Media Bias for McCain

August 17, 2008

Blog in the headlines, concerning media concern for McCain:

So Why Do Americans Still Believe John McCain?

Although some of these points would appear to be valid (circa February 2000), it really is hard to draw a comparison with the racket Obama has going.

Consider the gap in coverage between the two.

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Obama and the Big Awl Biness

August 10, 2008

Due to a lull in the campaign action, I’m here to rifle off some thoughts on these energy policies.

First of all, Paris Hilton has a balanced and generally agreeable plan. I think both candidates would admit some support for it.

Obama is being absurd

An energy rebate for families paid for using windfall oil profits? Is he going to tax the profits of the Saudi royal family?

People in the media continue to point fingers at the supermajor oil companies for price gouging. They cite their “record profits,” which are, of course, in the billions. Numbers like that…just…sound so large! Sometimes you’ll even hear a politician refer to their record “profit margins.” Of course, profit margins can be expressed as either a percentage of revenue or as an absolute number. Which do you think is their favorite?

Let’s do a quick financial check on Exxon-Mobil, as of today.

profit margin: 10.17%

operating margin: 15.72%

Pfizer has numbers of 18.52% and 31.15%, respectively. Why aren’t drug companies being attacked? (Because it would be counter-productive to attack them also, would be my answer). Is it because they sell something that is “good?” For what it’s worth, Altria makes 21.38% and 35.99%, respectively.

The average profit margin for many large cap companies is somewhere around 8-9%. The oil sector has generally been achieving 9-10%.

NEWS FLASH: The price of OIL is going up. Oil is the major component of gasoline. Therefore, the price of gasoline is going up. Oil companies are paying more for oil and they are charging more for gasoline. Does this not make sense? When these politicians and talking heads quote oil profits they use absolute numbers. They have record profits, revenues, and costs. The dollar value has simply gone up (as the dollar itself withers).

Another fact: 0.05% of Exxon-Mobil is held by insiders. That’s incredible! Meanwhile, 53% of this company’s shares are held by institutions (typical Americans). When Exxon-Mobil makes a profit, so do a ton of retired Americans and anyone else saving for retirement.

Over 13% of Microsoft is held by insiders. Over 36% of Lee Enterprises is held by insiders.

McCain is Being Absurd

But selling tire gauges is at least an attempt at being funny. I don’t find this energy rebate to be entertaining.


Trusting the Candidate

May 12, 2008

It seems as if Barack Obama will indeed be the Democratic candidate for president in 2008.

We are faced with a choice between two very different Senators; however, I will argue that they are both mysterious. Each of them will be a leap of faith, to a certain degree.

We don’t know much about Barrack Obama. Not only has he spent a very short time holding a federal office, he hasn’t cast any particularly telling votes, as many have already noted. If elected, he will have sold himself to the American people as someone who can be trusted despite this. Is it risky? Perhaps. We can pay for it if we aren’t careful. I would argue that we did in the case of John F. Kennedy. He couldn’t handle Cuba had his (and every other American’s) life depended on it. We found ourselves in the very awkward Bay of Pigs controversy and (possibly because of that) locked in the Cuban Missile Crises with a junta of Soviets who thought our president was weak and incapable.  Perhaps it’s unfair to make this comparison. It remains a fact that Barack Obama has had a very short public career and has said rather little.

On the other side of the aisle we have John McCain. During his rather long public career he has proven himself to be rather unpredictable. Some of his enemies (on the right and left alike) claim that he is very much a party man and that he has made a noticeable shift toward that image in the past eight years. His history, however, indicates that he is not your run-of-the-mill Republican.

America seems to misunderstand the executive’s role in our government. I’ve long thought this. Our media and our pundits drone on and on about a president’s view on a particular issue or his past feelings on something or other. We know the president has little law-making ability without a complicit congress, so why do we hang up on these things. Much more important is his ability to act as a political unifier, an ambassador, the manager of a cabinet, etc. Of course, you can’t predict these things during a campaign season. If there’s no personal history to observe, it’s always a leap of faith.

In either case, this will be an interesting upcoming decade.


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?”