After that huge long column yesterday, you want more? You couldn’t possibly.

BOREF

‘Up’ 29% yesterday on 1,100 shares. I just want to reiterate that this is all silly and meaningless and absolutely nothing happened. It’s either worth zero, eventually, or lots and lots. Pay no attention to the rest of it. The spread between ‘bid’ and ‘asked’ is much, much too wide to trade in and out.

BUS SAFETY

Oops. Before you grab one of yesterday’s low fares, be sure you are comfortable with the risk. Overall – Greyhound’s accident yesterday notwithstanding – ‘bus travel is relatively safe,’ reports the Washington Post, ‘with about half the fatality rate of automobile travel.’ But the low-cost carriers I linked to yesterday may pose more of a hazard. Some have fared poorly in federal safety inspections, as the Post details. (Even so, ‘Some budget travelers like the buses just fine. ‘They’re really clean, they show movies, they have bathrooms,’ said Margot Zengotita, in town doing research at the Library of Congress, as she waited for the day’s Dragon Coach bus to New York.”)

CORRUPTION

Our guy dissembles over a sexual affair; their guy lies about trillions of dollars in tax cuts he said would go mainly to those ‘at the bottom end of the economic ladder.’ Our veep says there’s ‘no controlling legal authority’ on where he makes (perfectly legal) campaign calls; their veep lies about war and peace. Our disgraced Congressman misappropriates $27,000 in vouchers from the House Post Office; their disgraced Congressman takes $2.4 million in bribes to influence the awarding of Pentagon contracts that involve billions of taxpayer dollars.

I’m not saying it’s all this cut and dried. But c’mon.

FINALLY, A CONTEST WORTH ENTERING

Did you see this in yesterday’s column?

Click here and win $100,000 – or not, but this one is useful. If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s a call for great ideas. If yours is selected, not only do you win the hundred large – the SEIU will start pushing your idea. (Thanks, Move-On.)

Yes? You already submitted your entry? No? Don’t need the $100,000?

Richard Factor: ‘I posted my PriUPS idea. I’ll let you know when they send me the $100,000. We had a power failure on Thanksgiving and I ate my turkey by PriUPSLight.’

☞ Richard has hooked his house up to his hybrid. Click here.

And now . . .

JOAN’S DAD

This Thanksgiving Day column from the San Francisco Chronicle speaks volumes:

Thursday, November 24, 2005
A lifelong Republican’s long winter
Joan Ryan

As those who follow this column know, my father and I inhabit opposite ends of the political spectrum. I have found my geographic and ideological home in the liberal Bay Area. He is a lifelong Republican who loved Spiro Agnew and was not among the early waves of supporters for civil rights and women’s rights (he came around).

He is one of those hardscrabble men from the Irish parishes of the Bronx who served in Korea, supported a wife and six children on his own sweat, never got a handout and never sought one. To him, Democrats were the ivory-tower elites who took increasing chunks of his paycheck to support the lazy and the irresponsible.

I wrote two columns last year about his views of President Bush. My father has been something of a political touchstone for me, providing a glimpse of the country beyond the rainbow flags and peace marches of San Francisco, or at least of those parts populated by churchgoing, middle-class conservatives.

In the summer of 2004, to my great surprise, he was so disillusioned with how Bush had run up the federal debt and mismanaged the Iraq war that he said he would not be voting Republican for the first time in his life.

Three months later, I wrote a follow-up. He had decided to vote for Bush after all.

“It’s terrible that in this country of so many good people,” my father had explained, “how an election can come down to the lesser of two evils. You have to vote this time for who will do the least harm. Not the most good, but the least harm.”

I won’t be with my family in Florida for Thanksgiving this year. I will miss my father serving up his political views along with the turkey and creamed onions. So I caught up with him by phone the other day as he was heading out to Mass. I asked what he was thinking about Bush now, a year after his re-election.

He regrets changing his mind about voting for him, he said.

“The guy’s stupid,” he said. “Such a disappointment. The worst administration I’ve ever seen. He just sounds confused. He doesn’t sound like he knows what the hell he’s doing.”

As we spoke, his voice rose in volume and intensity in that way it did whenever one of us kids did something particularly moronic. Like, for example, when my sister and I wanted to find out if kitchen scissors could cut a pearl in half and sent the entire strand bouncing like tiny rubber balls across my parents’ bedroom floor.

“I don’t think people, myself included, were clear on how good Clinton was with the money,” he said. “Why wouldn’t the Republicans keep going with that? Instead we got tax cuts and the war in Iraq. Who’s going to pay for all that? It’s just irresponsible. I never thought (Bush) was the brightest guy in the world, but to go from a $300 billion surplus to a $500 billion deficit, or whatever it is, that’s just stupid.”

He doesn’t blame Bush for believing Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, but he says the mismanagement in the aftermath of the invasion is mind-boggling. Almost 2,100 Americans have been killed and more than 15,000 seriously wounded in Iraq. And now my father and the rest of the family have a personal stake in the war: His grandson, my sister Barbara’s son, is a Marine serving near Fallujah.

“If something happens to him, what will it be for?” my father asked. “(Bush) thought we’d go in and — voila! — we’d get democracy. If he just read a book about the United States trying to get its democracy, he’d know it just doesn’t happen overnight.”

Hurricane Katrina sealed the deal for my father.As someone who has weathered many hurricanes in Florida, he watched the president’s response to the devastation with increasing horror and bafflement.

“This guy’s slow, and he’s dimwitted,” he said. “He said, ‘I’m going to let Louisiana take care of itself.’ You got that woman governor who doesn’t know her ass from third base. You got his friend at the head of FEMA and the mayor of New Orleans who didn’t know anything. You had Larry, Moe and Curly in there, and he’s just waiting.

“And then he goes with that woman for the Supreme Court (Harriet Miers). ‘I know in my heart she’s a good person’ — what the hell does that got to do with it? That’s just stupid. That’s just plain dumb. It seems like with Bush lately, whatever he touches turns to crap. And now we’re saddled with this guy for three more years. The only thing you can do is to get the Republicans out of Congress next year.”

I wanted to make sure I had heard him correctly.

“I never thought I’d say this, but I wouldn’t vote for any Republican, even from Florida,” he said. “We got to get the Republicans out and the Democrats in. We got to make sure they control Congress so Bush can’t do whatever the hell he wants. You got to get the Democrats in there to knock his brains out so he’ll just be a token figurehead.”

He said that in retrospect he should have thought about last year’s election in a different way. He said he should have considered that a vote for John Kerry, whom he strongly disliked, was a vote not for an individual but for a Democratic administration. We needed a Democratic administration, he said, to keep in check a Republican Congress.

He said he had to hang up. He was going to be late for Mass.
I asked if he would be offering up prayers for Bush’s wisdom.

“I believe in the power of prayer,” he said. “But it can only do so much.”

E-mail Joan Ryan at joanryan@sfchronicle.com.

 

Comments are closed.