“She May Switch To An American Designer”

If she becomes First Lady.

I guess that’s SugarMomma’s idea of sacrificing for her country, swapping her $3000 German suits for $3000 American ones. Perhaps, as someone who doesn’t wear $3000 suits, I don’t understand the point, but if it would be important for the First Lady of the United States to stick to American designers, don’t you think the woman auditioning to be First Lady ought to do the same?

Anyway, I don’t know why, but I find these examinations of Cindy McCain’s wealth fascinating, in a train wreck kind of way. The country is heading into (at best) a deep recession and people are having trouble paying for food, yet this woman has–sometime in the last year–spent $500,000 in one month on her Amex Card.

Their credit card bills peaked between January 2007 and May 2008, during which time Cindy McCain charged as much as $500,000 in a single month on one American Express card and $250,000 on another, while one of their two dependent children had an AmEx card with a monthly balance as large as $50,000.

And in an era when millions of people are losing their homes, the McCains have raised the "budget" for servant salaries from the price of a modest home in many parts of the country to the price of a really nice home.

The McCains increased their budget for household employees from $184,000 in 2006 to $273,000 in 2007, according to John McCain’s tax returns.

(For the record, "budget" is the Politico’s term, not the McCain’s. I rather suspect they don’t use that word, much less the concept.)

And Cindy’s solution to the problem of fighting with her kids to get into the Coronado condo is to simply buy a second one.

Cindy McCain, through another family corporation, spent about $4.7 million in 2004 and 2008 on two condos in an exclusive building in Coronado, Calif., an affluent San Diego suburb noted for its high percentage of military retirees.

In her recent Vogue interview, conducted from the newer Coronado condo, McCain explained that her husband, a Navy veteran, initially wasn’t keen on the idea of a pied-à-terre in Coronado.

"When I bought the first one, my husband, who is not a beach person, said, ‘Oh, this is such a waste of money; the kids will never go,’” she told Vogue. “Then it got to the point where they used it so much I couldn’t get in the place. So I bought another one.”

Frankly, I’ve seen mothers do this with toys. Having a fight over the Legos? Buy some more. Kids fighting over the the last cookies? Buy some more. Only in the McCain family, that kind of conflict resolution extends to multi-million dollar condos.

Look, I don’t begrudge Cindy McCain for being fabulously rich after inheriting the money Daddy made of shitty beer. And I realize that Theresa Heinz Kerry is even richer.

But we have a problem in this country when our elected politicians lead lives that are this drastically different from the lives average Americans lead. How can people who buy new condos like they’re a piece of clothing understand how dire the housing crisis is in this country?

  1. WilliamOckham says:

    Completely OT (and I apologize if someone has already noticed this, I’ve been busy arguing ESB, SOA, WCF, and MSMQ this morning (and if you know what that means, keep it to yourself, I’m all argued out)):

    Conyers and Luskin are still corresponding over Rove’s unwillingness to appear before Congress. The dualing letters are supposed to be here:


    They weren’t there the last time I checked. Conyers letter is here:

  2. BoxTurtle says:

    I’m thinking that Cindy’s suits represent the majority of McBush’s foreign experience ove the last decade. She should deal exclusively with foreign firms in hopes of widening McBush’s perspectives.

    Boxturtle (We CAN’T bomb Iran, that’s where we get our carpets!)

  3. BoxTurtle says:

    Oh, my. “Inherent contempt” in an offical letter. Think he’s serious?

    Boxturtle (Betting Rove will appear and refuse to answer anything.And Conyers won’t push it.

    • emptywheel says:

      I think they ought to ask DOJ to enforce it first. Not that I’m not looking forward to inherent contempt, but Bush has NOT told ROve not to show up for THIS hearing, meaning DOJ has no reason not to enforce this subpoena.

      • BoxTurtle says:

        I think they ought to ask DOJ to enforce it first

        Well, that shouldn’t take too long. The DOJ has a form letter for Congressional subpoenas.

        Boxturtle (I can translate that letter from the legalese: FOAD)

        • emptywheel says:

          No, seriously. DOJ won’t enforce anything for which Bush has invokved privilege. But HE HASN’T in this case–I’m sure he wants to keep the Siegelman shit as far away from himself as he can.

          • BoxTurtle says:

            Hmm…I bow to your superior knowledge. What do you think Rove will do? It’s for sure he won’t answer any substansive questions.

            Boxturtle (Will Bush let Rove cool his heels in the House Jail?)

            • PetePierce says:


              Let me know when the House grows a pair of balls to invoke Inherent Contempt because I have seen no indication whatseover from Waxman, Conyers or the trash Hoyer and Pelosi that they have them.

  4. tzbloom says:

    Sounds to me like you just ruled out FDR for president. Personal wealth isn’t the issue. It’s the application of wealth to the political process.

    • JTMinIA says:

      This is a story worthy of discussion only if Cindy McCain’s huge AmEx charges during the time that John McCain’s campaign was out of cash is taken as suggesting she might have been bankrolling the campaign in ways that skirt the law.

      I really couldn’t give a crap where she buys her clothes, just as I couldn’t give a crap how much electricity Gore’s house uses.

      • freepatriot says:

        in my neighborhood, there are at least a dozen empty houses with official papers posted on the door.

        cindy mcsame could buy any one of those houses with the money she spent on servants in 2007

        still think it isn’t relevent ???

        take a look at mcsame’s financial advisor some time

        phil gramm is the reason those houses are empty and cindy’s closet is full

        see the relationship yet ???

        • emptywheel says:

          The Roosevelt point up-thread is a very good one, but that’s why I have such problems with this whole wealth issue. There are so many people in this country who are struggling so much–and unlike during Roosevelt’s time, I don’t think the elites in DC really GET how bad it is out there. Hopefully, somebody will clue them in over the Fourth.

          • freepatriot says:

            actually, we got a “reverse Hoover” effect happening here

            we’re not seeing the “Hoovervilles” full of homeless and unemployed (I don’t know where those people are), but we got a stranger phenomenon going on here

            we’ve had a semi-permenent homeless population in the neighborhood (mostly due to methamphetamine) for 15 years

            two years back, that homeless population lived out in the open, under freeway bridges, along levies, etc.

            now that homeless population is living in the abandoned houses, instead of under the freeways

            some prognosticators have said that we’re in a slow moving recession, as opposed to the great depression and other recessions that were marked by a sudden event (balck tuesday ???)

            but I checked the history, and those economic declines were preceded by a slow decline and high instability

            I think the parameters are different, but we’re headed for a point somewhere between the great depression and wiermar germany

            and the rest of the planet is along for the ride, whether they like it or not

            wanna buy some apples ???

            • Rayne says:

              The conditions are ripe, freep. I am expecting a market crash within 6 months if certain pointed efforts are not enacted quickly; it could be a parting shot left for Obama to clean up, a kind of economic nuclear winter designed to mire any Dem leadership.

              We are in a credit crisis of a scale and magnitude about which the general public is unaware; companies the size of GM are challenged with gathering enough operational cash, while unable to get the amount of credit they need to meet gaps in operations expenses.

              Equity firms can’t unload fast enough what they thought were profitable investments, before they have to invest more cash for operations; Cerberus and Chrysler are a perfect example.

              There are more banks out there that are flirting with bankruptcy, especially those that are investment banks; I keep waiting for the shoe to drop on Lehman Brothers since they were nearly as desperate as Bear Stearns.

              The rate of foreclosures will pick up and move into free fall if the price of oil moves to $170 a barrel before the end of summer as an OPEC leader forecast; if that increase translates percentage to percentage to gas prices, we’re talking about $5.00 gasoline before Labor Day.

              This will be an extremely glum Christmas; many American households will be spending discretionary income on gasoline and food. If I’m right, you can expect a very small Santa Claus bump — or maybe none at all.

              One major oil supply shock or disruption will be all the trigger this mess needs.

              IANAStockbroker or economist, YMMV. But I’m playing my financial cards based on this assessment.

          • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

            In a conversation recently, an acquaintance (in the real estate biz) made a very interesting point.

            He said, in past years (say, even the 1970s) when people lost jobs or took a hit, they kind of went from ‘affluent’ to ’standing in place’. He says that that prospect of losing his job now (his wife’s biz has not been doing well recently) really scares him — that nowadays, “it’s like you’re falling off a cliff.”

            I think his insights are accurate, and sum up a whole lot of things.

            But we’re in an era of ‘I got mine and f*ck the rest of you.’
            Socially disruptive and toxic.

      • TobyWollin says:

        Exactly – that’s the only thing I can think of — that she was doing cash advances on her amex cards to pay John’s campaigning bills.

  5. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    Well, the issue of economic concentration — enormous wealth in fewer and fewer people — is, IMHO, fundamentally socially destabilizing.

    I’ve seen wealth do some remarkable things.

    Teresa Heinz Kerry seems to think of money as a kind of ‘chi’ — energy. I’ve seen smart philanthropists take that view of money; they kind of think of it as ‘financial ‘chi’, or ‘financial energy’ that can help good things happen (provided the people who receive it are accountable for the way the money is spent).
    Unfortunately, I don’t think Cindy comprehends that concept of money.

    Cindy McCain is one more iconic metaphor saying, “The entire world, where people mostly worship money, has gone completely ‘blonde’ at all levels.”
    Houses with 3-car garages are sold via fraudulent mortgages, sometimes to people who shouldn’t actually qualify for the loans.
    Those fraudulent mortgages supported entire economic food chains (realtors, title agents, insurance agents, remodelers, landscapers, mortgage bankers…)
    Those fraudulent mortgages were then sold on Wall Street as ’securities’ — bought and sold by people without any real grasp of the actual value of the ’securities’ that they were ‘leveraging‘ gambling with recklessly at ratios of 30:1.

    Cindy McCain to me is just kind of a metaphor of the US circa 2008 – outdated, unsustainable, and about as relevant as Gidget.
    She ain’t no Eleanor Roosevelt (also wealthy, but who actually recognized that no amount of money can keep you safe in an unstable, distrustful, cynical society).

    McCain is what she is; someone I don’t find the least bit interesting, and would probably bore the sh*t out of me if I ever had to sit near her at a charitable event. She’s probably a perfectly pleasant woman, but about as interesting as Laura Bush. (Okay, that thought made my eyes glaze over…)

  6. PetePierce says:

    I’m still trying to figure out being economically challenged, macro and micro, how Jeffrey Epstein, who flew Bill Clinton, Chris Rock and Kevin Spacy to Africa is a billionaire. No one on Wall Street seems to know where Epstein’s money comes from, and how the hell Cindy McCain is worth one to two hundred million dollars due to her Dad’s beer company connections to a beer company that’s currently losing money and on the market.

    But then I could never figure out where the Clinton’s one hundred million plus came from and they ain’t tellin’ nobody nothin.

    Teen Loving and Bill Clinton Gulfstream Homeboy Charges Elite $25 million a year for advice

    I wonder what kind of advice that’s legal ole Jeffrey could be giving his clients to become a billionaire and how he and Leslie Wexner have kept out of legal financial trouble.

    As to Cindy’s suits, one Nancy Pelosi wears $3000-$4000 designer suits every day that aren’t designed nor made in America and I’m not sure what it does for her appearance that’s good or keeps her from looking like a scumbag who lies as much as ole Greg Craig has lied about FISA.

    Thousands of American women and men drive foreign made sports cars that are gas guzzlers and wear foreign made duds and use foreign made pcs or Apple Macs with many foreign made hdw components.

    All of the female Senators and Congresswomen wear foreign made suits and shoes–man they spend a lot of money on those shoes compared to Bass Wejuns–$500-$1000 for them.

    Most major museums in the US are designed by foreign architects.

      • PetePierce says:

        LOL PJ which ones. You’re referring to my extensive background off 34th Street and in Paris as a design maven for women’s fashion no doubt and my extensive experience fashion writing for WWD, NYT, NY Mag and consulting for the runway shows in Paris and NYC. Whose clothes do you want me to nail? Le Pelosi and who elsep-Le Texas Kay Bailey–Le Ferregamo Feinstein, and Le Sonny Bono’s Bono wife?

        Just post your list and I’ll nail the clothes. It’s my favorite part of the day.

        • PJEvans says:

          I wanted to find out how you knew, since it’s not exactly common knowledge, at least in my circle.

          (My working clothes are more along the lines of JCPenney and KMart, but when I can get some decent fabric, I have patterns from Betzina that will do just as well. Couturier stuff – I wish I could wear some of those designs! Badgeley Mischka do really nice designs, and there are some others I like too. Short-and-dumpy just isn’t couturier country.)

        • BlueStateRedHead says:

          I have always wondered about your comments on Chelsea Clinton, which answer questions that noone else asks and with numbers, if not names. Is this street talk on the runways (which IIRC she did frequent at a time, in Paris, chez Versace, with do-over thrown in gratis. IIRC, but you will know).

          To make this not entirely OT, could you analyze the messages we are being sent by the clothes worn by HC/CC/MO and be entirely non-partisan, Ms. Libertarian candidate, if Libertarians actually recognize the right of the state to grant marriage licenses, or if not, SO Libertarian?

  7. PJEvans says:

    I’d like to see Cindy living on $50,000 a year, just so she has the experience of real life. Maybe she can also learn to use a sewing machine and make her own designer clothes. And learn to cook her own meals, too.

    • emptywheel says:

      So I had a chat with Mark Schauer the other day (he of the great Pasty Pie recipe). He says he can also make a mean poached egg and rice krispie treats (he represents Battle Creek in the state senate, so the latter is probably a requirement before filing for candidacy).

      But the Pasty recipe is from his mother-in-law, who really did make it for her husband who worked in an underground mine in hte UP.

      • rosalind says:

        oh lord, tired eyes. i read that as poached egg WITH rice krispie treats. i know you guys got some regional cuisine and all, but that one stopped me short.

      • freepatriot says:

        pasty pie ???

        I know that living that close to Canada is bound to cause some damage, but do you guys eat anything that sounds like FOOD ???

        you know




        normal stuff

        out here in Cali, we make fun of the kids who eat paste

        /intentional obtuseness

        post a recipe or don’t talk about it, damn it

        us hobbits take our food seriously, ya know

          • TobyWollin says:

            Yep, being able to pick a rutabega is a good skill to have, esp. if you need a weapon on short notice. In some places, they are also called “swedes”; my mom mistakenly called them “turnips”, which of course are a completely different beast altogether.

            • emptywheel says:

              I always get confused by this, but I think my Irish mr. emptywheel calls them Swedes–and they’re considered livestock feed. But there’s also a discrepancy between what we call a turnip and what they do, but I forget how.

              • TobyWollin says:

                The big waxed ones that cook up yellow are rutabagas. The livestock feed ones are two types…you can feed sugar beets or another type of turnip which is more lozenge shaped(more shaped like a sweet potato)that some people call ‘mangels’ and are more popular for animal feed in Europe than here. Turnips are those golf-ball to baseball sized white root vegetables – you can eat the greens on those also.

                • Rayne says:

                  Mangels (mangel-wurzel) are a kind of beet; they grow with part of their shoulders well above the ground, unlike other beets (red beets or sugar beets). These are the kind used as fodder.

                  Around these parts they are grown in small lots for sale to hunters baiting their deer. My spouse has bought them by the pickup load for this purpose. The deer love them; can’t imagine what they’d do to a field of them.

                • skdadl says:

                  Hmmn. I think that our lingo for turnip-related entities may be different up here too, and then it’s different again in Scotland, eg.

                  A mean poached egg, though. That just melted me. A great poached egg is the height of accomplishment imho. I’d vote for that man. Rice Krispie cake is ok too, in its place.

          • Rayne says:

            More than California kids need help with that, I’m afraid.

            Can’t count the number of times I’ve had to explain what a rutabaga was to a cashier here in Michigan — usually the young kids, who then get my standard lecture about not eating enough root vegetables like turnips and parsnips.

            Wonder if Sugar Mama knows the business end of a rutabaga? Probably not.

            • emptywheel says:

              Oh, they’ll all be eating rutabegas again shortly, when faced with the choice of eating something that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg bc of gas prices or eating something that can be grown in MI.

              Lucky for us, that means we still get to eat cherries and peaches.

          • ffein says:

            I have a funny rutabega story (which my mother, a UP’er called “soul food”). I was going through the checkout lane at the grocery and the young checkout person picked it up and looked at it carefully and said “This is one of those new vegetables, isn’t it?”

          • Loo Hoo. says:

            Hey! I’ll put my beef stew up against anyone’s. And rutabega is the main vegetable.

      • PJEvans says:

        Heck, even the Starbucks in the building where I work has those. And in the fall, pumpkin empanadas, which is unusual. (Lightly seasoned pumpkin turnovers, for them as haven’t met empanadas before.)

    • Rayne says:

      Screw that — she ought be doing FX 30 Days while living the life of a single mother of two kids on lowest quintile earnings.

      In reality, every single working American took a pay cut this year that the stimulus check can’t begin to cover. It’d be nice to see the Sugar Momma getting in touch with the least of our brethren, struggling to make ends meet while fuel and food costs have soared out of site this past year.

      I don’t mind wealth, either; what I mind is conspicuous and gratuitous consumption. I mind a failure to invest in one’s community and one’s society. Compare the McCain’s application of their wealth acquired through largesse versus that of Warren Buffett or Bill Gates or George Soros, who not only earned their own wealth, but have helped others become wealthy and who make a concerted effort to help others with their own wealth.

    • BlueStateRedHead says:

      ..cooking her own meals with other peoples recipes, acknowledging the fact.

      Seriously, has there been any discussion of how Cindy plans to run her company from the East Wing or is planning to put the whole shebang in trust or pass it on to the kids? I mean this seriously. Has Crew explored this at all?

      Cause her suits and domestic servant ‘budget’ is bupkis compared to the conflict of interest potential in a CEO in the East Wing.

  8. freepatriot says:

    chicken noodle network just said the EVERY AMERICAN should worry about losing his job ???

    really ???

    what if you DON’T HAVE A FUCKING JOB ???

    I guess you don’t have to worry about it then, huh ???

  9. chrisc says:

    I’ve long wondered what Cindy Hensley saw in John McCain, who was 18 yrs older than she was and married to somebody else when they met. Was she looking for a father figure??? I turned to the wikipedia entry on Cindy’s father, Jim Hensley, to look for clues.

    Hensley and his older brother Eugene first began working in the liquor distribution business before World War II, being in the employ of Kemper Marley, Sr., an Arizona rancher who had become wealthy in the liquor distribution business in Phoenix and Tucson following the end of Prohibition.[2] The brothers started the United Liquor Co. in Phoenix and the United Distribution Co. in Tucson.[1]
    Jim Hensley then served three years as an officer in the United States Army Air Forces during World War II.[3][4] He was a bombardier on B-17 Flying Fortresses.[5][6] On his thirteenth mission,[3] his plane was shot down over the English Channel;[5] in all his planes were shot down two or three times.[1][6] He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.[1]

    So dad and John McCain were both in the service and got shot down. What else? A disdain for government regulation?

    Following his discharge in 1945, Hensley and his brother went back to work for Marley in his United Sales Company in Phoenix and United Distributors in Tucson.[2][3] In 1948, both brothers were prosecuted by the federal government and convicted of falsifying liquor records to conceal illegal distribution of whiskey against post-war rationing regulations.[9][5] Jim Hensley received a six-month suspended sentence while his brother received a year in federal prison.[9] In 1953, Jim Hensley and Marley were charged by federal prosecutors with falsifying liquor records.[9] Defended by future Supreme Court Justice William Rehnquist, they were acquitted.[9][5]

    The Hensley brothers also bought a racetrack.

    In a May 1953 hearing before the New Mexico State Racing Commission, the Hensley brothers concealed the existence an equal partner, Clarence “Teak” Baldwin, who had been banned from any ownership role due to illegal bookmaking activities.[10] A 1953 New Mexico State Police investigation found further that Kemper Marley was a financial backer for bookmakers and had connections with Baldwin and with the bookmaking operations of organized crime,[10] a conclusion echoed decades later by the Arizona Project investigative reporting team.[11]

    Considering McCains involvement with the Keating5 and his suppression of documents and evidence in the Abramoff affair, he seems to fit right in with the Hensley family. But he had no assets to bring to the marriage.
    Not right off the bat. Right after they were married, McCain went to work for Hensley as a VP of public relations, but he was not so interested in the beer business.

    Having moved to Phoenix in March 1981, McCain went to work for Hensley & Co., his new father-in-law Jim Hensley’s large Anheuser-Busch beer distributorship as Vice President of Public Relations.[1] McCain had little interest in the beer business itself, instead preferring to talk about current events.[2] In carrying out his job, he was able to gain political support among the local business community,[3] meeting powerful figures such as banker Charles Keating, Jr., real estate developer Fife Symington III,[1] and newspaper publisher Darrow “Duke” Tully,[3] all the while looking for an electoral opportunity.[1]

    The first opportunity came when Congressman Rhodes from AZ 1st congressional district retired.

    Cindy McCain bought a house in the district the same day as Rhodes’ announcement

    Hensley money funded most of McCains congressional campaigns.

    So what did McCain do for the Hensleys? Did he just make the family seem more respectable because they had a congressman in the family or did he do favors for the Hensleys and their friends?

    Cindy grew up rich. But she chose to major in special education, and was not interested in the family business so much. Sheesh- special education That is a tough line of work. She seems to genuinely care about doing something for others, especially babies and young children, although not necessarily in a more equitable distribution of wealth through political change. After her marriage to McCain, Cindy didn’t like life in Washington so much, she returned to Arizona. He came home on weekends. They seem to lead quite separate lives. In every public appearance that I have seen, McCain seems to be quite detached from his wife and family.
    His children from his former marriage and his current one are noticeably absent- except for Meghan.

    One interesting tidbit from Meghan’s blog is that she was registered as an independent until quite recently when she switched to GOP in honor of her dad. Like her mom, Meghan seems more interested in dressing cool and having fun on the campaign trail than in any political ideology. When she meets up with Kissinger, she talks about his shoes. She gives some tips on where she gets her clothes. She cares about “humanitarian assistance” but mentions nothing about the political situations that make that assistance a necessity.

    • rapt says:

      chrisc – from your wiki quote above: “and with the bookmaking operations of organized crime…” In reference to the brothers Hensley for whom McSame worked from 1982 or so. The point of my highlighting that line is just this; that “organized crime” doesn’t play by the law, and nobody connected with it does except for using the law as cover for other activities. McSame was/is connected with it, both in the beer business and assuredly wrt S&L ripoffs. That places him in the mobster class, indisputably.

      Has he come clean since those old days? Is he a good boy now?

      OK that’s a single example from today’s discussion. Now for a quick check of the rest of the ruling oligarchy to see if any of them are NOT in some way connected with the same mob. Nope I can’t find any except for maybe Kucinich and perhaps a few others I’m not familiar with.

      The test is simple; does he/she lie, break the law, or cover for others who do, or use the power of office either corp or govt as a means to direct $$ and favors to other mobsters? They all qualify. All criminal. Then my question is and has been, what is the point of arguing the merits of each case as if some individuals in this caste may be innocent?

      Now we can alter the rules to better reflect reality, and simply accept that the law is irrelevant here, or we (they) can enforce the law you know, equitably. Isn’t that somewhere in the Constitution, the concept of equitably? Now since that isn’t happening, and hasn’t for some years now, we find ourselves playing a charade which makes no sense at all.

      Here is what I see. “We want you to abide by the law and be a decent leader, legislator, judge, ceo. But we know you don’t/won’t do that so we’ll keep whining til we’re blue in the face.”

      Ms Wheel and bmaz, I understand that this rant is not in the proper spirit of your site, but felt that it wouldn’t hurt to insert it anyway. I promise to behave in the future, and keep reading the insightful posts & comments.

      –lurking most of the time

      • bmaz says:

        I cannot speak for EW, the sole proprietor here, but your comment was fine by me. I will say this to both you and ChrisC, I know a fair amount about Kemper Marley, the Bolles murder case, and a lot of that. The Hensleys had some interaction with some of those people, but there is no way, that I am aware of, to fairly say they were “mobbed up”. Marley himself is a different matter, but even he was not what has been implied really. these people were shysters and frontier business players much more than traditional mobsters, and Hensley wasn’t even that really. Even the “criminal convictions” were a little lame and Im Hensley’s emanated more out of his brother’s conduct and trying to protect his brother from what I understand, but it has been a long time since i read any of that background info, so take that with a grain of salt.

  10. TobyWollin says:

    Do American’s require their presidential candidates to really be ‘regular folks’…or just SEEM like regular folks? No one in their right mind could call George W. Bush a ‘regular guy’ – except he very masterfully played the role, with his folksy manner, anti-intellectual selection of speech and so on. But ‘regular folks’? Never. No matter who McCain had married – even if he’d stayed with his first wife – he could never be considered that way. This is someone whose family has benefited from being at the highest levels of the US military for two generations – McCain benefited from his connections with that. What Mrs. McCain the Second brought to the marriage was wealth and political connections. So, her choice of being a special ed teacher is a nice touch, but she certainly can’t hide behind this. From what I have read, she takes an active role in the family business.

  11. freepatriot says:

    I think we got rutabagas here in Cali (they kinda look like celery, right)

    doesn’t mean we eat em, but we got em

    you could grow almost anything here

    I got 8 different kinds of peppers, 3 types of tomatoes (which I don’t eat) 2 types of beans, watermelons, punkins, an carrots

    and I’m just goofing around

    you should see what the serious gardeners do …

    on a related topic, I got black hollyhocks, is that unusual ??? (they’re growin wild out there, don’t ask me where they came from)

      • freepatriot says:

        I read the link on “pastys”

        we call em “Pot Pies” out here

        seriously, that’s gotta be where the pot pie comes from

        probably those mickyDs apple pies too

        and if that’s a ruabaga, what am I thinking of that looks like red celery ???

        btw, we got turnips here in Cali, but even the cows refuse to eat em (Maybe that’s why our cows are happy and your cows ain’t)

        • Rayne says:

          Red celery? I think you’re thinking about rhubarb.

          And our cows are perfectly happy here; they just don’t need PR firms.

        • TobyWollin says:

          red celery – sounds like you are thinking of ‘rhubarb chard” – actually now you can get/grow chard where the stems come in probably every color except for blue.

        • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

          Could the red celery be chard?

          My 42 was intended as a response to your 32; I think you’re right about the underlying fundamentals being very, very weird.

          And companies are having trouble with operating credit. Scary.

          • freepatriot says:

            And companies are having trouble with operating credit. Scary

            credit is tight everywhere

            I got a neighbor who couldn’t buy a house cuz the bank couldn’t get their shit together

            he has excellent credit, a ton of equity in the house he lives in now, and a steady job with the federal govt, and the bank couldn’t find the money to make the loan. He had a house picked out, packed his stuff, filled out the forms, and the bank kept telling him, wait until next week …

            he told em to piss off after three months of dickin around

            I only got “antidoted evidence” or something like that, but all the evidence is bad

            on the other hand, the meth heads are sleeping indoors …

            • PJEvans says:

              My cubie bought a house. He had to hassle the bank about it too – he got a VA loan. Small house, not new, only one previous owner (this is unusual), needed electrical work to bring it up to speed.
              He’s doing garden work now, planting fruit trees and stuff like that, and thinking about a few chickens for eggs. There’s a church next door on one side, a day care place on the other, and a cemetery across the street, so neighbors are maybe less of a problem than usual.

        • emptywheel says:

          Hey now, we’ve got happy cows here. They get to eat grass. You guys even got grass anymore?

          No, not that kind of grass, silly!!

          (Though the first time I ever touched pot was when I was 9 visiting my great uncle’s Kansas cow farm. So I can vouch for the fact that cows will happily eat that kind of grass, too!!)

          • freepatriot says:

            I don’t know what all our cows got that makes em so happy, butour government spends millions to tell us they’re happy, so that’s one less thing to worry about

            and contrary to popular belief, they don’t “need” a publicly agent, it’s just more convenient that way

            maybe if other states gave their cows cell phones and agents, we wouldn’t have all these “Mad Cow” attacks

            you know how hard it is to waterboard a cow …

      • freepatriot says:

        wrong, do it again

        don’t you know I live in the middle of the Pacific ocean (in a way), or the San Francisco Bay, or something like that (we got ocean tides here)

        my water comes from the Sierra Nevada Mountains, right around Yosemite

        we got the most advanced irrigation system on the planet. Even in dry years we get enough runoff for the cities (the real farmers can get screwed over though)

        those socal sucker can worry about Colorado’s water, cuz they ain’t gettin any of ours

  12. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    More people need to remember who Gramm was, and connect his role with McCain.
    Because it’s a great little synopsis of so much that’s happened.

    And as for your neighborhood, I gather that city governments in some places are really being hit. How on earth do you support areas that are full of empty houses? Sobering.

    • emptywheel says:

      Oh now. If you’re not baking your rhubarb into pie (just ask mr. emptywheel what his favorite thing I cook is), you’re not living.

      In fact, that’s gonna be the highlight of the Fourth for us, me cooking up the last of the strawberries and rhubarb into a pie made with butter from the really high quality (happy cow) dairy about these parts.

    • Rayne says:

      Send it here, by the truckload. We eat rhubarb. Yum.

      Rhubarb Crisp

      8 cups fresh rhubarb (approx. 3 lbs.)
      2 (3 oz.) pkgs. regular Jello – your choice strawberry, raspberry or cranberry flavor (cranberry is mine!)

      3/4 cup unsifted flour
      3/4 cup rolled oats
      1/3 cup sugar
      1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
      1 tsp cinnamon (optional)
      1/2 cup butter, cold, cut into pieces

      Wash rhubarb, cut off and discard leaves. Slice stalks into 1/2 inch pieces, measuring a total of 8 cups of diced rhubarb. Sprinkle with strawberry Jello and toss to coat rhubarb pieces evenly. Arrange rhubarb in greased 9×13 inch pan.

      Preheat oven. Combine flour, oats, sugars, and cinnamon in bowl. Cut butter pieces into flour mixture and mix until crumbly. Sprinkle over rhubarb. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes or until rhubarb is tender. Let stand 30 minutes before serving. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

  13. PJEvans says:

    Hey, Rayne, you want a recipe for rhubarb-and-meat stew? Not sweetened, but has (a) a pound of rhubarb and (b) lots of parsley.

    mmm, rhubarb ….

    • emptywheel says:

      I do.

      In fact, maybe you guys can help me out. I’ve decided to invent a recipe–rhubarb beet calzones (heck, maybe I’ll call them pasties just to wig out freepatriot). So beets, rhubarb, and, I figure, feta, in a pocket. Maybe some onion.

      So I’ve also got chorizo (the soft kind, from my superb butcher). Stick that in, or not? And how about rosemary? Or hot peppers?

      • Rayne says:

        Oh, I’d skip the rhubarb; depending on when picked (after a rain and fresh or quite a while ago), the rhubarb will weep like hell.

        But if you’re dead set on it, be sure to use a thickener to toss with all the bits. I’d probably opt for cornstarch instead of flour if I were being that creative.

        How fatty is the chorizo, too? if more than 20%, you’re going to have even more weepage.

        I’d skip the rosemary, opt for a small amount of thyme instead given the spices in the chorizo, maybe even a tiny bit of oregano.

        You might also cut the weepage down by watching the proportions, and use some baking potatoes in the mix. I’d be game to try 1 part each diced beets, potatoes, rhubarb, chorizo, and use a smaller amount of flour since the potatoes will do some of the sopping.

        • Rayne says:

          Oh frick, forgot about cooking times.

          You’re going to have to cut the beet pieces smaller than the potato or rhubarb pieces, or you’re going to have to blanch them first since they take twice as long by volume to cook. Else you’ll have hard-as-a-rock beets and mushy rhubarb and just-cooked potatoes.

          I forgot about the feta, too; I’d use a queso or farmer’s cheese instead since they are less salty, assuming the butcher salted the chorizo. (The stuff I buy is always salty.)

          • PJEvans says:

            The rhubarb won’t need much time anyway – more than five or ten minutes, and it’s mush-with-strings. Which might be good for some things: I always liked it that way.

            (rhubarb sauce on vanilla ice cream: dessert!)

        • emptywheel says:

          THe chorizo is a late add–and not something I’m set on. But you’re right about the liquid–I’ve been thinking about that. The whole point, though, is to try the beets and rhubarb together because 1) the tartness of the rhubarb will give the beets the backbone they always lack, and 2) it’ll one hell of a red color.

          I’ll let you know…

  14. skdadl says:

    More rhubarb:

    Rhubarb stewed and lightly sweetened in the traditional way (keep the sugar down) is wonderful at the bottom of crème brulée. Just pour the custard in gently on top of a layer of steamed rhubarb; cook the custards as usual; then sprinkle some turbinado sugar on top of each custard cup, and torch the sugar briefly or run it under a broiler to caramelize it.

    Or you could just buy some fruit-bottom yoghurt.

  15. Rayne says:

    Ah-ha!! Grated. Grate the beets if you’re looking more for color, use the biggest possible grate size.

    You could also use a mandoline and cut them very thin, too.

    If you’re looking for color and backbone, you could skip rhubarb or reduce it and try coarsely chopped red cabbage. Would be more like a German/Russian “bierok” with the cabbage.

    I might have to experiment now that we’ve kicked this around, give my very bored kids something to do besides play World of Warcraft and beat on each other. The younger one is fascinated with my Salad Shooter, can put him to grating beets.

      • Rayne says:

        There you go, that’ll probably work just fine.

        You’ll have to put that Flip video thingamabob to work for this gustatory experiment!

  16. PJEvans says:

    Okay: Rhubarb-meat sauce for rice

    4 tbsp butter or marg
    1 lb beef (or lamb) cut in 1″ pieces, or chicken pieces cut the same way
    1 large onion, chopped
    1 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp pepper
    for meat: 1/2 tsp cinnamon and 1/4 tsp nutmeg
    for chicken: 3/4 to 1 tsp poultry seasoning
    1 cup parsley, chopped
    2 cups water
    1 tbsp or so fresh mint, chopped (optional)
    1 lb rhubarb, cut in 2 to 3-inch pieces

    Melt the butter in a 2-quart pot.
    Add everything but the parsley, water, mint (if you’re using it), and rhubarb, and saute until the meat is browned.
    Add the parsley and saute a few minutes more.
    Add the water, cover, and let simmer on low heat about 40 minutes or until the meat is tender.
    Add the rhubarb, simmer 5 minutes, and serve over rice.

    This should serve four or five people.

    • emptywheel says:

      Very cool. Will try it.

      The Rhubarb Beet things worked out pretty well.

      1 recipe calzone dough from Broccoli Forest cookbook

      3 beets, grated
      ~1.5 c. rhubarb
      1 onion
      6 piquin chilis
      1 tsp salt
      2 oz. feta cheese

      Saute the onions, add the beets and rhubarb. Stir a bit then add ~.5 c. water and put a lid on it. Cook until soft. Stir in chilis, salt, feta. Make calzones. Bake at 450 for 20 minutes.

      They were actually not saucy enough–so I might add more rhubarb next time–because the calzones ended up pretty bready. And it was funny eating them, because you knew what was in it, but it didn’t taste like either rhubarb or beets. Interesting.

  17. yonodeler says:

    Let the presidential candidates and their spouses wear their health insurance policies; they’re the items some of us would tend to covet.

  18. jerikoll says:


    it sounds like Cindy has the Centurion (black/titanium card.) It is free to some celebrities, but others have to pay 2,500 annual fee, and a 5,000 one time initial charge, and you have to charge at least 250K a year on it. Once you get it you can get members of the family the Gold Card or some other that is connected to it, but has some lesser sums attached.

    Am Express also makes it’s money from the merchants.

    One of the directors I work for has one. He likes to brag about how clubs don’t charge a cover charge when he shows it because it indicates he is a big spender.

    As for the Condo, I understand that. An aunt has a large one in Pensacola on the beach front, that she keeps so that her children will come visit her and bring the grandbabies. She also lets some of her favorites (me! me!)use it. If no one has indicated that they are coming, she has the real estate mangement people rent it by the week for big bucks.

    The rich aren’t better than us, but they sure are different!

  19. PJEvans says:

    Gotta try that sometime. Thanks!

    (We grew beets one year in our garden. Turned out more useful as greens; the beets all had little holes in them from nematodes.
    There was also the year my brother decided to grow rutabagas, for reasons which have never been clear to the rest of us. This may be one of the things that eventually got him into ornamental horticulture as a profession.)