Heard…and overheard.

This conversation was recorded without the knowledge of the participants. This transcript came to us anonymously. We cannot reveal our source – as we have no idea who sent it. But they provided enough bona fides that we can vouch for it’s authenticity. The names have been changed to protect the identities of the speakers (but unless you live under a [30] Rock, you should be able to fill in the blanks without any problem). 

Mr. X: Have you seen the overnights?

Mr. Y: Yes…they’re pretty scary. 

Mr. X: I can’t believe McCain did this…we were all ready to go negative on anybody on his short list…where did SHE come from? Nobody had her on a short list…long list…ANY list. 

Mr. Y: I’m baffled. What do we do now?

Mr. X: You’re the President of the network…you tell me. It’s what I’m paying you for. 

Mr. Y: Uh…well…it will take us a few days…weeks maybe, to dig up enough dirt on her to get our claws in deep. Continue reading Heard…and overheard.

If “Pro” is the opposite of “Con”…what is opposite of “Progress”?

As I write this, the bailout bill went down to defeat. 

Good.

From where I sit, the bill was flawed from the get-go. To start with, the boneheads that screwed the markets up to begin with (Committee chairs Chris Dodd, Chuck Schumer, et all) claiming that they know what to do to fix this mess. That’s rather like giving a fox the keys to the hen house, and a fresh supply of chickens, immediately after he’s eaten the previous stock. Not a good idea. 

With taxpayers of all political persuasions screaming blue murder about this bill, I’m not surprised that it failed. While it’s amusing to see Congressmen running for cover like so many cockroaches in a kitchen during a 3AM snack binge, the results are, we have an institution that is dedicated to two propositions (getting reelected and maintining the status quo) forced to face the music with voters. Continue reading If “Pro” is the opposite of “Con”…what is opposite of “Progress”?

It’s up for debate.

I was never on the debate team in High School. Always thought I’d be pretty good at it – I love to challenge people with whom I disagree, and enjoy the give-and-take when someone can argue their positions with facts and logic (as opposed to rhetoric and emotion. 

I watched the debate last night with interest. The candidate on the side I’m pulling for (the conservative side, if there was ever any doubt) is not known for his inspiring speeches or magnetic personality. The guy on the left (Obama) is all about lofty rhetoric, but generally short on specifics, not to mention logic. Then of course, you have to factor in the pundits. “McCain needs to put Obama away to win this.” “Obama is in the lead, he just needs to not screw up…a draw is a win for him.” “Both candidates need to deal with specifics, so we can get past the slogans and see real plans.” Um, yeah. I made that last one up. Nobody in the media has been saying anything like that.

So, how did it go? I dunno. I think Obama started strong, but then got more and more rattled as the night went on. McCain did surprisingly well, but I don’t know if that was enough to move undecideds into his column. I think this election is gonna come down to the wire. I would like to make a few observations on last night’s performances: Continue reading It’s up for debate.

What are we payin’ these guys for?

If you were paying me, oh, say…$175,000 a year, what would you expect for your money? Would you expect me to show up to work? Do my job? Maybe deal with more than one problem at a time? Ya think?! 

Let’s consider Congress. According to the NYTimes bestsellers by Dick Morris and his wife, in a GOOD week, Senators and Representatives spend about one day or so on the floor, debating and voting on things, and perhaps another day in a committee or subcommittee hearing. That’s it. And for at least six months of their term, they’re out, schlepping for votes, to get RE-elected. Not exactly a great return on our investment.

Now we come to a genuine crisis, albeit one that our esteemed members themselves helped create. According to Senate majority leader Reid, the idea of Messrs. McCain, Obama, and Biden coming back to Washington to help negotiate a bailout deal, was “unhelpful.” 

God, I hate politics. Continue reading What are we payin’ these guys for?

Well-meaning. But stupid.

As I write this, the American Friends Service Committee, Mennonite Central Committee, World Council of Churches, Quaker United Nations Office and Religions for Peace are set to host an “international dialogue” on the topic “Has Not One God Created Us? The Significance of Religious Contributions to Peace” at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Manhattan. Their Very Special Guest? Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you, Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Is this for REAL? Continue reading Well-meaning. But stupid.

The Energy Solution Paradox.

 The solution to our energy woes is surprisingly simple, but paradoxically, needlessly difficult. If we could get the government out of the way, private enterprise could solve this, by simply trying ever avenue that looks like a money-maker. Drilling (within the 0 to 50-mile zone), coal-to-oil, solar, battery/hydrogen research, wind, nuclear, et cetera. The problem is that there are way too many interested parties that are gaming the system, the worst of these are the Feds. (Close behind are the special-interest green energy and ecology groups.)

If the Feds want to HELP, what we need is legislation that will stop nuisance lawsuits that aim to stop drilling, wind, and nuclear plants. It would also be helpful to push legislation that would provide a “floor” for energy prices – to prevent OPEC from dropping oil prices to kill our own development efforts. Continue reading The Energy Solution Paradox.

Statesmanship vs. Gamesmanship.

As I write this, Senator McCain has just announced he is suspending his Presidential campaign, in order to go to Washington D.C., so he can vote on the economic bailout package. He’s challenged Obama to do the same.

This is a bloody brilliant move from the McCain camp.

Here’s what’s significant: Continue reading Statesmanship vs. Gamesmanship.

A Perfect Storm.

Okay – full disclosure time, here kiddies: if you’re looking for a blog post that’s going to be uplifting, funny, or one of those “triumph of the human spirit” things, click off, and come back tomorrow. Consider yourself warned.

Did you see the movie The Perfect Storm? If you’re not familiar with it, or perhaps, took a pass on it due to your natural aversion to George Clooney, what happened was several climatological phenomena came together simultaneously to create a killer storm. Change one factor, and it’s a survivable storm. With all the factors in place, nobody gets out alive. It’s sort of like what happens with airline accidents. It’s never just one thing – it’s ice on the wings plus a de-icer failure plus a pilot pushing on through bad weather to make up time for his airline. Or maybe a pilot who didn’t get enough sleep, combined with cracks in the airframe plus wind shear. Take away one of these, and the passengers live. All three, and the NTSB makes another house call.

I’m afraid that we are looking at a perfect storm for the good ol’ U. S. of A., and I’m not sure that anything short of divine intervention is gonna save us. Let’s take a little inventory of what storms are on the horizon: Continue reading A Perfect Storm.

This is “Country”?

To be perfectly honest, I’ve never been a huge fan of country music. I grew up as a drummer, and as far as traditional country music, a drummer is either unnecessary, or reduced to playing “boom-chick-boom-chick” kinda stuff that is mind-numbingly boring. I tended to agree with one of my idols, Buddy Rich, on the topic. When he was admitted to the hospital not long before his death, he was asked “Mr. Rich, are you allergic to anything?” He replied, “Yes. Country music.” When I began to play acoustic guitar, I discovered that there was actually some music that would qualify as “country” that I liked. I developed a taste for bluegrass, traditional folk music, newgrass, and even some pop country. (Still not that crazy about the Porter Waggoner/George Jones/Johnny Cash stuff. Your tastes may varry.) Continue reading This is “Country”?

The Money Shot.

One of the few regrets I have in my life is that I know so little about money. I don’t understand how money really works. I never learned about investing, stocks, bonds, money markets, et cetera. So please understand the the comments I make here reflect not the musings of a financial wizard or economics expert, but the thoughts of someone who relies on common sense when all else fails. Having said that…

I got a bad feeling about this, Sundance.

Since I don’t know that much about economics and financial matters, I have to speak about the current meltdown in the financial markets from the basis of a guy who DOES understand marketing (my day job), capitalism (I’m a big fan!) and common sense (with which I have at least a passing familiarity). Continue reading The Money Shot.