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.

Page 2

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.

Page 3 

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. 

Page 4

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... 

No comments: