Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Palin, Take Two

So now the reason Sarah is stumbling around in her interviews is that McCain's handlers aren't letting "Palin be Palin." Personally, I wouldn't mind see Palin being Palin on national TV. That's the kind of train wreck I'd pay money to watch.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Two thoughts for today

Following up on that wonderful cartoon, two riffs from other blogs that have amused me in the past 24 hours:

On the prospect of Bristol Palin marrying her hockey-playing l8-year-old fiance in a televised ceremony just before the election(this apparently reported in the London Times yesterday), a Washington Monthly blog reader had this to say:

"I've concluded that the entire McCain campaign is actually a scientific experiment being conducted by some superior intelligence in order to determine the exact percentage of the American people who are hopeless morons."

What he said! Now, from another location I can't recall at the moment, a comment on John McCain's erratic behavior of the last week:

Old CW on McCain: Crusty Old Bomber Pilot

New CW on McCain: Kamikaze

Now, can we get that kamikaze in hot pursuit of Putin, when he rears his head and flies into Alaskan air space? Isn't this campaign beginning to resemble a Monty Python skit?

Just Had to Share

This Oliphant cartoon has raised hackles among some - that it is unfair. Of course I immediately knew I had to share it.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Falling Out of Love with Sarah

Republican pundits who welcomed Sarah's fresh face last month are coaching her on ways she can pull out of the campaign to be replaced by someone . . . well . . . competent. (Most popular escape plan - do it for the kids!).

Kathleen Parker - "Is Clearly Out Of Her League." " Palin filibusters. She repeats words, filling space with deadwood. Cut the verbiage and there’s not much content there." " If BS were currency, Palin could bail out Wall Street herself."

George Will - "The man who would be the oldest to embark on a first presidential term has chosen as his possible successor a person of negligible experience." "What has he got in Palin? In coming days he and we will learn from a stern teacher, experience."

David Frum - "Ms. Palin's experience in government makes Barack Obama look like George C. Marshall. . . . She has zero foreign policy experience, and no record on national security issues." "Mr. McCain's supporters argue that he is more serious about national security than Barack Obama. But the selection of Sarah Palin invites the question: How serious can he be if he would place such a neophyte second in line to the presidency?"

Rich Lowry - [On Gibson interview] "This was a merely adequate performance. The foreign-policy session was a white-knuckle affair. She barely got through it and showed no knowledge more than an inch deep." "The fact still remains that she very likely didn't know any of the possible definitions of the Bush doctrine. I can't imagine if Obama had picked Gov. Tim Kaine and he had had a similar moment, conservatives would have rushed to say that the Bush doctrine is just too amorphous and complicated for him to know anything about it. Palin seemed weak on economic and budgetary policy too, talking in the vaguest generalities."

Rod Dreher - "
Couric's questions are straightforward and responsible. Palin is mediocre, again, regurgitating talking points mechanically, not thinking. Palin's just babbling. She makes George W. Bush sound like Cicero."

Finally stepping away from the Conservative columnists for a moment, I have to share this bit by Texan writer/commentator Rawlins Gilliland: "As we learned at that Super Bowl: You cannot have Kathi Lee Gifford sing the Star Spangled Banner and expect the stadium crowd to stay on its feet."

Well said Rawlins!

What Books Would Those Be?

From the Couric-Palin interview, a section that hasn't gotten as much press as some of her other statements.

Couric: In preparing for this conversation, a lot of our viewers … and Internet users wanted to know why you did not get a passport until last year. And they wondered if that indicated a lack of interest and curiosity in the world.

Palin: I'm not one of those who maybe came from a background of, you know, kids who perhaps graduate college and their parents give them a passport and give them a backpack and say go off and travel the world.

No, I've worked all my life. In fact, I usually had two jobs all my life until I had kids. I was not a part of, I guess, that culture. The way that I have understood the world is through education, through books, through mediums that have provided me a lot of perspective on the world.
As one of those kids who had a passport (long before college years) and was lucky enough to travel around a whole lot, I know that I was lucky, luckier than many. But I've held down my share of jobs, two at a time myself sometimes, so I'm not quite sure which "culture" I'm part of. For this discussion, let's set aside the whole issue of requirements for the VP slot (since she meets so few anyway).

Not everyone gets the opportunity to travel, although everyone, if literate, has the opportunity to read. But what "education" and "books" and "mediums" helped give Sarah her world perspective? This is, after all, the same woman who spoke with the town librarian soon after being elected mayor to see how she could go about "banning books." Would those be the books that provided world perspectives that did not mesh with Sarah's? Would those "mediums" include a church upbringing that led her to ask Alaska's citizens to "pray" for natural gas pipeline project? Or believes that gays can be converted straight by prayer? Or where the pastor said that terrorist attacks on Israelis was God's "judgment of unbelief" of Jews who haven't embraced Christianity? Or that creationism should be taught in schools because learning both was "a healthy foundation for me."

I haven't seen anything to indicate that Sarah's "education" "books" and "mediums" have prepared her for much more than hiding away from the rest of the world, possibly in some psycho right militia compound waiting for the end of the world.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Timing is everything!

I planted my Obama flag over a week ago, going partisan out of pure conviction: this is a candidate for whom I can vote with joy in my heart. And I'm gonna proclaim it all over this land, or at least on my block, anyway!

Imagine my surprise today when I came home today to find the three houses to the right of mine sporting...McCain/Palin signs. I thought the timing was suspicious, coming as they did only hours after the Palin debacle with Katie Couric, in which she revealed for everyone her know-nothingism. It almost seemed to me that my neighbors were celebrating her incoherence and ignorance, actively applauding those qualities.

I am contemplating swiping their current signs and planting a new set, with a slight alteration. The new signs would read, "MORONS FOR MCCAIN and ESPECIALLY PALIN!"

Ok, So Do I Have This Right?

McCain stopped campaigning and pulled out of the debate because of the economic crisis, rushing to DC where Republicans and Democrats had announced they'd agreed in principle on the bailout.

McCain sat with everyone in the White House where House Republicans declined to participate at the last minute in favor of their own plan, causing the agreement to fall apart.

McCain then agreed to attend the debate because the crisis is under control.

What am I missing? Other than some very oddly timed decisions.

No Comment Needed

Sarah Palin on the $700 billion bailout:
That’s why I say I, like every American I’m speaking with, we’re ill about this position that we have been put in where it is the taxpayers looking to bail out. But ultimately what the bailout does is help those who are concerned about the healthcare reform that is needed to help shore up our economy. Helping the—it’s got to be all about job creation too, shoring up our economy and putting it back on the right track. So health care reform and reducing taxes and reining in spending has got to accompany tax reductions and tax relief for Americans and trade—we’ve got to see trade as opportunity, not as competitive, scary thing, but one in five jobs being created in the trade sector today—we’ve got to look at that as more opportunity.

Getting Lost in the Headlines - We're All Doomed

Hey - it got your attention, didn't it? So McCain is going to debate after all, the economy is still a mess and everyone's pointing fingers at everyone else. But there is something more important than politics and the economy, and that is our existence. Getting lost in the headlines is the most recent news from scientists that the planet's carbon levels are going up faster and higher than even the most dire and worst case scenarios have plotted. As the WaPo noted today, scientists from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the U/Cal/San Diego published research showing that even if humans stopped generating greenhouse gases immediately, the world's average temperature would "most likely" increase by 4.3 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of this century. Not only that, but our oceans & forests are only absorbing 54% of our carbon dioxide emissions anymore, down 3% from 1959-2000. That is to say, not only are can't the planet recover from our fun & games even if we all stop today, the built-in air clarification system the planet came with starting to fail.

The one piece of good news in this for me personally is that although I can't afford beach front property now, I can afford property that is miles inland - and by the time I'm retiring, that will be beach front. And here I thought that the planet wouldn't be screwed over until long after I was dead.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Yes, a heartbeat away from the helm...

I believe these riffs from our would-be Republican Vice President need no comments from me...this is part of Katie Couric's interview with the Chief Executive of Alaska:

Couric: You've cited Alaska's proximity to Russia as part of your foreign policy experience. What did you mean by that?

Sarah Palin: That Alaska has a very narrow maritime border between a foreign country, Russia, and, on our other side, the land-boundary that we have with Canada. It's funny that a comment like that was kinda made to … I don't know, you know … reporters.

Couric: Mocked?

Palin: Yeah, mocked, I guess that's the word, yeah.

Couric: Well, explain to me why that enhances your foreign-policy credentials.

Palin: Well, it certainly does, because our, our next-door neighbors are foreign countries, there in the state that I am the executive of. And there…

Couric: Have you ever been involved in any negotiations, for example, with the Russians?

Palin: We have trade missions back and forth, we do. It's very important when you consider even national security issues with Russia. As Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, where do they go? It's Alaska. It's just right over the border. It is from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right there, they are right next to our state.


Monday, September 22, 2008

Trying Hard to Find Empathy Here

And failing miserably. I want to feel badly for folks on Wall Street who are losing their jobs right and left during this (is there a term for this?) not a depression, but whatever the heck it is. I want to feel empathy for anybody who loses a job. But what pops into my mind isn't a family struggling to survive with both parents working 2+ minimum wage jobs apiece. What pops into my mind are money-mad men and women who hopped onto a train heading for a shaky bridge. People who either couldn't or wouldn't see the shaky bridge and those who were on the train for whatever money they could before the crash. Either way, not a lot of sympathy here for these folks. The power lunch crowd, the folks who dropped $150 for a hamburger because it was Kobe beef.

Personally I think anyone who makes more than $100,000 a year is way overpaid. But I know I'm a minority here, and if someone can convince someone else to pay him or her many millions for doing ... well less work than someone who cleans offices during the week, then that's their problem. Except when they want to make it our problem. So Kudos to the Democrats for saying that in order to get their $700 billion bail out, Wall Street needs to agree to "meet appropriate standards for executive compensation." I mean really, just how much do the men and women who helped engineer (pushing the train metaphor a bit further) this problem think they should be paid for their stupidity, recklessness and greed?

At the very least these executives' paychecks should be garnished at a certain percentage, funds going to repay the people who have lost their retirement funds, or families trying to hold onto a home while paying mortgages for costs that are now higher than their home is worth. Of course Bush doesn't agree, saying that adding such pieces of accountability would "threaten small business owners and homeowners on Main Street." HELLO Mr. President - Where have you been? What is it that you really think is threatened now - Americans or your fundraising buddies on Wall Street? Don't tell me, Cliff and Amber are going to have to cut back on one of their Hampton houses now? The pain! The agony! How about a little less sympathy for the folks at the top of the hill during this avalanche, and a bit more for the folks down on the bottom who didn't have much to begin with and are now getting pummeled and beaten down to the ground.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Would They Lie to Us?

Well of course they would. The bigger question is - will so many people continue to believe the lies? The silliness? The outrageousness? Will people grab onto whatever they like to support their fears or uncertainties? I'd like to think not, but . . .

THE LIE - The McCain campaign 30-second radio ad running in key states says that "McCain-Palin and Congressional allies" support stem cell research.
THE TRUTH - GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin opposed stem cell research in her 2006 gubernatorial race.

THE LIE - The McCain campaign is running a 30-second Spanish-language television ad that says "Obama and his congressional allies say they are on the side of immigrants. But are they? The press reports that their efforts were 'poison pills' that made immigration reform fail."
THE TRUTH - It was the lack of Republican support that killed immigration reform last time around. At a GOP debate in January, McCain said he wouldn't vote for his own immigration bill.

THE LIE - McCain said "I have never asked for a single earmark, pork-barrel project for my state of Arizona." It has become a standard line in his stump speech.
THE TRUTH - In 2006, the nonpartisan Politifact notes that McCain co-sponsored legislation asking for $10 million for the University of Arizona; in 2003, McCain won authorization to buy property to create a buffer zone around Luke Air Force Base in Arizona; and in 1992, McCain asked the EPA to provide $5 million for a wastewater project in Nogales, Ariz.

THE LIE - McCain and Palin often say that Obama will raise taxes on the middle class. A 30-second TV ad released Thursday says he would tax electricity, heating oil and "life savings."
THE TRUTH - "McCain ad misrepresents Obama's tax plan. Again," according to Factcheck.org. Obama's economic plan calls for cuts for middle-income taxpayers and would increase rates only for people with family incomes above $250,000 or for individuals making over $200,000.

THE LIE - In response to this week's economic crisis on CNBC, McCain pointed to his experience as "chair of the Commerce Committee which oversights every part of our economy."
THE TRUTH - the Senate Banking Housing and Urban Affairs Committee is responsible for the financial institutions that went south this week. Commerce isn't.

THE LIE - McCain said oil imports send "$700 billion a year to countries that don't like us very much."
THE TRUTH - the U.S. is on track to import a total of only $536 billion worth of oil at current prices, and close to a third of that comes from Canada, Mexico and the United Kingdom.

THE LIE -"Alaska produces nearly 20 percent of the U.S. domestic supply of energy."
THE TRUTH -Alaska's share of domestic energy production was 3.5 percent, according to the official figures kept by the U.S. Energy Information Administration. And if by "supply" Palin meant all the energy consumed in the U.S., and not just produced here, then Alaska's production accounted for only 2.4 percent.

THE LIE - "To the families of special-needs children all across this country, I have a message: For years, you sought to make America a more welcoming place for your sons and daughters. I pledge to you that if we are elected, you will have a friend and advocate in the White House."
THE TRUTH - Palin actually slashed Alaskan funding for schools for special needs kids by 62%.

THE LIE - Palin on Monday argued in a legal filing that she fired Monegan because he had a "rogue mentality" and was bucking her administration's directives and went on an "unauthorised trip to DC for securing funding for anti-sexual-violence program
THE TRUTH - Palin's office approved the trip to DC.

how me where I have ever said that there's absolute proof that nothing that man has ever conducted or engaged in has had any affect, or no affect, on climate change."
OK - "I'm not a doom and gloom environmentalist like Al Gore blaming the changes in our climate on human activity." (Palin about a year ago).

THE LIE - "As mayor I took a voluntary pay cut, which didn't thrill my husband; and then as governor I cut the personal chef position from the budget, and that didn't thrill my hungry kids,"
THE TRUTH - Two reports in the local Alaska press in 1999, three years after Palin became Mayor, say explicitly that her salary at that time was $68,000, higher than the $64,000 it was just before she took over as mayor.

AND OF COURSE, THE MOST POPULAR PALIN LIE - "I told the Congress "thanks, but no thanks," for that Bridge to Nowhere. If our state wanted a bridge, we'd build it ourselves."
THE TRUTH - Congress' requirement that funds be spent on that bridge (aka the 'earmark') were removed before she became governor. She was therefore in no position to tell Congress anything about the bridge, one way or the other. Later, she accepted the money -- now not restricted by an earmark -- and used it for other infrastructure projects.

As we all know, there are more than enough McCain-Palin half truths to fill several blog posts, but I only have time to post these fun whoppers.

Oh Canada!

In the Presidential campaign here in the US of A, we've been plagued with serial lying, dissembling, demagoguery and assorted other political misdeeds. In Canada, the problem is...a terminally tasteless joke.

After a recent outbreak of listeriosis, a bacterial illness linked to lunchmeats that killed l7 people, the ruling party's agricultural minister was heard to deliver himself of the following observation in a meeting: "this is like a death by a thousand cuts. Or should I say cold cuts?"


The hapless minister then compounded his mistake by asking about a new case of the illness and said, apparently only half jokingly, "Please let it be Wayne Easter," who just happened to be the minister's most fervent critic.

This series of remarks was supposed to go away quietly, something chalked up to a boorish and/or clueless bureaucrat, but it has aroused the indignation of press and public and now threatens Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government. I guess the lesson is an old one: watch what you say in politics, someone is listening and ready to tell the world about it...

The Fundamentals of the McC-Pain Ticket Are . . .

Misunderstood. Misheard. Misinterpreted? Nah, just one big whopping Misadventure.

It takes a lot of energy to keep the press from asking those silly questions about the pre-2007 McCain and the one who has now abandoned (as the Daily Show puts it) "everything he's always stood for."

The McCain of past years condemned "agents of intolerance" and argued that a repeal of Roe v. Wade would put thousands of women at risk in 2000. He thought the Iraq war "won't be very difficult" in 2002 and said if it were up to him he would NOT
extend the Bush tax credits in 2004.

But then this is a guy whose learned from Bush/Cheney/Rove that if you REALLY want the White House, you've got to lie, lie, lie and mislead, mislead, mislead. So now we have McCain starring in his own Superpowers drama as Opposite Man!

But there's more to McCain than a total reversal of policy and beliefs (where are those flip flop fans from the Kerry-Bush election now?). There is an inability to admit that problems are here even when they're staring us in the face. For example, take a look at Mr. "Fundamentals of our economy are strong" in the last issue of Contingencies, where McCain said that
"Opening up the health insurance market to more vigorous nationwide competition, as we have done over the last decade in banking, would provide more choices of innovative products less burdened by the worst excesses of state-based regulation." Yes. As recently as, well recently, McCain continued to stand for pulling back on regulation so that the market could run free and . . . well I'm sure he thought it would do great. But how many companies does our tax dollars have to pull out of the toilet before he starts to notice that running free doesn't always mean running smart?

Thursday, September 18, 2008


I'm increasingly convinced that the GOP has been guilty of false advertising: it isn't the Grand Old Party, the GOP, any more. It's more like the TOP, Tired Old Party.

Case in point: the bumper sticker I spied today on a battered, yahoo-type pickup truck with a couple firearms in the back. It said, "NO O-BOMB-US!" and it shared the bumper with "Support Our Troops" and "These Colors Don't Run." No matter who their opponent is, the Republicans trot out the same old slogans and rhetoric, i.e. Democrats are weak, Democrats coddle terrorists, Democrats=appeasers/socialists/Communists and possibly fascists. Oh, and they're tax-and-spend liberals, too.

It's the same old, same old, and it's just tired rhetoric coming from a TOP, a Tired Old Party. Let's put them to bed for the next 20-30 years, whaddya say?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Put THAT in your pipe and smoke it!

I'm not normally a fan of the slogans or brief homilies that pass for political rhetoric, but the button that Tom Brokaw mentioned on this morning's Meet the Press caught my attention...I might just have to go looking for this one.

"Jesus Christ was a community organizer. Pontius Pilate was a governor."

I think that's a pretty nifty rebuke to all those America-loving, God-fearing, churchgoing, Rudy Giuliani-worshipping Republicans who have anointed Sarah Palin their new goddess, don't you?

Channeling Lurch

I had another Lurch moment today. Remember Lurch, on the Addams family TV series? He was Morticia and Gomez's butler, who stood about 7'8 and therefore had a tendency to alarm guests when they appeared at the Addams' door. He never really scared me...I appreciated him for his expression of disbelief, a deep, exasperated, guttural "uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh" accompanied by exaggerated head shakes and perhaps a tightening of the lug in his neck.

The spirit of Lurch stirred in me as I watched Carly Fiorina, a talented, smart, accomplished woman who used to head up Hewlett-Packard, one of the leaders in American IT, try to convince George Stephanopoulos that Sarah Palin was the most accomplished, gifted governor in the history of the world and therefore absolutely the right person to accompany John McCain to the White House(if not stampede in there ahead of him!). Fiorina was defending, or more accurately PROMOTING, a woman who attended five different schools before collecting a degree from the University of Idaho(!) in journalism(!), who loves to shoot defenseless animals from the air, who pursues "faith-based policies" just like someone else we know, including the teaching of anti-science, and who blithely speculates about war with Russia--apocalyptic war with Russia--over its invasion of a small state in its historical sphere of influence. How in the world could a 21st century mover and shaker like Fiorina, or for that matter EBay exec Meg Whitman, laud a woman of such inferior and undesirable qualities and then endorse her possible stewardship of the United States of America? Has the Republican Party slipped them some kind of long-lasting drug designed to rob them of their good judgment and intellectual self-respect for the duration of this election? It absolutely stupifies me.

I can't actually remember if Lurch had a lug in his neck, come to think of it. But I would definitely tighten mine, if I had one, in order to neutralize the cognitive dissonance these women have caused with their endorsements of Sarah Palin. Maybe I'll just give it a long "Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!"

Friday, September 12, 2008


I've been struck the last couple of days by what the McCain campaign is campaigning ON. In about a 48-hour period, I've heard that Barack Obama is trying to dig up dirt on Palin(the wolves ad), has called Palin a pig(the pig-in-lipstick remark that he made in connection with some policy McCain was trying to say had nothing to do with President Bush), and now has been militantly "disrespectful" to Palin.

If I came from outer space and didn't know any background, I'd be tempted to conclude that the McCain campaign claims it deserves election because the other party's nominee hasn't been nice with the Vice Presidential candidate. The country is bogged down in two wars, plagued with home foreclosures, mired an economic recession, in danger from collapsing financial institutions, and we should vote Republican because Barack Obama isn't being nice with Sarah Palin. W--- . T---. F---(slashes because i don't want to be accused of not being nice, I'm terrified of that)?!

Can candidates be disqualified on the grounds of running on pernicious trivial nonsense? If we can find a category like that in the electoral law somewhere, these two miserable people will be gone in a New York minute. And good riddance!

That's One Brain Dead Broad

Is Sarah Palin the new Dan Quayle? Or is she just out for a cheap applause line by touting lies that even the Bush administration has given up on?

In a 9/11 speech Palin told a group of Iraq-bound soldiers (including her son) that they would "defend the innocent from the enemies who planned and carried out and rejoiced in the death of thousands of Americans."

Even the Bush administration has given up their original lies that the 9/11 attacks were carried out by Iraq and Saddam. Or, maybe then again, she DOES realize that the terrorists mostly came from Saudi Arabia, and these soldiers aren't headed for Iraq, but are actually headed to Saudi Arabia for a new secret strike force! Yeah, that must be it.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Don't let them pull a Putin here!

After yesterday's onslaught by the McCain campaign, which featured accusations that Obama called Sarah Palin a "pig," an ad portraying alleged Democratic oppo researchers as wolves hunting down Palin to destroy her, and another ad purporting to show that Obama wants sex education taught to pre-kindergarteners, I concluded that McCain's people must be receiving secret tutorials from political operatives working for Vladimir Putin.

As most people who follow Russia know, Vladimir Putin and his party have a stranglehold on Russian politics. Their people dominate the Russian legislature, they personally have the executive branch, and the courts are as supine as they ever were under the Soviets. Russians themselves have mostly resigned from politics...they show up to cast ballots for the one party allowed to advertise and promote its program, but they don't care for the rest of it.. And why should they? One of the tactics the Putin people have employed is to make paying attention to politics an unpalatable, nasty, vicious and occasionally fatal pursuit. Journalists pointing out inconsistencies or hypocrisy in Putin's pols disappear or get a bullet in the head. Demonstrators are beaten. Businesspeople who dare to criticize the regime have their companies raided and evidence of tax fraud planted, so that major-league convictions, followed by industrial-strength sentences, are inevitable. The result is that people are appalled and repulsed by politics--it reminds them of watching two ugly, scaly, reptilian creatures try to tear each other apart in a small space. And they withdraw, content never even to think about politics, which suits the Putin people just fine. No citizen interest means an entirely free hand for them.

I think this is what the McCain campaign is doing with the blizzard of ads and accusations. Part of it is trying to make something stick to Obama, of course, because they have no issues to run on. But I also think they are trying to kill the enthusiasm people feel over his candidacy, make them turn away from volunteering, withdraw from politics altogether because watching it makes them feel like they need a shower. They withdraw, they don't show up to vote, and the Christian right zealot Palin fans carry the day. I am quite sure that this is an important consideration in their tactics, because I'm so sick of it all I've stopped watching and reading about it temporarily.

Don't be repulsed...keep your eye on the prize and redouble your efforts on behalf of this ticket, whether it be blogging, talking with neighbors, registering voters, whatever you can do. As Popessa says, annoy a Republican--help Obama prevail.

A thought for today

This courtesy of Dan Payne, an occasional op-ed columnist for the Boston Globe:

"TODAY, on the anniversary of the horror of Sept. 11, 2001, we should recall what happens when an unqualified candidate captures the presidency. An incurious western governor, George W. Bush, arrived in Washington unprepared for the job. And it showed every day of his presidency," especially in the aftermath of the horrendous Iraq war, which plunged us into a hell of death, torture, rendition and wreckage--of our relations with foreign nations and our worldwide "brand." It would be hard to overstate the dimensions of the disaster that George W. Bush has inflicted on us since that terrible day.

I hope that voters will remember this when it comes time to mark ballots for President. As Payne points out, Sarah Palin, who reminds me more and more of Bush 43, is one metastasized melanoma, one heart attack away from the nation's highest office. I don't think we can afford to take a chance on that happening.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Good question!

What is the difference between Sarah Palin and Muslim fundamentalists? The Shiia Islam expert Juan Cole answers this question for you here. Go there, you'll be glad--or chagrined, maybe--that you did.

What are they thinking out there?

I was just watching McCain/Palin on tv, a little snippet from today's trail in PA. Sarah Palin was speaking, accusing Obama/Biden of all kinds of malfeasance, including being hypocrites, e.g. saying one thing to the (straight, upstanding, hard-working Americans of)Pennsylvania and something else entirely to the (snooty, chardonnay-sipping, graduate-degreed) elitists of San Francisco. When she wasn't doing that, she was singing the praises of John McCain, the man who puts country first, who has sacrificed so much for the country, who is such a wonderful, courageous, moral person. The crowd appaluded the applause lines, as you would expect, and McCain kind of stood there, smiling and waving.

It suddenly occurred to me that McCain hadn't said a thing the whole time--it was only Palin. He suddenly looked so old and stodgy...she looked like his daughter, or niece, maybe, preparing to return him to the assisted living center. You could ask yourself, who is really running seriously for the highest office in the land, Palin or the nominee? It also reminded me of the Frank Burns/Hotlips Houlihan dynamic on MASH, where Hotlips always spoke for Frank, because she was smarter and more assertive than he. You wonder what kind of message they are sending there? McCain--not quite ready for prime time? And if he's not, are we to be confident of her knowledge and abiities as a future President of the United States?!

When the clip had finished, something else struck me: I couldn't remember her doing anything except leading the crowd in put-downs of the Democrats and heaping praise on John McCain. I guess this is to be an All-Palin-All-The-Time, content-free Republican campaign.

And these people are even with Obama/Biden in the polls...I wonder what planet this electorate has been living on.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Need More Cheney?

The answer, in one case at least, is yes. The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Government (aka CREW), the American Historical Association, Society of American Archivists and a few historians, including Martin Sherwin and Anna Nelson, are trying to stop Cheney from destroying or hiding away documents from his tenure as ruler in chief (sorry, i mean vice president) of the US. They are arguing that Cheney's papers can not be destroyed, removed or withheld without "proper review" because they are covered by the Presidential Records Act of 1978. The suit names Cheney and the National Archivist's chief archivist, Allen Weinstein.

Constitutional scholar Stanley Kutler notes that he's "concerned that [the records] not be preserved. Whether they've been zapped already, we don't know." (and let's face it - odds of anything being "zapped" in Cheney's office are pretty high on a good day!).

According to CREW's website such action is critical to save these records:
Although the Presidential Records Act (PRA) requires the vice president to preserve all the records he creates and receives while fulfilling his statutory, constitutional, ceremonial and other duties, the White House and NARA take the view that the vice president need not preserve congressional records. According to Vice President Dick Cheney, his office is not part of the executive branch, but rather is attached to the legislative branch. As a result, his official papers will not fall under the PRA and will not be preserved as part of our nation’s historical records. This loss is especially acute given the prominent role Vice President Cheney has played in the Bush administration.
I am especially fond of the last line - a nice and polite way of saying "given that Cheney seems to run presidential policy at least as often as Bush." Best of luck to CREW and the others. This is a truly worthy cause!

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Getting to Know Sarah Palin

Sure we know she's anti-choice and pre-creationist. But what else is going on in the mind of Sarah Palin? She doesn't have much of a record, but she has left us some clues. So let's take a look thanks to website "On the Issues."
  • Opposes stem cell research. (Aug 2008)
  • Choose life, even if her own daughter were raped. (Nov 2006)
  • If Roe v. Wade got overturned, let people decide what's next. (Oct 2006)
  • Opposes use of public funds for abortions. (Oct 2006)
  • Only exception for abortion is if mother's life would end. (Jul 2006)
  • Vetoed bill denying benefits to gays, as unconstitutional. (Aug 2008)
  • Marriage only be between and man and a woman. (Nov 2006)
  • Prefers term "anti-rural" to "anti-Native". (Nov 2006)
  • Ok to deny benefits to homosexual couples. (Aug 2006)
  • No spousal benefits for same-sex couples. (Jul 2006)
  • Top priorities include preserving definition of "marriage". (Jul 2006)
  • Collect DNA samples from felons. (Jun 2007)
  • Gang members on probation must wear electronic monitors. (Jun 2007)
  • If legislature passed death penalty law, I would sign it. (Nov 2006)
  • Strong public safety presence, via police, courts & prisons. (Nov 2006)
  • Death penalty for adults who murder children. (Oct 2006)
  • No special hate-crime laws; all heinous crime is hate-based. (Jul 2006)
  • No expansion of gambling in Alaska. (Jul 2006)
  • Maintain alcohol sale database; bar giving alcohol to minors. (Jun 2007)
  • Questions cruise ship gambling, under casino gambling ban. (Oct 2006)
  • Opposes legalizing marijuana, but meth is greater threat. (Aug 2006)
  • Smoked marijuana when it was legal under Alaska law. (Aug 2006) - Huh?
  • Teach creationism alongside evolution in schools. (Aug 2008)
  • Supports teaching intelligent design in public schools. (Aug 2008)
  • Committed to providing strong education, including morals. (Jan 2008)
  • Court ruling against NEA: state adequately funds education. (Jun 2007)
  • Supports charter schools, home schools, & other alternatives. (Nov 2006)
  • Alignment between parents, teachers, schools, & business. (Nov 2006)
  • Faith-based materials ok in homeschooling. (Nov 2006)
  • ABC method: back to basics, plus patriotism & ethics. (Nov 2006)
  • Supports parental choice for what is best for their children. (Nov 2006)
  • Don't push school boards on creationism but allow discussion. (Oct 2006)
  • I believe we have a creator; and many theories of evolution. (Oct 2006)
  • Support charters & home schools; not private school vouchers. (Oct 2006)
  • Let parents opt out of schoolbooks they find offensive. (Jul 2006)
  • Parents know best, about school spending & school age. (Jul 2006)
  • Pledge of Allegiance with 'Under God' is good enough. (Jul 2006)
  • Global warming affects Alaska, but is not man-made. (Aug 2008)
  • Commercialize Alaska's North Slope natural gas. (Aug 2008)
  • Unlock ANWR; we're ready, willing and able to contribute. (Jun 2008)
  • Opposed protections for salmon from mining contamination. (Aug 2008)
  • Sue US government to stop listing polar bear as endangered. (Aug 2008)
  • We must encourage timber, mining, drilling, & fishing. (Jan 2008)
  • Wolf predator control is important for subsistence hunters. (Sep 2007)
  • Feds shouldn't list beluga whales as endangered. (Aug 2007)
  • Provide stability in regulations for developers. (Jan 2007)
  • Convince the rest of the nation to open ANWR. (Jan 2007)
  • Fish platform: "Resource First" philosophy. (Nov 2006)
  • Rail provides critical link for business development. (Nov 2006)
  • Supports "Roads to Resources": subsidized access to mines. (Oct 2006)
  • Don't duplicate effort in monitoring cruise ship emissions. (Oct 2006)
  • Don't amend AK constitution for rural subsistence fishing. (Oct 2006)
  • Supported infamous "Bridge to Nowhere"; now criticizes it. (Aug 2008)
  • Health care must be market-and business-driven. (Jan 2008)
  • Take personal responsibility for personal health & all areas. (Jan 2008)
  • More affordable health care via competition. (Nov 2006)
  • Don't worry about reading Al-Qaeda terrorists their rights. (Sep 2008)
  • Strong military and sound energy. (Aug 2008)
  • Armed forces, including my son, give us security and freedom. (Jan 2008)
  • Ask all candidates "Are you doing all you can for security?". (Oct 2007)
  • Visits Kuwait; encourages Alaska big game hunting to troops. (Sep 2007)
  • Declare a National Day of Prayer in Alaska. (Apr 2008)
  • Recognize America's historic and founding Christian heritage. (Sep 2007)
  • Proclaim "Loyalty Day" to reaffirm loyalty to America. (Apr 2007)

Are We Really That Stupid?

Amazingly enough, the answer seems to be yes. We are a nation that elected George W. not just once, but twice. So we're not really starting high on the block to begin with. And according to 2006 National Geographic poll, there are a lot of us who think we're just fine in our ignorance.

More than 7 out of 10 Americans don't think it's important to know where countries in the news are located. Iraq? Afghanistan? Who cares where they are. This helps to explain why 4 out of 10 could find Iraq on a map - heck less than 1/2 could find India, and it's a lot bigger! And in each case full global maps weren't even used. Folks were quizzed with maps of the region. They only had to find Iraq or India on maps with only a few other countries! Less than 1/4 of those asked could find Israel on a map of the middle east.

Only 14-percent think that learning to speak another language is a good skill to have. Let's face it - if they can't speak English, do we really care what they have to say?

Ok, so what if we can't find other countries or speak other languages. We're Americans, damn it! We rule the world and the rest of them can just come to us. It's not like there's a whole international community out there in the social, economic, military or political universes. Nah! And let's face it - hypernationalism is a great cure for those times when someone sticks his or her neck out to look at how the US compares to the rest of the world, then ducks it back in because sure we know we're low on the totem pole these days in math, science, geography and knowing our own history (yes less than 1/2 of HS students know that the US is the only nation to use a nuclear weapon during war). But did you know some of our other proud stats?

The 2007 Global Gender Gap Report lists the US as 31st of 128 countries (behind such women's paradises as the Philippines and Croatia, Latvia and Lithuanian, Sri Lanka and Columbia). The top four being Sweden, Norway, Finland and Iceland. And who did we beat out? Coming in at 32 is Kazakhstan. So much for the company we keep.

When the Reporters Without Borders first did their "freedom of the press" survey in 2002, the US was in 17th place. Last year? We ranked 53rd, snuggled between Tonga and Uruguay. High on the list were Finland and Iceland (apparently good spots for freedom of thought AND women), Ireland, Netherlands, Czech Republic, Estonia, Norway, Slovakia, Switzerland and Hungary. Obviously it helps to have been under Soviet domination for a few decades to really make a people appreciate freedom of thought and the press.

And our health? Glad you asked. We're #1! Ok, well not in health care, but in health expenditures. The World Health Organization ranked us first in health expenditures per capita. But apparently we're only 37th out of 191 for "overall health system performance." But hey, that's almost twice as high as our ranking of 72 for "level of health."

I'd say I'm quitting while we're ahead, but apparently we haven't been there for a long, long, time. The sad thing is how appealing this status quo is to so many people. We laugh at the ignorance of today's students, or groan at our poor health care system. But how many of us are going to make the same mistake we made in 2000 and 2004? Electing a president, senators, representatives and others who think things are just fine as long as you can get the crowd to chant USA really loudly? How many of us are willing to get off our butts and support candidates who are actually serious about changing those numbers? And how many will just sit back and vote for the people who have long been part of the problem because they can say the word "change?"

When eBay Won't Work - Just Pretend it Did

The whole Palin sold the governor's jet on eBay is such a good story. If only it was really true. She had the jet listed on eBay, but nobody bought it. More than 1/2 year later, the jet was finally sold. But not to some online bidder. It was sold to an Alaska businessman named Reynolds who got the listed $2.7 million plane for $2.1 million. Oh yeah, Reynolds had contributed to Palin's run for governor in 2006.

No doubt when McCain and Republicans send out that great laugh line, "and she sold it on eBay," they know that we know they really meant to say, "she sold it for $600,000 less than asked to a campaign contributor."

Friday, September 05, 2008

It's Times Like This

That make me wish I had a car. But I don't -- so here are the bumper stickers I'd put on it if I had one.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Interchangeable Parts

Is there anything more condescending to women as a group than all of the noise various pundits are making on Palin as a key to swaying women voters to McCain.

Yes, of course, how silly of me not to notice (stupid woman hits herself in head) that women are interchangeable. Sure Palin is anti-abortion rights while Hillary is pro-choice. But Palin is a woman - and so McCain and supporters prepare for the rush to support her from penis-challenged voters.

Ignore that recent Rutgers Univ. study that shows "women don't vote for a candidate because a woman is on the ticket." What do those eastern elitists know anyway? Or that June poll that showed pro-choice is a swing issue that brings women voters to Obama. After all, pollsters are just liberal elitists too.

But perhaps we're just being too quick to judge. Perhaps McCain is not trying to trick Clinton voters into voting for Palin because he thinks we only see gender. Maybe he's hoping to sway the millions of women who didn't vote for Hillary and are on the fence for McCain vs. Obama. And he knows that the issues these women consider important - the economy, the challenge of being sandwiched between taking care of aging parents and young children, health care and other day to day issues of life when you're so busy working and taking care of everyone else you don't have time to breathe, let alone read a candidate's policy papers - will be addressed by adding a woman to the ticket who has vast experience in dealing with all of these issues . . .


Yeah, I think it was the "interchangeable parts" concept they went with too.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

My Absolute Favorite Reason by Republicans for Palin

Of all of the arguments being made these days for Palin, my absolutely favorite of all of them is that she does have foreign policy experience because Alaska is so close to Russia.

Who can't just LOVE that! Sure that statement is as stupid as all get out but it is being touted with that absolute confidence that is the hallmark of Republican psychos that makes it ever so enjoying to watch.

Free Web Counter
hit Counter