August 31, 2008
According to the iconic conservative magazine The Economist, which might otherwise favor McCain, his economic policies are dreadful.
‘People on middle incomes would see little benefit [from his tax cut proposals]. Independent analysts agree that Mr McCain’s plans would increase an already huge deficit.’
August 30, 2008
The Democrats trying to clear the streets of the homeless for their convention got a fair amount of ink. The Republicans are using their corporate influence to deny billboard space to photography by Suzanne Opton, whose pictures have appeared on billboards in Syracuse and this week in Denver.
While this is going on, Hurricane Gusav has been raised to category 4 and is scheduled to hit New Orleans on Monday, the first day of the Republican convention. No doubt the impact will be felt in Minnesota. Compare McCain’s readiness to delay the convention with the Bush administration’s response to identical news three years ago.
On second thought, the two responses do bear quite a bit of similarity. McCain calls the coming storm a “near tragedy,” apparently anticipating nearly the worst. He says that he is praying for himself, as this “near tragedy” could spoil his party.
We though know that he is made of stronger stuff. He did not let the New Orleans disaster spoil his birthday party three years ago, why should he let this spoil and even more important party? If Bush brings cake again for his speech on Monday it will be just like old times.
Three years ago we read that Pat Robertson and his ilk thought that Katrina was God’s vengeance on New Orleans. I wonder what he thinks God is saying this time?
August 30, 2008
Gallup polls report that, after the Democratic convention and the Republican announcement of McCain’s v.p. choice, there has been and 8% bounce in Obama’s popularity among voters. This is fun to speculate about but it is an unimportant matter, as 67% of the time the biggest “bounces” lead to defeat, according to Gallup.
August 29, 2008
This is an interesting choice for vice president. The few Clinton defectors for McCain I’ve seen briefly interviewed (I have never actually met one) say that they cannot vote for Obama because of his lack of experience. This harkens back to a Clinton speech in which she said that McCain would be better able to serve as commander in chief than Obama.
McCain selects a woman who is two years out of Wasilla, serving as its mayor, and who is younger than Obama. This suggests to me that he believes that he can forge a majority with Bush’s Republican far right wing base and women who would have voted for Hillary and just want a woman (other than as First Lady) in the White House, regardless of her policies.
Geraldine Ferraro’s presence on the ticket with Mondale did not bring independents into the fold, nor did it keep Democrats from voting for Reagan. McCain is hoping that a woman on his ticket will attract that same group (although the Reagan Democrats tended to be male but then again Ms. Palin’s bathing beauty background might appeal to this group). It seems like a lunge at the Clinton supporters who said they would not vote for Obama.
What is interesting is that this undercuts the rationale for switching parties presented by this group. If experience is really the critical factor in their vote (which seems preposterous to me), then why would you want Wasilla’s mayor of two years ago “one heart beat away” from the nuclear button.
This choice puts McCain’s age to the forefront as an election issue, something that McCain wants to downplay. How can the oldest first term candidate in the history of our country running with a 44 year old governor of two years, question the qualifications of the Democratic ticket to govern? While Obama was pursuing public interest work in New York and Chicago before law school, Ms. Palin was being crowned Miss Wasilla and later runner up Miss Alaska.
This suggests to me that McCain does not believe that the election will be determined by policy decisions or substance so much as impressions and psychological associations. I hope that I’m wrong, but it does not in my mind augur well for the kind of principled, high minded campaign that Obama called for.
At least some Alaskans are amused by this choice. Remarkably the Internet videos of our v.p. candidate in beauty contests have been disabled. This could turn out to be like McGovern’s selection of Eagleton in terms of blowing up in the face of the candidate. I sincerely hope though that both sides show restraint in the coming months and that the campaign is one of ideas.
August 28, 2008
Today the Washington State Supreme Court unanimously held in a thirty page opinion that Michael McKee could sue AT&T.
Mr. McKee received this green flag from the court a number years after he filed his suit. He is suing for false utility charges on the bill and for illegal, usurious late charges. He made his claim a class action on behalf of others in Washington.
This of course is what class action suits were intended to do, make a company responsible to everyone it wrongs when it gouges a small amount of money form a huge number of people. Otherwise there is no effective way to get them to stop.
The reason I linked to this case is because there is so much publicity against class actions and consumer law suits. I thought it would be useful for you to see how misleading the publicity blitz is. The cards are heavily stacked against the consumer.
I believe the Washington Supreme Court deserves a lot of credit for this unanimous decision protecting the rights of Washington consumers.
When Mr. McKee signed his contract with AT&T his entered into a Byzantine world of conditions, stipulations, and waivers of rights which literally stripped him of his right to sue and left him without any of the rights we think that we have when we enter into commerce.
Our Court found many of these provisions unconscionable and unenforceable in affirming the basic right to sue.
Yesterday I talked about a medical malpractice claim that had been in the Courts for nine years without having gone to trial. While it is unclear from the Court’s opinion, this case appears to have been in court for four years, each of which was spent litigating pretrial procedures. The case could easily go on for years to come.
Read if you will the opinion and see what Mr. McKee has had to go through to just get his right to a trial confirmed.