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October 2008

Europe Hearts Obama


My friend from San Mateo who is now living in Paris sent these to me. She went to see "Being W" (advertising linked below) and needed to be talked down from the ledge by a compatriot (me) because the movie -- while a parody -- ignited her hatred for W all over again. She said European polls are strongly in favor of Obama 70% to 90%, depending on which poll you look at. The other day she was in line at a grocery store and a guy near her figured out she was American and said, "Oh, that George Bush! I hate him! I hope the black guy wins!" She was shopping the other day and saw in a kids' clothing store a long-sleeved shirt with Obama's image on it—Parisians have really embraced him. Can you imagine McCain's picture on a shirt for kids abroad? BEING W


Nice Bear, Not-So-Nice Message


Riptide reader Betty Schultz got this photo and caption from someone she calls a "redneck" friend: "The photo above captures a disturbing trend that is beginning to affect U.S. wildlife. Animals that were formerly self-sufficient are now showing signs of belonging to the Democratic they have apparently learned to just sit and wait for the government to step in and provide for their care and sustenance. This photo is of a Democrat black bear in Montana nicknamed Bearack Obearma."


Reader Service: New Look on Recent Comments

Thanks to a suggestion from our stalwart contributor Lionel Emde, we have discovered a better way to present comment threads on topics of interest to you, dear readers. Now threads will start with the newest comments first, in descending order. We hope you find this new arrangement more to your liking. Our Typepad host is pretty user-friendly, especially for your non-techie editor, so keep those ideas flowing into our suggestion box in the top-left sidebar: EMAIL ME. But if you really want to press our Skinnerian lever and make us salivate, click the box on the top-left sidebar that says HELP KEEP RIPTIDE ALIVE.


Good Samaritan Obama Helped Norwegian Newlywed


Norwegian newspaper VG has reported a truly amazing story from 1988 about a newlywed trying to get to Norway to be with her new husband, and the stranger who helped pay an unexpected luggage surcharge. Mary Andersen was at the Miami airport checking in for a long flight to Norway to be with her husband. An airline representative informed her that she wouldn't be able to check her luggage without paying a $103 surcharge. But Mary had no money. Her husband had traveled ahead of her to Norway, and she had no one else to call. "I was completely desperate and tried to think which of my things I could manage without. But I had already made such a careful selection of my most prized possessions," says Mary.

As tears streamed down her face, she heard a "gentle and friendly voice" behind her saying, "That's okay, I'll pay for her." Mary turned around to see a tall man she had never seen before. "He had a gentle and kind voice that was still firm and decisive. The first thing I thought was, 'Who is this man?'" Although this happened 20 years ago, Mary still remembers the authority that radiated from the man. "He was nicely dressed, fashionably dressed with brown leather shoes, a cotton shirt open at the throat and khaki pants," says Mary. She was thrilled to be able to bring both her suitcases to Norway and assured the stranger that he would get his money back. The man wrote his name and address on a piece of paper that he gave to Mary. She thanked him repeatedly. When she finally walked off toward the security checkpoint, he waved good-bye to her. Who was the man? Barack Obama.

Twenty years later, Mary is thrilled that the friendly stranger at the airport may be the next president. She has voted for him already and donated $100 to his campaign. "He was my knight in shining armor," says Mary, smiling. (She paid the $103 back to Obama the day after she arrived in Norway. At that time he had just finished his job as a poorly paid community worker in Chicago, and had started his law studies at Harvard University.) Mary has even convinced her parents to vote for Obama. In the spring of 2006, Mary's parents had heard that Obama was considering a run for president, but that he had still not decided. They chose to write a letter telling him that he would receive their votes. At the same time, they thanked Obama for helping their daughter 20 years earlier. And Obama replied. In a letter to Mary's parents dated May 4, 2006 and stamped United States Senate, Washington, D.C., Barack Obama wrote: "I want to thank you for the lovely things you wrote about me and for reminding me of what happened at Miami airport. I'm happy I could help back then, and I'm delighted to hear that your daughter is happy in Norway. Please send her my best wishes. Sincerely, Barack Obama, United States Senator."

The parents sent the letter on to Mary. Mary says that when her friends and associates talk about the election, especially when race relations is the heated subject, she relates the story of the kind man who helped out a stranger in need more than 20 years ago, years before he had even thought about running for high office. Truly a wonderful story, and something that needs to be passed along in the maelstrom of fear-and-smear politics we are being subjected to right now. Remember: This happened back in 1988, when $103 was quite a bit of money, compared to today's value. By the way, this would be the perfect antidote to the smear emails going around.

(The blog "Leisha's Random Thoughts" translated the Norwegian newspaper article and reported this story on the Internet.)

Greenspan Admits Error in Trusting Free Markets

Greenspan Admits Error in Trusting Free Markets
Michael M. Grynbaum, The New York Times: "Facing a firing line of questions from Washington lawmakers, Alan Greenspan, the former Federal Reserve chairman once considered the infallible maestro of the financial system, admitted on Thursday that he 'made a mistake' in trusting that free markets could regulate themselves without government oversight."

Money Man Gets Out of the Game: "I Hate It"

Letter: Andrew Lahde, Lahde Capital Management
By Andrew Lahde
Published: October 17 2008 19:09 | Last updated: October 17 2008 19:09
October 17, 2008

Today I write not to gloat. Given the pain that nearly everyone is experiencing, that would be entirely inappropriate. Nor am I writing to make further predictions, as most of my forecasts in previous letters have unfolded or are in the process of unfolding. Instead, I am writing to say goodbye. Recently, on the front page of Section C of the Wall Street Journal, a hedge fund manager who was also closing up shop (a $300 million fund), was quoted as saying, "What I have learned about the hedge fund business is that I hate it." I could not agree more with that statement. I was in this game for the money. The low hanging fruit, i.e. idiots whose parents paid for prep school, Yale, and then the Harvard MBA, was there for the taking. These people who were (often) truly not worthy of the education they received (or supposedly received) rose to the top of companies such as AIG, Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers and all levels of our government. All of this behavior supporting the Aristocracy only ended up making it easier for me to find people stupid enough to take the other side of my trades. God bless America.[Click link to read the rest of this column.] MONEY TRADER GETS OUT OF THE GAME