30 October 2008

The Obama Informercial

I was one of the 29 million people who watched Obama's 30 minute advertisement last night. I thought it was thoughtful, appropriately emotional, and really well done. It also showed yet again the huge chasm between Obama's vision for what our country can be and John McCain's inability to express any vision of the future (good or bad). McCain has no message other than his (failing) messages desparately trying to make Obama look as scarey as possible.

As noted over at Talking Points Memo, Obama went 30 minutes without mentioning McCain once. McCain can't go 30 seconds without mentioning Obama.

My Prediction: The Way it Will End Up

PredictNovember.com

My Prediction: Worst Case Scenario

PredictNovember.com

More on Personal Debt in America

The ever interesting (to me at least) James over at FutureGringo wrote a post a couple of weeks ago with his take on personal debt. Definitely worth a read.

20 October 2008

Oprah Clipping Coupons?

For a couple of years now Oprah has tried putting her audience on a "debt diet". Long before the recent meltdown Oprah had more than a few shows dedicated to getting her viewers to take responsbility for their personal debt. Since the meltdown she has stepped up the frequency of those shows. Her usual guest, Suze Orman, has explained the meltdown with more honesty than anyone else I have seen on TV or read in the press. Not only did she describe the greed and dishonesty that fueled the meltdown up and down the financial services food chain, but she also called out rank and file Americans for living a life of financial dishonesty. Buying too much house, using their home equity as a piggy bank, and piling up consumer debt to finance lifestyle choices that were far outside of the reach of their incomes.

There is something odd about listening to a multi-millionaire (Orman) and a billionaire (Oprah) talk about pinching pennies. But, being a person that gets a perverse pleasure out of paying off debt and helping others get their finances in order, I can understand their interests/motivation and I don't think these shows are hypocritical for Orman and Oprah. They have tons of money and can afford pretty much anything they want. But that is the point, buy what you can afford, not what someone else can.

My one quibble with Oprah's efforts get her viewers to be responsible about their finances, is that she still tends to have these shows that glorify high end luxury goods. Who can forget the thank you gift of 24 pairs of designer shoes that she got from Jessica Seinfeld that Oprah gushed about. And what about those "Favorite Things" episodes where Oprah parades out expensive gift after gift and then gives them all to each audience member. Great for those in the studio, but what does it say to her millions of viewers? It says "go out and buy some of these fantastically expensive gifts." With all of O's concerns about America's overspending and some of the great shows she has done on money saving ideas, perhaps she will stay true to her quest and cancel the Favorite Things episode.

19 October 2008

Righteous Conservatives (the good kind)

As the McCain campaign gets nastier and nastier, more prominent conservatives are finding their voices. Like other dissenters from the right over the past eight years some of the them are feeling the wrath of their own party, but they are undaunted in saying enough is enough. Ever since the selection of Sarah Palin as VP candidate, I have been waiting for intellectually honest conservatives to stand up for the truth. Recently some notable figures like Kathleen Parker, Christopher Buckley, and David Brooks to name just a few, have come forward. Most recently and most notably, Colin Powell was a superstar this morning on Meet the Press.

I don't know how many of you actually saw the whole Meet the Press interview that Powell gave this morning, but it was remarkable. Obama couldn't have asked for a better or more thorough endorsement if he wrote it himself. I was particularly pleased with Powell for pointing out what should be patently obvious to every American when he said the following (emphasis mine):

I'm also troubled by – not what Senator McCain says – but what members of
the Party say, and it is permitted to be said: such things as, "Well, you know
that Mr. Obama is a Muslim." Well, the correct answer is he is not a
Muslim. He's a Christian; has always been a Christian. But the
really right answer is, "What if he is? Is there something wrong with
being a Muslim in this country?"
The answer's "No, that's not
America." Is there something wrong with some seven-year-old Muslim
American kid believing that he or she could be President? Yet, I have
heard senior members of my own Party drop the suggestion he's Muslim and he
might be associated with terrorists. This is not the way we should be
doing it in America.

I feel strongly about this particular point because of a picture I saw
in a magazine. It was a photo essay about troops who were serving in Iraq
and Afghanistan. And one picture at the tail end of this photo essay was
of a mother in Arlington Cemetery. And she had her head on the headstone
of her son's grave. And as the picture focused in, you could see the
writing on the headstone. And it gave his awards – Purple Heart, Bronze Star;
showed that he died in Iraq; gave his date of birth, date of death. He was
twenty years old. And then at the very top of the headstone, it didn't have a
Christian cross. It didn't have a Star of David. It had a crescent
and a star of the Islamic faith. And his name was Karim Rashad Sultan
Kahn. And he was an American. He was born in New Jersey, he was
fourteen years old at the time of 9/11 and he waited until he could go serve his
country and he gave his life.

16 October 2008

Coming Soon: Content and the new old MyPorch

To my legions of fans starved for content, I hope to be get jiggy with it again soon. I am done blogging about the summer vacation, even though I only got through the first week. Having that hang over my head kept me away from even looking at MyPorch let alone writing anything for it.

More importantly I am going to take the gloves off again. For a while there, due to my new line of work, I took down some of the more incendiary political rants on MyPorch so as not to offend potential customers who may stumble across my blog. But now, eh, who cares. More soon...