Wednesday, November 19, 2008

President-elect Obama

Dear President-elect Obama:

There are three phrases that I expect that you're already polishing up. If you want to keep my support, we'll hear them (or hear about them).


"You have your orders; follow them."

In other words, don't let anyone in the military, no matter how high ranking, or how well respected, push you around. Clinton made that mistake. Yes, some people in the military didn't respect him too much. But even if they don't respect you at first, they'll respect you even less if you let a lower ranking officer - and that's all of them! - push you around. Listen to them, respect their point of view, and then give them their orders, and make those orders stick.


"We intended to do nothing more than make a cursory investigation. Unfortunately, the seriousness of the lawbreaking involved required us to investigate more deeply."

President Bush has engaged in, or covered up, a great deal of law breaking. You can't let the law become a victim of "post partisanship".

Even if you don't (or can't) prosecute criminals from the Bush administration, you must reveal their lawbreaking, and you must insist that, if this happens again, the perpetrators will be punished.

Make the investigations fair, but investigate.


"Senator Lieberman, I don't think you understood me. I didn't ask you how you intended to vote. I told you I expected your support, and I'm going to get it."

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


This election day presents a choice that is really pretty clear.

The United States started a war against a nation that presented no meaningful threat, based upon flawed intelligence.

Do you want to vote for the man who insists it's a great idea, and insists that we need to keep a troop presence there for as long as we can, hell, for a hundred years, if we can manage it?

Or do you want the man who was against the war from the start, saying it was a bad idea, and wants to bring out troops home?

Bill Ayers, a former terrorist, is now an activist for educational reform.

If you think you have to avoid any educational reform attempt that is tainted by the presence of Bill Ayers, you would probably count that as a strike against Obama.

On the other hand, if you think that it's okay to work for educational reform, even if you end up rubbing shoulders with some people who used to do nasty things, then you'll probably consider the accusations in that previous paragraph pretty lame... and that'll be a strike against McCain.

Do you think this economy will be fixed with a few tax cuts for the rich, and a bit more deregulation? Then vote for McCain. Don't worry; he's a maverick, and he's sure to knock heads together and *fix* things, because he said so, and don't forget, he suspended his campaign to... well, not really accomplish anything. But he did suspend that campaign, and it wasn't a stunt, just ask him!

On the other hand, if you want a man who'll bring his prodigious intelligence to bear on the issue, and find sensible regulations to try to put things right, you probably want Obama.

But on a par with the issues, think about the styles of campaigning, and thus, the style of governance.

The Democrats have bent over backwards to call John McCain a good man, with whom they have some strong disagreements.

The Republicans have called Barack Obama a socialist, a marxist, a baby-killer, and scorned the idea of helping folks in the community (because Obama was a community organizer for a while).

What do you think our country needs right now? Inclusion and principled disagreement? Or divisiveness and anger?

Go out there. Vote. Help other folks vote. Remind other people that it matters.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Questions for CRA accusers

A lot of people have come up with a lot of theories about the economic meltdown and one of the nastier ones is that it's all the fault of the Democrats for trying to encourage mortages to non-traditional borrowers.

Now, there's no need to come up with additional theories to account for the problems. Greed and stupidity, coupled with a lack of regulation, is sufficient to explain the problem. But, that's not enough... these people need the Democrats to take the fall. After all, Republican ideals - deregulation, and letting the market take care of itself - are what caused the mess. Without a way to tie it to Democrats, it could make people call into question the wisdom of letting greed run rampant.

But is it a fair accusation? Is it reasonable to try to tie efforts like the CRA to the meltdown?

Well, it can be hard to say. Government regulations are complicated, and it's entirely possible that some regulation or another ended up having unintended consequences.

But here's the question... what regulation is supposed to have caused this massive problem? And why wasn't anyone complaining about it when it happened?

I don't mean "why didn't anyone complain about the CRA?" because lots of folks did. I mean, what regulation caused mortgage lenders to have to make loans that they couldn't sohw were good loans? Because, in the end, that's the real question, right?

Either one of two things happened. Either people made a lot of stupid loans because they were stupid and greedy, or they made a lot of stupid loans because there was something that forced them to do so, against their better judgment.

So, which was it?

This is the question you should put to people who try to blame the CRA for this meltdown.

What specific regulation said "make stupid loans"?

Make them bring up the regulations in question, and then we can actually have a reasonable discussion about this.

Or, tell them to admit they don't have anything, and tell them to stop whining about the CRA and its effects on the meltdown.

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