason why this pisses me off besides the obvious. This tired old slander is a sure sign of literary illiteracy. Anyone who's actually read the goddamn book would never in a million years think to use the term "Uncle Tom" as a derogatory insult.

(HT: Ace)

Am I naive?

The one thing I keep hearing from Republican and Democrat alike is that this election finally proves that this country is capable of electing an African-American president. That's great and all, but I never once doubted that a black man could become president. Surely I'm not the only one?

November 04, 2008

Oh well

It wasn't McCain's year. 2000 was McCain's year. And yeah, someday I'll have to get over that, but it's still a tough pill to swallow, even eight years later. I think most people from either party would agree we'd likely be in a much better place had the GOP nominated McCain then rather than now.

Like many Americans, I often have a tendency to fight the previous battle rather than the current one. Whether out of loyalty or some sense of duty, that's what I did this year. But the mistakes of a decade ago can't be undone, or, arguably, even atoned for.

So now here we are. I hope my conservative and libertarian friends who supported Obama will be proven right. There is arguably something conservative about the man's temperament, even if there's nothing recognizably conservative in his background. Time will tell which of these factors will have a greater role in shaping the Obama presidency.

As for me? I can say it no better the Featherless One:

I plan to give Obama 100 days of unqualified support, followed by the benefit of the doubt for the remainder of his first year in office. If he hasn't solved all of my problems by the 2010 election then I'm done with him and will start photoshopping pictures of him and parsing every sentence that emanates from the White House. I believe that is a more than fair compromise considering the last eight years.

Fair enough! I'll hereby take that pledge myself. :-)

(PS -- Blue, you'd better email me the details.)

The decision was premature

And by that I mean my decision to start hitting the sauce around 5:30. My head is getting heavy and with the major networks calling Ohio for Obama it looks like it's safe to go to bed and pass out, but.... I'll try to hang on a while longer.

When I look out my window...

...I see that the Empire State Building is all lit up in red. Is that some kind of sign?


I'm cracking open the booze now. Why wait until a "time to celebrate" that might not even come? One of the reasons this is my favorite time of year is that Sierra Nevada's Celebration Ale appears on the shelves again. It's a great brew, and that's what I'm drinking now while I wait for the results to come in.

What's everyone else up to?

(PS: No, I'm not drinking this.)

There's always some red...

Check out the car I saw parked in Hoboken this afternoon.

Early indications

I voted at 6:30 this morning, and the signs did not look good. Pretty much everyone there looked like stinky liberals. I think there was only one other white male voter present, and he walked kinda funny. And no, that's not a reference to his sexual orientation. I literally mean he had trouble ambulating. He also appeared to be about 100 and perhaps had the beginnings of senile dementia, as poll workers had to help him about three times before he finally cast his vote. Come to think of it, maybe he was a McCain voter after all.

November 03, 2008

I can't believe it

After what seems like an eternity, we're finally here. I've been too overwhelmed with personal and professional considerations to blog much during the past week or so, but I'll do what I can to be my usual, obsessive election-night self, at least as much as I'm able.

My bold prediction? The presidential race will be close, no matter who wins. (The smart money is on Obama, but since I'm stubborn and placed my bet on McCain long ago, I'm foolishly going to let it ride.) Dems pick up 5 in the senate, and 15 in the House. The stock market rallies no matter who wins the presidency.

And you?