Thursday, October 30, 2008

So Many Socialists!

We all know by now that Obama is a socialist, as well as being a Muslim and a terrorist. It only figures then that well known socialists like Warren Buffet, Colin Powell, and The Economist magazine are endorsing him. Read the Ecnonmist's endorsement here.

Random thoughts for today.

If GM and Chrysler do merge, will the new company be called Dumb and Dumber?

The Hockey MILF is now talking about Obama's connection to Rashief Khalidi, a Palestinian professor. Turns out McCain was involved in funding the guys group back int he 90's. Clearly, they are desperately trying to play the "Obama is a Muslim" card without coming out and saying it directly......what should we call that, "indirect lying"?.

Phillies finished off the Rays last night in an excellent 3 inning game. Based on how long it now takes to play an MLB playoff game, maybe they should consider holding all of them over several days, so kids can stay up and watch.

The series ending last night means that no Halloween parties will be ruined this weekend by having the game on, as one I attended back in 1986 was. It was the night of the famous Bill Buckner game, and I was at a the house of legendary partier Dennis Ward (dressed as "The Thing With 2 Heads"). Everyone knows that having the TV on at a party kills the party, but no one was going to turn this game off, not when the Bosox were about to finally win the series. There was a woman there, dressed in a Mets uniform, who was cheering wildly, or obnoxiously to many of us, as things went wrong for the Sox. Never bothered to find out her name, as I'd always hated the Mets, and I didn't much like her at the time. Well, a few years later my best friend Budd, a lifetime Sox fan, meets this woman at a party (she was not wearing the Mets uni at the time). They have been married now for, I think, 17 years. Good thing Budd wasn't at that Halloween party!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Obama's tragic mistake?

Obama will be doing a half hour commercial on Fox, NBC and CBS tonight in prime time. I think this is a possibly fatal error. With as long as this race has gone on, I doubt Americans want their favorite show, or particularly the World Series, delayed with by yet another political ad. Obama could do more to alienate voters, at a time when he is far ahead, then to help himself. If Obama loses, this will be why!

Speaking of Obama's ads, they have appeared in very creative an unusual ways. I was watching an episode of "Life" on Hulu yesterday and Obama had the 15 second ads that run there. I understand he has an ad somehow in the latest Madden NFL video game (sorry, not a gamer so I can't say how it's used exactly).

I have Dish, and there have been a couple ads running that are regular length, but with a bug in the corner that says "click enter for details". If you click enter, it takes you to another channel, where you can view a more complete explanation of Obama's stand on the issue.

So far, I haven't seen or heard of McCain using any of these techniques. Of course, Obama has so much more money to spend, he must need to find new ways to blow it.

One week and it's finally over!

This Presidential campaign has been going on for....what 23 years? Seems like it. Anyway, I couldn't agree more with the sentiment of Wyatt Cenac on the Daily Show.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Nardelli and You....

I got this email from my friend Bill today. Bill worked many years for his father's company that was sold to Home Depot a few years ago, and now spends his days trading the money he got from the buyout. He doesn't think much of HD or it's management....and he probably didn't think this would show up on my blog, so he didn't spend much time on spelling, caps or punctuation. He is referring to Robert Nardelli, current CEO of Chrysler and former CEO of HD.

What a success story- passed over for CEO at GE because of being a moron BUT!- becomes ceo of hd and spends 39 billion in acquisitions which are sold 3 years later at 8 billion-shit canned at hd with a package of 168 million to walk out the door. becomes ceo of Daimler and us as taxpayers are being asked for 10 billion (on top of the 25billion loan from congress) so they can marry up with gm who has had a failed business model for 50 years and he will walk with another 76 million

The bailout of the financial industry is an unfortunate necessity, forced on us because the entire economy is dependent on a functioning financial system. To bail out GM and Chrysler is just plain pissing away money. These loser companies, badly managed for years, lacking in leadership, creativity and innovation, want our money in hope that combining the two of them will somehow turn around their decline. While the financial crisis may be driving the final nails in their coffins, they have been headed for bankruptcy for about 4 years, since the price of gas hit $2.

The US auto industry has been run by chimpanzees for years (that is probably not fair to chimpanzees!). These guys all think the same, and still have not changed their mindset of 40 years ago: that big cars are the only cars worth building, and that foreign car companies are just interlopers they can get their friends in the government to drive off. Funny, but those foreign companies may have lower profits this year, but they are not on the brink.

Bankruptcy was created for companies to re-create themselves, and that is where we should let these dinosaurs go. Only then will they take the measures necessary to turn themselves into 21st century companies....or, go extinct. Either way, giving them taxpayer money is wrong on every level.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Variety of Polls at

Want to know how Al Franken is doing in Minnesota? Or Liddy Dole down in North Carolina?

At you can check poll numbers not only on the Presidential race, but races around the country for Senate, House and Governor. On the front page, you'll see a "map chooser" feature. Just click on it and choose what type of races you want to see, then hold your mouse on the state or district of interest. Outstanding feature.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Comedians for McCain?

I perform in murder mysteries here in the Boulder area, which is almost always great fun and little money. The show we are doing this year includes as part of it's plot a 3-way election for mayor. A few weeks ago, we decided to include a debate, during which we used just about everything the 4 national debates provided us as comic fodder. We had a riot.

Unfortunately, most of the material was provided by McCain and Palin. The debate begins when one of our candidates suspends his campaign to get to the bottom of the murder that happened before dinner. "Joe the Plumber" is mentioned constantly. I refer to another candidate as "That one". And that's just scratching the surface.

My guess would be that most of the professional comedy world is voting for Obama. No matter what else they believe, folks in show biz are offended by the GOP's stance on things like gay rights and censorship. However, the problem for the comedy community is that Obama just isn't very funny. He speaks beautifully, has great posture,looks good all the time, and hasn't said anything so far that comedians can really get their teeth into. Even worse, he is apparently faithful to his wife.....even Fox News hasn't alleged he isnt. And how much mileage can you get out of his ears?

So, if Obama is elected, what are these guys going to do for the next 4 years? Oh sure, they might get some good stuff from Joe Biden traveling the world running his mouth non-stop. And perhaps Dave Barry's theory of the White House sapping mental capacity from it's inhabitants will cause him to do something really stupid within a few months. But right now, McCain and particularly the Hockey MILF (was she perhaps McCain's gift to Leno, Letterman and all the other comedians who he's palled around with over the years?) are providing most of the material.

These guys have been on easy street for the past 16 years. Between Clinton's sex drive and w's stupidity and incompetence, not to mention the Dark Knight Cheney, their political jokes have arrived gift wrapped in the NY Times every morning. Will an Obama administration force the comedy writers to work harder? Will it destroy the late night comedy industry (possibly leading to a taxpayer bailout?)?

Looks like, just as for the economy in general, there are tough times ahead in the laughter biz.

Friday, October 24, 2008

This makes so much sense!

Everyone should read this article from today's NY Times. And check who wrote it together: John Kerry, Newt Gingrich and Oakland A's GM Billy Beane! Now that's bi-partisan!

Crazy Al said what?

In case you missed it, former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan said this yesterday:

I made a mistake in presuming that the self-interest of organizations, specifically banks and others, were such that they were best capable of protecting their own shareholders and their equity in the firms. And it's been my experience, having worked both as a regulator for 18 years and similar quantities in the private sector, especially 10 years at a major international bank, that the loan officers of those institutions knew far more about the risks involved in the people to whom they lent money than I saw even our best regulators at the Fed capable of doing. So the problem here is, something which looked to be a very solid edifice, and indeed a critical pillar to market competition and free markets, did break down. And I think that, as I said, shocked me,"
Here is what I think Al missed: these guys weren't working with their own money. If the guys on Wall Street who ignored risk management were investing their own money, they would have behaved differently. Instead, they work in a system that hugely rewards big short term returns with massive bonuses. And, they will never have to give the bonus back. So, why wouldn't they take crazy risks with other people's money? The system is set up to reward that behavior, and the punishment when it comes crashing down is too small to counter the upside. In fact, they were acting in their own self-interest, just like Al's hero Ayn Rand would have wanted.

Monday, October 20, 2008

This is just wrong....our health care system that is!!!

If you don't believe our health care system in this country is not only wasteful, inefficient and overly expensive, if not just plain immoral, take a look at this portion of an email I received today from one of my students, who has previously served in the military.
Two weeks ago I started to feel ill. I had head aches, low grade temperature, and a cough. I assumed it was a cold or the flu and took some old medications. Last week it started to get worse. Still had all the original symptoms but also started having muscle ache, and felt very tired. I went to the V.A. hospital in Greeley and they told me that I made to much money to be treated for free and that I would have to pay. I do not have the money or insurance to pay for treatment. I also tried an income based clinic in Loveland with the same results. I called a P.A. that I used to work with and told him my symptoms. He told me that it sounded like I had pnemonia or bronchitis but couldn't be sure without running tests. He said it was likely that if it was pnemonia it was the viral form since my sputum is not showing any coloration. In any case he told me to treat it like the flu (rest, fluids, and stay away from others because it is contagious), and if it gets any worse try the E.R. since they can't turn down life threatned patients. I have been missing work and school, and without a doctors note I can not prove that I am actually sick, which I very am
So here's a kid who served his country, and is now working hard to make money so he can pay for school, where he is also working hard to make a better life. What does he get in return? Screwed!!! This is just so fucking wrong it makes me crazy (sorry Dad, but I can't describe our health care system without use of the F word).

Our health care system doesn't need the ridiculous tax credits that McCain proposes, or even the moderate changes Obama proposes. It needs to be blown up and completely rebuilt. We pay twice as much per capita, and almost twice as much of our GDP for health care in this country as every other country in the world. And we get worse results. The richest country in the history of the world makes it's former soldiers have to choose between education and health care?

And we want to be the world's moral leader?

Hilarious Palin stuff

I don't know who produced this, but I'd sure like to. Ed Ayers, who is not a domestic terrorist, sent it to me. Click here to see the Palin Oval Office.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The "Voter Fraud" Fraud

It appears that the McCain campaign has now decided that they can't win unless they play as dirty as possible (this from the party that likes to promote moral values). So, they have concocted and are now desperately attempting to sell the idea that Obama is the leader of a voter fraud ring that is attempting to destroy American democracy. ACORN is now worse than Al Queda.

This is all nonsense. In fact ACORN has never been convicted, or even indicted for any voter fraud. Some of it's workers have, but the prosecutors in those cases say the workers were committing fraud on ACORN, to get paid for not doing their job. There is no evidence of any plot to promote illegal voting. Don't believe me, then go get the real facts from

This is part of the GOP's plot to suppress voting among minorities by claiming voter fraud is widespread. Like so many claims you can hear on Fox News, there is no evidence to support this claim whatsoever. It seems that the GOP believes that only those who are registered as Republicans should be allowed to vote.

The real fraud here is not coming from ACORN, but from the Republicans.

The behavior of the McCain campaign gets more disgraceful every day. Here in Colorado we are recieving robo-calls full of lies. Do they really think anyone other than Fox News fans cares that Obama served on a board with William Ayers, who is, by the way, a respected college professor. If you want to call him a "domestic terrorist", the let's also call w "drunk driver George W. Bush". The McCain camp says this showed bad judgement, like palling around with Thomas Keating?

In general, the flood of negative ads from both camps is disgusting. For some reason, many of us thought that this campaign could be run on the issues. Obama still runs some positive ads, but he has the money to run as many ads as he wants, and he has definitely upped the venom level. McCain has less cash, and apparently has decided that the issues people care about are not going to win it for him.

In other news, kudos to Sarah Palin for being a good sport on SNL last night.....or does she not understand they have been making fun of her?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Dead Cats have gotten bouncier

I enjoy teaching my students some of the more stark phrases used in the financial industry. One of my favorites is "dead cat bounce", a phenomenon that occurs when a stock or the market takes a big plunge, then bounces up just a bit the next day. This is based on the idea that if you dropped a dead cat, it would bounce slightly before lying there dead. (Another for these times is "Don't try to catch a falling knife")

Monday, when the market was up in a big way, one of my students asked if that might just be a dead cat bounce. I said that it would have to be a dead cat full of super balls in order to bounce that high. Well, the same guy comes into class yesterday and says "that was one hell of a dead cat bounce". He's right. As I write this, the markets are now below their lows from Friday, having lost more than the big gains on Monday. In these days of wild volatility, even dead cats are effected.

There is a lot of stuff going on here. The economic news is not good, and most economists expect 6 months to 2 years worth of recession. The credit markets are working a bit better, but still not normally, causing fear among investors. Hedge funds and mutual funds are suffering withdrawls, which is causing them to sell, which causes more withdrawls......and so it goes. Hey, at least the price of gas is going down.

So here is the best financial advice you will get today: If you need gas today, don't fill your tank. It will be even cheaper tomorrow.

Meanwhile, if you wonder who won he debate, the traders at Intrade have bumped the price on Obama up to 86%, about 4 points higher than 24 hours ago. Are we really going to have a black president in my lifetime? Amazing! But there are still 3 weeks to go. I would suggest that the Obama campaign may want to take some of that huge pile of cash they have accumulated and send Jesse Jackson on a 3 week cruise to the South Pole.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Thoughts for the day

PLEASE MAKE IT STOP!!!!!! If I see one more lying, full-of-shit negative campaign add, or get one more recorded phone call full of lame-ass allegations, I am going to lose it! And I'm talking to all of you politicians on both sides, and even moreso to you assholes running the ads about all the crap on the Colorado ballot!

On a more civilized note, how about those Rays! You would have had to be a real baseball junkie to know much about these guys before the playoffs (other than their third baseman is one letter away from being a really hot chick!), but these guys can play.

Meanwhile, a sabremetrician (that's a baseball stats geek, for those of you who are normal) named Nate Silver is getting a lot of press for his work with political polling. He is pretty much trying to apply the same statistical analysis methods he used to predict at the beginning of the season that the Rays would play the Dodgers in the World Series to the election. His web site is called FiveThirtyEight.

Silver currently has the likelihood that Obama wins at 95.8%. Meanwhile, the traders over at Intrade have Obama at 80% (a contact that will pay $10 if he wins now costs $8). All of which might make tomorrow's debate interesting, in that McCain has to pull some really amazing rabbits out of his hat. His "Obama is a terrorist" smear campaign doesn't seem to be working.

And in Canada, it's looking good for the Conservatives, but they will still have a minority Government. I bet you didn't even know they were having an election, you ethnocentric bastard!

And speaking of Canada, it's hockey season!!! WOO HOO! Hockey would probably be the only thing the Sarah Palin and I have in common. And Sarah, remember, Philly fans also booed Santa.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

I was quoted!

I have no idea how my name appeared in Jerry Zremski's article in today's Buffalo News. Oh, and thanks Jerry for the great dinner at Aji.

For the whole story of what I meant in that quote, see the previous post.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

What happened to the John McCain I used to like?

I used to like John McCain. Really. Didn't agree with him on everything, but I always thought of him as one of the more sane Republicans, one who was reasonable, not buying into every crazy idea the far right wing of his party was putting forth. Hell, he was even a victim of Karl Rove's slimeball tactics. And he always had a great sense of humor. I'd have loved to have a beer with him.

Where did that guy go? He's not the guy running for President. The John McCain I thought I knew was the guy who accurately called the religious right "agents of intolerance". Surely he wouldn't choose a hilariously unqualified running mate just to appease those same people.

The John McCain I knew had some integrity. He wouldn't base his whole campaign on questionable claims made in an increasingly slimy series of negative ads. He wouldn't hire Rove's disciples to organize the slime. He wouldn't rile up the right wing crazies to the point where they became scary. He would run on the issues.

The McCain I liked is the guy who opposed Bushes tax cuts because they would boost the deficit. He was the guy who, even though he supported what I thought was a stupid war in Iraq, said that the Bushies were doing a bad job of running the war, and called for Rummy's head.

The McCain I liked was a straight talker. Where did he go?

The guy I see running for President isn't that guy. One of his strengths as a candidate should have been his appeal to the middle. But he blew that when he ran too far to the right to appease the Rush Limbaugh crowd. He changed his tune on the Bush tax cuts, embraced the Christian right and pretended to believe what they believe. He hired Rove's guys, and went negative early and often. His straight talk got crooked.

Here is what I really don't understand about his badly run campaign: Did he not understand Dick Nixon's sage advice "Run hard to the right to get the nomination, then run hard to the center once you have it"? Instead, he followed the Rove prescription of working the base. So, he kept running harder to the right by choosing Sarah the Moosedressing Mom as his running mate. It appeased the right, but turned off the rest of the country, including educated, intelligent Republicans. Now, his claims to be a maverick are weakened because so many of those things he did that opposed is own party he has now backed off.

This is actually quite sad. As a result of this campaign, a man who had the respect of most of the country may end up with almost no respect. Even those far righties who he has sucked up to don't really like him (mostly because people like me did), and the rest of us are really embarrassed for him.

Now that I've dissed him, I do give him kudos for finally telling his bloodthirsty crowd yesterday that Obama deserves their respect. That was the John McCain that I liked. I hope he comes back soon.

Monday, October 6, 2008

A great idea that probably won't happen.

As I write this, the Dow seems to be falling at a rate of about 50 points every 15 minutes. Folks on CNBC are wearing their "Dow 10,000" hats, which they got in 1999 when the Dow first hit that number, a number it has dropped below today.

Below is a piece written by Barry Ritholz of The Big Picture, a blog I have recently discovered and now check daily. He suggests he will vote for the candidate who makes this speech. Don't hold your breath Barry!

My fellow countrymen:

These are indeed extraordinary times. The country is in an economic crisis, housing has been in freefall, we are clearly in a recession, and now credit freeze is worsening. We are living through what future historians will call The Great Financial Crisis of 2008.

Times such as these call for extraordinary leadership. Unfortunately, such leadership has been in precious short supply in Washington D.C. Our government has been reacting to events, rather than pro-acting. Its been all crisis management -- putting out fires rather than preventing them. We have been on our heels, playing defense. That is not leadership; that is not considering possible events, and planning accordingly.

It is time for this leadership vacuum to be filled.

We have made some positive steps: A $700 billion-dollar bailout plan was passed by Congress last week, and while flawed, it is a first step. It is the biggest bailout bill in America's history. But now is not the time to sit back and wait for results. We need to consider the next steps that must take place as a follow-on to this rescue plan, as well as contingency plan in case things do not go as we hope. Pray for the best, but be prepared for the worst.

We need a "Plan B."

I propose the following: As of this morning, I have sent invitations to our nation's brightest financial and economic thinkers. It doesn't matter if they are in academia, or the private sector, or in government. It matters not to me if they are a Democrat or a Republican or Independent. Your country needs you, and I hope you will answer the call.

It is time for us to get on the offense.

What is needed now is for the intellectual capital in this country to be put to good use. We have many of the world's finest universities, we have unparalleled genius amongst our populace. Rather than merely rely on a hastily crafted on-the-fly plan, improvised in response to the eruption of crisis, its time we used our brains. We need to be both optimistic, and at the same time, we must always have a contingency plan. A great nation such as ours deserves at least that much.

What we need is our generation's economic equivalent of the Manhattan project. That's what helped the United States and her allies develop the A-bomb and to win WWII.

For the past 8 years, we have ignored our greatest strengths. We have disdained reason and science. We have lived in an imaginary fairytale land, where home prices never went down, where inflation and unemployment were low, and economic growth was strong.

That turned out to be a phantom dream, based upon an illusion.

We now know that much of the growth of the past few years was based on these faulty premises: That we could borrow our way to a better lifestyle, that our financial institutions could speculate their way to profits, that we could deficit spend our way to prosperity. My friends, that is not how you achieve economic greatness. We need to strengthen the economic engine of the United States in every way we can. To do that, the president of the United States needs to take counsel from the wisest men and women in the land.

I invite my opponent to participate in this, to sit side by side with me, and receive counsel from these experts together with me. Whichever one of us win this election next month, he will need to hit the ground running. This crisis is bigger than the election, it's more important than either one of us. It's of great significance to the country, indeed, to the world. (Far greater importance than you would have guessed from the response from the present White House).

In the absence of leadership from the White House, it is incumbent upon the two men seeking that office to show the economic leadership that has been missing.

We are challenged to rise to this occasion. When presented with great challenges, America has always responded with greatness of our own -- and this is one of those times. We are being tested, and we must succeed -- not with just a barely passing grade, but with flying colors and honors appropriate for a great nation.

Given the extent of the financial crisis, and the extraordinary amount of resources that we must bring to bear upon this, in order to prevent this recession from spiraling into something far, far worse, we must leave no stone unturned, no idea unexplored, no action unconsidered.

As a nation, we have weathered terrible crises before: The Depression in 1929, World War 2, Recessions and economic disruption, the attacks of 9/11. The United States has been tested, many times in her past, and has always risen to the occasion every time. The Great Financial Crisis of 2008 is merely another one of those tests that allows the country to demonstrate what its people are capable of -- what we are made of -- what makes us Americans.

This will not be easy. Sacrifices will have to be made. For a period of time, we must put aside our our own self-interest and work together as one nation. There is no room for partisanship. There is no time like the present to embrace our future. And there is no country like the United States of America.

God bless you, and God bless America.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Goshdarnit isn't Sarah cute, but where is that w guy?

One of the students in my Thursday night class works at a Branch of Wells Fargo. She tells me that people have been coming into the bank all week to take their money out, because they are worried. Runs on the banks are what made the Great Depression GREAT. This begs the question "Why isn't someone on TV, maybe a leadership figure, reminding Americans that their bank accounts are insured and safe up to $100k (now, I guess, 250)"? Don't we have a guy who is supposed to lead in emergencies.....what's his name now....I know it...oh yeah, it's w.

Nice work, Decider! I'm pretty sure you will go down in history as the Crisis President, and I don't mean for dealing with them brilliantly, but for failing to pay attention to anything until it reached crisis level. Is that what they teach at Harvard Business School? Glad I went to Michigan.

I only managed to catch about 15 minutes in the middle of the VP Debate last night, which is pretty much about the limit of listening to Sarah Palin talk. My impression of the Moosedressing Mom (I just made that up...feel free to spread it around!) is that her responses to questions sounded like what my students do on tests when they don't know the answer........they write down everything they do know in hope that they will get some credit or hit the answer by accident. If she had said one more "folksy" thing like "goshdarnit" I would have had to shoot the tv.

Meanwhile, I guess, by the fact that Obama is now trading at 68% on Intrade, Joe Biden didn't shoot himself in the foot last night, which would usually mean also shooting himself in the mouth, as his foot so often ends up there. I wonder if Joe watched FDR's televised debate against Abraham Lincoln in preparation.

I can't believe we have to endure another month of negative political ads on tv!

Thursday, October 2, 2008


With the VP debate tonight, every source I check regularly on the internet has Obama ahead by a comfortable margin. Intrade has him at 64% to win, more than he was ahead after the DNC.

So, what can cost Obama the election? 2 words: Joe Biden. At this point, everyone but the true believers ( I guess that would be true believers in creationism!) know that McCain's choice of Sarah Palin is a huge mistake, and that she is totally unqualified for national office and completely ignorant of national and world issues. The smart thing for Biden to do is say as little as possible and let her talk. He doesn't want to look like he is belittling her, or intimidating her. Everyone knows he knows more than she does. And the more she talks, the dumber she sounds.

And, what is the one thing Joe Biden is unable to do? SHUT UP. The guy is more in love with the sound of his own voice then....well I am! His inability to shut up is the one thing that can save the McCain campaign. Obama should have his wife or someone in the front row holding a small "Shut up!" sign.

The real question is will Palin show up tonight, or will the McCain campaign pull a fast one and send the much smarter Tina Fey instead. If you haven't seen the 2 bits where she impersonated Palin on SNL, go to Hulu and watch. Brilliant!

Are you ready for digital tv?

Thank you Gordon Kapes for sending this one to me. Hilarious!