Friday, August 31, 2012

Pac-12 Football Week One Predictions

OK, I'm going to have some fun again with Pac-12 football this season. Like last season, I'm going to make predictions and re-caps and I'm going to make them short - mainly for my own sanity.

Here it goes for Week One games...

Oregon vs. Arkansas State in Eugene. No, it's not Arkansas, it's Arkansas State. Enough said. Ducks roll 41-13.

Cal vs. Nevada in Berkley. Good first game match up. Nevada not the whipping boy it used to be. Still, Cal is at home...they win 24-10.

Oregon State vs. Nichols State in Corvallis. Nichols State? Normally I'd say OSU romps, but they did lose to Sacramento State last season at home. OK, Beavers win, but it'll be closer than you think - 21-14.

Stanford vs. San Jose State in Palo Alto. Stanford does not need Luck (Andrew) or luck (you know, luck) to beat SJS at home. Cardinal win 38-16

Washington vs. San Diego State in Seattle. Last we saw the UW defense, it was getting eviscerated by RG3 and Baylor. Will they stop anyone this season? Probably, starting with SDS. Dawgs win 27-10.

Washington State vs. BYU in Provo. New coach Mike Leach or not, a road game against BYU is not a good way to start things off...Cougs lose 28-21.

Arizona vs. Toledo in Tuscon. I don't know anything about Toledo, but I have to think UA will beat them at home. So that's what I'll predict...UA 23-14.

Arizona State vs. Northern Arizona in Tempe. Same as the UA game. Gotta think the Sun Devils will prevail at home against NA. I say ASU 31-12.

Colorado vs. Colorado State in Boulder. Rivalry game right out of the shoot. Buffs vs. Rams. CU isn't very good, CSU is usually decent and steals wins in this series. I say Rams 24-21.

UCLA vs. Rice in Houston. Oh, the joys of the early season for UCLA. They play their best games in the first three weeks...then spiral out of relevance fast. Same start this season with a win over Rice - 34-17.

USC vs. Hawaii in Los Angeles. Simple. USC will win and win big. 52-17...with the  Hawaii 17 coming late in the game.

Utah vs. North Colorado in Salt Lake City. A good Utah team at home vs. inferior team. Utes win 23-10.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Pac-12 Football Season Preview & Predictions

Well, well, well. It's that time of year again. Yes indeedee-deed. The college football season is upon us.

Before all the action starts tomorrow, below are my thoughts on the Pac-12 and how things will shake out.

Setting aside USC, this is where the power lies in the league. Stanford, Oregon, Cal, an improving UW and perhaps a resurgent WSU make this a more difficult division to win than the South.

Here's how I think things will look at the end of the regular season:
  1. Oregon - A very good D, skill positions loaded, soild O line, exciting new QB options, key games against UW and Stanford at home all combine to get the Ducks over the hump to win the North. I'm thinking a loss or two along the way somewhere (probably to USC on the road), but a very good season for the Quackers that sees them win the North.
  2. Stanford - Andrew Luck is gone, but the cupboard is not bare in Palo Alto. None the less, I do think they will see a bit of a drop and perhaps lose two league games. But, this team will be good and can beat anyone in the Pac-12.
  3. Cal - OK, I'll cop to it...I don't know much about this year's Cal team. But, I do know that they have consistently played at the "top of middle" of the league for many years running now. The last couple seasons saw them win early only to fade big down the stretch...yet still get to a bowl. I'll say they do the same this season.
  4. Washington- Yes, the Dawgs are improving. Yes, their D is going to get better - how could it not? Yes, Keith Price is a dangerous QB when healthy. But no, this is not "the year" that the UW breaks through to challenge for the division or league title. They will most likely lose games to Oregon, Stanford, USC and LSU. That would be four losses right there. Throw in a road trip to Cal and the always unpredictable Apple Cup vs. WSU in Pullman this year and...well, could be another 6-6 or even 5-6 season. We'll see.
  5. WSU - The arrival of Mike Leach and his system will improve this team so that they are challenging for a six win (and therefore bowl eligible) season. But it won't catapult them to the top of the division.
  6. OS - A bit of a wild card here as the Beavs are not without talent. But, I think they're due to slip down a notch this season.
You'd think this would be the "class" off the league with programs like USC, UCLA, Arizona and Colorado. But no, only USC has a chance to win the division and league from among this motley crew.
  1. USC - USC is "back" after its NCAA sanctions and this will be a very good squad. In particular, they have a high quality and experienced QB in his senior season. Throw in all the talent you would expect on their Defense and O line and...well, look out. Oh, and I think these Trojans are going to be looking for redemption.
  2. Utah - Yes, I am picking the Utes to improve and finish second in the South. Despite their lame start last season as part of the Pac-12, they finished strong...despite having injuries to key players. So, I think they'll represent this coming season.
  3. UA - Not much to say. New coach Rich Rod will probably bring new energy and motivation for the Cats, but they lose some talent and are breaking in a new QB. So, I'm thinking middle of the pack for them.
  4. UCLA - Another build up of "this is the year" followed by let down. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Until UCLA actually breaks that pattern, I won't believe it.
  5. ASU - Same old story...why isn't this team dominating the league? Poor coaching, hit and miss recruiting, players believing their own hype. The list goes on and on. Not a horrible team, but I don't think they improve this season with a new coach and a new QB. Like UCLA, I'll only believe their ascendancy when it actually happens.
  6. Colorado - I don't see the Buffs crawling out of the basement this season. I'd like to see it, but I don't think it'll happen.
As a reminder, the league champion is determined by a game matching the winner of the North division with the winner of the South division. The location of the game is the home field of the school with the best overall conference record. The winner of the Championship Game earns the automatic Pac-12 bid into the BCS. Typically this means the winner goes to the Rose Bowl. If the winner is in the running for the BCS Title Game, it could mean the winner goes to that game instead. In any case, the stakes are high.

USC vs. Oregon in Los Angeles - I think USC will have beaten UO earlier in the season OR USC will have won more games overall...or both. In any case, USC will have a better overall record. Might be by just one game, but better. So, I say this game will be played in Los Angeles.

Who will win? My heart says Ducks baby! My mind says USC will win it. Home field, tallent, motivation after being on probation, youth at Oregon's QB position...all will combine in USC favor.

And the result from that could take many forms. It could be that USC is in the running for the BCS National Title Game, so they could go there. At worst, they would go to the Rose Bowl. Oregon...depending on their record...might be in the running for a BCS game too even if they lose to USC, but more likely they'd end up in a "second tier" bowl following a loss to the Trojans.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Why the Seahawks Changed Uniforms this Season

The Seattle Seahawks have donned new uniforms this season. Not sure if I like them. They're still blue, green and grey...just like always. But wow they are a radical departure from their previews two uniforms.

Why change? After all, it was only a few year ago that the Hawks transitioned from their traditional/original kits into the more "all blue" type they've been wearing for the last 8-9 seasons.



New for 2012

Turns many's all about money.

Yes, the Seahawks and the NFL no doubt want to make more money on sales of jerseys and related items, so yes that's one motivation for changing...give fans something new they gotta buy.

But, I heard on KJR-AM (sports radio in Seattle) that the REAL reason for the change was that the NFL did a deal with Nike for design and production of all teams uniforms. Under terms of the deal, Nike would either produce versions of any/all NFL teams traditional and current uniforms or they'd create new ones if teams wanted.

Some wanted new duds. Some did not. But the Seahawks fell into a third category.

Indeed, up to the Nike deal, their uniforms were produced by Reebok. Reebok created and owns copyright on the color of blue used in those uniforms...and they ain't letting Nike use it. So, that pretty much forced the hand of the Seahawks in going down the route of new uniforms from Nike featuring a new shade of blue. Could they have just used the old design but with a Nike blue instead? Probably. But I'd guess they decided that since they had to change anyway, they might as well go all in with an all new design too.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Why Rs Want to Privatize Social Security

For some time now, Republicans have wanted to privatize Social Security and have used the growing wave of Baby Boomers aging into retirement as a fear factor to try and make changes they want. Republican VP pick Paul Ryan is one of these people and has recommended privitization.

My assumptions when hearing of these plans are that Republicans want to do this because:

1) They fundamentally believe that the government has no role in providing any saftey net to retirees and want to turn the clock back to pre-Great Depresion policy.

2) While doing so, they would make it so that their backers on Wall Street...the big banks and investment firms...benefit by forcing individuals to buy privately managed funds for retirement that lack any of the guarantees and risk reduction that the current Social Security System does.

I am still sure that both of these to thigns are true. However, I saw something online that adds depth to my point #2 that I thought worth sharing...

In 2016, the first of the Baby Boomers MUST begin withdrawing from the retirement accounts. This will begin years of withdrawals by Social Security recipients out of the stock market as, say what you will about the market, Social Security still parks its money on Wall Street in the Social Security Trust Fund. But a Baby Boom run there will leave the banks deficient of captial to make their nut on.

Wall Street bankers know this and that the only way to truly replace those withdrawals is with new money. So the push is on to replace those Baby Boomer withdrawals from the Trust Fund with Generation X, Y, and Millennial deposits of their retirement money in a new, privatized system that would not only infuse them with cash but free them much more than the Trust Fund to "be creative" with the money. Naturally, this would be far, far riskier than the current system.

This makes (evil) sense to me. It explains the real motivation for the push for privatization...the "why" behind my point #2. It's a policy recommendation of convenience. Republicans want to destroy Social Security in the name of their "small government" fantasies, but they're dependant on Wall Street backers to run and win elections. Wall Street knows the Social Security Trust Fund will be depleated, but also knows it has bought some serious access and pull in DC. So, together...the Rs and the Wall Streeters have found something that will help both.

What's scarier is that Democrats - while traditionally the defenders of Social Security - are almost as beholdent to Wall Street as the Republicans are. Will the stick to their guns or cave?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Gaslight Anthem - Handwritten Review

Great American rock and roll bands are few and far between in 2012, but New Jersey's The Gaslight Anthem is one of them. And guess what? They just put out a new album.

Called Handwritten, it's a set of authentic and straight ahead rock and ballads that delve into two clear themes, at least to me: 1) celebrating rebellion and the freedom it can bring and 2) a heavy dose of love lost...or love desired, in jeopardy or bordering on impossible to have.

In this day and age of pre-produced boy bands, hip-hop gangsters, techno sample driven dance and sugary sweet country, The Gaslight deliver a much needed dose of real, believable, moving rock and roll from the USA.

You can see a few pictures I took of The Gaslight Anthem HERE. They are at the end of a set of rock concert photos I took at gigs.

Meanwhile, here's my review of the songs...

45. "I can't move on and I can't stay the same." A rocking kick off to the album and the band's first single off this record. Essentially, this is a celebration of rock music and the exhilaration of that first powerful jolt you get when dropping the needle down on a rockin' 45. Mixed into this is also some reference to how one needs to make change...equating that with "seeing you on the flipside" of a record.

Handwritten. "There's nothing like another soul that's been cut up the same." Musically bearing some resemblance to the band's big hit "The '59 Sound," this song is a meditation on nostalgia and the desperate attempts to mend or endure a damaged but still firing love. The "handwritten" reference to me signifies that the relationship being sung about was forged in the most authentic and meaningful way and could still be - if both parties want it.  Classic Gaslight Anthem that will have you singing along and reminiscing and relating to the heartfelt theme.

Here Comes My Man. "Maybe your pride will be your companion." A song about a guy jilted by his girl. Has she left him for another guy? A job? To find herself? Well, it's not clear. Could be one of these things, some or all...but the point is made. Anyway you slice it, this person is in pain and desperately wants what could have been.

Mulholland Drive. "Oh and I would just die if you took your love away." Featuring a choppier delivery and a guitar solo in the middle, this one is a about what the singer would feel if his love went away. This is now the third song in a row on this album about the loss of love - or the fear of it. And by the end you realize that both parties in the relationship are saying the same not all is lost.

Keepsake. "I just want to love someone who has the same blood."OK, here things slow down with a chugger of a tune with a wailing guitar overlay and lyrics about a person seeking out family...his own blood...something that apparently has been lacking in his life.

Too Much Blood. "Now I'm no devil, but I've got things on my mind." The slower pace continues here with a charged, but paced tune about possibly saying too putting "too much blood" on the page - in other words, going too far and it's consequences.

Howl. "Does anything still move you since you're educated now?" Boom. A rocker following a few slowdown tunes. This song revs up and challenges the contented listener if she still has the rebellious spirit of younger days - the desire to escape, the drive to move, to embrace the wild side of life for all the freedom it did - and could still - deliver.

Biloxi Parish. "I've found that nothing truly matters that you cannot find for free." Throttling back again, this is a mid-paced song that - best I can tell - centers on the singers desire to be with a difficult who he recognizes is not good for him, but that he loves none less. He's willing to suffer and he's willing to put up with the "blood and curses" the girl can, and no doubt will, dole out. The music on this one is pretty good with great guitar work crescendoing with a solo breaking out of the rhythm, falling away and building back up.

Desire. "What makes a man do the things that a man does." Pace picking up here - "ohh-whooo-ah-ooooh" kicking things off. This song title actually encapsulates many of the love songs on Handwritten as it talks about the desire - from afar, against wisdom, in light of difficult circumstances - the desire for love and what might be...but is so God damn difficult to attain.

Mae. "With your Bette Davis eyes and your mama's party dress."A call for a lifelong it someone real (Mae?) or is it an idealized and desired lover? Not sure. The singer goes into what he'd like to do, he is (and was) and how he'd like to have this girl along for a ride that could last.

National Anthem. "Take it easy baby, it ain't over yet."An acoustic closer to the album laments what was - both in American society and in the singer's relationship. Both his "American love."


What to get
45, Handwritten, Howl, Here Comes My Man, National Anthem, Mae

What to skip
Too Much Blood - OK idea for a song, but just not that compelling
Biloxi Parish - same comment

Best song
This is a close call to me between National Anthem and Howl - tie breaker goes to Howl, 'cause it's more upbeat and rockin'

Monday, August 13, 2012

Two Thoughts on Paul Ryan's Selection

So Paul Ryan is Mitt Romney's running mate. What does that mean?

In mulling this over, a couple thoughts have come to mind:

First, with a hard core fiscal and social conservative Ryan joining Romney and the Republicans (the RRR team), this race is now very clearly a choice between contrasting ideas. 

RRR believe in these things on the economy...

  • Big tax cuts for the rich - above and beyond the Bush cuts
  • More tax cuts and credits for corporations
  • Deregulation of key industries such as finance, housing and energy
  • Massive cuts in popular programs everyday people rely on like Social Security and Medicare 
  • Big increases in defense spending
  • Massive scale back on educational loans, grants and scholarships

U.S. history is crystal clear on what happens when our nation puts those ideals into practice as the prevailing economic program...huge deficits, massive profits for a very few and economic devastation for most. It happened in the 1920s (Great Depression), the 1980s (deep recessions in the early and late 80s) and the 2000s (2008-now).

Throw in the RRR's conservatism on social issues such as....

  • Anti gay rights - to the the degree of banning same sex marriage
  • Anti-choice - very anti-abortion and anti-women's reproductive health
  • Very pro gun 
  • Anti-immigrant - against the "Dream Act"
If all that stuff is your bag, then you'll vote for RRR. To me, these set of priorities are not only proven failures, but they represent a minority of voters values and offer a clear contrast to Obama and Biden. So I guess that's good any way you look at it.

Second, why would Romney go for Ryan? Elections are about winning. You do what you think you need to in order to win. What is the political calculation Romney is making in which he thinks Ryan can help produce a win in November? 

On the surface, you would think it's pretty clear that by picking the very conservative Ryan, it's a move to solidify the base of the Republican party. But, is that what you do when you're trying to appeal to independent, moderates and a broad swath of society? Not really. I would have expected someone like Pawlenty, Christie or a Latino such as Rubio (even though Rubio is not a moderate). 

No, I have to agree with Catherine Crier on CNN today when she said that perhaps the Ryan pick was only part of a larger calculation by Republicans to win the election by: 1) Energizing their base to turn out, 2) reducing the number of voters coming to the polls through the many "voter fraud" efforts they've been running since the early 2000s, and 3) rely to some degree on voter apathy on the Democratic side after a mixed-result first term by Obama. 

Add those three things up and you might get a narrow Romney win...and it starts with energizing the core base. Hence Ryan. To me, that makes sense. Hey...Romney ain't winning the women or minority vote. His going to win white men and the uneducated of both genders. This approach gives him a slim chance. 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Welfare Issue Is Mostly About What's Not Said

Today I saw another chart online that seemed to so obviously point out one issue or problem, me at least...just raised more questions.

The below chart published by The Weekly Standard purports to show how 100 million people living in the US now in some way rely on Federal "welfare" - broadly defined. And it shows how the numbers have ramped over the past 3.5 years (conveniently since Obama took office).

In parallel with this, one of the current "buzz debate" issues right now in the media is Mitt Romney's charge that Obama lifted requirements for Federal welfare recipients - such that all one needs to do is be poor and let the Federal money roll on in. No effort to find a job needed.

Both of these items center on welfare and the assertion that Obama is turning America into a bunch of people dependent on the government. That's the R message and I believe it's coordinated.

I also think it's total bullshit.

In fact, I think its such bullshit that I won't even argue with the number on the chart. Lets, for the sake of argument, just accept them as fact.

Having said that, there are big issues with what this chart and the underlying assertions made by Romney on Obama and welfare that are either misrepresented or conveniently omitted.

Lets start with the chart. OK, so more people in some way rely on the Federal government for some sort of "welfare." Why? Why would more people over the last four years need that? Is it some super secret plan enacted by a Communist-in-disguise (Obama) who wishes to make people dependent on the government because...????

OR, could it possibly be that since 2008 our economy has been in the royal shitter following 8-20 years of decay brought on by the prevalence of the conservative prescription for the economy (massive deregulation, massive tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations, big cuts in education, etc.)? Could that be it? Could it be that those very things caused the economy to crash and stay in the ditch? Outsourcing of jobs, financial sector meltdown, housing market in free fall, companies refusing to innovate to create new jobs in preference for sitting on cash, escalating costs for education...these are the problems created.

And in the aftermath of all that, guess what? People are hurting and need assistance in some way? I'd say yes, that's a MUCH more likely and logical reason for the increase shown in that chart. But it's not brought up.

Also, the nifty little chart does not include "corporate welfare" - the subsidies and tax breaks given to companies. You upset that 1/3 of people have some sort of welfare? How about US corporations who benefit from billions in payments, subsidies and tax breaks. That's right. Our government gives private some estimates...$2 trillion annually. That's far, far, faaaaaaaaaaaaaar more than it gives out in traditional welfare. Where's the outrage on that?

And finally on the chart...what if there were no welfare programs? How would people be getting along? Sure, there'll always be some element of society who wants to bilk us for a welfare check, but you know...even you conservatives in your hearts...that your average everyday American has too much pride and ambition to do that because they just want to. So, what if there weren't the programs? How would the unemployed, sick, old or disabled express their displeasure? Might not be too pretty.

OK, the other "Obama loves welfare" issue is Mitt Romney's advertisement in which he claims that Obama eliminated for states...such that now all anyone has to do is literally sit around and get a government check. Sounds pretty bad, right? But of course there's more to the story...the part they fail to tell you.

Turns out that states (in particular GOP led Nevada and Utah) asked the Federal government to waive certain Federal requirements if states themselves would implement more aggressive incentives and goals to get people off welfare. Get that? Obama and his team are willing to honor states' request to help them strengthen their ability to get people off welfare. Not exactly what Mitt is saying is it? Story HERE.

Even Newt Gingrich sees that this is all a stretch. And hey, if a guy as right wing and partisan as Newt can see it that plainly, well, you gotta realize Romney has gone far beyond playing fast and loose with the truth into pure fabrication (aka "lying").

This thing is SO Mitt Romney: sseize on some isolated element of something Obama said or did, take it out of context, tease out an angle that's really negative based on that snippet and then blow it up into issue. To some degree that's how political campaigns have operated for some time, but Romney is taking it to its extreme.

In the end, I think...through their desperate manipulation of facts and omission of vital information...these two "welfare" issues are desperate conservative attempt to sway undecided voters - in particular white males - with an issue they think will move them into their favor.

Last thought...I wonder how many people on welfare or assistance vote conservative?

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Lame Chart Raises Questions

One of my conservative friends posted the below graphic up on Facebook today, launching a long string of enraged comments about how awful government is, how overpaid elected officials are and how those same people don't respect teachers and those serving in the armed forces.

Many of the comments were along the lines of "yeah, we should gut government pay and cut off retirement funding for them" as people expressed their displeasure about the deficit being so high and "we the people" paying elected officials so much.

Sure, elected officials may indeed be paid too much for what they do. And sure, people who really need or deserve more don't get it.

But, there is SO MUCH WRONG with the graphic and the prevailing sentiments expressed by the commenters. It's a great example of complete bullshit being dressed up in riotous indignation and put out to get a reaction. Where to start?

First, whoever created this their mania to rage against the government...misspelled the simple "we." See it? While I'd never hold myself out as a perfect speller on keyboard, come on.

Next, notice there are no citations for any of the facts stated - not the salary figures, not the terms of retirement, type of soldier or pensioner...nothing. Gotta wonder about that.

Third, even if you take the numbers on the graphic as true...the grand total for paying the 4 retired presidents + the speaker of the House + the 4 majority and minority Congressional leaders + every  member of Congress for one year is: $86.6 million. Sure, that's a lot of money, and it's not great that we pay out that much. But hey, compared to overall budget it's nothing. And, compared to what a person could earn in the private sector, it's a pittance. Put it this way, those who lead Wall Street banks and big multi-national corporations would call $86million a rounding error in their pay.

Which brings me to the biggest point I'd like to make on this: while it's fun and easy to carp about how much we pay elected officials and posture about how we should "cut their pay" and such, that's not the problem.

Nope. Rather, it's a diversion. A diversion from the real problems we face, such as...billions and billions of dollars in tax revenue going uncollected each year as rich individuals or corporations manipulate tax law to avoid paying any tax (GE) or very low rates (Mitt Romney and his ilk).

How about...instead of quibbling over payment to elected officials, we close tax loopholes? How about instead of railing against the $450,000 we pay a retired president every year, we get upset about the $3.2 billion a company like GE chisels you and me out of every year all while simultaneously outsourcing good paying jobs to other countries? How about that?

What if our government had the benefit of, I don't know, $150 billion more in tax revenue every year because people and companies paid their share? Think that might help pay teachers and soldiers a bit more? Or, might that help with the solvency of Social Security and Medicare?

I do. Now...I wonder if I could express all this in a chart?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Mitt's the Problem, Not the Answer

I think one of the most effective campaign themes the Obama team has come up with against Mitt Romney is the one where they say something along the lines up...

Mitt Romney is not the answer to our economic problems, he is the problem.

Romney is a living, breathing advertisement for how our system here in the U.S. is rigged to favor the extremely wealthy while the middle and lower class get squeezed tighter and tighter.

And that's why I think the Obama line of attack is dead on the money. Two primary reasons:

First, how Romney ran Bain Capital
While at Bain, a company he also owned, Romney was a key mover in the first wave of job outsourcing in the early 1990s that really depleted the U.S. of solid-paying jobs. Those same maneuvers also helped make Romney a lotta lotta money. So, he literally was making millions by outsourcing jobs at companies his firm bought. He did this by being a huge practitioner of "vulture capitalism" where his company, Bain, would get a loan to buy a functional company...pocket a nice percentage of that dough (cha-ching!)...then transfer responsibility for the debt of the loan to that company...then wring out all expenses at the purchased company (getting back to layoffs and outsourcing)...and then either the company thrived (another cha-ching) or more often it failed (but not a big deal to him because, well, see first cha-ching).

Nice for him and his buddies...not so nice for all the people he put out of work. Romney is literally running on the notion that he is a successful businessman and that because of that he is fit...and even more fit than lead the country. It's just that his success was built on devastating the foundations of our economy.

None of this accrues to the character of a person serving as the President of the United States. Indeed, a President should be in favor of practices or programs that serve to stimulate job growth here. And that does not have to even be "protectionism" for manufacturing jobs in my opinion. Hey, outsourcing labor to cheaper international markets can work for everyone...but only if back home here there is a) innovation happening in the private sector (think back in history to things like the microchip, the Internet, computers, airplanes, automobiles, etc.) that creates jobs, and b) there's a strong educational system to create new generations of smart employees who can fill those new economy jobs.

But guess what? Corporate America has opted for the short term profit boosting by outsourcing without investing in new innovations...not really. Most companies are sitting on their profits and investing them for more profit...which rewards investors with dividends and executives with bonuses, but does not reward the vast majority of people wanting a job. And right along side that, we've not invested in education. The US is ranks pretty low compared to other major nations when it comes to education.

Anyway, all that is to say that Mitt Romney is the poster child for the exact type of capitalism that created our economic woes. Not the guy who should be the chief executive of our nation.

Second, how Romney has managed his money (as far as we can tell)
Romney has pulled all the classic tricks to shelter his money from taxation and obscure how much he really has. We're talking Swiss bank accounts, trusts set up in his wife's name and based in the Cayman Islands, packing his IRA to the tune of $100 million (by the way, how does he do that, the law limits contributions) and others.

Also, because he "makes" his current income off of investment dividends (must be nice), he only pays 15% income tax (must be really nice).

And finally, he has refused to release more than his current tax return - this, despite his own father's statement that...

"Release of the document (current year tax return), while it might serve a political purpose, would not prove very much. One year could be a fluke, perhaps done for show, and what mattered in personal finance was how a man conducted himself over the long haul."
Mitt might currently be upset at Senator Harry Reid for saying that he has not paid taxes in 10 years, could Mitt prove him wrong? How could he show that he did pay taxes? Oh, right...he'd have to disclose his tax returns over the last 10 years. That info might show he paid some amount of tax, but it might also show evidence of a lot of other shenanigans not fit for someone wanting to be president.

The big points here are that absent proof to the contrary found through disclosure of his tax returns: 1) Mitt appears to be pushing the boundaries of tax law, and 2) appears to be hiding something. Neither of these are character traits we need in a president.

Here is a man who will say with a straight face that the deficit is too big and budget cuts are what are needed (no doubt social programs and not the military) to make up the shortfall...yet he, through the way he managed his own money as only a mega-rich person can, is personally depriving the government of duly owed tax revenue. Further, disclosure of 10 years worth of tax returns might show that he indeed was on the payroll and active with Bain when they did some of their works deeds to the U.S. economy (see above) - not something voters would appreciate.

I'd say that if Mitt Romney wants to be a super rich be it. Go crazy. Push and stretch the law if you think you can get away with it. Hell, our government goes out of its way to give rich guys all the breaks. BUT, if you want to do that...don't also then try and run for president and get all pissy when people start asking questions. Either do what your father did - disclose 10 years worth of returns and show what a great guy you are - or deal with the heat. Or, better yet...just don't run.

The Sum Up
Mitt Romney seems to be a morally deficient person. I'm not saying he would kill anyone or commit violent crime..or that he's even a bad husband or father. No, what I am saying is that from within his super-rich-and-aloof bubble, he demonstratebly lacks the morality and character to understand and act on behalf of the American people. Indeed, far from being the answer to our economic problems, he is the precise and spectacular example of the cause of our problems.