Michael O. Powell
Recent Posts From Michael O. Powell
Back in 2006, George Clooney went on Real Time with Bill Maher in order to make the case for intervening in Darfur. Clooney compared his vision of intervention to the NATO bombing in Kosovo under then President Bill Clinton. Clooney is and was then a fierce opponent of President Bush’s Iraq policy.
The logical inconsistency there flabbergasted me then, and I still hold that view. Like Iraq, Sudan is ruled by an Arab regime empowered by oil money. Like Iraq, Sudan has been known to be more than a little hospitable to terrorists. And like the 2003 intervention in Iraq, and like various other troublespots throughout the globe, intervention in Sudan has serious potential of degenerating into a military quagmire.
I wrote an article recently which focused on the anti-American nature of recently passed smoking bans in the California area. It was published in a Bay Area college newspaper.
The piece was responded to by an emotional and angry college professor, not a rare creature by any means, who complained about how tired he was of smokers “complaining” about not being able to smoke in public. It ended with ad hominem attacks accusing me of stupidity and ignorance and recommending that I take a high school level American Government course.
I’m used to that sort of vitriol, and since I pull no punches I don’t expect people to do it for me. The aspect that stood out was not the professor’s immaturity, but instead the fact that he had assumed that I was a smoker. In the article, I never mentioned the personal inconveniences of not being able to smoke in my favorite bar. This is because I never experienced them. I don’t smoke.
This professor assumed, unconsciously most likely, that my politics had the same narcissistic motivations that his has. I think smoking is disgusting. I’ve had many experiences where I’ve been on a date or an outing with a friend and felt my admiration for them dissipate once they pulled out a cigarette.
BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) — Dutch-Belgian bank and insurance giant Fortis NV was given a 11.2 billion euro($16.4 billion) lifeline to avert insolvency as part of a wider bailout plan agreed to by Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, officials said Sunday.
Belgium’s Prime Minister Yves Leterme said the bailout shows savers and investors that debt-laden Fortis will not be allowed to fall victim to the global credit crisis after its share price plummeted in recent days.
I got this story sent to me by someone who asked “What’s the difference here?” I’m not sure what that meant, but if it asked what the difference between European and American actions is, I would say there are several factors. Please keep note that I am not an economic expert by any stretch of the imagination.
McCain’s melodrama over the economy, behaving like a superhero flying to save the American people, was a political stunt intended to present him as a heroic leader unafraid to take action. Instead, it appeared as the shallow stunt that it is, and actually made his Democratic opponent Barack Obama look a whole lot better.
Obama was free of McCain’s eccentric behavior. He remained fairly consistent on the economy, urging that “something should be done” but also emphasizing protections for taxpayers. As a conservative, I found it very striking that Obama was speaking of taxpayer protections while McCain was trying to push a $700 billion handout to lenders down our throats with little concern for oversight.
Only a month back, McCain was saying the “fundamentals of the economy are strong,” and then suddenly as the post-Palin boom dissipates, he starts talking as if the sky is falling?
According to a MSNBC article, Tina Fey dug in her heels when proposed with playing Sarah Palin:
On the Emmy red carpet, Fey revealed to Access Hollywood’s Billy Bush she actually refused to play her political look-a-like when it was first proposed.
“I was fighting them all week on it,” Fey said. “I kept saying, ‘I don’t want to do it, I’m not an impressionist.’ I kept telling (‘SNL’ producer) Lorne (Michaels), ‘No! I’ll show up … I’ll do anything except play her. I can’t do it.’ Then, I was worn down. Lorne wore me down by the end of the week.”
Fortunately, Palin’s weird accent got her energized:
From the group’s press release:
Thousand Oaks, CA — A national caucus of Republican activists has urged GOP legislators to stand firm against the “Paulson Bailout” of a corrupt financial regulatory system. “This proposal is a government takeover of the entire U.S. economy,” says Republican Liberty Caucus Chairman William Westmiller, “whose only purpose is to rescue those who made risky bets on bad mortgages.”
The Caucus [www.RLC.org] opposes any taxpayer payoff to rescue those who made bad investments in any sector of the economy. “The problem is not a lack of government control,” says Westmiller, “but rather the decades of market distortions imposed by Congress through subsidies, mandates, guarantees, andconstraints on free-enterprise mortgage offerings.”
I received an e-mail from a family member that detailed protests by disability rights activists of Sen. John McCain. Here’s some of it:
The 2008 election campaigns have included rhetoric about tax breaks for middle income families, and media coverage has included stories about families who have children with disabilities. Left out of all the election rhetoric are the candidates’ positions on and commitments to those babies with disabilities who grow into adults with disabilities who all-too-often survive on extremely low incomes (less than 30% of the median income). These extremely low incomes are often the fixed benefit amounts of SSI and Social Security.
In 2006, according to Priced Out in 2006, the federal SSI benefit was $603/month and the average cost nationally of renting a studio/efficiency apartment was $633/month.
Over at USA Today, there is an article about Bob Barr possibly picking up steam in Idaho, a state friendly to the libertarian message. Towards the end of the article, one particular paragraph made me laugh out loud:
However, some in overwhelmingly Republican Idaho are not satisfied with the Republicans. In Worley in Kootenai County, a paint-scrawled message on an outhouse reads, “George Bush Presidential Library.”
It seems the bathroom graffiti artists are much wittier in Idaho than they are here in the Bay Area.
Tom Bevan at Real Clear Politics notes that Bob Barr apparently requested that President Bush allow him to be involved in the bailout negotiations, with predictable results. Here’s the press release from Barr’s campaign:
“I respectfully request to be included in the discussions with congressional leaders, Senators McCain and Obama and representatives of your administration,” Barr requests in his letter to Bush. “I am adamantly opposed to the commitment of taxpayer’s hard-earned money to protect the companies and individuals who made bad investment decisions.”
According to CNN, John McCain has decided to go through with the debate after all:
John McCain, who earlier announced he was pulling out of tonight’s presidential debate to help forge legislation to bail out U.S. financial institutions, believes enough progress has been made for
him to debate Barack Obama, his campaign said today. But it added McCain plans to return to Washington after the debate. Obama issued a statement saying he plans to go back to D.C. as well.
Later on in the article, CNN notes:
Some fellow lawmakers said McCain hasn’t contributed much to the financial debate, and senior campaign advisers told CNN they believed it was politically crucial that McCain show up at the debate in Oxford, Mississippi.