Sunday, November 23, 2008

Around The Horn: Billary as Secretary of State?

1. Conservatives with Attitude is up in arms! Tom Kean & friends have been blowing them off worse than a fat chick after a blind date. According to CWA, New Jersey Republicans need to start acting like Republicans and not like...Democrats.

2. Middletown Mike hates Barack Obama. Just kidding, Mike seems to be in support of Obama's new plan to create 2.5 million jobs which Obama announced over his weekly radio address. Keep up the good work Mike!

3. Blue Jersey normally loves "poster children", but not in this case as Rutgers football seems to be in shambles. Apparently things got so bad, Rutgers asked if they could be included in some form of government bailout.

4. Dan Cirucci seems to hate Franklin Delano Roosevelt as he posts an editorial on his site linking Obama and F.D.R to similar policies. No word yet on if Dan has nostalgia for soup lines. In un-related news, Dan wants you to stop mailing him Thanksgiving cards as he doesn't want the heathen filth touching his mailbox.

5. Jon Corzine and Andy Reid have a lot in common according to The Save Jersey Blog. In addition to an expanding waistline, they both suck at managing people. Hopefully Obama's bailout will include a bailout of New Jersey voters for their mistake at electing Corzine.

6. Corzine isn't popular as the Politics Patrol doesn't like him either. Corzine won't win Miss.Congeniality anytime soon...because Sandra Bullock already won that.

7. The Opinion Mill is feeling like a Turkey with its head cut off this weekend. No wait, that's just Sarah Palin who seems to only have pull with men these days. Good luck selling that book Sarah, I plan to wait till it drops under a buck!

8. More Monmouth Musings seems to lament the possibility of another Corzine term if the Republicans can't get their stuff together. Comon Art, this is New Jersey we are talking about here, Republicans can't even plan a church picnic in this state, let alone win an election.

9. Sid in The City is advocating that people leave their children in the able care of strippers and loose women. Just kidding, in actuality Sid is just pointing out the facts as Vineland grips with a lady in the lunch room who has more to offer than Sloppy Joes.

10. Charlie Rangel sucks according to NJ Tax Revolution. The guy forgets to declare an entire property on his tax return and then receives kickbacks on money he owes the government for other properties.

Update: The Car Situation

I test drove three cars yesterday. You may remember all three cars from a previous post I had here. The Toyota RAV-4 was by far the biggest disappointment as it seemed boxy and un-personal. One might think they were driving a horse and buggy by the way the RAV-4 positions the driver's body. The all-wheel drive felt terrible as the car seemed to be "grinding" all of the time. The car's V-4 engine felt weak and un-impressive. The RAV-4 did score high marks from me for the folding rear seat which left a large amount of space for stuff. Other than that, I was very disappointed.

The Honda Civic EX had the best value of the three (as expected) with many standard options including cruise control, a sunroof and MP3 player capability. The Civic was extremely peppy for a V-4 and I liked the fact that instead of a speedometer the car just shows you the number of MPH you are going. This was the first time I'd seen that. I was worried I would feel like I was skimming the ground in the Civic but the seat sat me higher than my 1998 Taurus, which was a welcome change.

The Acura TL was by far the best performer. The car had everything including leather seats, power-moonroof, powerful V-6 engine, MP3 capability, gadgets galore and plenty of passenger space. The care is actually a very reasonable price when bought used (as I intend) to do and would not be stretch for my budget if purchased. However as a finance major, I do not want to finance a car longer than 4 years and depending how much I can save before my current car dies, I may not be able to raise the down-payment I want.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Around The Horn: Bailouts Are Vogue

1. Conservatives with Attitude is beaming about Mike Huckabee's recent vacation in New Jersey. Just kidding, he was there for "defending the family" reasons, whatever that means. Not sure what he is running for this time.

2. Page 13 News is wondering if Obama is really an American citizen. Apparently he wasn't a terrorist, muslim, black panther, un-ethical politician or a celebrity so we had to find something else. Some nobody named Phillip Berg is running the investigation, good luck with that.

3. Dan Cirucci blogs about Barbara Walter's "Most Fascinating List of 2008". Using artful dexterity, Cirucci manages to get a shot in at Barack Obama at the end. It just would be a Cirucci post without one! I'm beginning to think the guy is secretly obsessed with Obama.

4. Joe the Plumber will now be Joe the Writer as he has a book deal lined up. The Opinion Mill seems slightly disgusted with this. I love Joe the Plumber. Where else but America could somebody so un-interesting become a cultural-phenomenon. To add insult to injury, he wants to run for a congressional seat.

5. Sid In The City is all about Spam. Not the email variety but the fake meat...variety. He says Spam sales are way up. I'm sure this can somehow be attributed to Barack Obama. I'll ask Cirucci to get on that.

6. The Center of NJ Life is telling us to not believe everything we hear in the mainstream media. We can listen to the ultra-liberal media but not mainstream media. Sarah Palin still doesn't know where Africa is according to imaginary McCain confidant Martin Eisenstadt. Eisenstadt is reportedly preparing for a run for congress in 2010.

7. There's a unity march goin' down in Blue Jersey. Apparently an Obama supporter had a cross burned on their front lawn. Nothing wrong with that, just good ole fashioned racism. Whats all the big hubbub about.

8. Is the "right" really right? A Voice For The Youth Of Monmouth County is musing about the subject. It is a really great centrist post even though he professes to be a Democrat. In the end he sides with the left.

9. Cleary's Note Book is telling us to Stay Low and Go! Is he speaking to the Republican party following its resounding defeat in the 2008 election season? Nope, just pesky toddlers during fire-safety training. Yawn...

10. If there are two things in life Middletown Mike is John Adler and the other is the new Yankee Stadium. Apparently some NY Times big-wigs were given a tour of the clubhouse and etc. C.C. Sabathia reportedly has his own personal day-spa somewhere in the depth of the stadium just waiting for his arrival.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Car Season Is Here

It's that time again as my car is hanging by the proverbial thread and will soon need to be replaced. I am faced with the dilemma of a person educated in finance. My brain tells me that a car is the absolute worst investment a person can make. For one, cars depreciate faster than any other asset imaginable and have high upkeep costs. Thus a person guided by their head would buy the absolute cheapest car possible that meets their basic needs and is cost effective. I give myself a little pat on the back, because I have decided to buy used.

Unfortunately my heart is telling me another thing! I was given a 1998 Ford Taurus LX as a hand-me down car in 2004. The car did its job by getting me from point A to point B. At the beginning, there were very few maintenance costs involved with the car but I have reached a point where it is no longer cost-effective to own the car. I somewhat want to treat myself with options like a sunroof, leather seats and etc. I have started to research my options and have come up with a few ideas for cars I would be interested in. Some of the cars are higher priced, others lower-priced, some sedans, some mini-SUVs and a lot of other in between. Here are the top three contenders:

1. 2006 Acura TL: This is by far the most expensive car I am looking into. This car also comes with the best features including: a power moon-roof, leather seats, fog lights, 6-Cd changer and volume controls on the steering wheel. The car comes with a peppy V-6 and averages about 20 mpg city and 29 on the highway. This car has a blue book value around $22,500.

2. 2007 Honda Civic: This is the best value for the money. This car has a blue-book of $17,500 and comes with power moon-roof, a folding seat (which the Acura does not have), satellite radio and power everything. The car basically has everything the Acura has but does not come with leather or V-6. It is also on the small side. I'm not crazy about driving with a V-4. If this car had a V-6, I would be all about it, but then again it wouldn't get 30 mpg in the city and a whopping 40 mpg on the highway.

3. 2006 Toyota RAV-4: This is a true hybrid in the sense that it sits you up high and gives you the feel of an SUV but comes with a great fuel economy of 23 city and 28 highway. Comes with a standard sunroof, daytime running lights, 6-CD changer, roof racks, MP3 compatible and power everything. Drawback is a less than peppy V-4. Blue book value around $21,000.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Around The Horn: Obama is President!

1. New Jersey: Politics Unusual thinks Sarah Palin should be the next ambassador to Africa. Wait, scratch that. Palin will be returning to Alaska to enjoy diet Dr. Peppers and a lack of knowledge concerning all things African.

2. Are farms funny? Apparently MoreMonmouthMusings thinks so as this is the title of its latest post. He is trying to get a tax break for raising trees or something. Good luck with that.

3. Dan Cirucci is thanking the President for his service by displaying a little editorial on his blog. I wonder what the resale value will be on that plush and cozy rock that Dan has been living under for eight years. Depends on the financing available I guess...

4. "Dale Earnhardt" economics are all the rage over at Blog the Fifth. Apparently Earnhardt wasn't an expert on safety. I'm just kidding! I know, that joke was in very bad taste. Anywho, Earnhardt mused at one point that GM was too big to fail.

5. The Opinion Mill has a massive post on how conservatives are trying to salvage some dignity from the '08 elections. A good start wouldn't be: To have infighting among the top of your failed presidential ticket, Infighting among the leadership roles at the top of the House of Representative or Having the current President from your party leaving the White House with a tarnished legacy. Oh wait...

6. The Save Jersey Blog is stretching his jurisdiction out a little and trying to save the entire Republican Party. He is spot on in noting that most of the true conservatives around the country lost to Democrats and the moderate standard bearers of the party survived. A prime example is Susan Collins of Maine, who won quite comfortably in a Democratic Tsunami year.

7. NJ Tax Revolution is begging Obama to steer clear from John Corzine. The guy who was supposed to be the "messiah" for the New Jersey economy due to his economic background, couldn't even figure out how to use a seatbelt and you are surprised that he did nothing for New Jersey's residents. But I digress...

8. Monmouth County Republican Blog has a nice little editorial from Reagan's oldest son, Michael, describing the reasons John McCain lost. In one of the more interesting lines of the novel, Reagan writes that Obama ran the best campaign since his namesake did in '80. On the flip side, McCain ran the worst campaign since Dole in '96. I don't know about that. Dole was really bad, can anyone ever match that?

9. Is it too early for Christmas. Apparently Channel Surfing thinks so as he is already experiencing the burn-out from the holiday season. I hate to break it to him, but we haven't even hit Black Friday yet. It's just going to get a lot worse from here.

10. Conservatives with Attitude wants Palin to be the nominee in 2012. With global warming on the rise, Palin might not be able to see Russia from her house by that time as Alaska could be under sea-water. Would that hurt her foreign policy gravitas?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Why Obama Won: New Democrats

Barack Obama won for many reasons including the current state of the economy, John McCain's ties to President Bush and Obama's call for change. However, something overlooked seems to be the "style" of Obama's campaign which falls along the lines of "New Democrats". "New Democrat" was the moniker applied to Bill Clinton's campaign which ran on a populist tone calling for "change". Where have we heard that before?

Before Clinton, John F. Kennedy also ran as a young candidate calling for change and inspired Americans with his message. On the flip side, John Kerry and Al Gore ran stiff campaigns that lacked inspiration and emotion. If Al Gore had run for president with his personality now, he would have won. The label of stiffness and blandness was something that did Gore no favors. Kerry lost because of his un-willingness to defend himself against smears and his lackluster campaign. Obama tackled every arrow thrown at him by McCain and did an excellent job of spinning McCain's criticisms as smears and lies.

Remember that even though Clinton was nearly impeached, he left with one of the highest approval ratings of any president since World War II with 65% of the public approving of his administration. If Obama shapes his presidency in the mold of Clinton and Kennedy and works with Republicans to craft centrist legislation, there is no doubt he will be successful.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Barack Obama: 44th President of the United States

Congratulations are due to President-elect Barack Obama. The election is now over and all Americans will look to Obama to deliver on the promises of hope and inspiration from his campaign. Obama will have a hard road ahead of him to fix the problems that face this country. I hope all Americans can unite behind him on the path towards our common goals. I for one, have full faith in him.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Live Bloggin' Election '08

I'm live-blogging the election tonight with all my thoughts and analysis. Check in often as I plan to post as much as I can. Will probably be up till 11 or 12 EST tonight so check back until then.

7:20 PM EST: Hello to everyone out there. CNN has just called Kentucky for McCain and Vermont for Obama. Lunsford is running surprising close to McConnell, back by only 2 percentage points. Florida and Indiana are in McCain's column early but both look close and Indiana looks like it will be a nail-biter. Warner seems to have picked up a Democratic senate seat in Virgina. Things are looking pretty good for the Dems early.

8:08 PM EST: Obama has just picked up a bunch of states he was supposed to win including Delaware, New Jersey, Maryland and Illinois. McCain has won South Carolina, Oklahoma and Tennessee. Bruce Lunsford has tied McConnell in Kentucy, things could surely get interesting as far as the "60 goal".

8:39 PM EST: Obama has just won Pennsylvania and may be on the way to a rout as he is running ahead in Florida, North Carolina and Virginia. Joe Biden has also won his senate race so regardless of the outcome of the presidential election, Biden will still have a job come the new year.

8:53 PM EST: Kay Hagan has just defeated Liddy Dole in the North Carolina senate race. This was slightly expected but the margins Hagan is running up actually surpasses that of Obama. Kentucky looks like it will narrowly go McConnell so unless the dems can pick off the Georgia seat they will be stuck somewhere around 58-59 seats.

9:05 PM EST: Obama has just won Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota. John McCain's path to victory is shrinking and he may have already lost the race. McCain would have to hold on to every Bush state at this point to chart a course to the White House. He won a semi-battleground state in North Dakota, but that is far from a general election victory.

9:32 PM EST: Obama just won Ohio. Stick a fork in McCain, he is done.

9:43 PM EST: Jack Markell has won the race for governor of Delaware. I volunteered briefly for the Markell election bid and I can tell you it was Markell's ground game that won him the primary and propelled him to the governorship. You can toss this one up to the "Jack Pack".

9:59 PM EST: Obama looks on track to win Virginia and North Carolina. He has already won Iowa and New Mexico. McCain would have to win some combination of California, Hawaii, Oregon or Washington to win the race. At this point, Obama would like to have a landslide victory to have a voter "mandate" for his movement.

10:30 PM EST: Still waiting on results from Indiana, North Carolina, Virginia and Florida. Looks like Obama has a chance of taking all four of 'em. Indiana's democratic hot spots still don't have all precincts in and Obama is down by less than 10,000. Lautenberg and Obama won New Jersey...yawn.

10:59 PM EST: Obama has won Virginia and officially...the Presidency.

11:35 PM EST: McCain conceded and Bush has called Obama. With that I'm calling it a night!

Monday, November 3, 2008

It's Finally Here!

The race for 2008 has taken me a very long way. From the winter chill of November 5th, 2004 to the beginning of the campaign in something like August of '07, to Caesar Rodney Square in Wilmington, DE on a cold winter day in January of 2008 to the point we are at now. This election is historic not because of the people in it, but because of the way it has truly shaped our culture. Here are some of my favorite moments from the 2008 race:

1. SNL Comedy: Never has SNL been more popular with their dead on impersonations of people such as Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Keith Olberman, Bill Clinton, John McCain and Nancy Pelosi. Am I forgetting anyone? Sarah Palin was by far the most interesting portrayal of them all and Tina Fey deserves an Academy Award in my mind.

2. Gaffes, Fumbles, and Joe Biden: I have enjoyed hanging on every word Biden has spoken since August as we have been given quite a hefty amount of interesting material to work with. According to Biden, Frankie Roosevelt was broadcast on the TV, Obama will be tested during his first year as president and apparently Obama's last name is...America? Thanks for the memories Joe!

3. The Primaries: From Iowa "hearting" Huckabees, the RomneyBot 2000 falling short, Hillary Clinton's tearing up in New Hampshire and Rudy Giuliani going from a front-runner to a not-so-much runner, this has been a primary season to remember. The Democratic primary was especially engaging, as people were voting well into June, truly a sign of a great democracy. Although some people will claim the Republican primary was nothing special, we surely had cliffhangers in Florida, New Hampshire, Missouri, Iowa and South Carolina.

4. Sarah Palin: I feel she deserves a section of her own. Who will ever forget lipstick on a pig, wardrobe malfunctions, teenage pregnancies, and hockey moms. We found out more about Palin's personal life over these last three months or so then anything she stood for. Although she may eventually be blamed for John McCain's downfall, she was sure entertaining to watch.

5. Joe The Plumber & other Campaign Distractions: This has truly been an election of popular culture as Joe the Plumber dominated headlines for referring to Obama as Socialist and campaigning for McCain. Obama has been a celebrity, socialist, messiah and terrorist all in the same election season. Absorb that statement for a minute.

I will try and live-blog the election starting around 4 0r 5 PM. Hopefully I can post at least once an hour with my thoughts, opinions and analysis. See you tomorrow, don't forget to vote!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Around The Horn: Jersey Style

Starting today I will take a look at some of my blogging brethren every Sunday and try and give a little roundup of what's hot in the Garden State. I'll try and have at least ten bloggers represented, shoot me an email or comment if you would like to join.

1. New Jersey: Politics Unusual takes a look at Joe Biden's vice-presidential and senate campaign. Apparently Joe Biden has more than one Republican woman challenger in his life, as Christine O'Donnell is challenging him for his Senate seat in Delaware.

2. Art Gallagher over at MoreMonmouthMusings talks about his love of Nevada brothels. Just kidding, in reality, he does not want to trust the bailout to proprietors of loose women and cheap sauce.

3. The bailout seems to be a hot topic as ClearysNoteBook notes new tax breaks will increase the bailout cost. Geez, you mean you don't support giving companies unlimited amounts of money with no regulation as to how they spend it, raising kids should prepare you for handing out wads of cash with no idea as to where it is going.

4. Sid in the City is still pumped up about the Phillies victory this week. I am wondering if you were able to make it to the parade Sid? I like the responsible person I am, had work to go to and thus could not make it.

5. Blue Jersey is concerned about the turnout, but in a good way I guess, as more voters than ever as expected to turn out. The post offers some great tips to make sure you are not bottlenecked at the booth and can arrive and vote within a reasonable time. Blue Jersey supports Barack Obama

6. John Adler sure has a fan in MiddletownMike. Adler is the Democratic candidate for congress in New Jersey's fightin' third district which includes Marlton and Cherry Hill. Mike apparently met Adler and thought he was the greatest thing since sliced bread.

7. Dan Cirucci talks about how the Kennedy's have no soul for not following the teachings of the pope. Seems people were blasting John Kennedy in the 60's for thinking he would vote with the pope. You just can't win with people like Cirucci I guess. In Cirucci's comment section, the "Ayers Kool Aid" is in good supply as Cirucci is a Catholic saint, an ethics expert and an enlightened "open to all ideas" kind of guy all in the same comment thread. Way to go Dan!

8. Conservatives with Attitude is all about attitude in their recent post as they blast some poser named Leonard Lance for not being conservative enough. Geez, what was that guy thinking! CWA goes on to pummel Lance for not being pro-family enough as he is gleefully supporting planned parenthood. If only Lance was as gleefull in courting these conservatives, he would really be set.

9. Are we in American Idol season? Nope, just voting season, which is apparently much un-cooler that A.I. and more likely to drive young people to "the drink" as The Rix Mix points out. TRM points out old people are reliable, routine and easy to train. Are we talking about a Border Collie here, or actual people?

10. The Save Jersey Blog pummels Obama for not wanting to allow his daughter to trick-or-treat in peace. Coupled with a giant picture of Obama next to lightning really reinforces the idea that he is some of deity who holds trick-or-treating in high regard. Thats not even the half of it as Obama has let his aunt live in squalor, I thought he was a deity...deities don't let family members live in squalor!

My Electoral Map Predictions

<p><strong>><a href=''>2008 Election Contest: Pick Your President</a></strong> - Predict the winner of the 2008 presidential election.</p>

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Socialized Medicine: Grab a Number

I've been skeptical of socialized medicine for a long time. This is basically the idea that health care can be free for all and provided by the government. Just imagine health care turning into the New Jersey DMV with long waiting lines, sub-standard service and endless mounds of forms. Sounds like a scary Halloween movie plot line to me.

In theory, socialized medicine is a great idea because everything would go smoothly and everyone would receive the same level of care. In reality, different parts of the country would have different care and urban areas would see long lines and doctors stressed from dealing with the sheer number of patients they would have to see. In a utopian society, pharmaceutical companies would have no objections to dealing with the government and paying less than market value for their drugs. However under socialized medicine, we would see less people enter the field of medicinal research, leading to less breakthroughs and substandard medication.

What should be done instead? How about creating health clinics in populated urban areas that offer free care, provided an appointment is made. People would have access to preventative care and this would more than likely ease the stress of area emergency rooms as problems could be diagnosed and addressed earlier. Having appointment only scheduling would keep wait times relatively short and allow doctors to avoid "assembly line" appointments.

If you don't like that idea, perhaps creating funding to merge health care service into the public school system. We could have children get to see a doctor once a year for a checkup and they wouldn't even have to leave the school to do it. In my mind, health care is one issue that cannot be solved by bigger government.

Sarah Palin-omics

This has been quite the whirlwind year for Sarah Palin. Many people are split on whether she ultimately helped or hurt John McCain's chances at the United States presidency. Although I didn't agree with her on most of her stances, I liked her a lot as a person and thought she was very interesting and down to earth.

However she has certainly provided a large amount of late-night fodder. Not limited to: the winks and folksy talk during the debate, the wardrobe malfunctions and the constant focus on her family during the beginning. Ultimately I think history will view her as a Dan Quayle-type politician and the run in '12 she has hinted at, will be fruitless at best.

I say that because Palin in essence is a combination of Mike Huckabee and Karl Rove. I make that connection because she combines folksy religious-ness with red-meat conservative platforms. Huckabee proved that evangelicals do not have enough pull in the party to anoint their own candidate and Rove left the White House weakened at best. Telling people that Democrats are "soft" on national security and god-less when it comes to religion, will only work for so long in elections. Eventually those criticisms fall on deaf ears.

Palin can salvage her reputation by spearheading a diversified group of issues and beefing up her foreign policy experience from now until '12. If she is able to shake off those issues and keep her personality, she could transform herself into a George Bush II style candidate with religious principles and compassionate conservatism. Although Bush seems to be vilified for all the nation's problems, he did win two terms didn't he?