Wednesday, October 8, 2008

looking for my lost shaker of salt

a couple thoughts:

1. Warren Buffet: Obama's answer to the question, "Who would you choose as Treasury Secretary?" What a fabulous answer! And what a novel but brilliant attitude towards filling the Cabinet: ask yourself "Who is the biggest genius and most innovative thinker in this field?" and PICK THAT GUY. Imagine if it was done routinely: figure out who is the most modern, competant leader in the field of transportation and name them transportation secretary!! And education! And everything! hurray! basic common sense!

2. Am I right that McCain walks really, really strangely? He looks almost battery powered.

3. Did you see the lady unable to restrain herself from laughing at the voice of the woman in front of her who asked Obama a question? But other than that, no one in the audience ever moved?

4. Anyone else notice that they loaded the front row with totally bald but not-so-old guys? Sneaky.


Anonymous said...

McCain walks the way he does because of beatings that he took while a POW in Vietnam. Notice that he can't really lift his arms as high as the typical range of motion for some who is otherwise in excellent health for their age.

Although I am a fervent Obama supporter, I do not think we should ridicule McCain for injuries sustained during military service to his country.

Greg Shahade said...

Lots of people walk funny for various reasons unrelated to being a POW, I think to specifically accuse Elizabeth of ridiculing him due to his service injuries is going a bit far.

Anonymous said...

No accusation is being made ... just pointing out a lack of sensitivity. McCain is physically impaired.

"Am I right that Greg Shahade walks really, really strangely? He looks almost battery powered."

Elizabeth Vicary said...

fair enough. white I'm posting a comment though, did anyone else notice this McCain response to the question "What would you ask Americans to sacrifice?"

McCain: Well, Fiorra, I'm going to ask the American people to understand that there are some programs that we may have to eliminate.

I first proposed a long time ago that we would have to examine every agency and every bureaucracy of government. And we're going to have to eliminate those that aren't working.

I know a lot of them that aren't working. One of them is in defense spending, because I've taken on some of the defense contractors. I saved the taxpayers $6.8 billion in a deal for an Air Force tanker that was done in a corrupt fashion.

I believe that we have to eliminate the earmarks. And sometimes those projects, not -- not the overhead projector that Sen. Obama asked for, but some of them that are really good projects, will have -- will have to be eliminated, as well.

And they'll have to undergo the same scrutiny that all projects should in competition with others.

So we're going to have to tell the American people that spending is going to have to be cut in America. And I recommend a spending freeze that -- except for defense, Veterans Affairs, and some other vital programs, we'll just have to have across-the-board freeze.

Two things I don't get.

1. Is McCain targeting defense spending, or is he specifically *not* targeting it?

2. What's wrong with spending money on a projector in a planetarium (This money McCain refers to was for a rehaul of the Adler Planetarium in Chicago)? Planetariums don't work without projectors, right?

es_trick said...

McCain was for pork barrel spending before he was against it.

Tim Dickinson writes in Rolling Stone

"In 1977, McCain was promoted to captain and became the Navy's liaison to the Senate — the same politically connected post once occupied by his father. He took advantage of the position to buddy up to young senators like Gary Hart, William Cohen and Joe Biden. He was also taken under the wing of another friend of his father: Sen. John Tower, the powerful Texas Republican who would become his political mentor. Despite the promotion, McCain continued his adolescent carousing: On a diplomatic trip to Saudi Arabia with Tower, he tried to get some tourists he disliked in trouble with the authorities by littering the room-service trays outside their door with empty bottles of alcohol.

As the Navy's top lobbyist, McCain was supposed to carry out the bidding of the secretary of the Navy. But in 1978 he went off the reservation. Vietnam was over, and the Carter administration, cutting costs, had decided against spending $2 billion to replace the aging carrier Midway. The secretary agreed with the administration's decision. Readiness would not be affected. The only reason to replace the carrier — at a cost of nearly $7 billion in today's dollars — was pork-barrel politics.

Although he now crusades against wasteful military spending, McCain had no qualms about secretly lobbying for a pork project that would pay for a dozen Bridges to Nowhere. "He did a lot of stuff behind the back of the secretary of the Navy," one lobbyist told Timberg. Working his Senate connections, McCain managed to include a replacement for the Midway in the defense authorization bill in 1978. Carter, standing firm, vetoed the entire spending bill to kill the carrier. When an attempt to override the veto fell through, however, McCain and his lobbyist friends didn't give up the fight. The following year, Congress once again approved funding for the carrier. This time, Carter — his pork-busting efforts undone by a turncoat Navy liaison — signed the bill."

Anonymous said...

2. What's wrong with spending money on a projector in a planetarium (This money McCain refers to was for a rehaul of the Adler Planetarium in Chicago)? Planetariums don't work without projectors, right?

Because it is not in that quaint document the Constitution which enumerates the powers of the Federal Government... Not used much since FDR... Why should the Feds do this rather than the state or local officals

es_trick said...

News out of Chicago:

"At an afternoon news conference, Adler President Paul Knappenberger defended the 2007 funding request as an attempt to update the 78-year-old Adler's original Sky Theater Planetarium Auditorium. The request was part of a $10 million project to overhaul the theater and projection system, he said.

Ironically, the $3 million request was eventually rejected and the planetarium never received the funds, Knappenberger said.

At the time, Adler representatives met with Obama, U.S. Sen. Richard Durbin and six Chicago-area congressman, three of whom are Republicans. All agreed to sponsor the $3 million earmark.

Knappenberger explained that the Adler's elaborate Zeiss projection system that projects stars, planets and galaxies on the Planetarium's huge overhead dome, is 40 years old, and its parts are wearing out and are not replaceable."

Doug said...

What's wrong with spending money on a projector for the planetarium? O.K., when you consider that we are currently running a 10 trillion dollar debt (literally 10 trillion dollars) and that we have a medicare and social security time bomb waiting to go off (in the near future both programs will bankrupt the country due to demographic changes, specifically too many old geezers and too few young workers) and that literally 2/3 of the federal budget is devoted to either social security, medicare or defense, none of which can be cut much from their current levels, that means we have only the remaining 1/3 of the budget that could be trimmed to reduce the national debt. Now we all have ideas of what should be cut (I would start with the department of education for one because the country got along just fine for 200 years without it so, really, who needs it) but if we can't even agree that perhaps the federal government should not be paying for the projector for some local Chicago planetarium then forget it; it's all over. It's a good thing you don't believe in the "concept" of the nation state because pretty soon there won't be one.

I weep for the future.

Brian Lafferty said...

1. If that was routinely done, nothing would ever get done. Agency heads at that level need to be politically savvy as well as have a vision of their area of expertise. It did sound good and is certainly better than the way George W. filled his cabinet.
2. McCain's walk is related to his military injuries plus old age. His battery pack may also have been getting low. I was thankful he didn't have the big on on stage last night.
3. I know a lot of people who laugh at Palin's voice. :-)
4. Hair Club for Men is one of McCains big contributors. If he wins, they'll all be at the inauguration with new hair.

qxpch said...

Back to Elizabeth's original comment. The weird thing is that, if I correctly, it was *McCain* who mentioned "Warren Buffett, an Obama supporter" as someone who might be qualified to be treasury secretary. He then mentioned one other name. I couldn't believe it! He actually mentions someone from his opponent's camp! Sounds kind of bipartisany-mavericky to me.

And then Obama was *very* wishy-washy about it. He mumbled something about Buffett, but I really don't think he would have mentioned Buffett if McCain hadn't done it first.

It all seemed really bizarre to me, so I hope someone can tell me whether I heard correctly.

es_trick said...

Debate transcript:

Brokaw: Senator, we have one minute for a discussion here. Obviously the powers of the treasury secretary have been greatly expanded. The most powerful officer in the cabinet now. Hank Paulson says he won't stay on. Who do you have in mind to appoint to that very important post?

Sen. McCain?

McCain: Not you, Tom.

Brokaw: No, with good reason.

McCain: You know, that's a tough question and there's a lot of qualified Americans. But I think the first criteria, Tom, would have to be somebody who immediately Americans identify with, immediately say, we can trust that individual.

A supporter of Sen. Obama's is Warren Buffett [chairman of Berkshire Hathaway]. He has already weighed in and helped stabilize some of the difficulties in the markets and with companies and corporations, institutions today.

I like Meg Whitman [former CEO of eBay and current McCain campaign adviser], she knows what it's like to be out there in the marketplace. She knows how to create jobs. Meg Whitman was CEO of a company that started with 12 people and is now 1.3 million people in America make their living off eBay. Maybe somebody here has done a little business with them.

But the point is it's going to have to be somebody who inspires trust and confidence. Because the problem in America today to a large extent, Tom, is that we don't have trust and confidence in our institutions because of the corruption on Wall Street and the greed and excess and the cronyism in Washington, D.C.

Brokaw: All right. Sen. McCain -- Sen. Obama, who do you have in mind for treasury secretary?

Obama: Well, Warren would be a pretty good choice -- Warren Buffett, and I'm pleased to have his support. But there are other folks out there. The key is making sure that the next treasury secretary understands that it's not enough just to help those at the top.

Prosperity is not just going to trickle down. We've got to help the middle class.

And we've -- you know, Sen. McCain and I have some fundamental disagreements on the economy, starting with Sen. McCain's statement earlier that he thought the fundamentals of the economy were sound.

Part of the problem here is that for many of you, wages and incomes have flat-lined. For many of you, it is getting harder and harder to save, harder and harder to retire.

And that's why, for example, on tax policy, what I want to do is provide a middle class tax cut to 95 percent of working Americans, those who are working two jobs, people who are not spending enough time with their kids, because they are struggling to make ends meet.

Sen. McCain is right that we've got to stabilize housing prices. But underlying that is loss of jobs and loss of income. That's something that the next treasury secretary is going to have to work on.

Doug said...


I'd be interested in finding out if Elizabeth still thinks Warren Buffet as treasury secretary is such a wonderful idea now that she knows it originated with McCain.

For whatever it's worth, which admittedly is absolutely nothing, I think it's a lousy idea or at the very least I think there's no reason to believe it's a good idea. It would be like saying Hikaru Nakamura or some other U.S. grandmaster would be a great president of the USCF. There are two completely different skill sets involved.

Elizabeth Vicary said...

My opinion of the suggestion of Buffet is exactly the same, of course. (?!) It's interesting that McCain suggested it-- I didn't hear the first part of his response, but I'm happy to be corrected.

I don't think it's at all like suggesting Nakamura be USCF president. The finanacial crisis is a complicated phenomena that requies a lot of specific understanding of financial institutions and Buffett has clearly demonstrated this. (and that he understood the crisis might well happen many years ago when he withdrew his company from investments in the now-collapsing part of the economy). It's much more like asking Nakamura to resurrect the Latvian Gambit or make the Schliemann playable.

Anonymous said...

I also am a Obama supporter and I dont approve of it either. Why even mention it if the purpose is not to ridicule someone who has devoted his life to serving the US. I do not agree with McCain on almost anything, but making fun of physical appearance crosses the line. I am surprised by the post frankly.

Elizabeth Vicary said...

You are all deeply offended because I said someone walks funny?

Anonymous said...

Generally speaking, liberals are against blaming the victim. In this case, commenting on McCain's limited movement is blaming the victim. There's so much else about him that's fair game for negative comment, we can give him a pass on how he moves.