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Behind the scenes video from Treasury of how they came up with $700 billion

You think I'm kidding, right?

In fact, some of the most basic details, including the $700 billion figure Treasury would use to buy up bad debt, are fuzzy.

"It's not based on any particular data point," a Treasury spokeswoman told Tuesday. "We just wanted to choose a really large number." -

I think this is a slightly different take on the old saying. In this case, the first time was comedy, the second is tragedy. TV is On The Air

For those of you who just can't get enough goodness on this blog, there are now some ways to catch up on the Tee-Vee.

As Chief Strategist for the Vote No On Amendment 50, I've taped a few interviews and discussions about why Amendment 50 would be such a bad idea for Colorado. Starting tonight, September 25, at 9 p.m. MDT on Comcast channel 25 or on DirectTV channel 681, the Altitude network will be airing a series on all the ballot initiatives. I don't know what order they will do them in, I'm hoping it's just numeric so that we will be on earlier. That show should be rebroadcast a couple of times.

Then on Monday, September 29, I'll be on Channel 12, the PBS station, at 8:30 p.m. MDT. That one may be on the internet after, and if so it will be posted on the Amendment 50 blog.

I've also been interviewed by the local Fox outlet, and have one set with the Channel 7, but I don't yet know when those will be on the air. If you see it, let me know how bad my hair looks. There have also been some great print interviews, and the Denver Post just endorsed the idea of Colorado saying No to Amendment 50, so with barely a week of volunteering for the side of truth and justice, I'm feeling pretty good about our progress!

OK, the self promotion is getting a little thick around here...

I got this email today

I can never tell if these are legitimate. This one seems like it might be real.

Dear American:

I need to ask you to support an urgent secret business relationship with a
transfer of funds of great magnitude.
I am Ministry of the Treasury of the Republic of America. My country has had
crisis that has caused the need for large transfer of funds of 800 billion
dollars US. If you would assist me in this transfer, it would be most
profitable to you.
I am working with Mr. Phil Gram, lobbyist for UBS, who will be my
replacement as Ministry of the Treasury in January. As a Senator, you may
know him as the leader of the American banking deregulation movement in the
1990s. This transactin is 100% safe.
This is a matter of great urgency. We need a blank check. We need the funds
as quickly as possible. We cannot directly transfer these funds in the names
of our close friends because we are constantly under surveillance. My family
lawyer advised me that I should look for a reliable and trustworthy person
who will act as a next of kin so the funds can be transferred.
Please reply with all of your bank account, IRA and college fund account
numbers and those of your children and grandchildren to so that we may transfer your commission for
this transaction. After I receive that information, I will respond with
detailed information about safeguards that will be used to protect the
Yours Faithfully Minister of Treasury Paulson

On The Road

246652498_5a0b047d6a Like any political junky, I've been watching the polls. My new favorite poll watching site is put together by a couple of baseball stat freaks who have turned into political stat freaks. (They are liberal, and want Obama to be elected but they treat politics like baseball in that they have favorite teams, but they really just love the game and the stats.)

They do lots of great analysis of all the polls, having recently helped debunk the whole myth of the Bradley Effect. I love a blog that's not afraid to use terms like "regression analysis."

One of the writers has started doing something that big newspapers used to do back when they had decent size reporting staffs and travel budgets. He's hit the road.

In true blogger style, he's doing it while quoting Jack Kerouac plenty. I read yesterday that he was going to be in Denver, so after doing some politicking of my own last night (more on that later) I went over to the bar where Kerouac would go to celebrate stealing cars with Neal Cassady, My Brother's Bar. 

(You know, I never thought about this, but the bar is called My Brother's Bar and it was Cassady's brother who was a bartender there. Did the bar have the same name then? I better head back there and ask!)

So I figured that if the 538 guy is in Denver, and he's a Kerouac fan, he's gotta be there, right? Well, if he was, I missed him. I did run into an old friend I hadn't seen in years, though, so that made it a great night. 

Autumnal Equinox

I love the start of fall, and the start of spring, for plenty of reasons, but one fun astronomical reason especially.

The northern hemisphere tilts toward the sun in the summer, and away in the winter. That's why VP candidates and penguins have such long days in the summer, and such long nights in the winter.

But what's interesting to me are the Equinoxes. Think about it, the equator is pointing straight at the sun, so the whole world has essentially the same length of day. Billions of people, hundreds of countries, all kinds of different climates, and yet for a couple of days we all have a day and a night that is just about the same with equal parts day and night.

I don't have any moral to this story, I just think that's cool.

An unfunny post about our unfunny candidates.

As a fan of humor and politics, I had high hopes for a McCain-Obama matchup. Both seem naturally funny, even if McCain had a bit of a hard edge to his humor, like the time he told a high school student who asked about McCain's age: "Thanks for the question, you little jerk. You’re drafted."

But it hasn't really worked out to be a funny race, as evidenced by these totally humor-free clips:

My old boss and the smartest guy I've ever known personally, Kurt Andersen, had much the same complaint.
Then two things happened that gave me some hope. 

First was Obama responding to the notion that his fifth-grade daughter might find out some about boys in her new class:"What!" Obama exclaimed in mock horror, as the audience laughed. "Hold on a sec. Maybe that home-schooling is all right. One reason I have to win here is so that I've got Secret Service around my girls at all times. They carry guns."

Then McCain gave us the biggest possible injection of humor, Sarah Palin. She may be asking people to pray for pipelines, but I was praying for humor, and now we have it. Thanks, God!

The only one who hasn't gotten the memo, apparently, is Joe Biden, who seems to want to be humorless to the end, even when he's trying to be funny. "There's a gigantic difference" between him and Palin, he says. "She's good looking."

SFX: Crickets.

Wait, isn't that the same thing he said about Obama back when he was running against him? That he was "good looking"? Please, someone get Biden a joke writer!