You are currently browsing the monthly archive for January 2008.

In 1992, Tom Harkin led Democratic delegates at their convention in a chant of George Herbert “Hoover” Walker Bush. He meant to portray the first President Bush as uncaring and inert in the face of that era’s painful recession.

I think George W. Bush must remember the scene. How else do you explain the rush to send us all checks this spring (as well as the checks we got seven years ago)? The last thing Bush wants to be is insensitive.

Mitt Romney is probably playing the same game. Sure, you can accuse him of pandering when he tells Michigan voters he will help bring their jobs back. But pandering to voters isn’t exactly a damning charge for a politician. Not caring about working people is, especially for a rich businessman like Romney.

At any rate, I’ll bet Lowe’s and Home Depot are salivating over the proposed timing of those checks. Expect lots of ads pitching spring home projects. If you can’t sell it, at least you can spruce it up.

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the Fed issued coupons for all Americans to buy a new iPod. That could be just the thing to appease thrill the stock markets today. I know it would brighten my morning.

While I wait for my coupon, let me get this straight. Americans are over-indebted, so let’s lower interest rates to encourage more debt? Hmm…

That about sums up the Fed’s surprise move this morning. A cut of 75-basis points to short-term rates. Only 350 basis points to go before we hit zero. Then they’ll have to start paying me to borrow money. I’m looking forward to that as I have a long list of home-improvement projects.

On another note, it’s wonderful to see John Edwards devote his life to ending poverty. But it seems to me he would be better off doing something other than run for president. His plan will take 30 years. He’ll be president for eight at the most. But I don’t think he’ll get that far. If a Democrat wins in November, Edwards would make a solid, roll-up-his-sleeves head of of Health and Human Services.

Anyone who cares about the city of York, Pa. — and I’m sure there are some out there — should give a closer look at this, the crime plan put forward by one of our county commissioners, Steve Chronister.

Sure, the plan’s costs might drive up our taxes yet again and people outside York city don’t like the plan’s urban focus.

But consider this angle: The plan’s main advocate is a real-estate agent. Maybe, just maybe, he sees some potential in the city and figures a stronger anti-crime push could lay the groundwork for home sales.

Is it cynical? Perhaps. But it’s better than gobbling up more of our county’s diminishing green space.

Journalists, though they may be ignorant on most topics, are called on as experts. And their willingness to open their mouths makes for good fodder on television. But that is also how they get in trouble a la Chris Matthews.

Journalists would be better off if they were more humble in their ignorance and less showboat-y. I won’t hold my breath, however.

Humility, for all its value as a human virtue, doesn’t get you invited to all the best parties. And it definitely won’t get you nice digs in Northwest Washington, D.C. or the Upper East Side.

People resent journalists not because they are ignorant, but because journalists are not afraid or ashamed of their ignorance.

Most people are embarrassed when they don’t know something. They shouldn’t be, but they are.

Republicans pushing for Ron Paul to drop out should be careful what they wish for. Sure, his byline appeared over racist comments and other literary trash. But at least he keeps the GOP race interesting, and he keeps beating out Fred and Rudy to boot.

The Democrats proved last night during their Nevada debate that a race dominated by front-runners can be a snoozer. I’m not sure I can sit through one more speech by Edwards relating an individual anecdote.

Maybe the carnage at Citi will finally put a damper on any speculation that the US economy will avoid recession. But wait! The Fed is going to lower interest rates! That should save us again. Just like the Maginot line saved the French in World War II.

The real solution to the economy– as everyone knows — is basing it more soundly on a continuous loop of upgrades to our electronic devices. Maybe the Fed should annually mandate new software for every computer, phone, television and GPS system.

Change is what every candidate is promising this year. Fortunately, for every one of them, change won’t be so hard to deliver after election day. Things change regardless of whether we lift a finger.

And what pol can avoid taking credit for whatever positive changes occur on his/her watch and ruing the negative? Besides, the right amount of spin can make any change look positive. You’re working longer and harder than ever? Welcome to the productivity revolution that is driving the US economy! Housing in a slump? It’s a great time to buy!

I finally convinced myself to start writing one of these. As you can see by the title, I’m trying to keep a narrow focus on just a few issues.

2008 is probably a good a year as any to start a blog, what with the presidential election, warnings of economic doom and an unfinished war about to hit the 5-year mark. I can’t wait.