Well, that's a relief

Just weeks after the Treasury Department gave nine of the nation’s top banks $125 billion in taxpayer dollars to save them from unprecedented calamity, bank executives are salting money away in billionaire bonus pools to reward themselves for their performance.

Outraged? The bankers (who didn’t anticipate the subprime crisis) were ready for that. So they are assuring everyone that this self-directed largess won’t be paid with the same dollars they got from taxpayers. They’ll use other ones.

[From Editorial - Money Really Is Fungible - NYTimes.com]


Ah, the small life

Map :: Chicago :: Traffic.com]

It's 5:30AM in Chicago and already the expressways are jamming up. I sure don't miss that. Around here "traffic jam" means three cars in a row.


So how else is he going to get home?

A 30-year-old man faces criminal charges after police said he was spotted driving nude on Interstate 84 in Southbury.

[From Man accused of driving in the buff on interstate]

Just a little hair of the dog

Now the party is over and it's time for people to put away their Barack and Michelle dolls and start dealing with what has truly happened.



Bye, Joe

Thursday will be Senator Lieberman's "day of reckoning," according to a Capitol Hill paper.

"Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is scheduled to meet with Sen. Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.) on Thursday to discuss his future in the Senate Democratic Conference, according to a Democratic Senate source," Tim Taylor reports for Roll Call.

[From The Raw Story | Lieberman expresses fears of Dem majority in Senate]

Discuss? Reckon the guy right out of the party, is what I say. Lieberman, of course, is saying "Now that the election is over, it is time to put partisan considerations aside and come together as a nation...", something you're sure to be hearing a lot more of.

Back to work

Between 1977 and 2007, employment of workers 65 and over increased 101 percent, compared to a much smaller increase of 59 percent for total employment (16 and over). The number of employed men 65 and over rose 75 percent, but employment of women 65 and older increased by nearly twice as much, climbing 147 percent. While the number of employed people age 75 and over is relatively small (0.8 percent of the employed in 2007), this group had the most dramatic gain, increasing 172 percent between 1977 and 2007.

[From Older Workers: BLS Spotlight on Statistics]

75 days

It's bad enough that the new President is going to have to deal with a financial crisis, an energy crisis, a health care crisis, and a pair of wars. But on top of all that, the incoming administration is going to inherit a Pentagon that's a downright mess, Winslow Wheeler argues in the current Defense News....

And don't expect a big windfall from the outbreak of peace in Iraq, either. The $100 billion per year we're spending in Iraq and Afghanistan is liable to stay more or less. "Calls by both presidential candidates to shift troops from Iraq to Afghanistan actually would add costs to the Pentagon budget," the New York Times notes. "It is significantly more expensive to sustain each soldier in Afghanistan than in Iraq because of Afghanistan’s landlocked location and primitive road network."

[From Danger Room - Wired Blogs]

And still, let's not forget, 75 days left for the DOOFUS to screw up even more. Given his talent for screwing up, things could still get worse. If I were an R I wouldn't be too terribly upset by the prospect of ducking into the shadows for the next few years.

We are, here in the Empire, however, thoroughly sick of politics and plan to do nothing but think happy thoughts for the next four years, come what may, and maybe get back to trying to learn a little Unix at long last, or something equally useful, like trying to figure out where the hell everything went in Word 2007.



Stick a fork in it, Bunky

It sure looks done to me.

But what's with the geezer thing? In state after state, according to CNN's polls at least, the most pro-McCain age group is the 65 and over group. Must be Vietnam nostalgia, something like that - maybe they did all their polls at the VFW bar. Or maybe it's just some massive, nationwide senior moment going on. Could be.

But even among the senior-discount crowd Obama seems to be doing better than McCain in most of the key states. So, no harm done.

Meanwhile, I'm still waiting for that extra hour of sleep. Tonight might be it.


Results from Google

2008 Election Results from Google

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Finally it's over...

...or at least I hope it is.

For the record, I think Obama will win - and, in the end, by a margin comfortable or even larger. I expect him to be a disappointing President, politically a lot like Clinton (where Clinton botched health care and welfare, bombed more countries than any President save FDR, and helped set the regulatory stage for our current economy, Obama will botch Social Security and Medicare, get us more deeply entangled in Afghanistan, and prolong a recession), but without Clinton's style (and without his scandals).

In the Congress, Democrats will gain seats but not power. Democratic gains will come from conservative Democrats replacing liberal Republicans - the right-wing crazies will remain and the so will Democrats' inability to deliver a solid vote on the floor. Liberal gains will take the form of committee chairs and, hopefully, better appointments.

The only fly in this moderately soothing ointment is the vote itself. Our system of voting is disgracefully insecure and opaque. How any society that fancies itself democratic could allow this is way beyond me. But my guess is that by tomorrow - or at least by the end of the week - that whole subject will be forgotten again until a few weeks before the next election, by which time the system will be even worse.

"Vote early and vote often," we used to say in Chicago - but it was a joke. Today, vote once and make it count.


And damn the torpedoes

For a mere $30 million, you too can cruise the high seas like a Middle Eastern dictator -- or a comic book supervillain. The Iraq government is putting Saddam Hussein's 270 foot-long yacht up for sale.

Currently moored off of the French resort of Nice, the Basra Breeze "comes in a modest 34th in the league table of super-yachts," the Guardian notes. "For the paranoid billionaire, however, th[e] vessel offers some must-have features." Bulletproof atrium? Check. Helicopter landing pad? Golden faucets? Check. Ship-length secret passageway to getaway pod? Check. Space for surface-to-air missiles? Well, depends on who you ask.

[From Saddam's Super-Yacht for Sale; Missiles Not Included | Danger Room from Wired.com]

Holding out

-- Post From My iPhone

Forget the economy, Bunky: This is bad news


(iPhoned in)

Bumps in my sock

One of those days. Yeah, you know what I mean. No matter how carefully you put on the shoe, one of your socks gets all lumpy on the bottom. Like that. That's the kind of day it is. Also it's supposed to rain. And get dark at an unholy hour.

Meanwhile I'm reading in the Trib how John McCain is running around campaigning with a lucky penny in his pocket. Apparently the lucky $700 billion isn't working so well. Also he wears a lucky sweater. It used to be green until he lost in Michigan, and now it's blue. The Trib does not make clear whether this means he changed sweaters or whether the old green one turned blue before our very eyes.

Meanwhile, quoted in the Boston Globe , a political scientist from the University of Richmond in Virginia named Dan Palazzolo (which sounds sort of like a depression-era Broadway show) sums up the Obama campaign: "He crafted a message of change, broadly speaking, and he has been able to essentially fold almost anything underneath that concept."

Maybe I should try changing my socks.

Grapple no more

As Senator Barack Obama spends the last of hundreds of millions of dollars donated to his presidential campaign, the debate over how future campaigns will be financed is set to begin in earnest....

Democrats, in particular, who have traditionally supported limits on campaign spending, are grappling with whether they can embrace Mr. Obama’s example without being seen as hypocritical.

[From Political Memo - What Happens to Public Financing, When Obama Thrived Without It? - NYTimes.com]

The answer is no.


Ben Bernanke, Please Send Me Some Green


Senior aides to Sen. John McCain tell reporters his flakey running mate is "a whack job."

A couple of days earlier, those same aides called her "a diva."

And a couple of days earlier, they said she had "gone rogue."

Ah, you gotta love the smell of death on a political morning. With less than a week to go, the flies and buzzards are already gathering around the dying campaign of John McCain and Sarah Palin....

McCain and Palin will probably take a lot of Republicans down with them and seldom in the history of politics has a national political organization deserved it more.

[From Whack job? You betcha! | Capitol Hill Blue]

A mystery

...with only days left until Election Day, a small cluster of holdouts — 4 percent, according to a New York Times/CBS News poll — are still wrestling with the “Who are you voting for?” question.

Which raises a follow-up: What is up with these people?

[From The Undecided - Sheepish, Proud or Set to Flip Coin - NYTimes.com]