Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Only In Illinois

I've lost track of how many governors and other politicians we've indicted in this state: Otto Kerner, Dan Walker, George Ryan, Dan Rostenkowski and now Rod Blagojevich. I'm sure there are others.

My first impression of Blagojevich came years ago. I was in Lincoln Park and noticed that the guy jogging towards me was, in fact, the governor. He was alone. He didn't need security back then. What struck me though was the way he looked around, as if he was taking note of all the people who recognized him. And when someone showed a sign of recognition, his face glowed. This was a momentary experience as he ran by, but it always stayed with me. My first thought was "Boy is that guy big on himself."

I voted for him the first time, mostly because I am a Democrat and I thought he sounded sincere and intelligent. Four years later, I skipped his name on the ballot and left it blank. Now I think about that first impression years ago, that little smirk on his face, that cocky little 'look at me' gloat. Little bastard. Who's smirking now?

Friday, November 21, 2008

100 Years and Too Few Words

Today I went to the funeral for a woman who was 100 years old. I didn't know her. I knew others who knew her, but I didn't know her and had never met her. Its a strange thing to go to a funeral for someone you don't know. Its even stranger to walk away feeling like you still don't know the person.

I think funerals should tell a story, and too often they are reduced to touching or funny soundbites strung together as poor representations of one's life. Too often the minister doesn't know the deceased or doesn't know them well enough to do most of the talking. I realize these are religiously based rituals, but why do we insist on hearing mostly from a stranger when family and friends are the true vessels of truth?

The minister today told a few short stories, but they revealed very little about who this woman was. I kept thinking, "She lived for a hundred years! Can't you think of something better than that??" What I did learn was that she was a deeply religious woman, a woman of faith and family, and a kind and caring person. She was always there for everyone else. I suspect her greatest gift was always being present in a steady, reliable way for everyone. And her family counted on that from her. Always there. It explained why her four children (all 70 years old or more) were talking brightly at the beginning of it being a blessing, and were sobbing like forlorn children at the end. Always there was no longer there. Can you imagine having your mother with you, strong in body and clear in thought, until you are 70 years old? I both envied them, and felt touched by their sorrow.

All this to say: think about what you want people to say about you at your funeral. Will anyone really adequately put you into words? Does anyone truly get you? Does anyone know your passions, your loves, your feelings to the core? If not, why not? If not, maybe you should leave a few hints in your own words.

Ethel's life was summed up in words she wrote in the front of her Bible:

What I have, God owns
What I need, God provides
What I give, God multiplies

Rest in peace, Ethel.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

SITTING ON TOP OF THE WORLD

By Garrison Keillor

Published: November 13, 2008

Be happy, dear hearts, and allow yourselves a few more weeks of quiet exultation. It isn't gloating, it's satisfaction at a job well done. He was a superb candidate, serious, professorial but with a flashing grin and a buoyancy that comes from working out in the gym every morning.

He spoke in a genuine voice, not senatorial at all. He relished campaigning. He accepted adulation gracefully. He brandished his sword against his opponents without mocking or belittling them. He was elegant, unaffected, utterly American, and now (Wow) suddenly America is cool. Chicago is cool.

Chicago!!!

We threw the dice and we won the jackpot and elected a black guy with a Harvard degree, the middle name Hussein and a sense of humor - he said, "I've got relatives who look like Bernie Mac, and I've got relatives who look like Margaret Thatcher."

The French junior minister for human rights said, "On this morning, we all want to be American so we can take a bite of this dream unfolding before our eyes." When was the last time you heard someone from France say they wanted to be American and take a bite of something of ours? Ponder that for a moment.

The world expects us to elect pompous yahoos and instead we have us a 47-year-old prince from the prairie who cheerfully ran the race, and when his opponents threw sand at him, he just smiled back.

He'll be the first president in history to look really good making a jump shot. He loves his classy wife and his sweet little daughters. He looks good in the kitchen. He can cook Indian or Chinese but for his girls he will do mac and cheese. At the same time, he knows pop music, American lit and constitutional law.

I just can't imagine anybody cooler. Look at a photo of the latest pooh-bah conference - the hausfrau Merkel, the big glum Scotsman, that goofball Berlusconi, Putin with his B-movie bad-boy scowl, and Sarkozy, who looks like a district manager for Avis - you put Barack in that bunch and he will shine.

It feels good to be cool and all of us can share in that, even sour old right-wingers and embittered blottoheads. Next time you fly to Heathrow and hand your passport to the man with the badge, he's going to see "United States of America" and look up and grin.

Even if you worship in the church of Fox, everyone you meet overseas is going to ask you about Obama and you may as well say you voted for him because, my friends, he is your line of credit over there. No need anymore to try to look Canadian.

And the coolest thing about him is the fact that back in the early Nineties, given a book contract after the hoo-ha about his becoming the First Black Editor of The Harvard Law Review, instead of writing the basic exploitation book he could've written, he put his head down and worked hard for a few years and wrote a good book, an honest one, which, since his rise in politics, has earned the Obamas enough to buy a very nice house and put money in the bank. A successful American entrepreneur.

The last American president to write a book all by his lonesome self, I believe, was Theodore Roosevelt, who, on graduation from Harvard, wrote "The Naval War of 1812," and in my humble opinion, Obama's is the better book for the general reader, but you be the judge.

Our hero who galloped to victory has inherited a gigantic mess. The country is sunk in debt. The Treasury announced it must borrow $550 billion to get the government through the fourth quarter, more than the entire deficit for 2008, so he will have to raise taxes and not only on bankers and lumber barons.

His promise never to raise the retirement age is not a good idea. Whatever he promised the Iowa farmers about subsidizing ethanol is best forgotten at this point. We may not be getting our National Health Service cards anytime soon. And so on and so on.

So enjoy the afterglow of the election awhile longer. We all walk taller this fall. People in Copenhagen and Stockholm are sending congratulatory e-mails - imagine! We are being admired by Danes and Swedes! And Chicago becomes The First City. Step aside, San Francisco. Shut up, New York. The Midwest is cool now. The mind reels. Have a good day.

h/t to Di

Sunday, November 9, 2008

What Will We Do With Our Outrage?

There is talk in the blogosphere that certain fixtures of the Bush administration may not survive the Obama era. We're not talking about Karl Rove or K Street here. We're talking The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, and Countdown with Keith Olbermann, among others.

I mean, think about it. If Keith Olbermann is still finding reasons to be outraged on a daily basis during the Obama administration, we've got a problem! And what's Jon Stewart going to poke fun at? Biden gaffes? Cute puppy stories? I know we've all worked and prayed and begged for this day to come, but don't we run the risk of being bored?? What will we write about? What will fill the blogs? What will we be angry about?

Oh, I know. People like Rush Limbaugh and Fixed News will give us a little grist for the mill, but I just don't think it will be the same. Is it possible that we will look back at this time as both excruciating as well as exciting? Will we grow nostalgic for righteous indignation?

Or will we finally get to exhale, relax a little, let our guards down, trust our leaders and love our government as well as our country without reservation?

Maybe it won't be the best time for dissent. But hopefully, it will be a great time to be an American.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Scene From Grant Park on Election Night--AWESOME!

Lieberman, Part 2

A Lieberman aide was quoted yesterday in Politico as saying "His position is he wants to remain in the (democratic) caucus but losing the chairmanship is unacceptable." The CW now is that Reid is buying time to see what happens in the other Senate races still to be decided, before he ousts Lieberman.

Another angle on this is that Lieberman may be threatening to leave the Democrats, but he won't find a lot to cheer about if he goes further over to the dark side. He will likely not get any chairmanship, will be in the minority party, and will have even less clout than if he stays with the Democrats and gives up his chair without a whimper. So, for good reason, many Dems are saying "Let him go!"

Bottom line is that the Dems may not need his vote if we pick up another Senate seat. With Maine's moderate Republican senators, its likely that they would support President Obama on moderate issues, and would break the Republican's threats for filibuster. They both saw which way the wind is blowing, and doubt they will repeatedly vote against their constituents wishes on major issues like the Iraq war and the economy. Lieberman may have just threatened his way into irrelevance.

Come Together, Right Now, Over Me



The white boy at this rally in Manassas, VA had an Obama sign and the black boy didn't. The pictures capture the story as they figure out how to solve the problem. Even these little guys got Obama's message.

(Photos taken by Nida Vitudis, 17 yrsold)

Click on photo to enlarge.

What To Do With Lieberman?

Everyone seems to be getting in on this act. Harry Reid has sent strong signals that Joe Lieberman (I-CT) will be stripped of his chairmanship of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. He is furious (and rightfully so) at Lieberman's ardent support of McCain that crossed over into attacks against Obama. It was one thing to support his old friend, John McCain, quite another to go after Obama, speak at the Republican Convention, tour with Sarah Palin, and still expect to caucus with the Democrats.

Bloggers everywhere are calling for readers to contact their senators and recommend Lieberman lose his chair. Its certainly tempting to punish the turncoat. Its also tempting to be and act better than him and model bipartisanship, by accepting an apology from him. But now Lieberman and McConnell (R-KY) are making noise about Lieberman joining the Republican caucus. That kind of talk makes it tempting to kick him to the curb.

But remember the old saying "Keep your friends close and your enemies closer"? Perhaps there is wisdom in keeping Lieberman where the Democrats can keep a close eye on him, so to speak. If he proves to be less than an effective Independent/Democrat, I assume he can be booted from the Democratic caucus later. Perhaps it is better to have Lieberman owing something to the new President rather than watching him spearhead the opposition on the other side. Whatever President Obama decides to do (because I have to assume Harry Reid is not acting completely without higher counsel here), will be very telling. Yeah, there's a big part of me that wants to see the traitor walk the plank, but the more mature part of me wants to see if real political reconciliation can work, and wants to see if President Obama can use it strategically to move his agenda forward.

30 Days | 30 Reasons : My Kids (#1)

This is a late addition, but worthy of the title "Why I Voted For Barack Obama".

Obama's Victory Covered Around the World

The following link will take you to an interesting collection of front pages around the world. Click on any cover to see it up close.

Click here: Obama Grabs Headlines

(h/t to Di N.)

Friday, November 7, 2008

Centrist, You Say?

The map here shows the areas of the US where Democratic voting went up in this year's election. Right-winged pundits like to claim that we have all moved to the center, as their way of claiming "victory" in the midst of a resounding defeat. But the map doesn't lie.

What right wingers don't want you to think about is that the definition of "centrist" has actually moved to the left from its original meaning. We talk openly about race. We talk openly about the options of gay marriage vs civil unions. We voted to approve medical marijuana in some states. What part of this sounds "centrist"? Is there anything "centrist" about electing an African American liberal, Democrat to the highest office in the land at one of the most critical times in our nation's history? That's what we just did. Sounds more like progressive thinking is becoming the norm, that is, "progressive" is the new "centrist".

George Bush and the Preamble to the Constitution

Won't it be nice to have a President who actually taught the Constitution and knows it backwards and forwards? Someone who is more Andy Griffith than Barney Fife?(apologies to the late, great Don Knotts whow as a comic genius)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

What I'd Like To See in the First 100 Days

In no particular order, I'd like the following items on President Obama's "must do" list:

  • A national physical fitness and good nutrition program for kids, run in the schools, with awards given to kids much the way President Kennedy's program did.
  • A neighborhood beautification volunteer corp that works in every city or town that wants to join, designed especially to re energize depressed or deteriorating communities.
  • A national infrastructure renovation/construction program that would also revitalize the national parks buildings and structures.
  • An immediate commitment to build wind farms in the west within 6 months.
  • A bailout of American car companies who meet strict guidelines for more fuel efficient cars, with a further commitment to alternative fuel vehicle options within 3 years.
  • A nationwide call for citizen energy conservation, with tax credits for smaller ticket items and recommendations for improved conservation.
  • A freeze on mortgage foreclosures for 6 months.
  • Increased emphasis in the public schools on math and science, with a special emphasis on computer technology.
  • Close Guantanamo.
  • Undo the Patriot Act.
  • Focus on a nation of shared responsibility. Expect citizens to be responsible for themselves, their money, their children, etc.

More to come...your ideas and comments are very welcome!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

President-elect Obama About to Speak in Grant Park


Sweet Victory


Our friends had this specially made for the big night tonight! As soon as President-elect Obama is done speaking, we'll eat cake, washed down with champagne!

PRESIDENT OBAMA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

WE DID IT! WE DID IT! WE DID IT! HISTORY!
THANK YOU, GOD. CELEBRATE EVERYBODY. BE SAFE. HOPE IS ALIVE AND WELL IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

OUR LONG NATIONAL NIGHTMARE IS OVER.

AND WE HAVE OUR COUNTRY BACK.

We have our country back.

God Bless Barack Obama and the country he now leads.

The Biltmore vs. Grant Park

That pretty much sums it up. Massive numbers of humanity are streaming into a public park on Chicago's lakefront to witness history. On the McCain side, they are sitting at their ritzy hotel, getting wasted and hoping for the best, fully expecting the worst (for them). Charlie Crist has already jumped ship from the USS McCain and is headed back to Florida for "an urgent matter". Yeah, right. (At least he can rest easy that drilling will not begin off his shores on Januray 21, 2009!)

The pulse of the nation is now beating from the heart of the midwest. Sounds strong, doesn't it?

207 and Counting

We are well on our way. Can someone pinch me? This is starting to feel surreal and I want desperately for it to feel real. I know it will feel real on January 20, 2009, but I want to feel it now. So maybe I'll stop drinking beer and start sobering up for the greatest moment in modern American history.

Its time for all of the Republicans to spin the future before McCain's carcass is even cold. Alex Castellanos (Republican pundit) just summed it up, "All we need is 9 votes on the Supreme Court and we could pull this thing off." :) Not this time, pal.

There Is A God!

I guess the Godless Americans and their distant cousins, the Christians of the Tarheel state, came out en force to put Kay Hagan over the top! No surprise that the people of North Carolina know when someone speaks the truth in God's name and when someone is just using God to make a point. Way to go Tarheel state!

MSNBC, NBC and ABC Call PA For Obama!!!

The polls just closed and its looking VERY good for Obama. We only need a few more electoral votes along with our reliable blue states to cinch this. Looks like Maine, NH (YES!), Vermont, all of New England, and Illinois are in our column. Now we wait for the rest of the blue Midwest and hold out for New Mexico and Colorado. Maybe by the time the west reports, it won't matter! :)

Barack and Michelle Vote In Chicago


What a thrill it must have been for all the poll workers there to greet the Obama family, hand them their ballots and shake hands.

The Big Day

I went to the polls at 6am this morning. There was already a line. Amazing. In a state with early voting (Illinois), and living in an area that is not too densely populated, there was still a line. I don't think it was just for the free cup o' Starbucks. I was starting to think that the 'long lines' fear was being overstated, but now I'm not so sure. Hopefully, folks can afford to miss work if they're stuck in line.

The other interesting thing was that about 95% of the voters at my polling place were bypassing the available touchscreen machines in favor of waiting in another line for paper ballot voting booths. Its pretty clear that people are cherishing their right to vote this time, and they want their vote to be counted. While that's always been true, of course, its never been so important. What an unbelievable day.

Ten more hours.

Yes We Can - TODAY

Monday, November 3, 2008

The anonymous call from Texas

The phone rang this afternoon, and I hesitated to answer the call, identified only as "Texas call". I started to hang up on the canned voice until I heard her identify herself as the voice of Rasmussen Polling. So I bit.

After 8 minutes of answering questions, I understood better why some polls read one way while others clearly show different trends. I never thought a robotic call could disagree with me, but this lady actually paused and asked me 'was I sure I wanted to vote for Obama?'. Maybe this was their way to make sure I'd hit the right number, but it sure sounded like she was doubting my choice. There was another question that asked if I thought Obama would be a big "tax and spend" liberal? (I answered 'no'). They may have regretted calling this liberal in a conservative Republican county. The questions were clearly designed from a conservative perspective, and seemed to want a particular response. Sorry to disappoint:)

American Tune

One more day. Hang on. And vote.

Obama's Grandmother Dies


The Unprofessional McCain Campaign Strikes Again!

Would someone please get these guys a spellchecker? Yet another example of the McCain campaign's lack of professionalism. How much more does one need to see to be convinced that the McCain campaign is a full-time gaffe machine?



Final Newspaper Endorsements


The Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs

Santa Fe Reporter, New Mexico

Madison Capital Times, Wisconsin

Huntington Heral Disptach, West Virginia

The Columbian, Washington

Pasadena Star-News, California

Aspen Daily News, Colorado

Richmond Times-Dispatch, Virginia

Raleigh news-Observer, North Carolina

Providence Journal, Rhode Island

Joplin Globe, Missouri

Canton Repository, Ohio

New Haven Register, Connecticut

Casper Star-Tribune, Wyoming (Cheney's hometown paper)

And too many more to name!

What The Children Know

Kids are uncanny at being able to sense kindness, authenticity and genuineness. No surprise that kids love Obama. I've heard plenty of stories about kids who want him to be their next president, and it all seems to boil down to trust. They see in him something they haven't seen in the leader(s) of their short life times. Maybe we all need to listen to and look at the children.






One more day.




(h/t to Di N.)

Joe and John Separated at Birth

Ah yes, kindred spirits in the limitless quest for self promotion. Joe has actually surpassed McCain in crowd appeal, which is probably why McCain has tried to co-opt Joe as a surrogate, rather than have yet another rival spokesman(read Palin)vying for the adoration of the angry rabble. Problem is, Joe is as dumb as a stump and wouldn't know a socialist if he kicked him in his proletarian ass. And McCain is even dumber for being the filling in this bull**** sandwich.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

My Predictions

I'm going to go a bit out on a limb here and say this: as Virginia goes, so goes the nation. Call it a gut feeling, but I think if Virginia turns blue this year, other states like Colorado, Nevada and North Carolina will follow. NC may not happen this time, but its one of many states heading in that direction. I'm not saying that Obama will win all of the toss up states, but I think he will win Virginia, Nevada and Colorado. We will know early in the evening if its trending that way, when Virginia results come in.

As for other races, Liddy Dole is history. You don't "bear false witness" in North Carolina and get away with it. People are pretty serious about that kind of thing there and Liddy would know that if she spent more time in her home state. Shame on her.

Mitch McConnell will barely scratch out a victory in Kentucky. SNL, er Franken, will win narrowly in Minnesota (don't laugh, those folks voted Jesse Ventura for governor!) Chambliss will eke out a victory in Georgia, thanks to all "his people" (whitey). Udall will win in Colorado and will emerge as a strong leader in the Senate over the next few years.

Other races are more predictable. But this is the year we have to win, so nothing is predictable. Maybe, just maybe, this will be the year that Democrats resist the urge to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Just keep breathing.

Two more days.

Conservative Canvasser In Charlotte Gets It

Jonathan Curley, a banker in Charlotte, NC went canvassing for Obama recently at his wife's behest. He had the same experience I had in Wisconsin. Here is his article in The Christian Science Monitor: http://www.csmonitor.com/2008/1103/p09s02-coop.html

The Economist Endorses Obama

Yes, that bastion of free market capitalism has given a very thoughtful and thorough reasoning for their decision. Here it is in part:

BARACK OBAMA
Oct 30th 2008

America should take a chance and make Barack Obama the next leader of the free world.
IT is impossible to forecast how important any presidency will be. Back in 2000 America stood tall as the undisputed superpower, at peace with a generally admiring world. The main argument was over what to do with the federal government's huge budget surplus. Nobody foresaw the seismic events of the next eight years. When Americans go to the polls next week the mood will be very different. The United States is unhappy, divided and foundering both at home and abroad. Its self-belief and values are under attack. For all the shortcomings of the campaign, both John McCain and Barack Obama offer hope of national redemption. Now America has to choose between them. THE ECONOMIST does not have a vote, but if it did, it would cast it for Mr Obama. We do so wholeheartedly(italics added): the Democratic candidate has clearly shown that he offers the better chance of restoring America's self-confidence.

Read the rest at:

http://www.economist.com/world/unitedstates/displayStory.cfm?story_id=12516666&source=features_box_main

And if you want to see how the rest of the world would vote, if it could, check out this site:

http://www.economist.com/vote2008/

30 Days | 30 Reasons : After Obama (#3)

GOTV in Wisconsin

Today, I spent a few hours in one of the poorest sections of Beloit, Wisconsin, canvassing for Obama. Generally speaking, things like door-to-door canvassing and making calls is a pretty thankless job. You get a lot of people who've been called or visited before and are just tired of the whole thing.

But today was a little different. People driving by saw us canvassers and honked their support. Others stopped by in their cars and asked us for details about how to register late (which is legal in Wisconsin where they have 'same day' voting). Of course there were a few irritated folks, but the general feeling was one of hope. People were smiling with anticipation. These are people who don't look like they've had a lot to smile about or hope for for a while. Suddenly, all of us total strangers were sharing in something much bigger than ourselves. How often can you say that?

Two more days.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Many Roads To Victory

Its been suggested by various pundits today, including Norah O'Donnell on MSNBC, that Obama's campaign moving into North Dakota and Arizona is a sign of arrogance. David Axelrod, of course, knows its about creating multiple pathways to victory. Setting North Dakota and Arizona aside, for the moment, here is my take on the more probable roads to victory.

Assuming Obama wins what are considered "solid blue" states right now, he will have a solid 238 delegates. Those states are:

IL
VT
WI
HI
IA
NH
MN
RI
MI
CT
WA
NJ
OR
ME
CA
NY

Here are some possible options:

[PA 21 or OH 20 + VA 13= 33/34]

OR

[PA 21 or OH 20 + CO 9 + NV 5 or NM 5= 35]

OR

[NV 5 + CO 9 + NM 5 + VA 13 = 32]

(Note: This doesn't even include Florida, North Carolina, Missouri or Indiana!)

The point is twofold. Obama can actually win without Florida, Ohio or Pennsylvania. If he takes any one of those, its virtually impossible for him to lose.

But only if you VOTE.




30 Days | 30 Reasons : He's Asking More (#4)

Sarah Palin Got Pranked

Yeah, she's a quick study allright. Caught on real quick, didn't she? That the campaign would even accept an unverified phone call and pass it on to their candidate is a reflection of their total lack of polish and professionalism.

Arnold, Arnold, Arnold...

Do you really want to go there, dude? Do you really want to mock Obama for having "skinny legs" and "scrawny little arms"? Have you looked at your guy, lately? Or for that matter, yourself?

In case you hadn't noticed, this isn't a pissing contest. Leave it to a former bodybuilder to reduce this to body parts instead of intellectual ability, temperament, character and judgment. But don't despair, Arnold. If you're really nice to Maria, maybe President Obama will still invite you to a friendly game of one-on-one at the White House basketball court and kick your little girlyman ass!
(Or he can just embarrass you at the beach)

Rendell Speaks for Us All

From the Pocono Record, Dan Berrett quotes Governor Ed Rendell, talking about McCain-Palin, "They've run the most deplorable, despicable campaign I've seen in 31 years." Berrett went on to cite Rendell's recollection of his past 14 elections, and how he has always been able to have empathy for the other side. He then stated, "I'm competitive, but I've never been spiteful. This time, ladies and gentlemen, I want to crush them."

CRUSH THEM. I must confess, after the last 8 years of Bush's ignorance and Cheney's arrogance, and the Republican's general tendency to act as if they have cornered the market on righteousness, I do like the sound of that. But if that's all we do, then we are no better and no different from them. Perhaps a football metaphor will work here. Every team has a linebacker that explodes through the line and decks the quarterback or running back from the opposing team. And sometimes, after he's pulverized the other guy, he reaches down and helps him up, and they continue to play. That's what we need to do: pulverize the other side and leave no doubt who is the victor, and then reach out to them when it is done.

Three More Days


Friday, October 31, 2008

Our Halloween Pumpkin 2008


Carved with TLC by Karen T.

McCain's Bizarre Reaction

Do you Republicans REALLY want this man running the country during serious times?

Everyday Marxism

Ezra Klein makes a good point on his blog:

"The ER is the most Marxist building in the modern American hospital. By law, it treats anyone who decides to bleed in the waiting room, no matter their ability to pay, thus fulfilling the 'From each according to his ability' requirement. It parcels out medical attention based on severity of condition rather than thickness of wallet, thus fulfilling the 'to each, according to his need' requirement. It's a socialists redoubt in a capitalist system."

Palin Fears Losing Her Rights?

Sarah Palin, in a radio interview this morning suggested that her First Amendment rights are at stake, being threatened by none other than those darned leftist, elite media-types! Here's part of her quote:

If (the media) convince enough voters that that is negative campaigning, for me to
call Barack Obama out on his associations, then I don't know what the future of our
country would be in terms of First Amendment rights and our ability to ask questions
without fear of attacks by the mainstream media.

Her understanding of the Constitution is, of course, about as sophisticated as her mastery of Alaska's ethics code. The First Amendment also says that the "Congress shall make no law... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press." (Italics added) Oops. Guess she didn't get briefed on the last part!

Happy Halloween From a Real Hockey Mom!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Amateur Hour

"What he's done for America"???
Are you f***ing kidding me???

CNN Rick Sanchez Catches McCain Spokesman Mike Goldfarb Lying

Part of the problem here is not just that Goldfarb is peddling smears, but that both Goldfarb and Sanchez operate under the assumption that Khalidi is an anti-Semite, when neither has offered evidence to support that assertion. This is an old Rovian tactic of peddling a lie and telling it over and over again, until the truth or non-truth of it is no longer even considered a legitimate question.

Words or Phrases I Never Want To See or Hear, Part 2

KJC sends me "my friends" (how could I have missed that one??)
"nuke-you-lar"
terrorist
socialist
Marxist
change (I have to appear fair and balanced)
robocalls
"pallin' around"

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

McCain and Palin - Bottom Feeders

When someone like Joe Wurzelbacher is held up as a foreign policy authority by this campaign, we all need to worry a LOT about the direction of our country. We are witnessing the culmination of eight years of a dumbed-down presidency and the conscious decision by John McCain to appeal to the lowest, most base and primitive fears of a people, exploited purely for his own gain. This is not a man of principle. This is a sad, selfish pathetic excuse for an American citizen. He is not only stirring the pot of hatred that boils in the poor and undereducated areas of this country, he is adding the fuel and watching with gleeful pride as Palin dances around the flames. McCain and Palin are attempting to substitute character assassination for policy. They are stoking the fears of the electorate as a proxy for real patriotic passion. This cannot stand. This canNOT be what this country is about. We must, we MUST love this country more than that. And we must show it.

Vote.

A FOX Reporter Speaks the Truth--Finally

Palin's Free Advertisement on Cable News

Yesterday, Elizabeth Hasselback referred to Obama's purchase of 30 minutes of airtime as "repulsive". This morning, Palin gave a very long winded talk about energy. Its went on for at least 15 uninterrupted minutes on all the cable news channels. Usually, the channels cut away from such obvious attempts to get free advertising and say such things as "We'll come back to this if there is some breaking news." Today, they let her drivel on about the same old same old we have heard for months, with no cut away or interruption. Granted, it needed to be covered because this is presented as her signal issue, but the reality is that she said nothing new.

Two things were interesting, though. She actually said at the beginning that there is a big difference between McCain and Obama on the energy issue. She said that the Obama administration would continue the policies of relying on foreign oil. What planet has she been on the last 2 years? This is patently false and she knows it. Its another one of those Rovian lies that the McCain campaign tells everyday, hoping that the uninformed masses will believe it as truth, because its said over and over again.

The other point, albeit a small one, is that she mispronounces two pretty important words. She insists on parroting Bush and saying "nuc-u-lar" instead of properly pronouncing it "nu-clee-ar". She also repeatedly mispronounced "infrastructure" as "infastructure". Is it too much to ask that our country's leaders sound smart, even if they're ignorant buffoons?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

From the "Alaska Dispatch"

McCain not going quietly under Palin’s bus


October 27, 2008
By Amanda Coyne
Much is being made of the McCain campaign’s mishandling of Sarah Palin, and of Palin’s recent rebellion in the face of such mishandling.

First, she challenged McCain’s decision to pull out of Michigan. Then, in an interview with Focus on the Family’s James Dobson, she said that McCain would support the 2008 Republican Party platform, which opposes stem cell research and supports a constitutional amendment banning abortions with no exceptions in cases of rape or incest. The problem: McCain supports stem-cell research and opposes a constitutional amendment that does not make exceptions for cases of rape and incest.

On the stump yesterday, she talked about her wardrobe, which she wasn’t supposed to do. She dissed robo calls while McCain was defending them, had an impromptu press conference, and is, according to a CNN story, generally playing the part of a “diva.”
All of this leads many to conclude that Palin is setting herself up to blame the McCain camp in the face of a big loss.

In the coming weeks, many in Alaska won’t be surprised if Palin starts to subtly allude to those “good ol’ boys” who are running McCain’s campaign; the ones who made her wear fancy clothes and tarnished her image by keeping her from the press. It’s a familiar Palin-refrain.
As the conservative Voice of the Times columnist Paul Jenkins put it in a column about Palin: “She is an opportunist always looking for buses with lots of room underneath, lots of room for all the political bodies.”

But Palin is working with professionals now who will not go quietly under that good bus, and they seem to be prepping for a fight. In addition to the diva comment, the CNN story cited two sources inside the campaign who defended her handling. They said that she simply was not ready to meet the press. “Her lack of fundamental understanding of some key issues was dramatic,” one CNN source said. The other source said it was “hardest” to get her “up to speed than any candidate in history.”

Move Over Boomers!

30 Days | 30 Reasons : Kids (#8)

Monday, October 27, 2008

"I am an American and I choose to fight!"

Okay, here's my theory about John McCain. People have wondered what effect(s) his 5 years in Hanoi had on him. He (amazingly) claims its had no negative effect, but his approach to challenges suggests otherwise. I think McCain, for all intents and purposes, missed the Vietnam War. Through no fault of his own, he didn't get a chance to fight in the way that he wanted. He wanted to be a hero. One might argue that he needed to be a hero to stand toe-to-toe with the legends of his father and grandfather. And while he certainly embraces the hero mantel placed upon him for surviving torture, I don't believe that McCain feels its genuine enough, because it wasn't done in battle. The only person he saved was himself.

So what does he do? After he fails to advance further in the military due to injuries from captivity, he eventually gets elected to the Senate, and goes about pissing people off on a regular basis because he really loves the fight. He calls himself "maverick" but one could just as easily call him a "contrarian". He wants to see himself as a warrior and creates situations where that will be his role. So here we are now, in the 11th hour of the presidential campaign, and McCain is reprising his earlier mantra "I choose to fight!". In a way, its all he knows. When he talks about winning in Iraq, we all know what he's really talking about. He's still fighting another war in another time. Only this time he wants us to give him the power to play this out on the grandest scale of all. For me, that's a bit too much to ask to assuage one man's battered ego. We've seen that play the last eight years. We know how it ends---badly.

Palin Ignorant About Scientific Research

And this is the woman who wants to school us on "socialism"?? This is the campaign that thinks it can teach us anything? Simply moronic.

McCain's Health

More and more, it seems McCain is showing signs of wear and tear. This is no surprise, really, that a 72 year old man would be exhausted at this point in a grueling political campaign. So maybe what we're seeing is just that--the face of exhaustion. But it is increasingly troubling to see McCain stumble over his words. His "economic announcement" this morning was as disjoint and bumbling as recent campaign speeches have been. One has to assume he would be a little more energized in the morning, and yet here he was barely able to read the teleprompter, followed by increased anger directed at Obama.

Yesterday at a rally, he started coughing in mid-sentence. Maybe he has a cold. Maybe its no big thing. But between the twitching left eye, constant blinking, inability to read a prepared statement without stumbling, and poor memory he looks more and more like someone who has no business in any decision-making, much less being the heir to Bush's "decider" role.

Words and Phrases I Never Want To See or Hear After November 4th

maverick
you betcha
fight
ALSO
I know how to
Joe the plumber
anyone's first name followed by "the----"
reformers
hockey mom
Wasilla
trig
track
piper
cindy
john
sarah
rove
and any word that ends in "ing" and is pronounced "in' "!

Got any more? Let me know and I'll add them.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

McCain has Memory Block on Meet The Press

The fact that these kind of mental stumbles keep happening to McCain is more than a little concerning. Yes, we all forget a name or misspeak on occasion, but this guy is supposed to be on his game all the time, right? Especially when on Meet The Press! (h/t to Amy L.)

30 Days | 30 Reasons : His Background (#16)

30 Days | 30 Reasons : This Dude (#14)

These are in no particular order. I just love what Stranahan has done.

Reporter Tries To Shake Biden

In what can only be seen as a rather right-winged bias, Barbara West assails Biden with questions that imply both her opinion and how he should be answering. He doesn't bite and he doesn't get angry--regardless of what right winged bloggers are saying. See for yourself. Does he look incredulous at the bias or enraged? You decide.

30 Days | 30 Reasons : Number 10 - Grace Under Pressure

Palin Going Rogue on McCain

Its become increasingly clear over the past few days that Palin doesn't approve of the way she's been handled by McCain staffers. She has started talking to the press when she's not scheduled to, she complained about pulling out of Michigan and referred to robocalls as "annoying".

Today, she appeared with Elizabeth Hasselback and spoke for 4 minutes about her $150,000 wardrobe after Hasselback brought it up in her introduction. Now its safe to say that the last thing the McCain folks want her talking about is another one of their blunders. But there she was, going off message. The message itself is not so damaging, because most people have already formed an opinion about it. But the fact that she's spending valuable campaign time and face time with the voters talking about it is the miscalculation. This is the true mark of an amateur campaign.

Maybe Palin recognizes how poorly this thing is being run. Maybe she thinks she can do a better job without her handlers. Perhaps. But I think this is where her naivete catches up with her. I don't think she knows enough about big time politics, nor do I think she knows how the rest of America (outside of her select religious right) thinks--the real America, if you will, to exercise wise judgement.

Truth in Numbers

Crowd for Senator Obama in Albuquerque, N.M., last night: 35,000 inside the venue and another 10,000-15,000 outside.

Crowd for Senator McCain in Albuquerque, N.M., yesterday: 1,400 according to the McCain campaign, 1,000 or less according to reporters.

100,000 Strong In Denver


Saturday, October 25, 2008

What Will We Remember on Nov. 4th, 2009?

I wonder, as I read through blogs and newspapers and watch cable t.v. and Sunday morning news talk shows, what will really register as important, after all is said and done, and this election is finally in our collective rear view mirror. What do you remember about the 2000 Presidential election, other than it was stolen? If you're like most Americans, you probably remember the guy with his glasses off, staring intently at the "hanging chad", trying to determine its intent. Do you remember much more than that? Sure there are fleeting images of Gore giving up the fight, Katherine Harris, the Supreme Court, etc. But a lot of it has faded for me.

I remember even less from 2004, except that I was depressed for weeks.

So, as bloggers (including myself) go nuts about Palin and her wardrobe, the McCain staffer attack hoax, McCain's left eye twitch, Joe Six-pack, Joe the Plumber, Biden's gaffes, right wing rage, "he's a Muslim", "he's a socialist", Reverend Wright, Bill Ayres, Trig, Piper and Track, and on and on and on, I wonder what will remain at the end of this campaign.

Funny how a campaign season can be parsed ad nauseum by the press and pundits, but then, when its over, they all find some neat and tidy conclusionary statement to explain it all, as if they knew all along that this was the way it would go. You can almost smell the press begging for a closer race so they have more exciting things to talk about.

I hope that what we remember is the beginning of a shift back to the America we once knew and love, that was once respected in the world. I hope we remember a landslide so convincing that no amount of bogus voter registrations by Acorn can sully the victory or question the intent of the American people. I hope it is the greatest voter turnout in American history.

I hope that Palin fades into the woodwork and is recalled as an interesting oddity, like Ross Perot. And I hope McCain decides to retire after his term expires. And has a nice long life at his Sedona ranch with his wife. All of that might be worth remembering for more than a few years... or at least until the next election :)

The picture says it all


"It'd be fun to win Missouri"

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Vet Who Did Not Vet

(h/t to KBR)

And the Hits Just Keep On Coming

Charles Fried
William Weld
Scott McClellan
Colin Powell
Ben Bernanke
Kathleen Parker
Andrew Sullivan
Christopher Hitchens
Christopher Buckley
probably David Brooks, depending on the day
Susan Eisenhower
William Ruckelshaus
Lincoln Chafee
Jim Leach
Lynwood Holton
Richard Reardon
Michael Smerconish
Douglas Kmiec
Julie Nixon Eisenhower
Ed Koch
Gen. Tony McPeak
Lilibet Hagel (Chuck's wife)
Lowell Weicker
Alison Goldwater Ross

All of these people are registered REPUBLICANS! Most have never supported a Democrat and most have either served or are serving in Republican administrations or write for conservative Republican papers, magazines or blogs. Oh, and in case you were wondering, Rush Limbaugh, most of them are white.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Seth Kantner: " Sarah Palin is America's bridge to nowhere"

From Alaska Dispatch, Seth Kantner writes an article from the Last Frontier: "That Sarah Palin is one unreal Alaskan". You can read the full text here: http://www.alaskadispatch.com/tundra-talk/1-talk-of-the-tundra/235--that-sarah-palin-is-one-unreal-alaskan.html

"Morning Joe" Hits New Lows

Live blogging "Morning Joe": Joe Scarborough is on a roll right now defending Palin's "impressive intellect". Mika is doing her blonde best to disagree, but her opinion blows with the wind. Her intellect is as impressive as Palin's, which is one way of saying "not so much".

Now they're attacking David Brooks for calling her "a cancer" on the Republican party. They're drawing comparisons to Ronald Reagan and basically saying its the "elite Republican media" as well that are skewering Palin.

Now they've brought in Jonathan Capehart from the Washington Post to say "this race isn't over". The need for all of them to spin this thing in favor of McCain is amazing. Joe Scarborough's need to have his opinion justified is insatiable. And unfortunately, at the expense of better political t.v., the crew around him is compelled to agree with him. So, when Joe sets the agenda, like any good Republican campaign, they follow the talking points instead of having livelier debate. Bottom line: don't disagree with Joe. "I LOVE that woman!" Joe concludes about Palin. Mika agrees. After that statement they agree that Bill O'Reilly is right about what he says about the women on "The View" taking themselves too seriously. I guess its not okay for a group of women to have a serious political discussion, but everyone needs to lockstep it with Joe Scarborough. Hmmm....

"There is a beating heart of conservatism out there" Peggy Noonan just announces as her reason that this election is not over. She identifies the country as "center right". I think this country is centrist, but certainly waivers when it comes to social issues. Most people want legal abortion even if they don't agree with it. Most people are for some form of gay marriage. Most people want government protections that go beyond what true conservatives want. The country is not center right. In the last election, the voters that voted were center right. And look what happened when we let them choose our president.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Republican Rally Ends With Flag Desecration


The scene from a McCain rally in Missouri yesterday. Guess along with not knowing the duties of Vice President, they missed the rules on how to handle the American flag, as in, YOU DON'T LET IT TOUCH THE GROUND, YOU F***ING MORONS!! Where do they get off calling Democrats un-American? Unbelievable hypocrites.

Another Senior Moment or the Old Freudian Slip?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Murphy Knows What Time It Is

Mike Murphy, McCain's senior strategist for his 2000 campaign says this about Powell's endorsement of Obama:

"...Colin Powell's endorsement of Obama today was a real sledgehammer blow to the already staggering McCain campaign...The General showed he still knows how to launch a brutal offense. Powell's remarks were an across the board indictment of the McCain campaign."

Parker's Defense of Buckley

Excerpts of "The Buckley Son Rises...and runs"
By Kathleen Parker

Christopher Buckley’s endorsement of Barack Obama — followed by his abrupt departure from the back page of the magazine his father founded, National Review — has caused a ripple of contempt from the conservative Right.

Nay, make that a tsunami of hostility. An avalanche of venom. A cataclysm of ... well, you get the idea. People are mad. Good riddance, they say, and don’t let the door hit you on the way out.Let us proceed, gingerly.

I am not a passive bystander to these events. Buckley is a friend, as are other members of his family, especially Uncle Reid, with whom I have worked for several years. National Review is home to many friends, and its online editor, Kathryn Jean Lopez, kindly subscribes to my column. Like Buckley, I have enjoyed a decent fragging for suggesting that Sarah Palin excuse herself from the Republican ticket.

What gives here?

What does it mean that the right cannot politely entertain dissenting opinions within its ranks? What, if anything, does it portend that Buckley The Younger has bolted from the Right, even resigning from the family flagship? Some have opined, ridiculously, that Buckley — son of the famous William F. Buckley (WFB) — was merely seeking attention...So why did he do it? Because he had to. It’s in his genes. True believers of whatever stripe too often forget that the men and women who create movements are first and foremost radicals...Paraphrasing Ronald Reagan, the younger Buckley said: “I haven’t left the Republican Party. It left me.”

Radical conservatives are still having an interesting time of it, though these days they are being mutilated by fellow “conservatives.” The well-fed Right now cultivates ignorance as a political strategy and humiliates itself when its brightest sons seek sanctuary in the solitude of personal honor. The truth few wish to utter is that the GOP has abandoned many conservatives, who mostly nurse their angst in private. Those chickens we keep hearing about have indeed come home to roost. Years of pandering to the extreme wing — the “kooks” the senior Buckley tried to separate from the right — have created a party no longer attentive to its principles. Instead, as Christopher Buckley pointed out in a blog post on thedailybeast.com explaining his departure from National Review, eight years of “conservatism” have brought us “a doubled national debt, ruinous expansion of entitlement programs, bridges to nowhere, poster boy Jack Abramoff and an ill-premised, ill-waged war conducted by politicians of breathtaking arrogance.”Republicans are not short on brainpower — or pride — but they have strayed off course. They do not, in fact, deserve to win this time, and someone had to remind them why.

An American Soldier
























This is the photo of the soldier that Colin Powell referred to in his comments on Meet The Press. His point, of course, was that there is nothing wrong with being Muslim, that American citizens who also happen to follow the faith of Islam have given their lives for this country. Something for everyone to think about when they throw around the word "Muslim" as if its a dirty word.

Photo by Platon appeared in The New Yorker.

Colin Powell and REAL Straight Talk

Powell expounds upon what he said on "Meet The Press" this morning and tells it like it is. This is in sharp contrast to McCain's lame defense of his negative robo-calls on Chris Wallace's program this morning on Fox.

The Endorsements Keep Coming

There is a significant shift going on this year. Many right leaning newspapers are endorsing Obama. Here is a partial list:

Chicago Tribune (first Democrat endorsement for president in the paper's history)

Houston Chronicle (first Democrat endorsement for president since 1964)

The Salt Lake Tribune (backed Bush in 2004)

The Denver Post (backed Bush in 2004)

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The Chicago Sun-Times

The Kansas City Star

More to come....

What Colin Powell's Endorsement Means

Powell's endorsement today on "Meet The Press" was significant for several reasons. Powell put McCain's campaign problems in clear perspective and went into depth about why he doesn't trust a McCain presidency and why he does trust an Obama presidency.

It all came down to temperament and judgment. He pointed to McCain's handling of the economic crisis (his infamous "suspending" the campaign stunt) vs. Obama's calm and steadiness. He spoke about the choice of Palin as an example of poor judgment, while he supported Obama's pick of Biden for the "readiness" test.

What Powell also did was describe the "narrowing" of the Republican party. He made it very clear to more centrist-minded Republicans that this is no longer the party they knew. And he didn't let McCain off the hook with this shift, because its the McCain campaign that is accentuating this division on the campaign trail.

We'll see what a difference this makes. I think it grabs the headlines, causes some conservative soccer moms and NASCAR dads to think twice, if they were afraid to vote against their party line. Powell's words elucidate the problems with McCain and Palin. He flatly says that Palin isn't ready to be president. Bottom line: people of all parties admire Powell and trust what he says. That's worth something in the last two weeks of a campaign. Way to go, Colin Powell. A patriot to the end.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

100,000 in St. Louis for Obama


Pfotenhauer Puts Foot in Mouth

Nancy Pfotenhauer puts her foot in her big mouth. I have had second thoughts about this after reading other people's blog comments about it and talking with my partner, who was not offended by it. Here's my take: She chose her words poorly. I think what she meant was "traditional" Virginia not "real" Virginia, because, of course, the latter implies that NOVA is "fake" or "not real". Northern Virginia is different from the majority of Virginia, but you could probably argue that about lots of states that have a large metropolitan area. Is Chicago not the "real" Illinois? St. Louis not the "real" Missouri? Gary not part of the "real" Indiana?

One can argue that these cities are not representative of the state they are in, but its a foolish idea to state that they are "not real", which implies they are somehow not as genuine or as relevant. I guarantee that the votes in Northern Virginia will count just as much as those in the rest of Appalachia. The bottom line is that these words sound divisive, and given all the Republicans have been saying on the campaign trail, it looks as if she is trying to divide the state. Not the kind of message you want to hear from the campaign of a man who constantly promises to reach across the aisle. Is his campaign trying to say that they're the real Americans?

Friday, October 17, 2008

Bachmann Wingnut Overdrive

Rep. Bachmann (R-Mn) clearly is following her provided script by using the word "leftist" instead of liberal or left-wing, or Democrats, maybe? I'd love to see this woman lose her seat but the Dems have a guy named Winkelburger or Winkeltinker or something running against her. Sounds like a pretty leftist name to me.

Double Standard, Anyone?

Democracy is not average people selecting average leaders. It is average people with the wisdom to select the best prepared. Facts are powerful!! Obama/Biden vs McCain/Palin, what if things were switched around?.....think about it.

Would the country's collective point of view be different? Could racism be the culprit? Ponder the following:
What if the Obamas had paraded five children across the stage, including a three month old infant and an unwed, pregnant teenage daughter?
What if John McCain was a former president of the Harvard Law Review?
What if Barack Obama finished fifth from the bottom of his graduating class?
What if McCain had only married once, and Obama was a divorcee?
What if Obama was the candidate who left his first wife after a severe disfiguring car accident, when she no longer measured up to his standards?
What if Obama had met his second wife in a bar and had a long affair while he was still married? What if Michelle Obama was the wife who not only became addicted to pain killers but also acquired them illegally through her charitable organization?
What if Cindy McCain graduated from Harvard?
What if Obama had been a member of the Keating Five? (The Keating Five were five United States Senators accused of corruption in 1989, igniting a major political scandal as part of the larger Savings and Loan crisis of the late 1980s and early 1990s.)
What if McCain was a charismatic, eloquent speaker?
What if Obama couldn't read from a teleprompter?
What if Obama was the one who had military experience that included discipline problems and a record of crashing seven planes?
What if Obama was the one who was known to display publicly, on many occasions, a serious anger management problem?
What if Michelle Obama's family had made their money from beer distribution?
What if the Obamas had adopted a white child?

You could easily add to this list. If these questions reflected reality, do you really believe the election numbers would be as close as they are? This is what racism does. It covers up, rationalizes and minimizes positive qualities in one candidate and emphasizes negative qualities in another when there is a color difference.

Educational Background:

Barack Obama: Columbia University - B.A. Political Science with a Specialization in International Relations. Harvard - Juris Doctor (J.D.) Magna Cum Laude

Joseph Biden: University of Delaware - B.A. in History and B.A. in Political Science. Syracuse University College of Law - Juris Doctor (J.D.) vs.

John McCain: United States Naval Academy - Class rank: 894 of 899

Sarah Palin: Hawaii Pacific University - 1 semester North Idaho College - 2 semesters - general study University of Idaho - 2 semesters - journalism Matanuska-Susitna College - 1 semester University of Idaho - 3 semesters - B.A. in Journalism

Education isn't everything, but this is about the two highest offices in the land as well as our standing in the world.

(h/t to Claire W.)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

If Palin were in the Oval Office

Just for fun, check this out and be sure to click on everything for a good laugh!

http://palinaspresident.com/

(H/T to KBR)

John McCain Drops His Jaw

One of the better moments of this last (thankfully) debate. McCain goes on from this point to roll his eyes, clench his jaw, and generally treat Obama with contempt. Once again, the people spoke afterwards in focus groups and went strongly for Obama. This was true of both Fox and CNN groups, much to Fox's dismay.

Obama did what he needed to do--hold his lead, keep his cool and make his points. McCain needed to hit a homerun, and instead, he hit another grounder to second and grumbled all the way back to the dugout.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Anchorage Daily News Editorial

"Palin vindicated?"
She claims the report "vindicates" her. She said that the investigation found "no unlawful or unethical activity on my part."
Her response is either astoundingly ignorant or downright Orwellian.
Page 8, Finding Number One of the report says: "I find that Governor Sarah Palin abused her power by violating Alaska Statute 39.52.110(a) of the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act."
In plain English, she did something "unlawful." She broke the state ethics law.
Perhaps Gov. Palin has been too busy to actually read the Troopergate report. Perhaps she is relying on briefings from McCain campaign spinmeisters.
That's the charitable interpretation.
Because if she had actually read it, she couldn't claim "vindication" with a straight face.
Palin asserted that the report found "there was no abuse of authority at all in trying to get Officer Wooten fired."
In fact, the report concluded that "impermissible pressure was placed on several subordinates in order to advance a personal agenda, to wit: to get Trooper Michael Wooten fired."
Palin's response is the kind of political "big lie" that George Orwell warned against. War is peace. Black is white. Up is down.
Gov. Palin and her camp trumpeted the report's second finding: that she was within her legal authority to fire Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan. But the report also said it's likely one of the reasons she fired him was his failure to get rid of her ex-brother-in-law trooper.
That's not "vindication," and surely Gov. Palin knows it.
Gov. Palin does have a defense. She could have said:
"I'm gratified that the report confirmed what I said all along, that I had the authority to terminate Walt Monegan as public safety commissioner.
"I absolutely disagree that I violated state ethics law. In repeatedly complaining about trooper Mike Wooten, Todd and I were not pursuing a personal vendetta. We were trying to protect the integrity of the Alaska State Troopers from having an arrogant, almost-out-of-control law-breaker in their ranks. Because the action we were seeking was in the public interest, not purely our personal interest, there is no ethics law violation."
Gov. Palin and her husband felt so passionately about Wooten because the case was so personal to them. Their passion blinded them to any other considerations.
They had no sense that the power of the governor's office carries a special responsibility not to use it to settle family scores. They had no sense that legal restrictions might prevent the troopers from firing Wooten. They had no sense that persistent queries from the governor's office might be perceived as pressure to bend state personnel laws.
Gov. Palin and her husband were obsessed with Wooten the way Capt. Ahab was obsessed with the Great White Whale. No Wooten, no peace.
Has Gov. Palin committed an impeachable offense? Hardly.
Is what she did indictable? No.
But it wasn't appropriate, especially for someone elected as an ethical reformer. And her Orwellian claims of "vindication" make this blemish on her record look even worse.
You asked us to hold you accountable, Gov. Palin. Did you mean it?
Bottom line: Gov. Palin, read the report. It says you violated the ethics law.

Christopher Buckley Leaves The National Review Over Obama Endorsement

"The son of William F. Buckley has decided—shock!—to vote for a Democrat.
Let me be the latest conservative/libertarian/whatever to leap onto the Barack Obama bandwagon. It’s a good thing my dear old mum and pup are no longer alive. They’d cut off my allowance.
Or would they? But let’s get that part out of the way. The only reason my vote would be of any interest to anyone is that my last name happens to be Buckley—a name I inherited. So in the event anyone notices or cares, the headline will be: “William F. Buckley’s Son Says He Is Pro-Obama.” I know, I know: It lacks the throw-weight of “Ron Reagan Jr. to Address Democratic Convention,” but it’ll have to do."

Read the full post here:
http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2008-10-10/the-conservative-case-for-obama/

Just a little seasonal fun!

Check out these awesome pumpkins! Whoever thought this up from the Obama campaign was a clever son-of-a-gun.

http://yeswecarve.com/category/photos/

Monday, October 13, 2008

Maddow vs. Frum

Rachel Maddow just entertained a lively discussion on her show with David Frum, a conservative journalist and former speech writer for Bush. He capped off his comments with "You guys have a symbiotic relationship with negativity." She bristled at that and at his suggestion that our political discourse needs to be more adult, referring to her show as an example of the lack of seriousness. Maddow likes a little sarcasm like I like a little chocolate sauce on my ice cream. She never met a sarcastic retort she didn't love, and its part of her shtick. I agree with her that all politics doesn't have to be serious, but I wonder if Frum isn't making a larger point that she missed.

He seems to be suggesting that its not enough to simply trade accusations and expressions of righteousness. Yes, it might be so that the Democrats have the upper hand right now because we don't have nitwits yelling "Kill him! and "Terrorist!" about McCain at Obama rallies. And its pretty obvious that Obama has been consistent in taking the high road throughout the campaign.
But is it enough to feel righteous indignation over those nitwits at rallies or the buffoons at FOX? They have FOX and now we have Maddow and MSNBC? Is that the best we can do? I sort of felt like Frum was challenging Maddow to rise above the obvious and have more intelligent conversations with people she may not necessarily agree with. That is the hallmark of truly intelligent, mature political discourse.

Much to my disappointment, she balked and kept reciting the line that she doesn't see it as the equivalent when the other side is yelling "Kill him!" She may have a point, but is that the only point to be made? Its certainly the easiest one to make.

Maddow is an extremely bright woman and can go toe-to-toe with the best of them. Wouldn't it be so much more enlightening if she did, for example, have Paul Wolfowitz on (as Frum suggested) and have an honest to God debate about their differences? I think she's up to it, and, what's more, I think the American electorate is hungry for an honest exchange of ideas. We're all sick of the partisan bullshit, and we're all guilty of it. Twenty-two days and counting.....

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Collins Gets Nostalgic

New York Times
Op-Ed Columnist
Dear Old Golden Dog Days

By GAIL COLLINS
Published: October 10, 2008
I miss the good old days. Remember when the presidential campaign was all about oil drilling? That sure was fun.
I miss August. August was neat. The Dow was over 10,000 and nobody had ever heard of Sarah Palin.
Remember how we used to joke about John McCain looking like an old guy yelling at kids to get off his lawn? It’s only in retrospect that we can see that the keep-off-the-grass period was the McCain campaign’s golden era. Now, he’s beginning to act like one of those movie characters who steals the wrong ring and turns into a troll.
During that last debate, while he was wandering around the stage, you almost expected to hear him start muttering: “We wants it. We needs it. Must have the precious.”
Remember when McCain’s campaign ads were all about his being a prisoner of war? I really miss them.
Now they’re all about the Evil That Is Obama. The newest one, “Ambition,” has a woman, speaking in one of those sinister semiwhispers, saying: “When convenient, he worked with terrorist Bill Ayers. When discovered, he lied.” Then suddenly, with no warning whatsoever, she starts ranting about Congressional liberals and risky subprime loans. Then John McCain pops up to say he approved it. All in 30 seconds! And, of course, McCain would think it’s great. For the first time, the Republicans appear to have captured his thought process on tape.
The Republican campaign strategy now involves sending their candidates to areas where everybody is a die-hard McCain supporter already. Then they yell about Obama until the crowd is so frenzied people start making threats. The rest of the country is supposed to watch and conclude that this would be an enjoyable way to spend the next four years.
Maybe the Republicans should have picked somebody else. I miss Mitt Romney. Sure, he was sort of smarmy. But when Mitt was around, the banks had money and Iceland was solvent. And, of course, when we got bored, we could always talk about how he drove to Canada with his Irish setter strapped to the car roof.
I miss the old George W. Bush. When he came out of the White House and made an announcement, you would usually think that whatever he wanted to do was a terrible idea. But at least you thought he could actually make the terrible idea happen.
I miss the old American public that was too busy shopping to worry about the state of the world. Now everybody is getting scared and weird. They’ve been racing off in great numbers to see “Beverly Hills Chihuahua.” And nagging Target to take the Little Mommy Cuddle ‘n Coo dolls off the shelves because people think that when it gurgles you can hear the baby say “Islam is the light.”
I miss the old Cindy McCain. The one who used to go to rallies and sit huddled in the corner looking as if she thought the audience had a communicable disease. Now, she’s right up there on stage, standing behind her husband and making disgusted faces when he rails on about the opposition. And she’s started railing herself. (The family that rants together ...) Obama is waging “the dirtiest campaign in American history.” His votes on Iraq were votes “not to fund my son when he was serving.”
Remember when the McCains wouldn’t talk about the fact that their son was in Iraq? Oh well.
Maybe Cindy is trying to hold her own against Sarah, who is with John almost as much as she is. I miss the old guy-guy McCain who had so many male pals around he looked like a walking fraternity reunion. Now, he’s starting to resemble an ambulatory patient accompanied by female attendants on an outing.
Palin has been pressing the line that people don’t really know “the real Barack Obama,” and who could make the argument better than a woman who we’ve already known for almost six weeks? Really, she’s like one of the family.
We’ve gotten so close we’ve already learned that she didn’t actually sell the plane on eBay, didn’t actually visit the troops in Iraq and didn’t really have a talk with the British ambassador. As soon as we get the Trooper thing and Alaska Independence Party thing and the tax thing figured out, she’ll be an open book.
And she’s got a point about Obama. True, he’s been campaigning for 19 months and has been interviewed by everybody from “Meet the Press” to “Men’s Health.” Which would be O.K. if we were talking about somebody from a small town rather than, as a McCain campaign co-chairman noted delicately, a “guy of the street.”
Back in August, women politicians were afraid of going negative because it might have made them look too strident. Amazing, the things you wind up being nostalgic for.
More Articles in Opinion » A version of this article appeared in print on October 11, 2008, on page A23 of the New York edition.

Flyers Fans Rock!

Palin resoundingly booed by Flyers fans at their home opener. Awesome.

Friday, October 10, 2008

McCain's Own Crowd Undermines His Leadership

In the earlier video of the McCain town hall meeting in Minnesota, McCain is forced to confront the hostility and bigotry of his own crowd. When he reminds them to be "respectful" and describes Obama as a "decent person", he is booed more than once. Does this seem a bit ironic? They clamor for him to fight for them in one breath, and interrupt him and boo him in the next breath. Do they really believe he is their leader? If they don't respect McCain at one of his own rallies, what message does that send about his ability to be respected as a leader of the whole nation?

Who's in the driver's seat of the McCain campaign? Anyone else feel like Palin is hijacking this thing with the Rovians? And what does that say about McCain's leadership?

What's the New "N-Word"?

Scared, white, conservative folks everywhere are searching their vocabularies for the latest and greatest way to label Obama with the obvious (he's black) without using the word that has
clearly fallen out of fashion. So they flail around for a while and, low and behold, they stumble upon some real beauts. "He's a socialist!" "He's a liberal!" (ooohhnnooooo!) "He's a terrorist!"

But the best one was seen today, at a McCain rally in Minnesota. Everyone was confessing their fears to McCain, begging him to rescue them from the great Democratic terror, and he decided this would be a great time to calm the rabble with reassuring words about what a decent guy Obama is. Watch and see if you think the crowd is really behind McCain:

Thursday, October 9, 2008

John McCain's Rage

"When great evil occurs, great good will follow"

Written by Buddhist teacher Nichiren Daishonen over 600 years ago, it seems to capture what is happening this very week in the campaign. I do not mean to reduce McCain to the term "evil", because I think that is too reductionistic. But the McCain campaign is actively and vigorously appealing to the ugly underbelly of their party--yes, the bitter, angry, God-fearing, gun-toting rabble that Obama described once to the San Francisco "elite". These people are angry as hell and they are quickly transforming the McCain campaign into a mob, with an increasingly hostile mob mentality. Comments directed at Obama like "kill him!", "terrorist!" and "off with his head!" are being heard more and more frequently at McCain rallies.

McCain supporters have decided for the sake of convenience to brand Obama as their 21st century Salem witch, and have deemed him a worthy receptacle for all of their own personal ills, failures, fears, resentments and regrets. Obama burning in effigy is, no doubt, coming soon to a "Country First" rally near you.

To say that McCain has lost his way would be a gross understatement. To see him and his faithful female sidekicks stoke the fires, is the most blatant example of how and why he is NOT fit to lead. He is either allowing the mob to lead him, or he is encouraging the mob to take him and his country down into the sludge, for the sake of his own ego.

McCain's claim to have the "steady hand on the tiller" is an absolute farce. The only person on either side who has been steady throughout this entire campaign is Barack Obama. Even when surrogates in his own campaign begged him to get angry, get tough, come out swinging, Obama remained steady. He is as unflappable as any man I have ever seen under fire. He seems to proceed with the calmness of a man who has already arrived at the destination, when everyone else is complaining about the stones on the road in front of them. His ability to see and describe the "big picture" is the very thing the Republicans mock, but it is also the thing they cannot envision with their own candidate, and they know it. In a word, they are jealous, and their egos are as bruised as McCain's. And McCain's solution for these people? Get mad and get even.

Obama, on the other hand, continues to stay on the high road. When his campaign has flirted with the negative snipes in ads, thousands of supporters and bloggers like myself have contacted the campaign demanding cease and desist. And they have listened. They are not perfect. Nor is he. But the contrast between hope and despair is so apparent now, that I almost feel sorry for these angry masses as they swirl around the cesspool of their own making.



(Tip of the hat to JumpyPants for Daishonen's quote)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

McCain Revealed

Tim Dickinson goes in depth to show a John McCain that few have heard or read about. His article in "Rolling Stone" is a must read:

http://www.rollingstone.com/news/coverstory/make_believe_maverick_the_real_john_mccain

Thanks to KBR for the link!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

"That One!"

McCain accomplished much tonight. He solidified the suspicion shared by many that he has true contempt for Obama. He allowed the camera to age him significantly. He proved that his strongest statement of his qualifications always starts with "I know how to...".

On the radio he sounded snippy, petty and sophmoric. On HDTV he looked like someone who has pulled a tight rubber mask over his head, followed by two inches of pancake makeup.

Between the shameful McCain-Palin Smear Express and this bumbling, tottering, snarky performance by McCain, the answer for undecideds is becoming all too clear--Obama, er, that one.