The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Another endorsement, but less surprising

After the Chicago Tribune's endorsement of a Democratic presidential candidate for the first time in history, the New York Times following suit surprises no one, but it's still welcome:

As tough as the times are, the selection of a new president is easy. After nearly two years of a grueling and ugly campaign, Senator Barack Obama of Illinois has proved that he is the right choice to be the 44th president of the United States.

...

Mr. Obama has withstood some of the toughest campaign attacks ever mounted against a candidate. He’s been called un-American and accused of hiding a secret Islamic faith. The Republicans have linked him to domestic terrorists and questioned his wife’s love of her country. Ms. Palin has also questioned millions of Americans’ patriotism, calling Republican-leaning states “pro-America.”

This politics of fear, division and character assassination helped Mr. Bush drive Mr. McCain from the 2000 Republican primaries and defeat Senator John Kerry in 2004. It has been the dominant theme of his failed presidency.

The nation’s problems are simply too grave to be reduced to slashing “robo-calls” and negative ads. This country needs sensible leadership, compassionate leadership, honest leadership and strong leadership. Barack Obama has shown that he has all of those qualities.

Polls open in a little more than 8 days and 15 hours.

You could be in trouble when...

...the FDIC moves into your neighborhood (via Calculated Risk):

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. plans soon to sign a major lease of office space in Orange County, probably in Irvine, where as many as 600 people would liquidate the assets of troubled banks and thrifts based in California and other Western states.

The agency needs 200,000 square feet of space and has looked at locations across Southern California, FDIC spokesman David Barr said.

"It's a temporary office—three to five years is what we're looking at," Barr said Tuesday. "We hope to find the space within the next few weeks."

Three to five years. "Short term." Heavens.

First time in Chicago history

The Chicago Tribune today endorsed the Democratic candidate for President, for the first time in its 160-year history:

The Tribune in its earliest days took up the abolition of slavery and linked itself to a powerful force for that cause--the Republican Party. The Tribune's first great leader, Joseph Medill, was a founder of the GOP. The editorial page has been a proponent of conservative principles. It believes that government has to serve people honestly and efficiently.

With that in mind, in 1872 we endorsed Horace Greeley, who ran as an independent against the corrupt administration of Republican President Ulysses S. Grant. (Greeley was later endorsed by the Democrats.) In 1912 we endorsed Theodore Roosevelt, who ran as the Progressive Party candidate against Republican President William Howard Taft.

The Tribune's decisions then were driven by outrage at inept and corrupt business and political leaders.

We see parallels today.

Possibly some of this has to do with Sam Zell, but possibly it has to do with the 45-year slide of the Republican Party into, well, whatever it's become today.

Fossil adds more evidence that fish walked on land

Another gap in the fossil record has gotten filled:

In a new study of a fossil fish that lived 375 million years ago, scientists are finding striking evidence of the intermediate steps by which some marine vertebrates evolved into animals that walked on land.

The scientists said in a report being published Thursday in the journal Nature that the research exposed delicate details of the creature's head and neck, confirming and elaborating on its evolutionary position as "an important stage in the origin of terrestrial vertebrates."

There seem to be two possibilities here, depending on whether you're voting for Barack Obama or that other one. In the reality-based world, one would say that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence; this fossil, being entirely consistent with the prevailing explanation of how life evolved on earth, just adds one more bit in favor of it.

Senator McCain's running mate, on the other hand, would say either the scientists made it up, or God did, leaving unanswered the obvious question: why bother? I've never understood that.

Slo-mo debate blogging

OK, I'm a little behind here, being overcome by Hofstra Pride, being from the class of...uh...a while ago. (I've actually been poking other HU alumni on Facebook.)

20:10 CT: McCain sounds a little like Rain Man tonight. Seriously, is he repeating himself? Repeating? Himself? A lot?

20:17: McCain remembers the Depression-era program first-hand, no doubt.

20:19: Enough about the damn planetarium!

20:23: "If I've mistaken your polices for George Bush's policies...is because you're proposing eight more years of the same thing."

20:26: "Look each other in the face..." Yeah, that was coming.

20:33: John, some, not too many, but some, of the people at your rallies are scary. Deal with it. That's what Obama is saying.

20:39: This isn't about McCain winning the election. It's about him setting up the loss. McCain's goal seems to be trying to take a future President Obama's legs out from under him, so the 2012 campaign can be about how the 2008 election "got stoled from us."

20:42: Palin is a role model to women? Like, "Be careful or you'll end up like her?"

20:48: I hate to say, we're going to import oil for more than 10 years, and we won't have any control over its origin.

20:52: Obama "has never traveled south of our border?" Isn't Indonesia pretty far south? Or did he mean our border with Antarctica?

21:16: Did McCain just make air-quotes?

21:27: McCain looks hurt and angry.

What a cute curmudgeon

Nebraska State Senator Ernie Chambers sued God, had the case dismissed (God wasn't properly served, you see), and may appeal on the grounds that an omiscient God by definition has adequate notice of the suit. I think he may not be entirely serious, though:

Chambers filed the lawsuit last year seeking a permanent injunction against God. He said God has made terroristic threats against the senator and his constituents in Omaha, inspired fear and caused "widespread death, destruction and terrorization of millions upon millions of the Earth's inhabitants."

Chambers has said he filed the lawsuit to make the point that everyone should have access to the courts regardless of whether they are rich or poor.

One skeptic to another, dude: your tactics may not be the most effective of those available to you. (It's worth noting the legislator has served for 38 years.)

We've just bought some bank stock—$250 bn of it

"We" in this context means "we American taxpayers:"

The Treasury Department, in its boldest move yet, is expected to announce a plan Tuesday to invest up to $250 billion in large and small banks, according to officials. The United States is also expected to guarantee new debt issued by banks for a period of three years, officials said.

...

Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase were told they would each get $25 billion; Bank of America and Wells Fargo, $20 billion each (plus an additional $5 billion for their recent acquisitions); Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, $10 billion each, with Bank of New York Mellon and State Street each receiving $2 to 3 billion. Wells Fargo will get $5 billion for its acquisition of Wachovia, and Bank of America the same for amount for its purchase of Merrill Lynch.

The goal is to inject massive liquidity into the banking system. The government will purchase perpectual preferred shares in all the largest U.S. banking companies. The shares will notbe dilutive to current shareholders, a concern to banking chie executives, because perpetual preferred stock holders are paid a dividend, not a portion of earnings.

The capital injections are not voluntary, with Mr. Paulson [and Luca Brasied.] making it clear this was a one-time offer that everyone at the meeting should accept.

Any other administration—any other—and I'm including Harding's and Grant's in there—and I would have some modicum of trust that this was the right thing to do. As it is, I'm deeply suspicious. Only 98 days left.

Good morning, I think

Take out the trash day? Or just an ordinary Friday during these interesting times? Since lunch yesterday:

  • Despite all the McCain Campaign's efforts to keep it under wraps for just three more weeks, an Alaskan legislative investigation released a report alleging Gov. Palin abused her power by trying to get her brother-in-law fired from a state job.
  • Chrysler and GM are in merger talks.
  • The administration (101 days, 4 hours left) took North Korea off the list of state sponsors of terrorism, leaving only one country in what can't really anymore be called the "axis of evil."
  • Oil dropped to $78, its lowest price since last September, on fears of a global slowdown.

Finally, a wonderful quote whose attribution I can't find: "President Bush isn't so much a lame duck at this point as a wooden decoy."

Connecticut court overturns gay-marriage ban

The state that fought privacy rights all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1965 has now embraced them:

The Connecticut Supreme Court overturned a ban on same-sex marriage Friday in a victory for gay-rights advocates that will allow couples to marry in the New England state.

The court found that the state's law limiting marriage to heterosexual couples discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation.

Not the most important item of news today, but one more example of how the right wing have failed to secure their agenda, as Mark Morford described today:

They know their 15 minutes are up. They know they had their shot, gave it everything they had. Six solid years of complete control, their most potent leaders, their best ideas, war and terror and jingoism, anti-gay anti-women anti-science. Also: a million new surveillance cameras, ten thousand right-wing judges, a front-loaded Supreme Court, pummeling the line separating church and state, blaming gays for 9/11, keeping Christian rock alive, creepy museums in Kentucky where humans walk with dinosaurs.

And they failed. Spectacularly. Historically. Unsurprisingly.

I would be happier, I suppose, if 40% of my retirement savings hadn't gone away in the past month; but at least I'm not planning to retire for about 30 years.