Tuesday, September 30, 2008
1/ Congress is certainly living up to it's approval rating now, isn't it?.
2/ Nancy Pelosi is a bitch.
Yes, I realize that is potentially a sexist remark, but the fact is that no one on the Democratic side - man or woman - has been as partisan and unreasonable as the Speaker of the House. She says on the one hand that she is working in a bipartisan manner to try and find a solution for the crisis, and then with the other, she proceeds to blame the entire crisis on the Bush Administration and her Republican counterparts.
Ms. Speaker - you have plenty of Democratic colleagues who have dirtied their hands in dealings with Wall Street, so your side is certainly culpable in this mess. And by blasting the administration one last time before the vote, you needlessly stoked the flames. If passing this bailout package is the best thing for America, then why did you potentially poison it? Were you more interested in protecting America, or protecting your party? You caused a problem instead of helping to solve one. Oh - and while "supporting" the bailout, you also managed to NOT get the votes of 95 Democrats. That shows a certain lack of leadership within your own party, doesn't it?
3/ The Republicans have to grow a pair - and then they have to grow up.
The biggest reason the vote on the bailout package failed had nothing to do with the "criminals on Wall Street" and everything to do to the November election. Every single member of the House is up for re-election, and they - especially the Republicans - are afraid that a vote in favor of the bailout package will cost them their jobs. Our representatives should be representing us, instead of worrying about keeping their seats. The Republicans are quick to shake their fists and say "we're not going to reward those criminals who ruined Wall Street by handing them more money!" That's all well and good, but it's akin to being angry when you find out you have cancer, and then refusing to undergo chemo just to show the cancer who's boss! Finally - to those Republicans who claim they voted no because of Nancy Pelosi's remarks - it's time to graduate to big boy pants.
4/ President Bush gives a new meaning to the term "lame duck".
Can anyone tell me the last President who had this little amount of power in his final months in office? Even his worst enemies are embarrassed for Bush, I think. He couldn't scrape together a boy scout troop to support him at this point, and I hear his dog hates him, too!
5/ We are all to blame for this.
Look, there's plenty of reason to be pissed at Congress, and pissed at Bush, and pissed at Wall Street... But where was the outrage when the economy was booming, and everyone was able to buy a house, and go on fancy vacations, and spend money like crazy? Before our broken financial system put us in this current mess, it also allowed America to go on an extended binge, and now we're struggling to find the aspirin bottle to soothe our mounting headache. It is human nature to celebrate the good times when times are good. But we need to recognize that, going forward, Americans need to do a better job of paying attention to what's going on in the world. And that means more regulation.
I think it's only a matter of time before the economic bailout package is passed in Congress. If the party leaders can't convince their GOP and Democratic colleagues in the House to change their minds, another day or two of falling stock prices oughta do the trick. Of course, by then, our 401k plans will really be in the toilet, but what the hell! At least we'll have shown Wall Street how ANGRY we are! That'll teach 'em!
Monday, September 29, 2008
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Thursday, September 25, 2008
If you read the small print and do the math, it would cost you a total of $9170.10 to borrow 2,600 dollars! An annual percentage rate of 99.25 percent!
Imagine that! Loan sharks advertising on Cable TV! What a country!
In the game of Big Brother, losing contestants frequently try to make the claim that they have played the game honestly, with morally superior intent, and they invariably are shown the door because they are not willing (or are not smart enough) to make the cutthroat plays necessary to win the game. So the quandry becomes whether to be popular and lose, or to be lambasted and win.
In the game of Presidential "Big Brother" that is playing out in my head, Obama is coming out as the nice guy, and John McCain is coming out as the tough guy who just might win in the end.
The McCain campaign has been excoriated by the Obama camp (and by Democrats in general) for picking Sarah Palin as his running mate, a move that many on the left see as a cynical effort to pickup some Hillary Clinton supporters, and described by many as a "Hail Mary" pass to save a failing campaign. Well, for a while, anyway, the move worked, and it worked far better than even the McCain campaign could have imagined. Like her or hate her, Palin is still getting plenty of attention, despite the fact that a near-blackout has been imposed by the McCain campaign in terms of media access. Joe Biden is readily available to the media, but the way things have been going for him lately, don't be surprised if the Democrats put Biden in a media blackout as well!
Now, John McCain has announced he's suspending his campaign and returning to Washington until a deal is reached on a rescue package for America's financial system. The Democrats are crying foul once again, saying McCain's move is nothing but a political ploy to turn the attention away from his trailing poll numbers. They also are claiming "dirty pool", because they say Obama reached out to McCain first, only to have McCain go before the media first in order to get the "leadership" edge on the issue. In the game of "Big Brother", we call this "the player getting played".
There's no doubt McCain is making a big gamble here. His latest play could come across as a political ploy... OR it could come across as McCain being a renegade... actually doing something "presidential" and leading by example, leaving Obama in the dust to engage in the political game alone.
No matter how you look at it though, there is no doubt that in the Presidential campaign, John McCain has been more imaginative, and demonstrated that he's more willing to take chances than Barack Obama is. This could very well kill McCain's chances of being President. But if America elects John McCain on November 4th, it will be because he was doing what he needed to do to win the game.
But McCain will claim the White House.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Loyal... or stupid?
Monday, September 22, 2008
My pal, Jon Greene, was my roommate at Syracuse. He introduced me to my wife, was an usher at our wedding, and is Godfather of my oldest son, Brad. He's also an Executive Producer of SVU, and he happened to be photographed with Mariska (okay... BEHIND Marisha) at last night's Emmy Awards. He's the bald guy with the sunglasses and the tie...
Here's a picture of Jon and I in college -
Thanks Jon, for providing this brush with greatness - and better luck next year, Mariska... It's no shame losing out to Glenn Close!
Friday, September 19, 2008
I kinda feel like the ball player who gets ejected from game 7 of the World Series in the eighth inning with my team holding a one-run lead, and then going on to win the crown. I may not have been "on the field", last night, but I'm proud to see that WMAL has won the Marconi award from the National Association of Broadcasters as the Major Market Radio Station Of The Year!
Here's Operations Director Paul Duckworth accepting the award:
I completely agree with what Paul said in his speech. There is still a very talented bunch of people at WMAL working hard to make the very best radio they can in a very volatile and sometimes scary business environment. I stand beside them as they celebrate their prize, and want to thank General Manager Chris Berry, who took the time to drop me a personal note to acknowledge my contributions.
I sure wish our political parties and candidates could get along this well!
After devoting his entire career to raising taxes, it seems Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett has finally raised the white flag and chosen an alternative to reaching directly into your pocket... In the long-standing American political tradition of opposing an idea before supporting it, Leggett has reluctantly come out in favor of legalizing slot machines in Maryland! All I can say is - Jump in, Ike... the water is warm! Leggett is not breaking open a roll of quarters to play the machines just yet - he says slots are the lesser of two evils, with the other evil being tax increases... But in a county where lawmakers have never seen a new tax they didn't like, this is real progress!
Also in the paper - the return of an oldie but goodie to this blog... More proof that the new ballpark for the Washington Nationals is proving to be a loser for the DC government. Not only is the team holding up its rent payment by arguing that the stadium is not "essentially complete", but tax revenues for the park are well behind projections, because the city foolishly figured on more than 3 million people visiting the stadium in its first year. It looks like attendance is going to come up about 700, 000 bodies short. Look - the Nationals stink - but more importantly, there is no culture for baseball in this town, and it is going to take YEARS for the team to reach that mark... and it will only do THAT if the Nats are flirting with a playoff spot... something that will not be happening any time soon!
Finally, a follow up to my previous entry concerning my visit with a financial planner during this week of global economic confusion. All went well during my visit with Dan from Merrill Lynch, but he was clearly scrambling to keep up with his nervous customers. I am admittedly lousy with money management, but in this case, it turns out one of my blunders almost certainly saved me some money. The money from my most recent 401k has been sitting as cash in a Merrill Lynch account for the past couple of months because I had never gotten around to investing it. Dan tells me that is normally a bad idea (duh.) because the money should be invested so it can grow... However, as lousy as things have been lately, Dan says I definitely saved money by sitting on the sidelines! So let's hear it for me!
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
DELTONA, Fla. -- An angry Deltona father whacked his teenage daughter's boyfriend with a metal pipe after finding the boy naked in his daughter's room. Authorities say the father, 45, didn't even know his daughter had a boyfriend or that the youngster had been sneaking into the home for more than a year.
When he heard noises coming from his daughter's bedroom Thursday morning and saw a stranger standing naked on the girl's bed, he swung a metal pipe. He then chased the teen out the front door and called police.
The boy was taken to the hospital where doctors closed a head wound with staples.
The father was charged with aggravated battery on a child and bonded out on $10,000.
15-year-old Brad Matthews informed me yesterday that his high school's Homecoming dance is October 9th, and that he plans to spend it sitting in front of the computer in the basement, playing video games. I say AMEN!
More than six months after my involuntary dispatch from WMAL, I am still cleaning up the pieces... Specifically speaking, I am currently reinvesting the small pittance of cash that I had accumulated in the Citadel 401k plan during the eight months that I had worked for that company.
While I am doing this chore, I am also having a financial planner make some suggestions concerning my Disney 401k, which I had been contributing to for years until Disney sold our station and made me an ex-cast member.
The financial planner I'll be working with is Dan, the nice young guy from Merrill Lynch who took me, along with some other radio buddies, on a very unsuccessful fishing trip in the Chesapeake Bay a couple of months back. Here's hoping Dan is a lot more successful with my money than he was with a rod and reel! I'm sure Dan is already working on his speech explaining how my money will be safe, even though Merrill Lynch sold itself to Bank of America in a financial fire sale earlier this week!
I'm not particularly worried about who will be handling my money going forward, because they could hardly do a worse job of handling it than I have!
Here is some very important advice to anyone who has a 401k plan but hasn't looked at how it's doing lately. NOW IS NOT THE TIME TO LOOK! The Dow has dropped about a thousand points this week, closing yesterday at a three-year low. I guarantee you will be shocked if you take a peek. I had to print out a statement so I can review it with Dan, and I swear I got the vapors... OUCH!
Me? I'm no longer looking for one job... I better be looking for two!
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
I have shared in the past about "Mad Men", and the fact that it is one of the best shows on television. I am already lamenting the fact that Season 2, which started back in July, is about two-thirds over. The fascinating thing about this show, set in 1962, is that it uses the past to show us a picture of ourselves today.
One of the themes of this week's episode, for example, dealt with Joan, the sexy office secretary who showed intelligence and insight while reviewing TV scripts for a junior executive, only to find her new and exciting work shuffled off to a new, less worthy, MALE employee. Back to the steno pool, dear - and don't let the door hit your bodaciously blessed derriere on the way out, sweetie! Interestingly enough, this portrait of unrestrained sexism comes just as the Republicans and Democrats point fingers at each other over which party is being more sexist in a more veiled way vis a vis Clinton and Palin. We may find the way women are treated on "Mad Men" to be appalling, but we are reminded that the issue has never gone away.
My favorite part of this week's episode, however, dealt with the marital woes of our attractive suburban couple, Don and Betty. Betty has rightly accused Don of having an affair, and even though his hand is still in the proverbial cookie jar, Don can't bring himself to fess up to this unthinkable sin. In fact, by the end of the episode, Don has gone from sleeping on the sofa to being banned from the house altogether - an unthinkable scandal in 1962!
I remember when my parents spilt over similar "cookie jar" issues in the 60's, and how traumatic it was to be around my school mates. Divorce was almost unthinkable back then, and in fact, my sisters and I were the ONLY kids in the neighborhood whose parents had ever broken up. It was like having a scarlet "A" spray-painted on our house! To see all of this being played out now on television in the same general time frame is fascinating, and I can't wait to find out how this will be played on the show. My bet is that Don and Betty will not break up - there's simply too much at stake both at work and in the neighborhood for them to stay apart!
The next time you find yourself mocking your parents for what you might see as their backwards, or perhaps, outdated values system, just remember that their generation had to figure out how to deal with issues like infidelity and sexism and out-of-wedlock pregnancy and homosexuality (two other big "Mad Men" themes) without Dr. Phil or Oprah to talk them through it. We were a much more closeted nation in 1962. And it's quite educational to be shown how people dealt (or did not deal) with their sins, as Fred Grandy would say, "back in the day".
Monday, September 15, 2008
The woman was identified as Eunice Wolman, the wife of David Wolman, 96, who was driving the car that crashed about 7 p.m. on Norbeck Road near Georgia Avenue in the Silver Spring area. David Wolman suffered injuries that were not life-threatening, police said.
The man who died was identified as Max Rubin. His wife, Libby, also 92, suffered non-life-threatening injuries.
All four occupants of the car lived at Leisure World, and one neighbor said she thought that they were returning home after dining out.
Police said David Wolman's Buick was going east on Norbeck when it drifted onto a shoulder. The driver overcorrected, and the car crossed into the opposite lane and then left the road. It struck a stop sign and a tree, fatally injuring both backseat passengers, police said.
A neighbor of the Wolmans described them last night as "a very, very loving couple." "They went everywhere together, did everything together," Rena Shochet said.
Although well into his 90s, she said, David Wolman appeared to be a careful, capable driver. "He was sharp," Shochet said.
Call me ageist if you want, but would ANY OF YOU be comfortable knowing you could be sharing a two-lane road with a 96-year-old driver? God bless him for living that long, but this poor man just killed his wife, and he could have killed someone else, too!
I don't care if our seniors vote... The people they elect need to pass a law putting an age limit on driving!
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Since NBC usually makes youtube take down its SNL clips, I have used the version from hulu.com (which NBC co-owns). It may include a 15-second ad, but it's worth the wait! Enjoy!
Friday, September 12, 2008
By the way - by actually making the TV squad, Brad surpasses NY Senator and former First Lady Hillary Clinton, who only managed alternate status on her high school's It's Academic team... And Brad joins the ranks alongside our good friend, Bill Vanko, who was captain of the It's Academic team at Loch Raven High School back in 1976! (He's the beardless wonder in the middle below!)
Palin's performance in her first interview with Charlie Gibson should not be compared with the 9-11 disaster, although I'm sure some NY Times or Slate.com columnist will not be able to resist that allusion. This was not, however, Palin's finest moment. Gibson, rightly so, launched right into questions about foreign policy - the area that most people in America suspect would be Palin's weakest link. And she did prove to be pretty weak. Her answers concerning Israel and the Russian invasion of Georgia were clearly crafted by someone else and grafted onto Palin's brain. And she clearly had no idea what the Bush Doctrine was when Charlie asked her about it.
Red meat Republicans will be tempted to attack Charlie Gibson for his questions, or for the borderline-condescending manner in which he asked them. But they should stop right there. Charlie Gibson was hand-picked by the McCain camp, and can you really name anyone else of stature who would have treated Palin any more fairly? I will say I was not very comfortable with Gibson's grilling about God. Religion is a very personal thing, and what makes sense to one person vis a vis God may make no sense at all to someone else.
Palin supporters will give her a pass on much of the interview. Let's face it... the vast majority of Americans don't know anything about foreign policy - that's what we elect other people to worry about. And I, for one, had no idea what the Bush Doctrine was, either! I have never had any delusion that Sarah Palin knows squat about foreign policy, and I could frankly care less about her bona fides in that area. Most Governors who have ever run for President have the same weakness entering the White House, and they simply learn on the job.
However, Palin's struggles with Gibson DO mark an important point in the election. It will give Democrats (and the media - especially MSNBC) some traction for the first time since Palin was introduced to the public before the GOP Convention. And it should erase a good portion of the bump that McCain enjoyed after St. Paul.
In other words, it's game on!
P.S. - Watch this clip - and remember - we only tease because we love.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Well, lo and behold, we found out this afternoon that Brad's hard work and penchant for obscure trivia has paid off - He is now the only sophomore on Sherwood's "A" team! He may or may not get to compete on the "It's Academic" TV show this fall - there are four players competing for three on-air positions... but Brad WILL appear on the Montgomery County Schools' Public Access TV quiz show, "Quizmaster Challenge"!
It's quite an accomplishment for our oldest son, who continues to amaze his teachers and parents on a regular basis... and it's definitive proof that video games do NOT rot one's brain!
In tribute to Brad, I present this amusing new video, which shows us what happens when Super Mario's heroic efforts are taken for granted. Enjoy!
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Monday, September 8, 2008
I am still firmly on the fence, but it's refreshing to think it could be because I really don't have anything (YET) of substance against either candidate. Barack is a bit too much "rock star" for my taste - especially given his very REAL lack of experience. John McCain is, frankly, about 10 years too old. But overall, I find both men to be attractive candidates - likable, believable and intelligent. Compare these two with the candidates from the past few elections...
2004 - George W. Bush vs. John Kerry - The epitome of lesser of two evils. Bush was not proving to be a particularly effective President, but America just plain didn't like John Kerry.
2000 - George W. Bush vs. Al Gore - People love Al Gore today, but he was a pretty weak candidate back in 2000, and so was Bush. Heck, if Gore had carried his own home state, we never would have had to learn about pregnant chads.
1996 - Bill Clinton vs. Bob Dole - Okay, I'll grant you... this was NOT a lesser of two evils election. Clinton did have an effective first term, and Dole was a well-respected elder statesman. But given Clinton's incumbency, this was never a very close election to begin with.
1992 - Bill Clinton vs. George H.W. Bush vs Ross Perot - The fact that Perot drew nearly 19 percent of the vote shows this was the ultimate in the lesser of THREE evils elections....
1988 - George Bush vs. Mike Dukakis - America was not really thrilled at the idea of giving a third straight term to the GOP, but Bush was running against Dukakis, who was a Democratic prototype for John Kerry.
Call me idealistic, but I think there's a real chance Americans will go to the polls on November 4th feeling good about the choices they have to make. It's far too easy in our sharply divided nation to take sides, and we spend far too much time trashing our opponents. There is plenty that is subject to change in the next 57 days, but as of right now... If my choice (whoever it turns out to be) doesn't win, I think I'll be fairly comfortable with the other guy in the White House.
Obama may be a rock star, but at least he's not a wooden board like Kerry or Gore or Dukakis. McCain may be old, but he's not (no matter what the Democrat talking points say) a carbon copy of George W. Bush, and he will be a strong leader if elected.
Regular readers of this blog have heard me bitch in the past about the broken county government that has never seen a tax it didn't like. It simply costs way too much to live here, and it's largely because the labor unions representing county workers are pulling the puppet strings that control our elected leaders. I say this, by the way, as the husband of a county school teacher.
The latest abuse and waste? A new audit from the county shows that more than 60 percent of the county cops who have retired over the past four years were placed on disability as they walked out the door - ensuring them of 2/3rds of their full-time pay for the rest of their lives tax-free. One of the "disabled" officers who retired won a fitness competition just a year after retiring! If the officers had simply taken retirement benefits, they would have been entitled to 60 percent of their salaries, and would have been taxed on that money. Their benefits would also have dropped considerably once they started receiving social security.
I don't know enough about labor contracts or the law to know whether anything can be done about any of this, but I DO know that there's plenty of fraud being committed, and as a taxpayer, I'm being left holding the bill again.
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
In essence, the Democrats are doing everything they can to marginalize Sarah Palin, just as all men tried to marginalize all women candidates a generation ago. If Sarah Palin breaks through the glass ceiling, are we to believe it won't count because her politics are not NOW politics? Do GOP women have to submit to chromosome tests to prove their gender?
Here's what is really at play here. Last Thursday night, the Democrats thought they had the election all but locked up after Barack Obama's electrifying acceptance speech in Denver. Obama/Biden vs. McCain/Romney? Surely an electoral landslide!
What the Democrats had not counted on is that the Republicans were slick enough to steal the spotlight and turn conventional wisdom on its ear. And now the Democrats are pissed.
They are pissed that what they thought would be a rout is now a horserace. They are pissed that, after finally getting Hillary Clinton to go away, her legacy remains alive in Sarah Palin. And they are extremely pissed that of the two parties, the one that had the imagination to nominate a woman was the party of Darth Vader and Dick Cheney.
This is a hypocritical temper tantrum in the making. Would feminist groups rather have a strong woman in the White House, even if she does not share the traditional NOW platform, or would they rather have Joe Biden in a dress?