Monday, September 29, 2008

Art Duplicates Life

Bailout Goes South

John Boehner (R) is blaming Nancy Pelosi's apparently partisan speech for them not getting on board to vote this through. Excuse me? You didn't do what was right and absolutely necessary because your feelings were hurt?? So when you say its important to make this bipartisan and its important to make this about the American people and not about Democrats and Republicans, does that mean you only do that when it suites you?

I didn't hear Pelosi's speech, but I have heard partisan rhetoric the past few days, so its very likely that that happened and its stupid for her to do that, if she did. But since when is one person's partisanship enough to keep representatives of the people from doing their job?

Bottom line--Boehner couldn't deliver the votes, and his own leadership failed. Maybe the rich Republicans in the House can afford to lose money on Wall Street, but I can't. Can you?

Charlie Rose Interview with Govs. Palin and Napolitano

Charlie Rose: "Do you know what the Bush administration energy policy is?"
Palin: "Well...we hear about it through the media, yes." (Long pause) Charlie Rose is presumably waiting for her to enunciate it.

Napolitano steps in and inadvertantly rescues her and quips, "You're assuming there is one. I was waiting for it, but that's okay." Gov. Napolitano then takes the conversation back to an earlier question and begins to elaborate on being the commander-in-chief of the National Guard. Palin sits back and relaxes for a moment because she knows she's just been saved some embarrassment. Not only that, but Napolitano has opened up an area where Palin can be her rhetorical best. The full interview can be seen here:

What is most revealing about this interview are two things that most of us think we already know. That is, 1) Palin knows a little bit and cares a lot about Alaska's energy policy and 2) she uses an excess of rhetoric and cliche to cover up what she doesn't know. And she doesn't know a lot.

I am reminded of the times in school when the smartest girl in the class gave a detailed, thoughtful answer and then the teacher turned to the "C" student for her take. The pretty, popular, not-so-bright girl does her best to flatter the smart kid by referring to her answer a lot and then coming up with a few empty comments of her own. The teacher is almost always smart enough to know what's going on.

Hopefully, the American people will, too.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Catherine Tate Provides Some Comic Relief

Thanks to Andrew Sullivan for sharing this on his site.

The view from Palin's world

MSM Finally Speaking Out On Palin

Fareed Zakaria writes in the latest Newsweek, "This is nonsense--the vapid emptying out of every catchphrase about economics that came into her head.....Can we now admit the obvious? Sarah Palin is utterly unqualified to be vice president."

Conservative columnist Kathleen Parker concludes, "It was fun while it lasted. Palin's recent interviews with Charles Gibson, Sean Hannity, and now Katie Couric have all revealed an attractive, earnest confident, candidate. Who is utterly out of her league."

Even Rich Lowry, editor of the conservative National Review has had to concede after the Couric interview, "I thought Palin was dreadful. She obviously didn't have the reaction to the Charlie Gibson interview as I had hoped. She had better be better prepared for next week or she risks damaging her political brand forevermore."

And McCain's conclusion, when asked about Palin's recent problems on This Week with George Stephanopoulos, "What a wonderful person, a great leader, the most popular governor in America...I"M SO HAPPY that she is part of the team!"

Is McCain being sincere (which implies he is completely oblivious to the seriousness of this problem) or is this the prelude to Palin's departure for "family" reasons? That is, is McCain pretending to be thrilled about her to add credibility to Palin's departure as her idea, and not his need to vanquish a bad decision and issue himself a "do-over"?

Sarah Palin's Foreign Policy Experience

Can there be any doubt that McCain's biggest campaign decision was also his biggest mistake?

Saturday, September 27, 2008

What We Put On Our Cars, We Wear On Our Sleeves

My partner and I were driving ourselves and our dog to the local forest preserve today to take a walk and get away from all of the political blogs and cable tv pundits. We had just turned onto a four lane road when a car behind us veered sharply in front of us, cut us off, and then slowed down with a great deal of purpose. It was as if the driver was intent on us seeing the back of his car, which we did. The left back bumper had a sticker that said "Nobama" and the right side had a White Sox sticker on it, and in the middle was a "Marines" sticker.

I suppose the sin we had committed was having both "Cubs" and "Obama-Biden" stickers on our car, though I initially wasn't sure which had offended him more. Moments later, we found out. As our car pulled next to his at the light, we were determined to not engage him, not to look at him. We were going to be the bigger people and not be baited. Our windows were open, his were open. As the light changed and he started to speed away, he yelled out his window:

"Go vote for your nigger!"

There was something so vile, so raw, so ugly about this man's hatred that shook me deeply and stunned us both into a brief silence. And then I cried. It felt like we had both witnessed and experienced a moment of American tragedy. An innocent ride down the road turned into a demonstration of the fundamental problem in this country. On the one side are people who are filled with hope, want to believe in the best of our country and want us to move to a new chapter in the history of America. On the other side are people who seem to want basically good things, but express themselves with such mean spiritedness that is disturbing, at best, and frightening at its worst. This guy was mean. This guy was so determined to be mean to us and spread his hatred, that he went out of his way to do it. It was oooh sooo tempting to fight back. It was tempting to yell back, but we didn't get the chance because the coward sped away. The Marine launched his verbal grenade and then ran like a chicken. One of McCain's heroes. What would I have said had he stuck around for my rebuttal? Told him he was a racist bigot? Told him I was as much a patriot as Mr. Marine? Or simply sum it up in three words that seem to say it all:

white sox suck.

Friday, September 26, 2008

John McCain - Stuntman Supreme

Moments ago, McCain reversed yet another one of his positions by saying that now he will go to Mississsippi to debate Obama tonight. There is no agreement on the economic bailout package, as he claimed would have to exist before he would agree to debate. In fact, they aren't really very close right now, according to Harry Reid. McCain's claim that he needed to "suspend" his campaign and rush back to Washington to save the economy is about as legitimate as Bush's claim that Iraq had WMD. In fact, there is some haunting familiarity here to the need by McCain to create drama around himself, to vault his character as the hero. Bush likewise revelled in the role of savior of democracy, while his policies tore apart the Constitution and The Bill of Rights.

McCain is, in fact, telling us much about what a McCain presidency would look like. Instead of the lead actor, commanding the attention of the audience, conveying the essence of the storyline and being an integral part of the narrative, McCain is the stuntman. He's the guy who steps on stage to make a big splash, do a flip or flop to impress. He's providing a piece of action, but contributes very little to the actual storyline. By doing so, he attracts attention momentarily, and people may even be impressed momentarily, but soon they realize that there is little else there but bluster.

Can you imagine an entire movie acted by stuntmen? Can you imagine the drama fatigue one would feel after 15 minutes? That would be the essence of a McCain administration--drama fatigue. Its time for grownups to take charge here and send Johnnie boy to his room for the rest of the evening.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Palin Watch II

CNN 's Anderson Cooper is discussing with a panel of Borger, Rollins and Begala their assessment of Palin's utterly disasterous interview with Katie Couric tonight. To a person, they are apologists for Palin and are blaming her "handlers". They give every reason for her failure, including the campaign "locking her up" having the unexpected negative consequence of hurting her confidence. Not ONE of them suggests that maybe she's just dumb! Maybe she just doesn't know this stuff! Maybe she just has an 8th grade level of understanding of very complex and nuanced issues. They also are, to a man and woman, reinforcing the notion of the woman as victim. I'm sorry...what???!! 'If it weren't for the campaign locking her up, she'd be breezing through these softball interviews??' Ya think?? Isn't it remotely possible that the reason---THE REASON--she is on a short leash is that they saw her in their mock debates and privately concluded that they were fucked if she spoke to a real reporter.

Now they've ended their discussion by concluding that Biden has had his gaffes, too, so they conclude (with an eye towards the goal of perfect neutrality) that its been a week of VP gaffes, instead of the obvious, which is: SHE'S AN IDIOT!!!!!!!!

Monday, September 22, 2008

McCain and the Irish

McPain is speaking somewhere in a sea of kelly green and mentioning the Irish alot. He is reading his script and looks up from his cue cards only momentarily. It reminds me of giving my first speech in the 8th grade--stammering, looking down, using the wrong inflection at the wrong time.

He has a brace around his right wrist that holds the microphone. Does he not have the strength to hold a microphone?

He's making wisecracks about Obama. When he needs an applause line, he takes a shot at Obama. Can't garner any enthusiasm without Palin there....interesting.

He is, without a doubt, the worst speaker I've ever heard. And he looks unhealthy.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Palin Watch

"Its about...taking...less...from...them". Palin in Lady Lake, FL speaking now, touting her record in Alaska. She is speaking very slowly, as if the crowd is at risk of not following her and grasping her complicated message. She suspended the state fuel tax....hmmm, not such a big deal in oil rich AK. She at least got the "McCain-Palin" part right this time. She accuses Obama of exercising poor judgment, wants to raise taxes, hurt small business. Do people there wonder why someone would want to raise taxes on all the little poeple that he's depending on for votes? Does anyone think that lie is even credible?

Veteran wearing a t-shirt with "I kissed a pitbull with lipstick and I liked it". The CNN commentator says "Very nice," when he sees it and notes the man is wearing it with pride.

More of the usual rhetoric from her, with words like "maverick"and "reformer" being tossed in. The crowd predictably cheers.

Lots more disrespectful sarcasm from her now aimed at Obama. Where does this ignorant woman get off? She's talking about moving the oil down to the lower 48. Doesn't mention that its cheaper to sell it to Canada then transport it all the way down to the lower 48 states.

FOX breaks into her speech to quote Rasmussen to say that the polls are "dead even"! And the reporter says, "Can you believe it?!" Actually, Rasmussen has Obama ahead by 1%, but Gallop and all other polls I have seen have Obama ahead by 5-6%. So, of course, FOX quotes the poll that has them closer or "dead even" according to FOX. The guy from Rasmussen says that Obama needs to look "presidential". Hmm...does this imply that McCain doesn't have to look presidential or that he already does? Where has this guy been? Has he seen McCain's angry and bitter rantings this week? If anyone needs to prove he can be or act presidential, its McCain. And he can't.

McCain's Brain

Evidence seems to be mounting that McCain is slipping. Not only did he exhibit an apparent lack of mental acuity (or perhaps auditory competence) in his interview with the Spanish speaking radio station earlier this week, he has flopped on the bailouts of AIG, the fundamentals of the economy, and the latest 700 billion dollar bailout. He has been the champion of deregulation who now wants to be the maverick who will 'shake up' Washington. The only shaking I can imagine is the fear he would evoke by his obvious incompetence. He referred to Palin's son as being in the National Guard, when he is in the Army. Can you imagine the outcry if Obama had made that misstatement? McCain would have accused him of unpatriotic, military incompetence. He would have said that any man who doesn't care enough or know enough to distinguish between the Army and the National Guard has no call to be Commander-in-Chief of those forces.

My theory is that McCain is not only becoming increasingly hard of hearing, but that he also is now suffering from an inability to identify his true voice, if he ever had it. The truth is that McCain has been re branded several times in this campaign already. Can't you just see him in a staff meeting--"Now are we using the 'change' or 'experience' or 'maverick' or 'reformer' line today?" He seems to be drowning in his own swill of disingenuousness. He can't speak honestly or with authority because the words are no longer his. When he pulled the curtain of the Straight Talk Express, it was a signal to all of the press, that his better days were behind him. He is now an aging puppet who is no longer sharp enough or strong enough to fight his controllers.

Cubs Win! Cubs Win!

Okay, in reality, the Cubbies clinching the central division is about as expected as Obama winning the Illinois primary, but it is still something to celebrate. Its been a long season, and a fun one, but all Cubs fans know the short sting of last year's sweep by the Diamondbacks in the division series. So...this is nice, like a cold beer on a hot day, but it isn't fine wine. But no worries--we Cubs fans are the epitome of patience. What's a few more weeks before we taste the finest champagne?

Sunday, September 7, 2008


Someone has just got to say this outloud without apology, so I guess it will be me. Choosing Sarah Palin for McCain's VP was the biggest insult that McCain could have foisted upon us. Every damn one of those sanctimonious so-called conservative Republicans who spoke at their convention knows she's a trainwreck for a VP, but they've got their heads so far up their lilly white rumps that they can't bring themselves to utter any words remotely resembling honesty. And what about 'maverick' McCain? He has sold his soul to win the big prize, and he is as far removed from his "Country First" slogan as a man can be. What a pathetic display he has been. A fading shadow of his former self.

One of the things that paralyzes this country and our national conversation about politics is our apparent inability to hold two divergent ideas in our heads at the same time. Something must always be one way or the other. So, in an effort to address that, I will say here and now that Sarah Palin is a very good speaker. She has good stage presense. She makes good eye contact and tells a good story. Her form is very personable and folksy. She drops her "g"s so that when she "goes huntin'", you feel like---well, dare I say, you want to go along to have a beer with her afterwards. Hmmm...this is all sounding and feeling very familiar.

But I am talking about--and we should be talking about--the difference between form and content. One can be quite eloquent and not say a thing ("All sound and fury, signifying nothing") I once was praised by my college English prof in front of the whole class for being so eloquent on a term paper. He finished his praise, as he handed me my paper, adding "But it didn't say a damn thing." I got a D- , and a smile from the professor. It was a great lesson on being honest and concise.

I have been listening very closely to Sarah Palin and what she says--her actual words, not her expressions or her smile or her body language. I am looking for knowledge, mastery of her subject, intellectual depth. My own conclusion so far, until we actually hear her answer media questions, is that she is winging it half the time. I think she knows a little bit about a few things and a fair amount about the Alaska pipeline. I think she is less educated than many, if not most, Americans working in public office, and I think she knows how to use her strengths (her personality and her good looks) to her advantage. And I think she truly loves her home state, even if that means killing wolves from planes and drilling in ANWR. Why she would want to leave the place she and her family love so much is beyond me. Maybe she thinks its "God's will"......

The beginning

I have been late to come to this forum, judging by the massive number of blogs in existance. But I found myself turning away from mainstream media this past week and reading numerous blogs for some semblance of truthtelling that the MSM seems no longer equipped to provide or even provoke. After wearing out my partner with my political rantings of outrage during the Republican convention, she suggested I start a blog. So here it is--with the dual purpose of expressing myself on issues of importance to me and hopefully others, and keeping a relationship sane and uncluttered.

I do not intend to speak only to the political issues of the day. I am, after all, an ardent, dyed-in-the-wool, true blue Cubs fan, and have been since I was a kid. So this year, the 100th anniversary of the Cubs last World Series Championship (for anyone not paying attention), demands more than a little attention, as the Cubs aim for the postseason. Forgive me all you Yankee, Red Sox, Cardinals et al fans, I do not mean to offend. But you have all had your seasons. This one is ours. You will note that, as a true humble and patient fan of the lovable losers, I am only asking for one.

But back to politics, as time is short and the challenges are many. I would like to make some observations on what I like to call:

The Dumbing Down Effect

Andrea Mitchell aptly observes on The Chris Matthews Show this morning, "Its about campaigning not governing," when referring to the Palin debate strategy. Her point is essentially that the Republicans can do anything they want to win, regardless of whether we think Palin's grossly unqualified or not. Mitchell is not defending this strategy, she is simply making the observation of a seasoned poltical reporter. She points out that the "kitchen table" strategy for appealing to middle class Americans has worked in the past and may well work now. So Palin can talk about the price of a gallon of milk and butter up (pardon the pun) women voters, but may never have to talk about the complex workings of the US economy in a global economy. She only has to know a few talking points to sound knowledgeable, she doesn't actually have to be knowledgeable. Why? Because most of the American voters do not know enough to question her knowledge, so if it sounds good, it must be good. As an added protection against tougher questioning, the Rovicans (which is what we should call them now, as the traditional conservative Republicans have sold their souls to the devil incarnate, Karl Rove) have introduced two defenses: sexism and the elitist east coast media. By doing this, they can point to one of these two when it fits their need, instead of responding to why the question can't be answered intelligently by Palin. ("Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain") Has Bush succeeded in the effort to dumb America down to the point where we will believe any lie if its told often enough, or simply said by a pretty, smiling woman in a skirt? Oops, sorry, did that sound sexist? :)