Monday, September 29, 2008

McCain Won It Before He Lost It

Politico points out that John McCain claimed victory for convincing his fellow Republicans to support the bailout measure before they defeated it. What amazing leadership!

Fed Money To The Rescue?

More funny money from the Federal Reserve.

Bailout Bill Fails


The bailout bill has failed in the House. I'm not surprised and I'm not sad about it.

One thing that irks me, though, is Republicans who now act like they actually care about middle-class Americans just because an election is coming up. Their "We need unfettered free markets" and "We won't tax and spend but we sure will borrow and spend" mentality has a great deal to do with the credit mess we're in. Have Democrats been lilly-white on on this matter through the years? No. But the GOP has led the way when it comes to spending money that we don't have during the time they controlled Congress and the time they've held the White House.

The reason for their about-face is clear - they don't want to lose their seats in November. With their formerly beloved W now turned into a hated lame-duck political non-entity, they're finally doing what they should have done with other Bush requests for money we don't have - just say no!

I'm glad enough electorally-scared Democrats joined them to defeat this, but no one who opposed this on either aisle should be gloating this afternoon. There are still massive problems to deal with, and Congress needs to be part of the response. They'll need to address the concerns of average Americans first, though.

Update: Jim Cooper voted yes. Here's the roll call.
Yes - Cooper, Cohen, Gordon, Tanner
No - Lincoln Davis, David Davis, Wamp, Blackburn, Duncan

Golden Parachutes

Friday, September 26, 2008

You Were Wrong On Iraq, John

Plenty of Punches ... But No Knockout

I'm sure partisans on both sides will be spinning like mad to say their man won tonight's Presidential Debate. I covered the October 11, 1992 debate in St. Louis between Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Ross Perot. I was fortunate enough to be seated in the audience and not the media area for that traditional-style debate so I've seen these at close range and on TV. One thing is certain given the record of such encounters over the years - knockout punches are well-remembered but rare.

Tonight both Barack Obama and John McCain landed some punches, but neither delivered a knockout blow. Given Obama's recent momentum courtesy of the economic crisis a draw would seem to favor him. But I've never thought these debates settled the issue of who would win as much as they reinforced already-held beliefs. Still, as some long-time political hacks have pointed out, you may not win because of debates but they sure can help you lose.

UPDATE: A snap-poll gives Obama a slight edge, but still points to a pretty even split among the 411 undecideds polled by the Memphis Commercial-Appeal.

As True Today As It Was Then


"Forget the myths the media has created about the White House. The truth is, these are not very bright guys, and things got out of hand."

- Deep Throat (Hal Holbrook) in ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN, 1976

Conservative Columnist: Go Now Sarah

When one of your biggest early supporters writes on the National Review Online that you need to go, that's pause for thought at least:

Only Palin can save McCain, her party, and the country she loves. She can bow out for personal reasons, perhaps because she wants to spend more time with her newborn. No one would criticize a mother who puts her family first.

Read the full post here.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Another McCain Whopper Exposed

From the NEW YORK TIMES:

WASHINGTON -- One of the giant mortgage companies at the heart of the credit crisis paid $15,000 a month to a firm owned by Senator John McCain’s campaign manager from the end of 2005 through last month, according to two people with direct knowledge of the arrangement. The disclosure contradicts a statement Sunday night by Mr. McCain that the campaign manager, Rick Davis, had no involvement with the company for the last several years. Mr. Davis’s firm received the payments from the company, Freddie Mac, until it was taken over by the government this month along with Fannie Mae, the other big mortgage lender whose deteriorating finances helped precipitate the cascading problems on Wall Street, the people said.

For the full text click here.

McCain Loves Those Lobbyists

Monday, September 15, 2008

Change + McCain = More Lobbyists

Honor and John McCain Now Strangers

Early Voting One Month From Now!

It's hard to believe that early voting is just one month away! October 15-30 will be your first chance to go on record in arguably the most pivotal presidential race in the last 40 years (your second and last chance will of course be on November 4). The voter registration deadline is October 6 (your last day to change your address, name or both within Davidson County is October 30). Click here to see the early voting schedule in Davidson County. Click here to register to vote if you aren't already registered.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Quote of the Week

From Politico.com:

Mrs. Palin needs to be reminded that Jesus Christ was a community organizer and Pontius Pilate was a governor.

Community Organizing

John McSame Doesn't Get All GOPers Love

The relevant words are in bold. From Salon.com:

No home run for McCain

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- John McCain started off slow. And for a moment, when anti-war protesters broke in and heckled him, distracting his crowd's attention, it seemed that all might be lost and that he might fall completely flat on a night in which he needed to shine.

But the Republican nominee and his speechwriter had saved the best -- in this case, the story of McCain's time as a prisoner of war -- for last. It was a moving section, one that seemed to make the entire Xcel Center go silent. And it made for a good transition into his closing argument, a call for Americans to join with him to fight for their country. Now the McCain campaign just has to hope that voters at home kept watching long enough to see the big finish.

So far, the reviews aren't good. CNN's Jeffrey Toobin calling this " the worst speech by a nominee that I’ve heard since Jimmy Carter in 1980" is one thing.
But the harsh critique that former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson delivered on MSNBC (which Barack Obama's campaign was quick to blast out to reporters) was something else entirely.

"Pretty disappointing," Gerson said. "I think that was a missed opportunity. Many Americans needed to hear from this speech something they have never heard from Republicans before. And in reality, a lot of the policy they’ve heard from Republicans before."


― Alex Koppelman

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

When Peggy Noonan talks...

When Ronald Reagan's legendary speechwriter apparently thinks Sarah Palin is a dud choice, you might be in trouble. Mike Murphy concurs. Some very interesting audio when these two commentators thought their MSNBC microphones had gone cold.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

A "People Book" from a "People Person"

On Thursday my wife Ann and I will celebrate 14 years of marriage. We're very happy and with the recent addition of our daughter Katie it's hard for us to imagine a better relationship or a stronger family.

That wasn't always the case, though. By January 2005 we had a marriage where conflict was regularly damaging our relationship. We still cared about each other, but we weren't connected in a healthy or sustainable way. We were headed for divorce.

That's when we got a recommendation to see Dr. Alan Godwin (pictured on right). We called him and arranged an appointment.

Neither one of us knew what to expect. Would this help save our marriage? And what was this Dr. Godwin like?

A clue to the man and his methods came as he opened the door to show us into his office that first day. He greeted us with one of the warmest smiles and firmest (yet gentlest) handshakes I've ever encountered. His eyes were bright and his pleasant Southern accent was inviting.

"Hello. Call me Alan," he said as I started to greet him with his professional title and last name.

Alan made us feel better about what we were doing during the first moments of meeting him.

There were many sessions after that first appointment. They were sometimes hard and often painful. It wasn't easy to jettison bad behavioral habits and develop what Alan called a "new process" to deal with conflicts so our marriage could survive and thrive. But Alan, patient and caring, worked with us together and separately over many months as we created that new process and placed our marriage and individual lives into healthier, more flexible frameworks.

During those sessions it became obvious to me that Alan Godwin is more than a licensed psychologist who counsels couples as part of his professional practice. He's a "people person" whose strong empathy for others makes him well-suited to his vocation.

Now that "people person" has written a "people book" that's well worth reading, whether your relationship troubles concern your spouse, another family member, friend, colleague or acquaintance. How to Solve Your People Problems: Dealing with Your Difficult Relationships is a thoughtful, easy-to-read guide to handling the inevitable conflicts that come through human interaction.

I've been an actor and journalist. I know you have to be aware of your audience to be a successful communicator. Alan knows his audience too - he doesn't descend into a pedantic written lecture on the never-ending quest to understand the human brain or give us a mind-numbing history lesson on the development of modern psychoanalytic techniques. His writing style is like the man himself - down-to-earth, friendly, often funny and always insightful.

His book starts with an introduction called Good Conflict Camp that notes our often childish behavior when conflicts arise and truths about those conflicts. Two of those truths stand out to me as being necessary to embrace in order to become better at dealing with conflict: that we naturally handle conflict poorly and that conflict with reasonable and unreasonable people must be handled differently. Those may seem obvious when they appear in a book but I know I've failed to heed both truisms on several occasions.

The book is then broken up into three sections: People and Problems, Reasoning with the Reasonable and Dealing with the Unreasonable. Alan leads us through a myriad of man-made relationship minefields with examples taken from his personal and professional experiences, references to Biblical text, relevant quotations and common-sense observations. There are summations called In a Nutshell and For Reflection questions that help us focus our thoughts as we finish portions of the book.

A portion that resonates strongly with me occurs near the end of the Reasoning with the Reasonable section. It's a list of questions I now try to ask when I'm in conflict with someone else. The list is called the 5 Crucial Questions for Good Conflict:

Which problem will we fix?
Why do we feel so strongly?
How can we agree to fix this?
What will we do to implement it?
When will we evaluate it?


Alan notes that awareness, empathy, humility, reliability and responsibility are the "muscles" needed for the actions that satisfactorily answer these questions. Notice that the word "right" isn't listed. As I've heard Alan say before, "Do you want to be 'right' or do you want to have a relationship?"

That last question leads me to Alan's final section about dealing with unreasonable people. We all have someone in our lives that fits the unreasonable tag: the "toxic" parent, the controlling spouse, the manipulative acquaintance or the difficult-to-deal-with colleague. Alan lays out strategies to set boundaries in our relationships with such people and avoid the "dramas" they try to entice us into playing with them.

The balance between age-old truisms, modern situations and flexible solutions makes How to Solve Your People Problems a practical guide for overcoming corrosive conflict. What marks this volume out from similar books, though, is that it's not just a mental health professional talking to us through these pages. Alan's humane and inclusive prose makes us feel a friend is helping us relate to other people in an enriching and nurturing new way. I know Ann and I are glad he's been our friend since that day in 2005. Now through this book he can be yours too.

(Click here to go to Alan Godwin's web site. For more about the book or to see purchase options click here to visit Harvest House Publishers.)

Monday, September 1, 2008

So you and the Alaskan Governor were down in the Gulf for nonpolitical reasons?

From the New York Times:

“This is a time when we have to do away with our party politics, and we have to act as Americans,” Mr. McCain said in St. Louis after a brief tour with Ms. Palin of a federal disaster relief center in Jackson, Miss.