Showing posts from September 14, 2008

Remember Franklin Raines? UPDATED

He was former head of Fannie Mae who resigned under a cloud after being investigated by the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight. He is alleged to have raided Fannie Mae to the tune of $100MM and used questionable accounting methods to show higher than actual returns. What's he doing these days, you ask?

more recently, taken calls from Barack Obama's presidential campaign seeking his advice on mortgage and housing policy matters.

That doesn't exactly fill me with confidence.

UPDATE (and bumped):

Apparently I'm a fool for trusting WaPo. This according to FactCheck. To wit: "So what evidence does the McCain campaign have for the supposed Obama-Raines connection? It is pretty flimsy, but it is not made up completely out of whole cloth. McCain spokesman Brian Rogers points to three items in the Washington Post in July and August. It turns out that the three items (including an editorial) all rely on the same single conversation, between Raines and a Washing…

How will I burn?

John Scalzi has a blog called Whatever. He has a bit about the seven deadly sins and their associated demons. I had no idea that each one had a separate demon. Banality of evil apparently includes division of labor. I wonder if unions are allowed? Anyway, he outlined his propensity toward each particular damnation and I thought I'd follow suit.

Sin: Pride
Your Demon Will Be: Lucifer
Your Eternal Punishment is: To be broken on the wheel
Duffy’s Personal Risk of This Sin Is: Very High

I have a very high opinion of myself. Fortunately I have a wife who reminds me of this rather frequently. The only upside is that I'm at least aware of it and am working on it (though by all accounts, falling rather short).

Sin: Envy
Your Demon Will Be: Leviathan
Your Eternal Punishment is: To be placed in freezing water
Duffy’s Personal Risk of This Sin Is: Low

I'm not big on envy. I don't resent people for having stuff better than I have. I certainly appreciate fine things and acquire them…

On that taxation/patriotism thing..

In an earlier post I mentioned it but only in the context of the upcoming VP debates. I completely missed something. If paying more taxes is patriotic, it stands to reason that paying less taxes is unpatriotic. Therefore, our troops in war zones who are exempt from income taxes are unpatriotic. That also means that poor people, who do not pay income tax, are unpatriotic. Obama's efforts to exclude people from the tax roles are also unpatriotic. Joe's deductions on his tax returns for charitable giving are unpatriotic. Any mortgage deductions are unpatriotic. Child tax credits? Unpatriotic. I could go on all day. I would really really like Joe to continue on this line.

Tolerance in action

California Catholic Daily - “Coffee in his face”: "Mr. Charles Sulzen stood by the curbside offering fliers to passersby when suddenly a SUV pulled up and flung a Starbucks mocha coffee in his face and sped away shouting obscenities."

"No sooner had I finished speaking when she exploded with rage. She shouted, gesticulated in an obscene manner, screamed, and yelled."

"She started walking away backwards, facing us, and continued to scream vulgarities without control or restraint. Mr. Kenneth Murphy thought it would be a good idea to film the incident for the record. Well, she came charging back towards us, almost running. "Give me the tape!" she demanded. "You're going to jail. I am going to sue you. Give me the tape." She then attempted to strike Mr. Murphy, who moved back as she landed a harsh blow against his video camera. The blow was violent. It disabled the settings on the camera.

As before, she walked away backwards, cursing and swea…

Candidate positions on the market meltdown


Messaging | Politics | The American Scene: "Obama: We’re in this mess because the fundamentals are bad, and the fundamentals are bad because the Republicans have been ignoring ordinary working people and their needs. Most of what I think we should do is not particularly germane, and what is germane I don’t want to explain in too much detail because I’m worried I might get it wrong. I’m sticking to my platform.

McCain: We’re in this mess because a bunch of Wall Street hot shots got us into it, but they won’t dare to pull that stuff when I’m in the White House, because I survived five years in a POW camp. Do I look like the kind of guy who hangs around with a bunch of Wall Street sissies who buy their shirts at Thomas Pink? Not on your tintype girlie-girl.

Biden: I’ve been in the Senate forever, and I proposed a whole bunch of bills to deal with this problem – in fact, I’ve proposed bills to deal with just about any problem – but nobody will listen to me, particularly not J…

Is there no bottom?

First he tells his supporters to flood a radio station with calls parroting the talking points he put on his website and gets persnickety about it when his opponents (rightly) call this censorship. This must be the "digital brownshirts" Algore was talking about:

The present would be executive branch has made it a practice to try and control and intimidate news organizations: from PBS to CBS to Newsweek...And every day they unleash squadrons of digital brownshirts to harass and hector any journalist who is critical of the President Candidate.

Remember when Obama was calling for a civil campaign? Well, now that the margins have narrowed, things are changing:

Obama mocks McCain in Nevada stops: "I want you to argue with them and get in their face".

Fantastic. The moonbats on the left are slinging every vile accusation at the Palins without regard for either the truth or decency and now he's encouraging them to do more.

You fight as you train. You govern as you cam…

The mask slips

Supporting our troops

"Well, I have an ugly confession to make: I don't support the troops - at least not unconditionally. When somebody tells me they serve in the military, my first impulse isn't to say, "Thank you for your service!" like those insufferable chickenhawks on talk radio.

My first impulse is to say, "I'm sorry to hear that." Because I am...

blah blah blah...


"There are, of course, plenty of laudable functions that soldiers serve. But their sworn duty is to wage war. They may perform this duty with courage. They may feel great love for their country. But we don't pay them simply for their patriotism or integrity. We also pay them to kill people."

That last line is absurd. He makes it sound like they give them some training, a loaded weapon and set them off in downtown Manhattan with no bag limit.

"And here it's worth making a point often overlooked. Anyone who pays taxes in this country …

Keywords and jargon

I've been thinking of late about keywords and jargon. Jargon has utility. It is effectively spoken shorthand. It allows people in a given group to speak efficiently and briefly while conveying larger themes and ideas. Virtually every profession has it. IT has an endless number of them. DMZ, NAS, "sphere", etc. Often companies themselves will have their own words. When I worked at JPMorgan many moons ago, the process by which one became familiar with the ins and outs of the company was called "getting Morganized." Even married couples and nuclear families have them to refer to events or people in shorthand. Remind me sometime to explain why "Where the hell is parking?" can reduce any member of my family to uncontrollable laughter. This, of course, also applies to politics. I find that when I'm reading or listening to something there are certain keywords that set off my Spidey sense.

Among them are:

• Womyn
• Inappropriate
• Struggle
• Imperi…

Brand management

Tom Phillips on Brazil's "Barack Obamas". All six of them.

These guys are stealing my idea of changing my name to Biden T. Biden and then running for office in Delaware.

Why I can't wait for the VP debates

Biden: Low taxes are unpatriotic.

Awesome. Thanks Joe! More please. No wonder he's not taking the high profile his supporters thought he would. He can't help himself.

Malkin ends with this:

"Note the Biden smile? That’s what he does when he thinks he’s played a trump card in a debate. It usually signals a momentous display of cluelessness, as it does here."

We'll be seeing quite a bit of that look in the next 6 weeks or so. Look for it in the debates. It's the very definition of smug smarminess and the voters will see it.

What do we do?

Surely Harry Reid has the answer. Democrats have laid this scandal at the feet of Republicans. They insist that had they been in charge (Ed: don't they control both houses of Congress?) this never would have happened.

OK, Harry, what do we do?

"'No one knows what to do."

Well, that explains why we just bailed them out then. We didn't know what else to do.

Maybe Chris Dodd knows if this was the right or wrong decision:

Dodd is chairing a hearing later this morning to examine the events surrounding the Bear Stearns bailout. "I think they made the right decision," Dodd said in a television interview. (WSJs Market Watch, by Greg Robb) - Senator Chris Dodd on April 3, 2008

Dodd said he opposed the government's decision to guarantee the sale of Bear Stearns to JPMorgan Chase in March. (Courant, by Eric Gershon) - Senator Chris Dodd on Sept 16, 2008

So does the later no trump the earlier yes or do we just hedge and then claim both that way when we really k…

I KNEW I recognized him from somewhere


Texas High School Student Told Rosary Is 'Gang Symbol' - Texas High School Student Told Rosary Is "Gang Symbol": "Ruiz and her mother, Taire Ferguson, said they had no idea that rosary beads were a gang symbol. Police, however, are well aware."

Ruiz apparently doesn't know that you don't wear Rosary beads. Rosary != jewelry.


UPDATE: The idiot here is me. I was always taught not to wear a Rosary as jewelry. Apparently it's OK as long as it's primary function is devotion and not bling. Thanks to Paul for setting me straight

What he said

Varifrank: As a taxpayer Im just asking, as a capitalist I'm appaled as a shareholder I'm furious

"Now, I say this as a complete capitalist, but if a business gets so large that its failure would collapse the market( Like AIG is purported to be), then is it fair to say that the business should be broken up by the government to keep that from happening?

"Too big to fail" should not be "Taxpayers pick up the tab". If you are too big to fail, maybe we need to make you a little smaller."

"How Come I Would Make the Economy Better" by Barry Obama

"How Come I Would Make the Economy Better" by Barry Obama

Hilarious. Wish I had thought of it. Kudos!

I missed this one

"I don't quite see why American taxpayers should now be the principal sponsors of Manchester United soccer team"

Since we now own the team we should change their jerseys to be dominated by an American flag. Either that or picture of George Bush and Dick Cheney on it. Whomever wins the next election gets next year's jersey.

The inevitable bailout.

Quinnipiac poll: Obama has razor-thin lead in N.J.; McCain trails by just 3 points

Quinnipiac poll: Obama has razor-thin lead in N.J.; McCain trails by just 3 points.

Is that possible? I'm not prepared to jump on this one. It seems too absurd. If it is true this is very very bad for Obama. New Jersey has been blue as long as the sky. It has often been said that you could run a dead dog as a Democrat in NJ it would win against any body.

If New York and New Jersey are in play, I cannot see how this is going to end well for Obama. He was hoping to flip Virginia to Democrat to solidify his win. Keep an eye on this one.

Let the blamestorming begin

Everyone is keen to blame everyone else for the current market woes. Jeff Jarvis sums is up in once keen sentence:

In this week’s news from Wall Street and in last week’s news convention we are seeing the problems that arise when people who are granted stewardship over our assets — charged with the care of our news or our money — instead think they have ownership of them.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac forgot that the money they managed was not their own. Unfortunately it falls into that gray zone of "government entity but not really government entity". That is, they were privatized but not really.

Do we blame republicans or democrats?

Kavips would have you believe this is all due to a lack of regulation. He goes on to draw parallels to the crash of 1929. I believe he's wrong for several reasons. The market in 1929 was unregulated. The market of 2008 is so highly regulated financial firms have myriad lawyers to navigate those waters. Consider also that hedge funds, whi…

Jamie Gorelick, Mistress of Disaster

Jamie Gorelick, Mistress of Disaster Read the whole thing. Seriously, this woman is the Peter Principle made flesh. Can we get her on the Obama campaign before she does any more damage?

Obama gets one right

50 questions for 50 days answered

50 questions for 50 days

1. Can Obama be new again?


2. Do voters care what thinks?


3. Does Palin continue to draw better than McCain?

More than likely

4. How many solo rallies do McCain-Palin hold and where are they?

Am I supposed to predict the future on this one? Ask the campaign managers.

5. Can Sarah Palin look as engaged as Joe Biden in the debate and can Joe Biden not look condescending to Sarah Palin?

Yes and no respectively.

6. What happens when Palin asks for a second debate with Biden?

Biden says "Absolutely". His handlers put their heads in their hands and weep.

7. Will 100 million people tune into first debate?

Yes. Many of them will be Americans. Some will even vote in November.

8. Will the four debates collectively top 250 million viewers?

Only if you call it American Idol Presidential Edition in TV Guide.

9. Does McCain go the next two months without any health scares?


10. How credible is the Clintons' support?

Not very to anyone who has …

My Endorsement for President


Quote of the Day

Poll shows Obama's lead in NY at 5 points

Poll shows Obama's lead in NY at 5 points

h/t: American Digest

Whoa. This is, as noted, probably too good to be true. Assuming the 4% error is against McCain that still puts the race at nearly dead even. Is this a fluke? If Obama loses New York, he loses. No ifs, ands, or buts.

(Why do I have a feeling all this prognostication of late will come back to bite me?)

It's Eagelton alright

Why Replacing Biden With Hillary Makes Perfect Sense for Obama

"It's time to dump Biden and replace him with Sen. Hillary Clinton. I don't care how it's done. Campaign chief David Axelrod can figure that out. And the sooner the better. Because I'm starting to think that if Team-Obama doesn't do something dramatic fast, it's gonna lose this election."

This from the bastion of neoconservatism, HuffPo. Just last week I was hearing about an Eagleton scenario from some formerly sane people. Seems they were right just right about the wrong party.

I don't believe Barry will dump Biden. It is, indeed, too late. It would be recognized as the craven and desperate move it is. Nor will Barry pick Hillary. He had his chance and she might even say no if asked. If he's that far in the rear she would rather see him tank and then run against him in '12. If she takes the VP job now he's in for at least two runs which puts her ambitions off until …

Tina Palin? Sarah Fey?

The Real Sarah Palin Laughs Along With Tina Fey’s Impression - From The Road: "According to her spokesperson Tracey Schmitt, the real Sarah Palin had a good laugh along with the press corps in the back of the plane and millions of Americans at home.

“She thought it was quite funny, particularly because she once dressed up as Tina Fey for Halloween,” Schmitt said."

That's just weird.

Personality test

Useless or not? I found it interesting nonetheless.

Best comment on the Palin interview

With all the talk of lies

It seems that Barry has some that are demonstrable. Even his supporters agree. To wit:

Co-Workers: Obama Inflated His Resume: "And yet I’m disappointed. Barack’s story may be true, but many of the facts are not. His larger narrative purpose requires him to embellish his role. I don’t buy it. Just as I can’t be inspired by Steve Jobs now that I know how dishonest he is, I can’t listen uncritically to Barack Obama now that I know he’s willing to bend the facts to his purpose."

This is not coming from Fox News or Karl Rove or even McCain. This is from his coworkers and supporters. This story will, of course, go nowhere. It doesn't fit the template and so must be discarded. Read the whole thing.

How Mayor Villaraigosa Spends His 16-Hour Days - News - LA Weeklypage 1 - LA Weekly

Barack Obama under fire for ignoring advice on how to beat John McCain - Telegraph

Barack Obama under fire for ignoring advice on how to beat John McCain. When was the last time we had a President who insisted that he was right and his advisors were wrong? One so self-confident he ignored all sensible advice and plowed straight ahead no matter what. If only I could remember....