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May 20, 2008

Comments

You are forgiven on the grounds of Excellent Snark.

Yes, I am empowered to adjudicate this. Why do you ask?

He won't run again in New York, but he might move to Utah...

Good one. Couldn't happen to a nicer group of demagogues.

I blame Hilzoy for the breakfast milk that came out through my nose when I read that. That's a painful way to start the day.

Wheeeeeee!

Oh, to see that on the front page of the Daily News.

Bad Hilzoy! Bad! No parsnips for you, young lady.

Re: Politicians

The Chevy Equinox I bought to keep my kids relatively safe uses far less fossil fuel than Obama’s $1.9 million mansion on any given week.

I’m having a hard time understanding the crowds.

Sucks to live out of your car, BOB. But buck up, champ; things will get better once Bush is out of office.

I am empowered to adjudicate this -- Warren Terra

You have a warrant: errors?

Speaking of Obama's "wealth," here are the facts:

[...] Obama is the least wealthy of the three major presidential candidates. But with advances and royalties from two bestselling books, Obama's assets were worth between $2.02 million and $7.35 million at the end of 2007, according to a public financial disclosure report filed with the Federal Election Commission.

At the end of 2006, Obama's holdings were worth $455,000 to $1.125 million. When he entered the U.S. Senate in 2005, he reported assets worth between $200,000 and $400,000.

Obama's wealth does not match that of Democratic rival Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, who has loaned her campaign $11.4 million. She and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, have earned more than $100 million since he left office at the start of the decade. Sen. Clinton received an extension and won't file a financial disclosure statement until next month.

Nor does Obama's wealth match that of Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee. McCain's wife, Cindy, inherited her father's Anheuser-Busch distributorship in the Phoenix area. Although the McCains' holdings are separate, their family wealth is thought to be between $28 million and $100 million.

Obama's money has come largely from sales of his books, "Dreams From My Father" and "The Audacity of Hope." He's also writing a children's book. All three of the candidates have had bestsellers.

Obama's money is mostly invested conservatively in Treasury notes and bond funds, one of which was worth $1 million to $5 million, according to the forms, which require the disclosure of a range of values.

His mutual funds include so-called socially responsible funds, screened to meet certain "social and environmental criteria."

Those funds have major stock holdings in such banking and technology companies as Bank of America and Google, along with McDonald's, Walt Disney and CVS Caremark.

Obama last month released his most recent tax return, which shows that he and his wife, Michelle, earned $4.2 million in 2007, driven primarily by book sales.

His 2006 income was less than $1 million.

In other words, he wrote some best-selling books, and made a bunch from their sales to the American public in the last two years, and that's about it. He's no different than anyone else who had that kind of success at writing a couple of books that were that popular.

Period, end of story.

If Obama didn’t have money in 2005 as a new Senator, then how did he afford a $1.9 million mansion?

Oh, never mind. End of story.

If Obama didn’t have money in 2005 as a new Senator, then how did he afford a $1.9 million mansion?

The same way 4 million other moderately affluent AMericans did.

I suggest that you not talk; you clearly have no idea how anybody above lower middle class operate economically.
(For example, in many parts of America, $1.4 million ain't no mansion).

Bill, do you have an actual slur to make, or are you just using innuendo? I'd like to know which category to file your comment under.

You may have to stick to innuendo, as if there were anything actually wrong with Obama's finances, somebody would have put it on the front page by now.

(Please don't bring up Rezko, it's been done to death and there is no there there).

Bill, do you have an actual slur to make, or are you just using innuendo?

I don't think he's competent enough to make a slur.

For a $1.4 million home, and 20% down, you need about a $400K household income. Hmm....how much does a Senator make? How much does a VP at a major hospital make? (Answer=mid six figures...quite comfortably able to afford a mortgage like that).

That's well above what a lot of the folks around here make (well, me, at least)...but I know a lot of folks who do make that as a household...

Trust me gwangung; I do. You are allowing your mind to default to your education.

My slur is that I find it ironic for a man to live in a $1.9 million mansion and tell me that I should not use 8 gallons of gasoline a week in my Chevy Equinox because I perceive that vehicle to be safer for my kids.

It’s even weirder that people congregate around him. It reminds me of Germany-1920s.

And you haven’t heard of Resko yet. I bet you don’t even know the name of the man from Iraq who funded him.

It’s even weirder that people congregate around him. It reminds me of Germany-1920s.

Funny, reminds me of the Pope.

I'm joking. I wish I thought you were.

Well, I wait for people to smear Obama for being a relative of Lord Chain-Eye, and we know how evil that person is.

My slur is that I find it ironic for a man to live in a $1.9 million mansion

Yeah, you're not competent.

And you're not very imaginative. $1.9 million isn't much a mansion in a lot of areas.

"t’s even weirder that people congregate around him. It reminds me of Germany-1920s."

Why does Obama strike you that way, and did not George W. Bush, or Dick Cheney, or Ronald Reagan, strike you that way, Bill?

Have you looked into how rich they are, how much their houses cost, and how they earned their wealth? Does it bother you? If not, why not?

Here is plenty of good reporting on Obama. Try reading it, citing it, and giving non-dead links (if you want people to read them), if you want to argue facts.

Or talk out loud to yourself, knowing at least some people aren't bothering to take you seriously otherwise. (Or maybe that's just me.) Your choice, Bill.

"And you haven’t heard of Resko yet."

Indeed. I know a lot more than you do about Tony Rezko, I bet.

Like what his name is.

I know you are but what am I?

I don't know what the real estate market is like in Chicago, but to gwanung's point: in 2000 I was living in Silicon Valley. A teeny 1-br Craftsman-style bungalow across the street was on the market for $580k. I never heard the final sale price, but it wasn't unheard of for homes listed at $900k to sell for $1.8M. No kidding.

So, just to make conversation, Bill, I'll ask you again what your top five regular sources of news and information are: what are your top five regular sources of news and information? Where do you get your political news from? Specifically.

And you seem to resent education and educated people: do I have that wrong? Do you believe that people with college degrees, let alone graduate degrees or further formal education, are less wise, or otherwise more flawed, than people than less education?

Or have I just picked up a confused and erroneous impression?

Do you mind saying what your last level of educational achievement was?

I'm an autodidact, myself.

Gary wins.

To be clear, I was wondering what the meaning of "You are allowing your mind to default to your education" is, Bill.

... I was referring to Bill's of 1:08, specifically.

For the record, I've had three months of college, 33 years ago, and two additional publishing courses in the NYU Publishing Program, twenty years ago, and that's it; I'm 49.

If formal education ruins the mind, I've never been in a position to get much ruined, but it's never been clear to me that formal education is inherently or generally detrimental. I haven't observed that such a general rule holds, though I'd agree that formal education doesn't necessarily succeed in making anyone wiser, or that it's a substitute for natural curiosity and eagerness to pursue it.

But when the curiosity and eagerness are combined with the opportunity for formal education, good things seem to come from it far more than not, by my anecdotal observation.

Knowing the difference between anecdote and data, and between rumor and research, is vital to everyone, though, I'd suggest.

I don't observe that Bill has demonstrated understanding of this, but there's always tomorrow.

Bill, when did he tell you that?

Are you sure it was him? What was he wearing?

Since you asked Gary;

I got my mechanical engineering degree through a good state school on a military scholarship. Following military service, I entered an MBA program. It was stupid so I dropped out and started a consultancy in my garage. We've done very well although I almost lost my house in the start-up process. The office is down-town now.

You learn a lot about human beings when you collect your own money. That’s probably why I can see straight through Barack Obama.

"Since you asked Gary"

So, Bill, since I asked: "It’s even weirder that people congregate around him. It reminds me of Germany-1920s."

Why does Obama strike you that way, and did not George W. Bush, or Dick Cheney, or Ronald Reagan, strike you that way, Bill?

Have you looked into how rich they are, how much their houses cost, and how they earned their wealth? Does it bother you? If not, why not?

What are your top five regular sources of news and information, Bill? Where do you get your political news from? Specifically.

And you seem to resent education and educated people: do I have that wrong? Do you believe that people with college degrees, let alone graduate degrees or further formal education, are less wise, or otherwise more flawed, than people than less education?

Or have I just picked up a confused and erroneous impression?

To be clear, I was wondering what the meaning of "You are allowing your mind to default to your education" is, Bill.

While you're answering questions since I asked. You seem to have time to answer just now.

You learn a lot about human beings when you collect [sic] your own money. That’s probably why I can see straight through Barack Obama.


Posted by: Brick Oven Bill | May 20, 2008 at 01:33 PM

If by "collect" you mean earn, I know what you mean. I've been "collecting" my own money for 30 years now, and one of the things I've learned is that people who think their own opinions are magic just because they've had some success with their own businesses are jerks and idiots.

OK Gary, I’ll bite:

Presidents:

George H.W. Bush made his money after he moved to Texas and got into oil. He came from a prominent family, which probably financed his start-up.

George W. Bush no doubt benefited from his family’s fortune. He has a big house because of it.

Reagan came to us from a poor home with an alcoholic father, which is probably why he was able to connect with so many Americans. He earned a big house.

Cheney also came from humble beginnings and thrived in the system where smart people cycle between high level government jobs and high level private sector jobs. But you have to give him credit for brains and work ethic. He earned a big house.

To five sources of news:

1. Financial Times (objective)
2. Bloomberg (cheerleader)
3. Drudge (no comment)
4. Cable News (good looking women)
5. I come here to study the thought processes of people like gwangung and because I like Hilzoy

The status of higher education disappoints me. I believe that most liberal arts graduates hold a world-view that does not correspond with reality as I experience it. I guess I resent it because I believe that knowledge should be based in reality. I worries me to see 70,000 people worshiping a man who makes empty promises.

…a dangerous ambition more often lurks behind the specious mask of zeal for the rights of the people.
-From the First Federalist

But you have to give [Cheney] credit for brains and work ethic. He earned a big house.

Is this somehow in contrast to Obama?

The status of higher education disappoints me. I believe that most liberal arts graduates hold a world-view that does not correspond with reality as I experience it.

Are you aware that at least some of your most vociferous critics here are engineers who got an engineering education rather than a liberal arts education? For example, there's me.

Regarding people worshiping Obama: at my medium sized engineering company which has focused on hiring very smart engineers, essentially all political donations over the last year have gone to Obama according to OpenSecrets. Candidate discussion on our internal politics mailing list is about 95% pro-Obama, 5% pro-Clinton and 0% pro-McCain. The distribution is insensitive to age; the old wizened hands (people over 50) are just as in the tank for Obama as the young kids are.

Will Obama be our first "affirmative action president"?

Farmgirl picked up the adjudicating in mid-blog up there somewhere.

And did a fine job.

<3 the comment. Let me know how the good-vs-evil of it plays out but in no way do I not love it.

Thanks for your responses, Bill.

"I believe that knowledge should be based in reality.

I agree.

"I wait for people to smear Obama for being a relative of Lord Chain-Eye . . . "
--Hartmut, 1:02 pm

Lord Chain-Eye.

Good one.

From the I See Dead People Deptartment:

Bill, you say: "I can see straight through Barack Obama."

What do you see?

Cue the scary music

Hilzoy,

It seems many here regard Bill as a jerk and an idiot. And he may be. Or he may just have radically different thoughts/opinions from the majority here, me included.

That said, doesn't calling him a "jerk" and an "idiot" -- as in one of the above posts -- violate our rules of civility?

Sean, no, George Bush, the incumbent, is our first affirmative action president.

I believe that most liberal arts graduates hold a world-view that does not correspond with reality as I experience it.

Quite possibly true.

But why is your experience generalizable to the rest of the country? If you're the only one your experiences are applicable to, then the world view of most liberal arts graduates indeed is something that's more meaningful.

And since Bill was put on the spot, guys, in regard to his Top 5 sources of news, why just him?

My Top 5:

1. The Washington Post.
2. The Philadelphia Inquirer.
3. Newsweek.
4. Time.
5. Cable news (yes, Bill, the ladies reading the news seem to get hotter, and younger, by the day).

btfb -- I personally wouldn't mind the youngness/hotness increase if it didn't correspond directly with a decreasing ability to read the news.

"That said, doesn't calling him a 'jerk' and an 'idiot' -- as in one of the above posts -- violate our rules of civility?"

Since that didn't happen, probably not.

"...one of the things I've learned is that people who think their own opinions are magic just because they've had some success with their own businesses are jerks and idiots."

That's a general observation, and not a comment on any individual, and thus in no way a violation of the posting rules as I understand them, though naturally if one of the blogowners sees it differently, than that's the opinion that matters.

But phrasing matters. Stuff that makes you think of something other than what it says isn't what it makes you think of. Words and wording have meaning.

03:17 PM was me.

In context, I read it as about Bill personally, and as over the line. IANAM, YMMV.

You’re welcome Gary. I can handle it bedtimeforbonzo. It pleases me.

I see a guy who heats a $1.9 million mansion with fossil fuels and then tells us that we can’t put 8 gallons of gasoline in our Chevy Equinox. I see a guy who doesn’t recognize the hypocrisy. I can’t explain it any better than that.

Gary,

That's a very politically correct response.

But as trilobite points out, taken in its full context -- and while it was a general statement -- it also was a a statement that essentially called good, ol' Bill a jerk and an idiot.

when did he tell you that?

Farmgirl,

When did who tell me what?

mine of 3:30 to Bill at 3:22...

Bill,

Regarding your 3:22 response to my question about what do you see when you say, "I can see straight through Barack Obama" --

Can't yo do better than that?

Expand, please.

Maybe you're mixing me up w/ Gary.

If not, don't understand you're question at all, Farmgirl.

Sorry.

Sorry for not properly including referents, but I was asking Bill when Obama had told him he "can’t put 8 gallons of gasoline in our Chevy Equinox."

It got a little complicated with other posts.

I see a guy who heats a $1.9 million mansion with fossil fuels and then tells us that we can’t put 8 gallons of gasoline in our Chevy Equinox.

I see a guy who's deeply resentful of another man who's better educated and more successful. So deeply resentful of that man--for whatever other reasons I couldn't say--that he chooses to focus all his rage on that man, in spite of the fact that most politicians and many business people own expensive houses, too. I see a man who won't own to his own hypocrisy and can't even explain why.

Buck up, champ. Just because Obama's smart, successful, handsome, admired, and soon to be powerful doesn't mean that you're nothing but a worthless blog commenter.

Yes, Farmgirl, things can get complicated here when posting quickly, and on a couple different issues.

I, too, am confused about Bill's comment that Obama had told him -- not literally, I suppose -- that BOB "can't put 8 gallons of gasoline in our Chevy Equinox."

Sorry; I was away.

Tom: if you meant your observation about jerks and idiots as a random sociological observation, then it would be a good idea, next time, to make sure you don't write it in such a way that it can be read as referring to a specific commenter. If, on the other hand, you did mean it that way, then bedtime is right: it violates the posting rules.

Since a warning carries no penalty, consider this a warning.

Populaxe,

Your comments are spot-on.

Bill's anger/frustration over Sen. Obama does seemed unfounded and, mostly, resentful.

But after making such excellent points, was it necessary to call him "nothing but a worthless blog commenter."

seemed (sic)

But after making such excellent points, was it necessary to call him "nothing but a worthless blog commenter?"

Left off the question mark.

Also:
Whatever one may think of Bill, or anyone else on this blog, I find it hard to believe that anyone who would seek out such an eclectic, thought-provoking site such as Obsidian Wings would be villified as "worthless."

And just because you think Obama told you that your family "can’t put 8 gallons of gasoline in our Chevy Equinox" doesn't mean you're delusional, either; but I wouldn't stop people on the street and tell them he told you that.

But after making such excellent points, was it necessary to call him "nothing but a worthless blog commenter."

No, I think that's Bill's assessment of him, in the eyes of Obama.

Except I think that he's caught more self-reflection than actuality in that.

Bill,

No one is telling you that you can't consume as much gas as you want. What some people (including Obama) are saying is that when you buy lots of gas for your giant vehicle, you impose hidden costs on the rest of us that aren't reflected in the price you pay at the pump. I don't own a car but I have to pay for the wars needed to help secure the oil you waste in your gas guzzler. That's a great deal for you, but not so good for me.

I honestly don't get you Bill...weren't you explaining how much you believe in peak oil only a few days ago? If you think we're at peak oil, then wasting gas is a profoundly stupid thing to do: from now on, every year there will be less gas, and while we have possible substitutes for gas used in transportation, we don't have workable substitutes for lots of other things that rely on petroleum which are vitally important to our society (things like plastics or fertilizer for intensive agriculture).

was it necessary to call him "nothing but a worthless blog commenter."

I was attempting to raise BOB's spirits. I distinctly did not call him "nothing but a worthless blog commenter." I certainly don't care to argue that he is.

Populaxe,

You are right: I did not read your remark the right way the first time around -- thanks for pointing out the way you meant it, since I was too thick to get it the first time.

And, nice going, I think trying to raise BOB's spirits seems like a very human gesture.

I may be a Hillary supporter, Bill, but I have no resentment toward Obama. And will wind up voting for him if he is indeed the Democratic nominee.

And while you appear to be a Republican, Bill (maybe I'm wrong?), harboring such resentment for the other party doesn't serve much of a useful purpose in the grand scheme of things -- i.e., making this a better country for all of us.

While I don't "resent" the Republican Party of George Bush and Karl Rove, I think it stinks -- so, who knows, if that's not resentment, it is awfully close.

And I must admit:
When Bush "stole" the election from Gore in 2000, I resented that for an awfully long time.


Speaking of the 2000 Election, HBO -- Sunday at 8 or 9 pm -- is debuting "Recount," the story of Gore v. Bush, etc.

From the previews I've seen so far, it looks really good.

(And Tom Wilkinson makes an awfully scary-looking James Baker.)

You learn a lot about human beings when you collect your own money.

Trust me: you learn a lot more about them when you try to collect someone else's.

I seem to recall reading something about a Firefox plugin that would allow you to filter out specific individuals from blog posts or comments sections, once you taught the plugin the right content matching to perform. I've since searched in vain. Does anyone know where to find this?

I'd love to avail myself of this kind of functionality, because I have yet to read anything from BOB that doesn't make me feel stupider by osmosis.

Cheney also came from humble beginnings and thrived in the system where smart people cycle between high level government jobs and high level private sector jobs.

I find it fascinating that people can so breathlessly describe institutionalized corruption and the subversion of government as admirable, or suggest that we ought to commend people "smart" enough to engage in such behavior...

Cheney is a crook, a coward, and a coniving bastard.

And very, very rich.

Or:

As Cheyney would say:

"So?"

"So?"

Has a politician at such a high level as Vice President of the United States ever voiced such an insulting, demeaning, single syllable to the citizens of this country?


"So?"

I wanted to throw up.

Someone keeps using this word, "mansion" . . . I do not think it means what it thinks he means. I don't know what the Chicago real estate market is like, but I do know what the Washington, DC real estate market is like, and $1.9 million will get you a home that's maybe 5-6 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms, which, while large, for a family of four or five at the Obamas' level of affluency is, um, not a mansion.

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