“…The True Joy in Life….” A little wisdom from George Bernard Shaw.

“This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; the being a force of Nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.”

–George Bernard Shaw

Absentee ballots read “Barack Osama,” “simple mistake?” Pathetic.

The New York Times Editorial Board reported the following today: (see original, click here.)

Voters who wanted absentee ballots in an upstate New York County were surprised to see the name of the Democratic Presidential candidate. On the ballot, it read “Barack Osama.”

Major oops or dirty trick?

After the Albany Times-Union newspaper revealed the problem ballots on Friday, the Rensselaer County Board of Elections inisisted that the rendering of Barack Obama’s name was a simple mistake, and insisted that it was included on “only 300 of more than 4,000″ ballots.

“The board of elections acted quickly to correct the typographical error and regrets the error,” the board said in a statement. “The error was not deliberate and the Board of Elections is continuing to fairly manage the upcoming General Election in a bi-partisan and cooperative manner.”

Thought provoking responses to David Brooks’ NYTimes Op-Ed, “The Class War Before Palin.”

The folowing are a few thought provoking responses to a very good Opinion article about ‘the class war’ waged between Republicans and Democrats and fires stoked by Sarah Palin, written by David Brooks, published in Today’s New York Times:

Re “The Class War Before Palin,” by David Brooks (column, Oct. 10):

Far worse than the prospect of class warfare is to suddenly wake up to the fact that we’ve been involved in class warfare for most of the last 40 years, and we’ve been losing decisively.

Can there be any doubt, when virtually all of the economic gains have flowed to those at the very top, while real wages have been stagnant since 1969?

Tax cuts that overwhelmingly favored the rich have led to wealth and income being more unequally distributed than at any time since 1929.

It is the Republican right that has pursued class warfare relentlessly since the days of Ronald Reagan. It is time that we recognize this and begin to claw back some of the losses we have sustained.

Terence Stoeckert
Hoboken, N.J., Oct. 10, 2008

The writer is an affiliate professor of economics and finance at Stevens Institute of Technology.

To the Editor:

David Brooks is right. The anti-intellectualism of the Republicans is astounding.

Average Joes and Janes want ideas from people smarter than we are, whether they come from the left or the right. With the recent collapse of our economy, the Bush administration didn’t ask “Joe Sixpack” for advice, but instead asked the best and the brightest — I hope.

Let’s stop the dumbing down of this country.

Elaine Gallinaro
Devon, Pa., Oct. 10, 2008

To the Editor:

David Brooks seems to acknowledge the blatant failures of the Republican Party — a party that favors fear-mongering and ignorance, and habitually supports candidates with limited education and worldviews.

This has led Republicans and this nation to ruin, and attracts the type of people who yell “kill” and “terrorist” and racial slurs at campaign rallies. They want a nation that disdains education and frowns on the educated.

We call the Navy Seals and Army Rangers “elite.” Shouldn’t we have someone who is elite, in terms of intellect and judgment, command them?

Robert Rundbaken
Ossining, N.Y., Oct. 10, 2008

“The Terrorist Barack Hussein Obama.”

Interesting article about hatred in America, racial epithets at recent republican rallies and  (Click to read ‘The Terrorist Barack Hussein Obama,’ here.) These are sad days for the Republican party, THE PARTY OF LINCOLN, at a time when America needs true leadership and bridge building in politics, the Republican party is smearing itself in mud, fear, racism, ignorance and lies.  Pray for America.

hit play on video below to see a very sad moment for America, in the clip, you can tell McCain did his best to protect “the lady in red” and the viewers from the danger of ignorance and bigotry.

The following is a public comment left in response to this post that I thought was worth adding to the original post:

Rick Sanchez
http://www.posthastemedia.com | rick.sanchez@posthastemedia.com | 76.237.9.63

After so many years of progress raising the bar of dignity, honor and respect for every American citizen, it is sad to see a regression to the hate filled days of the past.

The party of Abraham Lincoln it seems is turning into the party of John Wilkes Booth.

I do have to give McCain credit for taking the microphone from the ignorant woman who called Senator Obama an Arab. That was the right thing to do and I applaud him for it. Free speech is one thing, but slander and innuendo are another thing altogether.

From The Terrorist Barack Hussein Obama, 2008/10/11 at 4:28 PM

McCain, Obama release statements on largest monthly US job loss report in 5 years

Statements by Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama on Friday’s jobs report from the Labor Department. In a sign that the economy is hurtling toward a deep recession, employers slashed payrolls by 159,000 in September, the most in more than five years.

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McCain’s Statement:

Today’s report of another 159,000 lost jobs confirms what America’s working men and women have understood for months: Our nation’s economy is on the wrong track. It is imperative that Congress act to address the financial crisis while protecting taxpayers and being good stewards of their dollars. But we must do more.

America’s middle class needs help from a government that is truly standing on their side and not in their way. I am committed to getting to the roots of this crisis — reforming Washington and cleaning up the mess created by the greed and crony capitalism of government-backed mortgage giants — Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. I will reverse out-of-control spending, end the wasteful and corrupting practice of earmarks, and get the government budget back to balance. I will reform health care to control costs and better serve American families, open markets around the globe for our products, cut taxes, and expand domestic production of energy to eliminate the ability of international oil markets to hold our economy hostage. I will create jobs and get the economy on the right track.

Unlike Sen. Obama, I do not believe we will create one single American job by increasing taxes, going on a massive spending binge, and closing off markets. Our nation cannot afford Sen. Obama’s higher taxes. — John McCain

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Obama’s Statement:

Today, Americans woke up to the sad news that 159,000 jobs were lost last month alone, making September the ninth straight month of job loss. With three-quarters of a million jobs lost this year, and millions of families struggling to pay the bills and stay in their homes, this country can’t afford Sen. McCain’s plan to give America four more years of the same policies that have devastated our middle-class and our economy for the last eight.

Instead of Sen. McCain’s plan to give tax breaks to CEOs and companies that ship jobs overseas, I will rebuild the middle-class and create millions of new jobs by investing in infrastructure and renewable energy that will reduce our dependence on oil from the Middle East. I also call on Congress to pass an immediate rescue plan for our middle-class that will provide tax relief, save 1 million jobs, and save our local communities from harmful budget cuts and painful tax increases. — Barack Obama.

Thomas L. Freidman’s Op-Ed in today’s New York Times, a lucid appraisal of an absurd VP selection for McCain and Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes: “I like paying taxes. With them I buy civilization.”

The following is an Op-Ed piece by ‘From Beirut to Jerusalem’ author, Thomas L. Freidman, published today in the New York Times: (see the original by clicking here.)

Criticizing Sarah Palin is truly shooting fish in a barrel. But given the huge attention she is getting, you can’t just ignore what she has to say. And there was one thing she said in the debate with Joe Biden that really sticks in my craw. It was when she turned to Biden and declared: “You said recently that higher taxes or asking for higher taxes or paying higher taxes is patriotic. In the middle class of America, which is where Todd and I have been all of our lives, that’s not patriotic.”

What an awful statement. Palin defended the government’s $700 billion rescue plan. She defended the surge in Iraq, where her own son is now serving. She defended sending more troops to Afghanistan. And yet, at the same time, she declared that Americans who pay their fair share of taxes to support all those government-led endeavors should not be considered patriotic.

I only wish she had been asked: “Governor Palin, if paying taxes is not considered patriotic in your neighborhood, who is going to pay for the body armor that will protect your son in Iraq? Who is going to pay for the bailout you endorsed? If it isn’t from tax revenues, there are only two ways to pay for those big projects — printing more money or borrowing more money. Do you think borrowing money from China is more patriotic than raising it in taxes from Americans?” That is not putting America first. That is selling America first.

Sorry, I grew up in a very middle-class family in a very middle-class suburb of Minneapolis, and my parents taught me that paying taxes, while certainly no fun, was how we paid for the police and the Army, our public universities and local schools, scientific research and Medicare for the elderly. No one said it better than Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes: “I like paying taxes. With them I buy civilization.”

I can understand someone saying that the government has no business bailing out the financial system, but I can’t understand someone arguing that we should do that but not pay for it with taxes. I can understand someone saying we have no business in Iraq, but I can’t understand someone who advocates staying in Iraq until “victory” declaring that paying taxes to fund that is not patriotic.

How in the world can conservative commentators write with a straight face that this woman should be vice president of the United States? Do these people understand what serious trouble our country is in right now?

We are in the middle of an economic perfect storm, and we don’t know how much worse it’s going to get. People all over the world are hoarding cash, and no bank feels that it can fully trust anyone it is doing business with anywhere in the world. Did you notice that the government of Iceland just seized the country’s second-largest bank and today is begging Russia for a $5 billion loan to stave off “national bankruptcy.” What does that say? It tells you that financial globalization has gone so much farther and faster than regulatory institutions could govern it. Our crisis could bankrupt Iceland! Who knew?

And we have not yet even felt the full economic brunt here. I fear we may be at that moment just before the tsunami hits — when the birds take flight and the insects stop chirping because their acute senses can feel what is coming before humans can. At this moment, only good governance can save us. I am not sure that this crisis will end without every government in every major economy guaranteeing the creditworthiness of every financial institution it regulates. That may be the only way to get lending going again. Organizing something that big and complex will take some really smart governance and seasoned leadership.

Whether or not I agree with John McCain, he is of presidential timber. But putting the country in the position where a total novice like Sarah Palin could be asked to steer us through possibly the most serious economic crisis of our lives is flat out reckless. It is the opposite of conservative.

And please don’t tell me she will hire smart advisers. What happens when her two smartest advisers disagree?

And please also don’t tell me she is an “energy expert.” She is an energy expert exactly the same way the king of Saudi Arabia is an energy expert — by accident of residence. Palin happens to be governor of the Saudi Arabia of America — Alaska — and the only energy expertise she has is the same as the king of Saudi Arabia’s. It’s about how the windfall profits from the oil in their respective kingdoms should be divided between the oil companies and the people.

At least the king of Saudi Arabia, in advocating “drill baby drill,” is serving his country’s interests — by prolonging America’s dependence on oil. My problem with Palin is that she is also serving his country’s interests — by prolonging America’s dependence on oil. That’s not patriotic. Patriotic is offering a plan to build our economy — not by tax cuts or punching more holes in the ground, but by empowering more Americans to work in productive and innovative jobs. If Palin has that kind of a plan, I haven’t heard it.”

“Stocks plunged Thursday, sending the Dow Jones industrial average down 679 points — more than 7 percent — to its lowest level in five years.

The following is an excerpt from an Associated Press Article written by Tim Paradis and posted on Yahoo today: (see original here)

“Stocks plunged Thursday, sending the Dow Jones industrial average down 679 points — more than 7 percent — to its lowest level in five years. Stocks took a nosedive after a major credit-rating agency said it might cut its rating on General Motors and Ford, further rattling investors already fretting over the impact of tight credit on the economy.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index also fell more than 7 percent.

The declines came on the one-year anniversary of the closing highs of the Dow and the S&P. The Dow has lost 5,585 points, or 39.4 percent, since closing at 14,164.53 on Oct. 9, 2007. It’s the worst run for the Dow since the nearly two-year bear market that ended in December 1974 when the Dow lost 45 percent. The S&P 500, meanwhile, is off 655 points, or 41.9 percent, since recording its high of 1,565.15.

U.S. stock market paper losses totaled $872 billion Thursday and the value of shares over all has tumbled a stunning $8.33 trillion since last year’s high. That’s based on figures measured by the Dow Jones Wilshire 5000 Composite Index, which tracks 5,000 U.S.-based companies’ stocks and represents almost all stocks traded in America.

Thursday’s sell-off came as Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services put General Motors Corp. and its finance affiliate GMAC LLC under review to see if its rating should be cut. The action means there is a 50 percent chance that S&P will lower GM’s and GMAC’s ratings in the next three months. GM has been struggling with weak car sales in North America.

S&P also put Ford Motor Co. on credit watch negative. The ratings agency said that GM and Ford have adequate liquidity now, but that could change in 2009.

GM, one of the 30 stocks that make up the Dow industrials, fell $2.15, or 31 percent, to $4.76, while Ford fell 58 cents, or 22 percent, to $2.08.

“The story is getting to be like that movie ‘Groundhog Day,'” said Arthur Hogan, chief market analyst at Jefferies & Co. He pointed to the still-frozen credit markets, and Libor, the bank-to-bank lending rate that remains stubbornly high despite interest rate cuts this week by the Federal Reserve and other major central banks.

“Until that starts coming down, you’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone getting excited about stocks,” Hogan said. “Everything we’re seeing is historic. The problem is historic, the solutions are historic, and unfortunately, the sell-off is historic. It’s not the kind of history you want to be making.”

The Dow ended the day at its lows, finishing down 678.91, or 7.3 percent, at 8,579.19. The blue chips hadn’t closed below the 9,000 level since the June 30, 2003.

The Dow’s tumble in the last seven sessions is its steepest ever in terms of points and the worst percentage decline since a downturn ending Oct. 26, 1987, when the Dow lost 23.8 percent. That sell-off included Black Monday, the Oct. 19, 1987 market crash that saw the Dow fall nearly 23 percent in a single day.

Broader stock indicators also tumbled Thursday. The S&P 500 fell 75.02, or 7.6 percent, to 909.92, while the Nasdaq composite index fell 95.21, or 5.5 percent, to 1,645.12.

The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies fell 47.37, or 8.7 percent, to 499.20.