Thursday, October 30, 2008

Vote for Obama...

I saw the ad last night...good enough for me--especially Obama's pledge to finish the fight against Al Qaeda and the Taliban, as well as rebuild the American military. The rally left me flat. I think he's better talking to the camera than speechifying to crowds. Luckily, that's what the President needs to do most.

Two items not mentioned in the ad I'd like to see Obama push for: I hope he ends "contracting out" in both military and civilian sectors (no more "permatemps" or mercenaries)--as well as reinstates usury laws, which once upon a time put caps on interest rates for things like credit cards and "payday loans" to reduce bankruptcies, which would directly benefit working Americans.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The World's Smartest Beagle?

Someone I know saw this on Althouse, and I couldn't resist reposting it here:

Agustin Blazquez on the Problems of Cuban Cinema in Exie

Speech by Agustin Blazquez at the VII Annual Congress of the New York Cuban Cultural Center at the New York Film Academy on Saturday, October 25, 2008.
Translated with the collaboration of Jaums Sutton.

My name is Agustin Blazquez. I write and make documentaries about Cuba. I was born in Cardenas, Matanzas, Cuba and grew up in the towns of Coliseo and Limonar, and later on I lived in Havana. In 1967, I unwittingly became a member of what I call “the most openly hated minority in the U.S.”

Even though ours is the most prosperous minority in the U.S., we are politically incorrect. It is all right to humiliate and insult us politically and nothing happens – certainly, no one ever apologizes.

Like the “military circles” technique that Castroites used in the Escambray and Los Organos mountains for almost seven years to crush the Cuban democratic insurgency, the same technique is being used by the prevalent left in the U.S. against the Cuban filmmakers in exile.

Crushing democracy is difficult there and here. It’s still not completely crushed there after 50 years and is certainly strong as ever in the hearts of the exiles here. We continue riding, taking our Don Quixote quest wherever we can.

Since my arrival to the U.S. in 1967 I was surprised to see on TV and the written press what was being said about Cuba. And surprised by the sympathies of school teachers about the Cuban revolution. I began to understand the massive ignorance of our reality.

Soon I realized that as an exile I still faced that formidable enemy, Fidel Castro, but also the press and the U.S. academic world.

Beginning in 1968 I began to write letters to the mainstream media, trying to clarify their errors and guide them to sources of information where they could find the accurate reality of Cuba. After years of receiving only silence as their reply, I decided to write articles. But not directed to the media—it become obvious that the truth about Cuba was not what they were interested in.

I knew I needed to write to the American people – a people who have shown compassion for those repressed. My audience was certainly not Cubans, because we know very well the story because of our firsthand experience in Cuba. We have chosen to live in the U.S., therefore our fight must be focus to the American public opinion that is so misinformed and mislead about survival in the surrealism of Castroland.

With the invaluable collaboration and dedication of one American, Jaums Sutton, who has been editing my articles and who later overcame the annoying technical aspects of making documentaries, more than 300 articles and six documentaries saw the light. The first documentary, COVERING CUBA was premiered at the American Film Institute at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC in November 1995.

The circles of the U.S. left have been getting tighter than the U.S. Embargo. In August 2004 the American Film Institute rejected my third documentary of the series about the case of Elian Gonzalez because it considered it to be “too controversial.” However, they didn’t have objection to instead show Michael Moore’s documentary Fahrenheit 9/11.

The preferred prejudiced predilection for Moore is not just monetary. He belongs to the prevalent reactionary left in the U.S. that control the worlds of the information media, the cultural and academic elites of this nation.

It was during the Elian affair that this hatred and resentment against us was clearly demonstrated through derogative epithets in the editorial commentaries and articles (including by Michael Moore), political cartoons (like the ones of the late Herblock in The Washington Post) and TV reports about Cuban exiles presented in a negative light to the public opinion in the U.S.

The radical encircling rejection against the Cuban American exile filmmakers is easy: just declares as right-wingers, Batista supporters and all that repertoire of negative epithets openly dedicated to us by the mainstream media and the cultural and academic elites in the U.S. I don’t think the majority of us are like that. At least in my case I am an Independent.

The Cuban American filmmakers in exile are mainly rejected from film festivals – for as long as we present the reality of the Cuban tragedy. Let’s be clear: if we do something that favors the Castro regime, then, they open the doors. That’s why I don’t even bother to send my documentaries to film festivals, because first, they steel my fee money and second, they reject it.

I am very straight in my principles, therefore, why should I patronize to our own detractors? So, I only go to film festivals when I am invited.

As a writer and filmmaker in the U.S., I have plenty of freedom to make a film or to write whatever I want. I am not censured to do what I please. But, the thing is that with their cunning “gentlemen’s agreement” of rejecting or simply ignoring what we have to say, they are censuring our message and not allowing it in the form of films, documentaries, books or articles to reach the American public.

In other words we are effectively blocked. It is a real blockade as effective as Castro’s blockade against information and popular incentive in his fiefdom.

Therefore, the mainstream media and the cultural and academic elites are using the same Castro techniques against us in the U.S.

We are also rejected from grants since the majority of these institutions have been effectively infiltrated by those elements limping from the left leg. So we don’t have much support for our projects and we have to end up using money of our own pocket, our initiative, our dedication and doing the work “for the love of art” – in this case our love for freedom, democracy, justice and human rights.

Also – unfortunately – we don’t have much support from our own exile community. In my opinion we still haven’t learned to fight using the arms that our documentary and fictional film productions offer.

In addition to the cases of censure of Nestor Almendros – who I knew in Paris in 1965 – and Jimenez Leal, there is the case of Leon Ichaso with his film Bitter Sugar that was rejected and ignored by Hollywood. Ichaso had to do it with a very low budget. But, he was able to produce an extraordinary production with great acting and photography and a clear presentation of reality. And the case of Andy Garcia’s film The Lost City that suffered due to a lack of funds. Where are the rich Cuban exiles when there is work to be done?

By talking a lot in Miami or in New Jersey this wall that encircles us will not be broken.

The images can bring our message further than our words to each other. We need from our community the same support that the left offers to Michael Moore.

Our productions cost money and if our own community doesn’t help, who is going to do it?

For my seventh documentary of the series COVERING CUBA a non-profit corporation was founded. Its name is UNCOVERING CUBA EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATION (UCEF)*. Since November 2007 to date we have a total of $2,093.70! You can laugh.

Well, this is better than nothing. However, most of Cuban Americans exile filmmakers are on the same train as I am. So I ask you, what can you do with that?!

But, for now, I continue doing the work I feel compelled to do.

© 2008 ABIP

Monday, October 27, 2008

An African-American McCain Supporter

From This n That:
Say you do go to the polls to cast your vote. Which candidate, Barack Obama or John McCain, would get your vote?

After a long period of silence and deep thought:


You've said John McCain. Is that correct?

"Yes. Senator John McCain."

Without making assumptions about African Americans typically voting Democratic, may I say that your answer does come as a bit of a surprise.

"Why does it? Because you're not African American, you don't understand."

No dispute there. Though pollsters, and they are not completely accurate, have said that Barack Obama has a definite lead over John McCain among potential African American voters.

"That's right. They are not accurate. Nobody's ever talked to me. You're the first. And I have to tell you that I'm not comfortable with speaking about my politics or religion in public. I believe they should always be kept private."

Understood. But might we continue, with the understanding that you may end this interview whenever you wish?

He nods his agreement.

Good. Now the compelling question here and now is why Senator McCain and not Senator Obama?

"Simple. Republicans always speak their minds. Even the late Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said as much."


"Am I allowed to speak bluntly here?"

Of course. You will not be censored.

"I've been called more niggers, and it's the last time I'll use that hateful word, more times by more left leaning, sympathetic Democrats than I have by conservative, right wing Republicans. But they never said it to my face. No. They always had a smile and a handshake for me whenever we were face to face. I'm talking about liberal Democrats now."

That's a rather inflammatory statement to make.

"Well, it's true. I come from a place where the Klan was king, a so-called 'red' state. Yet I believe I received as good an education in high school that the white students got. And it was an integrated, predominately white school."

Could you to be more specific? Where and what period of time are you speaking of?

"I won't say where, but I'm talking about the fifties and sixties. Yes, some did call me that name I won't repeat. And 'colored' folks, as we were called then, weren't allowed to eat in certain restaurants. So the racists and racism were always around. But at least I knew where I wasn't wanted"

To clarify what's been said here, are you saying that Democrats where you lived were less accommodating than Republicans?

"Let me be more direct. A Democrat would talk to me, tell me how sorry they were to see how the 'colored' folks were being treated. But could we live among them? Would I be invited to their homes for dinner or parties? Would they permit their daughters or sons to date outside their race? Now, they never said as much directly. They were too smart for that. And they're even smarter today. So the sixties did teach them something. But you see, I'm not talking about where I grew up. I'm talking about a 'blue' state."

Again, which state are you referring to?

"Where I live now. If you know where, I don't want you to print it. All right?"

Agreed. Though there may come a time when it will all come out.

"I'll deal with it then."

Please, continue.

"I mean when I came here I could not find a place to live. Because I was a student then, I was told by apartment managers that they didn't rent to students. We both know how ridiculous that sounds. A bank called police when they saw the size of a check I wanted to deposit. A cashier's check. The issuing bank's president had to verify the check before they would honor it. Where and when have you heard of that? Now I'm not saying that all these people were Democrats. I knew nothing about their politics. But the state as a whole has always been known as liberal, more progressive than most states. That's what I expected to experience. What I'm trying to say is that I always knew where I stood where I came from. So I always knew what I had to do to get around certain obstacles. But when you don't know..."

And it's the reason John McCain could get your vote.

"Nothing against Barack Obama now. He seems like a good man. I think. But he's just one. And just because he's an African American and a Democrat, doesn't mean things will get better for African Americans if he becomes president. His burden will be a mighty one....

Lionel McClelland Recites Robert Burns' "Ode to a Haggis"


I found this interesting new (to me) self-publishing website while Googling Obama's Blueprint for Change. Along with other Obama documents, it's been uploaded to Scribd on "iPaper"... Now that's change I can believe in.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Roubini Predicts...

Global Stagflation...the economist of the moment is nicknamed Dr. Doom (ht Drudge).

My Drawing Will Be in the Festival des Artistes III

It's called "Two Pears" and is done in Conte crayon on paper. I've put a link on my Facebook page. Co-sponsored by The Hospitality and Information Service and the Embassy of Haiti, Festival des Artistes III is a free, non-juried exhibition of art by diplomats and THIS members, hosted by Lola Poisson, artist spouse of Ambassador Raymond Joseph. Artists from around the world have contributed to this show, which is free and open to the public. It takes place November 1st & 2nd at the Haitian Embassy in Washington, DC, located at 2311 Massachusetts Ave NW.

What Will Obama Do?

We don't have to guess. Obama and Biden have published their Blueprint For Change on the Web. It's a mixed bag. I don't like everything, but overall it seems thoughtful, although not as original or imaginative as Bill Clinton's program, Mandate for Change.. Still, it's not a bad start, and hopefully Obama is open to discussion--unlike Bush & Cheney.

For example, here's what Obama and Biden have to say about Russia:
A Comprehensive Strategy

Russia today is not the Soviet Union, and we are not returning to the Cold War. Retrofitting outdated 20th century thinking to address this new 21st century challenge will not advance American national interests. Instead, Obama and Biden will address the new challenges Russia poses by pursuing an integrated and vigorous strategy that encompasses the entire region. The core components of this strategy include:

• Supporting democratic partners and upholding principles of sovereignty throughout Europe and Eurasia while working proactively to gauge effectively the intentions of actors in the region, and address tensions between countries before they escalate into military confrontations.
• Strengthening the Transatlantic alliance, so that we deal with Russia with one, unified voice.
• Helping to decrease the dependence of our allies and partners in the region on Russian energy.
• Engaging directly with the Russian government on issues of mutual interest, such as countering nuclear proliferation, reducing our nuclear arsenals, expanding trade and investment opportunities, and fighting Al Qaeda and the Taliban; and also reaching out directly to the Russian people to promote our common values.
• Keeping the door open to fuller integration into the global system for all states in the region, including Russia, that demonstrates a commitment to act as responsible, law-abiding members of the interna- tional community.
I like the part about joining with Russia to fight the Taliban--right now I think the Bush administration and the British are trying to negotiate a deal with the Taliban, so if Obama sticks to this point, it could mark a real change...

Friday, October 24, 2008


Just found this:
Wiktionary (a portmanteau of wiki and dictionary) is a multilingual, Web-based project to create a free content dictionary, available in over 151 languages. Unlike standard dictionaries, it is written collaboratively by volunteers using wiki software, allowing articles to be changed by almost anyone with access to the Web site.

Like its sister project Wikipedia, Wiktionary is run by the Wikimedia Foundation. Because Wiktionary is not limited by print space considerations, most of Wiktionary's language editions provide definitions and translations of words from many languages, and some editions offer additional information typically found in thesauri and lexicons. Additionally, the English Wiktionary includes Wikisaurus, a category that serves as a thesaurus, including lists of slang words,[1] and the Simple English Wiktionary, compiled using the Basic English subset of the English language.

Don't Blame Greenspan...

(paintings by Erin Crowe)

Someone I know pointed out that when Alan Greenspan stepped down as Federal Reserve Chairman a couple of years back, he did so under heavy political fire from Wall Street, the mortgage industry, and Congress--because he had been raising interest rates to slow the economy. Ben Bernanke--with the approval of Congress, Wall Street, and the press--reversed that Greenspan policy, opening the spigot to easy money that kept the bubble growing until it burst. So despite the theatrics in Congress yesterday, Greenspan can't be blamed for the mess we're in right now.

Bush can be blamed. Paulson can be blamed, Bernanke can be blamed. Wall Street can be blamed. Even Congress can be blamed.

Much easier than taking responsibility is for all of the above to scapegoat Greenspan--who presided over a tremendous period of growth in the US economy during the Clinton administration and kept things from collapsing after 9/11. In his testimony yesterday, Greenspan admitted making mistakes. That's more than I've heard anyone else do. Personally, it seems to me his biggest mistake was resigning under pressure to lower interest rates. He should have stood fast and defended the independence of the Federal Reserve against political pressure from Congress and the White House. But I'm sure Alan Greenspan, an Ayn Randian and Libertarian at heart, could not believe that business leaders would corrupt the entire system with phony bond ratings to the point where, as Anna Schwartz told the Wall Street Journal, the problem is that no one believes anything anyone on Wall Street or the US Treasury says anymore.

Businesspeople have gone from being "wealth creators" to "wealth destroyers" in the popular imagination. And honestly, if they are "wealth destroyers" why shouldn't they be heavily taxed? Of course it is time to "soak the rich." After all, they've just hosed the rest of us, haven't they? Why should they get away with it, laughing all the way to the bank? As Bob Dole used to ask: Where's the outrage?

IMHO Barack Obama has not been aggressive enough against what President Roosevelt (Republican Teddy Roosevelt, for all you McCain supporters out there who claim he's another T.R.) called "the malefactors of great wealth" (possibly because many donated to his campaign). Yet the American people are mad, and they want someone to the pay the price. This collapse did not happen on Greenspan's watch, and it is disgraceful that the media is permitting him to be scapegoated when guilty parties--including Paulson, Bernanke, Bush, Dodd, Frank, and Schumer have been given a pass...

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Product Review: The New Google G1 Phone

This afternoon someone I know and I went to the T-Mobile store in NW DC to take a look at the new Google G1 phone. There was only one working model in the shop, and the salesman took a while to get it going. He didn't have one himself (he had a Nokia) and didn't seem that enthusiastic about the "cool" features. The case looked flimsy and plastic, the slide-up keyboard looked just like a Sidekick to this novice. The GPS function didn't work--the salesman said it was because we were indoors, but according to today's Washington Post, the real reason is that T-Mobile's Washington, DC 3G network is still under Defense Department control. Even without the 3G feature, the look and feel of the G1 just made me want an iPhone more...but I'll have to wait, because as a former New Yorker who grew up in the era of Ma Bell's monopoly, I still cannot buy any product that says AT&T...

Since I couldn't really use the G1, I won't rate it--and I wouldn't buy it, either. I'll wait for Apple to open up the iPhone (no hacker, I).

UPDATE: A reader comments...
I have a G1 On loan from T-Mobile. I like it. The GPS works great. The
browser loads faster than the iPhone. And it's cheaper! Someone I Know has
an iPhone, and it's nice too. To undeerstand what it's all about, read this
article in Wired:

Product Review: The New MacBook

Someone I know just gave me a new 13-inch Apple MacBook laptop for an early birthday present. I've been using it since last Saturday--the souped-up 2.4 GHz model with extra memory. I love it! I love the keyboard that lights up in the dark. I love the built-in camera and microphone for using Skype. I love the giant trackpad that's one big button. I love the one-piece metal body. I love the look and feel of it. I haven't had a Mac laptop since 2003, when I left my old black MacBook in Tashkent. Since then, I used a Fujitsu LifeBook. It was sort of blocky, clumsy and had a Microsoft operating system that just got slower and slower and slower and slower until I'd had enough. Even though the MacBook weighs 4.5 pounds instead of 3, it is so beautiful to look at and and fun to type on that I just can't stop playing with it. And it costs less than my MacBook did in 1999...

So, my advice is run out and buy one--today.

Rating: Five Stars ***** (Our top rating)

(Full disclosure, I am an Apple stockholder.)

Wired Magazine: Quit Blogging Now!

Listening to our daily BBC Radio 4 Best of Today podcast, we heard a panel discussion about an article by Paul Boutin in Wired Magazine that says Twitter, Flickr, and Facebook--plus an invasion by professional journalists--have made blogging obsolete:
Thinking about launching your own blog? Here's some friendly advice: Don't. And if you've already got one, pull the plug...
IMHO, not yet.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Sen. Sam Nunn: Let's Not Be Beastly to the Russians...

Yesterday, I attended a panel discussion entitled "ASSESSING U.S. POLICY TOWARD RUSSIA IN THE WAKE OF THE RUSSIA-GEORGIA CONFLICT" at Georgetown University's Center for Strategic and International Studies featuring Presidential debate host Bob Schieffer of CBS News and Texas Christian University. The room was packed. Schieffer had just moderated the Presidential debates, and was in fine form. The other panelists were Jim Hoagland of the Washington Post, Andrew Kuchins of CSIS, and former US ambassador to Russia Andrew Vershbow. They all made conciliatory noises towards Russia, saying that America should understand that Russia wants money and influence as well as respect as a great power. After Georgia, this sentiment needed to be taken into consideration. Not what one usually hears in Washington...

I couldn't understand what was going on until the last minute, when Schieffer called on former Senator Sam Nunn (D-GA), who was seated in the audience a few rows behind me. At first he demurred, but when Schieffer pressed him--like Julius Caesar--he offered a detailed speech calling for US cooperation with Russia on nuclear non-proliferation and other important issues. I couldn't determine if Nunn was now working as a lobbyist for Russia, or was only speaking on his own behalf. Nevertheless, it gave me the idea that the purpose of the exercise was to signal that any future Democratic administration under a President Obama would revisit the nature of the US-Russian relationship, given that the panelists echoed Nunn's sentiments and that Nunn is among the most "hawkish" Democrats still around Washington (excluding Joe Lieberman, booted by his party in Connecticut in favor of Ned Lamont).

More on the event at the CSIS website, including audio and video.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Scott Hutchison at Georgetown University

My drawing teacher, Scott Hutchison has a show at the Georgetown University art gallery--here's his video about it from YouTube:

Carl Holzman at the Maple Avenue Gallery

Coming to Maple Avenue Gallery in Evanston, Illinois--November 21st-December 19th--Carl Holzman's "Still Lifes 2008" (should it be "Still Lives"?)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Florida is clearly in play...

Someone I know sent me a copy of this email from Barack Obama to her mother:
I'm coming to Orlando tomorrow, Monday, October 20th.

I'll be holding a rally with Senator Hillary Clinton and talking to folks about what we can all do together to change this country.

See the details below and RSVP for the event:

Hope to see you there,


P.S. -- Here's the invitation for the event:

This Monday, October 20th, please join Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in Orlando, where Barack will talk about his vision for creating the kind of change we need.

Early Vote for Change Rally
with Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton

Amway Arena North Staircase
600 W. Amelia Street
Orlando, FL 32801

Monday, October 20th
Gates Open: 3:00 p.m.
Program Begins: 6:00 p.m.

This event is free and open to the public. Tickets are not required; however, an RSVP is strongly encouraged. Space is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

For security reasons, do not bring bags or umbrellas. Please limit personal belongings. No signs or banners permitted.

Paid for by Obama for America
Here's a link to local media coverage of the event on Channel 13.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Return to Kibbutz Na'an: A Video Documentary

After 36 years, Pierro returns to his kibbutz with this filmmaker, to show him where he spent the gap year between high school and college...

Monday, October 06, 2008

James Grant: Wall Street Lied

James Grant was on 60 Minutes last night:

Simultaneously Grant published this critical op-ed in the Washington Post yesterday. Inquiring minds want to know. How come he wasn't on the 60 Minutes and in the Washington Post the week before the second House vote? Do you think Grant's point-of-view might have changed some minds in Congress, even with a "sweetener" Wooden Arrow Tax Exemption included?
When, in 2006, the roof began to fall in, Wall Street was in a quandary. It held outsize volumes of triple-A-rated mortgage-backed securities (MBSs). That they were not, in fact, triple-A, had become painfully obvious. Curious analysts consulted the financial statements of the top mortgage dealers, including Bear Stearns, Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley, for clarification.

Readers, however, found no clarification and no foreshadowing of the troubles to come. Neither in Bear's year-end 2006 report (10K, in Securities and Exchange Commission jargon) nor in its March 31, 2007, quarterly filing was there a meaningful word of warning about the sagging prices of the MBSs that did so much to pull Bear down. Those seeking to learn Merrill's exposure to the mortgage contraptions called collateralized debt obligations, or CDOs, were similarly stymied. Although Merrill was to write off $23 billion worth of CDOs in 2007, the phrase "collateralized debt obligation" did not appear once in its 2006 10K.

Because there was often no market for these idiosyncratic securities, Wall Street did not have to value them at market prices. Rather, it marked them "to model." That is, it assigned them prices at which they would trade, according to one mathematical construct or another, if they could trade. Of course, these mathematical constructs tended to cast things in a cheerful, management-approved way. Only later did a telltale plunge in the value of traded mortgage indices open the eyes of the market to the full extent of the troubles.

Prices can be unwelcome pieces of information. When an especially unwelcome batch wells up after a financial collapse, governments try to quash it. So it is today. The SEC has suppressed short selling. The bailout bill will open the door to the suspension of market-value accounting. The Fed is moving heaven and earth to cheapen the value of the dollar.

Long after the crisis burst into the open, the Fed and Treasury downplayed it. It was, they insisted, "contained." Last week they asserted that, unless the House voted "yea," the wheels would come off this $14 trillion economy. President Bush himself has broadly hinted that the nation is on the cusp of disaster.

How can they be so sure? And how can they know that the unintended consequences of the radical policies they are pushing through won't be worse than the panic that they themselves are helping to foment? When the Fed insists it has no choice but to print up hundreds of billions of new dollars and when the keepers of accounting standards bend in the face of criticism that market prices hurt, what they are really saying is the that financial truth is too awful to bear. Heaven help us all if they're right

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Bailout a Victory for Al Qaeda?

That's what one of the terrorist group's leaders said in a video released yesterday, according to JihadWatch. Did anyone think of the aid and comfort it would give America's enemies when Wall Street and the US Treasury Department came up with "The Sky Is Falling!" strategy? Heck of a job, Hank Paulson...
CAIRO, Egypt (AP) — An American member of al-Qaida pointed to economic troubles in the United States as proof that "the enemies of Islam" face defeat, in an English-language video released Saturday.

In a half hour video message, California-native Adam Gadahn urged Pakistanis to unite against their government and U.S. forces, and taunted Americans over their economic crisis, relating it to their military interventions.

"The enemies of Islam are facing a crushing defeat, which is beginning to manifest itself in the expanding crisis their economy is experiencing," said Gadahn, in a clip of the message distributed by the SITE Intelligence Group, a Washington-based monitor of militant Web sites.

"A crisis whose primary cause, in addition to the abortive and unsustainable crusades they are waging in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq, is their turning their backs on Allah's revealed laws, which forbid interest-bearing transactions, exploitation, greed and injustice in all its forms." [...]

Gadahn also urged Pakistanis to unite and establish an Islamic state..
Destroying the US economy was one of Bin Laden's stated goals. Blowing up the World Trade Center couldn't do it--but this bailout just might...

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Arnold Kling: Bailout Worse Than You Think...

Someone I know referred me to this blog post critical of the bailout by well-known economist Arnold Kling, who coincidentally also was at Swarthmore College when we were there, a senior when we were freshmen...
No major newspaper would run any op-ed from me. I gave up and sent one to, which you can see here. The bottom line:

The financial bailout isn't as bad as Main Street thinks. It's worse.

I think I'll just paste the other one below the fold.

Next, I am going for a long bike ride. You might want to look up a quote from August 1914 about "the lamps are going out all over Europe. We will not see them lit again for a long time." I'm sure a commenter will be able to locate the exact quote and the speaker, an English minister whose name eludes me.

Much of Europe was happy and optimistic when war was finally declared. Many people are happy today that war that has been declared on free markets. Looking at the bright side, it could be worse. This war does not involve sending millions of young men to fight in trenches and launch human wave assaults against machine guns.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Stop the Bailout Dot Com


Meow! Meow! Meow! Arianna Huffington on Sarah Palin's Debate Peformance

The only subject on which Palin displayed superior knowledge was when she corrected Biden on the proper delivery of "Drill, baby, drill!" Christie Hefner thought Palin's sex-tinged twist on the chant should be appropriated for a commercial. Perhaps for Viagra.

Other than that, Palin's grasp fluctuated between wafer thin and skin deep. The moment that most drove me to want to send her a book on Greek gods and heroes was her head-scratching response to the question about her Achilles heel. She apparently didn't know what that meant since she spent her allotted time listing all of her attributes as opposed to her most glaring weakness.

Warning: Your Cell Phone May Be Haunted...

At least, that's what I think Mark Horowitz may mean, in this post from his blog, Haunted Screens.

Biden v Palin: Biden Won on Points

No links for this, must more pure personal reaction. Palin did OK, but a little too much Energizer Bunny fembot reciting talking points to have won, goshdarnit! (wink) She really believes in that GREAT AMERICAN HERO: John McCain, David Petraeus, her brother the schooteacher, whomever. As Joe Biden once said in moment of truth (called a "gaffe" by Washingtonians), Palin's pretty, which made her easier to look at--except when her smile dropped, her lips tensed, and she seemed about to scowl, SCARY! Luckily, she usually recovered he beauty-queen poise (see below).

Biden came across as an old pol...not 100 percent credible, but, on the other hand, able to think on his feet. He looks like he had one too many Botox injections on his forehead--bring back some wrinkles please, so we can see expression on what otherwise looks like a rubber mask--but he did show some emotion in a corny "choking up" moment, which worked to humanize him. He actually seemed more real than Palin. Plus the God Bless Our Troops ending was good.

Best of all was Biden saying that McCain was not really a maverick (he really meant that the OLD John McCain was a maverick, while the NEW John McCain running for President is a Bush water-carrier). That took some wind out of Palin's sails. I also liked Biden saying he changed his mind about judicial ideology in the Bork hearings, a way of getting the abortion issue into the debate.

Nice to see that Palin supports gay rights along with Biden! That clarification during the debate should cheer the Christian base of the Republican party no end. Somehow the discomfort showing on Biden's face made him appear more conservative on this issue than Palin, at least to this observer... We'll see how this plays in Peoria--or Michigan.

Meanwhile, Biden turned out to be tall, and Palin turned out to be short! That's always interesting. Palin had a bit of a hunch. She might want to consider taking classes in the Alexander technique...

One thing missing--a discussion of prinicples. Palin was a hero-worshipper, Biden seemed a deal-maker. What's needed is an injection of priniciples into the race, rather than ideology or hero-worship. Principles are what enable people to make rational decisions and plans for new situations, and the President always faces a new situation...

On to the Presdential debates next week.

UPDATE: Snap polls seem to show that the majority of Americans feel the same way I do.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Sarah Palin's 1984 Miss Alaska Swimsuit Competition

Ann Coulter on Why Obama Supports the Bush-Paulson Bailout

Obama was not merely wrong on Fannie Mae: He is owned by Fannie Mae. Somehow Obama managed to become the second biggest all-time recipient of Fannie Mae political money after only three years in the Senate. The biggest beneficiary, Democratic Sen. Chris Dodd, had a 30-year head start on receiving loot from Fannie Mae -- the government-backed institution behind our current crisis.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

The Economists' Voice: The Bailout is Bad, Paulson is Wrong

I just received an email from Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz calling my attention to some items that readers of this blog might find of interest--especially given the unfortunate vampire-like undead Paulson bailout bill now in the Senate. Here's the table of contents:
Good Bailouts and Bad
David O. Beim
Please Think This Over
Edward E. Leamer
A Better Plan for Addressing the Financial Crisis
Lucian A. Bebchuk
Auction Design Critical for Rescue Plan
Lawrence M. Ausubel and Peter Cramton
What if the Median Voter Were a Failing Student?
Bryan Caplan
Questioning the Treasury's $700 Billion Blank Check: An Open Letter to Secretary Paulson
Aaron S. Edlin
Dr. StrangeLoan: or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Financial Collapse
Aaron S. Edlin
Why Paulson is Wrong
Luigi Zingales
Investment Banking Regulation After Bear Stearns
Dwight M. Jaffee and Mark Perlow
Turn Left for Sustainable Growth
Joseph Stiglitz

And here's the link to The Economist's Voice, where one may download the articles in PDF format (I wish they were in HTML to read online). I assume some Congressmen and Congresswomen should be placing these in the Congressional Record, if forced to vote on the bailout bill again, so you may be hearing more about Economists Against Paulson in the future.

For the life of me, I don't understand why Obama isn't leading the charge against Paulson and Wall Street, using the mess to campaign against Bush-McCain's handling of the economy. There should be a clear difference between McCain and Obama on this, but he's fuzzed it all up, if Paulson's "cash for trash" bill passes, Obama might have a decidedly weaker hand to play when it come to the handling of the economy...