Monday, September 29

"I Have a Bracelet Too"

That was my favorite line from the debate last Friday night.

I don't want to belabor the point (100 points if you can name the journalist who said that), but I did want to touch briefly on the first presidential debate that was held last Friday in Mississippi.

Honestly, I don't think we learned anything we didn't already know about these two candidates. Obama appeared a little stronger when talking about the economy at the beginning and then McCain kicked it into overdrive as the conversation shifted toward foreign policy and the war in Iraq. All of which was completely expected.

Ironically, what struck me most were two things unrelated to the issues. It was quite noticable that McCain did not want to have any eye contact with Obama and went to great lengths to keep that from happening. I also found it a little strange that Obama only referred to McCain as John. Although I'm sure they are quite familiar with each other from the senate, it still seemed an informal and almost disrespectful way of addressing him at the debate.

Depending on what side of the aisle you're from, most people thought their candidate won.

Extra Credit: The Economic Crisis

In the previous post, I gave my very simplistic view of how we got into our current economic crisis. For those of you seeking a more in-depth explanation, here are a few articles about the crisis.

Why the Bailout, New York Post

Why the Bailout is Necessary,

Two Biggest Things Still to Do, Steve Forbes

In Times of Crisis, Trust Capitalism, Real Clear Politics

Rescue Might Actually Worsen Things, American Spectator

Why House Republicans Balked, Washington Post

How Did We Get Here?

There's so much to catch up on but I think we should start with the issue that's smacking us in the face right now, and that's the proposed $700 billion plan to bail out the nation's lending institutions.

I've told you before that economics isn't my strong point, so I've been trying to understand over the last week how we got to this point. For those of you who also need "Economics for Dummies," here's my simpleton explanation.

In an effort to provide more affordable housing for minorities and low-income families, a regulation was passed in the 90s that required lending institutions to overlook normal lending factors like credit ratings and income and to provide loans to low-income buyers, especially minorities. The wisdom was that as the homes appreciated in the booming market the owners would build equity and be able to sell the homes for a profit.

But what happened is that the housing market tanked over the last year, the economy went stagnant and these people weren't able to make their payments. Therefore, the banks are stuck holding all these bad mortgages and they have tied up all the capital for lending. The result is that lending has almost grinded to a halt and these lending institutions are heading for bankruptcy.

Is my assessment of the situation correct? What am I missing? Where am I wrong? I need all you armchair economists to help me flesh out the details.

Bailout Plan Appear to Not Have the Votes

Update: Dow Jones closed more than 700 points down today.

It looks like the House of Representatives failed to pass the $700 billion bailout plan. The Dow Jones has dropped as much as 700 points in reaction.

Back in Business

Since most of you are moms, you know how easy it is to get caught up in laundry, school projects, field trips, doctor's appointments and grocery shopping. The phenomenon with the busyness of life is that before you know it, it's 10 days later and you finally come up for air long enough to realize you've missed blogging about the first major presidential debate, the near-collapse of the American banking system, Governor Palin's most recent interview, and a host of other very interesting political maneuvers.

I'm afraid I'm a mom first and a hack political pundit second. But let's see if we can get back up to speed around here. I'm sure you all have a lot to say.

Friday, September 19

Extra Credit: The Economy

Two Takes on the Economy

The economy has certainly dominated the news and political landscape this week. With the demise of AIG, Fannie May, Freddie Mac and a host of other financial institutions in dire straits, all attention has been turned toward Washington for a soluntion. Or at least an explanation.

I have to admit that economics isn't my strong suit. Didn't do that well with it in college and now I'm even more confused as I try to sort fact from fiction from spin. But I stumbled across an article written by Neil Bortz, a former real estate lawyer and current talk show host, who did a good job of explaining the mess we're in today.

Twenty years ago the buzz-word in the media was “redlining.” Newspapers across the country were filled with hard-hitting investigative reports about evil and racist mortgage lenders refusing to make real estate loans to various minorities and to applicants who lived in lower-income neighborhoods. There I was closing these loans in the afternoons, and in the mornings offering a counter-argument on the radio to these absurd “redlining” claims. Frankly, the claims that evil mortgage lenders were systematically denying loans to blacks and other minorities were a lot sexier on the radio than my claims that when credit histories, job stability, loan-to-value ratios and income levels were considered there was no evident racial discrimination.

Political correctness won the day. Washington made it clear to banks and other lending institutions that if they did not do something .. and fast .. to bring more minorities and low-income Americans into the world of home ownership there would be a heavy price to pay. Congress set up processes (Research the Community Redevelopment Act) whereby community activist groups and organizers could effectively stop a bank’s efforts to grow if that bank didn’t make loans to unqualified borrowers. Enter, stage left, the “subprime” mortgage. These lenders knew that a very high percentage of these loans would turn to garbage – but it was a price that had to be paid if the bank was to expand and grow. We should note that among the community groups browbeating banks into making these bad loans was an outfit called ACORN. There is one certain presidential candidate that did a lot of community organizing for ACORN. I won’t mention his name so as to avoid politicizing this column.

These garbage loans to unqualified borrowers were then bundled up and sold. The expectation was that the loans would be eventually paid off when rising home values led some borrowers to access their equity through re-financing and others to sell and move on up the ladder. Oops.

As you can imagine, Democrats have a different take. PunditMom, who is a former SEC attorney, gives us a different view of the financial picture from her vantage point.

No matter who is running the show in the White House or on Capitol Hill, lobbyists and corporate interests have a huge voice in influencing how the rules and regulations of the SEC are crafted, as well as others like the NASD and banking regulators. Maybe not officially, but believe me, there's puh-LENTY of pressure to water down proposed rules that would give more government oversight and investor protection.

Sometimes they win.

Regardless of whether something would protect investors or make financial institutions more accountable for what they do, how they do it and how they account for it, lobbyists and special interests are always right there to whine -- It would be too much work to implement those regulations and safeguards! You can trust us, the market is a good regulator! We know what happened in the 1980s -- it will never happen again! We promise!

And on top of that, no matter how much regulators tried to get the budgets they really needed to have the staff necessary to do their jobs right, someone was always there to convince Congress that underfunded, understaffed agencies just didn't need any more help.What's happening today with our economy is a direct result of corporate money and interests trumping the meager resources of government regulators. When agency heads trudge up to Capitol Hill every year to make the case for increased funding so they can do their jobs as effectively as possible, I'm sure you can guess who is right on their heels to make sure that doesn't happen.

That's why we keep having scandal after scandal after scandal. It's not because investigators at the SEC aren't doing their jobs. They are. I know. They just don't have the time or resources to do it all in a world where the guys who want to keep making the big money have more power and influence than the ones trying to make sure small investors can keep their little money.

Obviously, SEC Chairman Christopher Cox bears a good amount of the responsibility -- he could have stood up to the Bush administration and pushed harder to have more SEC "cops" on the street. But he's not the main culprit, he's just the one who will be expected to fall on the sword for George Bush. They ones who are really at fault are the ones who have the enormous golden parachutes, no matter whether their financial firms fail or succeed.

The bottom line is there is no easy explanation or solution, but it's a subject that's worth pursuing for the truth.

Thursday, September 11

Checking More Facts

On this site, I've always tried to steer clear of all the mudslinging and rumors that inevitably happen in politics. They usually dominate the news for a few days and then slide off everyone's radar because they just aren't true. But I'm going to address a few that are out there right now that seem to have taken on a life of their own.

All of these items were found on is a nonpartisan, nonprofit, "consumer advocate" for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics. They monitor the factual accuracy of what is said by major U.S. political players in the form of TV ads, debates, speeches, interviews, and news releases.

At the end of each of the items below, you can find the link where specifically talks about it in more detail.

Obama and his lipstick on pig comment
By now you've heard the quote and seen the footage, but you probably didn't see the entire clip in context. If you did, I think it was pretty obvious that his comment was not directed toward Palin but at McCain's policy. I'm not sure why the hype has taken on a life of its own, but seems to be motivated by the media. That is just MY opinion and there are no shortage of pundits to disagree with my assessment but I'd love to hear your viewpoint if you disagree. (

Palin cut funding for special needs education in Alaska by 62 percent.
She didn’t cut it at all. In fact, she signed a bill that will triple per-pupil funding over just three years. (

Palin pushed for teaching creationism in Alaska's schools.
She has said that students should be allowed to "debate both sides" of the evolution question, but she also said creationism "doesn't have to be part of the curriculum." (

Palin was a member of the Alaskan Independence Party.
She was never a member of the Alaskan Independence Party, a group that wants Alaskans to vote on whether they wish to secede from the United States. She’s been registered as a Republican since May 1982. (

Palin endorsed or supported Pat Buchanan for president.
Palin never endorsed or supported Buchana but she once wore a Buchanan button as a "courtesy" when he visited Wasilla, but shortly afterward she was appointed to co-chair of the campaign of Steve Forbes in the state. (

Palin said thanks but no thanks about the bridge to nowhere
Palin supported the bridge when she was campaigning for Governor but Congress actually knocked out the earmark for the bridge, which was projected to cost $398 million. The state instead received funds that weren’t designated for specific projects. Palin took the money and then spent it on other items, thereby driving a final stake through its barely beating heart. (

Tuesday, September 9

Fact Checking McCain's Acceptance Speech

In the continued spirit of fair and balanced reporting, here is some fact checking on Sen. McCain's acceptance speech from last Thursday night.

McCain claimed that Obama’s health care plan would "force small businesses to cut jobs" and would put "a bureaucrat ... between you and your doctor." In fact, the plan exempts small businesses, and those who have insurance now could keep the coverage they have.

McCain attacked Obama for voting for "corporate welfare" for oil companies. In fact, the bill Obama voted for raised taxes on oil companies by $300 million over 11 years while providing $5.8 billion in subsidies for renewable energy, energy efficiency and alternative fuels.

You can

Monday, September 8

Conventions Bring Big Ratings

GOP presidential candidate John McCain attracted roughly the same number of viewers to his convention acceptance speech Thursday as Obama did before the Democrats last week, according to Nielsen Media Research.

It marked the end of an astonishing run where more than 40 million people watched political speeches on three nights by Obama, McCain and Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. The Republican convention was the most-watched convention on television ever, beating a standard set by the Democrats a week earlier.

Three times in two weeks, political speeches were watched by more people than the “American Idol” finale, the Academy Awards and the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics this year.


That's the Nicest Thing Anyone Has Ever Said About this Site

There’s Politics for Moms, a more middle of the road, “let’s be nice,” kind of site. I think independents and moderates would like this one.
Thanks to GJ Sentinel for the shout out. The article goes on to talk about the growing contingency of moms blogging about politics. It pointed out that Blogher sent mommy bloggers to both the RNC and DNC, but reportedly, the DNC refused to meet with them.

Why should you care what the moms are saying? Well, most importantly, they aren’t in any political power. They blog what they feel. There’s no money backing these women so they represent an honest opinion, often a reflection of the entire household. They are also shaping the political opinions of their children, which may effect future elections. And, they have an interest in shattering a glass ceiling for either party.

Political junkies everywhere can speculate and regurgitate all they want. But nobody is talking about the mommy blogger which I think could really put a pin into the cog of this election.

Time will tell if either or both parties underestimated the value of the mommy blogger vote.

Latest Gallup Poll Numbers

The latest Gallup Poll Daily tracking update shows John McCain moving ahead of Barack Obama, 48% to 45%, when registered voters are asked for whom they would vote if the presidential election were held today.

These results are based on Sept. 4-6 interviewing, and include two full days of polling after the conclusion of the Republican National Convention last Thursday night.

Tomorrow's report will be the first in which all interviews were conducted after the conclusion of the convention. Gallup measures convention bounces by comparing candidate support in the last poll done entirely before a party's presidential nominating convention begins with the first polling conducted entirely after its conclusion.


Friday, September 5

Fact Checking Obama's Speech

Since we're striving for fair and balanced around here, I thought I should dig up some fact checking on Sen. Obama's convention speech.

He said McCain, far from being a maverick who’s "broken with his party," has voted to support Bush policies 90 percent of the time. True enough, but by the same measure Obama has voted with fellow Democrats in the Senate 97 percent of the time.

Obama said "average family income" went down $2,000 under Bush, which isn't correct. An aide said he was really talking only about "working" families and not retired couples. And – math teachers, please note – he meant median (or midpoint) and not really the mean or average. Median family income actually has inched up slightly under Bush.

You can read the rest at

McCain Also Vows Change

Under a sea of confetti and balloons, the RNC closed out their convention last night. McCain has never been a great orator in that type of setting, the town hall format is where he shines, but he delivered a comprehensive speech that outlined in pretty straight talk his positions on major issues as well as contrasted himself with Obama. "I don't work for a party" was the line that was used to reinforce his maverick image and set him apart from the current administration.

The last part of the speech changed in tone as he told his personal story and why he will put country first until he "draws his last breath." Recounting his days in the service and as a POW, he told with vulnerability about a selfish young man who grew up over those 5 years in captivity and who is now forever grateful for a nation that pulled him out of the pit of hell. Even though his story was told numerous times across the convention, the poignancy of the moment was still palpable.

Pretty Good Speech, Very Good Week, National Review

McCain Bets on Maverick Appeal, Wall Street Journal

Speech Launches a New Fight, USA Today

McCain Vows Own Kind of Change, LA Times

Thursday, September 4

Fact Checking Palin's Speech

A reader asked if I was going to fact check Sarah Palin's speech from last night's convention. I said 'no' because I didn't do that for Obama's or Biden's speeches. Ironically, I stumbled across an article from The Huffington Post that broke down a number of Palin's assertions. Here's one:

PALIN: "The Democratic nominee for president supports plans to raise income taxes, raise payroll taxes, raise investment income taxes, raise the death tax, raise business taxes, and increase the tax burden on the American people by hundreds of billions of dollars."

THE FACTS: The Tax Policy Center, a think tank run jointly by the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute, concluded that Obama's plan would increase after-tax income for middle-income taxpayers by about 5 percent by 2012, or nearly $2,200 annually. McCain's plan, which cuts taxes across all income levels, would raise after tax-income for middle-income taxpayers by 3 percent, the center concluded.

Obama would provide $80 billion in tax breaks, mainly for poor workers and the elderly, including tripling the Earned Income Tax Credit for minimum-wage workers and higher credits for larger families.

He also would raise income taxes, capital gains and dividend taxes on the wealthiest. He would raise payroll taxes on taxpayers with incomes above $250,000, and he would raise corporate taxes. Small businesses that make more than $250,000 a year would see taxes rise.

You can read the rest here.

Let's Open the Mailbag

We have a few questions that have been sitting in my inbox for awhile that need addressed.

From Jessica
How much of what the candidates stand for is important vs. the party they are affiliated with and even further, the relationship they have with the party? So, if the nominee isn't completely in line with what the party typically follows, will they accomplish what they say they or does it get all muddled up with the party?

Jessica, there was an article in today's New York Times, McCain Policies Differ Sharply from Party Plank, that gives a good description of what happens when a candidate's policies are not in line with the party's beliefs.

From Shauna
So much has been made of John McCain’s age, I was wondering, once a political party has decided on their candidate, what happens if that candidate dies during the election?

There are a lot of opinions on this question mainly because there's not a definitive answer. Possible options include having the party quickly reconvene and choose a new candidate. Another option is the person who finished second in the primaries would be given the nod. Ultimately, it's up to the party officials to decide how to handle the situation.

Wednesday, September 3

New Political Contender Born

Pundit after pundit, especially those who disagree with all McCain policies, could not gush enough about Palin's speech tonight at the DNC. Poised, pro, confident, political star, hit it out of the park, amazing, spellbound, energizing and the best speech by a VP candidate ever were all words used to describe Gov. Palin. But you are the ones who really count.

What did you think of Sarah Palin's nomination speech? Home run? Missed opportunity? Should she have addressed the rumors/scandals in more detail? Should Biden be shaking in his boots? Should the entire Obama campaign not get any sleep tonight?

VP to Represent the Times?

If John McCain is elected, Palin will be the most visible working mother in America, representing 61 percent of all mothers, according to an ABC News poll. Of those, 45 percent work full time, 16 percent part time and 37 percent said they're "on a career track."


Tuesday, September 2

New Poll Questions & A Few Links

There is a lot of heated debate going on in the blogosphere, the media, and in coffee shops and playgroups around America right now about Sarah Palin and her choice to run for Vice President. Forget her politics and let me know what you think about her choice to seek the second highest office in the land as a mom with 1 Down's syndrome baby, 1 pregnant teenager, and 3 others to care for. You can vote in the sidebar polls.

Here are a few articles from both sides of the fence:

A New Twist in the Debate on Mothers, NY Times

Can A Stay-At-Home Mom be Pro-Palin, What About Mom

We Can't Have it Both Ways. Neither Can Republicans, Momocrats

Day 2 of RNC

After suspending most of their convention activities yesterday in respect to the people impacted by Hurricane Gustav, tonight President Bush will send a taped message. Joe Lieberman and Fred Thompson will be the prime time stars.

Check your local listings for the time.

Open Season on Women?

As a woman, I'm finding it frustrating that the first or second word pundits use to describe Palin is "hot" and "attractive." You would never say that about a male candidate. I'm certainly not a femininst, but that kind of talk is demeaning to me.

It's also in poor taste for another reporter I heard say that he's glad to finally have someone who wears a skirt and not a pantsuit. Again, would those types of commentary on clothing ever be said about a man?

As a mom, I am also not fond of the discussion that's starting about how she should stay at home and raise her disabled and troubled kids. We already carry so much guilt as moms...especially when it comes to working and not working. It's bad enough when your family and friends question your decision, but imagine having to answer to an entire nation. Would I be running for vice president if I was in her position? Probably not. But I respect her decision

I guess those 18 million holes in the glass ceiling didn't really mean much.

Maverick or Sleep Aid?

About a month ago I ranted poetic about Sen. Obama and his European tour. It turns out my rant hit a few nerves with the Obama supporters. In turn, I promised to air my beefs (a.k.a my opinion) with the McCain campaign.

Watching John McCain's campaign has been like watching paint dry: boring, tedious and completely uninspiring. After Bob Dole's campaign run, I didn't think it was possible to see a more mundane presidential candidate.

I was wrong.

John McCain won his party's primary because he is a maverick. He's someone who has been a thorn in President Bush's side. He doesn't play it safe. People like that he has convictions and that he sticks to them even when they go against the political tide.

It's evident in this campaign cycle that voters are ready for someone to come along and shake things up. That's why Obama's message of change and hope have resonated with so many people. McCain was suppose to bring that same type of message for the Republicans.

So what happened? Where did the maverick go? I'm guessing that after he won the primaries his advisers put a lid on everything people enjoyed about him in the name of "playing it safe." We sure wouldn't want a candidate who rocks the boat, or goes out on a limb or wins an election, would we?

So to those McCain advisors, I'd like to give you a little advice from this mom and housewife who knows little about politics but a little more about what appeals to people.
  1. Please don't let the resident old guy drive around in a golf cart with former President George H.W. Bush. It's not at all endearing to see two grumpy old guys taking the mode of transportation most often found in double-wide trailer parks in Florida. It's a mental picture that still keeps me up at night.

  2. Please tell me why he. is. so. monotone. and. boring. when. he. speaks. It drives me crazy. He's suppose to have a temper and, frankly, I'd like to see a little fire in his eyes. Have him get excited. Teach him a little whoop and holler. Get him to go crazy. But. please. don't. bore. me. with. his. monotone. rhetoric.

  3. I know he was recently criticized for talking too much about being a POW but I believe he hasn't said enough. There are so many stories that haven't been told about his time as a prisoner and, while I respect his privacy on the matter, that's the one reason many are drawn to him. At least use those who served with him to tell the stories.

  4. Give people more access to him. He was recently in my city and spoke to a small group at a local factory. Wow! That's riveting footage on the 6 o'clock news, especially when the next story is about Obama parting the red sea on his way to speak to thousands.

  5. Point out every chance you get why he is known as the maverick. Talk about the bills he's pushed through that were unpopular with his own party, and show us why he is capable of shaking up Washington. If people are looking for change then let them know how you've been an agent of change in the senate.
Republicans finally saw some life from this comatose campaign when McCain announced Gov. Sarah Palin as his choice for Vice President. Regardless of what you think of her, she has been her weight in gold for injecting fresh life into this very stagnant campaign. As my good friend Patty likes to say, Palin's the color person. She's the person who adds spunk and life and color to an otherwise very grey candidate.

With that all being said, I'm really amazed that McCain has stayed even with Obama in the polls. I believe it's been Obama's race to lose all along. But that's what they said about Hillary a year ago, too.

I hope the Republicans get to show their stuff this week at the RNC and they unleash even more wild and crazy antics that can energize their base. Otherwise, they just may put this night owl, and their chances of winning, to bed.

Monday, September 1

Big Revelations out of McCain Campaign Today

Sen. McCain's camp reported today that Sarah Palin's 17-year-old daughter is pregnant. The daughter plans on keeping the baby and marrying the father.

According to, "Democratic nominee Barack Obama Monday said his campaign will not make a political issue of the Palin daughter's pregnancy. He told reporters while campaigning in Michigan that a candidate's family is 'off limits and people's children are especially off limits,' pointing out that his own mother gave birth to him at 18."

The McCain campaign reports they knew about the pregnancy while Palin was being vetted but didn't believe it should disqualify her from seeking the vice presidency.

Also being reported today is that Gov. Palin's husband, Todd, was arrested on a drunk driving charge when he was 22 years old.

So, to all the McCain supporters, does this revelation today change your mind about Gov. Palin? Does it make you like her as a candidate more or less?

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