Friday, October 31, 2008

Intelligent conversation

I know I promised to get back on a regular schedule, but the new job conspired against me this week. I had forgotten how intransigent grown adults came, which is funny considering that I've been married and had in-laws for 10 years.
I was watching Olbermann earlier tonight. His final guest was John Cleese, easily one of the funniest and smartest writer/performers in Christendom. I found myself thunderstruck by the level of discourse between host and guest. You just never see a smart broadcaster interviewing a smart, engaging guest on television anymore.

Friday, October 24, 2008

I'm alive and almost thriving

So, it's been a week in the new job...a good week. My staff is friendly and competent, as is everyone else at the paper. It's getting colder quickly, but it's not too bad. The rheumatiz is starting to flare up, but it does that at this time of year anyway.
Today was my first non-12-hour day, as I've had to learn the set up fast and get back to paginating on old software on buggy G4s. It came back to me quickly, thank God. My new boss is no hurry to reinvent the product, so I'm just going to tweak and adjust as I go along. I do have to get the new website up to speed by Tuesday, so Saturday is work day this week.
Oddly enough, I've been too busy with newsroom duties to follow the prez race. That's how it is at small papers; you're too busy newsgathering and editing to watch the big picture. I'm going try to catch up tonight, but it looks like things are going as I have predicted: McCain and the GOP are disintegrating and Palin is conducting an ongoing audition for her own show on Fox News.
My cable modem is now installed, so I'm going to force myself to get back on a daily blogging schedule. More tomorrow, whether I'm feeling it or not.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

This pretty well says it all

In today's New York Times, columnist and critic extraordinaire Frank Rich sums up the McCain campaign so succinctly that his piece should be required reading for every so-called pundit and political observer:
As if the Palin pick weren’t damning enough, McCain and his team responded to the financial panic by offering their own panicky simulation of the Bush style of crisis management in real time. Fire the S.E.C. chairman and replace him with Andrew Cuomo! Convene a 9/11 commission to save Wall Street! Don’t bail out A.I.G.! Do bail out A.I.G.! Reacting to polls and the short-term dictates of 24-hour news cycles, McCain offered as many economic-policy reboots in a month as Bush offered “Plans for Victory” during the first three years of the Iraq war.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


I just got in from Michigan and I am wiped. I worked a little in between connections (O'Hare wasn't too bad today) on a post I'll have up tomorrow about an epiphany I had this weekend about Sarah Palin and this guy.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Northern Exposure

I'm halfway through my sojourn and, I must say, the northern latitudes are bursting with pretty colors about right now. In case you haven't bothered to guess, I'm near the Canadian border right now haggling with a fine publication about possibly becoming an unlapsednewsguy
Okay, I know that some of you who know me in the real world have heard me swear off the business 100 times (in fact, I think I may have done so in one of my earliest posts here). I don't know that the present situation before me would be any better or worse, but I do have a good feeling about it. It would be good money-wise, I like editing newspapers, and a change of scenery could do me some good. 
I dunno, we'll see.
This place has all of the charm of a little lake town mixed with the daily brutalities of supply-side economics. The people are ridiculously nice and, to a person, charmed by my unwittingly southern accent (hey, my grandpa escaped Kentucky 75 years ago!). My possible predecessor is leaving a solid paper with a good staff and stable readership. The publisher is an old newsroom guy (definitely a plus) and corporate leaves him alone (an even bigger plus).
I should know by mid-week if this is the place for me. I know now, however, that this blog will continue in its current form, regardless of where I post from. Some would question letting a smartass like lapsednewsguy edit a daily paper, saying he/she/it is too biased; I contend they are mutually exclusive. I dare say the readers of my old papers were never able to suss out my politics, primarily because my politics were none of their business nor relevant to my job.
Contrary to the Idiot Queen of Wasilla's recent screeching, you can have opinions and be even-handed. The secret is to actually listen when other people speak and be prepared to be wrong sometimes.
Of course, that would never occur to her...

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Taking a break

I'm taking a break from my furious blogging regimen of late, as I have business in town Friday and out of town Saturday through Tuesday that will occupy my time. I may fire off one of two posts, but I doubt it. I've been so busy pontificating about America's future that I need to take a few days to attend to mine. I'll be back to my schedule of late by the middle of next week.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Ramsey is half-right

Radio host Dave Ramsey is circulating a plan to save the economy that makes some sense, at least to me. Aside from praying for Congress not to panic, he thinks the government should insure these crappy mortgage bonds, which would give them value they sorely lack now. He also wants to let everyone behind on their mortgages to roll the past due back into their principal and get a fixed rate at six percent. 
All of that seems reasonable, but the last part of the plan is stupid. He wants to abolish the capital gains tax. He says this would give rich people more money to invest in the economy. That's the same horseshit Reagan and Bush shoveled for years as wages stagnated and personal debt skyrocketed. Rich people are rich generally because they don't let the rest of us get our hands on their money. It's true that increased bank deposits and T-bill purchases would help with liquidity for a while, but we would be right back in this mess a few years down the road.
I think Ramsey is right about how irresponsible consumers have been in managing their finances and he often gives his listeners good advice; however, he is wrong about capital gains. The rate is too low and should be raised to the top income tax rates. That would improve the federal government's liquidity and lessen the need to sell T-bills to China and Saudi Arabia to keep the government afloat.