Saturday, March 8, 2008

The Green Fairy

Click here to indulge.


This guy collects scanned artwork from old books that he finds online and compiles them on his blog. Very cool stuff. Here's one example (read the strange copy toward the bottom):

Poem Of The Day

From one of my favorites, Pablo Neruda.
I crave your mouth, your voice, your hair.
Silent and starving, I prowl through the streets.
Bread does not nourish me, dawn disrupts me, all day
I hunt for the liquid measure of your steps.

I hunger for your sleek laugh,
your hands the color of a savage harvest,
hunger for the pale stones of your fingernails,
I want to eat your skin like a whole almond.

I want to eat the sunbeam flaring in your lovely body,
the sovereign nose of your arrogant face,
I want to eat the fleeting shade of your lashes,

and I pace around hungry, sniffing the twilight,
hunting for you, for your hot heart,
like a puma in the barrens of Quitratue.

Remember The Zimmers?

I love this video!

Another One Down

Looks like Obama took another state that doesn't matter. Why does he waste our time?

Another State That Doesn't Count

Right on cue we learn that Wyoming which is voting today doesn't count. (See here for others.) At this rate, I figure maybe, hmmm, 12 states really matter in the Clinton universe. Kos has the latest:
More insults from Camp Clinton
And here we go again.
One Clinton aide yesterday derided Mr Obama’s victories in "boutique" caucus states rather than the hardscrabble terrain of the rustbelt, saying: "Obama has won the small caucus states with the latte-sipping crowd. They don’t need a president, they need a feeling."
Really, why don't Clinton and McCain get a room already? They're all using the same arguments. Even if those arguments are so darn stupid.

The rust belt is (from west to east) the states bordering the great lakes: Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York. Of those states that have had a real contest, Obama won two (WI and IL), Clinton won two (OH, NY), IN and PA is pending, and MI is still trying to figure out how to have a real contest. Not exactly dominant. […]

We have more at stake this fall than the presidency, and we have a candidate that is running nationwide and showing proper deference and respect for our great United States of America, and we have another that has given the middle finger to much of the country.

That's why I've become an enthusiastic Obama supporter after being detached for most of this race. Because I'm looking to the candidate who is building a national party, not the one that continues to disrespect most of it.

Astronomy Picture Of The Day

What It Is: The striking spiral galaxy M104 is famous for its nearly edge-on profile featuring a broad ring of obscuring dust. Seen in silhouette against a bright bulge of stars, the swath of cosmic dust lanes lends a hat-like appearance to the galaxy in optical images suggesting the more popular moniker, The Sombrero Galaxy. Here, Hubble Space Telescope archival image data has been reprocessed to create this alternative look at the well-known galaxy. The newly developed processing improves the visibility of details otherwise lost in overwhelming glare, in this case allowing features of the galaxy's dust lanes to be followed well into the bright central region. About 50,000 light-years across and 28 million light-years away, M104 is one of the largest galaxies at the southern edge of the Virgo Galaxy Cluster.

Will. Not. Get. My. Vote.

As long as Hillary is intent on trashing the Democratic party's chance come November, I see no reason I should vote for her. Perhaps she should join Lieberman and just start stumping for McCain.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Figuring Out Which States Count

I can't wait to see what they have to say about Oregon when they get their asses handed to them here.
How Many States Has the Clinton Campaign Dissed?
"Could we possibly have a nominee who hasn’t won any of the significant states — outside of Illinois? That raises some serious questions about Sen. Obama."                 - Mark Penn
"I was shocked when I learned Iowa and Mississippi have never elected a woman governor, senator or member of Congress," Clinton told the paper. "There has got to be something at work here. How can Iowa be ranked with Mississippi? That's not the quality. That's not the communitarianism, that's not the openness I see in Iowa."
- Hillary Clinton

"It’s not a factor," was how Clinton dismissed Obama victories in Maine, Nebraska, Louisiana, Virgin Islands and Washington state in an interview with WJLA and Politico on Monday. - Hillary Clinton

"You know, I know that there are three things, when you think about electability. Number one, I've been winning the big states we have to win.

"With all due respect, unless there's a tsunami change in America, we're never going to carry Alaska, North Dakota, Idaho. It's just not going to happen. But we have to carry the states that I'm carrying, the primary states, the states that really have to be in the winning Democratic column."- Hillary Clinton
"The caucuses aren’t good for her [Hillary Clinton]. They disproportionately favor upper-income voters who, who, don’t really need a president but feel like they need a change." - Bill Clinton
She said she never expected to do well in any of those contests, even though she had been favored to win Maine. Clinton repeated her criticism that the caucus system is undemocratic and caters mostly to party activists.

As for Louisiana, "You had a very strong and very proud African- American electorate, which I totally respect and understand," Clinton said.

She noted that the states she won on Super Tuesday were all states Democrats must win to succeed in the general election. Many of the states Obama won that night, such as Alaska and North Dakota, would not be competitive for Democrats next November, she said. - Hillary Clinton
"I think for superdelegates, the quality of where the win comes from should matter in terms of making a judgment about who might be the best general election candidate." —Mark Penn, Clinton’s senior campaign adviser
"I’m telling donors and supporters: Don’t be overly concerned about what goes on in the remainder of the month of February because these are not states teed up well for us."  - Hassan Nemazee, national finance chair
Clinton also told about 100 people in Charleston that he was proud of the Democratic Party for having a woman and a black candidate and he understands why Obama is drawing support among blacks, who may comprise up to half of Saturday's turnout.

"As far as I can tell, neither Senator Obama nor Hillary have lost votes because of their race or gender," he said. "They are getting votes, to be sure, because of their race or gender — that's why people tell me Hillary doesn't have a chance of winning here."  - Bill Clinton

"Superdelegates are not second-class delegates. The real second-class delegates are the delegates that are picked in red-state caucuses that are never going to vote Democratic."  - Joel Ferguson, Michigan campaign co-chair

"It is highly unlikely we will win Alaska or North Dakota or Idaho or Nebraska," she said, naming several of Obama's red state wins. "But we have to win Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Florida, Michigan ... And we've got to be competitive in places like Texas, Missouri and Oklahoma."
- Hillary Clinton

"Sen. Obama, in contrast, won with large margins in Alabama and Georgia, two states that have been in the Republican column in the last two elections. He also won with large margins in a string of caucus states with comparatively fewer voters - Alaska, Idaho, Utah, and Kansas - and have also been in the Republican column. Of course, he won his home state."  - Mark Penn

"I agree he’s done well in those caucus states — we didn’t make as much of an effort as we probably should have. But those states simply are not going to vote this year for a Democratic president." - Harold Ickes

Kamikaze Mission II

Gary Hart weighs in on Sen. Clinton's lovely scorched-earth tactics.
Breaking the Final Rule
It will come as a surprise to many people that there are rules in politics. Most of those rules are unwritten and are based on common understandings, acceptable practices, and the best interest of the political party a candidate seeks to lead. One of those rules is this: Do not provide ammunition to the opposition party that can be used to destroy your party's nominee. This is a hyper-truth where the presidential contest is concerned.

By saying that only she and John McCain are qualified to lead the country, particularly in times of crisis, Hillary Clinton has broken that rule, severely damaged the Democratic candidate who may well be the party's nominee, and, perhaps most ominously, revealed the unlimited lengths to which she will go to achieve power. She has essentially said that the Democratic party deserves to lose unless it nominates her. […]

Senator Obama is right to say the issue is judgment not years in Washington. If Mrs. Clinton loses the nomination, her failure will be traced to the date she voted to empower George W. Bush to invade Iraq. That is not the kind of judgment, or wisdom, required by the leader answering the phone in the night. For her now to claim that Senator Obama is not qualified to answer the crisis phone is the height of irony if not chutzpah, and calls into question whether her primary loyalty is to the Democratic party and the nation or to her own ambition.
Emphasis mine.

Raison D'amour

As if we needed another reason to love the French.
French women 'are the sexual predators now'
French women are becoming increasingly assertive in their sexual habits…according to one of the most comprehensive surveys of the nation's love lives. 
Women now have more than twice as many partners as they did in the 1970s, according to the study by the French Aids research agency, which is backed by the government. […]

"The good old dichotomy (male predators, females patiently awaiting the warrior's return in front of the cave entrance) is in big trouble", said Le Nouvel Observateur.

Female sexual emancipation has been a hot topic in France ever since President Nicolas Sarkozy met Carla Bruni, the Italian model and singer. The couple married last month.

Ms Bruni recently declared monogamy "terribly boring" and spoke in relaxed fashion about her numerous past conquests, including Mick Jagger and Eric Clapton.

"I am a tamer [of men], a cat, an Italian", she told Le Figaro last year. "I am faithful... to myself. I am monogamous from time to time but I prefer polygamy and polyandry [its female equivalent]."

Kamikaze Mission

I'm thinking either she figures she really does stand an outside chance of winning nomination by virtue of being the last candidate standing. Or she just doesn't care about the health of the party or the country and is willing to bloody up Obama for the general election allowing McCain to get in and she can run again in 2012. Here's Jonathan Chait's take at The New Republic:
Hillary Clinton, Fratricidal Maniac
Clinton's path to the nomination is pretty repulsive. She isn't going to win at the polls. Barack Obama has a lead of 144 pledged delegates. That may not sound like a lot in a 4,000-delegate race, but it is. Clinton's Ohio win reduced that total by only nine. She would need 15 more Ohios to pull even with Obama. She isn't going to do much to dent, let alone eliminate, his lead. […]

Clinton's path to the nomination, then, involves the following steps: kneecap an eloquent, inspiring, reform-minded young leader who happens to be the first serious African American presidential candidate (meanwhile cementing her own reputation for Nixonian ruthlessness) and then win a contested convention by persuading party elites to override the results at the polls. The plan may also involve trying to seat the Michigan and Florida delegations, after having explicitly agreed that the results would not count toward delegate totals. Oh, and her campaign has periodically hinted that some of Obama's elected delegates might break off and support her. I don't think she'd be in a position to defeat Hitler's dog in November, let alone a popular war hero.

Some Clinton supporters, like my friend (and historian) David Greenberg, have been assuring us that lengthy primary fights go on all the time and that the winner doesn't necessarily suffer a mortal wound in the process. But Clinton's kamikaze mission is likely to be unusually damaging. Not only is the opportunity cost--to wrap up the nomination, and spend John McCain into the ground for four months--uniquely high, but the venue could not be less convenient. Pennsylvania is a swing state that Democrats will almost certainly need to win in November, and Clinton will spend seven weeks and millions of dollars there making the case that Obama is unfit to set foot in the White House. You couldn't create a more damaging scenario if you tried.

What Are They Hiding? II

I've got a feeling this is going to be a very multi multi-part series. Here's the latest from USA Today.
Clinton-papers release blocked
LITTLE ROCK — Federal archivists at the Clinton Presidential Library are blocking the release of hundreds of pages of White House papers on pardons that the former president approved, including clemency for fugitive commodities trader Marc Rich.

The archivists' decision, based on guidance provided by Bill Clinton that restricts the disclosure of advice he received from aides, prevents public scrutiny of documents that would shed light on how he decided which pardons to approve from among hundreds of requests. […]

Former president Clinton issued 140 pardons on his last day in office, including several to controversial figures, such as commodities trader Rich, then a fugitive on tax evasion charges. Rich's ex-wife, Denise, contributed $2,000 in 1999 to Hillary Clinton's Senate campaign; $5,000 to a related political action committee; and $450,000 to a fund set up to build the Clinton library.

The president also pardoned two men who each paid Sen. Clinton's brother, Hugh Rodham, about $200,000 to lobby the White House for pardons — one for a drug conviction and one for mail fraud and perjury convictions, according to a 2002 report by the House committee on government reform. After the payments came to light, Bill Clinton issued a statement: "Neither Hillary nor I had any knowledge of such payments," the report said.

Department Of The Obvious

“Every time she has the option to choose secrecy over openness, she chooses secrecy.” —David Plouffe

But why shouldn't she when secrecy works so well for her. Like that time in '93 when she spearheaded the healthcare effort, right? 

What Are They Hiding Anyway?

Why won't the Cheneys–er–the Clintons release those tax returns?
Bill Clinton profits from company tied to felon, China
The spring before his wife began her White House campaign, former President Bill Clinton earned $700,000 for his foundation by selling stock that he had been given from an Internet search company that was co-founded by a convicted felon and backed by the Chinese government, public records show.

Mr. Clinton had gotten the nonpublicly traded stock from Accoona Corp. back in 2004 as a gift for giving a speech at a company event. He landed the windfall by selling the 200,000 shares to an undisclosed buyer in May 2006, commanding $3.50 a share at a time when the company was reporting millions of dollars of losses, according to interviews.
Then there's this:
Bill Clinton's Kazakhstan Money
Today, the New York Times reports that Bill Clinton flew to Kazakhstan in 2005 on a private jet of Candadian financier who wanted to achieve a mining contract for extensive amounts or recently discovered uranium. The two men met with the President of Kazakhstan, who has quashed any political dissent in that country; he is an absolutist. The Canadian achieves the contract. In return, the Canadian makes a $31.3 Million donation to the Bill Clinton charitable foundation. Info just made public in December, 2007. The initial Clinton response is that there is no connection between the trip and the donation.

I Didn't Get The Memo, Either

I hesitate to quote from former Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan, but you know what they say about stopped clocks. And she nails it here:
One Obama supporter on apparently didn't get the memo. That is the great threat to the Clintons, the number of young and independent Democrats who haven't received the memo about how Democrats speak of the Clintons. Writer Mark Q. Sawyer: "If Obama won't hit back, I will. Why aren't we talking about impeachment, Whitewater and Osama?"

What do I think is the biggest reason Mrs. Clinton came back? She kept her own spirits up to the point of denial and worked it, hard, every day. She is hardy, resilient, tough. She is a train on a track, an Iron Horse. But we must not become carried away with generosity. The very qualities that impress us are the qualities that will make her a painful president. She does not care what you think, she will have what she wants, she will not do the feints, pivots and backoffs that presidents must. She is neither nimble nor agile, and she knows best. She will wear a great nation down.

In any case the Clinton campaign, which has always been more vicious than clever, this week did a very clever thing. They pre-empted any criticism of past scandals by pushing a Democratic Party button called . . . the Monica story. Mr. Obama is "imitating Ken Starr" by speaking of Mrs. Clinton's record, said Howard Wolfson. But Ken Starr documented malfeasance. Mr. Obama can't even mention it. […]

I end with a deadly, deadpan prediction from Christopher Hitchens. Hillary is the next president… because, "there's something horrible and undefeatable about people who have no life except the worship of power . . . people who don't want the meeting to end, the people who just are unstoppable, who only have one focus, no humanity, no character, nothing but the worship of money and power. They win in the end."

It was like Claude Rains summing up the meaning of everything in the film "Lawrence of Arabia": "One of them's mad and the other is wholly unscrupulous." It's the moment when you realize you just heard the truth, the meaning underlying all the drama. "They win in the end." Gave me a shudder.

Happy Together

If this candidate wants my vote, she can forget it.

This from The Daily Dish:
Jon Chait on the fratricidal maniac that is Hillary Clinton. Money quote:
Pennsylvania is a swing state that Democrats will almost certainly need to win in November, and Clinton will spend seven weeks and millions of dollars there making the case that Obama is unfit to set foot in the White House. You couldn't create a more damaging scenario if you tried.
If she cannot win the White House, she wants McCain to beat Obama. She is clearing the ground for him. A reader points out what the Clintons' next move would be as McCain takes office:
She and her numerous supporters will view this as a repudiation of Obama, not Clinton. If he loses the general election as a result of this, it will prove her right all along—that the only way to further the Democratic agenda is to beat the Republicans at their game. New politics will have been a sham. If the victors write the history books, then the triumph of cynicism will not be cause for despair, but rather cause for celebration of the one cynic who saw all this, and tried to save us hopemongers from ourselves.
This is the Golden Rule about the Clintons - and take it from someone like me who actually endorsed the guy in 1992 and came to see what lies beneath: it's always, always, always about them.

Wink, Wink (Or How The Dispirited, Sclerotic Rust Belt State Got Duped)

Well, I don't like the sophmoric bit at the end of this vid, but the rest of it is salient and damning. The more I see of Hillary the less inclined I will be to vote for her should she manage to bulldog her way to the nomination. 

Could this be the year—the first in my life—where I sit out an election? Or my first year voting for a Republican? Will I have to make a choice between the very cool possibility of voting for the first woman president or keeping whatever bits of integrity and honor that resides within my being? Time will tell, but my feelings and my thoughts are hardening against her, by the minute.

A Walking Hope Machine

The Rolling Stone breaks with its decades-long tradition and endorses a primary candidate. Here's an excerpt from their endorsement:
A New Hope
The tides of history are rising higher and faster these days. Read them right and ride them, or be crushed. And then along comes Barack Obama, with the kinds of gifts that appear in politics but once every few generations. There is a sense of dignity, even majesty, about him, and underneath that ease lies a resolute discipline. It's not just that he is eloquent — with that ability to speak both to you and to speak for you — it's that he has a quality of thinking and intellectual and emotional honesty that is extraordinary.

I first learned of Barack Obama from a man who was at the highest level of George W. Bush's political organization through two presidential campaigns. He described the first-term senator from Illinois as "a walking hope machine" and told me that he would not work for any Republican candidate in 2008 if Obama was nominated. […]

Obama has emerged by displaying precisely the kind of character and judgment we need in a president: renouncing the politics of fear, speaking frankly on the most pressing issues facing the country and sticking to his principles. He recognizes that running for president is an opportunity to inspire an entire nation. […]

We need to recover the spiritual and moral direction that should describe our country and ourselves. We see this in Obama, and we see the promise he represents to bring factions together, to achieve again the unity that drives great change and faces difficult, and inconvenient, truths and peril.

We need to send a message to ourselves and to the world that we truly do stand for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. And in electing an African-American, we also profoundly renounce an ugliness and violence in our national character that have been further stoked by our president in these last eight years.

Like Abraham Lincoln, Barack Obama challenges America to rise up, to do what so many of us long to do: to summon "the better angels of our nature."

Fired For Speaking The Truth

It's too bad, because Power—a foreign policy adviser to Obama and expert on international human rights—is a brilliant mind and an asset to the campaign. But any politician would have to ask for her resignation, but especially one running the kind of campaign Obama is. That said, which of us who has paid attention over the years can disagree with her?
Obama Advisor Resigns After Calling Clinton "A Monster"
On Friday, Scottish newspaper The Scotsman reported that Obama foreign policy advisor Samantha Power said the following about Hillary Clinton in an on the record interview:
"She is a monster, too -- that is off the record -- she is stooping to anything," The Scotsman quoted her as saying.
Stooping to anything is a trait both Clintons have demonstrated to the American public for decades, which is probably why they get along with the Bush family so well.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Ladyfingers Or Black Forest?

Hilarious excerpt of Stephen Colbert's interview with former Clinton Labor Secretary, Robert Reich. Click here for the vid.
Robert Reich … just won’t give an enthusiastic endorsement of a specific candidate, no matter how many ways Colbert tries to wheedle it out of him.

SC: Are you endorsing Hillary Clinton?

RR: No, I decided not to endorse this round.

SC: So, you’re endorsing Barack Obama?

RR: No, I’m not going to endorse anybody. Because I’ve been a friend of Hillary…

SC: But you’re leaning, you’re leaning towards Barack Obama…

RR: …for so many years, I don’t want to endorse anybody, I think that would be inappropriate.

SC: Okay, let me put it this way: if we were at a restaurant together and the waiter brought around the dessert cart, and the choice was ladyfingers or Black Forest cake, which way do you think you’d lean?

RR: Quite seriously, either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama would make a great president.

SC: Let me put this a different way. If I were a waiter and I were to offer you two different slices of pizza, and one was half-Hawaiian and you weren’t entirely sure what it was going to taste like. And the other was plain with cheese and had been under a heat lamp for 35 years, I mean, it had seen everything. Which would you go for?

RR: I don’t think I’d be terribly excited about either of those slices.

SC: Which movie would you rent? “Big Momma’s House” or “Medea’s Family Reunion”? Be careful, they are both about strong women who are actually black men.

RR: Um, gosh. I think I’d try both of them out.

The Apple Of My Aiy!!!

Another Record-Breaking Month

UPDATE: Here's the breakdown stats of that haul. I'm proud to say I'm one of that 50%.
* Contributors: 727,972

* First Time Contributors: 385,101

* Total Contributors – Campaign to Date: 1,069,333

Online Fundraising:

* More than $45 million raised online in February

* More than 90% of online donations were $100 or less

* More than 50% of online donations were $25 or less

* More than 75% of online donors in February were first-time online donors

* More than a third of those new online donors in February went on to engage in volunteer activity on (planning their own offline events, making phone calls from home, joining local grassroots volunteer groups)
h/t: Talking Points Memo

Sign Me Up

Ha! The XX Factor's Hanna Rosin wants Clinton to drop out so badly she's willing to raise millions. Should we start passing the hat?
Just End It
My only thought this morning is that I really want it to be over. I'll vow to raise $5 million for Hillary if she'll drop out.
Liza Mundy disagrees (sort of):
I hear you, Hanna and Emily et al.—OK, pretty much everybody, now—and no doubt you're right, but I have to confess that I don't feel entirely ready for this to be over. I like this contest. I like the analysis and entrail-reading. I like getting up in the morning to find out how the returns came in overnight. I like watching as the Democratic party tries to manage the Godzilla-versus-Mothra nature of this battle between two formidable candidates and as superdelegates and party people try to decide which side to side with. It's suspenseful and exciting—like a great basketball game that's now gone into overtime.
The rest of the XX Factorites weigh in here.

Frankly Disturbing

No, not a descriptive of the Clinton campaign's spin machine. Just an example of "Ken Starr tactics."* 
Flashback! HRC Once Thought Taxes Should Be Open
Eight years ago, when Hillary parachuted into NY to become our Senator, she and Howard Wolfson became completely obsessed with opponent Rick Lazio's tax returns, which he did not release until the end of August.

They talked about them at every opportunity. In early July, Hillary called it "frankly disturbing." A guy in an Uncle Sam outfit was dispatched to be a nuisance at various Lazio events in August. Howard himself showed up once to try to rattle Lazio by offering him a copy of some Chappaqua property tax receipt after Lazio said he'd release his state returns as soon as Hillary released hers (which didn't exist, because she had just moved up here).
* Here for back story. 

Stuck In Customs

Another installment from my favorite phlog.*

* Phlog: Photo blog. A blog that features photos only with little to no commentary (see Stuck in Customs)

The Smell Of Desperation

The Clinton campaign does love playing the victim doesn't it?
Clinton aide compares Obama to Ken Starr
Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson, taking the campaign a bit meta on a conference call today, attacked Obama for attacking Clinton, and compared him to a notorious Clinton foe.

"When Senator Obama was confronted with questions over whether he was ready to be Commander-in-Chief and steward of the economy, he chose not to address those questions, but to attack Senator Clinton," Wolfson said. "I for one do not believe that imitating Ken Starr is the way to win a Democratic primary election for president."
Obama campaign's response:
It is absurd that after weeks of badgering the media to ‘vet’ Senator Obama, the Clinton campaign believes that they should be held to an entirely different standard. We don’t believe that expecting candidates for the presidency to disclose their tax returns somehow constitutes Ken Starr-tactics, but the kind of transparency and accountability that Americans are looking for and that’s been missing in Washington for far too long. And if Senator Clinton doesn’t think that the Republicans will ask these very same questions, then she’s not as ready to go toe-to-toe with John McCain as she claims.

The Gayest Songs Of All Time

Come out of the closet with these classics (compiled by Inside Out Australia).

Surprise rankings: "It's Raining Men" is only #4 and "YMCA" is only #2. What could beat them out? Click here to find out.

h/t: Daily Dish


Remember this gorgeous video that made the e-rounds a couple of years ago?

A Miscalculation?

Hat tip: Jennifer Hart

Well, You Know My Name Is Simon…

And the things I draw come true.

Bottom Up

From Taegan Goddard's Politica Wire:
Rolling Stone looks inside the grass-roots field operation supporting Sen. Barack Obama's presidential bid and says the campaign "has shattered the top-down, command-and-control, broadcast-TV model that has dominated American politics since the early 1960s."

Notes Joe Trippi: "They have taken the bottom-up campaign and absolutely perfected it. It's light-years ahead of where we were four years ago. They'll have 100,000 people in a state who have signed up on their Web site and put in their zip code. Now, paid organizers can get in touch with people at the precinct level and help them build the organization bottom up. That's never happened before. It never was possible before."

Obama's Grandmama


"Untruths are told that don't have anything to do with what Barack is about," she said in the local Luo language, her gray hair smoothed neatly under a headwrap. "I am very against it."  —Sarah Hussein Obama

An Arrogant Attitude

Excellent recent history of the Clinton campaign and the internal strife—even after last night's victory. Even in Victory, Clinton Team Is Battling Itself

Choice cut:
Yet renewal has come so late that advisers worry it may be too difficult to overtake Obama. "There was an arrogant attitude on the part of the campaign for many months," one lamented. "And now we're in a fight for our lives."

Says You!

A conversation between Clinton and Obama as imagined by Noah Millman at The American Scene. It's pretty spot on. 

The Slow Bleed Continues

Even a political activist with reason to feel loyal to Clinton and would prefer to stay neutral, now supports Obama. Read Mike Lux's reasoning over at Open Left.

Choice cut:
My feelings started to change after going to Iowa for caucus night. The enthusiasm and passion of all the young Obama supporters, their excitement about being involved in progressive politics, won my heart. If Obama could inspire all these folks who probably never would have showed up at all, that was a pretty exciting thing. However, I continued to feel that it was important to stay neutral for all the reasons I mentioned above, and continued to praise and beat up on both sides from time to time as the campaign went on.

However, we have now come to a crossroads in this campaign. Ironically, it was yesterday's results which have spurred my decision. If Obama had won Texas or Ohio or both, the end would be clearly in sight, and there would have been no reason for me to take the painful personal step of opposing my old friend Hillary. But I now feel it more important than ever to do so. Yesterday's victories by Hillary were impressive- as I've said before, you can never count her out. But even as impressive as those victories were, she gained very little net advantage in the delegate race. It's become increasingly clear to me that between Obama's delegate lead and the number of states left where he is likely to win big victories (WY, MS, NC, OR, MT, SD), it is virtually impossible for Hillary to gain an advantage in the pledged delegate count.

It is also clear that she won Ohio and Texas in great part to a harshly negative attack, including an ad and rhetoric on national security that completely reinforces the Bush/McCain/Republican line of attack on Democrats for the last several years. […]
Read the whole thing, it's pretty fascinating.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The Numbers

Well, the dust hasn't completely settled yet, but it looks like Clinton's delegate gain from last night will be anywhere between 8 and 14, with the most reasonable estimate being net 9. 
So after all that hue and cry, she's gained only a handful of delegates. Obama's still up by around 100 (give or take). And that's not to mention that two more superdelegates came out in support of him today.

And let's not forget that Clinton was up by double digits in both Ohio and Texas only a couple of weeks ago. Here's a snapshot from which does a poll of polls showing the candidates' movement over the past several months. Says it all.

Are You Experienced? I Mean, Really?

And he's taking on her alleged experience. Good moves. Keep 'em coming. 
Obama Goes On The Offensive
CHICAGO -- Barack Obama raised questions about Hillary Clinton’s candidacy today, arguing that it is time to look at her assertions on experience. “I have not seen any evidence that she is better equipped to handle a crisis,” he said. “If the only criteria is longevity in Washington, then she's certainly not going to beat John McCain on that."

Obama said he is ready to challenge her argument that she has been vetted and tested, hoping to dispel questions about his own experience.

“One of the things that I hope people start asking is what exactly is this foreign experience that she’s claiming? I know she talks about visiting 80 countries,” Obama said. “It’s not clear, was she negotiating treaties or agreements or was she handling crises during this period of time? My sense is the answer is no.”

Hitting Back

Like I said, Obama has a fine line to tread. Still I'm glad to see the campaign finally laying into Clinton on the tax issue. The Chicago Trib's Swamp has the news

Choice cut:
Barack Obama is firing back at Hillary Clinton just hours after she picked up two big victories in the Ohio and Texas primaries, partly on the strength of a dramatic last-minute television ad challenging his readiness to answer a "3 a.m. phone call" as commander-in-chief.

Minutes ago, the Obama campaign sent out a memo to reporters challenging Clinton's frequent claims that she is "fully vetted" after more than 16 years in national politics and questioning her refusal to release her tax returns before receiving the Democratic nomination.
Glad to hear it. Click here to read the campaign's memo. 


Here and here for more of the story. 

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The Enabler And The Moral Reprobate

Meanwhile, Obama's in somewhat of a bind. Because of the tenor and theme of his campaign he can't go blatantly negative on Clinton. He'll have to find some way to hit hard without appearing to be using the "old politics." Maybe some 527s can do the work. We'll see if he and his team have the creativity to thread the needle. Everything they've shown so far suggests they can. On the other hand, maybe they've blown their wad.

Myself, I'd love to see ads run reminding people of just who the Clintons are. I'd title one The Enabler and remind people of soap opera we'll be in for with her moral retard of a husband as First Laddie. A lot of Dems remember the Bill Clinton years fondly. I'd work on helping them remember the stained blue dress and the cigar.

I'd title another Any Future President and run this video with her comments about pulling out of Iraq and distancing herself from the vote atop it. 

Or one called Bush's Third Term and contrast her almost-disavowals of Iraq with this recent statement:  "We have given them the gift of freedom, the greatest gift you can give someone. Now it is really up to them to determine whether they will take that gift." —Hillary Clinton, 3-3-08

Or one called Sybil showing a sequence of her gracious debate ending from the Texas debate, the sarcasm of her mocking him, the anger of her "shame on you" episode, and her explanation of her vote on the disgusting bankruptcy bill with a voiceover saying something like "Which version is going to be ready on day one?"

And another called Betrayal showing her extensive record of betraying progressive ideas/measures with this voiceover. "Can we really trust her to do what's right for America?"

Alex Forrest*

Well, like a political Jason Voorhees or Alex Forrest, Hillary—er, Senator Clinton for all you hyper-sensitive 2nd-Wavers out there—came back from the dead and pulled out a couple of big wins tonight. 

Well, you gotta hand it to her, she played her cards smart. Playing the gender victim while race baiting in a sclerotic Rust Belt state seemed to do the trick. And the fear card worked in Texas. You know, the state which in all it's wisdom gave us George W. Bush. It also didn't hurt to have kept Bill the Red in a closet somewhere so he couldn't wag his finger in anymore faces.

Now, we get to see a long war of attrition, one that may well last until the convention. It's possible that it'll make whatever candidate wins stronger and more battle-tested for November. It's more possible that some poisonous bad blood will have built up and the party suffers for it. 

But Hey, It Works

Emily Bazelon over at The XX Factor ponders the victimization tactic so skillfully used by Clinton and several of her intellectually dishonest supports (see my recent rant here).
Crying Gender Wolf
Meghan and Hanna, you're helping me put my finger on what's been bothering me this week. It's the crying gender wolf—baking real instances of sexism in the same pie as the made-up slights, or even the nonslights. Example from the Post story today: Obama pulling out Hillary's chair for her at the debates gets cast as a way to take power away from her, as opposed to simple courtesy or a touch of chivalry. The problem with this is the usual crying-wolf problem: It devalues the actual problem of sexism that Hillary confronts, and it's just freaking wearisome. John Dickerson has made the point (in the context of McCain's response to the NYT's Vicki Iseman story) that a candidate can only protest that he or she is getting treated unfairly so many times before it starts to wear thin. There's the skillful taking of umbrage, and then there's whingeing. Also, the even less attractive my-victimization-is-worse-than-your-victimization—see the trotting out of sexism "is the worst of the -isms." As if that is a competition we really need to have.

The Buckeye State

Well, it's too early to call just yet, but it looks like Clinton will take the state I happened to be born in (I refuse to call it my home state). Exit polls suggest she took the poor, ignorant racist vote and white geezer women vote. Helluva coalition Hillary. 

Elsewhere, Obama took Vermont (no surprise), Clinton took Rhode Island (no surprise), and Texas is still too close to call, though Obama has a slight lead. 

Enough To Make Rove Proud

Wow, more evidence (albeit circumstantial) of race baiting from the Clinton campaign. A nice appetizer of what we can expect this fall, I guess. 

A DKos diarist makes the case here

Myself, I'm becoming blasé about Team Clinton's willingness to go into the gutter against a fellow Democrat. Not so much John Aravois from AmericaBlog, though:
It just keeps happening again and again and again. The Clintons keeps doing things, saying things, that sound awfully racist. And we're to believe that this, the - what? 8th, 10th time? - this has happened is again just a coincidence. The first half a dozen times you launch seemingly racist attacks on your black opponent, maybe - maybe - we can write it off as "boy you're really dumb not to get it." But having a seemingly-racist attack from the Clinton folks on Obama every single week, after a while, you don't get to play the "I had no idea!" card anymore. After that many times, you're race-baiting. You're using racism to win. And you're destroying your legacy and your husband's. Enough already.

Down And Dirty

As usual in a tightly-contested race, accusations of election day inproprieties are being flung about willy-nilly. I couldn't even begin to catalog them all here, nor do I want to. Suffice it say any illegal suppression tactics should be highlighted and prosecuted. If you're interested in this coverage go here or here and scroll down to pertinent posts.

That said, I still have more than a passing interest in rough and tumble dirty tactics so I found this story interesting and worth passing on. Though the activity isn't illegal, this story from the Chicago Tribune's poliblog, The Swamp, speaks volumes about a certain campaign's last-minute tactics:
'Did I say Osama? I meant Obama!'
A lawyer in a predominantly Democratic suburb of Cleveland relates this tale to The Swamp on the day before the all-important Ohio primary:
So last night around dinner time, the phone rings. It’s the Hillary campaign–official number, per the caller ID. The woman on the other end asks me if Hillary can count on my support Tuesday. I say I have not decided.
She asks what would help me decide. I say, “Well . . . maybe she can make Bill her vice president.” She does not know how to take me, of course, but has to assume I am serious. “I don’t think she can do that.” “Bill will have a significant role in major decisions, though, won’t he?” I ask. “Oh, certainly he will be very involved. Do you like Bill?” “Very much.” I reply.

She then launches into a two-minute spiel on all the very specific initiatives and proposals Hillary has put forth on health care, the war in Iraq, etc., etc. At the end of her spiel, she says, “And we haven’t heard anything that specific from Osama bin Laden.”

I say, “You did not just say that.” She replies, “I’m sorry . . . just a slip of the tongue.” She then thanks me for my time and encourages me to vote for Hillary on Tuesday.
The lawyer says he was "stunned" and tells The Swamp the call originated from the Clinton campaign in Columbus. Are the dirty tricks ramping up as we get down to the wire? Swamp readers in Ohio and Texas, relate your own encounters with the Clinton or Obama campaigns if you've had them.

Who Said This?

Who recently made theses comments about Iraq?

"We have given them the gift of freedom, the greatest gift you can give someone. Now it is really up to them to determine whether they will take that gift."

a) W
b) Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT)
c) Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY)
d) Bill Kristol

c) Senator Hillary Clinton,
yesterday evening (3/3/08)

Hard to believe idn't it? (Yeah, I know, not really.)

Or Any Future President Indeed

Commentary from Matthew Yglesias:
Experience in action. Watch in amazement as Hillary Clinton specifically cites her experience as First Lady as confirming her view that Saddam Hussein has links with al-Qaeda and active chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons programs (and no she didn't read the classified intelligence that might have cast some doubts on her Bush administration talking points) that we had to address through war:

I, for one, look forward to a general election campaign in which every time Clinton starts making a persuasive critique of the Bush-McCain approach to world affairs she winds up getting tagged as a flip-flopper. It's time to get our heads out of the sand and have a Democratic Party that can make a clean break from this nonsense.
You and me both, brother. You and me both.

The Last Refuge*

A quick reminder of why I care so much about this election and who the real political enemies are. (Also, it's great to see such a buffoon get his ass handed to him.)

* "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel." —Samuel Johnson

Lady Lindbergh

Last month, I honored Black History Month with this post

Well, March is Women's History Month, so time for another celebratory post, this one in honor of one of my heroes, Amelia Earhart. 

Like most students, I'd learned a little about her in school, mostly of her mysterious final around-the-world flight. I always thought she was cool, but she became a hero of mine when I found a 1989 calendar called The Freethinker's Calendar. Each month had a different 20th-century iconoclast, with a picture, brief bio and a quote.

Here's an excerpt from her bio: 
Four years later she became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic. At a time when women's lives were defined by domesticity, Earhart rejected it and became an international symbol of her gender's untapped potential.
What really caught my attention, though, was the quote
—something she said to her fiance, George Putnam, regarding their impending marriage in 1931: 
In our life together I shall not hold you to any medieval code of faithfulness to me, nor shall I consider myself bound to you similarly.…I cannot guarantee to endure at all times the confinement of even an attractive cage.
I was sold right then.

For more on her life and history-making flights, click here


And in case that's not enough history, here and here are some interesting posts on women's history in America by a diarist over at DailyKos. 


* I also want to give a shout out to Sappho, Josephine Baker, Billie Holiday, Dorothy Parker, Eleanor Roosevelt, Jean Houston, Elaine Pagels, Sinead O'Connor, and my gorgeous wife Annie McIntyre.

Second Wave Goodbye?

Can someone tell me what the fuck is up with second-wave, baby-boomer feminists? There seems to be this old guard (Jong, Steinem, Morgan) who just can't accept that, while for many of us Sen. Clinton is a good candidate, Obama is a better one. On the merits. Let me repeat, ON THE MERITS. 

But to the second-wavers, everything seems to boil down to the extra goddamn chromosomal leg, the double xx. Surely she can't be losing because she sucks as a candidate, to this way of thinking, it must be because she's a woman—and only because she's a woman. 

Look, there's no disputing that sexism exists and is playing a part in this campaign. It's ugly and should be condemned. Better still it should be denounced and rejected. :) But the speed with which Clinton supporters and, frankly Clinton herself, have gone from A to Z without stopping anywhere between is remarkable. I guess when the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

What brings this up is the latest installment of smart people saying stupid things. This one brought to us by Gloria Steinem:
"Suppose John McCain had been Joan McCain and Joan McCain had got captured, shot down and been a POW for eight years," she said. "Reporters would ask, 'What did you do wrong to get captured? What terrible things did you do while you were there as a captive for eight years?' " Steinem said.

"I mean, hello?" Steinem told a Texas crowd Saturday night as she was discussing McCain's captivity by the Viet Cong. "This is supposed to be a qualification to be president? I don't think so," The New York Observer quoted her as saying.
Never mind, the guy spent 5-1/2 years as a prisoner of war, tortured on a regular basis, and refused to leave when given the chance, opting instead to stay with his fellow soldiers until they were all released. Let's use him to make an absurd political point. Tacky. 

By the way, anyone remember Jessica Lynch? Lori Piestewa? Doesn't exactly fit Ms. Steinem's hypothetical frame, eh?

On the other hand, many women aren't going to vote for Clinton just—and only—just because she's a woman. Plenty of feminists support Obama, as evinced here

And a shout out to Third Wave feminists like those here and here

Monday, March 3, 2008

A Straight Flush?

And Clinton complains about her treatment by the press?
Luxury Living on the Campaign Trail
Posted by Karen Tumulty, Time
This has got to be a first. Here in Austin, on the night before that make-or-break Texas primary, the Clinton campaign has set up a filing center for the traveling press corps ... in a men's room. Insert metaphor here.
UPDATE: According to the schedule, we will be here in the men's room for the next five hours. Someone will soon have to declare a moratorium on the "down the toilet" jokes.
UPDATE2: Hey, Jay: Is it true Obama has put his press corps in the Golden Door Spa tonight?
UPDATE3: There's also dinner and a television in here. I really wish I had Ana's little camera thing-ee, so I could share.
UPDATE4: CNN has a photo.
UPDATE5: A wider shot (wider stance?) from my own cellphone is posted two entries above this one. A gentleman just wandered in, expecting to use the facilities, and looked very startled to see three dozen reporters typing away on their laptops.
And then there's this statement from Clinton spokesman Doug Hattaway: "These accommodations should in no way be taken as a commentary on the quality of our media coverage." Heh.

Here are a couple of pics:


Chill out, Bessie. Tuesday night's almost here.

Don't Lower Your Standard

Pretty cool article from Science Daily.
Supercomputer Confirms Standard Model Theory Of The Universe
Scientists have used a supercomputer to shed new light on one of the most important theories of physics, the Standard Model, which encapsulates understanding of all the material that makes up the universe. This 30-year-old theory explains all the known elementary particles and three of the four forces acting upon them - however, it excludes the force of gravity, which is its shortcoming. […]

Some Deep Inside Baseball…

…From A.B. Stoddard at The Hill.

Just A Shot Away

We all know the story of the poor guy getting stabbed to death by the Hell's Angels at Altamont. Well, it turns out the Angels didn't want to stop there. Pissed off by Jagger's response to the incident, they attempted to assassinate him.
BBC: Hells Angels sought to kill Mick Jagger
Altamont concert presenter says they tried to attack Rolling Stone by boat
LONDON - Rolling Stones singer Mick Jagger escaped an assassination plot hatched in 1969 by the Hells Angels, a new British Broadcasting Corp. documentary has claimed.

A program to be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on Monday says the rock star was the target of the plot following a purported dispute with the motorcycle gang over concert security. […]

Be Brave, America

We're Stuck With Them

If you can stomach the near-insufferable smugness and condescension of Chris Hitchens (an increasingly difficult proposition), here's a pretty interesting, though juvenile, discussion of religion in American politics on Bill Maher's show.

Best—and funniest—point as far as I'm concerned comes from Dan Savage of Savage Love: “This is America. Australia got the convicts. Canada got the French. America got the Puritans. We’re stuck with them. We’re never going to have a presidential candidate who doesn’t believe some form of religious idiocy.”

Liberal Ideas

Another good post from Matt taking on Peter Daou's pro-Clinton case.

Choice cut:
[Daou's case:]
The Democrat who eventually faces Sen. McCain will require a set of skills and experiences that enables them to:
• compete on a broad playing field;
• confront and beat back a GOP attack machine waiting to tear them down;
• put forth and defend core Democratic ideas - and ideals - such as universal health care;
• build a solid coalition for victory;
• and importantly, stand toe-to-toe with Sen. McCain on national security.
Hillary excels on each of these fronts. 
[Yglesias's take:]
Now Kerry, for all his flaws, actually did come pretty close in 2004 so a Kerry-esque strategy plus economic distress just might work in 2008. And, of course, an attempt to draw a clear line of contrast on questions of doctrine might fail. But I, for one, would like to see it given a try. This is especially true because I think Obama is closer to correct on the merits of the underlying issue. But in political terms, a critique focused on implementation issues is going to be a lot less persuasive when directed at John McCain than it was at George W. Bush.

Obama will have a clear shot at making a simple argument that Bush's ideas have led to bad consequences, McCain shares Bush's ideas, and Obama has different ones. McCain will, of course, push back and say that Obama's ideas are wrongheaded and dangerous. But I actually have some faith in the power of liberal ideas and in the demonstration effect of the all-too-visible consequences of the alternative. Clinton, by contrast, continues to show a proclivity for either the politics of fear or else the politics of timidity.
Emphasis mine.

Working The Refs

Good analysis on whom media bias is favoring from Matthew Yglesias at
The Race and the Media
The Clinton campaign is pushing hard on the idea that the press has been kinder to Barack Obama than it's been to her, and I know a lot of her supporters are totally up in arms about this. I'd say it's definitely true that, on balance, Obama has gotten better press than Clinton. Still, I think Clinton fans are going more than a little overboard with this monocausal account of the campaign. For one thing, one important exception to this is that if Obama had lost eleven contests in a row, there's no way he'd still be treated as a viable candidate. Similarly, if Obama had reached a situation where nobody can mathematically see a way for Clinton to catch his lead without altering DNC rules, I seriously doubt the race would continue to be covered as a serious competition.
From another direction, even though the press has often been unfair to Clinton about petty stuff, they have been very willing to go along with the idea that she has a vast experience edge over Obama even though it's always been unclear what exactly that edge consisted of. On top of that, the country's most prominent liberal columnist has been pretty consistently attacking Obama for months now. Now, yes, I do think there's been more BS thrown in her direction and there's obviously been an "Obama swoon" factor that there's no equal of on the other side (even Krugman, for example, writes only about his loathing of Obama and his supporters and never says anything good about Clinton) and that's been a factor in the race. Still, on the central argument of her campaign, Clinton's been treated reasonably well and the press has actually bent over backwards to keep her in the race under circumstances when almost anyone else would have been written off.

Bill Supports Barack III

This is a provocative post from Emily Yoffe at The XX Factor exploring whether Bill is actually pulling for Hillary to lose. It references a scientific study which discovered that when spouses or friends excel in the same field that we are in, we may feel happy for them, but we'll also likely feel envy and dismay. 
Bill, Happy At Last? 
Today, Washington Post science writer Shankar Vedantam has a piece titled "Intimate Rivalries" about how married couples and close friends negotiate their jealousy when they are both in the same field. He says researchers have found that "unhappy couples and friends unconsciously fall into the trap of competing in the same domain," while happier couples find different aspects of work at which to excel. I have long agreed with Emily B.'s musing on whether Bill hasn't subconsciously wanted Hillary to fail. 
It would be hard for even the most well-adjusted half of any couple to see their spouse take over the same job—a job that represented the pinnacle of achievement—and face the possibility of being bested. (Let's stipulate that Bill is not the most well-adjusted spouse.) He has long worried about his legacy—the late'90s were too peaceful to present the chance for greatness that more challenging times provide. Don't you think Bill has fretted that Hillary, having the discipline and toughness that he lacks, might show him up as a war-time president, while he fiddles on the sidelines with his foundation? Don't you think he's secretly the biggest Obama supporter of all?

The Natural

Watch how much fun he starts having with the crowd around three minutes in. Sure he's playing to the crowd, but still, it's clear he's caught a wave and he just starts riding it. A total natural.

Oh, Thaaat's What's Wrong With America

I'm ready to become part of the solution.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Want To Play Gay Chicken?

1. Gay chicken. A game where two people of the same sex (and preferably straight) put their faces closer and closer until one of them chickens out. If none of them do, then they get closer until they kiss.
5. Gay chicken. When two heterosexual people walk down the mall with their hands together until one cant take it anymore, letting go and losing
Who knew?

For more new slang, head on over to the Urban Dictionary.

Lennon Returns To Liverpool…As A 10ft Illuminated Pie

Wha? BBC has the story.
Lennon to light up city once more
John Lennon is once again going to light up a Liverpool club - in the form of two 10ft figures which were formerly part of the Blackpool illuminations.

The figures of the music legend once formed part of a Beatles tribute display in the Lancashire town.

But when club owner Brian Corrigan, who runs Lathom Hall in Seaforth, saw them in a sale he said he jumped at the chance to buy them.

The Fab Four even played at the venue ten times between 1960 and 1961. […]

Mr Corrigan said: "I think it's the only original stage that the Beatles actually played on that is still here - so I'm really please the figures are here, they'll just add to everything."

I'm Gonna Fuck All Y'All

Idiocracy…it ain't just an American thing. (Courtesy of the BBC.)
21-year-old fathers seventh child
A 21-year-old who fathered his first child at 13 is about to become a dad for the seventh time.
Keith Macdonald, from Washington, Tyne and Wear has been branded a "reckless Romeo" after it emerged that all his children are by different women.

He is reported to be living apart from the mother-to-be.

As he is unemployed he does not support his children financially, but Mr Macdonald says he has no plans to father any more children …

New Rules

They're back...over atCrooks and Liars