Archive for August 23rd, 2008

It’s Biden for Obama VP

August 23, 2008

Barack Obama has selected Senator Joe Biden as his running mate.

As Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he has street cred and years of experience in foreign policy. That should help counter Republican attacks on Obama’s lack of experience in that area.

It also signals, in my view, a fair degree of confidence on the part of Obama’s campaign that they didn’t need to come up with a really exciting choice that would shake up the election campaign.

A fairly safe choice, even if he doesn’t always choose his words too carefully. And some say he’s “no true friend of working men and women.”

CNN scooped the story. Seems the Secret Service people showed up at Biden’s house before the announcement.

Oh, and one interesting things is that, should McCain announce former Governor Mitt Romney as his running mate, it’s going to blow all the elitist meme right out the window. Biden is one of the least wealthy Senators. Romney is worth more than $US200m by most estimates.

Update: Adam at Inquiring Mind points me to Marc Ambinder’s blog post about how Biden is not a comfort zone pick for Obama. As Adam points out, Ambinder’s analysis is similar to my own.

Media can’t resist boobs

August 23, 2008

Yesterday my local newspaper came with the front-page banner headline “$35,000 boob battle”.

Presumably, I’m supposed to be shocked by this outrageous waste of ratepayers’ money, blah, blah. Well I’m not.

True, the court battle was always going to be “an exercise in futility” as Mayor Banks put it. But I am glad that my Council took the case, even though the chances of winning were slim and the victor is one of Auckland’s sleaziest citizens. Outside Mt Eden. Prison that is.

It wasn’t about freedom of expression in my view. People are quite free to go to the event that the boobs parade aimed to plublicise — despite the extraordinarily disingenuous denial of this in court — should they want to get their jollies oggling the pneumatic wonders of the porn stars on show. Not to mention the jelly wrestling.

It wasn’t even about what we might quaintly term “decency” for many of us, although the sad, tawdry spectacle taking place in our main thoroughfare was demeaning for the participants and by-standers, and arguably, the reputation of the city as well.

It was about the celebration of the exploitation of women as sex objects, something that we all should have got past long ago.

No, when it comes to waste I’m much more exercised by the Council’s plans to build an iconic lifting bridge down at the viaduct for $51.2 million (and rising). As Brian Rudman asks, is a toy like this really the best use of public funds? After all, we have a bridge there already. It is, as Rudman says, “a bridge too far.”

There are so many better things for which the Council could use $51.2m. Rates relief for one. Okay, you may not think that attempting to injunct a hard-core porn king’s sexploitation parade is one of them, but the unnecessary bridge is (currently) expected to cost roughly 1400 times more.

Yep, 1400 times more. You’d think that would be more newsworthy, but it seems that the news media can’t resist boobs.

McCain — homes sweet homes

August 23, 2008

If you thought it off that a “silver-spoon fed Navy brat” married to a $100m+ heiress who wears $520 black leather Ferragamo shoes should call a scholarship kid from a poor broken home “elitist”, then here’s some good news.

Last Wednesday McCain was asked in an interview with Politico how many houses he and his wife own. He couldn’t remember:

“I think — I’ll have my staff get to you. It’s condominiums where — I’ll have them get to you.”

Now that’s what I call serious money, top drawer, solid gold elitist! McCain’s campaign is desperately trying to spin this by saying that the McCain’s have “really only four” houses, while Obama’s single house is a “frickin’ mansion.”

However, Progressive Accountability counts 10 homes, ranches, condos, and lofts, worth an estimated $13,823,269 all up.

“John and Cindy McCain own a plethora of houses spread throughout the United States, including: two beachfront condos in Coronado, California, condo in La Jolla, California, a two-unit condominium complex in Phoenix, Arizona, three ranch houses located outside of Sedona, Arizona, a high-rise condo in Arlington, Virginia, a rental loft, and, according to GQ, a loft they bought for their daughter, Meghan.”

Not bad for an anti-elitist.

Let’s compare McCain’s net worth with that of his “elitist” opponent. The non-partisan Sunlight Foundation did an analysis of their net worth in 2006 based on their personal financial disclosure.

No prizes for guessing which candidate is worth about $36 million and which one is worth $799,000. Yep, that old anti-elitist McCain’s net worth is over 45 times greater than Obama’s. Or, Obama’s is 2.2% that of McCain’s.

When it comes to elitism, there’s really no competition. (See also this earlier post.)

MacDoctor thinks that this post illustrates the trivial nature of American politics. In a way it does. It is both sad and bizzare that the most important election in the world should be decided on the basis of patently ridiculous smears as McCain’s. The problem is that they appear to work.