Counting Down: Only Eight Days to Go

Things Are Getting Crazy All Over The Place

A Breakdown of Discipline

Love the Boots & Suit, Governor
Love the Boots & Red Suit, Governor

It seems that the McCain camp is imploding. Says on aide an the campaign in general: “The lack of discipline . . . is unreal” (Politico). Unnamed sources within the camp are turning on Sarah P., saying things such as, “She is a diva. She takes no advice from anyone,” said a McCain adviser. “She does not have any relationships of trust with any of us, her family or anyone else.” One aide has described her as “going rogue” (cnn.com).

Whoa. The election isn’t even over yet, and already they are shooting arrows at each other. And the governor?

Seems she’s only taking advice from that maverick from “The View,” Elizabeth Hasselbeck. The two women decided to keep up the rant on the RNC’s clothes fiasco, pointing out that the governator was back to wearing her own clothes and accessories and labeling the fixation on her wardrobe “sexist,” even when Palin’s handlers had clearly sent the message that the wardrobe topic was, um, off-topic.

And, well governor, actually, no. It’s not sexist. It’s justified criticism at largesse in a time in which real Americans, as the governor likes to call them, are thinking about real issues, you know, bills, mortage payments, health care, 401k’s losing half of their value overnight? Things like that. If John McCain had spent the same amount of money, it would still be an issue, believe me. 

Neo Nazis Take a Road Trip

The very thing that so many people have been worried about has had its first on-the-books attempt. At least it was a half-baked attempt by a couple of supposed neo-nazis with the brain power of Beavis and Butthead. The ATF reports that there is no evidence at this early stage of the investigation that the two men,  Daniel Cowart, 18, and Paul Schlesselman, 20, had ever taken the plan beyond the talking stage. The two met on the Internet. Both are in custody.

Now That’s A Holiday Bonus

“NBC Nightly News” reported tonight that three of the big Wall Street firms involved in the big rescue have set aside money to pay their traders and bankers year-end bonuses . . . yes, I said bonuses. These employees, who normally earn between $80 to $600k annually, depend on these bonuses to make their really big money. The bonuses keep the best employees from jumping ship. I like bonuses. I used to get a Holiday bonus at the newspaper eons ago. It equalled one week’s pay. I thought that was a really great bonus. That being said, let me clarify what these companies are calling bonuses.

Goldman Sachs has set aside $6.8 billion, for an average of $210,000 per employee in bonuses; of course, bonuses would be higher for their bigger earners. Morgan Stanley has set aside only $6.4 billion, for an average of $138,700 per employee; they are being a bit more frugal. Merrill Lynch has set aside $6.7 billion, for an average of $110,000 per employee, which is slightly higher than last year’s bonuses, but that’s because they laid of 3,000 employees recently.

Now, the average American earns $45,000 annually. That figure also comes from the news report. I’m not sure where they got that figure, probably from the IRS. But there is something terribly wrong when the average salary doesn’t begin to come close to the average bonus being proposed on Wall Street, especially since the average American is paying for these bonuses.

Of course, these companies are saying that nothing is set in stone and that the bonuses have yet to be distributed. But these are the same ilk of people as the AIG personnel who went on a junket one week after their bailout and had personalized spa treaments.

I am reminded of the Ronald Reagan quote: The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” If the government helps us out any more on Wall Street, these people are going to end 2008 feeling great, and real Americans are going to need a lifetime supply of antacids.

Getting Closer to that Senate Sixty

Alasksa Senator Ted Stevens was found guilty of lying about receiving free gifts from a contractor and convicted on seven corruption charges. The longest-serving Republican Senator who is running for re-election has undoubetedly hurt his political career. But the good news is that the Democrats have probably picked up one more seat towards the sixty-seat majority needed to be filibuster proof.

The 84-year-old senator faces up to five years in prison.

Battleground States No More?

Well, it seems that Obama’s Virginia lead is really a lead. Polls (Washington Post, CNN) are anywhere from 6 to 14 points ahead. Still, I am not counting my chickens and all of that. Other key battleground states that appear to be going blue include Colorado, New Hampshire, and New Mexico.

The Senator will be in Norfolk tomorrow night. I don’t know if I’m ready for another huge crowd, but I’m going to try. Virginia is too important to become complacent. It’s supposed to be a chilly fall night under the stars. I asked for fall, didn’t I? I’ll report back tomorrow and let you know how it goes.

More later. Peace.

My $150,000 Shopping Spree

I’ve been thinking about this a lot, and I don’t think that I’m the only one. Even though I’m not a Republican, I imagine that I’m not the only person who is more than a little torqued out of shape by the RNC’s decision to spend $150,000 on Sarah P. and family’s wardrobe update, not to mention $24k a month on a personal makeup artist.

Now, Corey and I have made a few contributions to Obama’s campaign, not substantial by any means, but they were what we could afford to contribute, and as the Obama campaign has proven, every little bit counts. But if I had contributed money to the campaign, and then that campaign used campaign money to buy Joe Biden $150,000 worth of ties, I think that I just might think twice about donating funds in the future. Now granted, the governator probably needed a style update for the trail (we all know that the Todders did), but to the tune of $150,000? Couldn’t they have found one of their rich benefactors to underwrite such an expenditure so that it did not come out of campaign funds? That certainly would have gone down easier with the Joe the Plumber electorate making $40k a year. I know that I would have been less pissed off, and I’m not even a Republican.

But, let’s just suppose that someone decided out of the goodness of his or her heart to give my family $150,000 to spend as we needed. Here is how we would spend it (and even though we all know that I love clothes and black boots and squishy leather bags, that’s not where it would go):

This is my $150,000 fantasy shopping spree:

  • I’d pay off all of the back balances on my utilities, especially the huge one that we owe on the gas bill so that we could have heat this winter.
  • Then there would be the past due amount on my health insurance. I figure that’s probably a good thing to take care of given my situation.
  • Speaking of health insurance, Corey hasn’t had any since he’s been out of work. I’m counting on the Obama health plan, but who knows how long that will take to implement . . .
  • It would probably be prudent to get caught up on the payments on our life insurance, you know, make sure the kids are taken care of, just in case.
  • I don’t even want to think about the mortgage payments and the late charges that we’ve accrued. That one gives me the cold sweats at night, but it would be great to get ahead by one or two payments
  • There’s the second mortgage we took out to try to stave off bill collectors, but that was ill-conceived, and now it’s just one more bill.
  • We started remodeling the house over a year ago, but haven’t had the funds to do anything with it in ages. It would be nice to finish that. But that comes at the bottom of the priorities for now. Although, I have to say, having a house that isn’t in a constant state of disarray would do wonders for my peace of mind. But hey, who needs peace of mind?
  • The dogs need to go to the vet; I wonder if the Louis Vuitton bag that one of the governator’s daughters got would cover that bill?
  • Both the Trooper and the truck need new brakes, and the Trooper needs a new passenger side window. I’m thinking that the red leather jacket that the governor was wearing would probably cover the cost of those repairs
  • And then there are the little things like the boys’ orthodontist bill, my doctors bills, the MRI that I need on my back, the glasses that my oldest son needs, the money that we still owe to the hospital for my back surgery.
  • The boys could use some new Levis and some new shoes, nothing fancy, maybe some Sketchers.
  • I could use a good night’s sleep and for my shoulders and back not to be tied up in knots.
  • Corey could use a job.

That’s my fantasy shopping spree. I don’t think that it even comes close to $150,000. I’d return the unused portion so that someone else could go wild and pay some bills. I’ll bet we could take care of at least three or four joe six-pack families out there, you know, real Americans who are going under just like us.

Real Americans who have worked, paid their taxes, served their country, and now find themselves in the unenviable position of being a one-income family with two-income bills, and that income is a disability income at that. I have to tell you, Governor Palin, being real Americans isn’t really making that much of a difference for us. We might have our honor, our pride, our patriotism, but we can’t eat that for dinner. It won’t keep us warm this winter, and it’s not going to get me the MRI that I need on my back. Sorry to be so cynical. Just cannot help myself.

So wink, wink right back atcha. You look mahvelous. As well you should, but have you thought about T. J. Maxx?

More later. Peace.