Saturday, September 27, 2008

Who'll be President Round 1

Last night's debate was meant to be about foreign policy, which no one wanted to hear about because this time it really is "the economy, stupid."

I mean, without a healthy economy, we won't need to discuss foreign policy issues, right?


On balance, I'd say McCain came off a hair's breath better than Obama in that he did look more presidential than I'd thought he would. (Our expectations are that Obama does already look and behave presidential at all times, so that's why McCain gets the edge here.)

Rudeness award also goes to McCain who failed to make eye contact with Obama, nor did he exercise common courtesy in using his first name even on one occasion.

McCain failed to brand Obama as a greenhorn, his failure helped in part by the fact he could not pronounce the name of the Iranian and Pakistani presidents.

Obama failed to get his rebuttals across during the remaining moments of the 'five minute' open floor because he was behaving too gentlemanly. In a crucial debate, get your point across Mate or the people won't know. McCain was very effective in this strategy and Obama needs to become more assertive here.

Next up is Biden v Palin. That will be most interesting. Can't wait.

Monday, September 22, 2008

(Marginally less) Scarey days II

So, the meltdown has been avoided or, er, postponed.

For once both parties--well, the sensible House and Senate members of each party--have decided this is about America and not partisan politics and will work together on the bail-out.

I want the Democrats (and the sensible Republicans on the Sunday Morning shows yesterday) to stick to their guns and insist:

1. No golden parachutes for the Wall Street "captains" whose greed and ignorance got us here, and reform to establish proper and moral methods of compensation for these people. Fear of interfering with free market forces be damned. We've been down that road and it didn't work.

2. Relief for the hundreds of thousands of people facing foreclosure of their homes.

3. Strict governmental oversight.

It doesn't matter that a deal doesn't get down within two or three days as Treasury Secretary Paulson wants/insists. The days of this administration TELLING people what they need and want are over.

Barney Frank and Nancy Pelosi came across as people determined to get these three demands into any bill. He is knowledgeable in finance and we can wait a couple of weeks to get the bill drafted properly. Congress can stray another week. They'll still have five weeks left to get what they need to say to their individual districts before the elections.

Oh, and with the above three provisions contained in a bill, the bill will be clean.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Is your doggie chattel?

Saw an interesting segment on the telly the other night about people divorcing and their animals.

Apparently some married couples and co-habitees, not content to cause huge anguish (and damage) to their kids by raucously playing out the sad demise of their relationship, now are using their family pets as opportunities to inflict distress on the former 'beloved other half'. Some of them take off with the dog and cat and refuse to give the other partner visiting rights.

It's happening so regularly that people (including some judges) involved in sorting out the mess are beginning to wonder if the law that dogs and cats are chattel shouldn't change. By chattel, I mean possessions. Currently, the law is that dogs and cats are 'things' and the party who bought the dog or cat is the legal owner in law, regardless of whether or not the other partner cared or loved it.

The reasoning behind this sea change is that dogs and cats are really regarded as family members nowadays and should be treated in the same way as children when it comes to divorce/separation.

I agree a change is needed. The law's an ass here. (No pun intended.)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Scarey Days

Looks like Wall Street folks are beginning to experience some of Main Streets pain as they pack the contents of their desks into boxes and head out the door for the last time. I've always been suspicious of the greed on Wall Street, but now I'm hopping mad these guys have the keys of our economy in their hands.

Too many dodgy investments have been dreamed up by these so-called top-tier College financial analysts who 'earn' huge bonuses for creating them and getting the representatives of pension funds and Main Street commercial banks to persuade their clients (ergo 'us') to buy them. Even worse the CEOs' of these investment banks DO NOT understand the full extent of the risks their subordinates are exposing their institutions to, and the government's failed to ensure adequate control and regulation. And McCain and Palin are campaigning for even less regulation.

Are the chickens coming home to roost: First Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac being put under conservatorship (read Bankruptcy protection). Now Lehman Bros and Merrill Lynch--though technically the latter's a stay of execution; next AIG; after that WaMu? What's coming down the pipeline? What are we not being told? Are we heading toward another Great Depression? Huge financial institutions are failing and the public seems indifferent. Or are we going to wake up one morning to a massive run on the commercial banks?

Who needs to go to the movies and watch a horror movie to be scared?

Monday, September 08, 2008

Twisted Agendas

They say if you wait long enough something you need comes. Well, boy is that true in this case.

I've been dissatisfied with the titles of my new novel. Each title I came up with was interesting but just didn't enthuse.

And yesterday, I went with Larry and friends to Longwood Gardens--the estate outside Philly that Pierre DuPont saved in 1909 from logging interests when the Quaker family who'd possessed it for 200 years decided to sell it--and it came to me while watching the fireworks and colorful fountain display in the evening. It may or may not have been my mulling of the twisted plans of loggers to ruthlessly cut down the magnificent 200 year old Tulip, Oak, American beech and Ginko trees.

TWISTED AGENDAS is its final name. Because that's really what it's about--the agenda of Derry's overbearing father, the agendas of Piper's dysfunctional parents, the agenda of old Mrs. Hartley against Julia and Derry, the agenda of the MI5 detectives.

So now I can rest. The title's found. And any prospective agent and publisher will hopefully love it.