NICE RALLY!

But, no, the bear market is not over.

REDISTRIBUTION

Alaska gets way more from Washington per capita than any other state, something like $5 for every $1 it sends to Washington. Indeed, by and large it’s the traditionally ‘red’ states that get more than they pay, at the expense of the blue states – that’s redistribution.

You pay sales tax and that money is used to pay public school teachers – that’s redistribution.

Most Americans believe in a progressive income tax, where the rate is higher for those doing best – that’s redistribution.

The question is, as with so many things, one of balance. Too much redistribution is a bad thing. Too little is also a bad thing – both morally, perhaps, but also for the health and prosperity of a nation.

The balance under Clinton/Gore, I thought, was pretty good. President Bush pushed it way more in favor of billionaires . . . and Senator McCain, same as President Bush, wants to make that permanent.

How will you do under his plan?

VOTE YOUR BOTTOM LINE

See how you’d fare under Obama vs. McCain: Taxcutfacts.org.

THE WORD FROM McCAIN SURROGATES

On the differences between him and President Bush.

RECOLLECTIONS OF A SCHOOLMATE

Herewith an email from a schoolmate of John McCain, who grew up to be a successful business executive (and church leader). It’s not dispositive in any way, just one more data point as we strive to know the candidates.

Charley Ellis sent me a note asking if I knew John McCain at Episcopal High (EHS), and if I did, did I have any insights.

Actually I knew John from when I was in the seventh grade at St. Stephen’s in Alexandria, and he was in eighth grade there. He and a number of classmates moved on to EHS the next year, and a number of my classmates and I did the same the subsequent year. He graduated from EHS in 1954, and I in 1955.

John was good friends throughout this period with a classmate of mine named Rives Richey. John was the shortest person in his class and Rives was the shortest person in my class. All three of us were skinny in those days. Both John and Rives reacted to their relative smallness by putting on bravado, and being distinctly feisty. Knowing them was what first led me to recognize that some short males try to compensate for being short by being feisty, extra-masculine in their demeanor, and/or being risk-takers. Both John and Rives were accomplished members of the EHS wrestling team. I don’t believe they were in the same weight category.

One day when I was in seventh or eighth grade, a friend of mine and I rode our bikes over to the North Fairlington area of Arlington to visit our respective girl friends. John also lived in that neighborhood. We were greeted by the girlfriends’ excited news that Johnny McCain (as he was then known) had gone across the overpass where North 28th Street went over South Buchanan St. by walking on the handrail of the overpass bridge. My friend and I rode our bikes over to the overpass, which was a wooden bridge, with a walkway along one side. The walkway had a wooden fence on the outer side, a little above waist high in height. The top of the fence was the handrail, a board about four or five inches wide, tilted outward at about a 30-degree down angle. I presume that the tilt was meant to discourage people from trying to walk the handrail.

I mentally calculated that the tilt wasn’t enough to be especially dangerous to a handrail walker (the surface was dry that day) so that there wasn’t a lot of danger caused by the tilt or by the four-or-five-inch width of the handrail. On the other hand, there was no bridge structure within reach of someone standing on the handrail, so that if you lost your balance, you would either fall onto the walkway, or fall 14 or 15 feet onto the sidewalk or street below.

I decided that (1) there wasn’t a lot of danger of falling, (2) that if one did fall, one could be very badly hurt, (3) there wasn’t a lot of glory to be had by being the second person to do this (who remembers the name of the second man to run a four-minute mile?), and (4) I didn’t need to do it. So I didn’t.

If you plug the address 4821 South 28th Street, Arlington, VA, into the map section of Mapquest.com and zoom in a couple of clicks, you can see very clearly the gap where South 28th used to go over South Buchanan. The wooden bridge is no longer there.

Carrier pilots are the real risk-takers in the Navy (along with the SEALS). John was a carrier-based pilot.

Choosing Sarah Palin was a risky move. It shored up the conservative base, but cost him among those in the middle. Was there a better plan that could have achieved both goals?

You have probably heard the story of the man who got a shiny brand new hammer for his birthday. For a long time afterward, every problem looked to him like a nail. I think that US Presidents can get a dose of a similar response when they become Commander-in-Chief of the nation’s military. LBJ was probably the worst. I think that J. McCain has a big dose of military nail-ism also, but he got his from two other sources:

  • Being the son and the grandson of two senior Navy Admirals, while not making admiral himself.
  • Being a long-time POW in a war the US finally gave up on – without achieving “Victory.”

I think that psychologically, John is in some internal-to-himself way still trying to “win” the Vietnam War.

His concluding words in the last debate should have been formulated to appeal to Independent voters.  Instead, they seemed addressed to himself and to his faithful followers. (“Keep fighting!”)  Also, I think John overestimates his own gifts for strategy.  The best approach is to win without fighting (or with only minimal fighting).  The first Pres. Bush understood this; the second does not. Obama gets it, McCain does not.  Petraeus has a very creative approach:  “If you can beat ‘em, pay ‘em to join our side!”

John’s proposed changes to medical insurance are flawed not only in the way pointed out by Obama (insurance companies would rush to the states with the weakest regulations).  John doesn’t seem to understand that the cost to an individual when buying medical insurance is much greater than when one is a member of a group plan.  There’s no reason why John should understand this; he’s been on Government-provided health coverage since birth, due to his father’s coverage, then on his own coverage as active military, and finally under the life-time coverage for those who retired with 20 or more years of military service, not to mention his coverage as a Senator.

I admire John’s record of service.  I just think that what he wants now is out of his league.

Best to all,

Ted Mollegen

ABSENTEE BALLOTS

Juan Ahonen-Jover:  “You write, ‘If you have secured an absentee ballot but find your plans have  changed and you actually can vote in person, rip up the absentee ballot and get thee to your polling place.’  Do not rip up your absentee ballot – bring it with you if you decide to vote in person.  Many states require it as a proof that you are not voting twice.  If you do vote absentee, call the supervisor of elections to verify that they got your ballot and that it will be counted.  Finally, if you vote on Election Day, account for the possibility that you may need to stay in line for several hours.  Federal legislation requires that if you are in line at the poll closing time, they have to allow you to vote even if it takes many hours.”

PROBLEMS VOTING?

CNN would like to hear about it. Call CNN’s voter hotline at 877-GOCNN-08 (800-462-6608) to report it.

 

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