Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Arrogance + Corruption + Victim Mentality = Today's GOP

Example 15,786. I'd like to think he's kidding...

Three Stooges (or Not One Iota Of Taint)

So, it's not bad enough that the corrupt and unfortunately-named Gov. Blagojevich gets busted in a colossally arrogant and monumentally stupid game of pay to play. Now he decides to stick his finger in the eye of his fellow Dems by naming a successor to Obama's senate seat. This is obnoxious (and just dick-y) on many levels, but leave those aside for a second and chew on the amateurish quality of yesterday's announcement presser:


I had to double check to make sure this wasn't an SNL skit, it was so bad. How in the world did these bumbling clowns get elected in the first place? I'm embarrassed for their constituents.

Now, put aside their clumsy performance and ponder just what you heard: A corrupt, inept governor cloaking himself with the constitution and insisting we take his appointee seriously (as well as insisting on his innocence). His appointee stumbling and bumbling his way through non-answers to serious questions, and a colleague invoking god and playing the race card so blatantly, so brazenly, that one wonders about the old goat's medication.

I mean, can you believe that this guy Rush is actually daring senators to not accept Burris because he's black? In this, of all, years? That he still thinks that kind of shit will fly is evidence not only that the guy is shameless beyond measure, but that he's utterly out of touch. It's fucking disgusting.

This is embarrassing as hell to Democrats and is one reason why I change my party affiliation to Independent when they are in power. I'm proud to be a liberal (with libertarian leanings), but not interested in being in a party that's either supine or stupid (or both) depending on the hour. I'm hopeful that Obama's statement against Blago's action provides enough political cover for other Dems to ignore Rush's statement. But I'm not betting the farm.

Update: On a less serious note, if I were them, I wouldn't be flying the word "taint" around as much as they do.

Update II: Jeez, it just keeps going...


Well, as HuffPo's Jason Linkin writes: "That's the question that Roland Burris is raising, anyway!"

But wait, there's more from Congressman Rush:



A higher principle indeed.

Update III: The sweet, bumbling Burris has a fairly high opinion of himself. Cheesy with extra cheese on top.

Update IV: In the span of two weeks, Burris comes to see the higher principle that Rush brought to light:

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Country In Flames

Incredible shots from the Greek riots, including one of 15-year-old Alexandros Grigoropoulos, the teenager whose fatal shooting by Athens policemen started it all. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Arrogant, Entitlement-Riddled, Undemocratic Stench Of Dynastic Politics

Back to politics already. I haven't had much to say lately, so forgive my sudden plunge back in the shark infested waters of national politics, but this whole Caroline Kennedy thing has me irked. Despite thinking of her exactly...never, before this year, I appreciated that she came out for Obama back in February and persuaded Teddy to endorse him as well. And I'm sure she's done plenty of good in her life. But why, why, should she be considered for appointment to a newly vacant senate seat? If she wants the seat, run for it, just like Hillary did. But to get it as an appointment?

This is nepotistic, dynastic politics taken to an absurd level. It's undemocratic, feels vaguely un-American, and sends a terrible message. I can't for the life of me understand why anyone thinks this is a good idea. 

I mean, okay, I understand that there is a mystique around the Kennedys that sways people, but still...c'mon. I just don't get it. 

Firstly, the clan just doesn't move me. I am just so over the Kennedys and the insufferable Boomer mythology around them, that I can barely stand to hear the name. I get that JFK was a huge figure and that Teddy has been an incredible lawmaker and stalwart liberal voice. But unless one of them is getting their hands dirty as public servants, I don't care about them. (And why would I, right?) Secondly, even if I was moved by their je ne sais quoi, I'd think this is a bad idea. It smacks of the entitlement—no, it is entitlement…in action. There are far more qualified pols (like Nita Lowry for one example) who have been in the trenches busting ass to get shit done. They have paid their dues and they have the legislative experience. Caroline has star power (apparently), but can she legislate? What does she bring to the table other than her family's name and the celebrity that comes along with it?

This is not a sign of a healthy republic and if it weren't for Obama's election, I'd be more worried than irritated. We've just had a once in a generation election—one which restored both a sense of possibility and confidence in the meritocratic ideals that are woven into the fabric of our collective story. Caroline Kennedy's appointment to Hilary's seat would fly in the face of both. It would undercut the raison d'etre of the campaign chosen by the American people, as well as the country's founding ideals. 

Whether Bushes, Kennedys, or any of the other political families out there, a pox on all their houses as long as they keep squeezing other, lesser-known, higher-qualified people out of the process. 

Their arrogance makes me sick.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Silversun Pickups

I don't remember how, but I discovered this band earlier this year and fell in love with their song (and its cute, nostalgia-inducing video), "Lazy Eye." The band is from L.A. and has a sort of low-fi, indy sound. Lots of fuzzy guitars and distorted vocals. 

With a female bass player who shares vocals with a male front man, and the soft-loud-soft thing, they obviously invite comparisons to the Pixies. But they remind me more of Smashing Pumpkins or a poppier, more structured Sonic Youth. But never mind comparisons, they stand on their own. 

Anyway, if you're into that sort of thing, go to their website and check them out. I especially recommend the "Lazy Eye" video, but the video for "Kissing Families" is pretty cool, too. (I'd embed them, but they don't offer the option.)

Oh, Snap!

The inimitable Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) on the transition:
"[Obama's] going to have to be more assertive than he's been. At a time of great crisis with mortgage foreclosures and autos, he says we only have one president at a time. I'm afraid that overstates the number of presidents we have."

Friday, November 28, 2008

Vote For My Big Daddy

Ewwwwwwwwwww!



Dude, watch where you put that hand!

Best. Phone. Ever.

It's hard to believe but someone's built a better all-in-one phone+ device than Apple. Go check out the Pomegranate…and be prepared to be impressed.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Some Blunt Advice

Screw Lonely Planet, here's the guide you really need when traveling abroad.
Guide to Smoking Pot Around the World
Despite the popularity of weed and hash, most governments in the world have deemed it harmful to the individual and society as a whole.

There are only 11 nations in the world where weed and hash have been decriminalized. A handful of countries impose mandatory prison sentences and other harsh punishments for the possession or sale of any form of weed and hash. Another handful look the other way when dealing with cannabis.

Some places that are easy on weed heads can be broken up by region:

Click here for the low down.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Change We Can Believe In

I've been itching for a while now to give the blog a facelift and decided it's finally time. Hope you don't hate it too much.

Comeuppance

One almost feels badly for our failed boy king.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Back To The Future

A funny and serious encomium to our First Lady-to-be's booty.
But what really thrills me, what really feels liberating in a very personal way, is the official new prominence of Michelle Obama. Barack's better half not only has stature but is statuesque. She has coruscating intelligence, beauty, style and -- drumroll, please -- a butt. (Yes, you read that right: I'm going to talk about the first lady's butt.)

As America fretted about Obama's exoticism and he sought to calm the waters with speeches about unity and common experience, Michelle's body was sending a different message: To hell with biracialism! Compromise, bipartisanship? Don't think so. Here was one clear signifier of blackness that couldn't be tamed, muted or otherwise made invisible. It emerged right before our eyes, in the midst of our growing uncertainty about everything, and we were too bogged down in the daily campaign madness to notice. The one clear predictor of success that the pundits, despite all their fancy maps, charts and holograms, missed completely? Michelle's butt.

Lord knows, it's time the butt got some respect. Ever since slavery, it's been both vilified and fetishized as the most singular of all black female features, more unsettling than dark skin and full lips, the thing that marked black women as uncouth and not quite ready for civilization (of course, it also made them mighty attractive to white men, which further stoked fears of miscegenation that lay at the heart of legal and social segregation). In modern times, the butt has demarcated class and stature among black society itself. Emphasizing it or not separates dignified black women from ho's, party girls from professionals, hip-hop from serious. (Black women are not the only ones with protruding behinds, by the way, but they're certainly considered its source. How many gluteally endowed nonblack women have been derided for having a black ass? Well, Hillary, for one.)

But Michelle is bringing those two falsely divided minds together in a single presentation -- finally, unity for the real world! Talk about a power base. Thanks to Michelle, looking professional and provocative in a distinctly black way will become not only acceptable but also part of a whole presidential look that's more, well, inclusive.

P.S. Bonus points killer use of coruscating.

That's A Relief!

Cute. 

Life

Google has archived Life magazine pics from the 1860s onward. Enjoy

h/t: Daily Dish

Monday, November 17, 2008

Sarah, Plain And Small

Vanity Fair's James Wolcott bemoans the never-ending soap opera of Bible Spice:
Que Sera, Sarah
It isn't that I loathe or fear Sarah Palin. It's that she grates. If she were any more grating, she could cut cheddar.…
Sarah Palin isn't pursuing mere transient fame but actual power, a pursuit driven by a brassy assurance shielding an apparent lack of knowledge about nearly everything and a breathtaking complacency about that voluminous lack. She doesn't seem to care about what she doesn't know, it doesn't seem to register that what she doesn't know might matter and might be worth knowing even if it didn't. Her sentences seem to be missing vital ligaments when she speaks, yielding a concrete poetry similar to Rumsfeld's musings but with nil intellectual content (Rumsfeld's known unknowns and unknown unknowns at least had an ontological coherence).
 Now we're stuck with her twangy shtick and her family soap opera, which makes the former Clinton saga look like Les Sylphides. Just as Al Gore must live with the shame of elevating Joe Lieberman to the national stage, no act of contrition John McCain can perform will be penance enough for foisting Sarah Palin on us, subjecting us to her supreme sense of entitlement.

I love Wolcott. He's an adult version of Christopher Hitchens—what Hitch could be if he'd outgrow his adolescence. Rapier wit, dry sense of humor, and none of the bilious qualities.

A Real Leader

From Obama's 60 Minutes interview:
Kroft: Does doing something about energy is it less important now than...

Mr. Obama: It's more important. It may be a little harder politically, but it's more important.

Kroft: Why?

Mr. Obama: Well, because this has been our pattern. We go from shock to trance. You know, oil prices go up, gas prices at the pump go up, everybody goes into a flurry of activity. And then the prices go back down and suddenly we act like it's not important, and we start, you know filling up our SUVs again.

And, as a consequence, we never make any progress. It's part of the addiction, all right. That has to be broken. Now is the time to break it.
Emphasis added. Can you believe we now have a president (elect) that speaks like this? My skin is bruised from pinching myself.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

In Like A Lion

On to more harmonious topics. Here's Ron Suskind on the beginnings and ends of political eras:
CHANGE
Eras end with a whisper, with reflection and the quiet drift preceding sleep. They start with a roar, the declaration that a particular dawn is different from all its predecessors — a case made, day by day, over years of sunrises.

Across the country, a wave was gathering force. But it was diffuse, difficult to measure and seemed to be coming from many directions, many sources at once.
And a bit about the man who grabbed the moment:
Obama sat quietly for a moment, and everyone waited. “This I know: When I raise my hand and take that oath of office, I think the world will look at us differently,” he said. “And millions of kids across this country will look at themselves differently.”

Obama understood, through his own search for identity, how America’s seminal struggle over race was part of a wider story, of a search for dignity and hope that defined the lives of countless people throughout the world. A battered America, he felt, was ready, even anxious, to prove the truth of its sacred oaths — liberty, justice and equality. To show the world. If, through his own ambitions, he could offer his country a chance to step forward, it might rise to the occasion.

And it did, with astonishing speed. You could see it so clearly that night, the last night of a historic 21-month campaign, that last rally, in Manassas, Va. By 10 p.m., there were 90,000 people gathered in the Prince William County Fairgrounds. They’d been gathering since midafternoon. And it was America. Make no mistake. This was border territory, where the edge of Washington’s Northern Virginia suburbs meets the true Old Dominion. Starbucks gives way to gun shops, whole grains to grits and whatever liquid can get you drunk fast.

Prop 8 Push Back

So, now conservatives are whining because of the push back on Prop 8? All I can muster is a big, Waaa. Politics ain't beanbag kiddos. You want to go around disenfranchising fellow countrymen and creating second-class citizens you'd better be prepared to take some hits. 

Here's TBogg from Firedoglake's commentary:  
Blowback is a bitch
The kind of person who contributes money to deny their fellow citizens their civil rights are not someday magically going to be part of the solution: they're the problem. These are not people to be reasoned with; they're ignorant, they're haters and they're bigots and the only thing people like that understand is power.

So when they stick their noses in other people's affairs, they forfeit the right to be considered just another "ordinary person". They're involved and they would be foolish to expect that those other people in whose private affairs they have meddled wouldn't return the favor. As they say: you pays your money and you takes your chances.
Couldn't have said it better.

Click here for a list of those who contributed to Prop 8.

And By Their Fruit, Ye Shall Know Them

While America's favorite child-abusing, polygamist cult is responsible for tipping the balance, it looks like it was one of the world's oldest child-abusing cults that invited them into the mix. Via NYT:
Mormons Tipped Scale in Ban on Gay Marriage

First approached by the Roman Catholic archbishop of San Francisco a few weeks after the California Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in May, the Mormons were the last major religious group to join the campaign, and the final spice in an unusual stew that included Catholics, evangelical Christians, conservative black and Latino pastors, and myriad smaller ethnic groups with strong religious ties.

Shortly after receiving the invitation from the San Francisco Archdiocese, the Mormon leadership in Salt Lake City issued a four-paragraph decree to be read to congregations, saying “the formation of families is central to the Creator’s plan,” and urging members to become involved with the cause.

“And they sure did,” Mr. Schubert said.
Lovely people, these.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I Can Haz Blog Post?

Via Salon, an interesting take on the bizarre lolcat phenomenon.

Choice cut:
What makes lolcats different from the cat porn of the past -- the motivational posters of the '70s and '80s featuring furry kittens hanging from tree limbs, covered in toilet paper or in some other kind of adorable predicament -- is that lolcats aren't trying to be cute. In the cat-based imagery of ages past, cats retain their iconic traits: curiosity, skittishness, the tendency to curl up in a ball and just lie there. Even the YouTube cats of today perform characteristically catlike actions, repeatedly flushing toilets, dragging their paws along piano keys or getting flung off the ends of treadmills.

Lolcats are different in that the characters they portray -- and yes, they are portraying characters -- don't represent cats at all. They're a completely different kind of beast, mischievous (if incompetent) rascals, scheming for cheeseburgers and stopping at nothing to get them.

Take the lolcat that started it all, created by a Hawaiian blogger named Eric Nakagawa, who posted it in January 2007. The image features a cat with a crazed look of pure animal hunger, its eyes maniacal with desire, asking, "I can has cheezburger?" Underneath is the comment: "The Internet's piece de resistance, the website's raison d'etre."

This ur-lolcat created such a sensation that Nakagawa turned it into a blog, spawning not only the eponymous Web site but also a whole mythology. The cheezburger has become the Philosopher's Stone of the lolcats mythos -- the most prized, cherished and elusive object in their universe.

Girls Will Be Boys And Boys Will Be Girls

In this thoughtful, even-handed essay, The Atlantic's Hanna Rosin leads us through the heart-wrenching mine field of gender dysphoria in kids. 
In my few months of meeting transgender children, I talked to parents from many different backgrounds, who had made very different decisions about how to handle their children. Many accepted the “new normalcy” line, and some did not. But they all had one thing in common: in such a loaded situation, with their children’s future at stake, doubt about their choices did not serve them well. In Brandon’s case, for example, doubt would force Tina to consider that if she began letting him dress as a girl, she would be defying the conventions of her small town, and the majority of psychiatric experts, who advise strongly against the practice. It would force her to consider that she would have to begin making serious medical decisions for Brandon in only a couple of years, and that even with the blockers, he would face a lifetime of hormone injections and possibly major surgery. At the conference, Tina struggled with these doubts. But her new friends had already moved past them.

“Yeah, it is fixable,” piped up another mom, who’d been on the 20/20 special. “We call it the disorder we cured with a skirt.”

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Schadenfreude X

Okay, just for old times' sake, one last post on the friction between McCranky and Bible Spice:



And this from Washington Monthly:
'WASILLA HILLBILLIES LOOTING NEIMAN MARCUS'.... There's plenty of time for the Republican recriminations to get completely out of hand, but in the meantime, would you believe McCain campaign aides are still fighting over Sarah Palin's wardrobe?
NEWSWEEK has also learned that Palin's shopping spree at high-end department stores was more extensive than previously reported. While publicly supporting Palin, McCain's top advisers privately fumed at what they regarded as her outrageous profligacy. One senior aide said that Nicolle Wallace had told Palin to buy three suits for the convention and hire a stylist. But instead, the vice presidential nominee began buying for herself and her family -- clothes and accessories from top stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus. According to two knowledgeable sources, a vast majority of the clothes were bought by a wealthy donor, who was shocked when he got the bill. Palin also used low-level staffers to buy some of the clothes on their credit cards.

The McCain campaign found out last week when the aides sought reimbursement. One aide estimated that she spent "tens of thousands" more than the reported $150,000, and that $20,000 to $40,000 went to buy clothes for her husband. Some articles of clothing have apparently been lost. An angry aide characterized the shopping spree as "Wasilla hillbillies looting Neiman Marcus from coast to coast," and said the truth will eventually come out when the Republican Party audits its books.
Also yesterday, Steve Schmidt refused to say that adding Palin to the ticket was a good idea, and someone dished to Newsweek that McCain "rarely spoke to Palin during the campaign."

The point here isn't whether the Palin family behaved like "Wasilla hillbillies looting Neiman Marcus"; the point is that these reports suggest Palin will get the blame for much of what went wrong.

It started with McCain aides calling her a "diva," and progressed to at least one aide calling her a "whack job." Now she's a "Wasilla hillbilly"?

McCain's team couldn't destroy Obama, but they can certainly ruin Palin's future.
And with that, I bid adieu.

The Terrible Aftermath Of Obama's Victory


Obama Win Causes Obsessive Supporters To Realize How Empty Their Lives Are

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Beam Me Down

The goofiest moment of the election yesterday:

California Non Grata

As gleeful as I was last night, I'm pissed and irritated today. I failed to manage my expectations and assumed we'd see a rout. Instead I awake today to find out that Alaskan senator Ted Stevens will likely hang onto his seat, the Smith-Merkley race is too close to call, Franken will probably lose in Minnesota, and worse, much worse, disgustingly worse, California has voted Yes on Prop 8. 

California. 

Let that sink in.

A state which has for years symbolized progressive ideas, a state which has offered port in the storm for us freaks who couldn't bear life in the sad hamlets of the midwest, south and plains states, a state which is home to San Francisco and Los Angeles, voted to deny a portion of the populace the right to marry the loves of their lives. They voted to create a second class of citizens. 

This is sickening to me. 

I'm angry at myself for inflated expectations. I'm angry at the corrupt crazies of the LDS church who butted their Salt Lake-encrusted noses into their neighboring state's business. But mostly I'm angry at California for acceding to such a petty and vindictive proposition. 

Shame on you. (And say goodbye to my tourist dollars.)

New York Celebrates

East Village:



St. Marks & Ave. A, NYC:



h/t: Daily Dish

Bizarro World

This morning Bush follows McCain's lead. Defying generations' worth of expectations, graciousness appears to be breaking out among Republicans. Welcome to the Obama era.

The Long, Strange Trip

A look back in six minutes:

Our Stories Are Singular…

But our destiny is shared.

President Obama

Just let it roll off the tongue.

Woo Hoo!

Never has a song been so perfect for a moment:



h/t: Daily Dish

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

We Fucking Did It!

Wow. I'm sitting here in my freshly-empty living room processing the night. I'm dying to go to news sites and other blogs to catch their coverage, but feel the need to post unadulterated, unfiltered. thoughts first.

I'm seriously overcome with emotion and I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm writing this through tears. We did it, people! We did it. We helped elect the 44th president of the United States of America. And not just any president, but a a smart president, a president with a unique blend of brains, heart, and gut to lead this country through one of its darkest hours. 

Oh, yes we can. Fuck, yeah, we can. We just did!

First impressions of the candidates:

John McCain was as gracious in defeat as I'd hoped he'd be on the trail. I'm pretty sure he showed his true colors tonight, not only conceding, but doing so with grace and asking his supporters to do the same. I teared up watching his speech, not only because I can imagine how difficult it must have been for him and his supporters, but also because we live in a country where such a thing is possible. 

Really. There are still many places in the world where such a thing could never happen. I'm proud and I'm grateful.

So thank you Senator McCain for a beautiful, gracious, honorable concession speech. 

As for President-Elect Obama, his speech was gorgeous as well. Perfect for the moment. As eloquent and magnanimous as we've come to expect. I admit I can't remember much of it since the moment of its delivery was so beautifully surreal, but I can recall the way that his words resonated through the spirits of those of us here tonight. 

Thank you, sir, for taking a chance on this country. For recognizing that the moment was ripe. For striking while the iron was hot. For putting yourself and your family through the ringer to help move this country forward. 

I'm so fucking proud and so fucking happy for myself, my friends, and my country right now, I can hardly speak. 

It's a new day, America. 

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

The Audacity Of Hope

It's funny, I can remember sitting in my tiny, second-floor office at the BRI in late 2003 reading about this guy in Illinois, this hyper-eloquent state senator—a black man living in Chicago—who was winning over largely-white crowds in rural southern Illinois during his race for Illinois' U.S. Senate seat. I remember thinking this is a guy to keep an eye on. Not long after that, in the fall of 2004, someone in the Democratic party had the good sense to give him the keynote speech slot, and Barack Obama was introduced to a national audience.

I think it's worth reviewing the video of that speech today:



It's remarkable how thematically consistent he has been throughout his career. (That bit about about there being no red and blue America—starting around 13:30 or so—gets me every fucking time.)

Y'All Fired Up?

The story behind Obama's famous call and response chant:



h/t John Javna

Monday, November 3, 2008

Dwellers On The Threshold

A strange calm hangs over most regions of the political blogosphere today. I'm feeling it myself. I'd expected to feel excited on this election eve—anxious, nervous—something. Instead, I just feel…something between numbness and calm. 

We are on a precipice of history—the threshold of a new and potentially uplifting era. Tomorrow will be one of the more important dates in American electoral history, probably the most important one of our lives. We, as a country, stand on the edge of a cliff—in less than 24 hours we'll know whether we've decided to plunge further into darkness or take flight into the bright light of a new world. 

Sleep well, my friends. Carry hope into your dreams. Can we move another step closer to fulfilling the promise of our collective birthright? 

Yes. We. Can. 

*****

P.S. Yeah, the prose is a little purple, but, hey, how often does a moment like this one come along in a man's life? 

Sunday, November 2, 2008

What Hil Fans Couldn't See

And McCain apparently never got either:
Obama Has What It Takes (and It's Not What You Think It Is)

To me at least, Barack Obama doesn’t do that convincing an impression of Major General Siad Barre the scientific socialist, or any other kind of socialist—or, as Obama’s enjoying saying lately, a Communist who shared his toys in kindergarten. He’s much more convincing as Machiavelli.

Which, if you’re a Democrat, you like about him. You like that he’s ruthless and cunning. You like that he can answer the rhetorical question floated by Richard Ben Cramer’s campaign classic, What It Takes: It takes amorality. If you’re an Obama supporter, you’ve been saying to yourself, “It’s about time we had a Democrat who can beat the Republicans at their own game. Who’ll grin like Reagan while brawling like Nixon.” Niccolo Machiavelli—he was all about the happy warrior, and that’s Obama, and that’s a good thing, isn’t it?
Anyone who really paid attention to the guy knew that he could play a cutthroat game with the best of them. It's a big part of my early support. Heart in the right place and willing to pull out the sword to defend it. 

Another Day, Another Obamacon Endorsement

Paleocon Daniel Larison ponders the Obamacon phenomenon:
Everyone who is voting Obama to punish the GOP thinks that there is some small chance that the GOP might change its ways. The diversity of views among Obamacons reflects how many different future directions are expected, guaranteeing that many will be disappointed, but it also reflects how badly the GOP has failed on multiple fronts that it is simultaneously losing so many prominent and obscure Catholic pro-lifers, libertarians, foreign policy realists, moderates and small-government conservatives, among others, to a Democratic nominee who genuinely is the most liberal of any they have had since 1972.  
Under normal circumstances, a vote for Obama ought to be unthinkable for almost all of the people on the right who have endorsed him, but the GOP has failed so badly that it has made the unthinkable mundane and ordinary. It’s reaching a point where the report of another Obamacon endorsement is no more remarkable than when the leaves start falling in autumn. Far more important in the aftermath than coming up with new and amusing ways to mock the Obama endorsers is an effort to understand and remedy the profound failures that made this phenomenon possible before a major realignment does occur.
I feel for him, I really do.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

How Do You Know She's A Witch?

This video has a hint.

Happy Belated Halloween

A little late, perhaps, but how could I not share the creepiest. ad. ever.?

Remarkable

This video of the Republican mayor of San Diego coming out (!) in favor of gay marriage is just as remarkable as it is touching. 



This has been and continues to be the most bizarre and amazing political year. You can almost feel the spin of history and the terrain shifting under your feet. The outcomes Tuesday night matter, but regardless of them, dramatic shifts have already occurred. Welcome to a new era in American history. We've all fucking earned it.

BURN!

From DKos:
A Canadian comedy duo called The Masked Avengers from CKOI 96.9 FM in Montreal, Quebec pranked Sarah Palin, convincing her (and her team) they were receiving a call from French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

I'm Sorry Ms. Jackson, You're Not For Reeeal*

Billo finally scrapes the bottom of the barrel

What is it with 80's SNL alumni this decade? First Dennis Miller goes all neocon wackadoodle. Now Jackson** and her vapid pseudo-Christian analyses. What's next, Jon Lovitz joining the John Birch Society? 

If it's come down to the GOP needing to pull people like Jackson out of the woodwork, my political forecast is: a damn good couple of years.

*My apologies to Outkast.

**Approach website with caution. I can't be held responsible if your brain suddenly seizes. 

The Tsunami Cometh V

From Princeton Election Consortium:
Massive early voting
October 31st, 2008

Here’s a great resource - a compilation of early voting numbers. It’s amazing. Compared with the total number of people who voted in 2004, about half that number have already voted in seven states: CO, GA, NV, NM, NC, OR, and TN. Many more states are close behind. Hats off to Prof. Michael P. McDonald at George Mason University for assembling this information.

Among early voters, so far the fraction Democratic voters leads Republican voters, in some places by double digits (for instance, 22% in North Carolina and 28% in West Virginia). Don’t get too excited. These voters are probably counted in last-minute polls. Pollsters have been asking people if they have voted early, and if so for whom. It’s more likely that Obama voters are more enthusiastic, rather than there being some giant trove of them that polls are missing.

Friday, October 31, 2008

The Tsunami Cometh IV

HUGE early voting lines in Georgia. People are waiting 8 to 10 hours! Click for video

Give, Give, Give

Today is the last day for your money to have any practical effect on tipping this historic election in a good direction. So, if you're feeling the urge to vote with your dollars, NOW is the time. Today. 

So, head on over to ActBlue and send some money to down-ticket Democrats for their last minute ad buys and GOTV efforts.

Or, go to No on 8 and help prevent the overturning California's constitutional right for any two consenting adults to marry. The highly funded and concerted efforts of the Mormon church and assorted other fundamentalists are paying off. Let's not let them steal Californian's right to marry whomever they choose. Isn't thwarting religious nuts worth $25

Happy Halloween!

In honor of one of my favorite holidays and since I won't be dressing up tonight…

Oh Shit!

I fucked up! Noooooooooo!
Obama's Loss Traced To Jeff Altemus
Single Nonvoter Tipped Election To McCain-Palin Ticket
Latest News
• Gov. Palin: 'Lookit That—I'm The Second-Most Powerful Person In The World'
• Neighbor: 'Jeff Always Seemed So Normal'
• World: 'Really? Again? Really?!?'
• Health Care Advocates Predict Reform By 2034

Thanks, Eric!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

File Under Pathetic

Looks likes balls are in fashion again over at CNN. Is Ted Turner back in charge or something? The guy getting the much-deserved batting around is Michael Goldfarb, McCain's spokesman. Real Major League material, these guys.

Schadenfreude IX

Like I said, every day is Christmas:
TOP MCCAIN ADVISER, EAGLEBURGER BLASTS PALIN: "OF COURSE" SHE'S NOT READY
A former Republican Secretary of State and one of John McCain's most prominent supporters offered a stunningly frank and remarkably bleak assessment of Sarah Palin's capacity to handle the presidency should such a scenario arise.

Lawrence Eagleburger, who served as Secretary of State under George H.W. Bush and whose endorsement is often trumpeted by McCain, said on Thursday that the Alaska governor is not only unprepared to take over the job on a moment's notice but, even after some time in office, would only amount to an "adequate" commander in chief.

"And I devoutly hope that [she] would never be tested," he added for good measure -- referring both to Palin's policy dexterity and the idea of McCain not making it through his time in office. (Listen to audio below.)

The remarks took place during an interview on National Public Radio that was, ironically, billed as "making the case" for a McCain presidency. Asked by the host whether Palin could step in during a time of crisis, Eagleburger reverted to sarcasm before leveling the harsh blow.

The indictment of Palin was all the more biting because both she and McCain have held Eagleburger up repeatedly during the past several weeks as evidence that the Republican ticket has firm standing and support within foreign policy circles. (In fact, McCain conferred with Eagleburger by phone just this week, on matters pertaining to national security.)

Click here and scroll down for the audio.

Schadenfreude VIII

The latest installment from Sullivan:
The Palin Poison
It's slowly killing the McCain candidacy and, like most poisons, it eventually gets around to the vital organs:
59 percent of voters surveyed said that Ms. Palin was not prepared for the job, up 9 percentage points since the beginning of the month. Nearly a third of voters polled said that the vice-presidential selection would be a major factor influencing their vote for president, and those voters broadly favored Senator Barack Obama... The increase in the number of voters who said that Ms. Palin was not prepared was driven almost entirely by Republicans and independents ... 8 in 10 Democrats viewed her as unprepared, as well as more than 6 in 10 independents, and 3 in 10 Republicans.
My italics. If the GOP decides that Palin is the future of their party, the GOP won't have a future. Simple, really. And the same goes for those who promoted her. Getting rid of Kristol and all he represents is a prerequisite for conservative renewal.

Thanks!

Wow, response to my last post has been great. I really appreciate all of the input. And while the lion's share of you gave me the reasons you voted for Lemhouse, one brave soul—John Fricker—did make a thoughtful, strong, and substantive case for Hartzell. 

To honor his response, I've decided to post it here (with his permission). I still may or may not vote for her, but at least I know there's a case to be made. 
Hi Jeff,

I've known Cate for nearly as long as I've lived in Ashland. I met her when she was a frequent shopper at the Ashland Food Store (when it was on 3rd St) and I was a hippie cashier, back in 1991. So I may not provide the most unbiased assessment.

Cate has consistently showed a deep love of the uniqueness of the Ashland community - progressive and environmental, open and welcoming. Before she was elected she was involved in numerous community organizations as organizer and activist - working with Peace House, AHS and environmental groups. She has always expressed her love of the community with direct activity, passion and dedication.

I've watched Cate in various city council meetings and what impresses me is her attention to the matters at hand. Most recently, with the gun club lease review and negotiation, Cate did extensive research on shooting range waste collection, abatement and clean up. She brought to the discussion far more factual information about the hazards and issues at hand than staff or other councilors. I learned from the meeting that the gun club is littered with lead and residual waste and if the club where to move the city would be left with a mess. Cate strove to have appropriate language added to the lease to protect the community's interests.

Cate cares and acts appropriately, voluntarily (council is not by any means a high paying job at $350 per year) learns about the issues, researches the facts and helps staff do their job. The end result are better leases, better contracts, and better government.

The RVRC issue I'm not familiar with, even though I think it all occurred while I lived in the neighborhood. I guess I was a chai guy and ignored mere coffee concerns. (Today, it's a different story and I have to admit that Mix makes the best mocha on the planet!)

Now for the criticisms which are hard to address. Doctrinaire and rigid? I've seen her be very prepared as well as compromise. Process over outcome? I've never known Cate to wag a copy of Robert's Rules of Order around. Micromanages staff? Staff works for council so they expect to take direction from councilors. I would guess some staff may not like that for various reasons, and the only comment I can make is that Cate is prepared - often more prepared than staff.

Cate has also directly addressed some of the myths propogated by those who haven't appreciated her on her website at  www.catehartzell.org/truth.html

Now I'll clear up a few things I know about Lemhouse. He's very ambitious and this isn't his first time running for council. He's also quite open about his aspirations - he wants to be Governor someday. He's also run a negative campaign (this time and in 2006) with direct personal attacks against his opponents - something I don't appreciate.

Cate has a long track record of environmental, community and progressive action in Ashland. I'm sticking with Cate.
John

The Horns Of A Dilemma

Dear fellow itch-scratchers,

I'm in need of your help. I haven't sent in my ballot yet because there's one race that I can't quite make my mind up on. It's the City Council race between Kate Hartzell and Greg Lemhouse. So I have a request for you: help me make my decision. 

But first, I'll lay out where I am and what I'm struggling with.

Hartzell
Here's what I know about Hartzell: 
• She runs as a progressive, which means ideologically she's on my team—that technically speaking, we share a basic political philosophy. 
• She showed colossally poor political judgement by spearheading the drive to shut down Rogue Valley Roasting Company on a decade-old technicality. 
• Every time I see her walking the streets she's got a scowl on her face (not the most important thing to consider, but it speaks to working well with others and is in the mix).

Here's what I think I know about her, but may be wrong about:
• She's ideologically rigid and doctrinaire.
• She favors process over outcome to the detriment of consensus and getting anything accomplished.
• She micromanages and alienates city staff, thus driving away many qualified people from holding staff positions. 

Lemhouse
Here's what I know about Lemhouse:
• He was once registered as a Republican, but is now registered as an independent.
• He's a conservative.
• He's running as a non-ideological pragmatist.
• He's a fresh face in a major change election.
• He's got a young family.

Here's what I think I know about him but may be wrong about:
• He's a thinking conservative, one of the sane variety.
• He'll take into account many sides of an issue before making a call. 
• While not a Burkean, he strikes me as a Sullivan-esque conservative. Principled and open to other points of view.

Here's what I don't know about him:
• Is he as non-ideological as he purports to be or is he a Tom Delay in sheep's clothing?

*****

I'll state upfront that, while I'm still on the fence about this, I'm leaning toward voting for Lemhouse. I voted for Hartzell twice, but have serious misgivings about doing so a third time. I've watched her at council meetings and planning commission briefings for years and something about her is off putting. I've had the opposite experience listening to Lemhouse in conversations with advocacy groups and possible constituents. (One of the bennies of working at the RVRC.)

Still, I'd like to hear someone make a strong, positive case for Hartzell before I make my decision. So far, I talked to two Hartzell partisans—men whose opinion on politics I value—and neither could make a case for her. One told me I didn't know the whole story about the coffee shop fiasco (I feel I know enough, as it directly impacts me) and that she was smeared by the Tidings in re: the other issues. But then he never gave me his take on why he believed that to be true. He never elaborated on his assertions before going off on how he couldn't bring himself to vote for a Medford cop (Lemhouse). I got a similar response from the other man. 

Well, that's not enough for me. You're not going to get me to vote for Hartzell because her challenger is a cop. (If he were under investigation for abuse of power, that's another story. But he's not. If he were a Tom Delay-like radical right ideologue, that's another story. But he's not.)

So, if any of you out there are voting for Hartzell and can make a strong positive case for me to join you, now's your chance. E-mail or call me, I'm open to your argument. Otherwise, I'm going with my gut on this one and voting Lemhouse. 

The Tsunami Cometh III

Again from DKos:
Early/Absentee Voting Summary
COLORADO
Early/absentee voting has now outstripped 2004 levels, with 1,123,173 voters having cast ballots.

Democrats currently outnumber Republicans in early voting, albeit by a slim margin - 38.6% of all early voters, to 37.9% Republicans

FLORIDA
It's likely that early voting will reach and surpass 2004 levels today. Democrats currently have a healthy advantage among early/absentee voter registrations, with 45.4% to 39% for Republicans.

GEORGIA
Early voting is double 2004 numbers, and is equivalent to 42% of all votes cast in Georgia in 2004.
Here for more.

So Refreshing

From Kos:
Yesterday, joking with Jon Stewart, Obama made reference to how marginal Fox's audience is becoming:
"I think that there's a certain segment of hardcore Sean Hannity fans that probably wouldn't want to go have a beer with me,'' Obama conceded. "There's no doubt about that.

"But I think that the average voter, they're saying to themselves, 'What's all this stuff about? I'm trying to figure out whether I can hang on to my house.'"
It wasn't long ago that Democrats were tripping over each other trying to "appeal" to Fox News viewers, the most reliable Republican constituency in the electorate, and about as effective as having Republicans campaign for votes on Daily Kos. It wasn't just a waste of time that could've been spent talking to real independents and persuadables, but it also legitimized the GOP's propaganda operation.

But we're a new Democratic Party, and all those weenie Democratic handwringers are being left in the dust. There is no reason to talk to Fox News viewers unless you are Sarah Palin shopping for a friendly forum. Anyone seriously trying to get elected should look elsewhere. I suspect Obama learned that lesson once and for all after suffering through Bill O'Reilly's rude and boorish interview.

Meanwhile, Obama will help build Maddow's show with a coveted appearance tonight.

Marginalizing Fox while helping build progressive media institutions? I like this version of Obama.

A Good Sign

Literally.


What a deliciously odd political year.

CNN Finally Grow A Pair

In the form of Campbell Brown:




* Oh, I shouldn't forget about Jack Cafferty who's been sticking it to the GOP for the past year or two, as well. Between the two of them, the channel is almost—almost—worth watching.

Schadenfreude VII

No-Show Joe Leaves McCain Out In The Cold
Where is he? Henh? Well, you're all Joe the Plumber then. Henh?

Margaret and Helen

I just got turned on to a relatively new blog written by a couple of saucy octogenarians who live in separate parts of the country, but who have been friends for nearly 60 years. It's a fun read; go check it out.

Choice cut:
What was I thinking when I called Sarah Palin a bitch?
I am surprised that some of you are up in arms about my calling Sarah Palin a bitch, or John McCain an ass or even George Bush a jackass. I read your comments about how I should be more respectable and not call Sarah Palin a bitch. Some of you are actually praying for me because I called John McCain an ass. In particular I am struck by the comments that suggest the problem with our country is that we can’t have an intelligent conversation to solve our problems without resorting to name calling like when I called George Bush a jackass.

Well this old broad is hurt. Clearly I didn’t start this blog to call Sarah Palin a bitch…or John McCain an ass… or even George Bush a jackass. I am so sorry if I have offended any of you. What was I thinking when I called Sarah Palin a bitch?

New rules:

I will stop calling George Bush a jackass when he stops calling me a terrorist: Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.

I will stop calling John McCain an ass when he stops calling Barack Obama a socialist at every dog and pony show on the Straight Talk Express tour.

I will stop calling Sarah Palin a bitch when she stops calling Obama a terrorist sympathizer. And I will stop calling Sarah Palin a bitch when she stops calling the parts of the country where I don’t live more Pro-American than the part of the country where I do live. And I will definitely stop calling Sarah Palin a bitch when she stops acting like a bitch.

I’m old enough to remember the Republican party of Barry Goldwater - when the party stood for fiscal responsibility, small government and personal freedoms. I remember when I could talk with friends about politics and just agree to disagree. And then religious nut cases decided that if you didn’t agree with them you were immoral. So they went and elected George Bush President so he could take the Republican Party from being a party full of respectable people to a party filled with asses, jackasses and yes - bitches like Sarah Palin.…
It goes on from there. They're great. 

Cowboy Up, Nervous Nellies

The Atlantic's Ta-Nehisi Coates offers some spinal reinforcement therapy:
OK, I'm tired of this. Someone--who shall remain nameless--just asked me if I was "nervous" about Obama. FTDS. I don't believe in black cats. I don't toss salt over my shoulder. I step under ladders whenever the mood strikes me. I break mirrors in my spare time. I've made a hobby out of splitting poles. Thirteen is my favorite number. So fuck it, I'm gonna say it--Barack Obama will be the next president of the United States.

Here is thing. I believe in competition. John Kerry wasn't swift-boated--he was beaten by a superior campaign. I guess Al Gore lost because of Nader and the Supreme Court. But why was it ever even that close? What is the use of being a Southern senator when you can't carry a single state in the South? I mean no disrespect to any of those guys, I really don't. But this notion that mystical and nefarious forces deprived them from claiming what was rightly theirs is odious and self-serving.

No one has conspired to deprive us of power over the past few decades. The American people aren't stupid. We've sucked at articulating our message. If you have any interest in a more progressive country, we need to be honest. At the presidential level, at least, conservatives have hammered us. Give them their due. Don't blame Rush. Don't blame Kristol. Don't denigrate states you've never visited. Give them their due. Give them their respect. Study them, and then get better.

Denial is bad for two reasons. First, if you can't accept that you lost, you don't have a prayer of getting better. If you think Kerry and Gore lost because they were too "high-minded," then you miss the basic fundamentals at work, and spend your days congratulating yourself for being up on the latest Paul Krugman. This is a war, and you don't lose wars because of abstract principles, but because of hard immovable facts. Is your army bigger than theirs? Are you attracting more recruits? Are you deploying in the right places? Who has more resources? Who has the technology edge? These are the reasons I voted Obama in the primary. I didn't think he was "more principled" than Clinton, nor did I really care. I thought she was tough, but I knew he was tougher. I thought her campaign was smart, but I thought his was smarter. I thought one person was talking about being a fighter, and another was out there actually being a fighter. The general is bearing all of this out, because right now, Barack Hussein Obama is beating John McCain like he stole something--from Toot [Obama's grandma], no less.

Syncronized Debating

Trippy, but fun:

Get the latest news satire and funny videos at 236.com.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Infobamercial

Here it is in all its syrupy glory in case you missed it on TV:



I prefer his speeches myself, but with six days left—six!—it can't hurt.

Remarkable

If you've got a few minutes, check out this video of Michelle Bachmann backpedaling from her comments on Hardball the week before last. 

This never would have happened, even as little as two years ago. Republican politicians are in a full-on retreat. Never mind what happens this Nov. 4, we already are in a new era. 

(By the way, anybody believe she's really never seen an episode of Hardball?)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Tsunami Cometh II

2008 Early Voting Statistics

Christmas Every Day…Or An Embarrassment Of Riches

You know, as a political junkie, and especially as a lifelong liberal, almost every day of this year since January 3 has been a bit like Christmas. (I admit I experienced a week's worth of Halloweens back in Sept. during the peak of Palinmania.) This has been, without a doubt, the single best, most fascinating political year of my life. 

Now, Obama may yet not win, but even if that happens, a) there will still in all likelihood be a down-ticket Democratic wave, though smaller, and b) this year will still have already been incredible. History has been made again and again, and I've never seen the electorate of this often-lazy, tuned-out country so electrified. 

Better still, the team of amoral knuckle draggers who've spent the better part of 40 years running our country into the ground all while kicking sand in the face of those of us who aspire to something bigger and better in ourselves are finally getting their due and losing political ground at an alarming (to them) rate. 

The gods are truly smiling upon me. And I'm smiling back. 

Efharisto!

Wet Dream, IX

Another hour, another Wet Dream post. This time from Charlie Cook of The Cook Report.
Late Monday afternoon I was standing in front of 200 or so congressional staff members when someone in the front row handed me a Blackberry with the news bulletin announcing Sen. Ted Stevens' seven-count felony conviction. As I read the news flash to the gasping Hill aides one thing jumped into mind: "Foley Friday," Sept. 29, 2006, when news broke of then-GOP Rep. Mark Foley's inappropriate behavior toward a House page. At that point in 2006, Republicans had already been buffeted for a year or more by a then-worsening situation in Iraq and a wide array of scandals. Just as it seemed things could not possibly get worse, they did. Only the most partisan of Democrats or cold-hearted of people would fail to have some compassion or sympathy towards a party for which virtually everything has gone wrong. Someone recently likened it to watching a wounded dog kicked.
He's got it exactly wrong with the wounded dog metaphor. That implies that they don't deserve every bit of whipping they get. And they do. A better metaphor would perhaps be putting down the fox that has cleared out your hen house or maybe crushing the back of a rattler before if can finish the job of killing the rest of your family.

Make no mistake, if they get the drubbing it's looking like they will, it couldn't happen to a more deserving group of people. 

But, hey, I'm probably just excessively partisan and cold-hearted.

Update: Oops! This post was originally mistitled Schadenfreude. My bad.

Schadenfreude V

From ABC's Jake Tapper:
Allies of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin are now trying to throw McCain aide Nicolle Wallace under the proverbial bus, and as they do so those in McCain’s circle are wary of the impact on Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., himself.

Moreover, McCain campaign sources say, Palin has developed quite a reputation on the campaign trail for shopping.
During this controversy, McCain insiders were appalled to read a blog account from Nevada noting that the day before Palin held an event in Reno, “Palin's assistant stopped in at the Ann Taylor at the Summit Sierra Mall and bought the skirt suit that she wore during to her speech Tuesday at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center. ‘She bought a short, three-quarter sleeve jacket, a skirt and a couple other items,’ store manager Suzette Ludden said.”
All the while, Palin herself has given the wardrobe story more media coverage by denying that she had anything to do with it.
And some Republicans are starting to now say they should have seen this coming, since Palin has a reputation for making friends who can help her and then screwing them over.
The list is long:
Too long to post here. Click over to the original to read it. Pit bull, my ass. She's a viper.

Time To Throw The Anvil

Someone over at the Princeton Election Consortium points out that, at this point, if you're going to donate to a candidate's campaign, do so down ticket, because the chances your $25 help Obama are far smaller than your chances of helping those who may not be getting enough cash. 
Making your efforts pay off. An example of wasted effort at this point is making an additional contribution to either Presidential campaign. I realize that for some of you, this is a difficult proposition. If you are already committed to turning out the vote for your candidate, by all means do so. But if you still have time or money to spare, think about the following argument.

In general, any contribution you make to a strongly leading or trailing candidate makes little difference in the outcome. It’s like voting in Massachusetts or Utah: whether you do or don’t essentially makes no difference in the outcome. The same is true for campaign contributions. In the best of worlds, $100 to Obama-Biden or McCain-Palin would move the national win probability by an infinitesimal amount. Even 0.00001% would be an overstatement.

The place to make a difference is at the margins. Take the Georgia race, in which incumbent Republican Saxby Chambliss is defending his seat. In 2002, Chambliss won office by tarring Vietnam war hero and triple-amputee Max Cleland with an alleged sympathy for Osama bin Laden. Now Chambliss is fighting for his political life, and is in a dead heat with Democratic challenger Jim Martin. If you had the choice of driving voters to the polls in Georgia or in South Carolina, you’d be dead wrong to pick South Carolina. By the same token, a contribution in Georgia, but not South Carolina, might make a small difference in the outcome.
So with that in mind, I'd like to ask any of you who are so inclined to fork over some cash to go to the Act Blue site and give it to down-ticket candidates. We have a good chance of taking Gordon Smith out here in Oregon, so Jeff Merkley is a good place to start. 

If you want to learn more about the other candidates, go to their sites from the ActBlue site, or head over to DailyKos, OpenLeft, or MyDD for assessments of how their campaigns are doing.

This election is a unique historic opportunity. Cycles like this are extremely rare. Voters are primed to punish Republicans for their colossal mismanagement of the country. The only question is, how big of a year will it be for progressives? With enough support it will be huge. Republicans are drowning, this is our chance to throw them an anvil.* 

* James Carville once famously quipped, "When your opponent is drowning, throw the son of a bitch an anvil." 

The Tsunami Cometh I

Yet another new series of posts. This one chronicling reports of unusually huge early voting. From Daily Dish:
Unprecedented numbers: over 36% of the total 2004 vote. And a very heavy black turnout. I really don't think we have fully absorbed what a massive - and I mean massive - black turnout could do in this election.

Schadenfreude IV

Talking Points Memo is on the case.
The Palin Effect
From instant crush to how could I have ever liked her in six short weeks. [TPM] chronicles conservatives' short and sour fling with Sarah Palin.

A Preelection Cautionary Tale

Oh, My Gosh. SOS. A Crappy Prop 8 Video



Wow. 

Funny, though, I think what the makers of this video don't get is that they're underscoring just how childish and inane Prop 8 is. Perfect (if a little creepy).

Three Cheers For Howard

I was early supporter of Howard Dean when he ran in the last election. I knew he didn't stand much chance of winning, but he had the best ideas (such as universal health care) of the bunch. So I was pleased to learn that despite his loss he was able to get himself elected head of the DNC—despite the best efforts of the Clintonistas. 

In the ensuing years, he took a lot of grief from said Clinton supporters, like Paul Begala, James "crazy ass pit viper" Carville, and others. Most of the grief came for his support of a 50-state strategy, the idea that Dems should run in every county of every state. This was seen as folly by many of the Democratic establishment—the same establishment, mind you, that gave us 8 out 0f 12 electoral losses in the past half century. Begala had this to say the strategy, "What he has spent it [DNC money] on, apparently, is just hiring a bunch of staff people to wander around Utah and Mississippi and pick their nose."

Well.

As should be evident by now, Dean and his strategy have been more than vindicated. We have more Democrats and better Democrats in more parts of the country than at any time since the 60s at least. There's a deep bench of talent and a stronger progressive movement ready to push the next congress and president to move the country in a saner direction. Obama and his team hewed to the same strategy and now we have McCain fighting for life in places like Montana and N. Dakota, Indiana, and Virginia. 

So, kudos to you, Howard Dean, you—and those who followed your lead—rocked the mother fucking house.

Schadenfreude III

From GQ's Robert Draper:
Palin, Alone Aboard the Bus
Almost from the very beginning, the Palin pick created tension.

I’m sympathetic to Eskew and Wallace, and not just because they’re decent people. They’ve held their tongue from leaking what a couple of McCain higher-ups have told me—namely, that Palin simply knew nothing about national and international issues. Which meant, as one such adviser said to me: “Letting Sarah be Sarah may not be such a good thing.” 
It’s a grim binary choice, but apparently it came down to whether to make Palin look like a scripted robot or an unscripted ignoramus. I was told that Palin chafed at being defined by her discomfiting performances in the Couric, Charlie Gibson, and Sean Hannity interviews. She wanted to get back out there and do more. Well, if you’re Eskew and Wallace, what do you say to that? Your responsibility isn’t the care and feeding of Sarah Palin’s ego; it’s the furtherance of John McCain’s quest for the presidency.
On the other hand, it had to be hard for Sarah Palin—who has achieved all she’s achieved with a highly personal touch—to take all this ridicule under an enforced gag order. After being introduced to the world as one of the “Team of Mavericks,” she’s admonished not to be one. She’s being called out by some McCainites for not cleaving to all of the senator’s positions. The Republicans who fawned over her superstar looks are now shocked—shocked!—to learn that her much-admired wardrobe has been purchased with RNC funds. 
I’ve heard from one well-placed source that McCain has snubbed her on one long bus ride aboard the Straight Talk Express, to the embarrassment of those sitting nearby. It has surely been implied to the governor that she should be eternally grateful to have been plucked from obscurity. And yet the high water mark of John McCain’s campaign for the presidency unquestionably began on September 3, when Palin gave her nomination speech—and ended precisely twelve days later, when McCain went off-script—I have that on the authority of the person who participated in the writing of said script—and told an audience that he still believed the fundamentals of the economy were strong.

Victoria's Secret

Remember Victoria Jackson from SNL's 80s period. Yeah, me neither. Anyway, she used to play this ditzy blonde character in most of her skits and was moderately funny, I guess. Turns out the ditzy piece wasn't an act. This from her website:
I don't want a political label, but Obama bears traits that resemble the anti- Christ and I'm scared to death that un- educated people will ignorantly vote him into office.

You see, what bothers me most, besides being a Communist, and a racist (Obama writes in his book, From Dreams of My Father, "I found a solace in nursing a pervasive sense of grievance and and animosity against my (white) mother's race.") (Obama's "religion" of the last 20 years is Black Liberation Theology. What is that? "It is simply Marxism dressed up in Christian rhetoric. But unlike traditional Marxism, Black Liberation Theology emphasizes race rather than class. It's leading theorist is James Cone who says Jesus was black, African-Americans are the chosen people, and whites are the devil. Cone says, "What we need is the destruction of whiteness, which is the source of human misery in the world." The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor), is that he is a LIAR. He pretends to be a Christian and he incriminates himself everytime he speaks about Christianity. To lie about being a believer in Christ is very dangerous. Lightning could strike him at any minute! But seriously, he doesn't have a clue what the Bible says and yet he pretends to be a church- going Christian to win votes. That is sooooo evil.
Riiiight.

Wet Dream, VIII

From Ryan Sager via Reason magazine:
The Rove Realignment
Have libertarians been driven out of the GOP?

McCain's working on the other realignment: The one where eight years of fiscal recklessness and cultural warfare alienates swing voters and withers the Republican Party until the very base of the conservative movement cracks in half—splitting a coalition that has endured since the Barry Goldwater campaign of 1964.

That coalition between social conservatives and economic libertarians (who tend to be socially moderate to liberal), served the GOP well from 1964 to 2006. It gave the party eight years of Ronald Reagan and 12 years of a Republican Congress. But the Bush years have proven to be one long pulling apart. And, in a matter of days, we may just see the final snap.

Two years ago, I wrote a book imploring the Republican Party not to follow its worst elements off a cliff—not to evolve, in short, into an insular party with little-to-no appeal outside of the rural, the southern, the Evangelical. As the McCain campaign flames out in a ball of Rovian disgrace, scorching the center in an attempt to fire up the base, it's difficult to reach any other conclusion than that the battle for the soul of the Republican Party has been lost.

Into The Foxhole

More evidence that even the cheerleaders—er, newscasters—are becoming unhinged by Obama's srength:

Wet Dream, VII

Also from Mike Allen's Playbook this subject line:
7 days -- One week out -- Republicans expect to be crushed in historic landslide: buy emergency time in Montana and West Virginia

Schadenfreude II

From Politico's "Mike Allen's Playbook":
***In convo with Playbook, a top McCain adviser one-ups the priceless “diva” description, calling her “a whack job.”

Schadenfreude I

Another new series of posts, this one detailing the fracturing of the McCain-Palin campaign. (I've already missed cataloguing several stories over the past couple of days, but we'll have to live with that, I don't plan on playing catch up.) So, sit back and enjoy the show. We've earned it.
Rift Cracks 'Demoralized' McCain Campaign
McCain Staffers Blame Palin's Lack of Readiness; Palin Loyalists Blame Over-Managing By McCain Handlers
The McCain campaign is definitely demoralized right now. The blame game has begun.

There is no question that there is a rift between Sarah Palin's camp and that of John McCain inside the Republican campaign, sources tell ABC News.

And you are seeing people within the McCain campaign starting to look to the future.

Not only Palin, but many of the McCain staffers, as well, are circulating their resumes and pointing the finger.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Frankly, My Dear

A flashback to late September. So good it deserves a rerun:

Electoral Maps 10/27

These maps and EV projection totals are all from sites who crunch the polls of several pollsters together into their various algorithms to come up with their figures. None of these are from single pollsters, any one of which can have flawed methodology causing it to be an outlier. Their congruence is staggering. 

By the way, a big hat tip to Melancholy Sideshow's Michael Kerr for turning me onto the outstanding Princeton Election Consortium site. It's become a daily stop for substantive poll-gazing.





Wet Dream, VI

From The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder:

RNC Goes Up In Montana

The state and its three electoral votes are now competitive?

A Democratic media buying source says -- Republicans won't yet confirm -- and Republicans now confirm -- that the RNC's independent expenditure arm has bought television ads in the state.

The ads begin Wednesday.

In 2004, George W. Bush won Montana by 20 points.

Ron Paul is on the ballot. And Ron Paul supporters aren't happy with John McCain...

A Republican congressman from Texas could throw the state to Barack Obama.

Developing....

We Have To Work Like Our Future Depends On It, Because It Does



I'm old enough to know better so it's hard to admit, but I'm just embarrassingly moved by this guy's oratory. 

McCain-Palin's Base

Cheap shot? (You reap what you sow, Pallin'-Around Palin.)

We all know this stuff is out there, but hearing of an actual plot makes it all the more eerily real. 
(WASHINGTON) — Federal agents have broken up a plot to assassinate Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and shoot or decapitate 102 black people in a Tennessee murder spree, the ATF said Monday.

In court records unsealed Monday, federal agents said they disrupted plans to rob a gun store and target a predominantly African-American high school by two neo-Nazi skinheads. Agents said the skinheads did not identify the school by name.

Jim Cavanaugh, special agent in charge of the Nashville field office for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said the two men planned to shoot 88 black people and decapitate another 14. The numbers 88 and 14 are symbolic in the white supremacist community.

The men also sought to go on a national killing spree, with Obama as its final target, Cavanaugh told The Associated Press.

"They said that would be their last, final act — that they would attempt to kill Sen. Obama," Cavanaugh said. "They didn't believe they would be able to do it, but that they would get killed trying."
As far as I'm concerned those federal agents are fucking American heroes. Sadly, their job has probably just begun.