Greg Roach's Berkshires Blog
Monday, September 29, 2008
  Where the world's headed nobody knows.....
People moving out, people moving in
Why, because of the color of their skin
Run, run, run, but you sure can't hide

An eye for an eye
A tooth for a tooth
Vote for me and I'll set you free
Rap on, brother, rap on

The only person talking about "Love thy brother" is the preacher
And it seems Nobody's interested in learning
But the teacher

Segregation, determination
Demonstration, intergration
Aggravation, humiliation
Obligation to our nation

Ball of confusion, oh yeah
That's what the world is today, hey, hey

The sale of pills are at an all time high
Young folks walking 'round with their heads in the sky
The cities aflame in the summertime, and oh
The beat goes on

Evolution, revolution
Gun control, sound of soul
Shooting rockets to the moon
Kids growing up too soon

Politicians say more taxes will solve everything
And the band played on

So, around and around
And around we go
Where the world's headed
Nobody knows

Oh, great Googamooga, Can't you hear me talking to ya?
Just a ball of confusion, oh yeah
That's what the world is today, hey

Fear in the air
Tension everywhere
Unemployment rising fast
The Beatles new record's a gas

And the only safe place to live is on an Indian reservation
And the band played on

Eve of destruction
Tax deduction
City inspectors
Bill collectors

Mod clothes in demand
Population out of hand
Suicide, too many bills
Hippies moving to the hills

People all over the world are shouting "End the war"
And the band played on

Oh, great Googamooga, can't you hear me talking to ya?
Just a ball of confusion
That's what the world is today, hey
As true today as it ever was.

And the band played on....
While the focus of the news and commentary on heels of the $700,000,000,000.00 bailout failure is all about the candidates and their roles and reactions, I am still quite stunned at the strange coalition that defeated the bill. The arch conservatives (2/3rds of the House GOP) and the Liberals (1/3rd of the House Dems) knocked this thing down.

Now the policy questions boil down to whether the next attempt will try to appease the far left or far right.

Or will the markets settle in the next 48 hours and everyone will walk away from this mess until the grown-ups are back in the White House? It's hard to say.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
  So wrong you just have to watch
I feel dirty just posting this, but if you're a liberal you will die laughing. If you're a conservative, you will be horribly offended at the insensitivity shown towards African Americans, Jews and the elderly.

The Great Schlep from The Great Schlep on Vimeo.
  I Just Can't Do It
No matter how hard I try and how many experts say that it needs to be done, I can't bring myself to support the $700,000,000,000.00 bailout.

I sound a little bit like Bush when I say that my gut feeling is 'just say no.'

I don't believe that the world markets will seize up. They might slump and contract, but they won't disappear. The credit markets might panic for a while but sooner rather than later, people would start loaning money again. The US dollar might have quickly lost value on the currency market, but the added debt that we are going to take on will only slow the slide, not prevent it.

Ironically I probably would have supported a much more aggressive plan that would demand senior equity in exchange for the 'toxic' paper, but this approach of using an amount somewhere in neighborhood of a quarter of the annual federal budget as a life-preserver for markets that haven't been dealing with us or themselves honestly for years just doesn't sit well at all.

Since this looks like a done deal, I honestly hope I am wrong.
  Found Jane!
She's out stumping for the Palin ticket in Pennsylvania - Only a small mention in a Scaiffe owned rag. No more Sunday talk shows.
"Pennsylvania is just so critical for our nation," Ms. Swift told a group of volunteers at Republican Headquarters in Green Tree.
Umm. Aren't all states critical to the nation?

I wonder if Jane will be given national exposure at the VP Debate. That will surely tell you her standing with the McCain camp.

Further down in the article they mention this "Democrat", Jeamour Matthews:
Her replacement could come from the ranks of former Hillary Clinton voters - women such as Jeamour Matthews, a Braddock Democrat who was leaving headquarters yesterday with a "Women for McCain" yard sign.

"I have to vote for the man who supports women, and McCain is the man," she said, asserting that her group, Democracy in Suffrage, believes Mr. Obama underpays women on his senate staff.
That name sounded familiar and Google points out that this is no random Democrat. Matthews was obviously a plant at this event who has also been harassing Obama, his wife and his surrogates at events for the past several months.

Saturday, September 27, 2008
  Somebody's Gotta Go to Jail
Gee, the Feds let Lehman sink but bails out AIG. Could this be why?
Two weeks ago, the nation’s most powerful regulators and bankers huddled in the Lower Manhattan fortress that is the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, desperately trying to stave off disaster.

As the group, led by Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr., pondered the collapse of one of America’s oldest investment banks, Lehman Brothers, a more dangerous threat emerged: American International Group, the world’s largest insurer, was teetering. A.I.G. needed billions of dollars to right itself and had suddenly begged for help.

The only Wall Street chief executive participating in the meeting was Lloyd C. Blankfein of Goldman Sachs, Mr. Paulson’s former firm. Mr. Blankfein had particular reason for concern.

Although it was not widely known, Goldman, a Wall Street stalwart that had seemed immune to its rivals’ woes, was A.I.G.’s largest trading partner, according to six people close to the insurer who requested anonymity because of confidentiality agreements. A collapse of the insurer threatened to leave a hole of as much as $20 billion in Goldman’s side, several of these people said.

Days later, federal officials, who had let Lehman die and initially balked at tossing a lifeline to A.I.G., ended up bailing out the insurer for $85 billion.

Their message was simple: Lehman was expendable. But if A.I.G. unspooled, so could some of the mightiest enterprises in the world.
$20 BILLION DOLLARS is a heck of a motivation for a CEO to play the old-boys network with his predecessor who now holds the magic wand. The imminent bailout of the credit markets had best involve Congressional hearings, with CEOs and Treasury Secretaries under oath, and honest to G-d investigations of what happened.
  My first IPod.
I recently started using my first IPod which I inherited when my lovely spouse found it months after losing it to the couch pillows. In the mean time Ethan and I had given her a brand new one for her birthday to replace it. It goes without saying that I got the old one.

While I had used my cell phone as an MP3 player for the past few years but I really hadn't gotten into the whole downloaded music scene. But now that I have the IPod I have started exploring the crazy world of podcasts.

Holy Crap!

As I am typing this, I am listening to a lecture on Einstein's theory of relativity in relation to time and matter (yes, I am a geek). I've subscribed to weekly Spanish lessons. I've found collections of modern history's greatest speeches. There are entire college classes that can be downloaded onto this credit-card sized wonder.

This little shiny silver thingy with the round selector wheel and one inch screen, that I can carry in my pocket while I listen to a lecture about the history of Byzantium is the coolest thing since the internet itself.

Now if they could invent something like this that doesn't need to be plugged into and synchronized with my computer. Someday.....
  Money Isn't Blue
I have long acknowledged my hypocrisry regarding big time college and pro sports when it comes to Michigan Football. While I enjoy watching athletes in top form, the obscenity of the money in the pros and the exploitation of kids for the profit of colleges and corporations makes me a little ill.

Maybe it takes a lousy season for the Michigan Wolverines for me to acknowledge that even Michigan, a program that took pride on its adherence to tradition and avoidance the glitz and thuggery of other top programs, has become exactly what I despise. The decision makers in Ann Arbor obviously care about one thing, and one thing only - 'how much money can our program make.'

My father had season tickets to Michigan Stadium spanning over 3 decades. A few years back Michigan Athletics sent him and all the other ticket holders a letter demanding that they pay extortion make a donation in the thousands of dollars to the athletic department above and beyond the face value of the tickets in order to keep good seats. Seating assignments would be made on the basis of the size of your donation as well.

Last fall, Michigan's longtime coach Lloyd Carr retired and rather than pick a new head coach in the mold of conservative Michigan football they went out and stole another school's contracted showboating coach which cost Michigan $4 million dollars in addition to his $3 million dollar salary.

Then this past summer I traveled back to Ann Arbor and witnessed the construction of the two new sets of luxury boxes going up over the largest college football stadium in America. Having worked in an pro-sports arena, I can guesstimate that the leases on the luxury suites will go in the neighborhood of $30,000 a season plus the cost of tickets. This is for, maybe, seven games a year.

One of the things that differentiated Michigan stadium from the rest of the NCAA was the fact that 100,000+ football fans sat on unremarkable benches for four quarters of football. Not seats. Not luxury boxes. Benches. This simple fact alone is a testament to the nature Michigan Football and its fans. Or, at least, it was.

Michigan Football and the culture that has evolved this new breed of Wolverine is not representative of the school I attended. I made the decision after the season ticket shakedown to stop donating to the University's general funds. Now I might donate $25 the Glee Club, the Gilbert and Sullivan Society or pay Alumni Association dues in exchange for the free museum memberships nationwide, but I have no use for those who value your net worth over your character.

Michigan will eventually start winning football games again, maybe even with their new fancy-pants coach. I'll still cheer. But I probably will care more about how Williams is faring in the NESCAC than I will about the Big Ten.

It was nice while it lasted.

UPDATE: OK, I'll admit it. Michigan's comeback win shortly after I wrote this post was fun to watch. But I can't say my sentiments have changed.
Friday, September 26, 2008
Via Huff Post:
Radio talk show host Ed Schultz reports:

Capitol Hill sources are telling me that senior McCain people are more than concerned about Palin. The campaign has held a mock debate and a mock press conference; both are being described as "disastrous." One senior McCain aide was quoted as saying, "What are we going to do?" The McCain people want to move this first debate to some later, undetermined date, possibly never. People on the inside are saying the Alaska Governor is "clueless."
I don't know Ed Schulz from a hole in the head, but if he is credible, the real story of the "campaign suspension" might just be beginning to bubble.
If you submit an answer, please copy it to the comments.
  Theater of the Absurd
I'm beginning to wonder if McCain's attempts to delay tonight's debate really were an attempt to delay Sarah Palin's debate next week. Last night he suggested that McCain vs Obama, round 1, could be moved to the VP slot and another time could be found for Ms. Palin and Mr. Biden somewhere down the line.

Those who suggested this motivation yesterday struck me as crazy. But after watching Palin's performance with Katie Couric, which was taped a day prior to McCain's drama-queen antics, and the McCain Camp's freakout over press coverage of Palin at the UN, I have begun to think that this conspiracy theory is not terribly far fetched. In fact, after watching Palin's disaster with Couric, I almost felt bad for Sarah - almost..... Maybe pity is the word I am looking for.

Add to this the fact that McCain is doing nothing in D.C. but gumming up the negotiations over the Wall Street bailout and posturing himself with the far-right Enron-style deregulation crowd in the House, there seem to be few other non-wacko scenarios that make sense.

The only thing I am truly certain of is that McCain's stated motives for trying to suspend the Mississippi debate are not the real ones.

UPDATE: It seems I am not the only one who is smelling Palin's fear and feeling a little sorry for her.

UPDATE PART DUEX: More cringing liberal empathy here, here, here, .... And an unrepentant white supremist conservative woman chimes in here. I thought the choice of Palin was lousy when it was announced, but I didn't expect someone who couldn't hold her own. Oy.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
  Did he just equate McCain to Castro? Democracy First!
I wish I could stay up later. This Colin Ferguson fella' is beginning to strike me as brilliant.

Why is the most observant punditry coming from comedians these days?

The "serious" media should be ashamed of themselves.
  In From the Cold
Today I got my first hit from Wasilla, Alaska! - investigating Palin's rape exam scandal, no less.

Only 5,999 more residents to go!
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
  "every rapist has the right to choose the mother of his child"
My favorite Prof from my undergrad days has a column over at the Huffington Post:
6. Don't run from any issue. State your principles clearly and with conviction, and if you worry that the public isn't with you, turn that into a virtue (by making it a mark of genuineness and courage). The failure to state a clear position on hot-button issues has been a standard Democratic error for decades. Republicans never make this mistake. They've been running on a position on abortion that's at 30% in the polls for years--that life begins at conception, and there's no room for compromise--and this year they've even taken the more extreme position that every rapist has the right to choose the mother of his child. If Democrats don't run on abortion and contraception this year, when Republicans have governed or threaten to govern with positions so far to the right that you can't find them on a map of America (e.g., forcing teenagers to have their rapists' babies, perpetuating the cycle of poverty by making contraceptives unavailable to poor women, teaching only abstinence when it's nearly impossible to name a Republican who ever practiced it--they deserve another 3 Alitos and a Scalia for good measure.
He's got 14 more tips for Obama along with that one. They're all good.

I'm definitely going to have to buy Drew's book.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
  Would Sarah Have A Gay Chief of Staff?
The false-outrage expressed by conservatives over the rejection of the less-than qualified Sarah Palin by the left as somehow "sexist" makes me wonder how they will react to a fully capable and obviously talented political guy who is a gay man as John McCain's Chief of Staff:
Republican presidential candidate John McCain's chief of staff was outed Monday after radio host Michelangelo Signorile quoted additional sources to confirm the long-blogged-about rumors. Mark Buse, 44, previously served as a lobbyist for several large corporations including AT&T and ExxonMobil, the only Fortune 10 company without a nondiscrimination policy covering sexual orientation, according to the Human Rights Campaign.
How will the fundies react to this information? For all their love of Sarah, the organized right-wing Christian vote has a real problem with unrepentant gay folks (not that gay folks should repent, but....)

It will truly be a historic day when the Republicans claim liberals are hypocrites for not supporting their gay candidate.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
  Where's Jane?
Anybody seen the Palin Truth Squad lately?
Saturday, September 20, 2008
I've lived in Massachusetts for the past five years. They've been pretty good. However, in those five years I've been called to jury duty in Pittsfield twice, although never picked to serve, and, now, I've been called to Federal Jury Duty in Springfield. Does this seem a little excessive?

What bothers me about this latest summons is that I am now required by law to travel 150+ miles and lose 3 hours in my car every day that I serve. And I get a whoppin' $40 a day in exchange!!! Wooohooo!

By my calculations, I will be paying around $25 per trip in gas alone. If I were serving on a Grand Jury, I would get mileage @ $.485/ mile. But us peons in the lowly trial jury system have to help subsidize Exxon-Mobil on our own.

If I understand the procedure for the court, I will be on call for two months and have to check in every Friday to find out if I am to report on Monday for jury selection. It is possible that I will be selected to serve for more than one trial, although the court claims to try and make efforts to avoid that.

Am I alone in thinking that the current set-up is not only a pain in the ass, but severely discriminatory to those of us who live a considerable distance from the courthouse?

I wonder how long a system would last if they made folks in Boston drive 150 miles a day for $40.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
  "It's a proud day for America!"

Portrayal Of Obama As Elitist Hailed As Step Forward For African Americans
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
  Dear Prudence
Brooks finds an acorn:
It turns out that governance, the creation and execution of policy, is hard. It requires acquired skills. Most of all, it requires prudence.

What is prudence? It is the ability to grasp the unique pattern of a specific situation. It is the ability to absorb the vast flow of information and still discern the essential current of events — the things that go together and the things that will never go together. It is the ability to engage in complex deliberations and feel which arguments have the most weight.

How is prudence acquired? Through experience. The prudent leader possesses a repertoire of events, through personal involvement or the study of history, and can apply those models to current circumstances to judge what is important and what is not, who can be persuaded and who can’t, what has worked and what hasn’t.
When Palin's running mate has lost Brooks, he has likely lost the election. The GOP cannot win without the enthusiastic support of the secularist wing of their own party.
Monday, September 15, 2008
  Explains a whole lotta' stuff.....
Read it.
  "The Fundamentals Are Sound"
I wonder if Mr. Limbaugh and Sarah Palin's running mate will be repeating that line today.

Or will they sound like the guy who predicted this who mess who now says -
"It's clear we're one step away from a financial meltdown,"
Actually, I'm sure they will say whatever they believe will help the Palin ticket get elected.

UPDATE: What do I win?!?!? Mr., whathisname, this morning:
"The fundamentals of our economy are strong,"
Sunday, September 14, 2008
  1 out of 20
Here's a quick exercise to help people quantify the tiny shifts in the electorate that will decide the Presidential election:

Imagine that there are only 20 voters in the country and they all happen to be people you know reasonably well. For argument's sake, lets say that they are pretty evenly dispersed across the ideological spectrum with a few dead smack in the middle who could go either way in Presidential elections. You know the type of voter I am talking about.

If 10 of them like Obama and 10 like McCain, it is obviously a 50/50 split.

But if just one of the those in the middle of the spectrum switches, it is all of a sudden on changes his/her mind, it is 55/45, - a 10 point win!!!

So basically we are talking about fewer than 1 in 20 voters that will decide this election. It is probably more like one in 50.

If you know someone who is still making up their mind or wavering...... that is your chance to make a difference. Think of 20 friends, then find the one who has yet to make up their mind. You know who I am talking about.

You can make a difference.

UPDATE: A reader writes to remind us that not only do current voters play into this equation, but new voters as well. If you know someone who is NOT registered to vote, kick them in the butt. If they don't want to go to city hall, they can go here.
  On a lighter note....
The BIG E is great this year. Saturday was 4H day and purely by chance we got to ride in the evening's parade with a group of 4Hers from Southwick.

  Charging for Rape Kits - It's Worse than You Thought
The police chief that Palin fired because he was not a loyalist did NOT send bills to rape victims. That policy started under Palin and her hand-picked Chief Fannon:
It turns out that Wasilla did not bill sexual assault victims for the cost of rape exams while Irl Stambaugh was chief of police. As chief, he had included a line item in the budget to pay for the cost of such exams. He had only just heard about the Mayor Palin/Chief Fannon policy today, and was just as shocked to hear about it as I was.

Checking the budget confirmed former Chief Stambaugh's claim. He had included a contingency of $15,000 in his budget for the department's 1st year of existence (1993-1994), $5,000 for 1994-1995 and 1995-1996, and $13,000 for his final year as police chief in 1996-1997, spending $11,625.

Duwayne Charles Fannon, his replacement, halved the budget request in 1997-1998, with a request of $7,298, spending $3,454. However, it seems he began the "victim pays" policy in the 1998-1999 fiscal year. That year, he requested $3,000 but spent only $205. This data can be found in the Document Central section of Wasilla's website.
I cannot fathom what kind of twisted conservative doctrine justifies this disgraceful policy.

UPDATE: This thought had not even crossed my mind. Could it be worse than worse? I would be very curious to hear the answer if any non-shill reporter can get within 100 feet of Palin ever again.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
  For Charles Krauthammer, The Freepers (and Dave, too)
It seems that Charlie has asked his "tough" question to a few people you might recognize on January 5th, 2008, long before he got all mean and nasty while interviewing subject of this week's People Magazine cover:

And Sarah Palin's running mate (what's his name again....?) had a coherent answer, albeit one I disagree with.
  Guaranteeing The Right to Vote
Over the past 8 years I have gotten into several heated discussions over the Republican's well documented vote suppression. Usually I hear all about in response is "voter fraud", which when pressed, none of those claiming dead people voting etc... can come up with anything other than screaming about Chicago's Mayor Daley in 1960 and the ACORN kids who faked registrations because they were paid a commission for each new registrant.

In other words, the Republicans are lying about a non-existent problem to to justify suppressing votes in poorer, more Democratic areas.

So I proposed the following question be asked at the Presidential Debates:
Do you, Senator Obama/McCain, support the introduction and passage of a Constitutional Amendment guaranteeing the right to vote to all legal citizens of the United States?
The reaction from the Republicans would tell you all you need to know about their belief in (small "d") democracy.
Friday, September 12, 2008
  This is Not About Inventing the Internet
John McCain has sold his soul. He is responsible for the biggest series of lies since "WMDs." And we all know how that turned out. The scary part, if he is willing to deceive the public so blatantly just to get elected, imagine what he is capable of when he has real power.

Brave New Films says it rather well:

  Party of the Sacred
This is a great essay, that I've seen referenced in couple of different places, about why Republicanism resonates so well with a certain segment of the populace. (And it gives props to my Psych 101 Prof, Drew Westen! He was one of the best profs I had at Michigan! And they let him get away....)

The writing style is a bit academic and tough to slog through, but give yourself 10 minutes and take it in. It's good stuff.
  "My belief and my hope is that the American people are smarter than the media who are supposed to be serving them."
Why does it take an immigrant (a very funny one at that) to speak the truth about the state of our American democracy?

Watch the whole thing and remember - "If you don't vote, you're a moron."
The Mohawk Theater restoration project is visibly underway!

And in other construction news, I noticed that over the last month there has been a flurry of materials and activity going on over at Harriman-West Airport.

Positive signs all!
Thursday, September 11, 2008
  My Surreal Life
This just came via e-mail and it is completely and totally real:

SUBJECT: Hello from your Room Parents in Mrs. XXXXX's class!

Hello everyone. As was mentioned last night, ####### and I (Jane Swift), will be your room parents this year....



Life is truly funnier than fiction.
  Oh My Freakin' God
It is truly terrifying to think that the person typing right now, a guy who cooks for a living, understands foreign policy better and has a far firmer handle on recent American history than the current Republican Vice Presidential nominee.

(Via TPM)

Charlie obviously forgets that when the Bush Doctrine was unveiled way back in 2002, Sarah was at a PTA Meeting, or was it a hockey game?
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
  Semi-Truth Squad
Media Matters follows Jane's backtracking about lipstick.

If your goal is to build credibility, ending up as a clip Media Matters is not a good sign.
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
  Palin had Rape Victims Charged for Rape Kit & Exam
Here's an story about the former Democratic Governor of Alaska signing a bill forbidding police departments from sending rape victims a bill. Sarah Palin was Mayor of Wasilla at the time. The Police Chief of Wasilla, quoted below, is a guy she hired. She was his boss.

Ask yourself as you read this from Palin's hometown newspaper, 'Would a hands-on autocratic mayor of a small town allow her Chief of Police to advocate against legislation in the media without her consent and approval?'
The new law makes it illegal for any law enforcement agency to bill victims or victims insurance companies for the costs of examinations that take place to collect evidence of a sexual assault or determine if a sexual assault did occur.

We would never bill the victim of a burglary for fingerprinting and photographing the crime scene, or for the cost of gathering other evidence, Knowles said. Nor should we bill rape victims just because the crime scene happens to be their bodies.

While the Alaska State Troopers and most municipal police agencies have covered the cost of exams, which cost between $300 to $1,200 apiece, the Wasilla police department does charge the victims of sexual assault for the tests.

Wasilla Police Chief Charlie Fannon does not agree with the new legislation, saying the law will require the city and communities to come up with more funds to cover the costs of the forensic exams.

In the past weve charged the cost of exams to the victims insurance company when possible. I just dont want to see any more burden put on the taxpayer, Fannon said.
Let's repeat that last line again -
I just dont want to see any more burden put on the taxpayer, Fannon said.
That's not a civil servant talking, that's his elected boss.

Nothing I have seen up to this point in the campaign has made me physically ill and visibly angry - until now.

(via Feministing)
  At Least They Didn't Whine About the Fish
Jeez Jane. Are you really willing to put your credibility on the line like this?
Jane Swift went quickly to work this evening as a leader of a brand new "truth squad" defending GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, excoriating Barack Obama for a comment he made while campaigning in Virginia today.

Obama told voters that they shouldn't believe John McCain and Palin's talk about reforming Washington. "You can put lipstick on a pig," Obama said. "It's still a pig."

"You can wrap an old fish in a piece of paper called change. It's still gonna stink," Obama added. "We've had enough of the same old thing."

Republicans took offense, saying that was a personal attack on Palin, who during the GOP convention speech last week, asked delegates if they knew the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull. Pointing to her mouth, she exclaimed, "Lipstick."

Swift told reporters on a conference call that Obama's comment was "disgraceful" and that "he owes Governor Palin an apology."
The proper reply to this crap should be:
Disingenuous crocodile tears are not what the American people are looking for in their leaders. I'll let you decide whether I just called someone a crocodile.
I fully expect former acting Governor Swift to condemn John McCain's identical comment on Hillary.
Saturday, September 06, 2008
  As GM Goes, So Goes the Nation? Over My Dead Pontiac!
G. Richard Wagoner, Jr.
Chairman & Chief Executive Officer
General Motors Corporation

Dear Mr. Wagoner;

I am writing to inform you that your marketing choice to use Rush Limbaugh to promote your line of green vehicles has cemented my decision to stop buying General Motors products. The fact that you are paying hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars directly to a man whose entire livelihood and career has depended fomenting and furthering cultural and political divisions in our country is unacceptable to me as a consumer.

While I was driving around the other day, I hit the scan button of my radio and tuned to the Rush Limbaugh show for what I thought would be a curious few seconds, until I heard him segue from an angry rant comparing Sarah Palin's and Barack Obama's energy policies into his personalized promotion and endorsement of GM's green fuel SUVs along with your company's sponsorship of his show. According to a recent New York Times Magazine profile of Mr. Limbaugh, this type of sponsorship (which borders on payola in my opinion) is extremely expensive and quite lucrative for the man who has done more damage to the social fabric of our country than any other.

Before you dismiss this letter as the rantings of just another whiny liberal, let me list the cars that I and my wife have owned since graduating from high school over 20 years ago:

1984 Chevy Cavalier
1988 Pontiac Grand Prix
1989 Chevy Beretta
1998 Saturn SW1

We currently drive:

1999 Pontiac Sunfire
2002 Chevy Venture

As our pattern of purchases may suggest, we are approaching the time where both of our vehicles will be replaced. I was a very loyal customer - exactly the type your company tried to groom for a lifetime of purchases. Thanks to your advertising decisions, this time around we will not even be considering a General Motors vehicle.

While I am sure that your marketing and advertising wizards have weighed the cost/benefit ratio of using an extremely divisive spokesperson, the absolute gall of hiring a man who disputes global climate change, who used to brag that his newsletter was printed on "virgin paper" and who finds nothing more enjoyable than to stick his thumb in the eye of any environmental movement to promote your flex fuel vehicles is frankly disgusting.

For the sake of Detroit, my former hometown, and the sake of the hardworking men and women who depend on you to make wise business decisions, I hope that this choice does not damage General Motors in any longstanding fashion. However, I can assure you that GM has lost me as a customer for the indefinite future.

Respectfully yours,
Greg Roach
North Adams, MA
  Republican Disdain for Sacrifice

(Via my friend Tony White)
Friday, September 05, 2008
  Death of the Moderate Republican?
Does anybody remember when Jane Swift signed on to "It's My Party Too," a group dedicated to reclaiming a corner of the Republican Party from the hardcore religious right. Typical issues that IMPT focused on were abortion rights and fiscal conservatism, while distancing itself from the divisive culture wars that were egged on by the Bushies and James Dobsons of the party.

It's My Party Too has now morphed into the less whiny named Republican Leadership Council, where Jane has a position on the board. (Odd coincidence- I used to go to Church with her fellow RLC board member Jim Nicholson from Detroit and knew his kids quite well.) The group still tries to represent the moderate, secularist wing of the Republican Party.

But with Jane's enthusiastic endorsement and defense of the very far right-wing Sarah Palin, who overtly meshes policy and fundamentalist pentecostal religion, (and who flew her future shotgun son-in-law for a photo op while claiming a right to privacy) I am left wondering what happened to our former Governor's "moderate" veneer.

(For the record, I know Jane ever so slightly. Our kids are in the same class and my wife has had lunch with her. And from what I've seen, I like her on a personal level. She was wearing her McCain-Palin ball cap outside the schoolhouse doors today amidst a sprinkling of nearby Obama signs.)
Thursday, September 04, 2008
  McCain's Speech
My reaction to McCain's convention speech is exactly the opposite of the reaction I had to his running mate's: The content, while generic, was solid, but the delivery really sucked.

Nothing I have seen in the last two days has changed my bet that Obama will win by several states.
  Detroit is a mess
According to someone who actually knows about Detroit's politics of corruption, this is only the beginning. The city council which sought to oust the felonious mayor, and the mayor's father, are under the scrutiny of the FBI for corruption regarding a new wastewater treatment plant.

Someday the city of my birth will rise again, but I don't see that day on the horizon.
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
  When She Lied About the Bridge to "Nowhere"
... I had to turn the speech off.

Maybe I am completely tone deaf, but her tone and message will not resonate with the 10% of Americans who are truly undecided. (and they call us shrill) There is just too much lecturing, sneering and faux populism that I can take in an evening.

Buh bye Sarah.
  In Your Guts You Know She's Nuts!!
"God's will is to get that pipeline done.... so pray for that."


She wanted to ban some books:
Shortly after becoming mayor, former city officials and Wasilla residents said, Ms. Palin approached the town librarian about the possibility of banning some books, though she never followed through and it was unclear which books or passages were in question.

Ann Kilkenny, a Democrat who said she attended every City Council meeting in Ms. Palin’s first year in office, said Ms. Palin brought up the idea of banning some books at one meeting. “They were somehow morally or socially objectionable to her,” Ms. Kilkenny said.

The librarian, Mary Ellen Emmons, pledged to “resist all efforts at censorship,” Ms. Kilkenny recalled. Ms. Palin fired Ms. Emmons shortly after taking office but changed course after residents made a strong show of support. Ms. Emmons, who left her job and Wasilla a couple of years later, declined to comment for this article.
Which ones? Given the year I'd bet it was the evil and demonic Harry Potter series which was just gaining serious notoriety.

... AND...

back to the video - This time Iraq policy

"Our national leaders are sending them out on a task that from G-d."

And people thought Barry Goldwater was far right. Oy.
A blog of random thoughts and reactions emanating from the bank of a mountain stream in the farthest reaches of the bluest of blue states.

May 2006 / June 2006 / August 2006 / September 2006 / October 2006 / November 2006 / December 2006 / January 2007 / February 2007 / March 2007 / April 2007 / May 2007 / June 2007 / July 2007 / August 2007 / September 2007 / October 2007 / November 2007 / December 2007 / January 2008 / February 2008 / March 2008 / April 2008 / May 2008 / June 2008 / July 2008 / August 2008 / September 2008 / October 2008 / November 2008 / December 2008 / January 2009 / February 2009 / March 2009 / April 2009 / May 2009 / June 2009 / July 2009 / August 2009 / September 2009 / October 2009 / November 2009 / December 2009 / January 2010 / February 2010 / March 2010 / April 2010 / May 2010 / January 2011 / May 2011 / June 2011 / July 2011 / October 2011 /

greg at gregoryroach dot com

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