Tuesday, October 28, 2008

All the King's Horses and All the King's Men

"People want leadership, Mr. President, and in the absence of genuine leadership, they'll listen to anyone who steps up to the microphone. They want leadership. They're so thirsty for it they'll crawl through the desert toward a mirage, and when they discover there's no water, they'll drink the sand."

-- from "An American President," screenplay by Aaron Sorkin

Pretty smart guy, that Aaron Sorkin. Knows his way around American politics. That paragraph, written thirteen years ago, in the midst of a Clinton term, was written about an incumbent Presidential candidate who loses himself in his efforts to stay in office. He'll make any compromise, break any promise, throw anyone under the bus to make sure that he isn't a one-term president. And in the end, doing so means that he nearly sacrifices who he is as a human being, down to his absolute core beliefs, to do it. (I'm not telling you how it comes out. Rent the movie and find out.)

With the chances of a McCain presidency growing dimmer by the day, the Republican party is starting to fall back. Or maybe, fall apart. Humpty's in pieces, and the Republican leadership is starting to get the word out that the party is in some trouble and, win or lose come the 4th, a new plan of action (and possibly attack, knowing the GOP) might be in order. Mitt Romney was quoted today as referring to a "very real chance of an Obama presidency." Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, who was said to be on the short list for potential VP picks, said today that Obama "has a pretty good advantage in Minnesota right now."

According to Politico's Jonathan Martin, the annual GOP governors' conference, set to start the day after the election, will most likely be the place that the future leadership and direction of the party will get hammered out. Martin asserts that Sarah Palin will be on one of the primary focuses of party leadership during these talks.

Ya think, Jonathan? I don't think so, for three reasons.

Number one, most mainstream Republicans hate her guts. No. Seriously, they do. I have it on fairly good inside authority that the Republican party in Alaska came to loathe her because she got elected and immediately set about turning on the oil companies that helped get her elected and taxing them, in direct opposition to the GOP's allegiances. You won't hear much about that from Alaskans, mostly because it's a pretty closed shop up there. They don't believe in airing their dirty linen to the lower 48. But in Alaska, as in Washington, you don't develop a reputation as a turncoat without paying the price.

Number two, while Palin inarguably lit a fire under the conservative and evangelical base of the party, she was an unmitigated disaster among independents and women voters, whom the GOP hoped to attracted after Senator Hilary Clinton lost the nomination. What makes Republicans thinks that Sarah Palin will be any more capable of given concise, educated intelligent answers in 2012 than she did in 2008? She was a joke by mid-October, even before her pitiful performance in her debate against Biden. (Yes, you heard me. I said, "pitiful." She was a walking, breathing talking points memo. If an original idea had entered her head, it would surely have died of loneliness.) No present or future presidential election will be won on party base alone. The way to the White House is paved by independent voters. No matter how a candidate can woo the voters who probably would have voted for her anyway (it's why they call them the "base"), if she can't light a fire under the indies, she's useless to the party.

Number three, she is, quite simply, an utter and complete plankhead. Though not stupid, she has an innate distrust of education and learning, including the "self" kind, and an appalling lack of intellectual curiosity that is a little too close to George W. Bush for my comfort. She has said she believes that man and dinosaur walked the Earth at the same time. Her reading material, as we know, is sparse at best (there was a reason Katie Couric asked her that question, by the way, and it wasn't just to be bitchy).

Her speech last week on what she has taken on as her policy issue, funding for children with disabilities proved that, even on topics she purports to care about, she has little desire for "book larnin'," and will smoothly disseminate false information with alacrity and ease, if it suits her purpose. Falling heavily on her old speech stand-by of "earmarks," Palin had this to say about autism research funding:
"You’ve heard about some of these pet projects they really don’t make a whole lot of sense and sometimes these dollars go to projects that have little or nothing to do with the public good. Things like fruit fly research in Paris, France. I kid you not."
She kids us not. And why would she? Humor actually requires a quick wit and a developed intellect, and Sarah Palin has neither. If she had, she might have learned that that fruit fly research she's threatening to defund yielded a landfall result in 2007, when researchers at the University of North Carolina (which is surprisingly not in Paris, France, but rather, in Chapel Hill, North Carolina -- hence the name) used Drosophila to isolate a protein called neurexin, which seems to inhibit synaptic brain function in ways similar to that of autism. Furthermore, the fruit fly study isolated a genetic marker that produced this protein, that also seems to be fairly common in autistic children. Now, I'm no doctor, but I'm guessing this discovery could be fairly important to parents of children with autism. And Sarah Palin stood in front of a bank of microphones and a field of cameras and and all but threatened to defund the research because she didn't think it was important.

I kid you not.

So I'm supposed to believe now that the Republicans who have called her a "cancer" and an "embarrassment" are now going to embrace her and lift her to the highest pedestal in the Republican party? I don't believe the GOP will stand for it. She'll be so shut out when McCain loses and the Democrats have huge majorities in both houses of Congress, she'll be more able to run for President of Russia than the United States.

Sarah Palin the future of the Republican party? Please. There's not enough Ferragamo in the world.

~C~

Dear Undecideds -- Another Reason to Vote for Barack Obama

It's been tough an you. I know you are tearing your hair out with the gravity of your decision come November 4th. I get that. And, believe me, I want to help.

So, here's another reason to vote for Barack Obama. A vote for Barack Obama is a vote against Joe the Plummer. Turns out that, in spite of Mr. Wurzelbacher's protestations that he is "no Matt Damon," he actually really does think he's Matt Damon. Or at the very least, Dan Quayle. In any case, he's making the rounds, talking at McCain rallies, spreading some more hate speech by agreeing with a McCain supporter that an Obama presidency would mean the death of Israel. In the same way that Joe didn't let a little thing like not buying a business keep him from saying he was buying a business, and not being a plumber keep him from saying he was a plumber, Joe (real name, Samuel) didn't let a little thing like not having any foreign policy expertise stop him from expressing an opinion on one of the touchiest foreign policy issues facing the next president. Later, during an interview, Wurzelbacher told Fox News' Shepard Smith that his opinion that Obama was anti-Israel was based on "Obama's actions" -- namely, agreeing to meet with Iranian President Ahmadinejad without any pre-conditions.

"[. . .] the fact that he has said it he would meet with Ahmadinejad is something that you have taken to believe would be the death of Israel?" Smith asked incredulously.

"It definitely doesn't help the situation," said TardBoy. Then, possibly startled by an errant thought that might have accidentally popped into his head, he kind of backtracked. "I'm not trying to be dancing around this. I honestly want people to go out and find their own reasons. I tell people not to listen to everyone else's opinion. I'm not going to have them start listening to mine. Go out and get informed."

Indeed.

At that point, even Shepard had had enough and ended the interview with his own disclaimer that "I just want to make this 100 percent perfectly clear -- Barack Obama has said and demonstrated repeatedly that Israel will always be a friend of the United States, no matter what happens once he becomes President of the United States. His words. The rest of it -- man...some things--it just gets frightening sometimes." And that's Shepard Smith talking. He works for Fox, so you know he's seen some scary shit.

So, come November 4th, my dear indecisive darlings, vote for Barack Obama, and send SammyJoe back where he belongs -- to Ohio in the dead of winter. My friend, Kim, lives there. She'll tell you, in February, it's as close to hell as anywhere you'll find.

~C~

Ooops! We Forgot to Renew Our War, and It Expired.

Because we have one more week of election insanity, and nothing I say or do now in that regard will help either my mental health or yours, dear Readers, I figure it's time to turn the attention outward to what's going on in the rest of the world.

Flying completely under the radar this week, the story that would be the top story of the week if we weren't picking a new president, is this one: The security agreement between the US and Iraq (called the Status of Forces Agreement or, SOFA) which allows the United States to maintain troop presence in Iraq, is set to expire on December 31, 2008. Presented as a "fete accompli" last month by the DoD, it turns out that SOFA isn't particularly popular with the Iraqi cabinet.

The primary bone of contention in the agreement is the language that gives US troops and security contractors immunity against prosecution by local Iraqi law enforcement for crimes they've committed. Striking such language from the agreement would mean that US troops who break Iraqi law could go to court and be tried by Iraqi judges and juries. This would make questionable the continued presence of security contractors like Blackwater, Triple Canopy and DynCorp, who have been the source of the most complaints from local Iraqis about bad-boy behavior.

Private security forces have been a constant presence in Iraq, filling the gap between the military forces that should have been sent, and the troops that actually were. The one component that has made the surge that everyone who loves the war extols so completely is that private forces have been used in the so-called "Green Zones" to maintain the peace, freeing up US troops to quell disturbances in less stable areas surrounding them.

The trouble is that the contractors are frequently poorly trained and poorly behaved, leading to some serious, occasionally fatal consequences. Several crimes against Iraqi civilians have been reported against members of the private security force, including charges of rape, intimidation, destruction of property, and even murder. Because the current agreement gives troops and the private security forces immunity from prosecution, and the US is unwilling or unable to try the perpetrators themselves, these crimes have gone largely unpunished.

Now that the agreement is up for renewal, it is looking increasingly as if the Iraqi parliament will not accept an agreement that includes a huge, apparently poorly disciplined coalition of privately armed foreign invaders who have what amounts to complete diplomatic immunity. And it has already been made clear that the US will veto any change that they feel puts their troops or private contractors at the mercy of local law enforcement. It is also certain that private security forces would cancel their contracts and pull out of Iraq, rather than put their employees at risk of local prosecution. This list indicates the number of corporations that currently provide some type of security service in Iraq. Estimates of the number of security guards now working in Iraq are somewhere around 146,000, which is more than actual US troops currently serving.

What could this mean, if we ring in the new year with no agreement in place? Well, troops would still be in Iraq, but they would be pulled from the streets and confined to base, while Iraqi police and security forces dealt with the country their own selves. Military brass is convinced that such a move would convince the Iraqis in short order that they are neither ready nor able to control warring Shias and Sunnis alone, and this would force the adoption of the agreement. Currently, violence in what had been controlled territory is on the upswing, including an uprising of Kurdish forces in the the northern city of Mosul who are resisting efforts of Prime Minister al-Maliki to shoulder them out and form the same alliance between his forces and the hard-line Sunnis that has worked so well in the south. The Kurdish have threatened to turn Mosul into a battleground, rather than be shut out of the region. This could lead to a complete destabilization in the entire northern territory.

But what if it does not work that way? What if they get their country back, and it turns out that they are no better or worse off now than they were before? It could prove pretty interesting to see what the US will do if they're sent to their military rooms and not allowed to come back to the party.

Oh, and, uh.. and further complicating the SOFA negotiations? It turns out that your country invaded Syria yesterday. Did you know? Yeah. I'll be dealing with that in a post a little later today. Apparently, George W. Bush has decided he doesn't have anything left to lose -- he might as well just get it all out of this system. Next on the agenda? He's declaring war on MSNBC.

~C~

Monday, October 27, 2008

Yeah! What Jeff Said!

Effigy of Sarah Palin hanging by a noose creates uproar in West Hollywood

When I read about this earlier, I spent a good hour or so trying to come up with an appropriately indignant blog post, but everything I wrote kind of dissolved into a sputtering, inarticulate, "WTF!!!"

Fortunately, happily, one lefty blogger kept his head while those around him were losing theirs. Jeff at Blog of the Moderate Left has written a post that says everything I wanted to stay (including an implicit "WTF!!!"), while maintaining some faculty with the English language. I'm curious as to exactly the combination of meds he's on to allow this sort of calm reflection in the face of such supreme idiocy and brainlessness, but just as soon as I scrape myself off the ceiling, you can bet I'm going write and ask him.

Don't Be That Guy by Jeff Fecke (Blog of the Moderate Left)

~C~

P.S. My secret boyfriend, Keith Olbermann named Chad Michael Morisette (doer of the effigy deed) today's Worst Person in the World.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

They Know She's Coming Back, Right?

The Anchorage Daily News, Alaska's largest newspaper, today endorsed Barack Obama for President with this editorial.

Uhh... guys? You know she's coming back, right?

In Tina Fey's hilarious portrayal of Sarah Palin last Thursday, the faux Palin describes herself as, "one part practice folksie, one part sassy, and a little dash of high school bitchy," gets a huge laugh because the sense of it is so very true. The fact that Palin is currently being investigated for abuse of power because she tried to torpedo her ex-brother-in-law's career only serves to reinforce the impression.

Suffice it to say, a pissed-off Sarah Palin is probably about as much fun to live near as a pissed-off John McCain. It's what made them the perfect couple.

So, cheers to the Anchorage Daily News for going out on a limb and endorsing Barack Obama. If you need a place to stay, I have a sofa bed and a Aerobed you can use.

~C~

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Please Don't Let Ron Howard's Sacrifice Be In Vain

See more Ron Howard videos at Funny or Die


If you have a shred of human compassion left in you, you will not let this fine man have sacrificed his dignity for nothing.

Please, on November 4th, vote for Barack Obama.

~C~

California's Proposition 8: The Sign of Something Fishy

California Proposition 8, the ban on gay marriage, which looked certain for defeat up to three weeks ago, now very well might pass. FiveThirtyEight.com has the measure running as a toss-up (with a VERY ironic chart graphic -- I swear to God, I didn't Photoshop that graphic on the right -- that's really the p0lling chart).

The reason for the shift? Wealthy out-of-state contributors like Jesus Christ Church of the Latter Day Saints in Utah and Focus on the Family's resident wingnut James Dobson are contributing HUGE amounts of money to air television commercial full of what Christians are good at manipulating for their own benefit -- fear, bigotry, and hatred for "the other."

Because we all know that homosexuals have set an ultra-secret, widespread agenda for converting your children into full-blown, Cher-loving nancy-boys, the ads imply that, if Prop 8 fails, homosexuality will be taught in schools and advocated by first and second grade teachers as the way to go. In one ad, a little boy actually returns from school with what appears to be a textbook about a king who marries a king.

Elementary school teachers everywhere must be howling. They can't even get spelling textbooks for their first and second graders, let alone instruction manuals in homosexuality. But, because there are whole blocks of Christian homophobes in the inner parts of California who might rather their children contract a fatal disease than turn out to be gay*, the ads are working.

It's not like we haven't been down this road before. This happens every elections cycle. Uber-Christian wackos get this type of legislation on the ballot, run a bunch of inflammatory ads, implying that gays are all child molesters and recruiters after your children, and the legislation passes. Then the California Supreme Court overturns it as unconstitutional (cecause that's what you call it when you strip a group of people of their rights because you don't like their lifestyle, race or religion), and gay marriage is on again. And then it starts all over.

Please, please join me in breaking this cycle. Stripping people of their rights is wrong, regardless of your personal views on their lifestyle. Other people getting married doesn't affect your marriage or family in the least, and the gay folk don't care whether your son or daughter is gay or not. Gay people, it turns out (and you could have knocked me over with the feather when I found out), really only care about their families and their children, just like the rest of us. And public elementary school teachers have their hands full trying to teach your children how to read in an underfunded, underequipped classroom that is probably desperately in need of renovation to be bothered teaching your kids how to be gay. Please make a donation to Equality California, the group charged with running the counter-ads to the Mormons and Dobson's scare-ads.

I know things are hard these days, but even five or ten dollars from enough people can make a huge difference. Let's rest this state away from the Christian Crazies in Orange County and the Inland Empire once and for all. Jerking the gay community around like this is just cruel and mean-spirited. This is California, not Kansas. Let's show 'em how to do the "live and let live" thing.

~C~

*This is not merely hyperbolic. I actually heard a group of Inland Empire Baptists say they'd rather find out their children had cancer than were gay. The things people will say when asked....

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Why Obama Is Winning - by Joe Klein (TIME)

In this article from TIME magazine, Joe Klein gives his interpretation of Why Obama Is Winning

~C~

I Told You There Were Smart Republicans



~C~

Maybe He Thought They Said "Robocop"

Former New York mayor Rudy Guiliani has jumped on the GOP robocall bandwagon and recorded his own message in favor of John McCain. In the calls, being used in Colorado and Wisconsin, Guiliani says that Obama is soft on crime because he doesn't support mandatory prison sentences for crimes ranging from robbery to sexual molestation to murder.

Here's the transcript of the call:
Hi, this is Rudy Giuliani, and I'm calling for John McCain and the Republican National Committee because you need to know that Barack Obama opposes mandatory prison sentences for sex offenders, drug dealers, and murderers.

It's true, I read Obama's words myself. And recently, Congressional liberals introduced a bill to eliminate mandatory prison sentences for violent criminals -- trying to give liberal judges the power to decide whether criminals are sent to jail or set free. With priorities like these, we just can't trust the inexperience and judgment of Barack Obama and his liberal allies. This call was paid for by the Republican National Committee and McCain-Palin 2008 at 866 558 5591.

There are two notable things about this call. The first, of course (and I'm sure you noticed, too), is that it's the first time in seven years Rudy Giuliani has uttered two consecutive paragraphs without saying the words "nine-eleven."

The second feature of these calls is who is making them and where they're going. Do Republicans really, truly believe that people in Colorado and Wisconsin are swayed by Rudy Giuliani? Do they not know that he's pretty much a joke west of the Poconos (maybe east, too, but I'll leave that to them)? So, yeah... Rudy... by all means... tell us all about the crime-spree loving Obama and his quest to free all the child molesters and murderers to run wild in the streets again.

Oh, yeah. And don't forget the terrorists.

~C~

It Kind of Makes You Nostalgic for a $400 Haircut, Doesn't It?

Oh, those pesky expenditure records! After spending countless hours ragging on John Edwards' $400 haircut when Edwards running in the Democratic primaries, the Republican National Committee was forced to confess that they have shelled out over $150,000 for Sarah Palin's clothing, cosmetics and accessories. As the stock market was crashing and Americans from coast to coast were fretting about buying groceries and paying their mortgages, Governor Palin was being sent on shopping sprees to Neiman-Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue.

The breakdown on all this is that, while talking (or should I say, "talkin'") about being a regular, small-town hockey mom, and invoking her folksy "Joe-Six-Pack" imagery, Palin was spending nearly $2,500 a day on swanky clothing and costume jewelry from high-end department stores. As a former hockey mom, I can assure you that this is not the norm.

RNC spokeswoman Tracey Schmitt thinks it's all much ado about nothing. The the GOP originally refused comment on the disclosure, the controversy generated on the Internet and on news programs like Countdown with Keith Olbermann and Hardball with Chris Matthews, they were forced to speak on the topic a little more clearly. Schmitt said this morning:
"With all of the important issues facing the country right now, it’s remarkable that we’re spending time talking about pantsuits and blouses. It was always the intent that the clothing go to a charitable purpose after the campaign."
Schmitt makes a good point. Is this story any more newsworthy than John Edwards' haircuts? Well, I would argue that it is, and for the same reason Republicans said Edwards' coiffure was news. It speaks to judgement. It speaks to what people say, versus what they actually do. While taking up the gauntlet in his war on poverty, Edwards was getting highlights and trims that cost $400. It doesn't look good.

By the same token, while criss-crossing the country, dropping her g's and hurling her "you betchas", Palin has been costing the campaign more per week on clothes than most families of four see in a month. The McCain campaign and the RNC are both having a difficult time these days with fundraising and financing, and Republicans who've contributed large amounts of money to the campaign, thinking that they were buying air-time or funding rallies, now discover that they're buying Prada and Chanel. As the final days of the campaign come to a close, television and radio ads are critical, especially when reaching out to undecided voters who live in key battleground states.

Regardless of any plan to donate the clothing to charity after the campaign (and we're holding them to that, as pointless and idiotic as the offer is), the money wasn't spent on what I'm sure Republican donors were being told it would be spent on. That money is gone now, and it isn't coming back. So, now the RNC has to go out and stump for dollars, while trying to reassure big-money donors that the cash won't go to Palin's make-up, hair color or handbags. Furthermore, on-the-fence voters trying to decide which candidate to vote for might not be thrilled that the RNC is willing to spend six figures on Palin's clothes while promising to tax their health care benefits. So it is important in that respect.

Oh, and, one more little thing. John Edwards may have gotten $400 haircuts at campaign expense, but he eventually reimbursed the money for all those expenses. How much of the $150,000 will Sarah Palin reimburse to the RNC?

~C~

Note: This post was corrected to reflect that the criticism of Edwards' haircut expenditures took place during the primaries last year. It only SEEMS like this has all been going on for four years. (Jesus, I'm tired.)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Jon Stewart Explains What He Meant By "F**k You."

At a personal appearance at Northeastern University, shortly after Sarah Palin made her "pro-America" parts of America. In his stand-up at the university, Stewart's response to Palin's remarks was a resounding "f**k you."

Last night on The Daily Show, he clarified his remarks:



~C~

A Glimpse Into What Will Follow An Obama Win

Be prepared for another possible Supreme Court ruling on who the next President will be. According to this six-minute documentary, John McCain's hyperbolic attack against the ACORN non-scandal (read here for the real story on ACORN by Factcheck.org) to challenge the election results on November 5th.



Ahhh... the Atwater/Rove school of election victory. If you can't win legitimately, just freakin' steal the White House.

I have a feeling, judging from the climate in this country today, that the GOP got their one bite at that apple, in 2000, and they're not going to get another one.

Stay tuned.

~C~

Liberal Media Elite Backs Obama in '08 (After Backing Bush in '04)

According to this article by Editor & Publisher magazine, twenty-six newspapers that endorsed George W. Bush in the last presidential election have suddenly gone all blue, and backed Barack Obama over John McCain. (Numbers after colon indicates daily circulation.)


BARACK OBAMA (26)

CALIFORNIA
Long Beach Press Telegram (B): 85,595
Pasadena Star-News (B): 27,894
San Gabriel Valley Tribune (B): 40,051
The (Stockton) Record (B): 57,486
San Bernardino Sun (B): 54,315
Tri-Valley Herald (B): 29,759

COLORADO
The Denver Post (B): 225,193

CONNECTICUT
New Haven Register (B): 72,613

FLORIDA
Naples Daily-News (B): 66,272

ILLINOIS
Chicago Tribune (B): 541,663

INDIANA
Palladium-Item (Richmond) (B): 15,453

IOWA
Mason City Globe Gazette (B): 17,666

NEW JERSEY
Asbury Park Press (Neptune) (B): 140,882

NEW MEXICO
Las Cruces Sun-News (B): 21,341

NEW YORK
Daily News (B): 703,137

OHIO
Hamilton Journal-News (B): 19,432
The Repository (Canton) (B): 65,789
The Times-Reporter (New Philadelphia) (B): 22,428

OREGON
Yamhill Valley News-Register (McMinnville) (B): 10,921

PENNSYLVANIA
The Express-Times (Easton) (B): 44,561

TEXAS
Austin American-Statesman (B): 170,309
Houston Chronicle (B): 494,131

UTAH
The Salt Lake Tribune (B): 121,699

WASHINGTON
The Columbian (B): 44,623
Yakima Herald-Republic (B): 38,077

WISCONSIN
Wisconsin State Journal (Madison) (B): 87,930

Meanwhile, only four papers that supported 2004 Democratic nominee, Senator John Kerry, have declared their endorsement for John McCain in '08.

JOHN McCAIN (4)

FLORIDA
Bradenton Herald (K): 48,618

TENNESSEE
The Jackson Sun (K): 32,121

TEXAS
Corpus Christi Caller-Times (K): 53,368

VIRGINIA
Daily Press (Newport News) (K): 91,508

~C~

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Bitter, Party of Lincoln

I can't get over the number of conservative publications, candidates and pundits who are predicting that having the White House and the Congress controlled by only one party could mean the end of American democracy as we know it. It wasn't that long ago (until January 2007, in fact) when Republicans controlled two of the three branches of government (and, it could be argued, the third branch, to a lesser extent). None of these folks was worried about across-the-board partisan control back then. The term "checks-and-balances" is being bandied about amidst gloom and doom prophesies of a Democratic White House and a Democratic lead in both houses of Congress that might be so big, it could be filibuster-proof.

First. let's have a quick history lesson. The term "checks and balances" does not, nor has it ever, referred to partisan politics. The term is meant to refer to the balance of power that exists between the three branches of government -- executive, legislative, and judicial. No mention in the original creation of our government was ever made about party politics. The founding fathers figured if Americans voted to have a single party in control of the branches of government, then so be it. If they'd wanted to spread the power between parties, we'd have a more parliamentary system as they do in Canada, the UK, Germany, Israel, etc. We don't. We have a single executive leadership, working in tandem with a truly representative bicameral legislature, and judicially overseen by an appointed high court. So, everyone needs to stop using the term "checks and balances" and "balance of power" to refer to which party controls which branch of government. It's incorrect and misleading.

That being said, there is a problem with our system of checks and balances -- and Republicans created it. After 9/11, conservatives saw an opportunity to use fear and panic to consolidate powers that had never belonged solely to the executive branch, and make the presidency more powerful than it has ever been. The passage of legislation that has given the president unprecedented powers with regard to suspending the writ of habeas corpus and the directives regarding torture, unwarranted wire tapping of Americans abroad (including American troops calling spouses and loved ones back home whilst serving in Iraq), and invasion of a sovereign nation that had not attacked us (House Joint Resolution 114), has shifted the balance of power to the executive branch. The Republicans didn't have a problem with this when George W. Bush was president. Apparently, they were assuming that America had seen the light and realized that Republican was the only way to go.

Imagine their surprise when America got fed up with a two-front war, a tanking economy, soaring gas prices and the rampant, flagrant demagoguery of the Republican party since 9/11 that has gotten them exactly no where. Suddenly, the effect of those planes and the smoking towers has faded sufficiently that most Americans were able to think clearly for themselves. Now, the conservatives stand in direct danger of being shut out of their government in the same way that liberals were locked out for so many years after 2001.

It has Republicans worried. They have created a monster, and now they've become terrified (to paraphrase Jon Stewart) when the monster awakens and starts smashing up the lab. In the words of my dearly departed mother, "Tough titties, Grandma." Deal with it. If this election turns out the way it's looking now, so that Republicans have been rendered relatively moot and forced to compromise for the next couple of years, then they'll have to muddle through, as our side did for so many years. They've left us a helluva mess to clean up, and we have two years, until mid-term elections to make a dent. If we fail to do it sufficiently, then Americans will correct the problem come 2010, when they get to vote for more members of Congress. That's how the system works. And it does still work, amazingly, though why it does is a bit of a mystery to me.

No party is immune. Nobody is safe. That's what makes democracy democracy.

~C~

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Is He TRYING to Help Obama?

I'm just wondering what side George W. Bush is on these days? I mean, if the Denver Post and the Chicago Tribune, two of the more conservative papers in the country, can turn tide and endorse Obama, maybe W.'s had a change of heart, too. Not that I'm complaining mind you, but the one thing Bush has always seemed fairly good at is winning, no matter what it took. Maybe now that he's not going to be flying on the special plane, he just doesn't give a crap.

I base my speculation on the fact that he gave another press conference today about meeting with European leaders to discuss the shaky world money crisis. Everytime George Bush stands at a podium to discuss the economy, stock values plummet, and John McCain's numbers go right down the drain with them. You'd think he'd get the idea that, if he were any kind of a party-lovin' guy, he'd just stay in the White House and let Hank Paulson handle it.

~C~

The Ideological Landscape of "Pro-America" America



This video for Al-Jazeera English shows two things. One, a whole lot of white people really are kind of bitter and clinging to their guns and religion, and, two, not one of them mentioned John McCain, but seem to think they're voting for Sarah Palin for President. Hmmm....

Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight.com posted an interesting piece about the demographics at Palin rallies versus those at Obama rallies, particularly in light of her comment about being glad to spend time in parts of the nation that were, and I quote, "pro-America." Silver ascertains that "pro-America" to Palin apparently means 88% non-Hispanic white.

Now, granted, Al-Jazeera English might not be the most editorially neutral source in the world, but the good folks of "pro-America" America did speak on camera about their racial prejudices, and did so proudly without hesitation.

All is not lost. This Al-Jazeera interview with two upper-middle class black families in Atlanta acknowledge that racism is still alive and well and living in America, but don't seem to think it will affect the outcome of the election in and of itself.





~C~

Friday, October 17, 2008

I'm Really Trying To Give Republicans The Benefit of the Doubt Regarding Their Native Intelligence

Uber-conservative blogger Michelle Malkin posted this past week that she has been getting highly agitated e-mails from her readership over the frenzy being whipped up by some conservative radio talk show hosts about the "Obama" flag -- a flag appearing onstage behind the Democratic presidential candidate during his recent stump blitz of Ohio. According to the talk show geeks, Obama has taken the American flag and gerrymandered it so that, when he rechristens the country the United Federation of Obama, he'll have an appropriate flag to fly. Click here for a picture of the offending banner. I couldn't believe the story wasn't a hoax, so I went on web safari for someone who actually thought that the flag was some kind of special Obama flag he'd had made up.

Sho' nuff. This off Townhall.com (ironically whilst discussing a hoax post on Michelle Obama), poster Clendon actually wrote that he was concerned that Obama was prepping for total world domination with his flag. Here is my open letter to the presumably (I have faith) intelligent Republicans within the sound of my cybervoice.

Dear Intelligent Republicans (wherever you may be):

This is the kind of stuff that makes us think you're all stupid. It's because the smart ones refuse to rise up against the truly stupid and conquer and subdue them like the wingnuts they are. Please do so at once, and, before you institutionalize them for good and all, perhaps you could inform them that that flag is the STATE FLAG OF OHIO!!!

Thank you for your immediate attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

Catharine.

Where I Was (and Why Nothing Can Phase Me Now)



~C~

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Gone Two Bunchin'!


Yep, I'm going to be gone for a few days, starting Sunday. I'm going to the spa to indulge in treatments and long, loooooongggg soaks in the lithium-laden water of natural desert hot springs. I'm planning on reading, sleeping, eating amazing food and maybe taking an early morning walk in the desert.

I am taking my computer, but the odds are good I won't be blogging. I've decided to relax and put my election neurosis on hold for a few days, while I indulge in a cranial-sacral massage and a lovely mud bath. I'll be back and available to blog probably by Saturday.

Be good. Behave. Drink responsibly. Stay in school. Don't do drugs.

And, since I'm away relaxing, why don't you guys take a little break, too, by flipping through the Christian Science Monitor's Autumn Foliage photo page. If this doesn't lighten your heart, you don't have one, by golly.

~C~

Friday, October 10, 2008

Oh, and PS to the Palin Ethics thing.

I don't care that she breached her ethical obligations as the Governor of Alaska.

I only care that she lied about it. No. Really. It's a question of her honesty and truthfulness. Why was she hiding it? She should be totally honest with the American people. The fact that she hasn't only begs one question.

Just who is Sarah Palin, anyway?

~C~

(Oh, yeah. I'm milkin' this. I'm temporarily changing the blog name from The Catharine Chronicles to Schadenfreude 'R' Us. I just wish I could make the 'R' go backwards. I have to go drink a double espresso latte, stay up all night and think of more ways to gloat now. Buh-bye.)

Palin Cleared. NOT!!!

I admit I'm getting older. Sometimes, I get confused. I forget where I put my car keys. I am constantly misplacing my glasses. And the little round pack of dental floss? Fuhgetaboutit.

Still, this morning, when I began my incredibly tedious routine of catching up on the doings of the world, I was a little thrown off kilter when I read that Sarah Palin had been found to have used her authority as governor improperly by attempting to have Mike Wooten, her ex-in-law fired. (Palin's actual of firing of Monegan, it should be noted, was found to be within Palin's responsibilities.)

See, I could have sworn I read something last night that said that she'd been "cleared" of any wrongdoing. I had assumed, given that the legislative report was due out at any minutes, that this was the official word on the topic. Until this morning, when the official legislative report was released that found Palin to be at fault of improperly using her influence among government employees (Monegan among them) to get her ex-brother-in-law fired.

So, WTF? Was I dreaming? Have I descended into the insanity of this election so completely that I am now dreaming about obscure legislative reports on abuse-of-power allegations. God help me, if I am.

I didn't imagine it or dream it. I just was tired and not paying close enough attention. The report that was released last night came from the McCain/Palin campaign. Let me echo the stylings of our future Vice President Joseph Biden and repeat that -- Sarah Palin cleared herself in the Troopergate investigation.

I know. I keep going back and reading that sentence over and over, trying to wrap my brain around it. "She cleared herself." Then I change the inflection and try it again. "She CLEARED herself." "SHE cleared HERSELF." It hardly helps, does it.

The GOP got together, looked at Todd Palin's testimony and determined that there was no case of abuse of power. All by themselves. And, if that weren't whack enough, they actually released those findings in something that kind of sounded like the Branchflower report. I tell ya, these guys have chutzpah up the ying-yang.

You betcha.

The real report, all 263 pages of it, was released by investigator Stephen Branchflower today, and finds that Palin "abused her power by violating Alaska statute 39.52.110(a) of the Alaska Executive Branch ethics act. Alaska statute 39.52.110(a) provides 'the legislature reaffirms that each public officer holds office as a public trust and any effort to benefit a personal or financial interest through official action is a violation of that trust."

So far, everyone has been saying that this is the "dirtiest" campaign and this is the most "hate-driven" campaign and this is the most "hotly contested" campaign (though I seem to remember them all being "hotly contested"). I'll leave that to a little more time and perspective to judge.

But right now, this minute, I think we can safely say this campaign is the WEIRDEST we've had, in, like EVER!!!!

I leave for the spa on Sunday. Please help me get through this with some of my sanity intact.

~C~

This Just In: Tucker Bounds is the Dumbest Person on the Planet!

I mean, it just gets to the point where you can't even comment on this stuff. The McCain campaign is so very desperate, so pathetic and at their wits' ends, that they end up spouting the most ridiculous tripe. You just have to put it in the blog post as is, and hope that someone will write in and explain it to you, in English. With proper punctuation. Cuz....

Damn.

In response to Barack Obama's stump speeches today, accusing John McCain of trying to "turn the page" on the economic crisis with personal attacks against the Democratic candidate, McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds had this to say in a formal press release sent to TIME magazine:
“Instead of acknowledging the real differences that exist in this election, Barack Obama is using America’s economic crisis to deflect legitimate criticisms of himself and his record. Now, more than ever, Americans should be scrutinizing Barack Obama’s role in shielding Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from increased regulation. Voters deserve a real debate about Barack Obama’s proposals for one trillion dollars in new government spending and tax increases on small businesses – when Americans can afford neither. At a time when hardworking families face uncertainty and a historic decision in November, they expect more than Barack Obama’s self-interested calls to stifle any inquiry into his record or his past.” —Tucker Bounds, spokesman McCain-Palin 2008
So, Barack Obama is using the most serious economic implosion in 75 years to distract the voters from what's really important... William Ayers. What's worse, the clever tactic that the crafty, cagey Senator Obama is using to distract the voters during these difficult economic times when hardworking Americans can think only of issues involving fiscal security and employment is... to discuss the economy.

And now I have a headache in my eye.

~C~

Who?



That's who.

~C~

Thursday, October 09, 2008

What If They DO Have a Plan?

What if the current tactics of McCain and Palin, which have been clearly backfiring against them in the polls, which have been resulting in a rising in feverish hostility and overt anger at campaign stops, and which seem, to any sane, rational individual to be scattershot and counter-productive, aren't really about trying to turn the independent and undecided voters McCain's way?

What if we're missing the whole point? What if the entire purpose of sending the womenfolk to do his dirty work, of using the hate speech and subtle racial innuendo and epithets, of invoking the middle name issue, of linking Obama to a now-reformed former terrorist-turned-education professor, is to actually incite the McCain/Palin base... to violence?

John McCain has been doing this for a while. He better than anyone knows what his base is capable of. What if he decided that Obama would be easier to beat if... well, let's just say, if he were out of the race. Permanently.

Or am I just being paranoid?

Before you answer, here are two videos where McCain/Palin supporters, on their way to rallies, declare their belief that if Obama is elected president, the country will be run by a terrorist. A mob mentality is forming within the McCain/Palin base, and both candidates seem totally okay with that.





Secret Service is investigating both the "Terrorist!" shout-out and the "Kill him!" threat. I'm a little surprised that people standing in the vicinity of these incidents haven't come out. (I'm assuming they haven't -- perhaps they have, but the Secret Service hasn't divulged it due to the ongoing investigation). I certainly hope that they would. I know that all Republicans aren't violent and evil. You'd think somebody would have come out against it.

This reminds me of the "pro-life" inciters who encouraged violence against abortion doctors, then, when one was murdered by Eric Rudolph, stood quietly by for FOUR DAYS without a single word disavowing the act. Those people -- the conservative, white Christian fundies, who consider themselves true America-loving Americans -- are these people in the video. And in this article by Daniel Lubetzky, originally published on HuffPost, the scene reminds him of the weeks and months leading up to the assassination of Yitzak Rabin, when ultra-right Israeli radicals roused the rabble continuously until, on November 4th, 1995, one of them killed him. Election Day will be the thirteenth anniversary of Rabin's death, perhaps not coincidentally.

Frankly, it's the "ordinary, small-town people," with their small-town religion, and their small-town values, and their small-town attitudes about race, culture and anything foreign that scare the hell out of me. Rabin's assassin, Yigal Amir, was born in Herzliya, Israel, population 84,000. Here in America, that qualifies as a fairly small town.

~C~

Dear Incredibly Stupid People

Your panic is screwing the rest of us.

Calm the fuck down.

Grow the fuck up.

Go the fuck home.

Buy rice and beans (and soup).

Then, wait it out.

(Sheesh. You know we're in trouble when the only grown-up in the room seems to be ME!!!)

~C~

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Governors Who Live In Glass Houses

Here are some facts and affiliations about the Alaska Independence Party that indicate that, although they claim to uphold the US Constitution, it is merely trickery and obfuscation. Listen carefully to the first speaker, Dexter Clark, as he says that the governor they endorsed (in '06), Sarah Palin, got elected. And then watch him say that several organizations, including Christian Exodus and the Free State movement (not sure if he means "project" or not) are in favor of infiltrating government office by slapping on a Republican label, presumably for the purposes of achieving secession. Bear in mind this video was recorded in November of 2007. For this year's conference, Governor Sarah Palin recorded a welcome video in which she urged the AIP to "keep up the good work."



Christian Exodus, in case you're wondering, is a fundamentalist right-wing Christian organization that proposes congregating their people in one places and making a stand against the "financially and morally bankrupt American empire." (Well, they've got us there, I guess.)

But back to the AIP:

Their platform begins with the following:
  1. To effect full compliance with the constitutions of the United States of America and the State of Alaska.
  2. To support and defend States' Rights, Individual Rights, Property Rights, and the Equal Footing Doctrine as guaranteed by the constitutions of the United States of America and the state of Alaska.
So, if we are to believe these words then how do we reconcile them with those of Dexter Clark, who counsels the "infiltration" of high government office by candidates labeled as Republicans. Why would you need to "infiltrate" a government to which you belonged and believed in? And, if what Dexter Clark says is true, and bearing in mind that Sarah Palin is registered under the Republican banner, and bearing in mind that Todd Palin was registered with AIP until 2002, when he changed is registration to "undeclared," then how can we possibly trust that Palin isn't a part of Dexter Clark's dastardly plot to ascend secessionist sympathizers into high national office in order to secure Alaska's freedom from the tyranny of the United States of America.

Finally, a little bit about Joe Vogler, the founder of the Alaska Independence Party. Two quotes to ruminate over from the video:
"The fires of hell are frozen glaciers compared to my hatred for the American government. And I won’t be buried under their damn flag. I’ll be buried in Dawson. And when Alaska is an independent nation they can bring my bones home.”
And,
“I’m an Alaskan, not an American. I’ve got no use for America or her damned institutions."
And I'm almost sure he wasn't wearing a flag lapel pin when he was saying them.

Did Sarah Palin "pal around" with Joe Vogler? Probably not. See, Joe Vogler was killed in 1993, murdered during an attempt to illegally purchase plastic explosives. But by the time Todd Palin joined the party barely two years later, the whole story of Joe Vogler and his intentions for the AIP were widely publicized. Volger is still lionized by the party, and the memorial written to him 13 years ago still appears on their website (without the telling quotes and the circumstances of his death, of course).

And yet this very year, Sarah Palin encouraged the AIP, a party dedicated to "infiltrating" high office under the Republican banner, consorting with borderline fringe groups like the Christian Exodus, and founded by a man who, by his own admission, hated America with all his heart, to "keep up the good work."

That's a big, shiny glass house.

~C~

Gee, I'm Glad I'm From Where I'm From

In this post from Politico.com, Ben Smith reports his conversation with a young Obama canvasser circulating through working class neighborhoods in Philadelphia. According to Smith, this story is not the exception, but rather the rule for Obama campaigners in middle-class working neighborhoods throughout the hotly contested states in the Rust Belt.
"What's crazy is this," he writes. "I was blown away by the outright racism, but these folks are f***ing undecided. They would call him a n----r and mention how they don't know what to do because of the economy."
That's okay. They all have their hatred and bigotry to keep them warm through the winter.

~C~

WOOT!

Gallup Daily: Obama’s Lead Over McCain Expands to 11

That said, let's keep in mind what is true about pre-election polling, according to this piece by Open Left's Chris Bower.

Bower points out that the largest margin for victory in the past 16 national elections has been 8.51% (Clinton in 96), and that these days, a "landslide" is considered between 5-8%.

So, yes, 11% is good news, because, one, it indicates a causative response to last night's debates (which is that, yes, Republicans, Obama won), and, two, it beats the polling margin for error and indicates a true lead among likely voters.

Still, be prepared. The numbers will come down, at least a little. It's almost a certainty.

~C~

"Slug Fest?" Not.

After predictions that McCain would continue to Obama's the harsh attacks he and his running mate were conducting outside Obama's presence, nothing even half so engaging took place between the candidates. Apparently, face to face confrontation is not how McCain rolls. I guess when you get older, and you're not in good health, and you're short, confronting a six-foot-three inch guy that's not quite two-thirds your age lacks a certain appeal.

All in all, it was fairly civilized. There were some tense moments, and a few telling moments ("...that one").

Polls are indicating it was all in Obama's favor -- if for no other reason than John McCain didn't blow everyone away, which is what he needed to do to change the descending course of his campaign.

McCain's new strategy this morning has taken an interesting turn, though. He's basically decided to start telling people that what they're seeing, they're not rally seeing. McCain's new campaign ad says that Obama simply isn't presidential. Last night's post-debate commentary was only unanimous on one thing, by both Republican pundits and Democratic ones. The only person on that stage who looked even remotely presidential was Barack Obama.

~C~

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Cindy, I Think I Liked You Better When You Were On The Meds

At least then, I had sympathy for you, especially given the mean old man you have had to live with every day for the last thirty-some-odd years (didn't think about that when you married a guy twice your age all those years ago, did you?).

Today, Cindy McCain said at an appearance a children's hospital that Barack Obama has run the "dirtiest campaign in American history." Maybe the prescription drug use has damaged her memory. In 2000, her husband was neck and neck with George W. Bush in the primaries when a Karl Rove-engineered smear campaign used anonymous push-polling phone assault called to attack Mrs. McCain's marital fidelity, rehash her admitted past use of prescription drugs, and, worst of all, the parentage of her adopted daughter (who is dark-skinned and Bangladeshi by birth), playing on Southern voters' deepest, most primal hatred of blacks. It worked. McCain ended up losing. Badly.

I guess at some point Cindy McCain figured that, because it was an attack generated by fellow Republicans, it wasn't really so bad after all. Not in the grand scheme of things. Not when you compare the political strategy of linking her husband with his buddy, George W. Bush, and all his policies. Or mentioning that, if we're going to get into a game of the dozens about past associations, Charles Keating and his service on the board of the U.S. Council for World Freedom (a group that the ADL labeled said at the time "has increasingly become a gathering place, a forum, a point of contact for extremists, racists and anti-Semites") might be something that voters would want to hear (we don't, really, but it's only fair to bring it up, given Radio-Free Palin's idiotic accusations that Obama is a terrorist). No, no. Calling your adopted daughter the bastard offspring of an illicit affair of your husband's? Well, these things happen during a campaign, and all's fair in love and war when you're a Republican, I guess.

Pitiful. Lady, pick one of your seventeen (seven? seventy?) houses and go there and rest quietly, because you are too mentally fragile to be allowed to go on. I do sympathize with you to some extent. I know what it's like to live with someone who bullies and dominates you, someone determined to kill your very soul to inflate his pathetic ego. (I'm only guessing, of course, but I have a knack for sussing this stuff out.)

One of the reasons I went from admiring John McCain (ca. 2000) to hating him with all my might, both as a politician and as a human being is that he proved that nothing was more important to him as becoming President. Not his values. Not his service to his country. Not his wife or his children. When the McCains sat down and decided to surround themselves with the very same people -- or proteges of the same people -- who conducted a sleazy, disgusting attack on their child, because they wanted to win that badly, I came to see them for what they were.

John McCain wants more than anything in the world to be President of the United States. He needs it. Requires it. It has been on his list of Things To Do for a very long time. And this is his very last chance. And his wife, who is probably at her heart a sweet, good-hearted person, wants for her husband everything he wants. I would imagine that a thwarted John McCain is no fun to live with. Fortunately, she does have a few places to go to get away from him, and her own funds to get there. But these are two people who will do anything to win, even if it means tossing their family under the Straight Talk Express to get there.

~C~

And Then There's the Fact that He's NUTS!

At first, I thought it might be some DNC negative campaigning. I mean, I couldn't believe that John McCain would actually be so incredibly dim as to make this proposition on his own. Surely, it must be an exaggeration, right?

No way would an experienced politician whose served in public office for over 40 years, who has had to campaign to hold his various offices over and over, who has watched the goings on and doings of the Beltway -- no way would this politician be so crazy as to suggest that one of the ways he's planning to offset the cost of his wacky healthcare proposal is by raiding Medicare and Medicaid. And to the tune of $1.5 trillion*, no less. Remember, this gem of an idea was in the works as far back as last spring -- when $1.5 trillion dollars was still a lot of money.

And though Obama talked about this in a stump speech in Ashville, North Carolina, yesterday, no one truly believed it. Not really. Until some digging turned up this below-the-radar statement by McCain's senior policy advisor, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, cutting funds for Medicare and Medicaid has always been a part of his "cost-neutral" healthcare plan. Which is interesting because neither McCain nor Palin have mentioned it in any of their discussions on McCain's healthcare plan.

I'm trying to figure out the logic here. I guess it's just logical that, if you want to pay for healthcare for children, you should probably get it by cutting the benefits from the elderly. After all, children are our future. Old people are our past. And we know how much the McCain/Palin ticket hates looking at the past.

Still, this is an issue which could seal McCain's electoral fate once and for all. On October 1st, CNN's resident electoral and poll expert, John King, told John Roberts that the demographic he would be watching most intently was voters over fifty. King contended that, though previously one of McCain's most reliable demographic in the past, concerns over retirement caused them to start defecting to Obama. What will the news that McCain wants to slash their potential retirement healthcare do to reassure them?

The Republicans have already ceded Michigan to the Obama campaign. Can they really afford to lose Florida, too? It's a nutty idea, and worse still, it's the same nutty idea that Bush came out with in 2000.

Why does John McCain hate old people?

~C~

Monday, October 06, 2008

Dear Senator McCain,

Lesson #1 about playing the "Guilt by Association" Game....

It plays both ways.



Here are the highlights:

Five senators were questioned by the Senate over Charles Keating's plundering and subsequent destruction of Lincoln Savings and Loan, which kicked off the last huge lending institution meltdown in America. Of the five, the Senate committee determined that John McCain had the "closest personal relationship" with Keating and "benefitted the most from their association." (The Senate Committee's words, not mine.)

In the end, the Committee determined the following actions against the Senators: One was reprimanded, two were criticized for impropriety. Two -- including McCain -- were cleared of impropriety, but strongly criticized for "poor judgement." Because shouldn't a guy know just exactly who's hanging out at his house, whose vacation home he's relaxing in, whose campaign contributions totalling thousands of dollars over several years? Shouldn't a guy who knows another guy that well know better what that guy is up to.

And, if a guy doesn't know, or knows but doesn't care, what does that say about a guy's judgement?

~C~

The New Yorker Officially Makes It's Pick For President



The October 13th issue of The New Yorker magazine leads with it's official endorsement of Barack Obama, including this intensely moving editorial that expresses every hope I have for the future of this country.

~C~

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Sunday Night Wrap-Up

Well, after spending the weekend tending my sick cat and watching every weekend political show I could get my TIVO on, here's what I learned:
  1. The McCain/Palin strategy of bringing up Bill Ayers and Reverend Wright to try and defame Barack Obama will probably not work because a) McCain's past associations are potentially more damaging (like Charles Keating), and b) no one gives a flying crap about Bill Ayers because they're way to busy trying to figure out if they'll still be employed next month.
  2. Obama has little he must do over the next month, short of swatting the prevarication flies that Palin sends his way.
  3. Our economy will survive this major bump in the road, and the bail-out will be completely renegotiated and reworked sometime next spring, after the next president gets through his first 100 days.
  4. The economy isn't going away.
  5. Middle America may like to watch Sarah Palin, but it is entirely possible they won't vote for her because the head of her ticket is a bit too "out there."
  6. "Populism," as branded by Sarah Palin, could be one of the most politically destructive forces to come down the pike in a century (since the last time "populism" came down the pike).
  7. The failure of our government and the relatively uninformed American voter can be summed up in Sarah Palin's inability to name for Katie Couric a single Supreme Court case she disagreed with besides Roe v. Wade -- in short, the failure of American public schools to teach a comprehensive curriculum of American history to American children.
  8. Sarah Palin said something in the debate that I didn't catch until the replay this weekend, and it really made sense to me, so I thought I'd share it. She said: "Diplomacy is hard work by serious people." And then she winked. (Let's see her try that one with Ahmadinejad!)
  9. WSJ columnist Peggy Noonan is still my absolute favorite conservative journalist to date. And I bought her book this weekend, just to prove the point. She's a reminder that once, years before the Crazy Christians got a hold of the party, there were many, many thoughtful, intelligent reasonable people in the GOP.
So that's what I learned today. I found a new one (which is probably not new, but is new to me). Beyond the Politics on CNN, hosted by Bill Bennett. Not sure if I like it or not. I was too distracted by the vomiting cat to really be paying close attention. I'll let you know what I think in a week or so.

~C~

Saturday, October 04, 2008

October is the Longest Month.

Brace yourself. Republicans have already stated in today's Washington Post that the only way John McCain thinks he can win in November is to use every negative, dirty trick in the book.

October is going to be a very, very long month.

~C~

P.S. Oh, Goddess... save us from very old men who have become desperately aware of their own mortality and fallibility.

Here's A Thought That Just Occurred to Me (Sometime About Three Weeks Ago)

Could it be that Princess Folksie McHockeyMom wasn't the biggest albatross around John McCain's neck? Could it be that the biggest handicap in his campaign is....

John McCain?

Guess we'll have to watch and find out.

~C~

Let That Be A Lesson To You

CNN - O.J. Simpson guilty of armed robbery, kidnapping

You can cut off your ex-wife's head and kill her young beau on the doorstep of the condominium where your children sleep upstairs, but don't you dare get caught trying to boost sports memorabilia in Vegas at gunpoint, man.

Tough town, Vegas.

~C~

Friday, October 03, 2008

Blame Game, Palin Style

Do you know who is really to blame for the predicament we find ourselves in as a country today?

You are.

And this time, I'm not being sarcastic or ironic.

Admittedly that is a generalization, so let me be specific. If you genuinely think that Sarah Palin "delivered," "didn't embarrass herself," "did well," "aced" or in any other way performed successfully in her debate with Joseph Biden, then this entire mess that we're in now is all your fault, and the rest of us hate your ugly guts.

American Heritage Dictionary defines "debate" as follows:
To consider something; deliberate.
To engage in argument by discussing opposing points.
To engage in a formal discussion or argument.
Obsolete To fight or quarrel.
There was no serious argument on that stage last night. It was a constant volley back and forth of Biden displaying his vast experience and knowledge, and Sarah Palin winking and flirting with the camera, refusing to answer the questions as posed, and being forthright in her rudeness and disrespectfulness, both to Biden and to moderator Gwen Ifill.

I find it offensive that, simply because she didn't explode in a heaping pile of steam and female body parts like some overstimulated fembot, it is assumed that Sarah Palin had a successful debate. If that mugging, flirtatious, disrespectful, arrogant little performance had been delivered by a man, he'd have been ridden out of Washington on a rail. But because Sarah Palin is (and, so help me, I swore I'd never stoop to using this expression, but she has forced me into it) Washington's M.I.L.F. du jour, she does what she's always done -- sailed through her life on her looks and her cunning, slippery charm.

Sarah Palin was an embarrassment last night. She came armed with buzzwords and catch phrases and talking points and delivered them all with the shallow, blustery ignorance she's become known for in the past six weeks. She was a humiliation to any woman aspiring to high office -- the exact kind of frothy lightweight that men have been saying we are for years. Her vacuousness, her lack of awareness of her surroundings, her bloodless, lifeless recitation of all that had been crammed into her head over the past few weeks was a reinforcement of the idea that a woman exists simply as a vessel by which men bring forth their issue -- whether biological or ideological.

The number of people who have dismissed and permitted this wreckless display of ignorance and sexism by saying "a tie is a win" shocks me. Number one, a tie is a tie, not a win. Not imploding is not the same as being truly victorious. Number two, it wasn't even a tie. Her head didn't explode. To imply that that's good enough because, really, what more can you expect from a mere woman is an insult to genuinely intelligent women who hold or aspire to hold high office everywhere. Sarah Palin managed to set women back three whole decades with that pitiful display last night. Frankly, it was the ultimate "dumbing down" of the debate process that -- and this is saying a lot for me -- set a new low, previously held by George W. Bush's monkey-like performances in 2000. When you can stand at a podium and make George Bush look competent and smart, it's time to pack up the four-inch stilettos and go home.

And if you think for one minute that that stunningly pale, transparent, nauseating display of mindless coquettery was a "win," then you have exactly the government and country you deserve.

~C~

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Hey, Joe, What D'Ya Know? (On Second Thought, Don't Answer That.)

Dear Joe --

It's not that I don't think you're a crack debater and sterling public speaker. You had moments of sheer and delightful brilliance at the Convention.

But you and I both know you have this... tendency. It's that thing that happens to your mouth when you, like, talk. That thing where say things like, "When the crash of '29 happened, Franklin Roosevelt went on television and talked about it." (By now, you have been reminded that in '29, Hoover was still president, and the television wasn't invented for another two decades.) That stuff happens with you, though I'm not sure why.

Listen to me carefully, Joe, because I say this for your own good. Please do not do anything like that tonight. Don't be cunning. Don't be precious. Please resist all temptation to be clever in any way. See, the truth is, it's all on her to prove herself. If you get a little anxious, you're going to blow it. If you try and get clever, you're going to end up saying something that we'll all regret. You'll want to steer clear of any references to inventing anything technological, like the Internet or the Blackberry. You'll also want to stay away from any topics having to do with FDR and television, since that seems to be a shaky period in history for you.

Best of luck to you, Senator. Be fair, be gracious, be as you were on Convention night, and we'll all be fine.

~C~

Psst. Sarah... Lemme Help You Out Here.

Dear Sarah --

This is painful. Just freakin' painful, and I can't stand it anymore. I know it's kind of cheating, but I'm going to help you out here because I just can't stand it anymore. In case Katie asks you the question again, here's an example of a controversial Supreme Court decision.

Exxon Shipping v. Baker.

It was handed down in June of this year. It was the decision that supported a lower court's decision to drastically lower the punitive damages Exxon was required to pay for the Exxon Valdez catastrophy. I know it's controversial, because when it was handed down, the Anchorage Daily News quoted a highly placed Alaskan official as saying:
"I am extremely disappointed with today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court. While the decision brings some degree of closure to Alaskans suffering from 19 years of litigation and delay, the Court gutted the jury’s decision on punitive damages... It is tragic that so many Alaska fishermen and their families have had their lives put on hold waiting for this decision. My heart goes out to those affected, especially the families of the thousands of Alaskans who passed away while waiting for justice."
And I'm pretty sure that that would qualify as a Supreme Court decision with which you disagreed, since the above quote was made....

...by you. In June. This past June. Three months ago.

Good luck tonight. Please don't make me cringe anymore than necessary. Thanks.

~C~

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

The Old (Electoral) College Try

As of today, the electoral college is looking exactly the way I like it.

<p><strong>><a href='http://projects.washingtonpost.com/2008/pick-your-president/'>2008 Election Contest: Pick Your President</a></strong> - Predict the winner of the 2008 presidential election and enter to win a $500 prize.</p>

Fingers crossed, it stays this way. Or gets bluer.

~C~