My Bodyguard…

The Sarah Palin trainwreck is the story that just keeps on giving.

Today, in what has to be a new low in presidential politics, Senator John McCain actually sat in on Katie Couric’s latest interview with Governor Palin to help her answer those hardballs Ms. Couric keeps throwing.  You know, tough questions like, “Are you sorry you said it?”

Senator McCain, acting every bit like a lawyer with a loose-lipped client at a deposition, jumps in at the least provocation and in the process only highlights how nervous he is about letting his running mate talk.  Governor Palin, who looks way, way, way happier sitting across from Ms. Couric with her protector at her side, actually manages to produce sentences that are more than fragments and that actually contain a subject and a verb (or a couple of each).  The subjects and verbs don’t always agree, but hey, it’s an improvement.

A lot has been written about the sexist treatment of Governor Palin since her announcement, but the most egregious examples – including this – have come from Team McCain.


– Austin

PS. Here’s some reviews of the performance:  The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Boston Herald, the Boston Herald again, the Los Angeles Times, the Baltimore Sun, Editor & Publisher, and CNN’s AC 360.

And, for those of you who – in the words of Kathleen Parker – have exhausted your “cringe refex,” here’s a warning so you can start avoiding the television: according to the Guardian newspaper’s political blogger, “Meanwhile, CBS is reportedly sitting on footage of Palin proving herself unable to name any Supreme Court decision except Roe versus Wade.”

Let’s go to the tape machine.

PPS – As with her interview with Charles Gibson, the scariest part of yesterday’s interview was Governor Palin’s enduring absolute certainty that she’s up to this job:

Couric: Gov. Palin, since our last interview, you’ve gotten a lot of flak. Some Republicans have said you’re not prepared; you’re not ready for prime-time. People have questioned your readiness since that interview. And I’m curious …

Palin: Yeah.

Couric: … to hear your reaction.

Palin: Well, not only am I ready, but willing and able to serve as vice-president with Sen. McCain if Americans so bless us and privilege us with the opportunity of serving them, ready with my executive experience as a city mayor and manager, as a governor, as a commissioner, a regulator of oil and gas.

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Rocket Man

When I was growing up I wanted to be an astronaut.  Not enough to try to become one, but enough so that I followed every twist and turn of our moonshot efforts and to the extent that I became a lifelong sci-fi fan.

Unfortunately, as I got older, the wonderful worlds of space exploration I read about – fictional and otherwise – began to shrink.  Turns out inventing a hyperdrive (or warp drive or underspace or FTL or whatever-you-want drive) isn’t imminent, extended time in space dangerously weakens your bones and muscles and space exploration – at least as practiced by the government – was expensive.  In any era of shrinking horizons, it became less popular to appropriate billions for space travel when people at home were hurting.  I don’t necessarily disagree with this calculus, but I do think we lost something when we gave up exploring space and focused instead on cultivating the regions of low-earth orbit that the space shuttle and ISS work in.

So, it is deeply exciting to me that the private sector is beginning to take up the challenge of getting humanity off the planet and out there.  This is the best insurance, IMHO, that the human race will survive if we manage to irretrievably screw up the home world.  Last night, we took a big step forward with the success launch of SpaceX‘s Falcon 1.  SpaceX is the product of Elon Musk who helped found PayPal and raked in a cool $1.5 billion from its sale.

Now, that’s cool.

– Austin

PS – The picture above is a painting by Chesley Bonestell who really captured the spirit of space exploration that captured the imangination of boomers like me. small business association fine


Looks like Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Minority Leader John Boehner need bigger whips. The Wall Street bailout bill went down 205-228, with Republicans voting against it by better than 2-to-1.

The Dow is dropping through the floor. At Noon, it was down 250 points; after the vote went down, it fell like a rock and even though it bounced around a bit, the after-market numbers keep dropping.  Right now, it’s blown right through the largest single-day loss record of 722.11 points and is 777.68 points down.   This chart doesn’t reflect the after-market drop, but it does illustrate the reaction of the market to the vote.

Putting everything into political terms – because that’s where we’ll end up – my first approximation analysis is that this is a very bad development for John McCain.  His only slender reed of justification for his actions of last week was that he helped the House Republicans get back in the negotiation process.  That reed has now been snapped.

The House Republicans huddled after the vote and came out to declare that their failure to deliver their own party was…Nancy Pelosi’s fault.  According to their spin, her harsh partisan rhetoric hurt the feelings of many House Republicans.  Please.

They do, though, have one valid point:  the Dems let 94 of their own votes off the ranch.  That wouldn’t have happened under Sam Rayburn.

The Dems were a little less partisan, but not much.  They pointed out – appropriately I think – that this was a Republican initiative from a Republican administration and despite that, the Dems stepped up and 60 percent of them supported the bill.  Less than 35 percent of Republicans did the same.

There won’t be another vote today as members are already leaving to be home for Roshashana.  No further word on the schedule.

George Bush just spoke to express his disappointment.  His remarks – to me anyway – only underline how irrelevant he’s become to the process.  I think most Americans would probably rather here from Hank Paulson at this point.

The talking heads on CNN are sounding panicky.  They have mostly dropped any pretense of being objective about the “news”; I just heard one of the plead that “those of you who are in a position to do something about this, time is of the essence.  The markets are shut down.”


– Austin sample invoices fine