29
Sep
08

What’s the difference between the Panama Canal and Sarah Palin?

The Panama Canal is a busy ditch.

I know it’s un-PC and a cheap laugh even if you’re the last person on the planet to have heard that joke, but as I mentioned to someone this past weekend, if you can’t be un-PC and have a cheap laugh on the Internet, where else can you?

So even though by now in news-cycle time it’s archival material, I just have to get this off my chest before recovering from writing a bit about the Germany Expat Blogger meetup in Bremen.

Because this interview with Sarah Palin by Katie Couric took place not long before the 30 of us were converging on Bremen, where the entire weekend we were all trying NOT to talk about Sarah Palin. Holding our breath, changing the subject, inventing goofy, nonsense adjectives, anything, ANYTHING but talk of Sarah Palin.

As Jack Cafferty’s intro says, there’s a reason the McCain camp has been keeping Palin away from the press.

Is there any better way to illustrate the fact that this woman is out of her league? Grossly underqualified?

A high school debating team third-stringer would have come to the interview better prepared to answer that question. And Wolf Blitzer tries to come to her rescue? He should be pulled off the desk for defending such a trash performance.

I came across this thanks to a blogger you all should get to know: Deus ex Malcontent.

Also known as Chez Pazienza, the former CNN sluggo and award-winning producer turned autobiographical author turned Huffington Post poster turned full-time Dad is great at telling it straight, with links that are always worth going to.

I like how he points out that even very conservative people are calling for Palin to just go away.

And I just love this line: If bullshit were currency, Sarah Palin could bail out Wall Street herself.


43 Responses to “What’s the difference between the Panama Canal and Sarah Palin?”


  1. 1 claire
    September 29, 2008 at 1:28 pm

    I so wanted to write about this on my blog, but in an effort to make her go away I have made mine a “Palin Free Zone.” Her comments about the “kinds of people who get passports,” really upset me.

    On the happy side, really glad that I got to meet you!

  2. September 29, 2008 at 9:11 pm

    Hi Claire,

    I know what you mean – unfortunately, good or bad she’s hard to ignore, and they’ve been going on the principle that being trash talked is better than not being talked about at all, though I wonder how much more they can take.

    And about the weekend: really glad to have finally met you, too! I will post a photo of you in front of the Roland statue – but cutting you off at the glasses just like you do on your blog.

  3. September 30, 2008 at 1:30 am

    OK, I am apparently the last person in the world to have heard that very un-PC joke, but laughed uncontrollably.

  4. September 30, 2008 at 8:35 am

    Not being stateside I miss most of these stories – anyhow, I’m glad bankrupting the treasury will have the direct effect of improving our health care. Who would have known?

  5. September 30, 2008 at 3:49 pm

    Oi, Indie! You just have to have an RSS feedreader on any news site – it’s like a wire service these days. Or like I hinted at – subscribe to Deus ex Malcontent’s blog.

    Then again, the healthcare / bankrupted Treasury connection I missed out on… what’s up with that?

  6. September 30, 2008 at 3:58 pm

    That’s what Palin was saying in the video clip, or something. The bailout would improve health care somehow. So we should do it.

  7. September 30, 2008 at 4:01 pm

    The world according to Palin. On looking at that clip again (if you can stop cringing) you get the feeling she’s like some pull-string doll from the fifties with its recordings all haywire.

  8. 8 Tricia
    October 3, 2008 at 11:59 pm

    I, too, am trying to create a Palin-free zone – in the entire U.S.A. Salon has a good diagram of her question-answering style. Okay. I’m done Palin bashing. For today. Grrrr.
    http://www.salon.com/politics/war_room/2008/10/03/palin_chart/index.html

  9. 9 Bunk Strutts
    October 4, 2008 at 9:01 am

    Truth be told, Sarah Palin has more executive experience than both Obama and Biden combined, and she doesn’t talk like an empty-suit politician. Welcome to the PalinDrome!

  10. October 4, 2008 at 9:37 am

    Oh come on, get real. She squawks like a badly coached parrot, spewing disjointed, disconnected half-formed soundbites. It’s painful to behold.

  11. 11 Bunk Strutts
    October 4, 2008 at 10:13 am

    Ian–

    Did you not see her smackdown of Ol’ lyin’ & plagiarizin’ Joe? Don’t judge her by one interview, and don’t believe the slimeblogs that are fabricating dinosaur stories about her in desperation. Palin is more popular here than the media would have you believe. She wasn’t chosen for her good looks.

    Obama is the soulless one who can’t think for himself, even when he regurgitates the 1930’s socialist propaganda that he was indoctrinated with. I’m looking forward to November.

  12. October 4, 2008 at 10:21 am

    That wasn’t just one interview, it was evident in others when she obviously didn’t know the issues, didn’t know the facts, and pretty well as admitted she doesn’t read the news.

    I’m looking forward to November too, Mr. Strutts. Let’s hope the Republican smear campaign doesn’t get too ugly, but if past experience is any guide, it will.

  13. 13 Bunk Strutts
    October 4, 2008 at 10:52 am

    Mr. Inhamburg–

    The Democrats’ ugly smear campaigns have been going on for decades, starting in 1964 against Senator Barry Goldwater, when they found out that it can work. Claim that your opponent has intimate relations with barnyard animals and make him deny it.

    It’s about time for a conservative (like Palin, who has bigger cojones than most in the GOP these days) to stand up and throw the facts on the table for everyone to see. McCain’s about to do the same I think.

    Thanks for the cordial chat. –Bunk

  14. October 4, 2008 at 11:25 am

    Yeah, thanks to you too, Mr. Strutts. I hope you and your compatriots come to your senses and vote to send Ms. Palin back to Alaska where she can do the least amount of damage to the country and the rest of the world. One 72-year-old’s heart away from having a woman as President who believes that dinosaurs once walked the earth with humans. Please.

  15. October 24, 2008 at 1:49 pm

    The sad thing is that when you see the parody of her on SNL done by Tina Fey, you can hardly tell the difference between the real thing and Tina. Some of the lines are pulled right from interviews she’s done. It’s crazy.

  16. 16 Bunk Strutts
    October 26, 2008 at 10:07 am

    The sad thing is is that some undecided voters are making decisions and judging Palin’s character based upon an asinine TV show, and that some folks actually believe internet hoaxes… Not that I’m naming names…

  17. October 26, 2008 at 11:17 am

    I guess I missed something over the last two weeks’ holiday then. Has there been an update on the Katie Couric interview? What is so asinine about asking a vice-presidential candidate direct questions about the news of the day? Please, I need an update.

  18. October 28, 2008 at 8:58 am

    Review Senator Biden’s responses to direct questions this past week. He got all humpy and defensive, and backed himself up with sneering condescension because he couldn’t answer the questions honestly.

  19. October 28, 2008 at 9:30 am

    Mr. Strutts – thanks for that, but has he had only one interview? Dropping a link would help if you’re checking back here.

  20. 20 Bunk Strutts
    October 29, 2008 at 2:47 am

    Mr. Hamburg–

    Here’s the link to the one I was referring to. It was subsequently pulled off the Utoobage, but here’s the original source:
    http://www.wftv.com/video/17790025/index.html

    Here’s another one, related to the first:

    I’d have more respect for Biden and the One if they’d just admit that they’re socialists. But they won’t do it, and Biden can’t handle direct honest questions about it.

    All in fun, Ian. My vote for president won’t count anyway in California due to the Electoral College winner-take-all rules. It’s still the US congress that’s the problem anyway.

  21. 21 Bunk Strutts
    October 29, 2008 at 5:17 am

    If that’s not good enough, here’s Obama’s longtime pastor, followed by Obama’s accolades for the loudmouth racist:

    Obama just can’t argue his way out of that, and neither can you.

  22. October 29, 2008 at 1:33 pm

    So you take an interview with Barack Obama made six years before the Reverend Wright clip as proof of…. what? Please, show me something of value to back up what you’re saying.

    Speaking of which, you’ll also have to do better than that Biden interview, in which the candidate was measured and articulate in formulating responses to some of the most laughable questions I’ve heard in ages. I’d already asked myself who was writing them before he politely asked her.

    You’re clutching at straws, but at least I’ll grant you one thing: you’re not Larry Sinclair.

  23. 23 Bunk Strutts
    October 30, 2008 at 5:39 am

    You have an interesting definition of straws, Mr.Hamburg. Here’s another link. I’ll admit that its over the top with its Doomsday music, but the facts are there. If Obama gets elected, we’re headed for the Carter years redux, and the global economy will suffer, not just ours. Anyway, have a look. Or not.

    http://objllc.com/USSA.htm

    Larry Sinclair?! I’m more like a tureen of Goldwater with Libertarian sauce.

    Cordially,
    Bunk

  24. October 30, 2008 at 8:15 am

    And you have a fascinating ability to send me links to nonsense videos, Mr. Strutts! The so-called “facts” in that video begin with this: that since what they call extreme socialists were in positions of power (2006 election) consumer confidence is down along with home equity prices while fuel prices, unemployment, inflation, home foreclosures and bankruptcies are all up. Post hoc ergo propter hoc? Would you also argue that the Bush Administration was responsible for September 11, 2001 because it happened after they were put in charge? Only Jon Stewart gives me better laughs.

    BTW, the global economy is already suffering, or hadn’t you noticed? And if you want to know what really went down and why we’re in this mess, you’ll have to spend a couple of hours on two podcasts by This American Life.
    Episode 1: The giant pool of money.
    http://www.thisamericanlife.org/Radio_Episode.aspx?episode=355

    Episode 2: Another frightening show about the economy:
    http://www.thisamericanlife.org/Radio_Episode.aspx?episode=365

  25. 25 Bunk Strutts
    October 30, 2008 at 8:37 am

    Mr. Hamburg, you twist my words. You asked for videos, you gottem. You attack me as a “troofer” when I’m obviously not… that’s the realm of the left wing kook fringe.

    The global economy is depressed due to our own liberal congress setting up the lending institutions for failure, and then taking over those institutions, buying them, and alarming the global market. Your knowlege of economics is scattered, my friend, as is your logic.

    This is not intended as an insult to you, by the way. A lot of folks take world events and local economics on face value. I find it a shame that so many intelligent people opt to take the easy way out, and decide complex issues based upon emotion rather than upon facts, logic and history.

  26. October 30, 2008 at 8:39 am

    Just listen to those two podcasts and get back to me. A key section is where they talk about credit default swaps, how huge of a problem it is, and how BOTH parties voted to keep them unregulated.

  27. 27 Bunk Strutts
    October 30, 2008 at 8:44 am

    Let’s change the tone of this cordial discussion. Honest question: Why do you think that electing a socialist president with a socialist-dominated congress would be good for the U.S. and the world economy?

  28. October 30, 2008 at 8:56 am

    Wow, that was a quick two hours! Have you listened to them? I think we’re starting to talk past each other here.

  29. 29 Bunk Strutts
    October 30, 2008 at 9:10 am

    We cross-posted there, Ian. I’ll check ‘em out tomorrow and get back to you.

  30. October 30, 2008 at 12:09 pm

    OK. But going on the assumption that investment bankers are led and staffed by some of the most capitalistic darwinists around, don’t you see the irony of blaming “socialists” in government for the crisis by failing to regulate them – if that’s what you mean by setting them up for failure? Bankers are always clamouring for less regulation, but when things go tits up, it’s the government’s fault? It gets into the realm of conspiracy theory to go that route, to say liberals saw this coming but were either negligent or incompetent and so therefore they’re to blame.

  31. 31 Bunk Strutts
    October 31, 2008 at 7:34 am

    Ian– You have part of it right. The investment bankers jumped in with both feet once the feds gave them federal insurance protection. The other part is that the mortgage companies and lending entities were not advised to, but were mandated (by Democrat-majority-led congresses) to provide loans to folks who wouldn’t normally qualify. These mandates go back decades, and all in the name of “Fairness.” It’s the Law of Unintended Consequences in action.

    SO… the lender has the option of declining to lend to folks with poor credit and risk being penalized/fined/dragged into court as a racist organization, or to play the game and agree to it with the promise that the Feds would back up their loans if the loans went into default. Meanwhile, they could collect huge amounts of interest on the loans. The result was that an investment industry jumped up to fill the void.

    Regarding the defaults: The majority (2/3 or so?) of the foreclosures were speculators, buying residential property, holding it for 6 months, and selling off at a profit, a legal process known as “flipping.” This caused artificial inflation in the housing industry.

    When the housing market crashed due to normal economic fluctuations, these folks were caught with their pants down and their fingers in the till. A smaller percentage (1/4?) were folks that didn’t have the income to qualify for loans in the first place… many were illegal immigrants. Many lenders were stuck with bad paper, and now the government has taken over their assets. That’s socialism.

    I’m not an economist. I’m just a small businessman who pays attention to politics and the way government affects the economy, which in turn affects me. All the U.S. Congress had to do was nothing, and the economy would have fixed itself.

    Capitalism works very well when the C-Student Government quits messing with it.

  32. October 31, 2008 at 9:00 pm

    You’re partly right, too, Mr. Strutts. Nobody had a gun to their heads telling the banks to lend money to people in no position to pay back. It was a swindle when you consider that many homeowners were enticed with loans that said their rate was below prime – but the contracts would contain fine print saying that rate was good only for a while, after which their payments skyrocketed.

    The government has taken over their bad debt, meaning you will be on the hook for it. Yeah, you could call it socialism – but what alternative did they have in a crisis such as this? Imagine what state the markets would be in if they just sat back and watch valuations in major markets plummet forever. Fear reigned. Nobody knew where the floor was, and quite frankly, they still don’t know when the next shoe is going to drop – they’ve been given a little breathing room by throwing money at the problem. Plugging holes for a little while – the whole story has yet to be told.

    But getting to your question about a “socialist” President – you and I come from two very different countries. Boiled down, yours was founded on values of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, while Canada was founded on values of Peace, Order and Good Government. Most Canadians have no problem with socialism, which is why I’m perfectly happy here in Germany, a country even more socialist than Canada. We have a high savings rate, don’t like to binge on credit, pay our bills on time and yeah, maybe we’re not filthy rich and taxes are higher, but the trade-off is a pretty good standard of living spread out over a wider demographic. I don’t think any President, Democratic or Republican, would be stupid enough to try to push through any policies that come even close to bringing the States in line with how society is ordered here in Europe. It just wouldn’t work there.

  33. 33 Bunk Strutts
    November 1, 2008 at 3:11 am

    Seems we’re in agreement, Ian, just analyzing the same thing from two different angles. (By the way, most of us here in the states are not “filthy rich” either, depending on how you define it… I’m aiming for it though!) Happy Halloween, my friend.

  34. 34 virgomonkey
    November 28, 2008 at 11:16 pm

    Ian, at least you are not putting all Americans under the same umbrella with Palin. I appreciate that. However, I got confused when I read your comment on another website saying that Americans are all “collective narcissists”?

    I wanted to email you or make a general comment in a general area but couldn’t find one.

    Do you really think that’s a fair assessment considering the fact that Americans and their media are the most self-critical and much more Anti-American than the rest of the world!

    Why judge a nation of people (300 million) by their extremists? I wouldn’t think an intellectual, a world traveller, and a renown writer would be the type of person that would fall for stereotypes, hyperbole, and over-sensationalized rumors without challenge or question. I would only expect one like you to have a more balanced outlook on the world and its people and not resorted to bigoted comments on the internet.

    I hope that I’m wrong.

  35. November 28, 2008 at 11:30 pm

    Hi Virgomonkey,

    I recall making that statement (edit – have found the link to it:)
    http://paulitics.wordpress.com/2008/11/12/a-friendly-note-to-america-from-a-canadian-quit-saying-youre-the-envy-of-the-world/

    It’s a sign of collective narcissism, you know. They have this unrealistic, idealised vision of what they think they are, fail to see their faults, label as enemies anyone who calls them out on it, and can’t understand why anyone would fail to understand why they’re so great or why anyone wouldn’t envy them. I’ve seen it on a personal level, and these people are sick. DSM-IV sick.

    Let’s keep it in context. I was referring to Americans who blindly follow the right-wing line of my-country-right-or-wrong, who would be so stupid as to follow Palin into some abyss. Of course not all Americans are like that.

    BTW, I don’t agree that Americans and their media are much more anti-American than the rest of the world. Quite the contrary. What do you call Fox News if not a mouthpiece for the White House? Where were the press in the run-up to the Iraq war? Completely asleep at the switch. You have to read European media to really know what’s going on in the States – ie Le Monde, Der Spiegel, etc. You seem to have lost the journalistic momentum in the 80s after the eurphoria of Watergate.

  36. 36 virgomonkey
    November 29, 2008 at 1:44 am

    You should read that link I sent you up above. Just in case I messed up with it, I’ll leave it here:

    http://virgomonkey.wordpress.com/2008/08/13/americas-self-critical-nature-in-the-media-goes-unnoticed-all-too-often/

    We have several news outlets here, and all too often people think that its the mouth piece of everything here, which isn’t the case. It’s what people CHOOSE to watch is what is scary. We have some right-wingnuts here who get all their news from Republican talk radio which makes Fox look far to the Left. But just like anywhere else, we have so many options.

    RE: the Iraq War — the press (not Fox) got all over that too until it was completely unavoidable (for Bush and co. to escape it) and even prompted Colin Powell to admit that Iraq was invaded under false pretences. It took forever for Bush to admit until recently. So, it was the press that did Bush and his administration in. But unfortunately, it took some conservatives way too long to figure that out. The far Right will never get it. They are hopeless.

    I agree with you about the European media, but I feel they have a slant too and that they can slant both ways. What I find to be important is to look at all media outlets as well as independent outlets to then decide on your own. Too many people (and this isn’t specific to Americans) find one source and stick with it.

    You seem to have lost the journalistic momentum in the 80s after the eurphoria of Watergate.

    That would be an incorrect assumption as I am subscribed to several international newspapers.

    Actually, all media systems are responsible for four things:

    * reporting the facts
    * sensationalizing and exaggerating them to keep you focused, hot, and bothered
    * twisting the facts subtly to meet a particular agenda
    * and leaving certain facts (the good stuff!) out that could possibly give you a balanced perspective.

    Journalism = greed, and they’ll do anything to get a rise out of people for money. Bad news = money. So, I am grateful especially for the internet as they expands our choices even more.

    Thank you for clearing up your statement. If you ever see my blog, I rail against them (the right-wingnuts) too. They make my blood boil to no end! Now they are all crying and saying that it was the liberal media that brainwashed people to vote for Obama. *sighs*

  37. 37 virgomonkey
    November 29, 2008 at 1:47 am

    Typo alert. Sorry. :oops:

    …for the internet as they expands our choices even more…

    I meant to say “as IT expands” – not they.

  38. 38 Bunk Strutts
    November 29, 2008 at 8:36 am

    Virgomonkey–

    Very nice riposte to the irrational browbeating of the U.S. by the international tabloids and others. This country has sacrificed more blood and money in the name of freedom, and has helped more people to escape from abject poverty than any other country in the history of the world, yet much of the world claims that we don’t do enough… don’t give enough.

    Minor corrections are in order. Except for Loretta Sanchez, all of Congress voted to invade Iraq. The pretenses were not false as there was clear evidence of the existance of WMDs. Just ask the 900,000 kurds who were killed by Saddam Husseien’s evil regime. Even though he had 12 years to hide them while under sanctions does not mean they didn’t exist. Our armed forces found some of them as reported to the House in 2003.

    The liberal media did indeed have a significant part in Obama’s election, but they didn’t brainwash people. They presented Obama (to the voting population who get all their news from television) as a great intellectual wonder while ignoring his serious character flaws and all the skeletons in his many closets. At the same time they fabricated and spread lies about Sarah Palin without shame, but that doesn’t excuse McCain from running such a weak campaign.

    Interesting to note that although Obama was elected, it was a very close race, and not a landslide by any definition.

    President Bush, with all his shortcomings, did not get us into the financial situation we’re facing today; the Democrat Congress DID. Let’s see if Obi can truly deliver them from evil.

  39. November 29, 2008 at 3:24 pm

    Mr Strutts,

    I would hardly include Le Monde and Der Spiegel in the same rank as “tabloids.” Those are two of the most respected publications on the European continent.

    Have you read Chain of Command by Seymour Hersh? Please don’t try to gloss over the fact that the lies came thick and fast in the run-up to the Iraq invasion. Classic bait and switch, as Hersh quotes a high-level intelligence official as saying on page 241 of the hardcover edition. “Bait them into Iraq with weapons of mass destruction. And, when they aren’t found, there’s this whole bullshit about the weapon being in Syria.”

    Please also explain how Sarah Palin’ many flaws – evident in the video posted here and elsewhere – are a product of the liberal media? She didn’t have to have the press hounding her – she demonstrated incompetence at every turn. Even her backers recoiled in horror and tried to keep her away from a reporter’s microphone.

    And here we are back blaming the “Democratic Congress” for the greed and swindling which went on in the mortgage and banking industry. I like how freewheeling capitalism is OK when everyone’s making money, but when the house of cards collapses everyone points a finger at elected officials!

    Virgomonkey, I hope to be able to read more of your blog in the coming days. I should point out that the “you” in the quote you pull means “the press” and not you personally.

  40. 40 Bunk Strutts
    November 30, 2008 at 9:57 am

    Ian–

    You are misinformed about basic economics. That’s not a jab, as you are not alone. Many U.S. citizens don’t know how their own government works either.

    The U.S. congress enacted affirmative action programs under President Jimmy Carter that were expanded under Bill Clinton’s administration with enactment by the Democrat controlled congress.

    These programs encouraged/forced lenders to offer mortgages at or below prime rate to folks that were financially unqualified to get them. These risky loans were guaranteed backing by the feds. Once federal insurance was in place, lenders had neglible risk, and bundled the risky loans with other solvent packages.

    In other words, shoddy lending practices were encouraged and backed up by the government. Note also that a majority of folks that lost out were flip artists, buying cheap, holding for a few months before selling for a profit. Nothing wrong with that. They got caught short, playing the market.

    Those lending institutions that balked on accepting risky loans risked the wrath of lawsuits claiming racial discrimination. It wasn’t greed so much as an avoidance of litigation that propelled normally sane lending institutions to finance dangerous sleigh rides.

    Hope that clears things up for you.

  41. November 30, 2008 at 10:44 am

    No Mr. Strutts, that doesn’t clear it up for me. I’m still confused. Can you point to a government agency that actively told bankers to lend to unworthy customers? Can you please link to articles that point this out? I really want to learn more. All I was able to find was this article, which talks of the government mortgage agencies Fannie and Freddie Mac:

    Fannie and Freddie had nothing to do with the explosion of high-risk lending a few years ago, an explosion that dwarfed the S.& L. fiasco. In fact, Fannie and Freddie, after growing rapidly in the 1990s, largely faded from the scene during the height of the housing bubble.

    Partly that’s because regulators, responding to accounting scandals at the companies, placed temporary restraints on both Fannie and Freddie that curtailed their lending just as housing prices were really taking off. Also, they didn’t do any subprime lending, because they can’t: the definition of a subprime loan is precisely a loan that doesn’t meet the requirement, imposed by law, that Fannie and Freddie buy only mortgages issued to borrowers who made substantial down payments and carefully documented their income.

    http://www.econbrowser.com/archives/2008/07/did_fannie_and.html

    Oh, and further: I’m sure you’ve heard of the NINJA loan? No Income, No Job, no Assets?
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/03/13/AR2007031301733_pf.html

    quote:
    It began years ago when Lewis Ranieri, an investment banker at the old Salomon Brothers, dreamed up the idea of buying mortgages from bank lenders, bundling them and issuing bonds with the bundles as collateral. The monthly payments from homeowners were used to pay interest on the bonds, and principal was repaid once all the mortgages had been paid down or refinanced.

    Thanks to Ranieri and his successors, almost anyone can originate a mortgage loan — not just banks and big mortgage lenders, but any mortgage broker with a Web site and a phone. Some banks still keep the mortgages they write. But most other originators sell them to investment banks that package and “securitize” them. And because the originators make their money from fees and from selling the loans, they don’t have much at risk if borrowers can’t keep up with their payments.

    And therein lies the problem: an incentive structure that encourages originators to write risky loans, collect the big fees and let someone else suffer the consequences.
    unquote.

    I’ve looked for evidence of government interference in encouraging these practices, but haven’t found any.

  42. 42 virgomonkey
    December 1, 2008 at 7:51 pm

    Look at all this I started. :lol:

  43. December 1, 2008 at 9:36 pm

    Naw, scroll up. Strutts has been around here before.


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