Wednesday, July 30, 2008

No on Tim Kaine 

This is important.

All the buzz is now that Virginia Governor Tim Kaine is at the top of Barack Obama's short list for Vice President.

Tim Kaine is pro-life. Or pretty close. Kathy G documents that Kaine says he is "personally pro-life" because of his Catholic faith. However, unlike other Catholic Dems (like Kerry or Sebelius) who couple that with statements (and actions) that abortion should be legally protected, Kaine has offered only the most tepid statement that he'd enforce the law on abortion. (As Kathy asks, “but what if the Supreme Court overturns Roe and leaves abortion up to the states?”) Kathy also lists a number of other clues to his position, such as his inexplicable opposition to government funding of embryonic stem cell research, as well as a number of other reasons he’d be “a piss-poor choice”.

Once again, this is a trial balloon. The Obama campaign wants to know if the liberal blogosphere will freak out about Kaine. And so far it has not. So far, it has been deafening silence on his pro-life position, and generally Kaine has received favorable reviews.

I really think the Obama campaign would think twice about Kaine if the liberal blogosphere drew a line in the sand. If you have a liberal blog, please post on your opposition to Tim Kaine, and encourage others to do so.


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Choice Chooses Choosing? 

Earlier today, Mary forwarded an email reporting that "Women" as a category only recently appeared in the "Issues" section of the Obama campaign website. That does conform to my (vague) memory of the site a few months ago, and is also confirmed by the fact that "Women" is listed only in the pull-down menu, not in the list of issues in the main text.

What's even more odd is that the category "Women" lists 28 sub-issues, covering a wide range of topics (some more specific to women than others). Of those, 27 have titles introduced by the present participle (-ing): "Fixing the Nation’s Health Care System", "Empowering Women to Prevent HIV/AIDS", "Supporting Research into Women’s Health", etc. In contrast, one has a title introduced by a present tense verb used adjectivally: "Supports a Woman’s Right to Choose".

I hate to get all grammarian about this, but that is very odd and suggests that the choice section (which, by the way, is pretty blah*) was edited after the fact by someone other than the page's main author. Straying from grammarian to paranoid, the present participle suggests action -- doing something -- while the present tense verb used adjectivally suggests merely a state of being -- Obama feels pro-choice.

Not great.

*It's entire text: "Barack Obama understands that abortion is a divisive issue, and respects those who disagree with him. However, he has been a consistent champion of reproductive choice and will make preserving women’s rights under Roe v. Wade a priority as President. He opposes any constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court's decision in that case."


Should It Worry Me? 

That my fourteen-month-old daughter says "Blackberry" (blah-bear)?


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Straight Only Talk 

Ann at Feministing caught this gem from John McCain:
I think that we've proven that both parents are important in the success of a family so, no I don't believe in gay adoption.
Both parents? As Mary pointed out to me a few days ago, McCain himself was not a particularly involved father:
Eventually, [Cindy McCain] gave birth to daughter Meagan, followed by Jack and Jim. Once she began raising her family, the political wife made a radical decision not to raise her children in Washington, D.C., but rather in her home state of Arizona.

She left her husband on Capitol Hill to pursue his political career as she served as a single mother during the week. (Emphasis added.)
Rank hypocrisy.


Thursday, July 10, 2008

Why the Legacy Airlines Should Go Out of Business 

I received this email today from Northwest Airlines:

An Open letter to All Airline Customers:

Our country is facing a possible sharp economic downturn because of skyrocketing oil and fuel prices, but by pulling together, we can all do something to help now. Visit www.StopOilSpeculationNow.com.

For airlines, ultra-expensive fuel means thousands of lost jobs and severe reductions in air service to both large and small communities. To the broader economy, oil prices mean slower activity and widespread economic pain. This pain can be alleviated, and that is why we are taking the extraordinary step of writing this joint letter to our customers.

Since high oil prices are partly a response to normal market forces, the nation needs to focus on increased energy supplies and conservation. However, there is another side to this story because normal market forces are being dangerously amplified by poorly regulated market speculation.

Twenty years ago, 21 percent of oil contracts were purchased by speculators who trade oil on paper with no intention of ever taking delivery. Today, oil speculators purchase 66 percent of all oil futures contracts, and that reflects just the transactions that are known. Speculators buy up large amounts of oil and then sell it to each other again and again. A barrel of oil may trade 20-plus times before it is delivered and used; the price goes up with each trade and consumers pick up the final tab. Some market experts estimate that current prices reflect as much as $30 to $60 per barrel in unnecessary speculative costs.

Over seventy years ago, Congress established regulations to control excessive, largely unchecked market speculation and manipulation. However, over the past two decades, these regulatory limits have been weakened or removed. We believe that restoring and enforcing these limits, along with several other modest measures, will provide more disclosure, transparency and sound market oversight. Together, these reforms will help cool the over-heated oil market and permit the economy to prosper.

The nation needs to pull together to reform the oil markets and solve this growing problem. We need your help. Get more information and contact Congress by visiting www.StopOilSpeculationNow.com.

Except, that as Krugman points out, the evidence doesn't support the theory that speculation is the cause of high oil prices.

More to the point, though, what Northwest dismisses as "speculation" is actually, in large measure, "hedging", a well-established financial mechanism that allows businesses that are highly dependent on the price of commodities to insure against the risk that the price will change. Oil producers can hedge against falling oil prices. And oil consumers -- say, airlines -- can hedge against rising prices. This is exactly what Southwest Airlines does -- and why it is continuing to make money.

Honestly, anyone with a passing interest in finance, politics, or the world in general is aware that oil prices are volatile. Anyone with a modicum of financial training is aware that there is a way to insure against that. It's bad enough that Northwest and the other legacy carriers have ignored these basic facts for decades when they had billions riding on their decisions, but to now criticize the very mechanism that could have saved them is the height of chutzpah.


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Weblog Commenting and Trackback by HaloScan.com