THE DEBATE

Governor Palin’s weeks of cramming paid off. Not only was she well-prepared (if you put your mind to it, you really can learn to be President in two weeks), she actually winked at me! Who could fail to love that?

My friend Peter, a life-long Republican financial whiz at whose most recent birthday party a congratulatory note from President Bush was read, writes: ‘I feel like I just watched an adult debating a college student.’

Peter voted for Bush twice but just wrote $60,000 for Obama.

FAUX NEWS

This 26-second video shows why Obama wins Pennsylvania – and why Fox is truly pathetic.

FAUX REGULAR GUY

This 60-second tour of the McCain home (13 bedrooms, 14½ baths) gives you a sense of how the family has lived the past 20 years.

In that context, the level of the family’s charitable giving is pretty astounding.  Specifics on Monday, but they sure seem not to have used any meaningful slice of their giant Bush tax cut to support nonprofits.  Which is totally their choice.  It’s their fortune to do with as they please.  But it speaks to their core priorities. Thirteen cars, seven or eight houses, a private jet – it’s been a positively grand time to be rich and powerful in America, and John McCain has vowed, with his promise to make the tax cuts permanent, to keep it that way.

ANOTHER REPUBLICAN FOR OBAMA

Wick Allison – former publisher of the nation’s leading conservative magazine, The National Review – is editor-in-chief of the Dallas-Fort Worth city magazine, D.  He maxed out to McCain in the primary, but now writes:

My party has slipped its moorings. It’s time for a true pragmatist to lead the country.

The more I listen to and read about “the most liberal member of the U.S. Senate,” the more I like him.  Barack Obama strikes a chord with me like no political figure since Ronald Reagan.  To explain why, I need to explain why I am a conservative and what it means to me.

In 1964, at the age of 16, I organized the Dallas County Youth for Goldwater.  My senior thesis at the University of Texas was on the conservative intellectual revival in America.  Twenty years later, I was invited by William F. Buckley Jr. to join the board of National Review.  I later became its publisher.

Conservatism to me is less a political philosophy than a stance, a recognition of the fallibility of man and of man’s institutions.  Conservatives respect the past not for its antiquity but because it represents, as G.K. Chesterton said, the democracy of the dead; it gives the benefit of the doubt to customs and laws tried and tested in the crucible of time.  Conservatives are skeptical of abstract theories and utopian schemes, doubtful that government is wiser than its citizens, and always ready to test any political program against actual results.

Liberalism always seemed to me to be a system of “oughts.” We ought to do this or that because it’s the right thing to do, regardless of whether it works or not.  It is a doctrine based on intentions, not results, on feeling good rather than doing good.

But today it is so-called conservatives who are cemented to political programs when they clearly don’t work.  The Bush tax cuts—a solution for which there was no real problem and which he refused to end even when the nation went to war—led to huge deficit spending and a $3 trillion growth in the federal debt.  Facing this, John McCain pumps his “conservative” credentials by proposing even bigger tax cuts.  Meanwhile, a movement that once fought for limited government has presided over the greatest growth of government in our history.  That is not conservatism; it is profligacy using conservatism as a mask.

Today it is conservatives, not liberals, who talk with alarming bellicosity about making the world “safe for democracy.”  It is John McCain who says America’s job is to “defeat evil,” a theological expansion of the nation’s mission that would make George Washington cough out his wooden teeth.

This kind of conservatism, which is not conservative at all, has produced financial mismanagement, the waste of human lives, the loss of moral authority, and the wreckage of our economy that McCain now threatens to make worse.

Barack Obama is not my ideal candidate for president.  (In fact, I made the maximum donation to John McCain during the primaries, when there was still hope he might come to his senses.)  But I now see that Obama is almost the ideal candidate for this moment in American history.  I disagree with him on many issues.  But those don’t matter as much as what Obama offers, which is a deeply conservative view of the world.  Nobody can read Obama’s books (which, it is worth noting, he wrote himself) or listen to him speak without realizing that this is a thoughtful, pragmatic, and prudent man.  It gives me comfort just to think that after eight years of George W. Bush we will have a president who has actually read the Federalist Papers.

Most important, Obama will be a realist.  I doubt he will taunt Russia, as McCain has, at the very moment when our national interest requires it as an ally.  The crucial distinction in my mind is that, unlike John McCain, I am convinced he will not impulsively take us into another war unless American national interests are directly threatened.

“Every great cause,” Eric Hoffer wrote, “begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.” As a cause, conservatism may be dead.  But as a stance, as a way of making judgments in a complex and difficult world, I believe it is very much alive in the instincts and predispositions of a liberal named Barack Obama.

7 MINUTES WITH A UNION GUY ON RACISM

Powerful.

54 MINUTES WITH WARREN BUFFETT

All is explained.

ANOTHER WAY TO CHECK YOUR REGISTRATION

A few of you reported bugginess with voteforchange.com.  This site may be a helpful alternative – although for Florida it says, “Call local office,” where the Obama site handles Florida seamlessly.  (As to those upset to be asked for an email address, just enter one you never check.)

BOREALIS

Ed H.:  “Any comment?  It’s a sinking like a stone.  Bid/Asked is 2.80/3.60.”

☞ The stock price, while depressing, is sort of irrelevant.  BOREF has always been a long-shot that will either work out or it won’t.

As good a lottery ticket as I’ve thought it is . . . and as many shares as I own . . . it’s still a lottery ticket.

Imagine a ticket where you had a one-in-four chance of making, say, 100 times your money.  Phenomenal, no?  And yet there’s a 75% chance you lose everything.

A tiny amount of buying or selling moves BOREF.  So, as people get discouraged and sell . . . or sell to take a tax loss, or sell because they died (technically, that would be their estate selling), or sell because they actually need the money, or sell because the IRS has garnisheed their brokerage account and forced a sale . . . the stock goes down.  And may continue to.

If at some point Delta announced that WheelTug™ is ready to be deployed – which may never happen! – or if at some point the slow but seemingly steady progress at Roche Bay led serious investors to believe there really is a highly valuable resource up there . . . then the stock would do very well.

The past decade at first seemed to shorten the odds of success – the plane moved! the drill samples show tons of high grade ore!  But by now?  I remain resigned to the very real possibility, as from the beginning (“A Stock That’s Surely Going to Zero”), that this will not work out.  Then again, it might.

 

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