Saturday, August 30, 2008

Embezzlers (?) For Jesus. Well, self-enrichers, at least.

PZ has the details.

It seems a small bank tried to do everything just as God wanted, including praying before all their meetings and giving 10% of their income to charity. (The article doesn't say whether that's gross or net income.)

It also seems they paid themselves exorbitantly well -- five or six times what bank officers at banks that size usually make.

I know there's something there about the workman being worthy of his hire, but isn't there also something about rich men, camels, needle's eyes, etc?

(Though actually the reference was to a very narrow gate in Jerusalem, called the Needle's Eye, that merchants had to go through. A loaded camel wouldn't fit; thus the camel had to be completely unloaded, with the friendly tax collector conveniently close by. This concludes today's historical aside.)

The FDIC is looking into things.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Obama's speech

Strong start, eh middle, strong finish. All in all, a success. But what in the hell is up with the action-movie-closing-credits music afterwards? It's not inspiring, not uplifting, it sounds like it's supposed to scare us. Better fit for a campaign of fear than hope.

Of candidates and choices

One more reason why PZ Myers is one of my favorite curmudgeons:

Fair enough, actually. It does represent a difference in values: that [Kay] Hagan may not be an atheist but is willing to speak with them says one thing about her values, and that Elizabeth Dole thinks atheists are un-American says something else about her values. It also says a lot about Dole that she is willingly affiliated with the party of bigotry and incompetence, the Republicans. These are choices made by candidates that are legitimate issues to help voters decide who they should elect.
The Republican party is not going to worthy of respect until the theocrats are fully repudiated. And one election cycle won't be enough to do it.

Noonan makes a good point

Peggy Noonan, who I've certainly disagreed with before, about a great many things, makes a very salient observation about the two parties:

Democrats in the end speak most of, and seem to hold the most sympathy for, the beset-upon single mother without medical coverage for her children, and the soldier back from the war who needs more help with post-traumatic stress disorder. They express the most sympathy for the needy, the yearning, the marginalized and unwell. For those, in short, who need more help from the government, meaning from the government's treasury, meaning the money got from taxpayers.

Who happen, also, to be a generally beset-upon group.

Democrats show little expressed sympathy for those who work to make the money the government taxes to help the beset-upon mother and the soldier and the kids. They express little sympathy for the middle-aged woman who owns a small dry cleaner and employs six people and is, actually, day to day, stressed and depressed from the burden of state, local and federal taxes, and regulations, and lawsuits, and meetings with the accountant, and complaints as to insufficient or incorrect efforts to meet guidelines regarding various employee/employer rules and regulations. At Republican conventions they express sympathy for this woman, as they do for those who are entrepreneurial, who start businesses and create jobs and build things. Republicans have, that is, sympathy for taxpayers. But they don't dwell all that much, or show much expressed sympathy for, the sick mother with the uninsured kids, and the soldier with the shot nerves.

Neither party ever gets it quite right, the balance between the taxed and the needy, the suffering of one sort and the suffering of another. You might say that in this both parties are equally cold and equally warm, only to two different classes of citizens.

Of Omens & Portents

PZ Myers, a self-described "godless liberal," is forced to admit that there may be something to omens & portents after all.

He may be on to something.... If there is a magic sky-fairy, he/she/it can't be pleased with the ninnies running around insisting that he/she/it wants them to have a tax cut and kick out the damn furriners as his/her/its top priority.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Hillary's Speech

A bit much boilerplate for my taste toward the beginning, but she ended with a strong finish. She laid out why supporting Obama is important, and her line about "was it just for me, or was it for the people who feel invisible" laid it out right there. If you're still angry about how the primaries went down and use that as an excuse to stay home, you're hurting the people who are going to be worse off with McCain.

On that note, Michael O'Hare has a great post over at RBC:

Someone should suffer for the wrongs done to Hillary, but anyone who thinks that will be Obama if McCain is elected either has no heart or no brain. It's like voting for Nader, compounding the careless, heedless pique of a child who punches a younger sibling because Dad turned off the TV with the wilful ignorance of tourists who yell at people who don't speak their language. And just as destructive. If the voter who chooses to act out that way is among the lucky upper middle class intelligentsia for whom the Bush years have been infuriating, but actually not all that personally injurious, all the more disreputable. [emphasis added]
Yeah. What he said.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Not feeling the Hillary-Love

Jack Cafferty has also had about enough Clintonian drama at this point.

It's not like they have been bending over backwards to help Obama get elected. Bill Clinton has barely been polite. He couldn't even bring himself to say he thought Obama is qualified to be president. Now, Bill Clinton is reportedly not happy about the topic of his speech Wednesday night. reports the former president wanted to talk about the economy under President Bush compared to his accomplishments during his term in office. The theme for Wednesday night is "Securing America for the 21st Century." It seems Bill Clinton is forever more interested in reminding us of what a charming guy he was while in office than in acting like one of the leaders of his party and trying to get his party into the White House.

Kind of sad, really.

Yet, Obama's people have gone out of their way to accommodate the Clintons this week in the hopes of achieving party unity. Obama told reporters on Monday that former President Clinton could speak about anything he likes.

Some of Hillary Clinton's supporters had threatened to disrupt the proceedings if their candidate wasn't shown the proper amount of respect. They're called PUMAs, an acronym for "Party Unity My Ass." They appear to be a humorless lot who cannot come to terms with the fact that the country didn't want Hillary Clinton to be president. So they have been throwing a hissy fit ever since the primaries ended.
It's always and everywhere about them.

Still not getting it

Marie Cocco has an article at today's WaPo about Hillary's thankless job, how it's slightly demeaning to expect her to support the nominee, who came from behind and stole what was rightfully hers.

A few observations:

  1. She started with a huge warchest, near-universal name recognition, the support of a popular ex-President, and the best political machine in the business.
  2. She ran a campaign marked by warring staff, unpaid vendors, and a complete lack of contingency plans after Super Tuesday, when she expected to have it wrapped up. (Remember how surprised they were by the Texas caucus rules, two weeks before the Texas vote? They hadn't even started organizing there, as they didn't expect there would possibly be any need to.)
  3. Point two suggests a lack of executive ability. I'm just saying.
  4. Her opponent ran a tightly-disciplined operation, mobilized new supporters, out-organized and out-hustled her. Yes, this was an exceptional year in that a relatively inexperienced Senator, and a black one at that, was able to be a serious contender. That doesn't change the fact that he ran a very good campaign. Much better than hers.
  5. This is politics, not stickball. It ain't always fair, because life ain't always fair. If it were fair, the Swift Boat attacks on Kerry would never have been seen as anything but laughable. If it were fair, then impeaching a President for lying in a civil suit would have lowered the bar enough to demand impeachment for a President who authorized war crimes in direct violation of legally binding treaty--surely a "high crime or misdemeanor" if there is one.
Does Hillary have some bitter disappointment to deal with? Undoubtedly. It's no doubt painful, and having to do much of it in public can only make it worse.

But please. She's not a helpless victim here. She lost the campaign because of the campaign she ran.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Quote of the Day

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was born to wealth, but that didn’t stop him from doing more for working Americans than any president before or since. Conversely, Joseph Biden’s hardscrabble life story, though inspiring, didn’t stop him from supporting the odious 2005 bankruptcy bill.

But in the world we actually live in, pro-corporate, inequality-increasing Republicans argue that you should vote for them because they’re regular guys you’d like to have a beer with, while Democrats who want to raise taxes on top earners, expand health care and raise the minimum wage are snooty elitists.

--Paul Krugman, today's NYT

Slant your coverage much, Wofl?

Check out Wolf "Anything-For-My-Pal-McCain"'s lede on CNN this morning:

And now the selling begins. The Democrats need to do some major marketing at their party convention in Denver, Colorado. First and foremost, they need to sell Sen. Barack Obama. They need to convince American voters that he's the right man to lead the country.
"Now the selling begins"? Um, last time I checked, Obama was leading in the polls. Most Americans are already convinced he's the right man to lead the country. And in case Wolf, being new to journalism and all, isn't aware of it, a convention does have some function beyond PR and 'selling.'

Although it is true that John McCain was a POW. It's not relevant in this context, but it gets trotted out to explain everything else, so I figured I'd beat the rush.