Chevys, Fords and clodhoppers

Thinking Right’s weekend free-for-all. Pick a topic:

  • Billionaire Warren Buffett advises Congress to stop using the economic downturn as an excuse to push through other policy changes. The nation’s engaged in economic war, he said. “What is required is a commander in chief that’s looked at like a commander in chief in a time of war.” But where would we find one?
  • President Obama is the front man radicals have long needed. In putting the nation on the slippery slope, where life is created for the purpose of destroying it, he declares that reversing the existing constraints on the use of taxpayer money for embryonic stem cell research is essential. “It is about ensuring that scientific data is never distorted or concealed to serve a political agenda — and that we make scientific decisions based on facts, not ideology.” Unless, of course, it’s the ideology of global warming.
  • A tax that has grocery shoppers saving their sales slips for tax-rebate purposes is far too labor-intensive ever to be passed into law. This was the proposal by State Rep. Chuck Sims (R-Ambrose) to restore the tax on groceries. Clue me in: Toting this now-pulled grocery-tax bill was a gang-initiation rite for Sims, a Democrat-turned-Republican, right? Or did he draw the short straw to wear the clod-hoppers and big-foot a path across Georgia’s anti-tax minefield?
  • Stop the presses. The California Supreme Court is said to be “wary of overriding voters’ decision” to ban same-sex marriage. Associate Justice Joyce Kennard noted that a citizen’s right to change their Constitution is “very, very broad [and] well-established.” Imagine that. Sit down, Betsy, and brace yourself. The killer quote’s coming. Chief Justice Ron George, hearing arguments challenging the ban, declared openly and boldly: “Maybe the solution has to be a political one.” A decision is due within 90 days.
  • Seriously, I love a place where people like Virgil Hazel of Adel are so passionate about Fords and Chevrolets that they worry what they’d do if one of the brands went away. Hundreds of hours of my early life were spent listening to Ford-Chevy arguments. Hazel, a Chevy loyalist, drove one Ford in his life, a 1983 model. “Had to walk home,” he told the AJC’s Drew Jubera at Sunday’s NASCAR’s Kobalt Tools 500. “Traded it in for a ‘77 Chevrolet.”
  • You cut back. Does Congress? No. It ups its upkeep by 10 percent to $4.4 billion in the $410 billion spending bill. Georgia agencies are cut. The feds’ get raised. Congress lives in a different world.
  • Without drama, Cobb County commissioners reduce the budget by $5.3 million following a $19.5 million reduction in December. Such deeds explain the county’s triple-A bond rating. Across the river, Atlanta’s rating has been downgraded two notches by Standards & Poor’s, from “AA-” to “A,” “based on a trend of operating deficits and declining revenues during a period of strong economic growth, which leaves the city with diminished financial reserves and flexibility as it enters the current economic downturn.” Contributing, too: “Longer-term pressures associated with the city’s underfunded pensions, police overtime, and subsidies to the sanitation and E911 funds.” The time to be responsible is when you have money.
  • A bill like the one proposed by State Rep. Clay Cox (R-Lilburn) to reduce the power of the state council that watches over 37 private probation companies, including his, is the kind that destroys privatization. Government should turn every possible service over to the private sector, but with transparency, accountability and a strong ethics policy that establishes a firewall between companies performing the work and current and former legislators and bureaucrats who could influence their profitability.
  • Most haunting quote of the week, from Geneva County, Ala., Deputy Sheriff Josh Myers, whose wife and daughter were among those killed in a shooting rampage a day earlier: “I cried so much yesterday, I don’t have a tear left in me.”

116 comments Add your comment

Ragnar Danneskjöld

March 13th, 2009
5:44 am

Good morning all. Mr. Buffet’s celebrated comments are part of a rising chorus. Our allies in France and Germany flatly reject President Obama’s big-spending approach to resolving the financial distress. Certainly we all deplore unilateralists, who refuse to listen to our noble allies, and perhaps President Obama will have the good sense to initiate a sea change in his irrational economic programs.

The Empty Suit is not above making a false analogy. As noted by Taranto yesterday, opposition to “embryonic stem cell research” is not an issue of ideology, but one of ethics. An honest statement by Chauncey would have been that he favors science over ethics. But that would have reminded too many people of Dr. Josef Mengele, and the leap from Mengele’s misleaders to other tendencies in the Obama administration would have been uncomfortably easy.

Chuck Sims made one strategic error. You can add a tax if you eliminate a similar one. Georgia would support full sales tax on all sales if the income tax were abolished. The House also got it backwards on the new vehicle tax, which I oppose. A smarter course would have been to impose 7% with no limit, but with a “forgiveness” of the first $500 of tax on each title. That would shift the tax to the most conspicuous consumers, and exempt the most modest spenders, and mostly eliminate the $1 sale frauds.

I think the justices of the California Supreme Court have to stand for election. And there is a history of recalling incompetent justices. Sometimes even leftists are compelled to accept the plain language of constitutions.

On the Ford/Chevy divide, while my father was always a GM man, I am biased to Fords, largely due to an almost but not quite indestructible 1994 Ranger we used to teach our sons how to drive a stick. Except that we now drive a Subaru, a Honda, and an ancient Mazda.

Congressional Democrats are not constrained by the rules of normal people – they are our overlords.

Fulton County is run by democrats, too.

Hear, hear, on the probation companies. I’ve had a long-time dark fear, and I had no idea how to penetrate the murk to look for corruption. The recent Wilkes-Barre judge corruption inflamed my suspicions. Private companies providing public services need public accounting, to ensure there is no quid pro quo. Clay Cox sounds like a crook, except that overlords are exempt from normal standards. He follows the example of Chris Dodd.

Ekim Eroom

March 13th, 2009
6:32 am

Larry Kudlow has a piece on NRO from yesterday that argues the nation may be moving out of the down cycle before a dime of stimulus money has been sent. What are the chances that the presses will be stopped and China will be given their money back? Hard to believe our “Old Europe” friends are more fiscally responsible than our current leaders. So called “conservative republicans” are as much to blame as democrats. Democrats cannot get to sixty without some GOP help.

sane jane

March 13th, 2009
7:01 am

I’ve never been a Democrat, but I believed they’d earned their turn at the wheel after 8 years of the Dub-acle.

I’m sick of Congress in its entirety. Obama’s a better face man for our frat (Upsilon Sigma Alpha), but no miracle worker.

I’m not turning to the republicans, with their warloving Christian hypocrisies.

So where do we turn? Can Libertarians get it together?

Have pitchfork, will travel.

sane jane

March 13th, 2009
7:13 am

Ragnar, did you refer to Europeans as “our noble allies” when they objected to our adventure in the big sandbox?

Churchill's MOM

March 13th, 2009
7:20 am

Chris Broe

March 13th, 2009
7:22 am

CNN just reported that President Obama said yesterday that he would favor proposed legislation to ban future Octomoms if it would have prevented the Jonas Brothers.

The president did dance on “Ellen”, so his opinion is important.

Buffet declares an economic war! Another loose cannon! I cant see how that spin could lead us all into a slow slide into a Third World War, can you? If we can just get Americans to blame China, India, and the Phillipines, (the axis of payroll), then it will be easy to ignite a conflagration so vast and unstoppable that we’ll all know how Custer felt that fateful day on which he thought he could spin a victory out of unemployed liberals.

And that’s the best of the stories……good day!

sane jane

March 13th, 2009
7:26 am

Congress has intelligent members and dumb members. But the trait they all share is that they love to hear themselves talk.

sane jane

March 13th, 2009
7:27 am

South Park absolutely SHREDDED the Jonas Brothers & Disney last night. Effing brilliant.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

March 13th, 2009
7:30 am

Dear Sane Jane @ 7:13, I thought my joke was a pretty clever riff on that constant drumbeat the leftist loons pounded for eight years. Obviously not as clever as I thought if it flew past you. I should just leave humor to PoFo – futile for me to try.

Why Bother

March 13th, 2009
7:32 am

It used to be fun defending Republicans and berating Democrats. I’ve lost my mojo. The system is so sick and corrupt that I consider 99% of politicians totally useless. We’d be better off using Tarot cards, OUIJA boards or pig entrails to make our laws. When/will it ever end? Will our corruption eventually cause our demise?

Ragnar Danneskjöld

March 13th, 2009
7:32 am

Dear Mom @ 7:20, thanks, but IT here has youtube blocked, to prevent idle surfing by my lesser-motivated associates. Will review tonight.

sane jane

March 13th, 2009
7:33 am

Insisting that embryonic stem cell research is solely a matter of ethics (and not science) is, in itself, a false choice.

And just like poker, a false analogy beats a false choice. Everyone knows that.

sane jane

March 13th, 2009
7:35 am

My bad, Rag. I must have a faulty snark detector, or I’m just unusually somber this morning.

sane jane

March 13th, 2009
7:37 am

The YouTube was a collection of bloviating (D) congressmen. Maxine Waters, in particular, reminds me of one of those incompetent schoolboard members who demands excellence from faculty, administration, students… yet hasn’t the foggiest idea how to accomplish that.

playthatfunkymusic whiteboy

March 13th, 2009
7:39 am

Mission accomplished Mr. Wooten – putting forth positions on a (sometimes) daily basis that are so blatently partisan; it can’t help but create fervor enough to respond.

Ford vs. Chevy – give me a break. I refuse to buy another American car for the rest of my natural life, and I don’t feel guilty because the foreign car companies employ lots of Americans, get their supplies from American small businesses, and seem to be better corporate citizens all the way around than their US counterparts in Detroit. I have a 10 year old Japanese luxury SUV that has 180,000 miles on it, never a problem. I’ve owned 4 Fords and 2 Chevy’s in my lifetime and once that odometer hit 50,000 you might as well sell it to Carmax.

Clay Cox must not have paid proper homage to Skin Edge, Matt Towery, and “Sonny-Do” and the rest of the Georgia Republican Cabal.

Wooten have Skin and Matt told you who to start pumping for Governor yet? Please, if they say Glenn Richardson, look deep into the mirror, you just can’t do that to the citizens of this great state.

And Ragnar, wouldn’t it be more appropriate to point out that France and Germany don’t have the $$$ to pull off an economic stimulus on the magnitude the US is, plus they haven’t been as exposed to the banking crisis over mortgage securitization because frankly their banks have much tighter regulations. Old Europe has a much larger problem at hand, they need a different type of “stimulation” since their population levels are falling and aging.

Thanks all for the entertainment.

sane jane

March 13th, 2009
7:40 am

I agree with Why Bother. I like to think that if the Founding Fathers came back today, they’d be wondering why we hadn’t thrown all the effing bass turds out yet & tried a second republic. What number is France on again?

Say what you want about the frogs, but they know how to put heads on pikes, my friend.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

March 13th, 2009
7:43 am

If anybody anticipates a long, boring weekend with the prospective rain, urge you to pick up a copy of today’s WSJ. Took me two hours to read today. There must be 20 worthy essays therein, unusually interesting issue even by WSJ standards. Especially recommend the review of “Me Cheeta” and Rob Long’s amusing recommendations to The Empty Suit on gift-giving, “The President’s Diplomatic Gifts.”

Ragnar Danneskjöld

March 13th, 2009
7:45 am

Dear Funky @ 7:39, re France and Germany, the Europeans socialists are a futile decade ahead of The Empty Suit, so I take their cautionary as a sort of buyer’s remorse, much as Obama voters are beginning to feel.

sane jane

March 13th, 2009
7:46 am

Not all of Europe’s population is aging & falling. Some parts are getting younger, browner & more likely to face east five times a day.

Time for an overhaul

March 13th, 2009
7:46 am

Sane Jane, Rag,
You are so right!! I’ve been saying it’s time for a serious tea party. The insanity has got to stop, the lunatics are running the House and the Senate and it is very scary! I don’t give a flying clam which party you’re affliated with – they have all lost touch with reality! Can we just start impeaching them all and start over!

Ragnar Danneskjöld

March 13th, 2009
7:47 am

Dear Jane @ 7:40, if you run against Johnny, remind me to send money to your campaign.

sane jane

March 13th, 2009
7:48 am

Ragnar, have you ever read Bruce Bawer? Stealing Jesus, and While Europe Slept? Pretty ambidextrous.

Time for an overhaul

March 13th, 2009
7:51 am

Sane Jane & Rag – now there’s a winning ticket.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

March 13th, 2009
7:53 am

Just let me be Jane’s Atty Gen – we’ll straighten ‘em out. I’ll prosecute the crooks in Congress, so we’ll have 421 new members.

Time for an overhaul

March 13th, 2009
7:53 am

Jane @7.48 – spot on!

[...] Some opinion: Jim Wooten on Chevys, Fords and clodhoppers. [...]

sane jane

March 13th, 2009
8:02 am

Anybody who sees fault principally on one side or the other (doesn’t matter, D or R) is part of the problem.

We get the government we deserve, because we delight in dumbing down issues into truthy-sounding bytes.

Colbert was officially a genius with “truthiness.” It doesn’t matter if it’s accurate; it just needs to sound good.

sane jane

March 13th, 2009
8:03 am

Thanks y’all, but I can’t run for anything till my “medication” is decriminalized…

sane jane

March 13th, 2009
8:10 am

Our elected leaders should be required to endure “Question Time” with the day’s best political comedians: Maher, Miller, Stewart, etc. Let them be part of the vetting process to weed out the know-nothings.

Such a sad commentary on the state of our society when we need the court jesters to bail us out.

Big Bucks GOP

March 13th, 2009
8:12 am

In pleading guilty Thursday to running Wall Street’s biggest and
longest fraud, Bernard L. Madoff admitted his guilt for the first time
in public, and apologized to his victims.

But his testimony was also shaped by his determination to shield his
wife and family.

As a result, those who thought his guilty plea would shed more light on
the Ponzi scheme left the courtroom unsatisfied and uncertain — about
where their money had gone and who may have helped Mr. Madoff steal it.

Big Bucks GOP

March 13th, 2009
8:13 am

Swiss private bank Union Bancaire Privee, one of the largest European
hedge-fund investors, offered Thursday to buy back $700 million of its
clients’ Madoff-related investments at half what they originally paid.

Big Bucks GOP

March 13th, 2009
8:14 am

An accountant working with some Madoff victims argues that the United
States government, which collected tax for years on phantom gains, was
the “single biggest beneficiary” of the scheme.

Big Bucks GOP

March 13th, 2009
8:19 am

Under pressure from the government, Citigroup is considering several
candidates with financial expertise to join its embattled board,

playthatfunkymusic whiteboy

March 13th, 2009
8:21 am

Ragnar, I believe you would have referred to JFK also as an “empty suit”. Hmmmm, well maybe an empty suit is what we need after 8 years of an “empty head”. Actually, give me 8 years of a fiscally conservative, progressive Southern Democratic Governor, paired with an ideological yet intelligent Republican Congress – America did amazing things from 1992-2000. Under that combination, we defeated communism totally (through our economy)and spread freedom, effectively ended a genocide in Bosnia with a multi-pronged approach (diplomatic pressure, economic pressure, relief, and cruise missles) defeated the welfare state (less than 0.1% of the population of Georgia received federal welfare assistance in 2005 – something folks that lived here in the 70’s and 80’s would have thought impossible), billion dollar budget surpluses, Georgia’s economy booming, New York making a magnificent comeback – the Falcons went to the SuperBowl (I’ll never forgive Eugine Robinson) and the Braves won a World Series.

By the way, world markets are up again today – come on Wooten and others, give me the good spin… come on lets hear it.

Big Bucks GOP

March 13th, 2009
8:22 am

A House committee has started investigating whether Merrill Lynch gave
Congress misleading information about its plans for executive bonuses.

Big Bucks GOP

March 13th, 2009
8:24 am

Berkshire Hathaway was stripped of its ‘AAA’ credit rating by Fitch
Ratings, which cited concerns about Berkshire’s equity and derivatives
investments, as well as Warren E. Buffett’s tight grip on the company.

Big Bucks GOP

March 13th, 2009
8:26 am

Federal lawmakers pressured the top U.S. accounting rulemaker for new
guidance on mark-to-market accounting within three weeks or face
legislation to change the rule that has forced banks to record billions
of dollars in asset write-downs.

Big Bucks GOP

March 13th, 2009
8:27 am

General Electric and its finance arm lost their coveted triple-A credit
rating from Standard & Poor’s on Thursday, as the credit-rating agency
downgraded G.E.’s long-term debt one notch. But G.E. shares rose amid
relief the cut wasn’t worse.

Big Bucks GOP

March 13th, 2009
8:30 am

Representative Maxine Waters, Democrat from California, helped set up a
meeting in which the chief executive of OneUnited, a bank with
financial ties to her family, asked for special bailout funds, Treasury
officials said.

Big Bucks GOP

March 13th, 2009
8:32 am

Trouble continued to grow in the yellow pages publishing sector, as
R.H. Donnelley hired Lazard to restructure its debt and Idearc
acknowledged that it may seek a prenegotiated bankruptcy.

sane jane

March 13th, 2009
8:44 am

Thank you for killing the conversation, Big Bucks GOP.

Maniac is accurate

March 13th, 2009
8:44 am

I can’t drive my F-350 dually with the 7.3-liter turbo diesel for more than four hours, because I run the risk of suffering priopism.

MacArthur O. Means

March 13th, 2009
8:47 am

Ragnar Danncuckhold, you sell yourself short. Your schtick is often quite funny.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

March 13th, 2009
8:53 am

Dear funky @ 8:21, I think any suggestion of similarity between Obama and JFK would be the triumph of hope over experience. While JFK had many flaws, both personal and in policy, we have to remember that single shining legacy, the JFK tax cuts. Clearly JFK understood (better than most contemporary democrats) the elements of job formation.

Obama has time yet to pull out of this suicide dive he has designed for the US economy. Everything he says sounds more like “higher costs for business” and “more restrictions for business.” Not very much hope for redemption there. To your point, however, think how much better the country would perform with President Phil Bredesen than with the current Empty Suit.

Maniac is accurate

March 13th, 2009
8:54 am

There are many here much smarter than me. What will it take to bring renewable energies to mass market? That industry now is dominated by hundreds of small companies that consist of labs and small test sites. What is the catalyst to get these technologies off the drawing boards and into the marketplace?

Ragnar Danneskjöld

March 13th, 2009
9:06 am

Dear Funky @ 8:21, your post prompts a couple of other observations. How were JFK and the Horndog different from President Jimmy (other than the obvious sex jokes – I’m comparatively serious here)? JFK worked to eliminate the socialist effect of segregation, thus freeing the economy to perform on merit alone. The Horndog gets credit from me for pushing NAFTA, which also freed the economy to perform. Each had a significant “freedom” initiative for the economy.

In contrast, President Carter was a “regulator” slapping government shackles on the economy right and left. In all fairness, Jimmy inherited Nixon’s disastrously-foolish wage and price controls – Jimmy’s great sin was failure to remove the shackles, thus allowing Reagan credit for that bit of genius. We can credit Jimmy with eliminating some few long-standing pricing restrictions – airlines, banking, trucking – but those were minor compared to his greatest omission, oil. Gas lines, coupled with the inflation that accelerated with his “social” spending, destroyed his presidency. Unfortunately President Obama shows no evidence of a capacity to learn from the mistakes of his predecessors.

playthatfunkymusic whiteboy

March 13th, 2009
9:08 am

Maniac (love the name), it all boils down to one thing – money. It has to be worth it. Energy pricing (oil, gas, etc.) have to get to such a level that renewables have to make economic sense to invest in. Two ways to accomplish that – setting an artificial price floor, like for instance gas would have to be at least $2.50 a gallon. Not a fan of that, but I do see the proponents point. The other way is just to wait for the market to take care of it, which eventually it will have to – no matter how much people think is actually in the ground, everyone agrees that supplies are limited.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

March 13th, 2009
9:12 am

Dear Maniac @ 8:54, What will it take to bring renewable energies to mass market? [The US has a long-standing blindness to the best renewable energy source ever discovered,](http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123690627522614525.html ) and widely exploited by other countries. If, however, you refer to some of the grossly inefficient pie-in-the-sky sources, you may have to repeal the laws of physics. Like that old comic that depicts a scientist standing before a blackboard filled with formulae, ending with “and then a miracle happens.”

Ragnar Danneskjöld

March 13th, 2009
9:16 am

Dear funky @ 9:08, I think I saw, not too long ago, a really odd but credible argument that oil renews itself. The physics were well beyond my competence, so I cannot represent the legitimacy of the discussion.

playthatfunkymusic whiteboy

March 13th, 2009
9:33 am

Ragnar, good observations and I accept the criticism of Carter on the oil point, mainly because you unlike many others relent that Jimmy was dealt a horrible hand when he took over.

I would contend however, that with one utterance at the beginning of his presidency, I believe we may have the right person for the moment in the White House. When the Daschle fiasco unfolded, President Obama did something that neither President Bush nor President Clinton did, which was admit that he was wrong and took personal responsibility. Unfortunately too many leaders in all enterprises see that as a sign of weakness, whereas the people following them see it as a very positive thing.

This President has also tried to surround himself with the best people and take in differing viewpoints. I have yet to see a “Brown-y” on this administrations staff (could be there, but I haven’t seen it yet). However, unfortunately though some picks have been qualified, they have personal issues that basically make them unfit – although I think it’s humorous the same people railing against the arcane “tax-code” and all of it’s intracacies are the very same people demanding Obama’s appointments that made tax mistakes step aside.

I am of the mind we do not need an idealogue or a demagogue in the White House at this critical juncture.