How Many Taxes Can a Tax Cutter Cut if a Tax Cutter Could Cut Taxes

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Longest title ever. Sorry.

At any rate, from the WaPo, the Tax Policy Center (a conglomeration of Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution) did a study of the McCain and Obama tax plans. Interesting results.

Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain are both proposing tax plans that would result in cuts for most American families. Obama's plan gives the biggest cuts to those who make the least, while McCain would give the largest cuts to the very wealthy.[emphasis added]
Not my words, not a partisan political campaign's ad, but the Tax Policy Center.
In the "Above $2.87 Million" income level (still below the "rich" level proposed by McCain)(/end snark), McCain proposes his largest cut of 4.4%, which equates to an extra $126,280 (on exactly $2.87 M...the graphic uses the avergage amount, which is nearly $270,000!). The Aston Martin Vantage costs $117,000. By the way.

This same income level is, true to his campaign speeches, a tax increase in Obama's proposal. That increases the taxes anywhere from about $300,000 to a little over $700,000.

Obama's biggest cuts are to the bottom 3 income levels listed: Up to $18,981; $18,982 - $37,595; and $37,596 - $66,354. As the graphic points out, 60% of all taxpayer are in those 3 income groups. Most of taxpaying Americans are in those 3 income groups. McCain's plan saves people near the poverty level a whopping $20, while giving the top 0.1% (not 1%...but POINT 1%) 2 or 3 extra Aston Martins. Obama's plan gives these same near-poverty earners over $500 while placing a $700,000 burden on the top 0.1%.

What I don't like about the graphic is that it lists "avergae cut." Reading that, the graphic is skewed towards McCain's cut, who gives everyone a cut, whereas Obama's average is thrown by his massive increase to be extremely-wealthy.

I really suck at math, but if you look at just the taxes that concern the bulk of taxpayers (the 60%), Obama's plan cuts an average of 3.8% and McCain cuts an average of 0.46%. Interestingly, in Obama's plan, if you add up the amount of tax cuts given to the bottom 3 income levels, it equals the tax increase on the highest income level: 11.5%. Go figure. A tax cut that pays for itself through an increase elsewhere.

Finally, a newly created web site called uses the Tax Policy Center's figures to see what kind of cut you get under Obama's plan.

For my income range, Obama gives me $4734.40 in cuts. That's 112 cases of 160 Size 3 Pampers!

However...McCain gives me $5,947.41 back. Maybe I should vote McCain after all...


So Much for Leadership.

"Heads I Win, Tails You Lose." -John Cole, Balloon Juice

So according to John Cole, over at Balloon Juice, as the vote on the Wall Street bailout package approached, John McCain criticised Barack Obama for not being involved with creating the final solution.

Following the failure of the vote, McCain criticised Obama for being too involved and injecting politics into the situation.


Cole also reveals that it was the intent of the Republicans to see the Democrats pass this thing and then tie Obama to none other than Bush in an attack ad. It seems that Republican National Committee needs to learn how to count votes, because they sent their attack ad out before realizing the vote failed.


The Republican Brand in Peril?

Monday, September 29, 2008

So the House just voted to kill the latest incarnation of the Wall Street bailout plan with 67% of Republicans voting no and a sizable 40% of Democrats following suit to avoid voting for what may be a necessary, but very unpopular bill.

We have also been hearing over the last week that a segment of Republicans in Congress would rather take the risk that the markets collapse and push us into the next great depression instead of propping up the financial system with a huge government intervention. Some would say this is confidence in the marketplace, others would say they are just plain insane, but the reality may be self preservation.

The way I see it, the Republicans who are willfully willing to risk a market collapse and are still resisting the bailout see the writing on the wall. They see the damage this thing will do to the Republican brand.

It is often thought that the mantra of smaller government, less regulation, and lower taxes are unbeatable positions for the Republicans to hold, but this situation might just be a political turning point not seen in 28 years. Where Democrats could not defeat the legacy of Ronald Reagan; deregulation, the ensuing collapse of Wall Street and subsequent bailout might just do it for them.

After the government bails out the banks, will another Republican be able to call for less regulation of business? Will a Republican ever be able to call for the privatization of Social Security? Will another Republican (or Clinton ) be able to triumphantly say: ” “The era of big government is over”?

What do you think?


What I Did With My Weekend

From September until some time in January, my saturdays and Sundays are normally filled with football. My wife and kids are football widowed and orphaned.

But this weekend was different. I took a break from constant football action. I barely watched any (of course I watched the Spartans). But it wasn't like I took a break to do silly shit like "spend quality time with my family" or "be a good dad to my sons" or "volunteer in a soup kitchen." No.

This weekend, I finished the bar in my basement. Out of beer labels.
Here you'll see that we are covering the bartop in beer labels of various Michigan-brewed beers and coasters of beers from all over the world (you'll see a Rogue and a Speakeasy in this pic).

Many of the labels were stickers and thus stuck reasonably well to the top of the bar, which we had just painted with Killz white primer. Also, the bar rail itself formed a lip, and we finished a lip all the way around the rest of the bar using 1" trim. We caulked the whole thing before painting it.

The caulking was an important step because instead of Polyurethane, which is highly-toxic, causes caustic fumes and requires both mulitple coats and sanding, we used a cool substance called Envirotex Lite. It is less toxic, the fumes dissipate in about 2 hours and do not require a respirator as you use it, and it only takes 1 coat if you do your math right. It dries in a high gloss like glass and hardens like polyurethane. There is, in fact, nothing to hate about this substance.

After mixing the 3 gallons of it I was using, I had about 25 minutes of workable time, which was plenty to smooth this out and deal with any air bubbles that rose to the surface. 4 hours later, it was merely tacky to the touch. The next morning, it was rock-solid and smooth as glass.As you can see in the pic, it gives the bartop a beautiful lustre. There are a few spots that are a bit wavy and in one spot, there was an abberrant label that just wouldn't stay the heck down, but all-in-all, for a total amatuer, I am thrilled with the outcome.

Even after placing and taping-down all the labels, pouring goop over the whole thing and smoothing it out, I still get a kick out of staring at it. I notice some new label or favorite beer every time.

I must thank Mrs. Smitty. She placed all the labels like a puzzle over the entire bar top, and helped me tape them all down before I got to play in the plastic stuff with my buddy Greg and my Father-in-Law. She also patiently watched the herd of kids and assured they were fed as I dicked-off in the basement with this project. Couldn't do it without ya, Mrs. S!



Saturday, September 27, 2008

I will readily admit that economics is not one of my strong areas.  My coursework on that subject was limited to half a year in high school and two semesters in college.  I have been trying to wrap my mind around the proposed bailout and other types of interventions.  While I am generally against too many regulations, I also don't believe that the market will just correct itself.  My middle of the road stance will allow some regulation with the probably naive belief that regulation should be minimal, fair, and do what it is proposed to do.

I know that some kind of intervention in our current economic crisis is necessary.  Unfortunately, the more I read about what is proposed, the more I am getting nervous.  This article, from the Volokh Conspiracy didn't alleviate any of those concerns.  Some of the proposed measures by Dodd just don't sit well with me.  From the article:

I have read Dodd’s proposed statute and in some respects, it is far worse than has been reported. Senator Dodd has placed a loophole in the bill that is explicitly designed to siphon off tens or hundreds of billions of dollars to the Housing Trust Fund and the Capital Magnet Fund even if there are no net profits in the $700 billion venture.


With a net loss, one might think that nothing would be funneled to the housing funds for service organizations, but that is not what the statute says or means. One looks only at the sales generating gains to determine the size of the payments to the housing funds. With $2 trillion in profits and $2.1 trillion in losses, the housing funds nonetheless get $400 billion dollars in “profits.” (This is over 40% of a typical year’s US total federal income tax receipts.) And that is the result if only 20% of "profits" are skimmed; the statute puts no upper limit on the skimming, so long as they come from profits (not net profits). Theoretically, the new Agency could potentially siphon off $2 trillion to the two housing funds, more than its $700 billion portfolio limit.

What?!?  I know that some of this is speculation, but the fact that Congress created the environment for the current financial crisis doesn't exactly give me much confidence.  The author concludes with:

I was mildly in favor of the bailout until I read Dodd's proposed statute. The way that the statute is drafted is so tricky and its definition of profit is so unsophisticated and nonsensical that the statute smells more of graft than of an honest attempt to solve the financial crisis.

It sure looks that way to me.  


Open Thread... Take 2

Friday, September 26, 2008

I don't want to cover up Smitty's review. But just in case anyone wants to comment on the verbal ass kicking of an old geez... I mean, the DEBATE, the comment section awaits.


The Joys of Empire

The new way American brewers are Americanizing classic beer styles, or simply one-upping existing already-beefy Americanized styles, is to jack-up a beer's alcohol content, grain bill and hop portfolio and call it "Imperial."

As far as I can tell, the "Imperial" moniker started with the Legend of the Russian Imperial Stout: Russian nobles drank British stouts in England, loved them, and wanted them shipped to Russia. The problem was distance and time. By the time the beer got from London to St. Petersberg, it was stale or spoiled. So British brewers developed a style of stout with more alcohol (kills creepy-crawlies), more hops (a natural preservative, as they found in their famous IPA-style), and that had a long enough fermentation time that by the time it got to the Russian Court, it was ready, and huge, and an instant success. It become the Russian Imperials Stout.

Well, now we have Imperial IPAs, Imperial Stouts, Imperial Red Ales...anything that already comes with a hop profile can be boosted into an Imperial style. And that's how we roll here in the U.S. of A. We see your beer, we'll make it bigger, and call it Imperial. Our American empire is alive and well, folks, and it's covered in beer.

Today's selection is brough to us by Bobby Mason and the good folks at Michigan Brewing Company: MBC Imperial IPA.
As expected, the beer pours an effervescent copper color complete with a thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass. It just has the look to it taht tells you at a glance what you're about to experience.

Big caramelized malts greet your nose right away, nestled amidst a massive king-size bed of hops. The hops themselves cover quite a spectrum, with a great mix of fresh flowers, orange zest and earthy, garden-y aromas. The citrus is not nearly what you find in West Coast IPAs, nor is the floral and earthy as much as you find in normal Brit/Mid West examples. Instead, it is a great mix of aromas....multiplied.

To balance that many hops, you need a big big grain bill, and MBC's offering delivers. Syrupy carmelized malts are in a nearly-perfect concert (for this type of style, mind you, which is still hop-heavy) with a citrus zip and bouquet of flowers from all of the hops. Under it all is a nice, slow alcohol burn from the hefty 10.2% ABV, but it is almost overshadowed by the malt character of the beer.

With its medium body and medium carbonation, this carmelly-sweet hop bomb goes down as easily as...well...I'll keep it clean. I'll just say I drained the glass before I knew it. This Imperial IPA drank as easily as a regular IPA. It didn't leave that copper penny/iron taste on my tongue, nor was it overly dry. This is a solid offering from MBC and is still easily available at their pub in Webberville, MI.


Back to School

Thursday, September 25, 2008


You canceled one of the most-watched late-night programs, who surely would have treated you well, for an interview with America's 4th-String news anchor. And got caught.


More Fail.

The gem is the last 10 seconds of the interview.

I know, above, I called-out Couric for being a bench-warmer. But that bench warmer asked the right questions and exposed Palin (as if there needed to be any more exposure) for general cluelessness. I take it back, Couric. You maybe were the right person for the task.

If there are still people who have not made up their minds about this election, they are officially too dumb to vote.

*****UPDATE 2*****

Epic Fail.

Watch CBS Videos Online

My sentiments are echoed over at Cole's site:

This is like one of those awkward moments in school when a student is giving a presentation they are completely unprepared for, and the teacher knows it, the student knows it, and everyone watching knows it, yet you sit there and go through the charade.

Heartbeat away. Jeebus.


Goodbye Summer Wheat, Hello Oktoberfest

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I really hate the fall. It is the end of lush green grass, warm days, bike riding, going to the park with my daughter, and all the wonderful vacations of summer.

I had a little pick me up early this week, with my first 2008 taste of Oktoberfest!

I will continue to leave the beer reviews for Smitty and Sopor, but wanted to rave about the upcoming great seasonal beers that are some of my favorites. A few days ago I enjoyed a Paulaner Oktoberfest-Märzen on draft. While this particular beer is brewed all season long, it got me revved up for the fall, and even more excited about the upcoming “winter warmers”. The winter warmers have been my favorites since Smitty’s post last year, highlighting some of the best. I love some of their spicy goodness and bourbon-like warming feel going down.

So if fall gets you down, as it does me, maybe its time to remember some of the great fall and winter brews that are about to be available. Keeping with the spirit will make the upcoming cold days seem a little more fun.


Two Great Websites for the Political (Silly) Season

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Each election cycle seems to bring out new websites that offer a new ways to cover the elections from either the right, left, or independent persuasions. Two websites stand out in my mind as good sources of information for 2008: Politico and Real Clear Politics. Both are best suited for the political junky.

This site and its contributors are getting a wider audience, including within the main stream media. The site has some very-well researched articles, some of which I have referenced before, such as Roger Simon’s, multi-part series on the Democratic primary.

It’s great to see a news source that has some great original content that is not either targeted at the right or the left.

Real Clear Politics
Did you know that (based on this site’s compilation of polling data) had the election been held last week, Obama would have likely won the popular vote and McCain would have one the electoral college tally?

I have been glued to Real Clear Politics for the last few weeks. Among other things, RCP calculates the “RCP Average”, which averages a group of recent polls around the country to smooth out some of the spikes to see the real trends. They do the same for battleground states. They also estimate the current Electoral College results state by state and have an interactive map, where you can click on each state to calculate various election scenarios.

My current prediction, based on polling data and historical trends: Obama/Biden 273, McCain /Palin, 265. (Obama wins all of the Kerrie states, plus Colorado, New Mexico and Iowa) also has links to relevant articles around the country on both the right and the left.

What are your sources of politcal information for 2008?


A New Black Monday?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Pop quiz... who said the following?

"The fundamental business of the country... is on a sound and prosperous basis."

If you said 'John McCain', you were close. It was Herbert Hoover, on October 25, 1929; the day after the original Black Monday. But is does sound familiar;

The fundamentals of our economy are strong.

That's right, the Republican candidate for president is channeling the original cross between an ostrich and Alfred E. Newman...


My apologies for the confusion!

Some of you may have seen my update at the end of the Stone 11th Anniversary review before I removed it. This update apparently has caused some confusion amongst the readers, and I feel pretty bad so I want to clear it up and apologize!

First off, I'm very sorry Smitty! I had no clue that would get confused, and I hope nothing bad comes of it!

Second off, that was ME, Sopor that "got popped", so please leave poor Smitty alone, he did naught!


Slacking Sopor Sucks it up and Sips on Some Stone Suds

Ok... A long time ago I said I was going to do beer reviews on Wednesdays. And, well, frankly I've been slacking off majorly (and I admit that Smitty's spectacular prose is intimidating). I could have grabbed one of my notebooks and of posted one of hundreds of reviews (many of which are already posted on but I feel that I owe it to the huge readership here to at least come up with some new material! And, this WONDERFUL weather (that's not sarcasm, I'm Scottish...) has given me the urge to break into the cellar and open up some of my goodies and review them.

Today I picked Stone's 11th Anniversary Ale. This beer is 1 year old this month. It's listed on BA as a Strong Ale, which can be kind of a catch-all for something strong, and normally malty (a little more info can be found here).

This one is dark, darker than I was expecting. It looks like root beer, both when it pours and in the glass. I found a picture on flickr to help illustrate. I got three fingers worth of foamy, thick tan head that left chunky layers of lacing all the way down the glass. The head never fully went away either, leaving an eighth-inch of foam all the way down the glass. In the glass I can see some deep ruby highlights, but this brews pretty dark.

The smell is all hops, slightly fruity but mostly resinous, and strong. A foreshadow, a mere hint of what's about to come...

Wow, this is a bitter beer, in more ways than one. This is the definition of "west-coast" brewing in a bottle, over the top in every single way. The hop profile of this brew is HUGE. It starts the second the brew touches your tongue, potently bitter with a strong greasy resinous flare. In all honesty, it gets to be a little too much when it adds some honestly soapy and medicinal qualities to the mix. This beer takes balance, slaps it upside the head, drop-kicks it to the floor, kicks out the third story window and then jumps out to land and it's broken corpse. You've got to really be ready for a hop barrage to be ready for this beer. I like me some hops, but honestly this beer is too much for me, this is perhaps one of the first beers I've had that is more powerfully hoppy than chewing on some high alpha-acid hops like Columbus. The bitterness really sticks around for a long time. I think I found the malt flavor in this beer... somewhere deep down in there is a hint of roasty/burnt malt. And riding above the hop flood there are some hints of hot, fusel alcohols. Unfortunately the lasting flavor is soapy, slightly resinous, and not completely pleasant.

The body surprised me. I expected something thick, and to be honest rather sweet. This was not thick at all, in fact it was fairly thin. This made for a fairly "dry" beer too, though I have a hard time calling a beer this hoppy dry (the hop flavor lends it's own "wetness", not sweetness but it still defeats dry if you ask me).

I don't know about this one... It's a good beer, don't get me wrong. But to be honest I would not go out of my way for this one again, it was just a bit too over the top hoppy (this from a guy who like Devil Dancer). I would like to see something come of this recipe... perhaps cut the IBU in half, maybe make it about 6% abv and make it kind of an American Schwarz-ale (I've been really liking the Schwarzbiers of late).

If you can still find this one, and are about to die of hop withdrawal... this beer could easilly give you a hop overdose and kill you. Beware!


...pants on fire!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

About a week and a half ago I had begun composing a post on Sarah Palin.  I decided to table it.  The issue was putting me in a foul mood, as was politics in general.  For me, this is unusual.  To some degree, I have always been kind of a politics junkie.  Hell, I went door to door for Mondale when I was 13.  I am pretty used to the negative campaigning that has been the norm for the last few elections, so that doesn't really bother me.  

I don't know why this election seems different or why it seems to cheese me off more than usual.  One possibility is that I entered this race being mostly independent and undecided.  I have some major problems with the current manisfestation of the Republican Party and I have never had a problem voting for a Democrat even though I tend to lean to the right on many issues.  I was, and still am, impressed with the way Obama is running his campaign.  The same can't be said for the rest of the left.  

To many, Palin is a relative unknown, and for some reason this has fueled a ton of speculation.  This has ranged from outright lies (her daughter is really the mother of her baby) to leaving out important facts (troopergate).  I was working on a list when I found two others that were far more extensive.  One is from Chris of Rights, the other is from Explorations.  Some interesting points:

-Palin didn't cut money for unwed mothers.  She increased funding by 354%, as opposed to the 454% that was asked for.

-Palin doesn't support abstinence only sex-ed.

-Palin didn't say that the war in Iraq is a "task from God."

There are plnety of others.  More than usual, I have taken a wait and see approach when dealing with critiques of Palin.  Most seem to be seriously lacking in the credibility department.  I don't want to speculate as to why.  In the case of blogs like HuffPo and Daily Kos, they aren't trying to be unbiased.  The MSM is supposed to at least try.  The Volokh Conspiracy has a good entry on a biased story on ridiculously overblown "troopergate".  The 'gate' suffix has been so casually used that it has almost lost it's meaning.  Even if all the worst speculation was true, this doesn't even come close to Watergate.

In some cases, the media is just lazy or stupid.  Many of the debinked stories are ones where the reporters never even tried to contact all of the parties involved or even checked with reporters in Alaska.  In the stupid column, I will throw in co-host of the View, Whoopi Goldberg, with her suggestion that Sarah Palin was "very dangerous" because she wanted to "succeed from America."  Did you mean secede?  Anyway, that story has been debunked a while ago.  She also threw in a Nazi reference for good measure.

I will admit that I have some measure of respect for Sarah Palin.  I am not totally convinced that she is the best person for the job, but I also think that most of the critiques lack substance and take the focus away from the real issues.  It also makes me hard to takes these critics seriously if they aren't interested in debating the issues with facts and logic.  I know that the Right does it too, but that doesn't make it any more palatable.  That being said, it mostly seems to be coming from the left right now and that is too bad.  


As We Say In Alaska...

Most of you probably saw this on saturday, but if not, here it is.



Saturday, September 13, 2008

For those of you curious what it was like to be a Michigan fan in the Notre Dame student section today, I think this guy pretty much sums it up:

It poured. Not your standard rain, or even "wow it's raining hard" rain. We're talking "epic, puddles are forming in my hair, someone find that ark guy" rain. Which wouldn't have been as big of a deal if my team hadn't shit the bed.

Six turnovers. Two inside their own 15 yard line, two inside ND's 5 yard line, and another returned for a touchdown. And they let this guy beat them:

Could be worse though... USC just went up 35-3 on Ohio State...


The Wisdom of Oscar Wilde

Friday, September 12, 2008

Oscar Wilde would love today's beer. He did, after all, write that the "only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it."

Well, I yielded to this beer, but the problem is I am sure I will yield again. And again. And again. Ladies and gentlemen: Russian River's Temptation.

And yes, I was tempted. This is a tale of temptation and betrayal.

First, it was my eyes that betrayed me. I peered at the hazy golden hue of the beer. Like a golden sunrise presented through a window of Belgain Lace, I allowed myself to be drawn to its beauty without regard to its consequence.

My nose followed suit in its betrayal of my better sensibilities. Tendrils of chardonnay coaxed at my nose, alternatively exposing vanilla and tart apple, sour cherry and oak. Under it all was that lovely Brett-sourness. Dried apricot sweetness tugged at the edges, as if my nose needed yet one more reason to leave my Reason.

And finally, as has happened so many times before in so many situations, my mouth betrayed me. Pears and apricots pulled at my tongue, washing each bud in exstasy. Right behind it, as if to keep me reeling and senseless was green apple, followed in waves by oak, vanilla and melon. To end it all, as if it knew my Michigan-tongue's tastes, Temptation threw a sour cherry finish to finish me off. My soul and sensibilities couldn't handle any more of this dance; any more of this lovely crescendo of senses.

I succumbed to every highly-carbonated, creamy-smooth drop. I was so happy that I did. How freeing, to give in to this particular sin. May God have Mercy.


Community Organizer?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I completely stole this from Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Nachos:

One community organizer who moved a nation, when our political leaders wouldn't.


One Little Web-bit

Monday, September 08, 2008

So, in an attempt to find a way to declare my allegiance in advance of this week's Michigan/ND game, I did a Google Image search of 'fucking Notre Dame'. And what do you think was the first hit?

It was this image, from none other than the good people at Around The Keg.

Congratulations, and well done gentlemen. We are now the world's foremost internet source of images related to inappropriate fornication with Our Lady.

This has nothing to do with the earlier post; but it pretty well encapsulates what I've learned thus far in Law School...

Supreme Court Rules Death Penalty Is 'Totally Badass'


The Hypocrisy of Experience, Teenage Pregnancy, and Sexism.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Thank goodness for the real journalists. (on comedy central)

Unfortunately it wouldn't embed, but watch here.


Did the Republicans "Bounce" Back?

So the conventions have ended, we have heard both candidates and their Veeps speak, and the post-convention polls will soon slow their “bouncing”.

Last week we ran a lot of posts and comments on the Obama/Biden speeches and the Democratic convention.

Now it’s the Republican’s turn.

What did you think of the McCain/Palin speeches? Were they effective?

Did the Republicans outline an agenda for America, or did they return to the Rovian/Nixonian approach to campaigning?

Have at it.

UPDATE: I have been looking to find decent coverage of the protests inside the RNC Convention last night. I had to go to the source to find it.

In case you missed it, (because there hasn't been coverage) Iraq Veterans Against the War member, Adam Kokesh protested McCain's lack of support for veterans issues. See more at the IVAW website.


Bad Presidents

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

"If I hear one more word about the Constitution I'm arresting this whole fucking country."

I thought I'd lighten the mood of this presidential race with another list.  A while back I linked to one with The 5 Most Badass Presidents of All-Time.  The same site has another similar one entitled 6 Great US Presidents and Their Crimes Against Humanity.  I am sure there are plenty of other heinous acts, but it is still pretty interesting.


Taking a Look at Wedge Issues

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

In the interest of continuing the fine discourse that Steves spoke of in his last post, I would like to hear what people think of the following snippet of Barack Obama’s speech delivered before the Democratic National Convention:

"We may not agree on abortion, but surely we can agree on reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies in this country. The reality of gun ownership may be different for hunters in rural Ohio than for those plagued by gang-violence in Cleveland, but don't tell me we can't uphold the Second Amendment while keeping AK-47s out of the hands of criminals. I know there are differences on same-sex marriage, but surely we can agree that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters deserve to visit the person they love in the hospital and to live lives free of discrimination. Passions fly on immigration, but I don't know anyone who benefits when a mother is separated from her infant child or an employer undercuts American wages by hiring illegal workers. This too is part of America's promise - the promise of a democracy where we can find the strength and grace to bridge divides and unite in common effort."

I’d really like to hear from readers who land on both sides of the above issues on how this part of the speech impacted them.


Sarah Palin Scandal(s)?

Monday, September 01, 2008

Before I get to the point, I wanted to thank the people involved with this blog.  There seems to be no shortage of political blogs, but so many of them offer very little in terms of rational debate, but tend more towards hyperbole, name calling, and bloviation.  This place is different and people are able to reasonably and passionately express opposing viewpoints.  I'd like to think this is beneficial.  I have certainly learned much and have changed my opinion in several policy areas and this is due to the type of discourse that occurs here.

The same can't be said for the rest of the blogosphere.  The Palin nomination has drawn a lot of scrutiny, as it should.  She is a relative unknown and we should know about how she has governed, how she has voted, and what she thinks on the "issues."  Reasonable or not, I would also expect that people would have questions about her personal life.  I don't care for most of the gossip or personal stuff, but I do expect there to be some factual basis.  We have already seen Obama be the subject of a nasty rumor that he was some kind of closet Muslim.  Some even took that to the absurd by suggesting he would institute some kind of Islamic law in the US.  

The Palin version of the nasty rumor was seen briefly on our own blog before Smitty canned it.  It suggested that Palin's youngest is actually the child of one of her other children and that she faked her own pregnancy to cover up for her daughter.  Daily Kos ran a very elaborate one with pictures that has already been debunked by numerous outlets and is completely without merit.  I have never been a huge fan of Kos, but had respected them for the most part.  I would certainly have put them in the top 10 for left leaning blogs.  I am pretty jaded about some stuff and I know this is nothing new.  That being said, it still makes me very mad.  On one level, it is just a rotten, dishonest thing to do.  On another level, it distracts people from more important issues that are certainly critical to our nation.  Despite being denied and proven wrong, they are still believed by some.  I still hear the closet Muslim rumor.

As I was composing this post news came out that Sarah Palin's disclosed that her daughter is pregnant.  It is hard to tell where this will go.  I am sure both sides will spin it all sorts of ways.  The fact that McCain knew maybe says that we are able to not make such a big deal about irrelevant stuff, but maybe not.  One thing is for sure, this will clear up the accusation that he was pandering to the religious right.



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