Howard Dean on Military Service

March 29, 2008

Pretty good:

2008:

“While we honor McCain’s military service, the fact is Americans want a real leader who offers real solutions, not a blatant opportunist who doesn’t understand the economy…”

2004:

“Who would you rather have in charge of the defense of the United States of America, a group of people who never served a day overseas in their life, or a guy [Kerry] who served his country honorably and has three Purple Hearts and a Silver Star on the battlefields of Vietnam?”

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Sovereign Wealth Funds and Their Sub-prime Cash Infusions

March 26, 2008

I’ve been meaning to comment on this for some time and, while delaying, the topic has fallen out of the news quite a bit. Recent Coverage.

Across the winter of 2007-2008 we’ve been hearing about the sudden rise of sovereign wealth funds and their cash advances to victims of this “sub-prime” fiasco.

If you were to listen to CNN or Fox News, perhaps, you might hear some discussion (and fear) of the foreign influence on our economy. If you were to listen to CNBC rather, you might well have heard some very positive opinions. One interview I saw included two panelists who both agreed…entirely.

There are a number of safeguards concerning foreign control of American corporations. The fear that our economy is going to be stolen from us is an exaggeration. However, the positive opinions on this topic seemed to be summarized as: “well, these firms need the cash, so…it’s a good thing.”

Well, my self-centered media friends, that’s not what I’d call a good thing. These firms should be ready to suffer the consequences. Their executives have been given the ax and their boards are shaken. Though many pension funds and individual Americans were counting on these firms, this is the situation we have before us. We need better corporate governance and risk-incentive controls; that would be a “good thing.” Unfortunately, we can only punish these supremely wealthy but now retired executives so much. Yeah…

If there’s a reason that this is a good thing it’s because we are growing closer and more diversified ties with parts of the world that have very non-diversified economies and unpredictable societies. To give an overly simple analogy: we cooperate well with Britain and Japan, for example, because we have many mutual interests and we value the stability of the international economy. This, perhaps, is why we haven’t come toe-to-toe with China and found ourselves in a more adversarial relationship, despite our political and competitive differences.

If the UAE, Singapore, and Kuwait pour state-controlled funds into our American corporations they have a legitimate interest in our economic welfare. We can leverage this relationship and tie it to support for any number of our national interests, not least of which are security and anti-terrorism efforts. This, I submit, might be the “good thing” to come out of this international financing debacle. A world with more to gain from stability and capital flow than from a distributive vision of competition is less inclined toward conflict. Game theory saves the day and the Sudetenland is safe.

Of course, we’ve lost any sense of our own stability in this ridiculous process. Our currency is falling like a rock; much of it is over-seas due to our increasingly costly oil spending; sensibly, the sovereign wealth funds, with their rapidly depreciating stockpiles of American dollars, have decided to buy our financial firms while they’re on sale. Meanwhile, our homes are losing value as if they’re on fire. So as we’ve done many times before, here we are taking one for the team.

Well, at least they’re speaking French in Alsace-Lorraine.


Sen. Clinton in Bosnia

March 26, 2008

You just can’t predict the next controversy.

Hopefully this incident will finally bring to light the belief that these two should not argue about “experience,” which, though important, is not solid ground for either candidate.

By the way, do you know what your congressman is doing or saying right now? Does anyone seem to care?


Bill O’Reilly on Obama’s Coverage

March 4, 2008

Just a few moments ago Brit Hume was speaking with Bill O’Reilly about tonight’s primary contests.

O’Reilly mentioned that the New York Times, due to its McCain-affair assertions, has damaged its reputation and will continue to suffer financially. (I doubt that can be ascertained from these current events; they just may galvanize a like-minded support base).

He noted NBC’s affinity for Obama, while brining up the Saturday Night Live treatment as well. He cited a statistic: that Obama’s news coverage has been 83% positive. He seems to think that these things will lead to a Clinton resurgance.

He described NBC’s supposed favoritism as “corrupt.” He qualified that by stating that, if NBC is going to be supportive of Obama, they should come right out and say so.

The media, of course, doesn’t have a political angle. Doesn’t O’Reilly know that?


Another Saturday Night Intercession

March 2, 2008

Previously mentioned: last week’s Saturday Night Live skit regarding the media’s portrayal the Democratic primary race. The most recent edition of SNL included another commentary on this issue, which is quite interesting. Twice now, Saturday Night Live has taken it upon itself to address media bias directly.

Hillary Clinton Does SNL

Outside the Beltway notes that this sense of partiality is odd, that it is more customary to make light of both candidates. I have to believe, though, that they are doing this in large part because no one else is. Moreover, the candidates are hardly being parodied at all; the object of the joke is NBC.

As an aside: this appearance, like Mike Huckabee’s, came off fairly well. Such a thing is always a risk. (Recall George W. Bush on David Letterman).


American Media ♥ Barack

March 1, 2008

The suspicion that Barack Obama is getting comparatively favorable media coverage is coming into discussion.

Media Expert Decries Campaign Coverage

The article references this Saturday Night Live skit:

THE SKIT

This is, of course, a topic of great interest to this blog. I often wonder what is behind media bias, real or perceived. MSNBC, for example, has been accused of being Obama’s loudest cheering section (SNL apparently agrees). Is it because they have an ideological affinity for him? Is it because there is some economic incentive for them to cover him more favorably?

Is it even the case that he is receiving better treatment? If so, we can agree that it is something very significant. We would need some means of determining the particular bias in each news source we encounter. Lacking that, we would be nothing but suspicious of our largest news outlets.

What responsibility does the media have? Should they come out and tell us what their angle is…or do we expect that they shouldn’t have one?