Dog balls
And the nomination goes to

The Prez's plans

Capitolwinter_cropped_1 Tonight's regular programming will be preempted for Article II, Sec. 3, of the United States Constitution:

"The President shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient."

Last year, the president used his State of the Union address to float privatization of Social Security. This year, the big issue was supposed to be tax reform.

The president’s own advisory panel, however, surprised him with the scope of its proposals. What’s all this talk about taking away deductions for homeowners? Slow down, fellas!

In reality, the matter that the president finds most necessary and expedient right now is reversing the recent slide in his public approval ratings. It all started about this time last year, with the Social Security restructuring no-sale, then came soaring gasoline prices, the Harriet Miers un-nomination, grand jury investigations, rising interest rates and increasing questions about U.S. involvement in Iraq.

The icing on Bush’s annus horribilis cake came last week with Hamas’s election victory.

To deal with all these issues, Bush needs a spinmeister who could nail a triple axel atop the Capitol Dome, something that might prove difficult for even Karl Rove. But expect Bush to spend well over an hour tonight giving it the old college try since, in essence, the speech is one big mid-term election campaign ad for the GOP.

Texas Tales: Bush’s TV effort tonight couldn’t be any worse than his fellow Texan’s latest TV spot.

Rick Perry, Bush’s successor in the Governor’s Mansion here in Austin, has a glossy new ad telling us why he deserves to stay put. But he doesn’t really tell us anything. Lots of iconic Texas visuals roll by before a closing close-up of the Gov announcing, “I’m proud of Texas,” then asking potential voters, “How about you?”

My initial reaction upon seeing the ad was what the …? Then I thought maybe I was just being too hard on the guy since I’m not going to vote for him regardless of what pitch he makes.

I was pleased to find it isn’t just me and the hubby. Brains and Eggs pretty much sums up the ad and our feelings.

Then we got the ultimate validation as we waited one afternoon to get into Chuy’s for a late lunch. Nah, not the one downtown that’s the choice of underage Presidential twins looking to score some margaritas. That was one of the first places we checked out after arriving in Austin.

But this day, we opted for one of Chuy's suburban sites. What can I say? While we don’t agree with their daddy’s politics, we do agree with the twins’ choice of eateries.

There was, as usual, a wait to be seated so we resorted to a favorite way to pass the time: people listening. It’s sort of like people watching, but more fun because we’ve found that people actually say crazier things than they do. And we got a gem that day.

One guy talking to his friend about Perry’s ads: “I’m proud to be a Texan. Aren’t you? Isn’t that like saying I like water. Don’t you?”

It's a good thing our beeper went off right then and we headed to our table. Otherwise our laughter would have led to us being busted at Chuy’s for eavesdropping.

Of course, it doesn’t matter what Perry or any other candidate does, because when it comes to commercials, Independent (in all senses of the word) Kinky Friedman is already the winner by a landslide. See why here.

The January Effect: This stock market predictor, the reliability of which is discussed here, basically says that how the market goes in January is a good indicator of the coming year’s overall results.

A lot of first-month events come into play: Investors who made tax-motivated sales at the end of the previous year now have money to put back into the market, the strength (or weakness) of politicians returning to Washington, D.C., for a new legislative session, even the popularity of programs pushed in the annual State of the Union address. And spicing it up just a bit more this year is the final Fed meeting featuring Alan Greenspan.

It’s always fun to speculate on what our investments will do, but to file our taxes we need the paperwork to show what they did last year. Those documents should be arriving any day now, but just in case they don’t, check out TODAY’S TAX TIP for ways to work around missing 1099-INT and 1099-DIV statements.

Festival of Finances: Fat Pitch Financials is the host of the 33rd edition of the Carnival of Personal Finance. Topics include portfolio tips, tax planning, insurance, real estate, budgeting and credit, the area where you’ll find my blog entry on my ID theft experience. Check it and all the other financial postings out at the Carnival.

If you're looking for ways to save money (and who isn't?), then you must go to the Festival of Frugality #8, hosted by Frugal Underground. My same ID theft post is playing there, too, along with almost two dozen  postings on how to hang on to more of your cash.

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