Friday, May 16, 2008

Bizarro Land

We're definitely in a new world when Peggy Noonan writes sane articles that I can read all the way through. Her assessment of the Republicans chances this year is as bad as anyone's. 

Choice cut:
Mr. Bush has squandered the hard-built paternity of 40 years. But so has the party, and so have its leaders. If they had pushed away for serious reasons, they could have separated the party's fortunes from the president's. This would have left a painfully broken party, but they wouldn't be left with a ruined "brand," as they all say, speaking the language of marketing. And they speak that language because they are marketers, not thinkers. Not serious about policy. Not serious about ideas. And not serious about leadership, only followership.

Obama Hits Back

Hard. Choice cut: 
"If George Bush and John McCain want to have a debate about protecting the United States of America, that is a debate that I'm happy to have any time, any place, and that is a debate that I will win because George Bush and John McCain have a lot to answer for," Obama said in a campaign speech in South Dakota.

Idiocracy Now

(Almost) Post-Game Analysis

The New Republic's Michelle Cottle asked several of Hillary's staff members to create a list of what went wrong. It's fascinating. It shows that despite the cheery and defiant bs that Wolfson and McAuliffe (and the dour defiant bs from Mark Penn earlier in the year), people in the campaign actually had and have a good sense of what was going on and what happened. 
What Went Wrong?
The exclusive story of Hillary's fall, as told by the high-level advisors, staffers, fundraisers, and on-the-ground organizers who lived it.
Endings are rarely as joyous as beginnings--and in the case of a long, wearing, and ultimately disappointing campaign, they can be downright brutal. But they also have the potential to be educational, for participants and gawkers alike. So it is that we asked (begged, really) a range of Hillarylanders for their up-close and personal lists of "What Went Wrong?" Not everyone wanted to play. Many stubbornly pointed out that their candidate is not yet dead. But, on the condition of total anonymity, a fairly broad enough cross-section of her staff responded--more than a dozen members all told, from high-level advisors to grunt-level assistants, from money men to on-the-ground organizers.…
My favorite: 
1. Mark Penn
2. Mark Penn
3. Mark Penn

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Clinton's Cheerleader

Clinton's campaign chair Terry MacAuliffe used to drive me crazy. I mean I wanted to throw a chair at the tv whenever I saw his oily mug dumping bs on talk shows. I have to admit, though, that lately I've been finding him almost charming. His unrelenting cheerleading in the face of near-certain defeat for his candidate has been both humorous and strangely endearing. The folks over at Veracifier have noticed, too, and put together a sort of greatest hits video. Enjoy:

Remember These Days?

Look what I stumbled across! Someone has chronicled the 1990 version of Windows. Here are some screen shots to ruin your day:

And here's the previous version:

Gack! And here's Windows 1. Note the god-awful original logo.

Thank god for Steve Jobs. 

Hillary Vows to Fight on for Edwards' Endorsement

More campaign snark from Andy Borowitz: 
Just moments after former presidential candidate John Edwards endorsed Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill) for president, Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) vowed to "continue the fight" for Edwards' endorsement.

"My friends, I will fight for the endorsement of John Edwards, even if it takes all summer," she told supporters in Louisville, Kentucky. "I have not begun to fight for this endorsement!"…

Politi-Porn II

That last PolitiPorn post was so much fun I had to watch it again. But though it's great fun, it's not my favorite snippet. My favorite—possibly the best piece of political talk show ass-handing in the history of cable news—is this 2006 clip from (sorry, but I must say it…) Hannity & Colmes. In it a Demo strategist named Kirsten Powers takes Ann Coulter to the mat. She shuts her up in a way I've never before seen anyone else do. The conservative diva is so flabbergasted she bolts the show. What kind of super power does Kirsten possess? Don't know, but she's earned a place in my heart. 

What Californians Have To Look Forward To

Massachusetts Supreme Court Orders All Citizens To Gay Marry

Can the rest of the country be next? 


Watch as Chris Matthews (yes, Chris Matthews) takes a right wing talk radio mouth breather to school. It's a beautiful thing to behold.

Can you believe this guy? It's too bad they don't get called on their no-nothing bullshit more often. We may never have ended up in Bush's quagmire.


Talk about kinky—someone has actually mapped out known sexual fetishes. Click here for full size

I'm feeling more vanilla by the day. 

Courting Sanity

California's supreme court finally cedes to reason and rules in favor of equal rights (and against second-class citizenship) for millions of its citizens. 
Gay Marriage Ban Overturned By California Supreme Court
SAN FRANCISCO — In a monumental victory for the gay rights movement, the California Supreme Court overturned a voter-approved ban on gay marriage Thursday in a ruling that would allow same-sex couples in the nation's biggest state to tie the knot.

Domestic partnerships are not a good enough substitute for marriage, the justices ruled 4-3 in striking down the ban.

Outside the courthouse, gay marriage supporters cried and cheered as the news spread. Jeanie Rizzo, one of the plaintiffs, called Pali Cooper, her partner of 19 years, and asked, "Pali, will you marry me?"

"This is a very historic day. This is just such freedom for us," Rizzo said. "This is a message that says all of us are entitled to human dignity."
The Daily Dish has reax from a variety of sources, including Cali's governor, here and here.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

We're Pathetic!

Ahhh…the news just keeps getting better for us libs. Sam Stein has this at HuffPo:
GOP Adviser: This is '94 In Reverse, We're Pathetic
A palpable sense of doom has set in among Republican rank and file as the party begins to lick its wounds from last night's defeat in a special Mississippi congressional election. The loss, which was the GOP's third straight in what had been reliably Republican districts, spurned talks of even greater, historical setbacks in the fall.

"This is 1994 all over again," Frank Luntz, a famed Republican communications consultant, told The Huffington Post. "I was there. I saw it firsthand. The Republicans of 2008 are behaving exactly like the Democrats of '94 and making exactly the same mistakes. It's pathetic."

Republican officials are concerned that Washington may bring more harm than help for the down ticket candidates

"Really the mistake they have made is to nationalize these elections when the national image is poisonous for Republicans right now," explained Craig Shirley, a Republican strategist with Shirley Bannister Public Relations. "What they should do is focus on local affairs. When you are sending in big time politicians from Washington and cater to the national media, you are reminding people why they are upset with the Republican Party in the first place."

"This is as bad as I can remember since post Watergate," said Shirley.

A HUGE Endorsement?

Rumors are flying around the blogosphere that Edwards will endorse Obama tonight. If so, woo hoo!

Update: It's official. He's endorsed.

A BIG Endorsement

Washington, DC - Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, released the following statement today, announcing that her organization's political action committee proudly endorses Sen. Barack Obama for president.

"Today, NARAL Pro-Choice America PAC is proud to endorse Sen. Barack Obama for president. Sen. Obama has been a strong advocate for a woman's right to choose throughout his career in public office. He steadfastly supports and defends a woman's right to make the most personal, private decisions regarding her reproductive health without interference from government or politicians.

"Sen. Obama has been a leader on this issue in the United States Senate. Since joining the Senate in 2005, he has worked to unite Americans on both side of this debate behind commonsense, common-ground ways to prevent unintended pregnancy. Sen. Obama supports legislation to provide our teens with comprehensive sex education, prevent pharmacies from denying women access to their legal birth-control prescriptions, and increase access to family-planning services.

"We are confident that Barack Obama is the candidate of the future. Americans are tired of the divisive politics of the last eight years, and will unite behind Obama in the fall. We look forward to working with a pro-choice Obama White House in January."

Keenan also praised Senator Clinton as a pro-choice leader. "Americans have been fortunate to have two fully pro-choice candidates in the race for the Democratic nomination. But only one can go forward to the general election. It is truly historic for us to have these two outstanding candidates in the race."

Post-WV Snark

Well, it was definitely Hillary's night last night. Good for her. She proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that she's Appalachia's candidate. Now, onto the snark from John Scalzi:
Poor, rural, working-class white folks in Appalachia didn’t vote for the rich urban former law professor senator from Chicago. They went for the rich urban former law professor senator born in Chicago instead. But since the vote went so overwhelmingly in one direction rather than the other, and rich urban former law professor senators with Chicago ties are otherwise largely interchangeable, there has to be another controlling factor here. I can’t think what it might be, though. Maybe it will come to me if I think about it.

Oh, wait, I know now. Poor, rural, working-class white folks from Appalachia wanted to strike a blow for feminism. Well, way to go, West Virginia! You’ve certainly done that. And now, clearly, you’ve shown that you’re the most feminist state in all the union.…

Contra My Last Post

Matt Yglesias has a slightly different take:
Clinton Wins WV
Her campaign is rescued from the dead. As the Clinton campaign sagely points out "no Democrat has won the White House without winning West Virginia since 1916" and therefore Obama's primary loss shows that despite his large lead in the polls over John McCain, he can't possible win the election.
What's even more interesting is that no Democrat has won the White House without carrying Minnesota since 1912 (it went for Teddy Roosevelt's Bull Moose party) so given that Obama won Minnesota and Clinton won West Virginia, McCain is guaranteed to win the general election unless the eventual nominee can somehow completely replicate the social and political conditions prevailing in pre-WWI America. The outlook, in short, is very grim.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Obama In A Landslide

There I said it.* 

Of course, making predictions about politics is a fool's errand. Anyone who's paid more attention than a passing glance to electoral politics know that the cliche is true: A week/month/half-year (take your pick) is an eternity in politics. Anything can happen between now and November which would upend my assessment. 

But there's no glory without risk, and if I kept my prediction to myself, I'd hardly have credibility to crow should it turn out correct. Who'd believe me without proof? :)

So, now I'm on record with it. Come November 5, I'll either be crowing until my friends pin me down and stuff a sock in my mouth or I'll end up with a four-egg omelette on my face. It's a risk I'm willing to take. 

Why? Every indication I look at points to it. The latest being this from ABCNews: 
Eighty-two percent of Americans now say the country's seriously off on the wrong track, up 10 points in the last year to a point from its record high in polls since 1973. And 31 percent approve of Bush's job performance overall, while 66 percent disapprove.
That's 82%! Not at all surprising given this train wreck of an administration, but still a big number. Combined with other factors (an unusually large number Republicans resigning, several who aren't retiring with weak reelect numbers, the huge surge in Democratic registrations, a weak Repub presidential candidate, a strong Dem presidential candidate with historic organizational power and gobs of cash, the huge influx of young voters, and a growing progressive movement), this number bodes really poorly for Republicans. And given Obama's strengths as a candidate, I think his win will be big rather than close. 

* Unlike here, when I merely dipped my toe in the water.

Update: Apparently, I'm not the only one to notice this. Matt Stoller over at OpenLeft agrees:
Six Signs Democrats Are Going to Romp
The new numbers from the Washington Post/ABC Poll are remarkable. They show an electorate that hates Republicans, has pretty much made up its mind, is comfortable with Obama and his message, and is paying attention. Let's look at some of the core macro-trends.…
Go check out the whole post which is much more detailed than mine. 

Update II: Democrat Travis Childers just won a special election seat in a heavily Republican Mississippi congressional district. That makes three big turnovers in deep red regions in the past few months: last Saturday, Donald J. Cazayoux won in Baton Rouge, LA, tonight's win in MI, and, of course, the biggest grab, Bill Foster taking former House speaker Denny Hastert's seat in Michigan back in March. 

This is going to be a big year for Democrats. 


Maps tracking the Demo primary so far—lots of them—from Meng Bomin at DKos. Get your politigeek on.

Give Me Some Slack

I was going to do a post on procrastination, but figured I'd just get to it later....

Okay, another bad joke. Here's some great advice on slacking from Slate's Seth Stevenson, someone who clearly knows what he's talking about. My kinda guy.
Letter to a Young Procrastinator
It's just that simple, my slothful friend. And guess what else? The trick to overcoming procrastination is even simpler. Ready? Here it is:
Get off your fat badonk and stop procrastinating. Right now. No, not after the Gilmore Girls rerun ends. Now now.
Will you do this? No. You will not. You will dabble at the crossword for a while. Later, you might get a yogurt. Eventually, you'll start reading pointless crap on the Internet. You see, you're doing it as we speak! Because: You are lazy.
Understand that this will never, ever change. You will always be lazy, and you will always procrastinate. I know it's tough for you to hear, but it's a harsh truth that you need to internalize.
I'm serious about this. It's bad enough that you're so damn lazy. People like you can't afford to be delusional on top of all your other problems. Oh, I'm sure you imagine yourself growing out of this silly procrastination phase. In the future, you'll get an early jump on projects, work at a steady pace, and always finish ahead of schedule. You'll take the time to do things right—instead of nipping under the wire in a rush of half-assed, flailing chaos.
It's a beautiful dream, my indolent chum. And I'm here to shatter it. Again, I speak from experience in these matters. When I was young, my procrastination was merely debilitating. As I age, it gets far worse.

If A Man Living In West Virginia…

…divorces his wife are they still brother and sister? Okay, the joke is a low blow. But if you think West Virginia is unfairly tarred as backwards, think again

My Virgin Experience

No, not a creepy story of ephebophilia or a tedious memoir of my sexual deflowering. I just had my first brush with political vandalism. 

As I got into my car this morning to go the coffee shop I noticed out of the corner of my eye that the metal frame which had held my Obama yard sign was strangely naked. It took a second to sink in that it was missing. Thinking we may have had an unusually windy storm last night, I looked around the yard, but could find it nowhere. Then it hit me that some bastard had stolen it. I looked around my block and every single Obama sign suffered the same fate. It was a graveyard of political expression, with the frames acting as surrogate headstones. 

My first response was anger. Fuckin' asshole lame-ass motherfuckering fucks! $%@*($!&&()*&! I cursed my way to the coffee shop.

Then I realized something: this was the action of a loser. Someone who feels secure in their candidate's chances in all likelihood wouldn't feel the need to stifle their opponent's supporters. I mean, I suffer every time I see one of those poorly designed Hillary signs, but I've never succumbed to the fleeting temptation to whisk them from my sight and alleviate my pain. 

So, if it makes the sad and pathetic lowlife who stole my and my neighbors' property feel better, huzzah to them. It's a reflection of how much strength Obama has and how weak his opponent is. And it's a sad commentary on the civic responsibility of Hillary's increasingly desperate and angry fans. 

P.S. Oh, why am I assuming it was a Hillary supporter and not McCain? Well, first off, this is Ashland. If there's a McCain supporter around, I haven't seen any evidence. Secondly, the Hillary signs—what small amount there are—were conspicuously left intact. 

Monday, May 12, 2008

Reason #4,598…

…to support Obama:
Next president might be gentler on pot clubs
As the candidates prepare for a May 20 primary in Oregon, one of 12 states with a California-style law, Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois has become an increasingly firm advocate of ending federal intervention and letting states make their own rules when it comes to medical marijuana.…
But wait, there's more!
…of the remaining contenders, Obama has been the friendliest to advocates of medical marijuana.
At a November appearance in Audubon, Iowa, Obama recalled that his mother had died of cancer and said he saw no difference between doctor-prescribed morphine and marijuana as pain relievers. He said he would be open to allowing medical use of marijuana, if scientists and doctors concluded it was effective, but only under "strict guidelines," because he was "concerned about folks just kind of growing their own and saying it's for medicinal purposes."
Obama went a step further in an interview in March with the Mail Tribune newspaper in Medford, Ore. While still expressing qualms about patients growing their own supply or getting it from "mom-and-pop stores," he said it is "entirely appropriate" for a state to legalize the medical use of marijuana, "with the same controls as other drugs prescribed by doctors."
In response to recent questions from The Chronicle about medical marijuana, Obama's campaign - the only one of the three contenders to reply - endorsed a hands-off federal policy.
"Voters and legislators in the states - from California to Nevada to Maine - have decided to provide their residents suffering from chronic diseases and serious illnesses like AIDS and cancer with medical marijuana to relieve their pain and suffering," said campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt.
"Obama supports the rights of states and local governments to make this choice - though he believes medical marijuana should be subject to (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) regulation like other drugs," LaBolt said. He said the FDA should consider how marijuana is regulated under federal law, while leaving states free to chart their own course.

LaBolt also said Obama would end U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration raids on medical marijuana suppliers in states with their own laws.
A president who would decelerate the unconstitutional and flat-out evil War On Drugs to whatever degree (and this is admittedly a baby step) is something to be relished. A candidate who's willing to say so on record while still running is positively shocking in these mindless zero tolerance Drug War times.

I'm starting to love this man.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Oh, Yeah!

Obama fans have an unfair reputation for having drunk the Kool-Aid for their candidate, but posters over at (where is the eye-rolling emoticon anyway?) are virtually intoxicated on the stuff.

Here's a sample:
No mother wants to see her son or daughter die or inherit an arid, hateful earth - no father either - but most mothers are ... mothers. Hillary reaches to every mother on earth and, through them, to every child and even every father. Hillary is the Mother we all wish we had: tall, strong, sweet, smart, joyful and clear
Hillary is my surrogate mother. She reminds me so much of my own mother, strong and gentle at the same time. Doing what you have to do to survive. 

Hillary Makes Her Case

SNL's Amy Poehler nails it in this damning clip. (Point three is especially spot on.)

Daily Betty

Here's the next installment of the Daily Betty. This one's called Betty Boop M.D. I like to call it the Jippo episode. Let me know what you think of the crazy shit that happens to the baby at the end. Enjoy!