Monday, September 29, 2008

Happy New Year and a happy year to all

Tonight the Jewish New Year recycles into the year 5769.

Unlike some new year's celebrations, and in a typical Jewish way, this year is marked with a festival meal and with high hopes for the future, but also with reflection on the things that one did during the past year that, on thinking for more than a nanosecond, one would not have done.

Since Jews believe that one cannot even start to ask God for forgiveness until you ask forgiveness from fellow humans, I ask forgiveness from any reader whom I treated badly in any way during this past year. 

I'm not going to go on about secular things, the bailout, the upcoming debate between Sarah Palin and Joe Biden or the spin on things from John McCain and Barack Obama. 

I am going to say, however, that God has a sense of humor that is sometimes hard to fathom. Don't believe it? Think about Florida, November 2000. So, i guess the message is be ready for anything. 

A couple of things about which I'm a little surprised. First, I'm a little surprised that My Bob, the furniture shouter, hasn't marketed a mattress with a safe in it for storing your money until the markets straighten out. On the other hand, I have a Bob-O-Pedic mattress and it's all that he says it is. 

I'm a little surprised that Sarah Palin is still on the ticket. I think the crew of Saturday Night Live, Jon Stewart and every other topical comedian in the world have taken up a collection and sent it to McCain 2008 with the proviso that she remain on the ticket.

Anyway, that's enough. Thanks to all who stop by this posting regularly, thanks to Moti and Rev and Paul and Andrea and Malka and the rest of you who really care what I write. It's humbing to say the least.

I'm taking a few days off to celebrate the holidays, play with the grandchildren and to start to fathom the myriad ways I can improve myself. 

To those in the Tribe, Shana Tova.

Until next time...

Friday, September 26, 2008

The debate is on, like there was a doubt

So, the presidential aspirants will debate tonight after all, despite Sen. John McCain's grandstanding and his abortive, never-gonna-happen attempt to get the debates postponed. 

So, what have we accomplished? There was a meeting yesterday at the White House, called President Bush at McCain's request, at which the deal fell apart. Maybe the fact that presidential politics was injected into the process gave the House GOP caucus the impetus to throw a monkey wrench into the process. 

I'm not sure they're wrong in thinking that Wall Street got itself into this mess and should get itself out. The only problem is that these same guys, or their political antecedents, insisted on disabling the very regulations that would have stopped the Wall Street fat cats from getting themselves into the mess in the first place. Political hypocrites abound in Washington.

McCain threw the dice without thinking about the consequences. He may ultimately gain by this device, especially if his GOP teammates give him credit where credit is certainly not due for helping craft the legislation that ultimately may give the markets the cash injection, as well as the hope injection, that the secretary of the treasury and the head of the Federal Reserve say they need. 

I was, by the way, impressed with the clear thinking that Sen. Barack Obama showed yesterday. He kept his head when those around him, including McCain, were losing theirs. Some say it shows a lack of passion or that he really doesn't get it. 

To be able to give a talk, such as the one he gave to the Clinton Global Initiative meeting, hours after McCain sounded like Walter Brennan in "The Real McCoys" with his scattershot, undeveloped comments. McCain said we need to do something about malaria in Africa; Obama gave a definitive, well thought out plan saying exactly what he would do (sleeping nets, medicines), how much it should cost, who would handle it, and the like. 

I know in the newsroom, when everyone is up to their butts in alligators, the person who is calm, collected and thinking is the one who will put out the good paper the next day. Multiply that by a few thousand times and you have what is needed in the White House.

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I would like to thank the University of Mississippi for scheduling the debate on a Friday night so observant Jews can't see it. I also would like to thank the major Jewish organizations for being viewed as so dumb, especially after screwing up the rally against Iran at the U.N. this past week, so that the schedulers of the debate don't consider the wants and needs of many Jews.

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Locally,  there seems to be a new power group, a lobbying group in New Haven made up of people who seem to hate automobiles.

They are bicyclists, pedestrians and Yale people who want their concerns addressed in all transportation discussions. There is nothing wrong with that per se, but the way many of them act on the road may lead drivers to dismiss them as a bunch of cranks (pun intended).

Look, I don't get into a car unless I have to. First of all, I can't afford it. Gas is too damn expensive, for no good reason. The price of oil has come down, but the price of gas has remained high. This happens over and over again and nothing is going to be done about it as long as oil interests, in the person of the president and the vice president, rule in the White House and the gas station owners are such a powerful lobby in Hartford.

Take it as a given that most people don't get into a car unless they have to. There are few alternatives. Walking between Westville, for example, and downtown is beyond the capability of many older residents and, by the way, can be dangerous at certain times of day. Many trips are for a single purpose, so spending two or three hours on a bus in order to do one or two errands doesn't make much sense either. So we drive.

You don't help flitting into and out of traffic on your bikes. You cut across traffic, you run red lights, you peddle in the middle of a traffic lane. Try to drive on Prospect Street or Grove Street and you run into buffalo-herds of students who just won't stop before they cross the street. Yes, drivers are supposed to allow pedestrians the right of way, but when does it become our turn?

Look, Yalies, your campus is bounded by College, Chapel, York and Grove streets, but intersected by Elm Street. That's a city street, paid for by me and my fellow taxpayers. Give us a break, will you? Elm Street crossings are protected by WALK lights, but you are so deep in conversation that you just keep walking into traffic. Knock it off.

Sharing the road is a good concept, but everyone has to play fair. 

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There's a crummy weekend coming up, weather-wise. Hope you make the best of it. Have a great weekend, enjoy the debates, don't panic financially and, for those in the Tribe, a great Shabbos.

Until next time... 

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Multitasking versus grandstanding

One of the compositors at the Journal-Courier of New Haven, back before it was subsumed into the New Haven Register, had an expression that is quite appropriate for the current political-economic situation.

"Never time to do it right; always time to do it over."

A compositor was a person who assembled the pages of a newspaper from the strips of words and the photos and other graphics. That work has long-since been taken over by computers, but these artists could make a page sing with a snip here and an idea there.

I've forgotten his name, but then again, I forget mine from time to time.

His work was like the attempt to assemble a bailout of the nation's economy. 

The pols and economist types who are trying to plug the hole in the nation's economic boat would do well to do heed his precept. After all, it took years to get into this fix. Greed played a part, and a mistaken belief that capitalists could police themselves.

 Another part was played by a real attempt to get large numbers of people to be homeowners that was co-opted by cynical, selfish people who could only think about what was in it for them.

The compositors advice works here: Take the time to do it right the first time. There is a huge amount of treasure involved. As the late Sen. Everett Dirksen said, "A billion here, a billion there and pretty soon you're talking about real money."

Tonight, the president goes on national television to plead for the bailout plan as presented. This plan calls for a great deal of trust. Trust must be earned. These guys have not earned any. The president couldn't sell water in the middle of the Sahara. Safeguards have to be put into place, even if it takes a little longer. "Never time to do it right..."

I agree with three of the Obama points on the bailout deal. The people who are ponying up this money need to get something out of it. There has to be regulation and somebody or some bodies to keep these guys honest. And there has to be a limit on how much these guys who got us into this mess in the first place can profit from it.

The demand for a bailout of mortgagees is less needed. These people knew, or should have known, that they couldn't afford the houses they were buying. There has to be accountability. So, if it can be worked out, fine. But don't hold the deal out for that. 

My wife and I worked too hard to lose our savings on account of stupid people who went blindly into loans they had no hope of repaying, save winning the lottery or holding up a Brinks truck. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Some people can only be renters. Sorry, but that's life.

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Today's maneuvering by the presidential candidates showed a lot about what we an expect from them. It showed their character, or rather the lack of character, by Sen. John McCain.

Let's review. About 8:30 this morning, Sen. Barack Obama's people called McCain's people and suggested, since their stands on the $700 billion bailout were so similar, why not issue a joint statement urging the Congress to be sure to include their wishes into the bailout. After all, one of these men would be in charge of shepherding these plans after Jan. 20. 

They were in touch during the day, working on a joint statement behind the scenes.

But McCain couldn't just be part of a joint statement being worked behind the scenes. He had to grandstand, had to go on television and say he was suspending his campaign, which now was about 10 points behind Obama's. He invited Obama to join him. 

McCain said he was going to Washington, after just one more speech, to sit down with leaders and help with the solution. This was too important to inject politics into the matter. He also called for a suspension of this week's first presidential debate. I wonder if it anything to do with his level of readiness for the debate. 

Of course, both McCain and Obama traveling to Washington and sitting in on the negotiations would do nothing but inject presidential politics into the equation. Their staffs would have to get photo ops of their candidates being presidential. It couldn't work.

McCain's statement made him look desperate, acting like Howdy Doody on speed.

After a few hours, Obama came out, calmly, and said he didn't think there was any need to suspend the campaigns. After all, the president just might have to tackle more than one problem at a time. The American people, he said, needed to see the men who would lead the nation and find out what their strategies might be. 

The debate, he said, should go on, although the subject matter might be changed from foreign policy to economics or a combination of the two. He was still interested in a joint statement and didn't accuse McCain of grandstanding, even though reporters were trying to goad him into doing just that. 

Obama calmly said that if he were needed in Washington, if he could do more than participate in photo ops,  he would drop everything and go. "We both have these big planes with our slogans painted on them," that could transport the candidate to and from Washington and to Mississippi for the debate and then back to Washington, if necessary.

Again, he said, the president should be able to handle more than one problem at a time. 

Multitasking or grandstanding. I guess we do have a clear choice when it comes to a presidential candidate. 

Until next time...

Friday, September 19, 2008

Largest debtors get to rewrite the rules.

The old saw is true, as it has always been: When you owe the bank $5,000, the bank owns you; when you owe it $5 billion, you own the bank.

So, the government is running around, throwing a half-trillion dollars in a now-necessary bailout of the whole financial system. And to think, it started with mortgages to people who shouldn't have asked for them and certainly shouldn't have been granted them.

For those who don't have a stake in the stock market, people too poor, they think, to have to worry about what goes on in the financial markets, think again. You do have to worry and worry a lot.

I ran into New Haven Chief Administrative Officer Rob Smuts last night at what was supposed to be a city dog and pony show but turned into an information session for city officials. 

In answer to a question, he said the city won't directly be hurt by the financial crisis. The sale of bonds to do some necessary work may be delayed, but that won't hurt much in the long run.

The real danger to the city, he said, in the possibility that the state may be hurt and hurt badly by a prolonged Wall Street crisis. How so? Well, he said, think about how many people who used to work at Lehman Brothers live in Connecticut. Think of the taxes they pay on their incomes, on their personal property. Think of the state's investments, billions of dollars. 

If the state takes in appreciably less money, the cities get appreciably less money for education, payments in lieu of taxes, public assistance and the rest. If you are public assistance, Medicaid, or other programs, the state kicks in a lot of money. 

The city laid off 34 people. More may have to go if the city's income from the state is adversely affected, he said. Something to think about whether you have money in the market or all your money is tied up in cash.

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People who sell bank stocks short were compared to looters. I compare them to ghouls. These are people who try to profit from someone else's misfortune. You know, like the tramps and thieves who sold mortgages to people whom they knew couldn't pay them back, then sold them to gullible bankers and money managers, who packaged the loans and sold them to investors.

Selling short is making a bet to sell a stock at a specific price on a certain date. You are betting that the stock will drop in value before that date. If the stock is worth less, then you buy the stock for the lower price and sell it at the agreed price and make a profit on the difference. 

The thing is, you don't have to buy the stock until the agreed time, so you never own the stock and never have to pay anything until the sale. 

Short-sellers have been blamed, and rightfully so, for driving bank of other stocks farther down than they would have fallen for nothing except their own profit. There used to be rules against that, but the Bush run against regulation stopped all that. 

So now, wait for it, the geniuses in the financial markets and in Congress are proposing a ban on much of the ghoulish short-selling and a ban on selling a mortgage to someone who cannot afford it and cannot prove that they can afford it.

Oh yes, the down-payment is back.

In the late 1980s, I was covering real estate for the New Haven Register and Freddie Mac brought me, along with a lot of other reporters, down to its palatial offices in New York to teach us about mortgages. We were required to underwrite a mortgage, to go through the process that bankers used (past tense, and, it looks like, future tense) to determine whether to grant a mortgage. 

You needed a down payment, and you had to prove that you didn't borrow the money for the down payment. You had to have earned it. Then you had money tied up in the house so you were less likely to walk away. 

Another thing: You must earn enough money so that the monthly mortgage payment cannot be more than 28 percent of your monthly gross income, and all housing expenses -- insurance, utilities and the like -- could not be more than 35 percent of your gross income. 

It looks like we are getting back to that now. It's one of the suggestions for the rules and regulations to be put back in to be sure this doesn't happen again, at least not for the same reasons.

And who's leading the charge? George W. Bush, the same fool who decided we didn't need all this regulation getting in the way of the free market.

Well George, as you would say it, "Waaal, Ah guesses the free market ain't all that free after all." No George, it ain't.

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The upcoming weekend looks like a late-summer, early fall dandy, cool and sunny. There is a rally at the United Nations Monday at 11:45 to show Iran's president, in the U.S. to make a speech at the U.N., what we feel about him and his policies. Now that the idiots at the Orthodox Union and the Council of Presidents of  Major American Jewish Jewish Organizations stopped trying to make this a partisan political event, my wife and I will probably go. I don't know who's idea it was to invite Sarah Palin, but I'm glad smarter heads won out.

Anyway, have a great weekend and, for those in the Tribe, a wonderful Shabbos and a meaningful Slichot.

Until next time...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Brother, can you spare a fiver?

First, a little celebration and back-slapping. This is the 200th edition of Len'sLens. This little exercise in free-form writing began in 2006, sometime after I decided to accept Gannett's  offer to evacuate the seat I had occupied for the better part of a decade and a half.

For those among you who have been loyal readers of these previous 199 posts, thanks so much. Writing can sometimes seem like howling into the wind, but it keeps one going, and on one's toes as well, to know there really is someone on the other end of the conversation.

I've "met" some interesting people, including the guy who recorded "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer", which may have some more political import this year than Dr. Elmo Shropshire, may have intended.  I "met" a fellow who runs a Web site dedicated to airport parking. 

It's humbling to realize that people really do care what I write and have taken the time to take me to task when they thought it was merited.

Again, to all, thanks for your loyalty and I look forward to another 200.

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One of the saddest songs ever written, one that never fails to bring a tear, is "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime," a 1932 ditty written by E.Y. Harburg and Jay Gorney and sung by Bing Crosby. It's about a guy who fought in World War I, built roads, skyscrapers and now has been brought low by the Great Depression, begging for a dime and for a crust of bread.

I figure a five-dollar bill is worth about what a dime was worth back then, when you could get a good cup of coffee for a nickel; therefore the headline.

I'm not saying we're in a depression. By the way, do you know the difference between a recession and a depression? A recession is when you lose your job; a depression is when I lose mine. 

We're in a recession, whether the addle-brained duo who the Republicans are trying to foist on the nation as president and vice president realize it or not. During the start of the Great Depression, there were no federal guarantees on bank accounts and Social Security and the other things that the Admiral Stockdale clone and the Bullwinkle killer would have been dead set against, had they been alive then. 

Remember Admiral James Stockdale? He's the guy that Ross Perot picked for vice president when he ran against Bill Clinton in 1992, the guy who didn't quite know who he was and what he was supposed to do. 

So, we now have a war hero, a mediocre senator with a temper who shoots from the hip, doesn't think about what his advisers tell him to do, you know, like pick an unknown moose- killing hypocrite for vice president without finding out very much about her and those around her.

So, we have running for vice president a woman who, with her family and history, seems to be better suited for the green room at the Jerry Springer show than the Blue Room at the White House.

I like that. It's pithy, like what's the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull? 

For those not in the know, the green room at a television show is the place where guests are kept before going on. I would guess all the stuff in Springer's green room is plastic so the place can we washed down with a fire hose and bleach after each episode. The Blue Room at the White House is a room for official functions. No plastic needed there. 

My friend Eliana gave me an email she received about Mrs. Palin, who likes to shoot wolves from helicopters, and her running mate, who likes to shoot off his mouth before putting brain in gear. 

It starts: "I'm a little confused. Let me see if I've got this straight..."

"If you grow up in Hawaii, raised by your grandparents, you're 'exotic, different.'
Grow up in Alaska eating mooseburgers, a quintessential American story."

"If your wife is a Harvard graduate lawyer who gave up a position in a prestigious law firm for the betterment of her inner-city community, then gave that up to raise a family, your family's values don't represent America's...
"If your husband is nicknamed 'first dude', with at least one DWI conviction and no college education, who didn't register to vote until age 25 and was once a member of a group that advocated the secession of Alaska from the USA, your family is extremely admirable."

I like this one the best: "If you have been married to the same woman for 19 years while raising 2 beautiful daughters, all within Protestant churches, you're not a real Christian...
If you cheated on your first wife with a rich heiress, and left your disfigured wife and married the heiress the next month, you're a Christian."
"OK, much clearer now," the email concludes.

I don't know who sent this to my friend, but good work. If you want to take credit, let me know and I will be happy to give credit where it is so rightly due.

Back to the economy. It is hurting. Bad. People with money in banks and accounts at brokerage houses should have nothing to fear. People with stock in Lehman Brothers, well, sorry about that. 

This whole thing started because of a serious, serious lack of oversight and regulation by our government and the folks in Washington led to an anything goes housing-mortgage market. No matter how he tries to put lipstick on that, John McCain was in Washington during that time, spouting about laissez-faire. Let business alone, don't make corporations pay taxes, and the savings will trickle down to the little guy.

Balderdash. The only place the money tricked down, or actually flooded down, was to the pockets of the corporation and its top executives. They took the money and kept it. Got it? They kept it in 1986 under Reagan and in 2003 until now under Bush. Give them the same set of circumstances, they'll keep it again. 

This election may be about our economic future. We can't afford unprepared, unintelligent, unscrupulous people in the White House or listening at the window with a stethoscope.

Yes, it's harsh, but these are serious times. No, we don't need to start singing "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?" yet, but with the same bunch who have been asleep at the switch since 2001 rehired for the next four or eight years, we may have to start learning the words.

Until next time...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A few thoughts on Sept. 11

I was asleep when the first tower fell.

I slept through many of the seminal events of the past 30-plus years. It's an occupational hazard for newspeople who work late into the overnight. 

 I had slept through the Challenger explosion. My boss, Bob Granger, called just after the event. We had been out talking and having a few drinks the night before and my addled brain couldn't comprehend what he was saying. I thought he was joking. 

This time, my wife woke me. I don't remember why she was home so far into the morning on that Tuesday, but she woke me to tell me of the unfathomable events. I asked her if it wasn't  some overproduced movie. The tears in her eyes told me all I needed to know.

I was in the shower when the second tower fell.

I called my office. My boss at what is now The Journal News in Westchester County, who has long since left, was unreachable, so I called his boss. He told me to get there as soon as I could. He thought there would be an extra. Of course, my boss was horrified that I talked to someone else but him. The things you remember.

After pausing long enough to see both towers fall, thanks to one of the innumerable replays, I got on the highway.

It's said God protests fools. I don't think I hit under 90 mph all the way down the Merritt  and Hutchinson River parkways down to the office, across the highway from White Plains. I know I passed a half-dozen cops sitting along the side of the road. Ordinarily, I would have collected speeding tickets.

This was no ordinary day.

I got to the office and helped edit the EXTRA! 

It wasn't long before photographers who had been at Ground Zero started coming back with unbelievable photos. We had a version of THE photo, the firefighters raising the flag. A paper in New Jersey just got theirs on the network a few minutes sooner. Such is life.

We huddled with the photo editors, the wire editors. You probably don't know Dan Murray. He's a gruff bear of a man who loves Van Morrison, the rock star. 
He's also a great, great newsman. The EXTRA! Page One was basically a screaming headline and a photo of the blazing towers. The regular edition Page One was THE photo with a headline. It told it all. 

Murray had the situation well in hand, while lesser editors were arguing about things like quote boxes, type styles, overtime and the rest. The night was a blur. Although what has become known simply as Sept. 11 was the top story, there were also other stories, things of transient importance that had to be told. I think I spent much of the time on those, getting all that under control so Murray could organize history.

Now, because of budget considerations, Murray has retired. It's a great loss.

We huddled about how much to tell the photographers about the white powder that clung to their clothing, shoes and hair. It was dust from the building, but we knew that some of the dust was organic, if you know what I mean. People. 

We got calls from Oklahoma City. They had been through it with the Murrah building bombing. Sage advice. Get some counseling as soon as possible. 

It's been seven years. Our national leadership has done a rum job of it. They used fear to keep their jobs in 2004. The people who actually knocked down those buildings are still running free, while we have ruined the lives of millions in the U.S. and Iraq fighting the wrong war.

Thanks for reading. It helps to write about it. After you've looked into the eyes of a kid barely old enough to drink, a photographer who has just seen things normally experienced only by soldiers in combat, nothing is ever quite the same.

But then again, because of these mistakes, tens if not hundreds of thousands of kids barely old enough to drink have seen things that will curdle your soul. 

Let's hope another generation of kids don't have to see these things. My father used to say, "Don't be a hero with somebody else's guts." 

Sage advice for  our president. And the next one.

Until next time...

Saturday, September 6, 2008

GOP convention enough to make a vulture barf

OK, OK, I give up.

I really tried to watch the May and December show at the Republican National
Convention this week, but I just couldn't stomach it.

Anyone who has read in this space knows I have little use for George W.
Bush. But these 20,000 party faithful, among millions of others, who sat on
their hands while he turned a large surplus into a record deficit, took us
to an unnecessary war while allowing the people who DID knock down those
buildings to roam free and turned this nation into an international pariah,
had the guts to turn their backs on him and Vice President Dick Cheney. Well,
they should be ashamed.

And John McCain, who went along with Bush and company the vast, vast
majority of the time, had the balls (sorry) to stand there and try to
disassociated himself from the Washington establishment, should be doubly

For McCain to stand there and preach reconciliation after his attack dog,
Mr. 911 himself, Rudolph Giuliani, lisped his way through a smarmy, nasty
pack of lies and half-truths that ran 13 minutes long.

And then for McCain to stand there and say that he and his handlers' pick for vice
president were going to turn Washington upside down. Where has he and that
Quisling Joe Lieberman been for the past decades? The GOP had control of all
three branches of government for most of the past eight years and a majority
of the past 30 years, and McCain stands there and pretends not to be part of
the Washington rat pack.

Who did he think he was kidding? Here's a guy who, until very recently had
been against drilling for oil along the coast and in protected Alaska wilds,
who was leading the "drill baby drill" contingent. It was enough to make a
vulture barf.

Here's a guy who really wanted Lieberman as vice president so he could
really lead an inclusive government. Again, his handlers, kowtowing to the
far right, the radical right, talked him out of it. They must have shown him
photos of the Oval Office. For them, the end justifies the means, and now,
for him, it apparently does as well.

And his Alaskan attack dog, the hockey mom, who would take away the very
choice her daughter had when she found that her mom was wrong about
there being no need for birth control education. She had some good lines and
delivered them in her whiny voice. She sounded like the sorority girls from
"Animal House." I'm better than you, even though I trying to tell you that I
am you. Sorry, you can't have it both ways.

Anyway, it was enough. After Hillary Rodham Clinton lost the nomination,
both my wife and I were wondering whom to vote for, or whether to vote at

Watching the GOP this week changed all that.

OK, Barack, where to we sign up?

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Sorry, I wanted to post this Friday, but technical difficulties got in the way.

So, I hope everyone is weathering the storm OK

And for those in the Tribe, I hope you had a great Shabbos and have a great week.

Until next time...

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

GOP: It just keeps getting better and better

Happy Tuesday. I spent yesterday chasing runners around New Haven for the New Haven Independent.  It was tiring even watching them run. I did meet some really nice people. It's really good to meet so many good people on a great occasion. Kudos to all involved in the program.

Now, from the sublime to the ridiculous. Of course, I mean the GOP and its thrashing around to figure out what to do after its presidential candidate took, as the wag put it, less time to hire a running mate than it takes to hire a Target assistant manager. And probably less investigation, as well.

And now, the GOP has relegated the sitting president, a member of their party, to a cameo appearance (but who can blame them?) And now, who is the star of the show?

Why, it's Joseph I. Lieberman, who just may end up being the vice presidential candidate after all. We know Sen. John McCain, the presumptive presidential candidate, wanted him on the ticket, but ended up kowtowing to his advisers and picking somebody whom the lunatic right would love, and a woman to boot (no pun intended, but it works).

So, we have Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, who's had to hire a lawyer to defend herself against charges that she used her office to get her former brother-in-law fired off the state police. She's also tied into Sen. Ted Stephens. 

The GOP figured she would attract supporters of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York. Democrats ticked off 18 million people when she didn't get picked as Sen. Barack Obama's running mate. As James Carville, the Democratic pol, says, she wouldn't attract 18 of those people, never mind 18 million. Put my wife in that group. She is so ticked off at McCain...

And now, it just gets better. We find out that the daughter of a woman who is dead set against sex education ends up proving just how ill-advised her mother's policies are. And who's the baby's father: a guy who describes himself as a "f....'in redneck." I don't think the folks over at Harvard have to worry about leaving a place for this guy in next year's freshman class.

Tonight, Lieberman is the star of the show at the GOP convention. So, will McCain pull an Eagleton on his supporters and get Palin to pull out? (Tom Eagleton of Missouri was George McGovern's choice for vice president in 1972 until it became known that Eagleton had had shock treatments for a mental issue. )That would really be stupid.

Which means, don't count it out. Lieberman may become the first person to run for vice president on both modern major party tickets.

You think it's too strange. You may be right. But, stay tuned. As Shakespeare said, the past is prologue.