Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The “First” Debate

The first debate between John McCain and Barack Obama was last Friday night. Actually it was the third debate, but the first where they appeared together to answer questions. At the first two they took turns answering questions. A few thoughts:

(1) The debate was supposed to be about foreign policy, but the $700 billion elephant in the room was the bailout bill being proposed in Washington, DC. Both men looked weary.

(2) It looks like that same elephant will still be in the room for the Vice President candidate debate between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin this Thursday. Will the VP debate this Thursday draw a bigger audience? Yes, for entertainment value at least, we think that it will be must see TV.

(3) Jim Lehrer, the PBS reporter who served as moderator, seemed to put down Barack Obama as though he were some teenage miscreant, chiding him twice in quick succession, “Say it directly to him.”

(4) I counted the names of at least 6 countries where we might have to fight, 6 more countries we might have to help defend, and 6 countries where we have already been fighting over the last 40 years. I am fast warming up to the Clinton Doctrine, “more friends, fewer enemies.”

(5) I hear CNN instituted a new system where a panel rated the debaters as they made their points, with a distracting graphic display of who scored and who took a hit. Apparently CNN thinks that voters who have made up their minds need that to stay interested.

(6) Who was the winner? David Yepsen, the influential Des Moines Register editorial writer told his swing state Iowa readers that McCain won it and said Obama failed to “assure voters that he is experienced enough to handle foreign and defense policy.” On the other hand, conservative commentators seemed to think Obama won.

How Much is $1 Trillion Dollars?

Yes, we know the financial markets bailout bill under debate is for $700 billion, but with money already spent on Bear Stearns, Fannie, Freddie, Lehman, AIG, Washington Mutual and counting we think the real cost is likely already over $1 trillion. So how much is $1,000,000?

$1 trillion would pay for 100 months in Iraq, at the rate of $10 billion per month.

The savings and loan crisis in the late 1980s cost $160 billion, so $1 trillion is 6 savings and loan crises.

The richest 400 Americans have a combined net worth of $1.5 trillion. America’s 75 largest colleges and universities have a combined endowment of $290 billion. The wealthiest foundations have a combined endowment of $250 billion. That’s about $2 trillion So Congress would have to take half of everything they have to cover $1 trillion.

The U.S. gross domestic product is $13.8 trillion. So $1 trillion is 4 weeks worth of everyone working, with nothing to pay salaries, costs of production, or personal expenses, which is a long time to go without a fill-up for gas or food.

The federal budget is about $3 trillion per year. So $1 trillion is 4 months without paying for any government services, including defense and social security.

The U.S. public debt is $9.8 billion. So $1 trillion adds 10% to the public debt.

The total value of all stock in all U.S. publicly traded companies is around $15 trillion (give or take a trillion these days), so $1 trillion is just 6.7%. That sounds better. That’s around what the stock market dropped on Monday, September 29 (makes sense).

The total value of all U.S. residential real estate is around $20 billion. So $1 trillion is 5%.

The total value of all assets owned by U.S. households and nonprofits is around $57 trillion, so $1 trillion is just 1.75% (175 basis points as the money managers say.) That’s starting to sound affordable.

Spread over the U.S. population of 305 million, 305,295,394, $1 trillion is around $3,280 per person. Over a year, that’s just $9 per day.

Spread over the total world population of 6.7 billion, $1 trillion is around $150 per person. Now we’re talking. Hello, world, for just 40 cents per day you can save the U.S. and world economy.

Congress Votes 228 to 205 for Great Depression II

The U.S. House of Representatives voted this Monday not to approve the $700 billion bailout bill to help the ailing financial services industry, causing the stock market to drop nearly 8%. The vote was 228 against the bailout and 205 for the bailout. Now we’ll see if this brings on another Great Depression, as many politicians have warned.

Barack Obama also says he supports the bailout. But in his Illinois delegation Democrats Jesse Jackson, Jr. from Chicago, Bobby Rush from Chicago, Dan Lipinski from Western Springs, and Jerry Costello from Belleville voted against the bailout. Here in Massachusetts, Democrat Barney Frank, House Banking Committee Chairman, led the effort to craft and pass the bailout bill. But Democratic Representatives Bill Delahunt from Quincy, Stephen Lynch from South Boston, and John Tierney from Salem voted against the bailout. Those Democrats would have been enough votes to change the outcome, so we think Barack Obama has some hope that the failure of the bailout will not be as dire as some have predicted.

John McCain says he supports the bailout but could only get 65 Republicans in the House to vote for it, which was not enough to cancel the 95 Democrats who voted against it. Four Republican Representatives from McCain’s home state of Arizona and one Republican from his running mate Sarah Palin’s home state of Alaska voted against the bailout. That’s almost enough votes to change the result, so we think he too could have come up with enough votes if he had wanted too.

We’ve been listening to the debate, and find it somewhat wanting for the apparent gravity of the situation.

Painting with Taxpayer Dollars
Senator Charles Schumer (D-New York), dismissing John McCain's coming back to Washington, DC as a political stunt: "It's as if, you know, you're in the middle of drawing an amazing painting and someone else comes in and says, 'hey, come in, let me throw my brush marks on there.' It just doesn't make sense."

LBOTC: Chuck, We don’t think there has ever been a great artist named Chuck. We think we’re going to have to take your paintbrush away.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke (R): “Just as you sell a painting at Sotheby's, until you sell it, nobody knows what it is worth."

LBOTC: A painting, Ben? You do understand you’re talking about our economy? Is this how this went down with your speechwriter?

(A) Sell a painting at Sotheby’s
(B) Sell your pound cows at the cattle auction
(C) Trade in your clunker for a new car
(D) List your plane on eBay
(E) Put your house up for sale

Yes, pick (A), the average person will understand that analogy best. See you at Sotheby’s. Or maybe Christie’s.

Oops, I Did it Again
Ben Bernanke quote from economist Milton Friedman's ninetieth birthday party in 2002: "Let me end my talk by abusing slightly my status as an official representative of the Federal Reserve System. I would like to say to Milton and Anna: Regarding the Great Depression. You're right, we did it. We're very sorry. But thanks to you, we won't do it again."

LBOTC: I guess we’re not that innocent.

Another Fine Mess
House Banking Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Massachusetts): “The private sector got us into this mess. The government has to get us out of it.”

LBOTC: We suspect this is another fine mess you have gotten us into. We remember a story in Time Magazine a few years back about how your houseguest was running a prostitution service out of your apartment. Talk about your lack of oversight skills.

Worst Sports Analogy
Barney Frank on John McCain stepping into the negotiations:

"It's the longest Hail Mary pass in the history of either football or Marys."

LBOTC: And what do you know about football or Marys?

Worst Cooking Analogy
Mike Huckabee (R-Arkansas): The very people who burned the Thanksgiving turkey now want to cook the Christmas dinner.

LBOTC: It’s still September. The turkey would still be wandering around the barnyard.

So Sorry to Embarrass You
Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson (R): "I share the outrage people have. It's embarrassing to look at this. I think it's embarrassing to the United States of America. There's a lot of blame to go around."

LBOTC: You’re embarrassed? No, you are the embarrassment. You can always go back where you came from to Goldman Sachs, which I noticed Warren Buffet just bailed out with $5 billion. Or maybe now you can’t go back?

Did You Also Miss Your Kids’ School Plays?
Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd (D-Connecticut): "We've got to get this right. There is no second act,"

LBOTC: Mr. Dodd, how do you know there is only one act? Are you the playwright for this tragedy? We’ve been watching this show for a year now and it feels more like the fourth or fifth act. Did you miss the start of this show because you were running for President? We know you moved your family to Iowa before the caucuses and put your kids in school there. Who was minding the store back in Washington, DC?

The Show Must Go On
Bill Clinton (D) to Tom Brokaw on Thursday: “Listen, if we can just get out of this thing now and get the show back on the road, we will have learned quite a lot that's good for us.”

LBOTC: Haven’t we seen this show before? And what is the lesson?

Bill Clinton: “Because people now recognize all over again what they had to learn in the depression and two or three times since, which is markets, if unaccountable at the margins, will self-destruct. They will cannibalize themselves.”

LBOTC: Are you describing the markets or politicians?

Least Appetizing Lunch
Mouse Minority Leader John Boehner (R) speaking to the Republican Caucus before the vote Monday called the bailout a “crap sandwich” but said he’d vote for it anyway when it came to the floor.

LBOTC: Way to rally the caucus, John.

Least Obama-Like Moment

Worst Pet Analogy
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D): “Chairman Bernanke is probably one of the foremost authorities in America on the subject of the Great Depression. I don’t know what was so great about the Depression, but that’s the name they give it. And we heard the secretary and the chairman tell us that this was a once in a hundred year phenomenon, this fiscal crisis was so drastic. Certainly once in 50 years, probably once in a hundred years. And how did it sneak up on us? So silently, almost on little cat feet.”

LBOTC: Have you been paying attention as the housing market tanked and gas prices sky-rocketed over the last 3 years?

Best Pet Analogy
Barry Goldwater, Jr.: Never let your dog watch your food, never let the Congress watch your money.

LBOTC: I know that dog, her name is Brandy.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Bill Clinton Praises John McCain's Greatness and Barack Obama's Potental Greatness

Appearing on Meet The Press this Sunday, Bill Clinton praised John McCain calling him a great man:

"What I mean by saying that about McCain is, you know, most people would've been broken by what he went through. Oh, we would've been happy just to give him an "atta boy" and a medal and let him wander through life. I, I think his greatness is that he keeps trying to come back to service without ever asking people to cut him any slack or feel sorry for him or any of that stuff because he was a POW."

And here's what he had to say about Barack Obama arriving at greatness:

"I mean, he was, you know, until he was in the State Senate until 2005 and then he began a campaign for president, which is, in all probability, will be successful, and those are very great accomplishments. But those are personal accomplishments. When he becomes president, he'll be doing things for the American people and for the world and he is--and the greatness will then become apparent because of the good he'll do. And I, I think that's what I very much believe is going to happen."

Cool Hand Newman

Paul Newman, the actor and philanthropist, passed away this weekend. He was 83. We found this fitting tribute: Sometimes nothing can be a pretty cool hand (the line that gives Cool Hand Luke its title).

Partial film list:

Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956) - Rocky before Rocky
The Long, Hot Summer (1958) - with Joanne Woodward, who would become his wife, and Orson Welles
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958) - with Liz Taylor and Burl Ives
The Young Philadelphians (1959) - why I wanted to be a corporate tax attorney (trust me, the glamour is overrated)
Exodus (1960) - directed by the great Otto Preminger
The Hustler (1961) - with the immortal Jackie Gleason
Hud (1963) - "the man with the barbed wire soul"
Harper (1966) - his classic private eye role
Cool Hand Luke (1967) - his best role
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) - his best film
The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean (1972) - he is "the law west of the Pecos"
The Sting (1973) - his best caper movie
The Towering Inferno (1974) - his only sellout movie
Slap Shot (1977) - his classic sports comedy
Absence of Malice (1981) - with Sally Field
The Verdict (1982) - why I didn't want to become a personal injury lawyer
The Color of Money (1986) - Oscar for Best Actor, with Tom Cruise
Fat Man and Little Boy (1989) - all about the bomb, with John Cusack
Mr. and Mrs. Bridge (1990) - I love the tornado scene
Nobody's Fool (1994) - his chick flick
Road to Perdition (2002) - Oscar for Best Supporting Actor, with Tom Hanks
Empire Falls (2003) - Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor

He was nominated six times for the Best Actor Oscar before winning for The Color of Money (not his best performance) and once afterward.

Other notable accomplishments:

In World War II, he was dropped from Navy pilot training due to colorblindness and went on to fly from aircraft carriers as a radioman and tail gunner in the Avenger torpedo bomber.

He appeared on Broadway in Picnic, The Desperate Hours, and Sweet Bird of Youth.

He was 19th (out of 20) on President Richard Nixon's enemies list (compiled by Charles Colson).

He was an avid auto racer. He won several championships at Sports Car Club of America events, finished second at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1979, and won his class at the 24 Hours of Daytona in 1995 at age 70.

His Newman's Own line of food products (which includes salad dressing, pasta sauce, lemonade, popcorn, salsa, and wine) has donated over $250 million to charity.

That's not nothing.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Obama Too Elitist for Lynn Forester de Rothschild

The knives came out when big-time Hillary Clinton supporter Lynn Forester de Rothschild endorsed John McCain. Yes, many call her Lady de Rothschild due to her marriage to Sir Evelyn Robert Adrian de Rothschild, a scion of the banking family. But she says she is just a middle class New Jersey girl at heart:

Saturday, September 27, 2008

McCain Proposes League of Democracies

John McCain proposed a new League of Democracies to replace the United Nations during last night's debate:

"I've had conversation with foreign leaders about forming a league of democracies. Let's be clear and let's have some straight talk. The Russians are preventing significant action in the United Nations Security Council. I have proposed a league of democracies, a group of people - a group of countries that share common interests, common values, common ideals, they also control a lot of the world's economic power. ... So I am convinced that together we can, with the French, with the British, with the Germans and other countries, democracies around the world"

That's an interesting notion. Of course, the French, British, and Germans have already joined such a league. It is called the European Union. And we think we've heard that "together we can" slogan before.

Barack Obama's response that we need "some cooperation with some countries like Russia and China that are not democracies" also merits some consideration.

Biden and Obama Don't Know Much about History

Here is what Joe Biden told CBS Evening News early last week:

"When the stock market crashed, Franklin D. Roosevelt got on the television and didn't just talk about the, you know, the princes of greed. He said, 'Look, here's what happened,'"

The only problem is that the stock market crashed in 1929 and FDR did not become President until 1933. FDR was the first President interviewed on television, but not until 1939, after the depression was largely over.

Here is part of Barack Obama’s closing statement from his first Presidential debate between Obama and McCain last night at the University of Mississippi:

“You know, my father came from Kenya. That's where I get my name. And in the '60s, he wrote letter after letter to come to college here in the United States because the notion was that there was no other country on Earth where you could make it if you tried. The ideals and the values of the United States inspired the entire world. I don't think any of us can say that our standing in the world now, the way children around the world look at the United States, is the same.”

The only problem is that when Barack Obama, Senior came to the United States in 1959, the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) would not have admitted him. James Meredith became the first black student at Ole Miss 3 years later on October 1, 1962 backed by federal marshals and troops send by President John Kennedy to force his admission in the face of opposition from Democratic Governor Ross Barnett. In the ensuing riot, 2 people were killed, 48 soldiers were injured, and 30 U.S. Marshalls were wounded by gunfire. James Meredith was himself wounded with birdshot by a sniper 4 years later during a civil rights march to Jackson, Mississippi.

I guess they can always fall back on Sam Cooke:

Don't know much about history
Don't know much biology
Don't know much about a science book
Don't know much about the French I took
But I do know that I love you
And I know that if you love me too
What a wonderful world this would be

Obama Campaign Deploys Its Troops

Barack Obama is mobilizing his legions of volunteer supporters. These 15 states will be the battleground:

New Hampshire
New Mexico
North Carolina

Monday, September 22, 2008

Make them think it is their idea

From one of our correspondents in Iowa:

Dear Left Bank of the Charles:

Much of your recent writings are too intellectual for me to understand. I know that to keep animals (or people) within certain perimeters of civilization, the corner posts must be of sturdy hedge and set deep; the line posts in a straight line and the wires tight and it can last 40-50-60 and maybe 70 years or more before it begins to loosen and break and allow animals to escape the perimeters into chaos or on to someone else's property and rights.

And that, in sorting young cattle, you absolutely must sort steers off heifers. Heifers are too tentative and unsure of themselves to run past you to sort them off steers. But after they have raised 3 or 4 offspring and been through the pens several times, then it’s a different story. The bulls never go first - most of the cows are afraid to go first, but there are a few veterans who are confident that they know what to do, and they go first, and the others then follow and after about 1/4 to 1/3 of the cows go, then the bulls will go. All of the time you need to make them think it is their idea.

Now those confident cows that are the leaders will try to dart past you when you inadvertently give them an opening and therefore, they may get yelled at, when the other cows and bulls that have been holding back don't get yelled at, at all. But the leaders are still the leaders and it is essential to have them to get the others moving.

Sarah Palin has the confidence to lead. Give her an opening and she is gone.

Karl Rove has had remarkable success in organizing things so that people think it was their idea first.

Barack Obama may be the young bull waiting to see which way the herd is going and then rush to the front as though he is leading so as not to be left behind. We have young bulls like this.

Joe Biden is not really a steer. He is just an old bull who doesn't really care anymore, and is entirely content to settle down under a shade tree and paw the ground and bellow. Not looking for a fight - - just bellowing.

This I have learned in the socially incorrect environs south of Bedford, Iowa, just north of the Missouri state line.

LBOTC: Yes, our correspondent is calling Sarah Palin a cow, but from this correspondent that would be a very high compliment. We’re not sure where John McCain fits into this heifer-cow-steer-bull scheme. Maybe he’s the hedge post, and from this correspondent that would be the highest compliment. I am a little worried about who is getting herded and who is doing the herding in this story, but that’s just my idea.

Steve Almond Does Not Support Our Troops

In an op-ed published in the Boston Globe on September 18, 2008, writer Steve Almond said the following:

I have an ugly confession to make: I don't support the troops - at least not unconditionally. When somebody tells me they serve in the military, my first impulse isn't to say, "Thank you for your service!" like those insufferable chickenhawks on talk radio.

My first impulse is to say, "I'm sorry to hear that." Because I am. I'm sorry to know that the person I'm talking to might someday be maimed or killed on the job, or might someday kill someone else. Or refuel a plane that drops bombs on buildings.

I can't see how anyone who calls himself or herself Christian - or human, for that matter - wouldn't be sorry.

I'm allergic to almonds. They make me sick to my stomach. Literally and now figuratively.

Rolling Stones Equates Sarah Palin with Barack Obama

Rolling Stone magazine featured an article titled "Mad Dog Palin" in its October 2, 2008 issue that it apparently has deemed to vicious to post on its web site. This is the part that amused us:

"So, sure, Barack Obama might be every bit as much a slick piece of imageering as Sarah Palin."

"The Obama image represents tolerance, intelligence, education, patience with the notions of compromise and negotiation, and a willingness to stare ugly facts right in the face."

"Here's what Sarah Palin represents: being a fat f*cking pig who pins "Country First" buttons on his man titties and chants 'U-S-A! U-S-A!' at the top of his lungs while his kids live off credit cards and Saudis buy up all the mortgages in Kansas."

Way to go, Rolling Stone, for the tolerance and intelligence. And to the writer, Matt Taibbi, I wonder if you know this: if you and your ilk keep writing bile like this you're going to cost Barack Obama the election.

By the way, here's what Taibbi had say after the last election back on November 13, 2004:

"Bush is our fault. He's our fault because too many of us found it easier to hate him than find a way to love each other. If we work on the second thing a little harder, we won't need to rely on the cynics in the DLC to come up with the right 'formula' the next time around. Because happiness and hope have a way of selling themselves."

Friday, September 19, 2008

It's the Economy, Stupid

Here's what Barack Obama says is wrong with our economy:

(1) This is not just a string of bad luck but the result of years of bad decisions made in favor of big corporate special interests instead of America's working families.

(2) More than 600,000 Americans have lost their jobs since January. Home foreclosures are skyrocketing, and home values are plunging. Gas prices are at an all-time high.

(3) We're still spending more than $10 billion every month on a war in Iraq that should never have been waged.

(4) Due to reckless deregulation and huge tax loopholes for big corporations, American taxpayers are facing costly bailouts as these corporations crumble.

Here's how he would fix it:

(1) Pass a $1,000 tax break for struggling, middle-class families who need help dealing with the rising costs of gas, food, and health care. He says this would save over one million jobs.

(2) End the "anything goes" culture on Wall Street with real regulation, protect investments and pensions, and avoid devastating bankruptcies and bailouts.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Five Even Simpler Reasons to Vote for John McCain

We got an email today from John McCain, and though we did have to wade through the usual blather about lies, insults, vicious attacks, status quo, reform, and change, we do give him points for putting five reasons to vote for him in his first paragraph. Here's what he says he's fighting for:

(1) your well-being
(2) our men and women in uniform
(3) better jobs
(4) energy independence
(5) government reform

That last one always sounds a little sketchy. Reform it into what we always ask. And what was wrong with the status quo?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Four Simple Reasons to Vote for Barack Obama

Barack Obama spends a lot of time talking about lies and failed policies and change and new politics and pundits and the media. Sometimes that is all we hear, and the rhetoric seems empty. I got another long email email from him today.

But in the middle of that long email he had four simple ideas about how to bring about the change America's families need.

(1) Get our economy working again for struggling middle-class families.
(2) Make health care affordable for every American.
(3) End our dangerous addiction to foreign oil.
(4) Invest in the American innovation that will power the greener economy of tomorrow.

Is this the change we need? Let's see what the other guy has to say.

Re: The Sarah Palin Playbook

We got a lot of responses to this one.

Response: UNSUBSCRIBE. Kind of sickening the amount of bald-faced lies the McCain campaign is slinging. Would prefer not to hear them repeated as truths.

LBOTC: I’m not saying that it’s true, just that it’s her “playbook.” Did you see that Karl Rove is now out there admitting that McCain is stretching the truth in some of his ads? Rove must be up to something that’s part of the playbook too.

Response: Did you see the ABC interviews? Odds of a major gaffe from this not-ready-for-prime-time candidate: 80% in the next 30 days. The biggest obstacle to Obama's candidacy is what it always has been: racism. Palin is just a nicer excuse for voting for the white guy.

LBOTC: Obama is polling in the same range as Gore and Kerry. I don’t know what the New York Times is up to in reporting that this is about white voters being racist. Calling voters racist is a sure way not to get their vote. Remember that the New York Times was one of the principal advocates in the press for the Iraq War. They may be playing a double game.

Response: Awesome!! Love it, love it, love. These make me so happy. Never piss off someone who writes better jokes than you! For sure!

Response: I think your falling in love. Just as I. But knowing you, you're waiting for the other shoe to drop as it will. 50 more days!!!

LBOTC: Shoe? That’s so sexist.

Response: LOL, where you come up with this stuff!! :))


Response: Hey. I like this Left Bank of the Charles thing, but are you a D or an R? I think you are a D, am I right? Ohio is getting weird. I am calling it for McCain right now. All of these Ohio farmer types love Sarah Palin. I think she is stupid, and I don’t want her leading the free world when Mc Cain dies. However, Obama needs to get back on the issues not on pork or women’s cosmetics. You can tell Karl Rove is in McCain’s web. [My daughter] has been at Michigan State University for about 3 weeks. She had so many credits she is already a sophomore. She plans to go to Harvard for law school and then become Ohio’s version of Hillary.

LBOTC: Don’t take this the wrong way, but Sarah Palin reminds me of you.

Response: I was in Denver for the convention. Exciting times. We have to win this.

LBOTC: Now it’s not 4 more years, it’s 12 more years.

Response: Thanks for sharing.

Response: Y'know what? I like this chick! I really don't like McCain, but I'm thinking I'll vote for him. That's how much I like her. I'm sure that would go over well at the lunch table!

LBOTC: You might be surprised.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Goodnight, San Francisco

The Bittersweets played Club Passim on Thursday night, September 11, 2008. The four person band is fronted by singer and musician Hannah Prater. Yes, that was a xylophone she was playing at one point. Most of the songs are written by keyboardist Chris Meyers. They record for Compass Records, which has been building its list and may be the new Rounder.

They played a great set featuring songs like Wreck (“He was a cowboy living in a concrete world, trying to escape the life he’d furled”) and the title track to their latest CD, Goodnight, San Francisco. The band recently moved from San Francisco to Nashville, and this CD is their goodbye:

“Goodnight, San Francisco
Goodnight all you lovers, dives, and rags
Get on home, it’s getting late”

Though their sound ranges into Americana and Rock, they’ve got their Folk roots right with an anti-war anthem:

“When the war is over
Is it ever over?

Can the world begin again?
Can we fly away and pretend?
That all of the lives that we wrecked
And the ships that we left out at sea
Will find their way back home.”

It was bitter and it was sweet, and we just wanted to shout out, “Yes, we can.” If only life were so simple.

We’re seeing a trend of blue state artists moving to Nashville, such as local favorite Amelia White a couple of years back. Nashville is closer than San Francisco, so in the case of The Bittersweets that works for us.

I Don't Like Ike

I don't like Hurricane Ike. Our prayers to the people of Galveston and Houston.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Democrats Clash in Watertown and West Cambridge

Four democrats are vying for the 29th Middlesex district seat in the Massachusetts State House of Representatives. This district includes West Cambridge and Watertown, both on the left bank of the Charles River. The seat was held by longtime Representative Rachel Kaprielian, who was appointed last May to become Registrar of Motor Vehicles, after 13 years of service in the seat.

The primary election is Tuesday, September 16, 2008. This is a write-in election, where voters will either have to write in their candidate’s name or use a pre-printed sticker provided by the candidate. In our one party cities, the winner of this primary will likely go on to win the general election in November. Here are the candidates who have declared they are running:

Stephen Corbett – Stephen lives in Watertown with his wife and three kids. He is a construction contractor and real estate developer. He has served on the Watertown City Council. He has some great ideas on some issues including the Iraq War: “Our troops fighting abroad and securing our country need our support, the war in Iraq must end as soon as possible, and the Bush Administration will, thankfully, come to a close in less than six months.” Perhaps more relevant to the Massachusetts Legislature, on unions Stephen favors a level playing field between labor and management.

Jon Hecht – Jon lives in Watertown with his wife and three kids and is a Watertown Councilor. He is an attorney and cofounder of the China Law Center at Yale Law School in New Haven, Connecticut. His wife is a public health economist. He has been endorsed by Governor Deval Patrick. Jon is undoubtedly the candidate of the Cambridge elite, despite the Watertown address. But the day job in New Haven seems like a long commute to give us the attention we deserve on Beacon Hill.

Julia Fahey – Julia is a local girl (Watertown public schools) who has made good as a young staff attorney for Service Employees International Union/National Association of Government Employees (SEIU/NAGE). She views the State House seat as an opportunity to serve the district full time. She has been endorsed by Congressman Michael Capuano, the former Mayor of Somerville, who says she will be an advocate for working men and women. Julia favors support for green jobs and developing renewable energy in Massachusetts.

Josh Weisbuch – Josh lives in Watertown or maybe Newton in what his Facebook page describes as an open relationship with partner Erika. He describes himself as a former intern in the Clinton White House. Since then he has been a computer consultant, and Josh says he is all about “solutions.” The issues page on Josh’s web site says “coming soon...” Josh, the election is Tuesday, this Tuesday.

Julia Fahey sports that eyeglass-wearing-librarian look that has recently become so popular, and we like her candidate statement too, so she gets the endorsement of the Left Bank of the Charles. She is also the only candidate to send us her sticker.

Friday, September 12, 2008

More Advice for Barack Obama

John Harris on Politico has some interesting advice for Barack Obama:

1. Don’t make this about you.
2. Define yourself through policies — yours and theirs.
3. Have more fun.
4. Make the election about something big.
5. Spend more time speaking to your opponents.
6. Don’t take Hillary voters for granted.
7. Stop smoking whatever it is you are smoking.
8. Apologize to Bill Clinton.

The Sarah Palin Playbook

Sarah Palin is unstoppable. The Democrats have tried to bork and quayle her to no avail. Whatever the media pundits throw at her, she throws right back. How does she do it? Left Bank of the Charles got our hands on Sarah Palin’s playbook:

Lipstick on a pig – Would that be a male chauvinist pig?

Alaska Troopergate – Don’t tase me, bro. Bro means my ex-brother-in-law, you racist sexist pig . Again, my ex-brother-in-law.

Stem cell research – You’re saying I should have aborted my son Trig so you could use his stem cells for research?

Bridge to nowhere – I didn’t build the bridge so you talking heads are on the road to nowhere.

Earmarks – You want to talk about ears?

Iraq War – Tell Michael Moore that my son Track is fighting in Iraq. So has John McCain’s son.

High gas prices – I have oil up here in Alaska if you’ll just let me drill for it.

Jobs – I’ll create an oil drilling job for you while I’m creating one for Bristol’s boyfriend, I mean fiance.

Economy – A moose in every pot and a snow machine in every garage.

Snow machine – What you call a snowmobile, stupid liberal elitist.

Global warming – I know something about hockey sticks.

Religion – I was born a Catholic like Joe Biden and as an adult went to a crazy Protestant Church like Barack Obama.

Speaking in tongues – At least I wasn’t speaking with a forked tongue.

Marijuana use – Yes, but I never could afford a little blow.

Horse – I’d be happy to play Barack a game of horse, or one-on-one.

Foul shots – If you think you got game you should know not to foul the best free throw shooter. I won a state basketball championship with a last minute free throw. You should have fouled my running mate, who can’t raise his arms over his shoulders due to his war injuries.

Gun control – My policy is don’t pull the trigger, squeeze it.

Bush doctrine – My father taught me when hunting prey in the bush, know your target and what is beyond before you shoot.

Foreign policy – Ich bin ein American.

Russia – Ich bin ein Georgian. All for one and one for all!

Race – My husband is part Eskimo, and so are my children – ich bin ein Eskimo.

Eskimo – Alaskan for Native American, as they know on the Indian reservations in Montana, North and South Dakota, New Mexico, and Washington State. Oh, was that your Western States strategy?

Feminism – You could bring on Geraldine Ferraro and Hillary Clinton to take me down, if you hadn’t called them both racists.

Juggling parenthood – Joe Biden was a single father of two young boys when he first became Senator. I have a husband and two grown children to help.

Change – I want to shake up Washington, DC; you want to shake down American taxpayers.

Transfer student – Barack Obama was a transfer student too and, yes, feel free to run down every one of those schools where I studied, and their voting age students and alumni.

Teen pregnancy – Yes, keep putting down every woman who ever had a child as a teenager, and their families. Let’s see Mom is 18, Grandma is 35, Great-grandma is 52, Great-great-grandma is 69, and Great-great-great-grandma is 86. That’s five generations of Sarah Palin voters.

Per diem – I have a 600 mile commute.

Experience – just keep rapping my small town mayor experience, America has a lot of small towns, and parents who’d like to think their children could grow up to become President or Vice President.

White House Ready – Yes, I live in a red house now.

3:00 am phone call – I’m up for Trig’s 3:00 am feeding anyway.

Tina Fey lookalike – So your good old boy lefty buddies at the Hollywood writers guild called a strike last winter that shut down Tina Fey’s show and cost her millions of dollars. Maybe she can make some of that money back appearing on SNL like she did last March (bitches get stuff done). Never piss off someone who writes jokes better than you.

Bristol and Trig – Am I going to have to deliver a Nixon-esque Checkers speech? Yes, you knock me out if you could prove Trig was really by daughter Bristol’s baby not mine. Keep in mind as you dig for evidence that I may have pictures from the delivery room. Knock yourself out.

This is getting hard to watch here in Obama country. In just two weeks she has torn Obama’s message of hope and change to pieces, then knitted it into a new dress to wear herself, and now she is on the verge of turning Obama’s new politics into a cynical sham. And every time some media pundit rings one of these issues, another small town voter in the heartland decides to vote for Sarah Palin. The states on the electoral vote projection maps are turning from light red to red, white to light red, light blue to white, and so on.

Re: Never Been So Proud

Q: How did the coventions play in the heartland?

A: My prediction for Denver was to “beware the puma” and we certainly got a wildcat in Sarah Palin.

Sarah Palin has really changed the story in the heartland. I didn’t see that coming, but some in Iowa did. The Iowa Political Alert blog had the Palin story in June. Republican Steve King, who represents Western Iowa in Congress and made some controversial anti-Obama remarks back in March, was apparently up in Alaska over the summer talking to Eskimos and scoping out ANWR. I suspect the McCain campaign shopped the Palin choice around other swing states too over the summer.

Barack Obama needs to get out of the Palin trap he has fallen into and get back on message. He’s getting a lot of bad advice and a lot of help from pundits in the media that isn’t really helping. From my vantage, it looks like he is running against Sarah Palin, Joe Biden is running against Bristol Palin and Trig Palin, and no one is running against John McCain. Every time I hear someone on CNN talk about Sarah’s small town mayor experience being insufficient, I cringe for how that will go down in small town Iowa and other rural states. Another thing that made me cringe was the Bill Buckner moment Obama had in the George Stephanopoulos interview on ABC.

Barack Obama should be running for what he will do as President. Joe Biden should be running against John McCain. Sarah Palin should be left to Democrats like Hillary Clinton, Geraldine Ferrarro, Nancy Pelosi, Dianne Feinstein, or just be left alone.

I thought Barack did very well in the Bill O’Reilly interviews on Fox. And he did very well on the Service Nation forum last night.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Is Obama Biden Sexist or Ageist or Worse?

Today Barack Obama was videotaped at a campaign stop in the swing state of Virginia saying,

"You can put lipstick on a pig. It's still a pig. You can wrap an old fish in a piece of paper called change. It's still gonna stink. We've had enough of the same old thing."

A lot has been made of whether Obama was calling Sarah Palin a pig, in reference to her describing herself as hockey mom, and a hockey mom as a "pit bull with lipstick." But isn't he also calling John McCain an old fish?

Meanwhile, Joe Biden was campaign in the swing state of Missouri where he was videtaped saying,

“I hear all this talk about how the Republicans are going to work in dealing with parents who have both the joy, because there's joy to it as well, the joy and the difficulty of raising a child who has a developmental disability, who were born with a birth defect. Well guess what folks? If you care about it, why don't you support stem cell research?”

Let's connect the dots. Sarah Palin has been garnering support from prolife groups for her decision to carry her baby Trig to term despite his being diagnosed in utero with Down syndrome. Some statistics say 90% of American women in that situation choose abortion. Embryonic stem cell research uses stem cells from aborted fetuses. Just a few weeks ago the Obama campaign was vying with McCain for the evalengical vote. Apparently not anymore.

I think Obama and Biden have fallen into the trap that McCain set for them with the Palin nomination. If this continues much longer in this direction, Obama's only hope may be that the trap is big enough to catch McCain too.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Lie to Nowhere

Today we got this email from the Obama campaign, titled "Lies to Nowhere".

"The McCain campaign has finally admitted that this election is about change.

"Their new ad uses what news organizations are calling "naked lies" to reinvent two politicians whose records embody the same culture of corruption and far-right policies we've seen from the Bush administration.

"The biggest whopper in the ad (that's still being repeated day after day by McCain and Palin on the campaign trail) is that Governor Palin stopped the infamous "Bridge to Nowhere" -- in fact, she supported it, and even hired a lobbyist in Washington to get more pork-barrel projects like it.

"If the McCain-Palin campaign wants to have a debate about who is prepared to bring the change we need, we're more than ready.

"Here are the facts ...Sarah Palin was a vocal supporter of the infamous "Bridge to Nowhere" -- the symbol of the Republican culture of corruption -- turning her back on it only after the project's bloated pork-barrel waste was exposed."

We may need to go to the dictionary on what the word "lie" means, but we understand Palin did stop work on the bridge project and no bridge is being built. The whole objection to earmarks is on money being spent on bad projects that could be saved or at least spent better. Presumably thought the projects she supported were good projects. So where is the "lie?" Nowhere that I can see.

We've noticed that Barack Obama says he wants to stop the Iraq War, but also says he wants to continue it for 18 months after he takes office. And send more troops to Afganistan. That's the same kind of "lie" he's accusing Palin of.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Fighting John McCain

John McCain ended his speech at the Republican convention with this call:

"I’m going to fight for my cause every day as your President. I’m going to fight to make sure every American has every reason to thank God, as I thank Him: that I’m an American, a proud citizen of the greatest country on earth, and with hard work, strong faith and a little courage, great things are always within our reach.

"Fight with me. Fight with me.

"Fight for what’s right for our country.

"Fight for the ideals and character of a free people.

"Fight for our children’s future.

"Fight for justice and opportunity for all.

"Stand up to defend our country from its enemies.

"Stand up for each other; for beautiful, blessed, bountiful America.

"Stand up, stand up, stand up and fight. Nothing is inevitable here. We’re Americans, and we never give up. We never quit. We never hide from history. We make history.

"Thank you, and God Bless you."

What about the Democrats? Hillary Clinton's speech at the Democratic National Convention contained this stirring passage:

"My mother was born before women could vote. But in this election my daughter got to vote for her mother for President. This is the story of America. Of women and men who defy the odds and never give up.

"How do we give this country back to them? By following the example of a brave New Yorker , a woman who risked her life to shepherd slaves along the Underground Railroad. And on that path to freedom, Harriett Tubman had one piece of advice.

"If you hear the dogs, keep going.

"If you see the torches in the woods, keep going.

"If they're shouting after you, keep going.

"Don't ever stop. Keep going.

"If you want a taste of freedom, keep going.

"Even in the darkest of moments, ordinary Americans have found the faith to keep going. I've seen it in you. I've seen it in our teachers and firefighters, nurses and police officers, small business owners and union workers, the men and women of our military - you always keep going. We are Americans. We're not big on quitting.

"But remember, before we can keep going, we have to get going by electing Barack Obama president.

"We don't have a moment to lose or a vote to spare."

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Miles to Go, Promises to Keep

In Barack Obama's convention acceptance speech last week, he got into some specifics as to what he would do as President:

(1) Stop giving tax breaks to corporations that ship jobs overseas, start giving them to companies that create good jobs in America, and close corporate loopholes and tax havens.

(2) Eliminate capital gains taxes for the small businesses and the start-ups that will create the high-wage, high-tech jobs of tomorrow.

(3) Cut taxes for 95% of all working families.

(4) End our dependence on oil from the Middle East in ten years.

(5) Tap our natural gas reserves, invest in clean coal technology, and find ways to safely harness nuclear power.

(6) Help our auto companies re-tool, so that the fuel-efficient cars of the future are built right here in America, and make it easier for the American people to afford these new cars.

(7) Invest 150 billion dollars over the next decade in affordable, renewable sources of energy - wind power and solar power and the next generation of biofuels.

(8) Invest in early childhood education, provide every child a world-class education, make sure every young American who commits to serving community or country can afford a college education.

(9) Recruit an army of new teachers, pay them higher salaries, give them more support, and ask for higher standards and more accountability.

(10) Provide affordable, accessible health care for every single American by lowering your premiums if you have health care and by granting the option to get the same kind of coverage that members of Congress give themselves if you don’t.

(11) Make insurance companies stop discriminating against those who are sick and need care the most.

(12) Help families with paid sick days, better family leave, and equal pay for an equal day's work.

(13) Change our bankruptcy laws to protect pensions ahead of CEO bonuses.

(14) Protect Social Security for future generations.

(15) Go through the federal budget, line by line, eliminating programs that no longer work and making the ones we do need work better and cost less.

(16) Send more resources and more troops to finish the fight against the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11, take out Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants if we have them in our sights, and finish the fight against al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan.

(17) End the war in Iraq responsibly and remove our troops from Iraq.

(18) Rebuild our military to meet future conflicts and only send our troops into harm's way with a clear mission and a sacred commitment to give them the equipment they need in battle and the care and benefits they deserve when they come home.

(19) Renew tough, direct diplomacy to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and curb Russian aggression.

(20) Restore our moral standing and build new partnerships to defeat the threats of the 21st century: terrorism and nuclear proliferation, poverty and genocide, climate change and disease.

This week, John McCain had his own list:

(1) Keep taxes low and cut them to help small businesses grow and create jobs, and to help American companies compete and keep jobs from moving overseas.

(2) Open new markets to our goods and services.

(3) Make it easier for more Americans to find and keep good health care insurance.

(4) Double the child tax exemption from $3,500 to $7,000.

(5) Cut government spending and get rid of failed programs.

(6) Open new markets and prepare workers to compete in the world economy.

(7) Help workers who’ve lost a job that won’t come back find a new one that won’t go away, and prepare them for the jobs of today using our community colleges to help train people for new opportunities in their communities and, for workers in industries that have been hard hit, helping make up part of the difference in wages between their old job and a temporary, lower paid one while they receive retraining.

(8) Shake up failed school bureaucracies with competition, empower parents with choice, remove barriers to qualified instructors, attract and reward good teachers, and help bad teachers find another line of work, andgive parents a choice in the education of their children - a better public school, a private one, or a charter school - schools that answer to parents and students.

(9) Produce more energy at home by drilling new wells offshore, building more nuclear power plants, developing clean coal technology, increasing use of wind, tide, solar and natural gas, encouraging the development and use of flex fuel, hybrid and electric automobiles, and creating millions of new jobs in industries that will be the engine of our future prosperity and be there when your children enter the workforce.

(10) Establish good relations with Russia so we need not fear a return of the Cold War.

McCain Goes Back to Basics

John McCain outlined these core beliefs in his St. Paul convention acceptance speech:

Low taxes; spending discipline, and open markets.

Rewarding hard work and risk takers and letting people keep the fruits of their labor.

Strong defense, work, faith, service, a culture of life, personal responsibility, the rule of law, and judges who dispense justice impartially and don’t legislate from the bench.

Values of families, neighborhoods and communities.

Government that unleashes the creativity and initiative of Americans. Government that doesn’t make your choices for you, but works to make sure you have more choices to make for yourself.

Everyone has something to contribute and deserves the opportunity to reach their God-given potential.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Obama is Brother's Keeper and Sister's Keeper

Here's how Barack Obama defined the American Promise in Denver last week:

Each of us has the freedom to make of our own lives what we will, but that we also have the obligation to treat each other with dignity and respect.

The market should reward drive and innovation and generate growth, but that businesses should live up to their responsibilities to create American jobs, look out for American workers, and play by the rules of the road.

Government cannot solve all our problems, but what it should do is that which we cannot do for ourselves - protect us from harm and provide every child a decent education; keep our water clean and our toys safe; invest in new schools and new roads and new science and technology.

Our government should work for us, not against us. It should help us, not hurt us. It should ensure opportunity not just for those with the most money and influence, but for every American who's willing to work.

We are responsible for ourselves, but that we also rise or fall as one nation; the fundamental belief that I am my brother's keeper; I am my sister's keeper.

Re: The Maverick Picks a Wildcat

From a correspondent in Washington, DC:

I do have to admit, Sarah Palin is very impressive. She is like a breath of fresh air. She has a real family with real problems. She has experience running something. She also knows something about energy in a way that will protect/promote state interests, even if drilling is allowed. Anyway, thought you should know that there are some Democrats out there that think she is so fresh.

The Maverick Picks a Wildcat

When Sarah Palin took the national stage last week as the Republican nominee for Vice President, with her brown hair pulled back in a bun, and that librarian with eyeglasses look that has always melted us, we thought, “This is the one we’ve been waiting for.”

She’s a working mother. Her husband is a union guy, commercial fisherman and small businessman, and snowmobile racer. Her oldest son is in the military. She is from small town America, and clings to her guns and religion. You probably saw the video of her shooting an assault rifle at a military training facility in Kuwait - Mother of Five, Army of One.

If the Democrats try to foul her, they should remember that she sealed a championship in the Alaska state basketball tournament with a last minute free throw. Maybe she’ll follow Michelle Obama’s lead and take Barack out on the basketball court to see what kind of man he is. Sarah Palin's convention speech drew 37.2 million viewers compared to 38 million last week for Barack Obama and 24 million for Joe Biden. Joe has to debate Sarah on October 2, and we expect that will get big ratings too.

Is this a brilliant move to shore up the religious right and also get the Hillary vote? Probably the appeal to women is limited. Stay home and take care of your new baby seems to be the universal if unspoken response here in liberal Cambridge, Massachusetts. But don’t forget that a lot of men in those small towns voted for Hillary too. And Sarah Palin may just be the perfect female candidate for your average American male.

Sarah has had a rough week in the news media. But let’s face it. If your next door neighbor’s teenage daughter gets pregnant, people around town are going to gossip. If the town mayor’s teenage daughter gets pregnant, they’re going to be talking about that two towns over. If a Governor’s teenage daughter gets pregnant, well that’s news, and if that Governor is running for Vice President of the United States, .… But I think the overlooked story here is the personal one, the mother daughter issue that causes so much friction in American life. And here’s how I imagine that went down:

Sarah Palin arrives in her kitchen a week ago Thursday noon, with baby Trig in one hand and a bag of groceries in the other. Various children from age 7 to 19 and are sprawled around the kitchen table. You can hear the TV from the adjoining family room. The phone rings.

Sarah (to phone): Hello, Rick? Rick Davis? Oh yes, just a second. I just came in as you called. Let me put some stuff down. (to children around table) Kids, out to the car, get the rest of the groceries. Does Mommy have to do everything around here? Come on, Willow, Piper, get a move on.

Todd (from family room): Is that you honey? Could you bring me a beer?

Sarah: Track, get your Dad a beer, and get yourself one too.

Track goes to the refrigerator, grabs two six-packs and goes into the family room.

Sarah (to phone): Yes, yes, I enjoyed lunch with you and John the other day very much and I’m very glad to be hearing from you. (to Bristol) Here Bristol, take Trig. And find his diaper bag, he needs to be changed.

Bristol: Why me? Why do I always have to take care of Trig? Why not ask Track? It’s just not fair because I’m a girl and he’s a boy.

Sarah: Don’t be silly, Track is going to Iraq. (to phone) No, you’re not silly. Did you see that speech of Bill Clinton’s last night? Now that was silly. (to Bristol) Track can’t be changing diapers. He’s 19, a grown man, and he’s deploying to Iraq in just a couple of weeks. (to phone) Yes, Rick, Track is my oldest son. Yes, I guess you can say he is going to Iraq on September 11 – that is a couple of weeks. Yes, he enlisted a year ago. Yes, we could say that he enlisted on September 11 too. Good, good, glad you like that.

Bristol: It’s just not fair. You handed me Trig when he came home from the hospital last April and every day since. I laugh with my friends that it’s like he’s my own kid.

Sarah: Ha! Like you’re ready to have your own kid. That’s funny. Just work on changing this one’s diaper dear. (to phone). Yes, Rick, I can deliver the small town family values message. No, don’t worry about issues. Let me say that I would be honored, really honored, and I won’t let you down. Yes, I’ll hold while you get John.

Bristol: Actually Mom. There’s something I need to tell you.

Sarah: Not now, honey. I’m talking to the McCain campaign. You know Mommy’s up for Vice President. We talked about this. And sit up straight.

Bristol: I’m pregnant.

Sarah: No you’re not. You’re just putting on a little weight; it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Exercise more, dear, and it wouldn’t hurt to eat less.

Bristol: Mom, I’m five months pregnant. I’ve taken the home tests. I’ve been to the doctor.

Sarah: Do you know who the father is?

Bristol: Mother, Levi is sitting right here. You know we’ve been dating for over a year.

Sarah (shouts): Todd, Todd, come in here. Your daughter and her boyfriend have something to tell you.

Todd (from family room): What’s that? Can’t hear you. Track and I are going fishing. (A door opens and then slams)

Sarah: Well, Levi Johnston, what do you have to say for yourself?

Bristol (interrupts): We’re in love and we’re getting married.

Sarah: Oh, you’re getting married all right. Even if Dick Cheney has to hold the shotgun at the wedding, you’re getting married.

Bristol: Mom! He’s sitting right here.

Sarah: Even if Dick Cheney has to hold the shotgun on you, Bristol Palin, you’re getting married. How did this happen?

Bristol: You’ve had five kids yourself, did Grandma and Grandpa make you skip sex education too?

Sarah: Don’t talk dirty. Didn’t I teach you about abstinence? Levi, didn’t your mother and father teach you about abstinence?

Levi: That green absinthe stuff tasted funny. But it did give a nice buzz.

Sarah: Is that lip? Are you giving me lip? Do you have any idea what I’m capable of doing to you? Do you have any idea what this going to do to me?

Levi: No, Mrs. Palin. I swear.

Bristol: That’s it isn’t it. This is all about you and your I’m on City Council, I’m the Mayor of Wassila, I’m the Governor of Alaska, and your perfect little plan to become John McCain’s Vice President. Well guess what, Mom, your perfect little daughter, your perfect little 17-year-old daughter is pregnant and she’s isn’t even married yet. So you can kiss your perfect little Vice President dream goodbye. I am so sorry to embarrass my perfect mother.

Sarah: Oh, so you think I’m embarrassed. Well, I tell you what little missy, I’m going to take that Vice President slot. The whole world can watch you have your baby for all I care about your embarrassing me. How do you like them apples? Taste a little green don’t they? So pack your suitcase and find that diaper bag, you’re going with me to Ohio and Minnesota.

Bristol: Can Levi come too?

Sarah: I'll have to think about it. (pauses) Maybe that would work. He could join us in Minnesota. Let me make some calls. (to Levi) Levi, make yourself useful and go find your new father-in-law and brother-in-law, they’ve got to pack too. (yells out door) Willow and Piper, where are those groceries? (to phone) Hello, John? I’m so glad you called…

In the family room, the television is playing a Heart video:

“And if the real thing don't do the trick
You better make up something quick
You’re gonna burn, burn, burn, burn, burn to the wick
Ooh, Barracuda, Oh yeah”