Hoo boy

6:40 in the morning on a Tuesday.  First light is starting to leak through the window behind my monitor.

And I’m sitting here at the keyboard.  Went to bed at 12:40.  Woke up at 5:15 to the sound of Fat Cat pawing the bathroom floor where he just peed.  Then I had to go back 30 minutes later and clean up the load of crap he dumped on top of the pee spot.

I’m sitting here trying to figure out how we’re going to avoid overdrawing our checking account and running up a ton of fees…and failing.

I’m sitting here getting madder and madder at reading friends’ blogs where my political, religious, and moral beliefs get mocked again and again and again…and I’ve got no backup out here except my wife.

I’m sitting here waiting for the next Bad Thing to happen…a car to break down, a medical emergency, anything–that we don’t have money to handle.

I’m sitting here praying that we can somehow, someway, turn this slide down Shit Mountain around and start seeing the joy in life again, instead of an endless stream of exhaustion and tears and fear.

And I’m sitting here trying with all my mental strength–not a strong point of mine before dawn–not to break down into a crying fit because it would wake up my wife sleeping behind me.  And I have to be strong.  For her, and for Nublet, if not for myself.

And it’s only 6:50 on a Tuesday.

God help me.  It’s going to be a long day.

To help or punish?

I found this interesting blog post by Megan McArdle over at The Atlantic:  To help or punish?

Some very thoughtful stuff in there regarding both homelessness and the current credit crisis on Wall Street (and impending government bailouts, if any), and good stuff in the comments as well.  I don’t agree with all of it, but it made me stop and think, which is always a good thing, right?

Hat tip:  Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit.

A special day

Happy birthday, Rashonakitty, AKA Wife Unit.  I love you more than I’ll ever be able to express.

Well, this is a Maverick move

Breaking:  McCain suspends campaign to help with bailout.

John McCain announced that he will suspend his presidential campaign on Thursday to return to Washington to help with Wall Street bailout negotiations. He urged his opponent Barack Obama to do the same.

The Arizona senator also asked the Presidential Debate Commission to postpone Friday’s scheduled debate with Obama so that he can work on the financial crisis bailout plan now on Capitol Hill. The first debate had been set for Friday at the University of Mississippi in Oxford.

According to the Obama campaign, the debate is still on and Obama has no plans to not participate.  Oh, and according to them, it was their idea.

“At 8:30 this morning, Senator Obama called Senator McCain to ask him if he would join in issuing a joint statement outlining their shared principles and conditions for the Treasury proposal and urging Congress and the White House to act in a bipartisan manner to pass such a proposal,” spokesman Bill Burton said.

“At 2:30 this afternoon, Senator McCain returned Senator Obama’s call and agreed to join him in issuing such a statement. The two campaigns are currently working together on the details,” Burton continued.

But McCain’s camp said Obama never reached McCain in the morning call because he was meeting with economic advisers and talking to leaders in Congress. Afterward, McCain phoned Obama and expressed deep concern that the plan on the table would not pass as it currently stands. He asked Obama to join him in returning to Washington to lead a bipartisan effort to solve this problem.

Obama said the two still plan to issue a joint statement.

This is a ballsy move.  Doubly so, because this Friday’s debate is supposed to be specifically about foreign policy, which is undeniably McCain’s strong suit.  And it’s not just the debate.  McCain is pulling all of his advertising as well.

I’m going to be very interested now to see if Obama takes McCain up on the offer.  He’d better.  If he doesn’t, if he stays out on the campaign trail while McCain is in Washington working on some sort of legislation, the Republicans will really be able to hang the “Senator Present” label on him and make it stick.  So the ball’s in your court, Senator Obama.  Will you actually try to help fix the problem, or will you just try to make political hay out of it?  Your move.

The one really good thing coming out of this?  The Bush administration’s $700 billion blank check to Hank Paulson looks to be DOA.  Per a blurb on the Drudge Report, when the House Republicans met this morning, only four of them supported the Paulson plan.  And Nancy Pelosi has already said she won’t try to push it through the House without Republican support.

Accounting for Disaster

My stepfather-in-law sent me a good article this morning on the subprime mortgage crisis and the attendant fallout, from a somewhat unexpected place: Chuck Colson.

I have said for the past year on “BreakPoint” that much of the financial crisis we are facing stems from moral failure—moral failure on the part of greedy Wall Street speculators, and moral failure on the part of ordinary Americans who bit off more mortgage than they could chew. And all of that is true.

But there is another cause of this crisis that we cannot ignore: the near-incestuous relationship between politicians and big-time government-supported financial institutions.

Nobody’s hands are clean in this one. Not the Democrats, not the Republicans. Not Wall Street’s, not the bankers, not even the borrowers who bit off more than they could chew. And right now, they’re all trying to dump the pile of crap back on you and me, the taxpayer.

I’ll have more thoughts on this at some point, when I’m not trying to earn money to pay for the tax increases to pay off other people’s mortgages.

I live! (virtually)

Following up on my little World of Warcraft hacking incident over the weekend…

I called Blizzard not long after they opened at about 11:00 Eastern yesterday, and after waiting on hold for 20 minutes, I got a customer service rep who just could not have been nicer or more professional.  I told her my tale of woe, gave her the account information, and she immediately changed my account email address to the right one, mailed me a temp password, unlocked the account, and sent me some extra security information as well.  Top-notch service on the phone.

So as soon as I got home, I logged in, and I found that the situation was simultaneously better and worse than I thought it’d be.

Read on for an epic tale of loss, gain, and gnome punting.

Don’t look down

Boy, it’s nice to know I’m not alone.

Then I look over — about 19 stories down — and gasp. My head spins. For a few seconds, I feel as if I’m falling through the ripples of heat in the air and down to the dark water below. My station wagon slows to 45 miles per hour … 40 … 35.

Some people will do anything to avoid crossing bridges like Maryland’s William Preston Lane Jr. Memorial (Bay) Bridge, its 186-foot height and 4-mile ride causing anything from mild distress to a full-blown panic attack. But many push on, motivated by necessity, pride and perhaps penny-pinching.

I hate high bridges with a vengeance.  I’ve driven the entire length of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel between Virginia Beach and Virginia’s Eastern Shore, and that didn’t rattle me one bit…because it’s a very low bridge.  I feel pretty certain I could cross the Seven Mile Bridge in the Florida Keys and not bat an eye…same reason.

But get me on the Bay Bridge (which I’ve crossed a few times), or the US 301 Potomac River Bridge between Virginia and Maryland over the lower Potomac?  I’m reduced to a large quivering mass of jelly, which is pretty gross, because there’s a lot of me.

But there’s one that makes the Bay Bridge look easy.