Friday, November 14, 2008


Auto Bailout Alternative

I've been leaning towards supporting an auto bailout but with a lot of reluctance. We've lived for decades with major airlines in bankruptcy and the economy can function normally. The bailout drug is very seductive once you start taking hits off of it. Detroit also needs a falling out. Bailout or not will not return the Big Three to their old glory nor will it return the old auto towns to what they were.

On the other hand these are not normal times. Credit is frozen and while the economy is on the edge of collapsing. I'm not sure the people who would normally pick up the pieces are able to at this moment. Additionally, since we are guaranteeing a lot of debt indirectly by asorbing AIG's 'insurance' on various corporate bonds, maybe this might be best way to avoid paying a lot more on the other end of the equation.

On the other, other hand I don't trust the government here. They don't have the incentive to force serious change on the Big Three, especially when that change is going to need to include serious union concessions, plant closings and a lot of other things the political system doesn't do very well.

Perhaps the best idea I've heard then is a concentrated effort to pick up the pieces. Namely the people and communities harmed by a collapse of the automakers. Target unemployed workers with additional unemployment insurance, grants for education and business starting, relocation grants for them to move to growing communities and assist towns devasted by plant closings. In the long run this is probably a more efficient bailout because even if the corporations survive, they are probably going to lay off thousands of workers anyway.

Monday, November 03, 2008


So Why is the Media Biased for McCain!

Yes you heard me. Perhaps you’ve heard about the Project for Excellence in Journalism's report on positive versus negative stories. McCain has 57% negative versus 14% positive. Obama enjoys 36% positive, 29% negative and 35% neutral.

Well right now (about 9 PM EST 11/3/8) Intrade contracts for a McCain win are trading at $10.10 and an Obama win are at $91.20. I’ll go on the record now that Obama’s going to win because that’s where the money is. So why should the media be carrying positive stories on McCain?

This is probably the most intensely covered campaign ever. After nearly two years of nonstop campaigning, record numbers of convention and debate viewers and the maturation of blogs (the news cycle is now driven by blogs with the mainstream media summarizing what you missed by not watching your Google Reader) we have finally hit an end point. Let’s ask why people bother to consume media coverage of the campaigns.

One answer is to learn about the issues and where the candidates stand on them. Yes I hear the laughing too but we got to give this due diligence. If you watch media coverage you’ve probably noticed that very little is about learning about where the candidates stand. On most issues, you don’t really need to know where candidates stand…quick name the pro-choice candidate here, the pro-life one? Don’t know? Have you been in a coma since 1980?

The real answer is that we consume media coverage because we want to know whose going to win. We consume CNN and FOX the way odds makers consume the Betting News. Few of us actually bet on the election (although I wish I had some spare cash to buy Obama contracts from Intrade when they were selling cheap a few months ago) but most of us act as if we are. If, though, that is what we are demanding from the media then what has the media been giving us?

The media’s been bending over backwards to give McCain the benefit of the doubt. Why does every newscast feature paths for McCain to win? To be fair? How many times have you heard the major newscasts present a way for Libertarian candidate Bob Barr to win? The anecdote that sums this up perfectly, in my opinion, was the final debate where CNN’s analysts all declared McCain either the winner or ‘much improved’ only to immediately backtrack when the first polls found that most people thought he lost the debate (again).

So if the media is liberal and leans towards Obama, (Fox News excepted of course) what’s up with only 57% negative stories for McCain while Obama’s stories are more or less split evenly? McCain should be getting 90% negative stories. He is losing the election big time. If you’re using the media to bet on the election they are misleading you with this pathetic ‘fairness’. The media’s primary bias, though, is for money and a close race keeps more eyes on the TV than one that’s already done. So the media will do the best it can to pretend there’s still a cliffhanger here but there isn’t.

That’s it for tonight. We will see tomorrow if I’m made a fool but an insane upset. Go vote everyone!

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