Listen: While all this election stuff is going on, I’m going to have to rely on you guys even more than usual to say something interesting.

So here are two examples, the second of which will doubtless make the slave-owners in the crowd really cross, so I apologize in advance.

Robert Doucette: “If anyone would be interested in a little evidence of the value of diversification and asset allocation, let me present my own example. When my company’s stock reached an all time high this spring, I was envious of those who had 80-100% of their portfolio invested in it. Over the years, I had sold some of the stock and diversified into slower growing investments – occasionally wondering if I was doing the right thing. Over the past few months the stock has dropped from 75 to 35. My portfolio, on the other hand, has dropped only 15% — painful but still tolerable.”

Jim Batterson: “The main reason I’m voting democratic this year is to remove Jesse Helmsfrom his committee chairmanship. I think he has sabotaged American foreign policy for long enough.

“There are many issues in American foreign policy in which we have not only failed to show leadership but clearly surrendered the moral high ground. How can we have the nerve to shake our finger at Castro when:

“1. No one, not president or candidate nor anyone in Congress, is outspoken about the practice of SLAVERY in Sudan and Mauritania. Is this a controversial issue? Should we be embarrassed for not pushing this?

“2. We persuaded the rest of the world to sign on to an international treaty to ban LAND MINES and then drag our feet on signing on ourselves. These indiscriminate mechanisms of maiming and death continue to kill children and civilians for decades after their useful life is spent. They should go the way of poison gas.

“3. Why has the United States refused to sign on to an international treaty banning the use of children in combat? Is it because the treaty defines children as under 18, whereas the United States allows enlistment at age 17? Since most of the services require a high school diploma and most people are 18 or nearly so by the time they graduate from high school, it seems a small price to pay in exchange for supporting a clearly defined global good.

“4. After persuading the United Nations to water down the power of an international criminal court, overcoming any objection that anyone could have to it, we still have not committed to endorsing it. Could there be any more obvious need in the world than for an international criminal court? Do we really think that unilateral military intervention is a long-term solution to these problems? Please.

“5. Let us get in the habit of paying our dues to the United Nations in a timely manner. This is just embarrassing.

“6. How many embassies are now the home to ‘acting’ ambassadors while Jesse Helms holds up appointments of real ambassadors for petty or political reasons.

“7. And while we are at it, how large is the backlog of cases in our criminal court system because the Judicial committee refuses to approve the appointment of minority judges? Will George W. and his new party of diversity be appointing judges that reflect the full diversity of our society? Is that more important that the fact that he has a nephew that they call the little brown one?

“Give me a break.

“I care about all of these issues. I want the Democrats to talk about them. All of them. Go out on a limb. Come out against slavery.”

All right. I can live with that. And somehow Robert forgot to include the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, that Trent and Jesse took such relish in deep-sixing. To me, that was perhaps the most egregious of all.

I know some of this stuff is controversial (not slavery, obviously) — and that Dick Cheney doubtless thought he was doing something good and anti-communist when he voted against urging South Africa to release Mandela – but on balance, I sure think Robert’s onto something here.


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