Straws in the Wind 11-5-07
Hillary's Haloween Party
Mitt Romney Campaign Video--YouTube
THE NICEST REPUBLICAN
The nice vote goes to Huckabee.
No other is as nice as he.
He leads a decent sort of life.
He's married to his only wife.
His kids, we'd bet, still speak to him.
He's courteous, but isn't prim.
A cheerful fat man who got lean,
He's not vindictive, rude or mean.
Of course, he thinks our way's been lost:
Abortion is a "holocaust"
And evolution's just a myth
(The apes are not his kin or kith)
Ane what the Bible says is true
The Earth's not old. It's rather new--
Six thousand years, from Eve to present,
He's wacko, sure, but he's sure pleasant.
Calvin Trillin, Deadline Poet, in The Nation 11-19-2007
2007 Headed for Record Troop Losses in Iraq. No happy ending in sight.
Lauren Frayer of AP reports that with less than two months left in the year, 2007 is on course to be the deadliest year on record for U.S. forces in Iraq despite a recent sharp drop in U.S. deaths.
At least 847 U.S. military personnel have died in Iraq so far this year--the second-highest annual death toll since the war began in March 2003. The U.S. military has increased its exposure this year, reaching 165,000 toops--the highest level yet.
Moreover the decision to send soldiers out of large bases and into Iraqi communities means more troops have seen more contact with enemy forces.
Comment: It's been apparent for some time that a happy ending is not in store for the Irqaqis nor for the United States. So, why postpone the agony?
Putting an End to Abusive Lending NYT editorial
More Job Cuts in Store for "Big" Three Auto Makers
With Chrysler LLC's announcement last week of an additional 12,000 job cuts, the number of jobs to be eliminated from U.S. and Canadian automakers and their former parts divisions in the second half of this decade has grown to 150,000.
Analysts agree that the U.S. auto companies will continue to lose market share and therefore will continue to shed jobs and close and consolidate plants to align production with demand.
Is Hillary "Wobbled by Wealth?"
Big Money Politics--Democrats Dither on Closing Hedge Fund Tax Loophole
Paul Krugman devotes his NYT column today to the influence of big corporate money on American politics. And he blames Congressional Democrats for "dithering over whether to close the hedge fund tax loophole--which allows executives at private equity firms and hedge funds to pay a tax rate of only 15 percent on most of their income."
"Only a handfull of very wealthy people benefit from this loophole, while closing the loophole would yield billions of dossars each year in revenue. Retrieving this revenue is a key ingredient in legislation approved by the House Ways and Means Committee to reform the alternative minimum tax, something that must be done to avoid a defacto tax increase for millions fo middle-class Americans.
"A handfull of superwealthyy hedge fund managers versus millions of middle-class Americans--it sounds like a no-brainer.
"But as The Financial Times reports, "Key votes have been delayed and time bought after the investment industry hired some of Washington's most prominent lobbyists to influence lawmakers and spread largess through campaign donations.
"Okay, some perspective. I sometimes hear people say that there's no differnece between Democrats and Republicans; that's foolish. Look at the fight over children's health insurance, and you can see how different the parties' philosophies and priorities really are....the Republicans are, if anything, running to the right of the Bush administration.
"Also, even history's greatest progressives had to make compromises to win their victories. FDR's New Deal depended on the support of southern segregationists. Compared with that, Senator Clinton's acceptance of lots of corporate donations doesn't look so bad--though I'd be reassured if she made her views on tax reform clearer, and matched John Edwards's focus on corporate reform.
"Still, I'm worried.
"One of the saddest stories I tell in my book is that of Al Smith, the great reformist governor of New York, who gradually turned into a narrow-minded conservative and bitter opponent of FDR. H.L. Mencken explained it thusly, 'His association with the rich has apparently wobbled him and changed him. He has become a golf player.'
"So, how wobbled are today's Democrats? I guess we'll find out."