Last Car Show Vid

Here is the last car show video. It starts with a beautiful Jaguar and ends with a Steve McQueen Special Edition Triumph motorcycle.

Return of Son of Car Show

Episode 3 in Turkey Rod Run.


Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from the Howell Report.


Gags of Wrath - Wiki-Hack

I was doing some research on the Great Depression when I came across a "humorous stealth hack" of Wikipedia.

In the description of The Grapes of Wrath plot there were slyly inserted references to "mad cow disease", the dream of a "steady drug supply" and death by reindeer.

I don't know about you, but when we studied The Grapes of Wrath in high school there were no references to the Joad's dream of a steady drug supply.

There has to be a term for this kind of underground, barely noticeable, pranking of Wikipedia entries.

Anyway, see under "Plot" 2nd paragraph, 3rd sentence. 3rd paragraph, 3rd sentence and 4th paragraph 5th sentence.

A small laugh in the midst of the new economic troubles!


Honda Quits Formula One

Shocking news today as Honda announces it's withdrawal from the top tier of motorsports racing, Formula One.

"Honda Motor Co. has come to the conclusion that we will withdraw from all Formula One activities, making 2008 the last season for participation," said Honda president Takeo Fukui at an emotional press conference.

"This difficult decision has been made in light of the quickly deteriorating operating environment facing the global auto industry... and the sudden contraction of the world economies," he added.


Son of Car Show

Didn't I tell you I had hours of classic car footage?   Well, I do. So here is another 5 minute clip from my trip to Daytona Beach on November 28. The sun was so bright that day and the cars so shiny that I scorched my retinas


Turkey Rod Run

I went for a motorcycle ride on Friday intending to go to the Turkey Rod Run in Daytona Beach. Before I could get to the speedway I saw a parking lot filled with classic rods - so I stopped - and I looked.

I spent most of the day there. It was great and it was FREE.  Anyway enjoy Car Show Part I - from Volvo to Ford.


Darryl Worley At The Fair

Country star Darryl Worley brings his unique brand of fun and friendly music to the Volusia County Fair in Florida on November 7, 2008. Here he performs his hit "A Good Day to Run".

Geese and Engines

Here's a little video from the 2008 Volusia County Fair. It sounds corny, but it was fun!


Morris Music is Bad Ass Blues

Bill and Gwen Patterson are old friends. They came for a visit at the end of October. We all went over to Tampa to see another old friend Paul Morris.  A wonderful time was had.   They all lived happily ever after.  Sho 'nuff. Here's video proof.


Sarah Palin Turkey Incident

It's like no one is listening to her words. We're all just watching the guy behind her. It's as though the cameraman was leaving room in the frame for the slaughter.


Holiday Gift Card Ripoff

Stores that are planning to close after Christmas are still selling gift cards through the holidays (even though the cards will be worthless after they close).

There is no law preventing them from doing this. On the contrary, it is referred to as "Bankruptcy Planning".

Below is a partial list of stores that you need to be cautious about.

  • Circuit City (filed Chapter 11)
  • Ann Taylor 117 stores nationwide closing
  • Lane Bryant, Fashion Bug ,and Catherine's to close 150 stores nationwide
  • Eddie Bauer to close stores 27 stores and more after January
  • Cache will close all stores
  • Talbots closing down specialty stores
  • J. Jill closing all stores (owned by Talbots) Pacific Sunwear (also owned by Talbots)
  • GAP closing 85 stores
  • Footlocker closing 140 stores more to close after January
  • Wickes Furniture closing down
  • Levitz closing down remaining stores
  • Bombay closing remaining stores
  • Zales closing down 82 stores and 105 after January
  • Whitehall closing all stores
  • Piercing Pagoda closing all stores
  • Disney closing 98 stores and will close more after January.
  • Home Depot closing 15 stores
  • Macys to close 9 stores after January
  • Linens and Things closing all stores
  • Movie Galley Closing all stores
  • Pep Boys Closing 33 stores
  • JC Penney closing a number of stores after January
  • Ethan Allen closing down 12 stores.
  • Wilson Leather closing down all stores
  • Sharper Image closing down all stores
  • K B Toys closing 356 stores
  • Loews to close down some stores
  • Dillard's to close some stores


Flute Impressions

I'm writing an article for a website and I have some questions for flute performers or those who enjoy flute performances.

1. How do you feel about the flute?
2. What kind of emotions or feelings do you experience when you hear a great flute performance?
3. Is there anything you'd like to add or want people to know about the flute and flute performers?

Thanks very much for any contribution you can make. You can leave your comments to this post or reply back to me.

Be aware that I may be using your responses in my article.


Worst Place in the World

Unemployment is at a 14 year high. Banks and insurance companies are failing. Thousands of homeowners are in foreclosure. Our schools, roads, bridges, and other infrastructure are failing. But at least we don't live in the worst place in the world right now. 
Earlier this week, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said 3,000 more UN peacekeeping soldiers were needed in Congo to bolster a 17,000-member UN force.
Ban also called for a ceasefire so aid workers could get help to at "at least 100,000 refugees" cut off in rebel-controlled areas.
"The conditions in (the refugee camps) are as bad as I have seen them anywhere in Africa," World Vision spokesperson Kevin Cook told CTV's Canada AM on Wednesday morning.
Displaced people are in urgent need of water, sanitation, hygiene, nutrition and other supplies and protection from escalating violence."
Cook said aid workers are also concerned about the spread of diseases such as malaria, cholera, measles and diarrhea. He also noted that he is not sure how long relief workers would be able to stay in the country if the situation worsens.
UN officials have noted that both sides in the dispute have committed crimes against civilians, including rapes.
"This is probably the worst place in the world to be a woman or a child," Cook said.
A little perspective is a good thing. Thanks to CTV for the quote.


Already Looking Good for Obama

There are the great unwashed masses out here in America that hope to heavens that our government can get something done soon about the abject mess the country is in. Politics is out. Working together to help America and Americans become strong again is the most patriotic thing the new Administration and Congress can do.

This snippet from Marc Ambinder, if true, is good news.
Behind the scenes, Obama himself and many key aides have been making overtures to conservative Democrats.
These Democrats want budget off-sets included with every expensive piece of legislation that Obama sends to the Hill; at the very least, they want the White House to incorporate centrists in decision-making.
Importantly, Barack Obama doesn't seem to be too interested in everyone else's opinion of how he's supposed to run his White House. This can only be a good thing (unless you're a Republican praying for Obama to make a fool of himself). It seems that, much like with the campaign, he has some long term goals and isn't worried about engaging in small fights over things like his West Wing staffing choices.
Can it be true? Is politics as usual over? Are we returning to that post-911 feeling that brought the country together? We can only hope.


Sarah Palin's Future

Well, Sarah. It's back to Alaska with you now. But we'd sure like it if you'd get the hell out of politics. You need to get back behind the anchor desk where you belong. Gawker tells us what Sarah should do now.
Join the cast of The View.This is where it all ends for you, Sarah. You were never going to be President. You never had a shot to be Vice President. You never even had the potential to be a serious political figure of any magnitude outside the strange and backwards frozen state of Alaska. But with a little perseverance you could end up on a couch, on daytime television, flanked by Barbara Walters and Joy Behar, arguing about Michelle Obama's wardrobe. Embrace your destiny, Sarah Palin. Elizabeth Hasselbeck can't hang on there forever.
I couldn't have said it better myself.


Sad McCain

Well, I've done it. I voted for Barack Obama this morning and it felt like the right thing to do. Unfortunately, I don't think this is going to be a good day for John McCain. I've heard pundits say he was on the wrong side of history. That only partially explains McCain's defeat. He was caught up in a perfect storm of bad luck, bad strategy, and bad behavior that doomed his candidacy.

First, today's John McCain looks and acts a lot different than the 2000 version. I think he sold his soul and his values in so many ways to gain the nomination. In for a penny, in for a pound. After the nomination, McCain had to "go for broke" and do all the things he probably wouldn't have normally done like going negative. That only hurt him. But by now it\'s too late. He looks like another dirty politician.

The Bush presidency, Sarah Palin, suspending his campaign, the financial crisis. All bad for him. Here's a little quote from Politico's Roger Simon:
How about that Dick Cheney endorsement Saturday? Wasn’t that a brilliant move with just three days to go in the race? Here is John McCain struggling to demonstrate to the voters that his election will not represent four more years of the George W. Bush administration, and so who does McCain’s campaign trot out? The leading architect of the George W. Bush administration!
You would have a hard time finding a less popular national political figure in America today than Dick Cheney. His approval rating is around 18. And that is 18 people, not 18 percent. (OK, OK, I am kidding. But an 18 percent approval rating is pretty awful.)
Barack Obama ran an epic campaign for an epic time. McCain couldn't grasp that to win he had to perform like every African-American and woman has had to for years. To win he had to work much harder, be much smarter, appear more honest and more humble than his opponent.

I'm loosely quoting the great political writer Hunter S. Thompson from memory, "The fix is in, the worm has turned." It's time for Americans to grow up, shut up, act like adults, and get to work fixing this country that George W. Bush has destroyed. Power to the people.


Dick Bin Laden

What is worse for John McCain's candidacy, an endorsement from Osama Bin Laden or an endorsement from Dick Cheney?
"'Dick Cheney came out, and he hit the campaign trail, and he said, and I quote, that he is "delighted" to support John McCain,' Mr. Obama said. 'You've never seen Dick Cheney delighted before, but he is. That's kind of hard to picture. So, I would like to congratulate Senator McCain on this endorsement, because he really earned it.
"'Here's my question to you, Ohio,' he said. 'Do you think Dick Cheney is delighted to support John McCain because he thinks John McCain is going to bring change, because he thinks that somehow John McCain is really going to shake things up, get rid of the lobbyists, and Haliburton, and the old boys club in Washington? Ohio, we know better.'"


Lipstick on a Pig

Why didn't we see this coming? It's another example of how Caribou Barbie is just like every other normal Joe Six-Pack in the country. It looks like the highest paid member of the McCain campaign is Sarah Palin's makeup artist. Makeup artist?
Ms. Strozzi, who was nominated for an Emmy award for her makeup work on the television show “So You Think You Can Dance?”, was paid $22,800 for the first two weeks of October alone, according to the records. The campaign categorized Ms. Strozzi’s payment as “PERSONNEL SVC/EQUIPMENT.” The payment on Oct. 10 made Ms. Strozzi the single highest-paid individual in the campaign for that two-week period. (There were more than two dozen companies that got larger payments than Ms. Strozzi). She easily beat out Mr. Scheunemann, who received $12,500 in the first half of October, and Ms. Wallace, who got $12,000.
If Sarah Pain is so pretty and has all this "experience" as a beauty contestant, why does she even need makeup?


Central Florida's Finest

Sarah Palin - Now With Even More Elitism!

I've written before about the gross hypocrisy in portraying Sarah Palin as anything close to an average American. The money she and her husband makes and her job simply remove her from consideration. How can you consider the governor of a state the same as an ordinary working class citizen. By definition, as a governor you are part of the ruling class. And now surprise! Palin has spent more than what I make in FIVE YEARS on clothes.
Yet Republicans expressed consternation publicly and privately that the shopping sprees on her behalf, which were first reported by Politico, would compromise Ms. Palin’s standing as Senator McCain’s chief emissary to working-class voters whose salvos at the so-called cultural elite often delight audiences at Republican rallies. 
That possibility was brought to life, for instance, on “The View” on ABC, as Joy Behar, a co-host, noted the McCain campaign’s outreach to blue-collar workers — like an Ohio plumber who recently chided Senator Barack Obama over taxes — after another co-host, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, defended the expenditures.“I don’t think Joe the Plumber wears Manolo Blahniks,” Ms. Behar said.
The argument from Republicans is that Palin needs to look good and if she didn't, the press would criticize her for it. They could have turned this to her advantage if they had purchased clothes at Wal-Mart or Sears. The Republicans, who were a formidable political force just a few years ago, are now so out of touch with real Americans that it's no surprise that Democrats will be sweeping them out of the White House, the Congress and the Senate in just 12 days.


Sarah Palin - Tax Problems

The Wall Street Journal today reports that a number of tax experts believe VP nominee Sarah Palin is required to pay federal taxes on reimbursements from the State of Alaska.
While several tax experts have raised serious questions about whether the payments to Gov. Palin are taxable income, they said the case was clearer cut for treating the reimbursements for the children's expenses as taxable income. "The kids are a slam dunk problem," said Robert Spierer, a partner with the accounting firm Perelson Weiner LLP in New York City. "The husband you could make an argument that he had to be there because it was required for spouses to be there."
But not the children, he said. "I don't think I would ever claim that on my clients' returns. I can't think of a real strong argument for it."
Gov. Palin also accepted $17,000 in per-diem meal payments for nights spent at her home in Wasilla, 40 miles from the governor's office she used in Anchorage, Alaska's largest city. Gov. Palin often used that office rather than traveling to the state capital of Juneau, more than 800 miles away. Several tax experts have argued this should be counted as taxable income.
Palin was reimbursed $25,000 for her children's travel. According to Texas Tech University School of Law tax professor Bryan Camp the IRS would ask questions to find out whether the travel reimbursements were reported properly.


Today in History

On Oct. 20, 1973, in the so-called Saturday Night Massacre, special Watergate prosecutor Archibald Cox was fired. For their refusal to dismiss Cox, Attorney General Elliot L. Richardson resigned and Deputy Attorney General William B. Ruckelshaus was fired.

In 1944 Gen. Douglas MacArthur stepped ashore at Leyte in the Philippines, 2 1/2 years after he'd said, ''I shall return.''

In 1968 Former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy married Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis.

In 1977 Three members of the rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd were killed in the crash of a chartered plane near McComb, Miss.

Thanks to The New York Times.


Something's Fishy About the Bailout

I can't put my finger on it but I just have this feeling that this whole bailout thing is simply a poorly conceived and executed plan to provide political cover for our so-called leaders. And to especially help Bush leave office in less disgrace than he will already.  Is there a true economic crisis?  Especially of the magnitude that\'s been reported. The economy's been in trouble for quite a while already. Here's an excerpt of a minnpost.com report from a panel of economists at the University of Minnesota's Humphrey Institute for Public Affairs Tuesday night:
The Bush administration has acted in this crisis the same as it has acted for the last eight years, Chari said. "The consistent message is: We're grown-ups. We understand the real problems. You don't. We need to go into Iraq. We need to spend $720 billion. Because we have the information that you don't. "The publicly available data don't support the need for the type of bailout bill pushed by the president, Chari said, and if the administration has more telling data, it should be disclosed. Without seeing what they're seeing, the bailout appears to be "remarkably unwise," he said. "They're not telling us what we're not seeing that they are seeing," Chari said. "There is this nagging fear maybe they're reacting to weird things in their heads."
Stinson acknowledge the problem that many people believe they are being misled, but said he believes the threat to the economy is credible. "This isn't Mr. [Ahmed] Chalabi reporting visions of mobile bio weapons labs running around the streets of Baghdad," Stinson said of a key figure in the run-up to the Iraq war in gathering information that turned out to be false. Instead of a grainy satellite image in a Colin Powell slide show, what economists are seeing is a widening gap in the rate banks are charging each other compared to what the Federal Reserve charges.
Something's fishy about this "bailout". Time will tell whether the administration's response was warranted or whether it was just a "let's cover our ass" move. People don't trust the Bush administration's version of the "crisis". Well,  I have no idea why that would occur.


Sorry McCain

The final debate is over and it appears, by all objective measures, that Obama won. I can say now with some certainty that McCain will be losing the election. I'm starting to feel a little sorry for McCain. I think that history and other cultural factors have simply made this Obama's time. E.J. Dionne Jr. said in the Washington Post:
What's striking about the past month is that the great American middle has shifted Obama's way. Recent polls by The Post and ABC News, Gallup, and the Pew Research Center suggest that Obama's gains since mid-September have been especially large among whites, particularly white men, and also among independents and moderates. At this crucial juncture, the contours of the 2008 contest are remarkably similar to those of the 2006 midterm elections that ended with a Democratic victory. Strikingly -- and no doubt unintentionally -- McCain echoed the Democrats' 2006 campaign theme when he said that voters want the country to move in "a new direction." That's McCain's problem.
McCain had a chance in 2000 to be the party's nominee and he lost to Bush. The 2008 McCain is a much different man. Since 2000, his attitude has seemed to be "wait my turn and win at any cost". Unfortunately, McCain is no longer a maverick -- he's changed for the worse.


McCain Implosion Wrap-Up

Tonight is the final debate of the 2008 race for the White House. It's 18 days before the election and a good time to start analyzing where McCain went wrong. Take it away Maureen Dowd!
On Tuesday, Matthew Dowd, the former Bush strategist who offered a famous apologia for helping get W. re-elected, offered a scorching assessment of Palin’s not being ready, saying that McCain “knows that in his gut. And when this race is over, that is something he will have to live with. ... He put somebody unqualified on that ballot, and he put the country at risk.”
Christopher Hitchens endorsed Barack Obama on Slate on Monday, calling Palin’s conduct “a national disgrace” and writing: “Given the nasty and lowly task of stirring up the whack-job fringe of the party’s right wing and of recycling patent falsehoods about Obama’s position on Afghanistan, she has drawn upon the only talent that she apparently possesses.”
Christopher Buckley endorsed Obama on The Daily Beast, writing of McCain’s embrace of Palin: “What on earth can he have been thinking?” (The endorsement led to Buckley’s resigning from The National Review, founded by his father.)
On “The Colbert Report” on Monday, the conservative columnist Kathleen Parker stuck by her assertion, which she said caused the base to treat her like a traitor, that Palin should have bowed out. She said she’d gotten some secret e-mails from Republicans in the White House agreeing with her.
Unless there's another catastrophic event before the election, it looks like McCain's campaign has imploded, falling in upon itself like a deflated cake. There's always Palin in 2012!


Investigator: Palin Violates Ethics Law

I believe that Sarah Palin is not only unqualified to be vice-president, but is also unfit to be Alaska's governor. Now here's proof. Palin unlawfully abused her power as reported  by an Alaska legislative panel.

This from Matt Apuzzo:
Investigator Stephen Branchflower, in a report to a bipartisan panel that looked into the matter, found Palin in violation of a state ethics law that prohibits public officials from using their office for personal gain. Palin and McCain's supporters had hoped the inquiry's finding would be delayed until after the presidential election to spare her any embarrassment and to put aside an enduring distraction as she campaigns as McCain's running mate in an uphill contest against Democrat Barack Obama.
It looks like this isn't the end of Palin's troubles. The investigation may expand into new territory.
The report was made public the same day an Anchorage judge issued a temporary restraining order forcing the state of Alaska to preserve any government-related e-mails that Palin and top aides sent from private accounts in what critics contend was an effort to conceal that they were doing political business while working at state government jobs.
I think we're going to find that this issue of Palin's unethical behavior is just the tip of the iceberg and that she may be guilty of criminal behavior. We've had criminals in the White House for eight years. Please, no more.


McCain - That One

In the final weeks of the campaign John McCain simply cannot keep up. He says age is not a factor but it looks more and more like he's being worked to death. His campaign is like a sinking ship - springing leaks right and left. Now there are calls to hold the election early and get it over with.
Can we skip the next debate and hold the election the first Tuesday of next week? It's time to put this POW horse out of its misery. John McCain used to crash planes and bang strippers, and now he's wandering around the stage, looking for his car keys. A lifetime in politics, obliterated at the very end by Steve Schmidt and that Palin creature. Asking himself what kind of country prefers a black guy with a name as Arabic as Mohammed Atta's to a decorated war hero.
John, it this really how you want to go out?  Calling Obama a terrorist behind his back and a "one" to his face?  You've come this far without snapping, but you're turning into Grandpa at Christmas dinner. You don't like how any of the grandkids turned out, your dentures hurt and you're two scotches away from calling Grandma a slut.
An accurate portrayal of McCain? Take a look at tape from the last debate.


GW Bush: Worst President Ever

As the presidency of George W. Bush winds down we will begin to see more and more articles that take "a look back". Many are not looking kindly on Bush 43. Consider this article  from the Boston Globe written by H.D.S. Greenway:
The hubris and arrogance of Bush's first term still poisons the wells of good will this country once enjoyed. The undermining of the Constitution, the secret torture chambers have besmirched this administration more than any tawdry intern scandal ever could. Today we are bogged down in two wars and an unprecedented deficit, with a financial crisis of a magnitude not seen since the days of Herbert Hoover. The president has so little respect it's as if he has already left the stage.
Why does it take the perspective of history to see clearly how incompetent George W. Bush was/is?The Texans tried to warn us.  Here's the late, great Molly Ivins:
So what manner of monster is behind these outrages? I have known George W. Bush slightly since we were both in high school, and I studied him closely as governor. He is neither mean nor stupid. What we have here is a man shaped by three intertwining strands of Texas culture, combined with huge blinkers of class. The three Texas themes are religiosity, anti-intellectualism, and machismo. They all play well politically with certain constituencies.
Ivins wraps it with this:
Bush's lies now fill volumes. He lied us into two hideously unfair tax cuts; he lied us into an unnecessary war with disastrous consequences; he lied us into the Patriot Act, eviscerating our freedoms. But when it comes to dealing with those less privileged, Bush's real problem is not deception, but self-deception.
I couldn't agree more and it makes me feel like I did about the Vietnam War. What a colossal waste of time, energy, money, and humanity. There's nothing so wrong than to waste the lives of good people. There are a lot of good people dead now because George W. Bush was not smart enough to be president.


Palin Lives Up to Low Expectations

The vice presidential debate is over and the analysis is beginning. Predictably, those who liked Palin before like her now and those who liked Biden before like him now. In a poll taken immediately after the debate by CBS News/Knowledge Networks uncommitted voters say Biden won. To try to get an unbiased look at the debate I turned to Politco.com.

Here's some debate analysis from writers John F. Harris and Mike Allen that says Palin met the low expectations set for her and that the McCain campaign needs more help than Palin can bring:
ST. LOUIS — Millions of Americans were watching Thursday night’s vice-presidential debate waiting for a demolition derby moment — another crash by GOP running mate Sarah Palin, another serving of raw material for the writers at "Saturday Night Live." By that standard, she got out alive, though there were white-knuckle moments along the way: questions that were answered with painfully obvious talking points that betrayed scant knowledge of the issue at hand, and sometimes little relevance to the question that had been asked.
But recent days have given John McCain’s team little reason to suppose that not-that-bad is good enough. The Republican ticket’s sliding polls and narrowing electoral map gave it a different imperative in her showdown against Joe Biden. That was to alter the trajectory of the race in a way reminiscent of how Palin first enlivened Republicans—it seems long ago now—when she joined the ticket in late August.
What is little talked about this morning but is frightening is Palin thinks Cheney somehow changed the U.S. Constitution and thinks the Vice President now has  more control over running the Senate.
I'm thankful the Constitution would allow a bit more authority given to the vice president if that vice president so chose to exert it in working with the Senate and making sure that we are supportive of the president's policies and making sure too that our president understands what our strengths are.
Let's go back to Harris and Allen at Politico for an unvarnished look at Palin's performance.
To the contrary, it is hard to count any objective measures by which Biden did not clearly win the encounter. She looked like she was trying to get people to take her seriously. He looked like he was running for vice president. His answers were more responsive to the questions, far more detailed and less rhetorical. On at least ten occasions, Palin gave answers that were nonspecific, completely generic, pivoted away from the question at hand, or simply ignored it: on global warming, an Iraq exit strategy, Iran and Pakistan, Iranian diplomacy, Israel-Palestine (and a follow-up), the nuclear trigger, interventionism, Cheney's vice presidency and her own greatest weakness.Asked which is a greater threat, a nuclear Pakistan or a nuclear Iran, Palin seemed to be stalling, or writing a term paper, when she said: “An armed, nuclear armed especially Iran is so extremely dangerous to consider.”
The bottom line is today's vote in the House on the financial rescue or bailout is making last night's debate forgettable pretty quickly.  Every poll now shows Obama leading McCain in electoral votes continuing an upward trend for Obama-Biden.

The next debate is Obama versus McCain on Tuesday October 7.


Palin Debate Meltdown

Tonight is Sarah Palin's chance to show the world she's ready to be a heartbeat away from the presidency. After all she's Joe six-pack! Whatever that means. So here's some things Katharine Q. Seelye from The New York Times wants you to keep in mind while watching Sarah Palin's debate meltdown tonight.
Polls show that an increasing number of people think she is not qualified to be vice president. Will she try to counteract that impression by just keeping her head down, or will she try something dramatic? Will she go after Mr. Biden, or wait to see if he goes after her first? Something dramatic is probably a clue that Senator John McCain, who named Ms. Palin as his running mate a month ago, thinks he’s in trouble.
If she blunders, she won’t necessarily sink the ticket’s chances in November, but it sure would reinforce the story line that he exercised bad judgment by picking her in the first place.
Her level of preparation should be evident early on. Watch to see whether she can answer questions with a specificity that has so far eluded her in  TV interviews
I have to disagree. If she loses, McCain loses. If she wins, McCain could still lose. Dan Quayle came back from a humiliating thrashing by Senator Lloyd Bentsen and actually became vice-president but his political fate was sealed as an empty-suited loser.
Ms. Palin has been referring to herself lately as Joe Six Pack. This is an attempt to cast Mr. Biden as a creature of Washington and lay the groundwork for her to deflect policy questions — she may not know how to fix the nation’s financial system but she knows the price of diapers and gasoline. Watch for her to emphasize that she understands the needs of people like you.
It doesn't take an Einstein to argue that Joe Biden is a creature of Washington. McCain is too. In fact, when you compare Biden to McCain, the democratic nominee for vice-president has more experience than the republican nominee for president. Palin has no idea what the needs are of ordinary Americans. And as I pointed out yesterday, Palin is a state governor and not an ordinary citizen. I predict a win for Biden and in about a month the residents of Alaska will have their governor back.


Sarah Palin - Elitist

Sarah Palin says she's just like you and me (except for that being governor of a state thing). I can't speak for you, but both she and I went to college and studied journalism. And like my wife Palin is also a woman!

Yesterday Palin was "interviewed" by right-wing radio host Hugh Hewitt. Palin said the following as reported by TPM Election Central
Sarah Palin did a radio interview yesterday with Hugh Hewitt, declaring that the media has gone after her because she represents the average person. "It's time that normal Joe six-pack American is finally represented in the position of vice presidency," Palin said.
I started to wonder. Maybe Palin is like me. Maybe she's worried for her job. Maybe she's having trouble paying for gas to put in her car. Maybe she's troubled by rising food prices. So I looked up her salary as governor of Alaska. From the Handbook on Alaska State Government:
AS 39.20.010. Annual Salary of Governor. The annual salary of the governor is $81,648.

Without giving away my salary, I can say that this is considerably more than what BOTH MY WIFE AND I MAKE PUT TOGETHER! This is also much more than the median earnings of men who worked full time. How about this from Wikipedia and the U.S. Census Bureau
The real median earnings of men who worked full time, year-round climbed between 2006 and 2007, from $43,460 to $45,113. For women, the corresponding increase was from $33,437 to $35,102 
So Sarah Palin alone earns more than double what other women make. More than men and more than entire households - $50,233. I'll bet the healthcare expenses for her whole family are being taken care of too. Palin is so much NOT like the average American and she's either in denial, lying, or simply ignorant of what real Americans are facing every day.

Hey, we've got a guy like that in the White House now.


Obama Wins Debate

With all the fury surrounding the economic bailout and the proposed bill failure it's easy to lose track of the contest for president.  According to a USA Today/Gallup poll released Sunday 46 percent of debate watchers thought Obama did better than McCain. 34 percent thought McCain performed better. The following is from Politico's Alexander Burns:
The poll surveyed 701 adults who watched Friday's debate, and all interviews were conducted on Saturday. Obama's numbers have ticked up nationally since the debate, the first of three scheduled this year, along with next Thursday's vice-presidential face-off. In the Sunday update to Gallup\'s daily tracking poll, Obama widened his lead over McCain to 50-42 percent. Friday, in polling that preceded the debate, Obama had a five-point, 49-44 percent advantage.
Obama was also up in polls conducted by the Rasmussen Reports, Opinion Research Corp., Bloomberg/LA Times, and CBS/Knowledge Networks. Most polls show Obama ahead of McCain by more than the margin of error.


Startling! Shocking! McCain Replaces Palin

In a shocking move, even for a "maverick" like John McCain, the campaign has replaced vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin. It appears that her performance in the ABC and CBS interviews coupled with recent criticism by conservative commentators has had an impact on the decision. The new nominee, in keeping with McCain's "maverick" image, is a political unknown and is a hoofed mammal known as Bucky Deer. This "news" from the Huffington Post:
The Arizona senator supposedly brushed aside concerns that a startled deer would wilt under the pressure of a televised debate, telling aides, "At least a goddamn deer won't go on about Alaska being close to Russia."
The McCain campaign said today that Sen. McCain's new running mate, Bucky the Red Deer, would not be made available to the press prior to the debate.
"Bucky is very much a work in progress," said McCain campaign manager Rick Davis. "Right now we're working on keeping him from bolting off the stage."
Bucky's opponent in the upcoming debate, Delaware senator Joseph Biden, appeared today to be trying to manage expectations for the high-stakes face-off with his four-legged rival.
At least Bucky will have a good excuse for having that "deer caught in the headlights" look during this Thursday's debate. Also in other news, McCain is sinking in most nationwide polls.


Good News Bad News

The good news is everyone is so preoccupied with the financial bailout of the US of A that they haven't noticed that Sarah Palin gave an interview to Katie Couric where she sounded stupid. Then, because she's "one tough lady" she bravely took four questions from reporters. What do you think Wonkette?
If she learned anything at the Idaho community college of local sports commentary, it’s “filling air time.” Exactly like the infamous airhead  Miss Teen South Carolina, Palin has been coached to mindlessly say phrases such as “younger generations of Americans” and to dully repeat variations of any vaguely familiar phrase she stumbles upon: “never forgetting,” “never repeating,” “never allowing a repeat,” etc. This is called “autism.”
She continues:  "I wish every American would come through here. I wish every world leader would come through here, and understand what it is that took place here and more importantly how America came together and united to commit to never allowing this to happen again.”  It’s a sweet platitude, and wouldn’t come off quite so dim if “every world leader” hadn’t already paid their respects at Ground Zero, about seven years ago, when Palin hadn’t yet learned New York was part of the United States.
The bad news is the US is seriously F'ed up because some other brainless republican started a war, pissed off the world, tortured some people, ignored a destroyed US city, and now allowed rich people to anally rape the financial markets. How much is 700 billion dollars? 
 Slate: If the federal government siphoned off  Florida's gross domestic product , we could cover the bailout. Invading the Netherlands might be advisable—that nation's GDP was  $768.7 billion last year. Of course, invasions cost a lot of money.  Back in 2003, the Bush administration told Congress that the Iraq war would cost between $60 billion and $100 billion, but it's estimated that, so far, we've spent about $600 billion. Should the Treasury receive authority from Congress to borrow $700 billion, the national debt will rise by only about 7 percent. Right now, it's sitting at $9.6 trillion.
And here I was worried that there would be no money left in Social Security when I retired. It looks like there be no money as soon as next week for groceries. Slate:
Lastly, in apocalyptic terms, $700 billion really isn't all that much. If nothing is done to change the way we finance Social Security, the trust fund reserves will be exhausted by 2041. This means that, in 75 years, there'll be a shortfall of $4.3 trillion —or about six bailouts.


McCain Campaign Manager Helps Create Economic Mess

The Obama campaign has been airing commercials here in Florida that say McCain's staff is filled with evil, baby-eating Washington lobbyists. You know you can't believe a thing from the campaigns in September and October. Well, as it turns out Obama was right and McCain is still a liar. Here's some information from the New York Times:
WASHINGTON — One of the giant mortgage companies at the heart of the credit crisis paid $15,000 a month from the end of 2005 through last month to a firm owned by Senator John McCain’s campaign manager,  according to two people with direct knowledge of the arrangement.
The disclosure undercuts a statement by Mr. McCain on Sunday night that the campaign manager, Rick Davis, had had no involvement with the company for the last several years.
Mr. Davis’s firm received the payments from the company, Freddie Mac, until it was taken over by the government this month along with Fannie Mae, the other big mortgage lender whose deteriorating finances helped precipitate the cascading problems on Wall Street, the people said.
If McCain wins, this guy can be in charge of your 700 bazillion dollars! Now McCain blames the newspaper for his troubles. It looks like two more people in the McCain campaign also hate you, William Timmons Sr. and Mark Buse. Both have ties to Freddie Mac.


McCain-Palin Mute During Largest Economic Crisis in History

The McCain-Palin campaign likes to talk about reform and experience and other presidential sounding stuff. But lately they've been mostly mute on the largest economic disaster in recent history. And how do they feel about endorsing the re-election campaign of beloved republican Senator Ted Stevens from Palin's home state? ABC News' Jake Tapper wanted to know, so he asked:
The response from the McCain-Palin campaign was as simple as the question I'd asked: Will get back to you.
It looks like McCain and Palin like to talk, but like that stuck-up friend you had in high school, only about things they want to talk about. They don't like talking to reporters because they're mavericks. Tapper:
Combine that with the facts  that Sen. McCain has gone 41 days without taking questions from the press corps following him around, and that Gov. Palin has gone every one of the 25 days since she was introduced to the nation as McCain's running-mate without holding a press conference. 
It all adds up to a campaign that seems to think it should be handed over the keys to leadership of the Free World without having to answer straight-forward, substantive, tough questions from the Fourth Estate. That's called lack of accountability.
It's not nice to make network television news reporters mad by not answering a simple question -- if you want to be president. Maybe it's a good thing that McCain hasn't called a press conference. He'd just get all mad and red-faced and start yelling at the reporters to get off his lawn.


Palin Rumored to Be Secret Muslim

There's been much rumor and speculation surrounding John McCain's vice presidential pick. Sarah Palin, a 44 year old former beauty queen has been called unqualified and unready to lead. It appears that new information has surfaced about the Alaska National Guard's commander-in-chief. This information courtesy of The Onion:

  • An evening-gown-clad Palin personally drilled a clumsy but functional oil well during the talent portion of the 1984 Miss Alaska pageant
  • Actually a Muslim
  • A lower-back tattoo of Alaska can be seen when Palin wears low-riding jeans
  • In addition to the five children that the media are aware of—Track, Bristol, Willow, Piper, and Trig—Palin also has nine secret children: Frag, Moss, Scoot, Skiffer, Minnow, Plow, Snatch, Twiglet, and Drum

America's Finest News Source - indeed.

Bush Just Sold America to China

I don't know how to put this without sounding queer but sometimes Ken Layne channels Hunter S. Thompson and brings a truth and beauty to modern life. As you all know Republicans defeated the Soviet Union. Well, it seems like history is repeating itself. Today the US is the Soviet Union and the Republicans are defeating us. Here's Mr. Layne to explain:
Your editor was standing in the bowels of LAX a few weeks ago,waiting for the antiquated baggage conveyor to deliver whatever was left of his war suitcase, when he had the overwhelming feeling of being stuck in some early ’90s Eastern Bloc rundown government facility, maybe a train station in the Ukraine or a “department store” in Serbia. Everything was dirty and broken, dull people stood in dull clumps, afraid to talk or bitch too much as there were heavily armed cops everywhere, as always. The fluorescent lights blinked and buzzed sickly in the windowless chamber, there wasn’t even muzak or a Starbucks around.
It’s what America looks like, increasingly. The roads are potholed, the bridges collapsing, metro trains crash and kill as dull-eyed engineers peck text messages, airlines have become Aeroflot, dams and levees busting apart, yearlong waits to get a passport, maimed soldiers sent back to the endless war again and again, and a book-banning big-government cipher from Siberia is briefly popular for being a nasty moron.
Even in recent weeks right-wing-nuts were wailing about how Barack Obama was going to turn our country into some sort of communist workers paradise. Please speak the truth to these morons Mr. Layne:
Turns out we didn’t need “stealth socialist” Barack Obama to pervert capitalist America into a crumbling nationalized economy run in private by a dome-skulled kleptocracy as our nation’s battered military wastes away in the forgotten bummer of a civil war in Afghanistan. WAIT A MINUTE that is exactly what happened in the Soviet Union! And the so-called Republicans did it, because they are Fiscal Socialists!
Some robot on one of the Sunday talk shows were talking about how the next president would have to clean up this mess. How naive. How about the next three generations? One more nugget of truth about the futility of the so-called "government action".  Mr. Layne, please?:
America just sold another half-trillion dollars of itself to China, all to keep the markets flat for a week in September.

McCain - Not Ready to Lead

As the election approaches it's becoming clearer and clearer that John McCain is not ready to lead. His reaction to last weeks financial meltdown was troubling. Waffling and flip-flopping should be better left at the IHOP. Here's a clear example of the unsteadiness of McCain from an editorial in the Buffalo News:
McCain’s views, meanwhile, remain no better than muddy and often contradictory. One day he says the fundamentals of the economy are sound, while they next he says they are troubled. On another day he opposes a bailout for AIG, while the very next, he says a bailout was unavoidable. Before this campaign, he waved the conservative flag of deregulation; now, he says lack of regulation helped bring about the current fiscal crisis.
I'm no spring chicken, but I think McCain is just too old to keep up with the changes and the rapid pace of today's world. It takes more than someone with wits and resolve, it takes someone with stamina to keep up with a 24-7 world. McCain is at that age where he should be thinking about relaxing, fishing, and playing checkers with his old friend Bob Dole.


Vote McCain - Kiss Your Retirement Goodbye

McCain Will Privatize Social Security: John McCain has repeatedly said he will privatize Social Security, but has now flipped the biggest flop. In light of this week's financial meltdown, it seems as though Sarah Palin is not the only poor choice McCain has made.

On the Rasmussen Report website, Joe Conason says McCain was still advocating the Bush privatization plan earlier this year in an attempt to please the conservative base and win the nomination.
...he told the Journal editors that he generally opposes regulation, he explained his plan to "reform" Social Security. "I believe that private savings accounts are a part of it," he said, "along the lines that President Bush proposed.
Obviously such remarks no longer serve Sen. McCain's political purposes, and certainly won't attract voters, who never liked the Bush plan -- and probably like those ideas even less as they watch the market ravage their pension funds and equity accounts. Listening to the Republican nominee promise this week to "protect "their retirement accounts, they might wonder how he will do that when so much of the value of those accounts has disappeared already. They might also wonder what would happen to the elderly and other beneficiaries of Social Security if the privatizers like him had succeeded in consigning their future to the same Wall Street sharks he now denounces for their greed and irresponsibility.
 Of course John McCain can be cavalier with your future because he doesn't have to worry about his retirement. He's a rich guy. His wife, Cindy "Woozy" McCain, has all the money in Arizona she made from being some rich guy's daughter. And you will have to eat cat food when you're old.


John McCain is Clueless

John McCain can't be serious when he says the fundamentals of our economy are strong. Spoken as only an out of touch, well-heeled, 72 year old man can. I would have to agree with Ken Layne's Outrage!
That he still has no idea America is crumbling -- its middle class, infrastructure, manufacturing base and banking system -- is almost funny.
Of course it's not too funny if you're one of the 605,000 people who lost a job this year, or one of the 2 million homeowners who lost their house to foreclosure in 2008, or somebody ready to retire on a 401k that lost 30% or 40% in value in the past year.
It's true that Ken Layne's opinion skews a bit left of center. But now even McCain's supporters on the right are starting to turn on him. See the following:


Palin - Corrupt Republican Politics

It\'s taken time but a true picture of Sarah Palin's experience and political record is coming into focus - and it looks a lot like the Bush administration. If you thought the disaster of Katrina and the FEMA director's job was the last word in cronyism? Here's another example  of the "heckofa job Brownie" school of human resources pointed out by the Washington Post's Eugene Robinson:
 And the New York Times  reported Sunday that as governor, Palin appointed a high school classmate, Franci Havemeister, to a $95,000-a-year job as head of the State Division of Agriculture. Havemeister "cited her childhood love of cows as a qualification for running the roughly $2 million agency," the Times reported, noting her as one of at least five schoolmates to whom Palin has given high-paying jobs in state government.
Nothing against cows. Nothing against high-school BFFs and being true to your school. But a different picture of Sarah Palin is beginning to emerge. The McCain campaign would like us to see a straight-talking, gun-toting, moose-eviscerating, lipstick-wearing frontierswoman. Instead, we're beginning to discern an ambitious, opportunistic politician who makes no bones about rewarding friends and punishing those who stand in her way -- and who believes that truth is nothing more, and nothing less, than what she says it is.
Wikipedia defines cronyism as "...partiality to long-standing friends, especially by appointing them to positions of authority, regardless of their qualifications." Palin's record is beginning to show a portrait of politics as usual - that's corrupt Republican politics - the same as we've had for the last eight years.

McCain - Putting Self Before Country

There's no way to trust a man that is so irresponsible as to choose an inexperienced, unqualified, uneducated beauty queen to be his running mate. Since the Republican Convention, maybe before, it's become clear that "Walnuts" McCain is doing the exact opposite of his campaign slogan - he's putting himself before his country.

He is so desperate to become president that he has stooped to new lows. Here's a quote from The Washington Post from Joe Biden on McCain-Bush:
"Eight years ago, a man ran for president who claimed he was different, not a typical Republican. He called himself a reformer. He admitted that his party, the Republican Party, had been wrong about things from time to time. He promised to work with Democrats and said he'd been doing that for a long time," Biden told the group in Michigan.
"That candidate was George W. Bush. Remember that?" Biden said. "Eight years later, we have another Republican nominee who\'s telling us the exact same thing: This time it will be different, it really will. This time he's going to put country before party, to change the tone, reach across the aisle, change the Republican Party, change the way Washington works."
From his admitted lack of economic knowledge, to his latest sleazy attacks on Barack Obama, to his desperate VP pick, McCain has proved he's no maverick. McCain may have been honorable once, but today he's a different man. That's not change we can get behind.


The 21st Century Economic Depression

My father was in his teens during the 1930's and the Great Depression. He use to tell me all kinds of tales -- some true, some not, and some that were true but were unbelievable about growing up during the Depression. It looks like we are in for another bumpy financial ride this week. This descriptive and dramatic story from yesterday's New York Times tells the story of the beginning of the end for many Wall Street high-rollers:
Dinner parties were canceled. Weekend getaways were postponed. All of Wall Street, it seemed, was on high alert.
In skyscrapers across Manhattan, banking executives were holed up inside their headquarters, within cocoons of soft rugs and wood-paneled walls, desperately trying to assess their company’s exposure to the stricken Lehman. It was, by all accounts, a day unlike anything Wall Street had ever seen.
There's a lot that sounds familiar in this excerpt from Wikipedia on the causes of the Great Depression:
...in the 1920s, American consumers and businesses relied on cheap credit, the former to purchase consumer goods such as automobiles and furniture, and the latter for capital investment to increase production. This fueled strong short-term growth but created consumer and commercial debt. People and businesses who were deeply in debt when price deflation occurred or demand for their product decreased often risked default. Many drastically cut current spending to keep up time payments, thus lowering demand for new products. Businesses began to fail as construction work and factory orders plunged.
Massive layoffs occurred, resulting in unemployment rates of over 25%. (US) Banks which had financed this debt began to fail as debtors defaulted on debt and depositors became worried about their deposits and began massive withdrawals. Government guarantees and Federal Reserve banking regulations to prevent such panics were ineffective or not used. Bank failures led to the loss of billions of dollars in assets.
The debt became heavier, because prices and incomes fell by 20–50% but the debts remained at the same dollar amount. After the panic of 1929, and during the first 10 months of 1930, 744 US banks failed. (In all, 9,000 banks failed during the 1930s). By 1933, depositors had lost $140 billion in deposits.
Bank failures snowballed as desperate bankers called in loans which the borrowers did not have time or money to repay. With future profits looking poor, capital investment and construction slowed or completely ceased. In the face of bad loans and worsening future prospects, the surviving banks became even more conservative in their lending. Banks built up their capital reserves and made fewer loans, which intensified deflationary pressures. A vicious cycle developed and the downward spiral accelerated. This kind of self-aggravating process may have turned a 1930 recession into a 1933 great depression.
It looks like today's economy is in a kind of slow motion death spiral too. A vicious cycle indeed. The government couldn't stop the economic depression in the 1930's and they won't be able to stop the next one either.

Palin OK's Charging Rape Victims

Imagine you've been raped. It's devastating. You feel degraded, demoralized, and violated. After the ordeal of reporting it to the police and undergoing a test, you get to go home. Later you find that you've been billed for the rape kit. Suddenly you feel violated all over again.

It's been revealed that vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin charged rape victims or their insurance companies for rape kits needed to help collect evidence of the crime. The following is from the Huffington Post
Despite denials by the Palin campaign, new evidence proves that as mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, Sarah Palin had a direct hand in imposing fees to pay for post-sexual assault medical exams conducted by the city to gather evidence.
Palin's role is now confirmed by Wasilla City budget documents available online
Under Sarah Palin's administration, Wasilla cut funds that had previously paid for the medical exams and began charging victims or their health insurers the $500 to $1200 fees. Although Palin spokeswoman Maria Comella wrote USA Today earlier this week that the GOP vice presidential nominee "does not believe, nor has she ever believed, that rape victims should have to pay for an evidence-gathering test...To suggest otherwise is a deliberate misrepresentation of her commitment to supporting victims and bringing violent criminals to justice," Palin, as mayor, fired police chief Irl Stambaugh and replaced him with Charlie Fannon, who with Palin's knowledge, slashed the budget for the exams and began charging the city's victims of sexual assault. The city budget documents demonstrate Palin read and signed off on the new budget. A year later, alarmed Alaska lawmakers passed legislation outlawing the practice.
Women everywhere should be very concerned about this nominee. There's still much to be learned about Palin's other views, policies and actions. If, as a small town mayor, she would charge victims for rape kits, what would she do as vice-president?


Sarah Palin is Petty and Vindictive

So just when I thought Sarah Palin was a different kind of politician. One who was smart and genuinely interested in making the world a better place, along comes these New York Times reporters who went to Alaska and started talking to people. Here's an example of what they heard
But an examination of her swift rise and record as mayor of Wasilla and then governor finds that her visceral style and penchant for attacking critics — she sometimes calls local opponents “haters” — contrasts with her carefully crafted public image. Throughout her political career, she has pursued vendettas, fired officials who crossed her and sometimes blurred the line between government and personal grievance, according to a review of public records and interviews with 60 Republican and Democratic legislators and local officials.
Maybe poor Sarah just wants to be liked. She was, after all, a beauty queen. One who lost to a black person.


Palin: A Clear and Present Danger

Just when I thought "media-elite" Charlie Gibson would lob a few softballs at Sarah Palin and she would emerge unscathed, she opened her mouth and proved how woefully inadequate she is.

If you thought the war in Iraq was bad, hey, Palin would have us at war with Russia. The following is from a Washington Post transcript of the ABC interview:
Palin continued to take a hard line on national security issues when asked whether war with Russia could be necessary if Georgia were to join NATO and Russia crossed its borders again. Palin replied, "Perhaps so."
Palin swallowed the Bush administration's lie that Saddam Hussein had a hand in the 9/11 attacks. But unlike the rest of the thinking world, she still believes it.
FORT WAINWRIGHT, Alaska, Sept. 11 -- Gov. Sarah Palin linked the war in Iraq with the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, telling an Iraq-bound brigade of soldiers that included her son that they would "defend the innocent from the enemies who planned and carried out and rejoiced in the death of thousands of Americans." The idea that the Iraqi government under Saddam Hussein  helped al-Qaeda plan the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, a view once promoted by Bush administration officials, has since been rejected even by the president himself. But it is widely agreed that militants allied with al-Qaeda have taken root in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion.
The Bush Doctrine states that the United States has the right to preemptively attack a hostile nation. Does Palin know what the Bush Doctrine is?  The answer is no. The following is from the Los Angeles Times
She also appeared stumped when Gibson asked whether she agreed with the Bush Doctrine, which holds that the United States can wage preemptive war against hostile nations. And Palin, whose critics see her as unqualified for the vice-presidency, said she was "thankful that, under Reagan, we won the Cold War." The Soviet Union collapsed three years after Ronald Reagan left the White House.
I\'m interested to see how this former beauty queen behaves when she is faced with real tough questions like these from another tough lady, Maureen Dowd
What kind of budget-cutter makes a show of getting rid of the state plane, then turns around and bills taxpayers for the travel of her husband and kids between Juneau and Wasilla and sticks the state with a per-diem tab to stay in her own home? Why was Sarah for the Bridge to Nowhere before she was against the Bridge to Nowhere, and why was she for earmarks before she was against them? And doesn’t all this make her just as big a flip-flopper as John Kerry? What kind of fiscal conservative raises taxes and increases budgets in both her jobs  —  as mayor and as governor? When the phone rings at 3 a.m., will she call the Wasilla Assembly of God congregation and ask them to pray on a response, as she asked them to pray for a natural gas pipeline? Does she really think Adam, Eve, Satan and the dinosaurs mingled on the earth 5,000 years ago? Why put out a press release about her teenage daughter’s pregnancy and then spend the next few days attacking the press for covering that press release?
It looks like it's going to be a long road to election day for Sarah Palin. Any thinking voter would have to say, "Who is better prepared to be president, Palin or Biden?"


McCain Drug Abuse Cover-Up

It looks like being the wife of a high-powered, national politician was not only difficult for Betty Ford but also for Cindy McCain. New details are emerging regarding Mrs. McCain's taste for prescription narcotics and possible attempts to cover it up by Mr. McCain.  In an article for the alt-news website The Raw Story, whistleblower Tom Gosinski, a former employee of a medical-aid charity is speaking out publicly for the first time.  Gosinski:
...says he can't buy the official McCain camp line that Cindy's drug abuse was kept from her husband, he saw and heard too much for any of their stories to make sense -- like the time Cindy was allegedly taken to the hospital after an overdose and John rushed in to berate the doctors and nurses there before moving Cindy to their secluded Sedona ranch. Then there were the Hensley family interventions and the fact that Cindy's drug abuse came to be something of an open secret among employees of the charity.

9/11 - Call It What It Is

Words matter -- and on this day, words matter more than ever. It's September 11, 2008. Seven years since terrorists flew planes into the World Trade Center in New York City.  Terrorists. That's what I call them and there's not much argument there. Most everyone agrees they were terrorists.

Sure, you can call today the seventh anniversary of 9/11. Like Bloomberg News, The Washington Post, and The Los Angeles Times have.

I'm not sure I like to use the word anniversary for such a serious, solemn, and meaningful occasion. Seven years is not a long time. Memories are still fresh.

My anger has faded, but I can still remember those feelings of disbelief, uncertainty, and yes, terror. I'm not what most people would consider a right-winger, but because of the uncertainty of that day I was checking my guns and ammo, just to be sure, in case. In case what I didn't know. I was thinking about my life, home, and family as I sat stunned watching the television that whole day. I hope to never see another day like it.

According to dictionary.com the first definition of the word anniversary means "the yearly occurrence of a date or event".  Sure that describes 9/11, but it's a little cold. The second definition is "the celebration or commemoration of such a date".

I would prefer to use the word commemoration to describe today's date. Today is the seventh commemoration of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. I'll reserve the word anniversary for joyous events like weddings, engagements, friendships, graduations, etc. Today I'll solemnly and with respect remember all the victims, living and dead, of that terrible day. Today I'll commemorate 9/11.


McCain-Palin Scandals Are Brewing

I have a feeling that the Republicans made a lot of very powerful enemies when they attacked the media during their convention. A number of speakers made it a point to call out the mainstream media, or MSM as they like call them, for bias and distortions. That plays well to the base, but the presidents of NBC, CBS, ABC, and CNN's news divisions, as well as the Washington Post, New York Times, and just about all the other big city newspapers don't really like being called distorters and liars.

Now they may be getting their revenge while driving up viewership and readership. They don't have much time before the election but now the investigations have begun. This from yesterday's Washington Post is a fine example:
ANCHORAGE, Sept. 8 -- Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has billed taxpayers for 312 nights spent in her own home during her first 19 months in office, charging a "per diem" allowance intended to cover meals and incidental expenses while traveling on state business.
Here's a snippet from E.J Dionne Jr.--
John McCain campaign acknowledged this weekend that Sarah Palin is unprepared to be vice president or president of the United States. McCain\'s advisers clearly don't trust Palin to answer questions about policy and don't want her to answer many of the questions that have been raised about her tenure as governor of Alaska.
How about some CNN love on McCain's connections to high-powered Washington lobbyists?
"John McCain says that he is going to tell all those lobbyists in Washington that their days of running Washington are over, which sounds pretty good until you discover that seven of his top campaign managers and officials are -- guess what? -- former corporate lobbyists," Obama said recently in Flint, Michigan.
It's true: Seven top McCain officials were lobbyists, though the campaign stresses that none is currently registered to lobby Congress:...And here is the New York Times with  Palin's sad story of the bridge to nowhere (but I'll keep the money, thank you!).

This morning she was still talking about her opposition to “The Bridge to Nowhere,’’ even though there has been widespread reporting that Ms. Palin supported federal funding for the bridge from Ketchikan to Gravina, an Alaskan island of few inhabitants, before she opposed it.

I saw Michael Isikoff of Newsweek on TV last night in Alaska. I'm sure there are a number of reporters digging into these and other scandals like Palin's "Troopergate". It won't take long before something sticks and the McCain campaign will finally get a taste of a truly "biased" mainstream media.

John McCain's Creepy Smile

When it comes to humor, it works on so many levels. And in politics humor often reveals more truth than "serious" reporting. following article The Onion sums up what I've thought for a long time -- that McCain's weird "please accept me" smile is strange and creepy.

McCain Speechwriter Trying To Write Lines That Don't Lead To Creepy Smile
PHOENIX, AZ—According to campaign sources, Joseph Chappel, a 38-year-old speechwriter for Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), has spent the last two weeks attempting to combine words and phrases in such a way as to not provoke a tight-jawed, dead-eyed smile from the presidential hopeful. Dreading a repeat of last month\'s speech to a group of businesswomen in Ohio, during which McCain followed a mention of his wife with an awkward and eerie smirk, Chappel has avoided personal anecdotes for the new speech, omitted any mention of "God" or "this great nation," and cut several phrases that had the potential to draw the 72-year-old candidate's mouth open in a horrifying display of teeth and gums.
"I've managed to make two out of every three sentences a question, but I'm not sure that will help," Chappel said shortly after deleting an introductory paragraph in which McCain welcomes the crowd. "Jesus, that [smile] makes me feel cold inside."
Chappel told reporters that if he is not able to write an appropriate, smile-free speech in time for the Republican National Convention, he will resign his position and return to his previous job, taking photographs of abused children for police reports.
I've had the same problem with George Bush for years. Sometimes he gets that smile that's creepy, condescending, and insecure all at the same time.


Palin's Road to Nowhere

I can't say it much better than Radley Balko in this post to Reason Magazine's blog Hit and RunThe Anchorage Daily News tells us that the money for the so-called "bridge to nowhere", was not returned but is now being used to build a road to nowhere.
The Alaska governor campaigned in 2006 on a build-the-bridge platform, telling Ketchikan residents she felt their pain when politicians called them "nowhere." They're still feeling pain today in Ketchikan, over Palin's subsequent decision to use the bridge funds for other projects -- and over the timing of her announcement, which they say came in a pre-dawn press release that seemed aimed at national news deadlines.
"I think that's when the campaign for national office began," said Ketchikan Mayor Bob Weinstein on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Weinstein noted, the state is continuing to build a road on Gravina Island to an empty beach where the bridge would have gone -- because federal money for the access road, unlike the bridge money, would have otherwise been returned to the federal government.
Now it appears that some Alaska Republicans are angry over Palin's actions and say she is playing politics for her own benefit while Alaska's infrastructure suffers.
Bert Stedman, a Sitka Republican who represents Ketchikan in the state Senate, told the Ketchikan Daily News he was proud to see Palin picked for the vice-president's role, but disheartened by her reference to the bridge.
"In the role of governor, she should be pursuing a transportation policy\ that benefits the state of Alaska, (rather than) pandering to the southern 48," he said.
Businessman\r\nMike Elerding, who helped run Palin's local campaign for governor, told the paper he would have a hard time voting for the McCain ticket because of Palin's subsequent neglect of Ketchikan and her flip-flop on "Ralph Bartholomew Veterans Memorial Bridge."
Not exactly "country first" but more like politics as usual. Up next: Palin faces "Troopergate" as soon as Friday.

USGP Will Return (But When?)

There has been some renewed talk about bringing Formula One racing back to the United States in a couple of years. During Speed TV's coverage of the race at Spa last weekend, pit lane reporter Peter Windsor said that this renewed interest is mainly being driven by the manufacturers. Apparently they want access to the lucrative US market.

Windsor asked F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone about the rumors and he confirmed that a number of venues were being talked about. Windsor speculated that Ecclestone's preferred location was Las Vegas. Bernie does have a thing for desert racing (see Kuwait).

Living in Florida, I would have to endorse an F1 race in Miami. I would also get behind a race at the historic home of the USGP, Watkins Glen.

This story from crash.net says that Indianapolis is not being considered. Tony George says he's not been contacted by Formula One Management about hosting the event at IMS again.

It does seem clear from the intensity of the rumors that a United States Grand Prix is coming.


Web Hosting

I will soon enter the world of web hosting. I believe I've found a great source (which will remain secret).  Mrs. Howell works for a company that needs a web site so I've been helping her get her site together. Now they will need a host soon. I might as well help them out.


Elvis Sighting in Tampa

I can't believe it's taken me so long to post this video. This should have been the first video I ever posted to youtube.

My good friend Paul Morris and his friends played a gig at a little place called  Rick's on the River in Tampa.  There was a separate group of people there having a birthday party and they has an Elvis impersonator.  After the birthday party broke up the Elvis came over and wanted to sing a few songs.  Unfortunately, I ran out of disc space before the Elvis came on but I did get a few stills. This evening was epic. Enjoy this video I call, Are you a Flying Elvis?


Tears of Gold

The media is crying tears of gold. The following headline was found on Romenesko's media blog .  And the tone was, Can you believe how BAD advertising revenues are?!!! It links to a Wall Street Journal story.

September issue of Vogue will only have 674 pages of ads

Do the media crybabies know how this appears? It's like Donald Trump complaining that this year he can only afford one Bentley and not five. Many magazines and newspapers would kill to have this kind of ad revenue.


Rider Up!

Mrs. Howell has been working hard over the past few years to train her 8 year old Arabian mare, Gavilinda. Here is a video of a recent training session.  Gavi is learning a lot and really enjoys the attention.


David Coulthard to Retire

At 37 years old, Scot David Coulthard is the "grand old man" of formula one racing. But it's been revealed that he is set to retire at the conclusion of the 2008 season.  This from Coulthard:
My decision to retire was taken earlier in the year, and is based on a desire to stop while I am still competitive and enjoying the immense challenge that grand prix driving represents. I also have the desire to look for new challenges within the sport.
The decision to make this announcement at the British Grand Prix should be an obvious one for all to understand, as I have achieved two of my 13 F1 victories at Silverstone and I am a member of the British Racing Drivers' Club, which hosts this event.
It was also recently announced that Coulthard and his wife are expecting their first child.

Starbucks Goes Venti

Starbucks is closing 600 stores and one of them is in the neighborhood where I work.  Honestly,  all the Starbucks coffee I ever had was bitter. I did like the Frappuccinos. I remember a couple of years ago Starbucks boasting about their market domination. They claimed that having a store every 600 feet was part of a smart business strategy.  The following is from the November 2006 edition of the New York Post:
Starbucks, the $6.4 billion java joint, is opening its second store inside Macy's Herald Square tomorrow, grabbing the key real estate on the mezzanine overlooking the first floor for a 65-seat location.
It's the first time the king of caffeine has opened up two stores under the same retailer's roof. But just like its street-side stores, it's all about the location.
"While you may think there is a Starbucks on every corner, get over it, because there's now going to be two Starbucks on many corners," said Marshal Cohen, chief retail analyst for market research firm NPD Group.
I got a 20oz. coffee this morning at 7-Eleven.  Cost - $1.70.


Where Am I ?

Mrs. Howell and I went to Sea World on July 4th. Here is a video that runs 6:40 made up of clips of everything we saw that day.  And yes, it was crowded.


Bird Flu Hoax

Don't get me wrong. The Bird Flu is probably very bad and will probably come to the US.   Has the danger of the Bird Flu been inflated?  Has it been inflated by the media?

Will the danger of the Bird Flu turn out to be as much of a hoax as the Y2K problem?  It sure seems like the media frenzy surrounding the Bird Flu has died down.


Target Women

This is what I am talking about.


Is Max a Nazi?

For my first new post I just have to say that Max Mosley thing is awesome. Oh, behave!


Bad Economy

How many times do Republicans have to try supply-side economics and fail before they figure out it doesn't work?

I have a theory. If our government would lower taxes for the middle class, they would start spending money and the economy would rise out of it's funk.  I've heard over and over about how the spending of the middle class keeps the economy afloat and growing. 

For sure the mortgage crisis and high fuel prices are dragging down the economy but imagine how much better it would be if people had some money to spend. 

And I don't mean this measly $600 dollars the government is giving out. Tax breaks for the wealthy don't help the economy. They don't spend money on consumer goods at Wal-Mart and Target.  They tend to save their money. 

Even if the rich were spenders, there's not enough of them to have a great impact on the economy. At least not like 50 or 100 million Americans with extra money in their pockets every week.

NY Times article on the economy.


Danica F1 Test

It appears that Indy car driver, Danica Patrick will get to test a Formula One car.
Honda CEO Nick Fry has admitted to Austrian newspaper Kronen Zeitung that a test will indeed take place, and that it is likely to do so at either Barcelona or Jerez in Spain in November, following the end of the 2008 F1 campaign. 
We will put her into our car after the season at the latest and see how quick she is," the Briton said.
Well, that kind of goes against this quote from F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone:
"You know I've got one of those wonderful ideas ... women should be dressed in white like all the other domestic appliances. It isn't the first time Ecclestone commented on women in racing, telling Autosport racing magazine in Feb. 2000 that women would never excel in Formula One. He added that if a woman did make it, "she would have to be a woman who was blowing away the boys. ... What I would really like to see happen is to find the right girl, perhaps a black girl with super looks, preferably Jewish or Muslim, who speaks Spanish."

How to Survive Unemployment

New figures came out last week that put unemployment at its highest level since Mike and the Mechanics were topping the Billboard charts. As the labor market deteriorates and thousands more find themselves out of work, you may ask yourself: “How can I protect myself from those insufferable articles that preach the “6-steps to surviving unemployment.”

Step One  Get out of your normal routine. Not having to go to work is a perk of being unemployed. Remember what getting up at 6:00AM feels like? Keep thinking about all those days you had to get up early; the alarm blaring and you’ll be sleeping until 11:00AM in no time.

Step Two Isolate yourself.  Do not talk to your family and friends about unemployment. Their constant nagging will not help. Stay inside and watch TV, then when it gets dark go out drinking.

Step Three Adjust your budget. There’s no way to know how long unemployment will last so just spend all your extra money right away. That will serve to provide the incentive you need to dream up ways to borrow from family and friends. Now you can get that new X-Box you’ve been wanting.

Step Four Look for free and inexpensive entertainment options. For guys, go to the nudie bar with your buddies and ask them for a few dollar bills. I’m sure they will be glad to oblige. For gals, simply wear a little too much makeup and head for your favorite bar.  Every night is ladies night when you’re the biggest flirt.  Get guys (or other girls) to buy you drinks.

Step Five List your contacts. These are the people who stabbed you in the back at work. Now you have a LOT of time to get them back. List strategies for revenge including: keying their cars, spreading false rumors, and hitting on their girlfriends/boyfriends/spouses.

Step Six  Self Hate.  This is the most important step. Now you can take all day to think about what you did wrong.  Beat yourself up good.


The Yearling

Please enjoy my latest video, "The Yearling".


Tendon Injury

I told you that I would start posting some videos.  I bought that little "Flip Video" camera. It's been a lot of fun to play with. It does a good job for a cheap camera. The trouble was coming up with some decent content worth posting.

Charlotte demonstrated how to wrap a horses leg the other day and I captured it on video as a test. Poor Del has been suffering from a pulled tendon in her left front leg since February.  I think she's getting better.  It's taken a long time for her to heal.  She's not completely healed yet.

I edited the video with Windows Movie Maker and uploaded it to YouTube.

I'm embedding the video here:


Weekend Race Wrap up

Congratulations to 2008 Indianapolis 500 winner Scott Dixon and Monaco Grand Prix winner Lewis Hamilton.  I'm really happy that Champ Car and the Indy Racing League have unified.


Throw Away World

The environmental movement seems to be gaining steam every day.  Today's modern life is about tracking your carbon footprint, recycling, reusing, and learning new ways of living green.  There used to be a common  recycling practice when I was growing up in the 1960's and 1970's that went away and I don't know why.

It would be so helpful these days when so many people are concerned about our landfills and our throwaway culture.  Two words...Refillable bottles.

Yes, when we drank all our soda pop or beer we took the bottles back to the store.  We paid a deposit on the bottles. I remember collecting bottles from roadsides and vacant lots and turning them in.  I think we got something like 3 cents a bottle.  I remember throwing a case of empty beer bottles in the trunk of the car, driving to the beer drive-thru and trading the empty case for a full case of tasty, fresh beer.  Presumably, the bottler took them back to the plant, washed them out and refilled them.  There were no plastic bottles, they were all glass, and there were no disposable bottles.

I can't remember exactly when disposable bottles came on the market.  I just remember how convenient it was to not have to take your bottles back.  I remember some report about how it cost more to wash the bottles than to simply make a disposable bottle.

Now is the time to bring back the returnable bottle.  If people want to be green, they'll gladly pay the extra few cents.


Mortgage Crisis

In every newspaper and on every TV you see and hear about the mortgage crisis the country is facing.  Here's a quote from a Slate article called Inside the Liar\'s Loan: How the mortgage industry nurtured deceit.

Under ordinary circumstances, we think of lying as something that a few people do. But the nickname "liar's loan" is stunningly apt. The vast majority of the people who took these loans out exaggerated at least a little. Most lied a lot. And it's likely that most of the liar's loans—including those given to people with excellent credit histories—will go bad.
Think about that for a second. Imagine a city center where running red lights isn't something that the occasional drunken driver or road-rage victim does, but where everybody does it all the time. That's a lot like the mortgage market in big swaths of the country one or two years ago.

My wife and I bought our first house in 1993.  We had to come up with a lot of paperwork and documentation to prove our income.  We had to prove we had been employed at the same job for three years. Even back then they offered to extend a loan for twice of what we were requesting.

We bought a new house in 2001 and there was a little less paperwork.  I thought it was because we had already been through the purchase of a home.  When I thought that credit was at rock bottom, we re-financed.  Each time we went for money, we were offered much more than we wanted.  Each time we said no and took a conservative approach to borrowing. Each time we insisted on a fixed-rate mortgage.

Because my wife and I had various periods of unemployment through the years, we knew that borrowing based on what you are making today is not smart.  You can be out of work next week.  Then how will you make that house payment?

The lesson is: Just because you are eligible for a loan doesn't make it a smart thing to get.