Thursday, October 30, 2008

Help! I'm Trapped Inside A Fortune Cookie Factory!

Out to dinner at a Chinese restaurant last night, my wife cracked open her fortune cookie and proclaimed "They must have Halloween-themed cookies. Mine says, 'You will attend a party where strange costumes prevail.'"

"What? Let me see that." I looked at the fortune, and just shook my head. "I don't think it's Halloween themed dear. The word is 'customs'."

Sparkle someone else's eyes

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Phickle Thoughts, Philosofickle Edition

Forgive me, this post is a little self-indulgent. But hopefully it'll be worth it when you get to the end.
I'm five days late, but as of October 24th, this blog is 4 years old. I started it because Zhubin was begging for something else to read during class, and I was opinionated. Four years later, I'm still opinionated. And, I'm proud to report, I have even more readers than ever. Sure, they're still mostly family, but I've got a big family. Actually, I'm up to about 50 original visits a day. I consider that to be a modest success, though I wouldn't mind growing the readership a little. Call it vanity. But it does make me feel good to know that someone is reading what I'm writing.
Here's the link to that first post.
There was a time when, if you were to google search for the movie line quoted at the bottom of that first post, my blog was the first hit. Now it's been bumped to number 8, or something like that.
Every once in a while I look to see what searches have brought people to my blog. There are a couple that I see routinely. In fact, if you were to google "Podunk, Iowa", "Fwah Grah" or "Did you know the hole's only natural enemy is the pile?" I would be the first hit for each. The one about the eternal struggle between hole and pile leads to one of the funniest posts I think I've ever written, so that's kind of rewarding.

Lately I've gotten a lot of hits from "Joe Maddon, Manager of the Year" (where I'm number 4 or 5), "Thank Cod All Nighty" (courtesy of my comments section) and, a couple weeks ago, there were a number of people searching for "Matthew B. Novak, killed". Because apparently a man who shares my name was killed in New Jersey. I felt kind of sad. If anyone gets directed to this page as a result, my deepest sympathies.

I also get a lot of hits from people searching for information on Wabasso, cornhole (I hope the game, not the... other type), the Bobby's World theme song, and, on rare occasion, the intertwining of law and morality. Oh, and a bunch from my song quotes. It's a pretty interesting bunch of links that lead people to my page.
Another of the funniest posts I ever put up: a summary of my life up until the time I turned 25.
Probably the most important post I've ever put up was the abortion treatise. If you've never read it, check it out. My views have nuanced some since I wrote it, but I think it's a great starting point for anyone honestly considering the question of when we need to start protecting life. It's a bit philosophical (and essentially non-religious) so it's not for everyone. But I'm still proud of it.
A new subheading to the blog, this time courtesy of Patric.
Patric, I'm stealing your thing about Dr. Archpope to put on my blog.
The most hits I ever had in a day was exactly 1,000. Batgirl linked to me that day, and it was a wonderful feeling. If I recall correctly, that was my post about Brad Radke's last outing. Not really my best work, but I meant what I wrote. Radke's wife seemed to appreciate it at least, and that made me really glad. I still miss Radke.

I also still miss Kirby Puckett. This post was some of my best work. I even got it quoted on Another of my blogging highlights. My Twins material seems to get linked to from time to time, usually just on other Twins' blogs, but I'll take it where I can get it.

I've actually written quite a bit about the Twins on this blog. So much in fact that I went ahead and started my own Twins blog. It's linked to on the sidebar there. It's written anonymously, and I'll be in character when I write it. The goal will be to be over the top, with some humor and some emotion. It's been largely inactive since the end of the Twins' season, but it'll be up and running soon enough. Probably with weekly posts in the off-season, and near daily posts during the next summer of baseball.
Alright, that's enough of the links. (But if anyone has any more favorites, you should feel free to mention them in the comments section...). I encourage you to check them out when you get the chance. And feel free to pass this blog around to your friends and family. Blogging is a real treat for me. It's opened up a whole new world of friends, people with blogs of their own, and we've formed a pretty cool little community. We're a small bunch, but I really enjoy reading their entries, and I appreciate their feedback on mine. Much of my family started their own blogs after I began Philosofickle, and it's been a great way to keep up with them, to get a more intimate view of their lives, that I would otherwise miss out on. Frankly, blogging has been really good for me.

I do worry that some day I might have to deal with some of the things I've written on here being taken out of context, or otherwise distorted, but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. For now, I'm young, trying to figure life out, and when I've got an idea, I want to throw it out there. I don't embrace everything I write on this blog, and I'm always willing to fix any mistakes in thinking or judgment that I might make. I never mean to step on toes or offend, and if I ever do, I'm always happy to set things straight. The real goal of this blog is to make me a better person; a better writer, a better thinker, a better humorist, a better communicator. And if anyone else gets entertained or educated or enlightened on the way, well, that's an awesome bonus. So a big thank you to all of you who have contributed to this blog with your comments and support. Keep it up!
Alright, enough self-indulgence. On to the worthwhile part of this post:

Ben had commented in the previous post that, "one of these days you're going to be commenting on how the noise of people tearing down the building around you is really interfering with your meetings with clients." And though they aren't yet tearing down the building around me, tearing down the building next door has already had this effect. Though it wasn't so much the noise...

You see, the client I had in my office was deaf (and mute). I was sitting with my back to the window, he facing it, and we were writing back and forth to each other during our interview. I was busy writing something down to share with him when the demolition crew started their work. Since he had no other way of warning me, the client dove across the desk to grab me, a look of absolute horror on his face, as the power shovel came barreling towards us. It stopped, as it usually had, just a couple of feet from my window, and landed a solid thud on the outer wall of the building next door, sending a large section of brick tumbling in all directions. The client looked at me, wide eyed, gave a couple of deliberate blinks, and ripped the paper from my hands to furiously write the questions, "Are they crazy? Why didn't they set up a barrier?"

I just shrugged my shoulders. What could I say? I was scribbling notes to a deaf man in an attempt to save his apartment while just feet away a demolition crew sent bricks flying toward my office. This is my life.

Time is relentless
And as the past disappears
We're on the verge of all things new

Monday, October 27, 2008

Demolition Update

When I showed up for work today I was pleased to see I still had an outer wall. That shouldn't really be a question, but at Legal Aid, you never know.

They're still knocking down the bar next door. It's a much bigger building than the other two they demolished, so they'll be going at it for a little while still. At one point my co-worker and I were watching them from her office when they took down a giant roof beam. If the shovel's bucket had tipped just a little in our direction my co-worker would no long have a window. And, quite possibly, a head. Most of what was next to my window is gone now, which means, quite happily, that I can finally get sunlight in my office.

The other day they were sawing through the building's metal frames, and the vibrations traveled well enough that I kept answering phantom phone calls.

We'll see how the rest of this adventure continues...

Where is the ripcord, the trapdoor, the key?
Where is the cartoon escape-hatch for me?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Comments On The Previous Post

The conversation is still going on down there, and it's good. I encourage everyone to jump on in. If you're behind, read a few of the comments and get caught up, and then throw in your two cents. There's some really good points being made by a lot of people. I feel a little like one of those guys in the park who are playing 10 different games of chess.

Now go, join in.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Who I'm Voting For And Why

Alright, I've decided who I'm voting for. At least, I've decided for now. I suppose there's a chance I might change my mind in the next week and a half, but I think I'm pretty set.

There are three big things John McCain has going for him in my opinion. First, he's pro-life, and that matters a lot in a Presidential election. Being pro-choice means you either haven't asked the relevant question (when does life begin) or you've come to a wrong answer. So that's big. Second, he embraced a plan that uses the bailout to help people keep their homes. I know it means "rewarding" banks for bad business practices, but I'd rather have that and allow people to keep their homes than punish banks and let people get foreclosed on. Third, I really don't like Obama.

And there's a lot of things I don't like about Obama. First and foremost, I don't believe a word he says. He promised to take public financing because it helped distinguish him from Clinton, then he rejected public financing. He (and McCain is guilty of this too, but that's not an excuse) routinely lies about McCain's positions. He's making all sorts of promises that don't add up. His whole campaign strategy is one of lobbing blame. This is a man who, throughout his career, and throughout this campaign has shown himself to be a mere politician, someone who can look really good while sacrificing his integrity. I don't see the man as a leader, I see him as a party lap-dog, and if you look at his record I think that's a pretty accurate picture.

The second thing I really don't like about Obama is that, when he's trying to point out his more moderate views, he invariably moves towards the center on something I'm more liberal on. His health care policy, although slightly better than McCain, is so far from where it should be that it actually detracts from my view of Obama. His environmental policies also leave a lot to be desired.

The third major detraction for Obama is that I don't think he'll handle the Iraq war as well as McCain. When we supported Afghanistan against Russia during the cold war, and then pulled out all our support when the war was over, it led, a generation later, to the Taliban. I have a very real fear that Obama's policies in Iraq are going to lead to similar problems a generation from now. I have the same fear with McCain, but it's significantly muted, since it's easier to see how he would work to address some of the key issues in Iraq. I do, however, think Obama will be better at fixing the U.S. image abroad. Of course, next to the war on terror, that's minimal.
And yet, despite all of these detractions, I'm planning to vote for Obama. It might seem crazy, but it all crystallized for me with three events:

First, I had a conversation with my friend Joel. After seeing McCain's bailout/mortgage plan, I didn't know if there was a way I could justify voting for Obama. Joel put this question to me: Don't middle-class tax cuts and health care do it for you?

And I answered that they didn't. But as I thought about it, they didn't do it for me because they were too Republican. First, the health care plan is crap. It'll cover slightly more people than McCain's plan, while costing about the same. And, though you shouldn't routinely let the good be the enemy of the perfect, I'm extremely afraid that any health care plan that passes now will eliminate any momentum we've got towards a universal single-payer system. So Obama's plan actually worries me. But it worries me because it isn't liberal enough.

The second part of that question, the middle-class tax cuts, are almost equally worrisome. We've got the largest national debt ever, we're in the middle of a war, and we've quickly slipped into an enormous recession. The last thing we should be doing is giving anybody tax cuts. I dislike McCain's plan to continue the Bush tax cuts even more than I dislike Obama's plan (at least Obama is sticking it to the wealthy!), but ultimately neither of them makes any sense. The best way to cut down national debt is to only spend money you've got, and the best way to do that is to keep a solid tax base. The best way to fund a war is with your own country's money, not borrowed funds, and obviously the best way to do that is to keep taxes at a sustainable level. And the best way to pull the country out of an economic crisis is to create well-paying jobs. And the best way to create well-paying jobs is for the government to hire people. Private industry creates jobs when it is conducive to industry. The government can create jobs when it is conducive to workers. But the only way to do that is to tax the citizenry, so you have something to pay the workers with. In our current situation, tax cuts just don't make sense.

As I thought about these things, it occurred to me once again that I don't believe Obama. He's proposed a tax plan, but I honestly don't believe it's going to happen. The part where he raises taxes for the wealthy might, but I don't think the tax cuts will. First off, he's proposed all sorts of new spending, and he'll have to fund that somehow. Second, the Republicans are going to turn around and nail the Democrats on the federal deficit, just like they did with Clinton. Third, he'll quickly find that he's not going to be able to trim the war budget like he wants to. I just don't see the tax cuts happening. And let's be honest, it's a lot easier to get Congress to spend money they don't have than it is to get them to agree to take less in the first place.

I also believe - or at least hope - that Obama's health care plan won't end up looking like he says, and that the actual manifestation will turn out to be more oriented towards a single-payer system. A Democratic Congress will hopefully move Obama's proposal in that direction, and I think he'd be happy to follow his party. I guess really, to be perfectly honest, an Obama presidency probably means that in actuality we'll have a Reid/Pelosi administration. And I'm more okay with that (at least with the Reid part...).

So in a strange way, the fact that I don't believe Obama, and the fact that I don't see him as a leader, are cutting in his favor here.
The second thing that cut Obama's way was the Supreme Court. I sent around an e-mail asking people who they thought would be named to the SCOTUS when Stevens invariably steps down this coming summer (maybe 1 more term?). Zhubin pointed out that it would likely be a more moderate justice in the Roberts mold, but on the other side of the spectrum. That thought is comforting to me because I'm a big fan of moderate, principled judges. Part of the reason I voted for Bush was because we were looking at replacing conservative judges, and I'd rather keep a balance on the court. Now we're looking at replacing liberal judges (with the two most liberal, Stevens and Ginsburg, set as the two most likely to retire). Even if Obama is able to get a very liberal pick through, there's still a good chance they'll be more moderate than the ones stepping down, and so the balance should remain.
The final thing that pushed me into voting for Obama happened during the last debate. I almost turned the debate off after about an hour, but I still didn't know who I was voting for at that point. I figured I should stick it out, just in case something came up that would help me make up my mind. Sure enough, the very last question was the one that did it; Schieffer's question was about education.

Education has always been one of my biggest issues. I'm a firm believer in public education. I'm a product of a public schools, K-12. A large chunk of my family works in education. An even bigger chunk of them are students. I plan on putting my kids through public schools. I had to pay for college and law school on my own. Education issues have always been at the forefront of my life.

McCain's answer left me cold to him. He talked about competition and vouchers and a vague sense of education being an important issue, with little that was concrete, and nothing that was directed to those involved in education. Obama's answer, although not perfect, highlighted some of the ways he proposed to improve education, and really demonstrated an understanding of what is important to a flourishing school system. Obama talked about early childhood, attracting better teachers (that means money people!), getting parents involved (best course for success), and helping students afford college (Themselves. Because students have to pay their own way a lot more frequently than many of my private college/law school folks realize).

For some reason, on this issue, I believed Obama. It might have been because he wasn't overly concrete with his plans, and instead of speaking about what he was going to do he talked more about his approach. Whatever the case, it struck me that Obama had really gotten this one right.
Obama has missed on some biggies (he should have embraced the same plan McCain did for the bailout/mortgage situation; he should have a better environmental policy; he should be pro-life), and his leadership is lacking. In the end, I think he'll do little harm (SCOTUS stays balanced, taxes won't be reduced) and, for the most part, little good (health care plan, environmental policies both are insufficient). But he also offers a chance for some significant improvement in education, and this time around, for me at least, that's the winning combination.

We've come a long, long way together,
Through the hard times and the good
I have to celebrate you baby
I have to praise you like I should

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Captain Crunch

What's all this crap about a credit crunch?

I'm still getting all sorts of unwanted mail from Wilmington.

No one likes to take a test
Sometimes you know more is less

Getting Closer

Yikes! A freaking power shovel just tore down a tree that was touching my window. And it was a relatively little tree, more than a sapling, but not by a ton. The shovel was no more than two feet from my window.

This is getting a little too close for comfort.

Well there’s a house on the block that’s empty now that Dominique’s gone

Monday, October 20, 2008

Phickle Thoughts

I'm officially pulling the plug on my Centrist Voice blog. There's nothing I post there that I don't post here, and it isn't something that motivates me to generate new content. I had grand aspirations, but they've fallen away, and frankly, I just don't care for it any more.
I still consider myself to be a centrist. At this point in my life I'm certainly more liberal than most on some issues (health care should be a single payer government system), but on a lot of key issues, especially social issues (abortion, same sex marriage) I remain a centrist. I see some value in both sides, and I'd love to see us work to a compromise.

Part of being a centrist is that I frequently find myself defending both sides of an issue. It feels a bit odd sometimes, but I think it's important. I've heard people accusing Obama of being a terrorist, and I've heard people accusing McCain of being a racist, and I've heard that Obama will eliminate all restrictions on abortions and that McCain will make abortion illegal, and all sorts of things. And really, they're all ridiculous. So it can be important to step up and try to temper the extremes, but it can also be a little odd to play against both sides.
Anyone see Palin on SNL? I enjoyed it.
I hate the Red Sox, and I was so very very glad to see them lose to the Rays. First Tom Brady, and now a painful ALCS loss. Looks like New England might finally be running out of souls to sell the devil for their success.
So Obama is going to suspend his campaign for a few days to be with his sick grandmother. I'm not condemning the decision, but does it strike anyone else as... inconveniently reminiscent of criticism he lobbed at McCain?
I've plugged it before here, but I'm gonna do it again: I love The Current. It's public radio that plays a ridiculously wide variety of music. Independent artists, new stuff, old stuff, pretty much all genres, etc. I've been listening at work for a while, and now that they're doing a membership drive I'm gonna be donating for the first time. A good cause. Y'all should check it out, even if it's not a local station for you.
On the same block as my office stands a series of buildings, all recently vacated. Two weeks ago a two-man demolition crew leveled the former Taco Bell 3 buildings away from our office. It was completely gone in just 4 days. Last week they knocked over the used-car sales office one lot closer than the Taco Bell. And today they started demolishing the abandoned bar right next door.

I'll be honest, I'm not real excited for work next Monday.
And last but not least, congrats to my:
1. Sister-in-law and her husband on their beautiful new baby girl, and
2. To my Dad for turning 50.

Sitting around the house,
Watching the sun trace shadows on the floor.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Joe The Plumber

I'm stealing the idea directly from Jeff here, but it's high quality, so that makes it less wrong. Jeff has suggested that we need to start the "Joe the Plumber Facts" list, much like the Chuck Norris Facts list. If you've spent any time on the internet in the past year, you probably know what I'm talking about. Anyway, here's the list so far, as compiled on Jeff's blog, plus a few new ones. Everyone should add their own.

Courtesy of Jeff:

- Joe the Plumber has more electoral votes than the entire Mountain time zone.

- Candidates don't campaign in Ohio. They beg Joe the Plumber for mercy.

- Joe the Plumber is the one man, and he has the one vote.

- Palm Beach County won't design its ballots without first talking to Joe the Plumber.

- Joe the Plumber is, in fact, registered to vote… three hundred times. Legally.

- Joe the Plumber survives on a diet of pure PVC.

- Joe the Plumber writes your state’s voter lists.

- Joe the Plumber rebuilt New Orleans’ levee system with only a single pipe fitting.

Courtesy of Ben:

- Joe the Plumber's Law: Any presidential candidate who tries to look like he's blue collar when he's not, inevitably looks incredibly silly and deserves mockery....from Joe the Plumber.

- Joe the Plumber's Corollary: Godwin and Murphy are sissies. When they wanted to make laws, they first had to ask Joe the Plumber.

Courtesy of Yours Truly:

- Joe the Plumber has had his taxes increased and decreased 837 times in this election.

- When Joe the Plumber visits his friend he calls it "Hanging w/ Chad".

- Joe the Plumber breaks up clogs with a real live snake.

- When Joe the Plumber can't decide which candidate to support he calls it "straddling the plumber's crack".

- Joe the Plumber has had his circulatory system replaced with very fine copper pipes.

- Joe the Plumber's ideal candidate would be John McDraino.

- Joe the Plumber was registered to vote 80 times by ACORN.

- Joe the Plumber thinks Blackwater is what happens when your sink has been stuffed up too long.

- Joe the Plumber has his own polling station.

- Polls of Joe the Plumber's opinions have a 4% margin of error.

- Joe the Plumber handles the occasional dry wall job when business is slow.

And the water rolls down the drain

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

But What About An Unborn Chimp?

I wonder how many of these people are pro-life?

You gotta dance like a monkey, dance like a monkey, child

What's Wrong With These People?

This past Saturday I needed to find a notary. There are several within a short walk of our apartment, including notaries available at two branches of Chevy Chase Bank. It was just after one in the afternoon, and I figured that at least one of the two branches would be open. I was wrong. In fact, I couldn't find a notary anywhere. This was a problem. So I went back home to look up whether there were any banks open downtown that I could go to. I went to the Chevy Chase website and discovered that there were just two branches in the entire network that were open past 1 on a Saturday. Or on Sunday. Or for that matter, open past 5 on a weekday other than Friday. The only two branches with "extended" hours were at the airports.

Fortunately that's a real quick metro trip for me, since I can see the runway from my balcony. Before I headed out, I decided to call ahead and make sure there was a notary available at that location. I got routed to the customer service line for the entire network of Chevy Chase Banks, and the customer service rep summarily informed me that none of their branches were open. I took the time to correct him, letting him know about the airports. He didn't believe me. I admit, it seems a bit odd that the customer would know more than the service rep. He put me on hold and spent about 5 minutes looking it up. When he came back he confirmed that yes, it was open, and they did indeed have a notary available.

So I went over to the airport branch, arriving at about 2:15. There were just two people working, but just one family being helped. Unfortunately the person helping the other family was the notary, so I just had to wait until she finished. The unencumbered teller let the notary know that I was waiting for her, and then returned to being not busy. The family was opening an account for their daughter who recently started college, and they had quite a few questions. They took a good amount of time asking those questions before they began opening the account. I used that time to ask the other teller some of the questions I had about their various CDs and their rates. She was able to answer precisely zero of my questions.

By the time the family was done with their preliminary questions it was about 2:30. At this point, the notary told me she'd be just a few more minutes, as she actually opened the account. This took another 15 minutes or so, and then the teller (who was insanely chatty) spent another 15 telling the family all about the benefits of direct deposit, explaining how to withdraw funds from ATMs, the various charges for different kinds of transaction, and plenty of other trivial and/or obvious minutia about the account. She talked with the kind of specificity that raises concerns where there were none before, and suddenly the father had a lot more questions about just how safe his daughter's money would be in this kind of account. So they spent another 15 minutes setting up various monitoring features on the account, adjusting authorized users, etc. (It was a small office, so I was incidentally privy to the entire conversation). That brings us to roughly 3:15, at which point the notary again told me she'd be just a few minutes, because the family had decided that, now that they had another account to work with, they would transfer funds between all their different accounts, taking a little from each of their piles to make this new one. By the time the notary actually got to me it was after 3:30. I had waited more than an hour and fifteen minutes.

I was done in literally 3.

If I hadn't had my book... and, fortunately, the family (and the notary) were extremely gracious, which helped me keep my patience. Still...

The point to this story is: what the heck is wrong with banks out here? Is this an entire East Coast phenomena? I've been with banks other than Chevy Chase out here, and they're all just as bad. Is it a West Coast phenomena too?

In Minnesota banks were much better. First off, they're open. My parent's local TCF branch is open 9-7 Monday through Friday, until 4 on Saturday, and 10 - 2 on Sunday. That's an extra 15 hours a week, and the branches in grocery stores have even more expansive hours, including 9-6 on Sundays.

I've always found people to be extremely helpful at banks in Minnesota. I've never had a question they can't answer. The service is usually quick and courteous. Heck, they even give you gifts for opening accounts with them. There's totally free checking, unlike most of the checking options out here (you can find them, but they're usually less than ideal), and they've got any and all of the perks that I've ever seen in the D.C. banks.

So what gives? Why is banking so much worse out here?

I'm not sure these are hard song lyrics, but bonus points all the same:

If you invest your tuppence wisely in the bank
Safe and sound
Soon that tuppence, safely invested in the bank,
Will compound

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A Men

This is exactly why I quickly stopped using iTunes.

You were so famous
I couldn't resist

Friday, October 10, 2008

Caution: Praise Of McCain Ahead

I know I've knocked Obama plenty of times on this blog (I'd guess somewhere around 6...), but I don't recall ever praising McCain. Today that's going to change. Here's why:

McCain is in the right on the purchasing-mortgages-and-renegotiating them issue. What he's proposed is to take the $700 billion bailout and use that money to buy mortgages off. Then the government will renegotiate those mortgages at whatever price the home is currently worth. Which means that if you've got a $200,000 mortgage and your home is now worth $150,000 (and this is very common right now) the government would basically forgive that extra $50,000, and start you off at the much more manageable $150,000. This is a plan that will save homeowners from foreclosures. This is a plan that eliminates a lot of the risk in the housing market. This plan should consequently help stabilize values (not entirely, but somewhat) and make it easier for people to get new credit.

Just think about it: right now people owe more on their homes than their homes are worth. This plan basically consists of the government swallowing the difference. That's a huge benefit. Plus it'll lower every monthly payment (by roughly the same percentage as it lowers the total owed), making it easier for people to pay their mortgages, and thus for the government to get something in return. And it's almost exclusively directed at the lower and middle classes. I spend time almost every single day trying to help my clients get loan modifications as a way of preventing foreclosure. They aren't easy to get (though they're getting easier), and they usually don't involve forgiving the entire difference in value. This plan is aimed at my clients. This is beautiful. This is NOT the kind of plan I expected to hear a Republican support. This is something I was hoping I'd hear from Obama. In fact, if Obama had come out with this, he would have sealed up my vote.

Instead, Obama's been really strongly opposed to it. Today he toned down the rhetoric a little, but he's still against the plan. He's saying it's too costly for taxpayers. That makes no sense, since it's already cost us - all of this money comes from the $700 billion bailout. You know, the one that Obama voted for. He's also saying that he disapproves of paying full-price for the mortgages because that "rewards" irresponsible lending companies. And here he would have a good point, except that the people who currently hold the mortgages are almost exclusively secondary purchasers. That means they weren't the ones who made bad loans, entered into fraudulent practices, or any of the other problems that caused this mess. They were buying up mortgages (Something that was supported by the Democratic party. Again, a surprising disappointment for me there. Largely tied to lobbying if I'm not mistaken.), without looking to see if they were good or not, but the current purchasers aren't nearly as much to blame as the ones who made the loans. So giving them full price, although it isn't ideal, is better than not doing the plan.

Basically then, we've got this $700 billion out there to help Wall Street. It's a lot of money that we should basically consider already-spent. At least McCain has proposed a great way for that money to be put towards helping the little guy.

I was about 90% towards voting Obama. Now I'm 50/50. And I don't know what to do. I really just wish Obama had embraced this plan too. Because all partisianship aside, McCain is right on this one.

He's a newspaper man
And he gets his best ideas from a newspaper stand

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Pants on Fire

I'm not sure why, but for some reason it bothers me a lot more when Obama lies than it does when McCain lies.

It also bothers me more when Obama points fingers. Like during the debate, when he, quite literally, pointed his finger. Brokaw was scolding both candidates on going over their time, and Obama pointed at McCain and said, "I'm just trying to keep up with John."

It really bothers me that Obama is like that. That he feels the need to say "It's not my fault." The fact that so much of his campaign is based on this very premise (It's not my fault we're in Iraq/It's not my fault we've got this economic crisis/It's not my fault gas prices are high, etc.) has me really concerned. Over the last couple weeks I've begun to lean more heavily in Obama's favor. But I'm almost upset at myself for that fact. The whole strategy of trying to point fingers is so immensely frustrating.

This isn't about comparing the two candidates, offsetting Obama's guilt with McCain's. I don't care which of them is worse than the other. I'm just frustrated by the fact that Obama simply doesn't demonstrate any integrity. I can't see the man as a leader. And that's a problem.

Fed up with your indigestion.
Swallow words one by one.

Friday, October 03, 2008


Here's a fun little challenge: what songs would you say are the most under appreciated?

I love putting together interesting musical lists, more or less like the guys in High Fidelity. And this is kind of my current kick. I had generated a list with 5 or more songs, but I think I accidentally threw it away. I can't remember more than two, but I'll throw them out here to get the ball rolling: I think two of the most under appreciated songs are "Sultans of Swing" by Dire Straits and "Steal My Sunshine" by Len. That second one barely made my list, and I'd certainly bump it. I think it is under appreciated, but it isn't a great enough song to stand up to some of the others. Sultans is way up there. And with Dire Straits being under appreciated themselves I could probably also put "Walk of Life" on the list. But I don't want over representation. There were a couple of other classic rock songs that I've forgotten.

So there's the challenge. Whaddya got for me?

Check out Guitar George
He knows all the chords

Wednesday, October 01, 2008


To be perfectly honest, at this point the politician that Sarah Palin most reminds me of is Jesse Ventura.

It cares not about your dreams
It cares not for your pyramid schemes