Tuesday, September 30, 2008


It's a free for all week.

15th & Cabrillo

15th & Cabrillo Night
Walking up Cabrillo on my way to the bus stop this morning I saw a flyer with a guy's face on it, and I stopped to read it. It turns out that two weeks ago, a 23-year-old kid named Jordan McCay was murdered two blocks from where I live. Random violence, apparently. I didn't hear anything about it until this morning.

It also turns out that tonight there's a ride and vigil in his memory--hence the flyer.

McCain Vs. Earmarks

In McCain's tirades about earmarks Friday night, two lines stood out as exceptionally clueless. The first was when he identified earmarks as the cause of corruption--"why we have, as I said, people under federal indictment and charges." The second was when he asked, rhetorically, "Do you know that [earmarks have] tripled in the last five years?"

Earmarks don't cause corruption. Republican ideology causes corruption. As I've said before, as I've been saying since 1994, when you put government in the hands of people who believe it has no useful purpose, those people are going to use it for just two things: to enrich themselves and their campaign contributors, and to increase their own power. Corruption flows inevitably from the anti-government delusions of the Republican party.

And the fact that McCain really doesn't get this was illustrated by his comment about earmarks tripling over the last five years--by his failure to mention that they had tripled under a Republican Congress and a Republican president, or that the Democrats had cut them back significantly in 2007.

Opposing earmarks--that's a tactic. Opposing Republican ideology--that's a strategy. John McCain doesn't understand the difference.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Monday Movie Review: The Times of Harvey Milk

The Times of Harvey Milk (1984) 8/10
This documentary tells the story of Harvey Milk, the first openly gay city official elected in the United States. Opening with his assassination, the movie goes back to his life, focusing on his time in San Francisco politics, which ended with his assassination (along with Mayor George Moscone) by Dan White. The film examines the aftermath of Milk's death, including White's "Twinkie defense" trial and its results. Directed by Rob Epstein.

I think the most important thing to remember when watching The Times of Harvey Milk is that it was made in 1984, a mere six years after the events depicted. It was made before AIDS was known about by anyone other than epidemiologists. Before gay marriage existed as a political issue. The people interviewed in the movie have had only a short time to gain any perspective on their experiences and their loss. It also explains the hair.

It's as if the film is two time capsules; the capsule of San Francisco in the 1970s, the beginning of a flamboyant Gay Rights movement, the birth of Castro Street as a gay cultural center, and the high cost of this kind of openness. As well, the capsule of speaking openly as a gay activist to a filmmaker in 1984; neither of these times exist anymore, both are worth looking at.

One interesting thing about watching a documentary is that it allows you to look at your own perceptions and memory. I was a teenager in the 70s. I remember that someone named Harvey Milk was killed. I remember there was a "Twinkie defense" murder trial; I did not remember they were the same murder. I remembered nothing about peaceful or violent demonstrations either. Yet these were important events, and you and I are living in a world very much touched by these events. Harvey would have been proud.

The use of news footage, interviews, photographs, and home movies is well-done. Watching the film is seamless. The film is honest about Milk's flaws; his combativeness, restlessness, and temper. It is honest about the flaws of gay activists in general; it doesn't try to portray riots as a good thing, although it is sympathetic to the frustrations that led there. The net effect is kind of adulatory, but the details are not.

Unfortunately, "missing' footage is not addressed. Early on we learn that Milk's partner was named Scott Smith. Thereafter, Smith disappeared. I assume he declined to be in the movie, but the film would have been improved by saying so. Is he alive or dead? Was he still Milk's partner when Milk was killed? Was he at the candlelight vigil that night? The movie doesn't say. And as you can see, it really stuck in my craw. It dangled, unspoken. People have partners; life is shaped by that. There was a partner for a split-second, and then whoosh, he was gone. In a movie about gay life and about the profound effect of coming out of the closet, that's too big an omission. An explanation should have been offered.

Anyway, that's minor. This is an amazing piece of history that too few people know. Rent the movie now, before Milk comes out.

(Cross-posting on Castro Street)

Common-Sense Capitalism, Not Emergency Socialism

While we're on the subject of collections of syllables that will get someone elected president...

Jacob Weisburg complained in Slate (and Newsweek) a week or so ago about the lack of a catchy slogan from the Obama campaign, and although I don't think it's a deal-killer at this point, I don't disagree that it would help. In this citizen's opinion, recent events have handed him a winner.


Chris Matthews Destroys the "Maverick" Brand

Check out this clip of Chris Matthews over at Americablog. Others have complained that in this clip Chris calls the Republicans "mavericks" and thus gives them some credit for crushing the bailout bill. In fact, he's doing just the opposite. He is simply turning the phrase inside out and revealing its essential uselessness and vapidity in a political context. He says up front that you can call them the "party of mavericks"--and they can call themselves that--but mavericks can't be led, and can't lead. He lays it all at the feet of John McCain and explains to the rather moronic talking dress who is interviewing him that the Republicans had an obligation to get the votes for the bill and the fact that they didn't is a failure of their leadership and a failure of McCain's leadership. And he puts it just that bluntly--McCain can't lead, this was his test, and he flunked it. Its well worth seeing.


Over at LGM We've Tagged McCain "World's Butchest Passive Agressive Drama Queen"

And the more you grasp that fact the more comprehensible lines like this are:

“I know that many of you have noticed, but it’s not my style to simply ‘phone it in.’ ”

McCain's mavericky, lone hero shtick is really, really, slipping. He's gotten to the point where he actually is insecure enough to try to feed the audience their lines. He's starting to remind me of the sceen in Soap Dish when the failing soap queen, played by Sally Fields, can only pick herself up out of her depression by going to low rent Malls in New Jersey and having her publicist and producer (Whoopi Goldberg) pretend to be an ordinary citizen/fan who just "happens" to recognize her. Despite the fame of this scene--its referred to as "having a soapdish moment" I couldn't find a clip. But the more you watch John "the Maverick/never Miss Congeniality/many of you have noticed my style" the more you realize you don't have to see Sally Fields throw her fur over her shoulder and sign autographs for her fans as she proceeds down the escalator--you can just watch John McCain beg for another closeup.


Not Playing Well In Peoria

From my old "mommy blog" where they have been following the debate rather closely:

"OMG, I just saw some of the republicans that didn't like her speech."
In response to message #0

And they are saying it was Nancy Pelosi's fault. God, do they sound like whiney kindergarteners. Here is her speech and that's why I'm not voting yes. So there. My apologies to all kindergarteners who probably can turn around and make things nice a lot better than these politicians.

And, of course, run, do not walk to see Barney Frank destroy the Republican WATB chorus as only he can. H/t TPM


Not Playing In Peoria

From my old mommy blog:

"OMG, I just saw some of the republicans that didn't like her speech."
In response to message #0

And they are saying it was Nancy Pelosi's fault. God, do they sound like whiney kindergarteners. Here is her speech and that's why I'm not voting yes. So there.

My apologies to all kindergarteners who probably can turn around and make things nice a lot better than these politicians.

--and run, do not walk over to see barney frank clean the Republicans clocks as only he can: here. h/t TPM.


Everyone's got advice for Joe Biden in Thursday's Debate--from some guys over at dkos who want him to "break the fourth wall" and address the audience directly saying "look, I've either got to roll over for her, which is sexist, or take her on as an idiot, which they are going to say is sexist. Since i lose either way, I'm going to go for the jugular and take my lumps" to 538 saying

Memo to Joe Biden: Let Palin Talk

Joe Biden doesn't need to do much in this debate. Everyone, Republicans included, know the guy knows policy detail and foreign relations cold. He really doesn't need to do much to prove he has mastery.

Normally, "time of possession" is a key signifier in football of which team is likeliest to win the game, but in this case the opposite seems true. Think of it -- all anyone cares about in this debate is what Sarah Palin says.

As for me, I think Biden should prep for the Debate with Tina Fey and simply learn to hold his face steady, like Katie Couric, and blink a lot like the comedienne who parodied Couric in the SNL sketch. That's really all he could, or should, do. To the republican supporters of Palin he will simply come across as courteous and unthreatened. To democrats he will come across as courteous and stupified by the horror of it all. And to swing voters? Well, Joe can speak up for himself on the things he's knowledgable about and simply let her fall on her face with the rest. If someone is dumb enough to find Palin reassuring they aren't going to be affected in a good way by Biden taking her on and pummeling her to death. But they may respond well to subliminal cues like Biden simply politely doing a few double takes while she prattles.



Special Prosecutor

Appointed to investigate the firing of U.S. Attorney David Iglesias (it's unclear to me whether the investigation will extend to the rest of the purge). Nora Dannehy is the prosecutor; her background is white collar crime and corruption. I haven't found anything to suggest she'll take a dive (always a possibility with this administration).


Shorter Bill Kristol: "There exists a combination of syllables to make John McCain president."

Gail Collins==all is forgiven.

From the NYT:

One thing we now know for sure. Electing John McCain would be God’s gift to the profession of journalism. A story a minute.

Imagine what would happen if a new beetle infested the Iowa corn crop during the first year of a McCain administration. On Monday, we spray. On Tuesday, we firebomb. On Wednesday, the president marches barefoot through the prairie in a show of support for Iowa farmers. On Thursday, the White House reveals that Wiley Flum, a postal worker from Willimantic, Conn., has been named the new beetle eradication czar. McCain says that Flum had shown “the instincts of a maverick reformer” in personally buying a box of roach motels and scattering them around the post office locker room. “I can’t wait to introduce Wiley to those beetles in Iowa,” the president adds.

On Friday, McCain announces he’s canceling the weekend until Congress makes the beetles go away.

Barack Obama would just round up a whole roomful of experts and come up with a plan. Yawn.

Gail Collins on John McCain.


Sunday, September 28, 2008

Not Beanbag

I'll say it again: John McCain has put Sarah Palin where she does not belong. It's not fair to the country, it's not fair to his party, and it's not fair to the woman herself.

P.S. Actually it's perfectly fair to the GOP.

Sunday Sierrablogging

View from the Slabs
View up the South Fork San Joaquin valley from the slabs southeast of Florence Lake, John Muir Wildernes.

Lap Doggy Style

Not that he's picking sides or anything, but Mr. Bipartisan Consensus National Unity Can't-We-All-Just-Get-Along? David Broder found a bright spot in John McCain's debate performance Friday night:

It was a small thing, but I counted six times that Obama said that McCain was "absolutely right" about a point he had made. No McCain sentences began with a similar acknowledgment of his opponent's wisdom, even though the two agreed on Iran, Russia and the U.S. financial crisis far more than they disagreed.

That suggests an imbalance in the deference quotient between the younger man and the veteran senator -- an impression reinforced by Obama's frequent glances in McCain's direction and McCain's studied indifference to his rival.

Whether viewers caught the verbal and body-language signs that Obama seemed to accept McCain as the alpha male on the stage in Mississippi, I do not know.
As for the signs ol' Broder's a tame, partisan bitch, they're tough to miss.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

I don't have words for this

After McCain's shameless use of the troops as a prop to his failing campaign in the debate I read this tragic tale of a loyal marine with PTSD in the New Yorker. The whole essay is worth reading--especially against the background of a previous New Yorker piece on PTSD and new methods of treatment.

“You cut him and he bled green,” she said, ... She meant that her late husband’s devotion to the Marine Corps was total. A portrait of Twiggs in full dress uniform hung near the front door of her house, a few miles south of Quantico, in Virginia. A shadow box of his medals and ribbons stood near the dining-room table. His ashes sat on a mantel in a brass case decorated with the Marine Corps eagle, globe, and anchor.

I heard the same thing from Twiggs’s fellowmarines. “He was the strongest person I ever knew in the Marine Corps,” Chris Wahl, who served under Twiggs for four years, including two deployments to Iraq, and now owns a bar in Buffalo, said. “Just a sick motherfucker all around, and I mean sick in the best way possible. He knew how to lead men.”

Later, the police who searched for him remarked “I’ve made a lot of wanted posters,” ... “But this was the first time I had to crop out the President.” Two or three weeks before he killed himself, Travis had had a "photo op" with Bush, embraced him, and expressed his willingness to continue serving Bush in Iraq.

Who was this guy? Just a believer: More...

Travis never doubted the wisdom of the war, Kellee said, and he was frustrated by the press coverage it got. “He could see how it was helping people. But all they showed were the bad things. His thing was, everybody flew flags after 9/11 for seven, eight months. Then it got ‘old.’ He was pissed about that. Americans didn’t appreciate the military. Then, after his third tour, we’d be watching the news and there would be some horrible American shit going on—some adoption-fraud scam, or some people who threw a baby into a lake in a garbage bag. And Tebeaux would just start crying and shouting, ‘What the fuck am I fighting for?’ ”

Kellee said, “Nobody even noticed it in Two-Six”—Travis’s battalion—“but I did. He got so twitchy, it became impossible to cuddle with him. He loved movies, but he couldn’t sit still to watch one. You could just see the wheels turning. You wanted to keep him busy, keep him talking about things so he wouldn’t start talking about other things. He’d get upset when people asked him stupid things, like did he kill anybody, and he wouldn’t talk, but other times he’d start talking about I.E.D.s, and how horrible they were, how they put soap in them, so it sticks to you, and how they can detonate them with anything—a cell phone, a walkie-talkie. He’d hear a car coming up our gravel road here and he’d just hit the floor, just bam, because the tires crunching sounded like machine-gun fire to him. Or he’d just go sit upstairs and watch for lights—watch for Iraqis, because that’s what he used to do in Iraq. I’d call his name, get him back to bed, and the only way I could get him to sleep was to put him in a bear hug and rock him. Then he’d sleep. But as soon as I moved he’d wake up.”

Travis started drinking heavily, and having trouble concentrating. “His therapy was to cut the grass, with his iPod on,” Kellee told me. “He did that a lot.”

It was dark now, with a full moon rising. Kellee hadn’t touched her food. “He volunteered,” she said. “We volunteered. He did what he did because he was fucking awesome, and he kicked ass because he loved his country. And when he got sick, got saddened, his government, his Marine Corps, let him down.”

What leaped out at me was that this marine returned voluntarily to Iraq three times, at least once two many according to his doctors and other soldiers around him, both because he believed in his mission and because his symptoms of stress, rage and confusion would magically disappear once he re-entered the theater of war.

And for years Travis did manage... But after each overseas deployment the transition to family life grew more difficult. “I was more irritable, paranoid for no reason, unable to sleep,” he wrote, in the Marine Corps Gazette. He was not being forced to return to Iraq, though—he was volunteering. The moment that a new deployment, with Kellee’s tearful acquiescence, was in sight, he wrote, “my symptoms went away. After all, I was going back to the fight, back to shared adversity, where the tempo is high and our adrenaline pulses through our veins like hot blood.”
The article goes into excruciating detail about what a great marine he was, how loved by his friends and troops, how devoted to his family, and how utterly destroyed he was by the hypervigiliance required by Iraq and by his own feelings of guilt that he couldn't protect his troops from harm. Reading this story its not hard to see why people like McCain keep meeting up with troops who re-enlist voluntarily. But its hard to imagine reaching McCain's age and station without grasping that they do so because they have ceased to be able to function in the regular America they have set themselves the task of defending. Over and over again the article makes the point that Travis, a top soldier, was simply out of control of his feelings and his responses to everyday stimuli. He began drinking, was overmedicated for stress, threatened his beloved wife with a gun, acted as though he could be blown up at any minute. The army did little or nothing to help him, or at any rate it wasn't enough. The whole story is gutwrenching. But the most gutwrenching part is to think of people like Travis and, indeed, his whole family and his young children are used by people like McCain to make up for their own war griefs and PTSD. Travis killed himself and his brother because he couldn't live with the person he had become after three tours of duty in Iraq. Its not that he thought he was a bad person, or that he was a bad person, its just that that person needed constant fear and adrenaline to function. He was broken inside and couldn't fit into an ordinary American life. When McCain talks about victory in Iraq and making each soldier's death "count" he is ignoring the fact that we aren't "counting" the cost at all. We are breaking men and women, every day, in that meat grinder. Win or lose they are broken. And that cost will never be paid for by McCain and his other war hounds, not in dollars nor in care nor even, as far as I can see, with an apology.


Debate Thoughts

I'm much happier about it than aimai is. Obama didn't need to devastate McCain; McCain needed to devastate Obama--really, really needed it. And that didn't happen. I don't think the earmark attacks ever really landed; nobody really gives a shit about earmarks except insiders, and Obama did a good job of putting them in numerical perspective. Beyond that, Obama was clearly more knowledgeable about the economy and came off as comparably knowledgeable on foreign policy (of course he's much more knowledgeable than McCain, but McCain was at his best last night, and did a good job of hiding just how crazy he really is).

The simple-minded insta-pundit commentary on PBS summed it up: the whole panel agreed that both candidates had "passed the commander-in-chief test". That's a huge loss for McCain, because the only argument he has left is that Obama isn't qualified to be "commander-in-chief". I see this as very possibly a 1980 situation, where once Obama passes that threshhold there's a big swing in his direction.

That's not to say that I wasn't disappointed in some respects. I had hoped to see McCain lunge across the stage and try to throttle Obama, and that didn't happen. On the other hand, I don't think McCain staring rigidly ahead while Obama was talking to him will go over all that well. I'm biased, of course, but I think McCain came off as a petty little rageaholic when he did that.

In other superficial observations: what's with the blinking? Good god, McCain blinks a lot.

Did she stuff it in her bra?

Biden was tearing up the TV screens while Palin was...working a bar?

Perhaps it was coincidence that the song "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" was playing as Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin worked the crowd at the Irish Pub last night.

But her amorous fans were definitely ready to let the moose-hunting Alaska governor rule.

"I expect her to be president of the United States one day," said Suzanne Haney, the Republican leader for the 2nd Ward in South Philadelphia, who gave Palin a $2 bill for luck.

That'll go over well with the Southern Baptists and the Evangelicals. Aren't they the people who think that sex is bad because it leads to dancing? Wonder what they think about hanging out in bars?

Well, that didn't go as well as I would have liked

Edited along the bottom to add that I'm not a pundit, and just play one on the internet, so as it turns out I'm wrong but here was my take:

I worried quite a bit that Obama's background as a con law type would interfere with his ability to debate an angry liar, and I was right. I'm afraid that Obama let McCain deliver Josh Marshall's "bitch slap" quite effectively last night. He, and Lehrer, allowed McCain to talk over Obama, and to deliver personal insults, in a way that wasn't shocking but was sobering. I suggest that Obama's debate prep next time be done with Steven Colbert--he simply didn't grasp that there wasn't going to be a "trier of fact" or a "judge" out there who cared about the details, that the audience and McCain were simply out for blood.

Its not Obama's style. He's all sweet reason. But I personally think he needed to cut McCain off at the knees. Things I would have liked to see him say were things like this "Bipartisanship? John, you can hardly bear to share the stage with me, let along work across the aisle. You just flew in to Washington to broker a deal on what you called the most important legislation since the great depression. When you got there the deal had already been struck, after you left the deal was broken. Is that bipartisanship?"

When McCain said that he would "cut spending on everything except the military and the vets" Obama should have turned to him, witheringly, and said "That's as ridiculous as your assertion that you "wished the central bank loaned everything out at 0 percent interest." Here's a fucking clue--the "vets" have something called "families--mothers, fathers, wives, husbands and children" who rely on all those things you think are unnecessary and that have tanked under your stewardship with Bush: good schools, safe roads, hospitals, health care." The vets aren't a separate class of person from the rest of us, they are in our lives and in our families. "

And man, I can't believe he wasn't prepared to be hammered on the earmarks and to come back with some of mccain's pork from Arizona. All he had to say was "John, you can't have it both ways--youv'e spent 26 years in washington and the record is clear: you requested _______ in earmarks and most of them were boondoggles. The people in Arizona loved it, and then sent you back for a reason."

And when he said "I'm not miss congeniality" Obama should have said "we just had eight years to two guys in the white house who cursed the press corps, cursed out fellow senators on the floor of the senate, lied to the american people, and comported themselves with the utmost arrogance---even getting into a shotting incident and then trying to cover it up--frankly, I'm ready for a little congeniality.


Oh, well, Nate Silver and TPM's polls say I'm wrong: More...

Why Voters Thought Obama Won

TPM has the internals of the CNN poll of debate-watchers, which had Obama winning overall by a margin of 51-38. The poll suggests that Obama is opening up a gap on connectedness, while closing a gap on readiness.

Specifically, by a 62-32 margin, voters thought that Obama was "more in touch with the needs and problems of people like you". This is a gap that has no doubt grown because of the financial crisis of recent days. But it also grew because Obama was actually speaking to middle class voters. Per the transcript, McCain never once mentioned the phrase "middle class" (Obama did so three times). And Obama’s eye contact was directly with the camera, i.e. the voters at home. McCain seemed to be speaking literally to the people in the room in Mississippi, but figuratively to the punditry. It is no surprise that a small majority of pundits seemed to have thought that McCain won, even when the polls indicated otherwise; the pundits were his target audience.

And here, just for laffs, is why even REPUBLICANS thought he won (quoted in full in the comments section). Jay Nordlinger on the debate:

What’s depressing, to a person like me, is that Obama has mastered the trick of coming off as perfectly moderate — even when your career and thought have been very different. Listening to Obama last night, you would have taken him to be a Sam Nunn, David Boren type. No ACORN, no Ayers, no Wright, no community-organizin’ radicalism, no nothing. He certainly knows what it takes to appeal to people in a general election. Then, once he’s in — if he gets in — he will govern as far to the left as possible.

Man, they set the bar so low for Obama that since he didn't come out drinking the blood of a christian baby he basically won right then and there.

Friday, September 26, 2008


God love the internet. I'm signing off for the night and Mr. Aimai and I are taking a peach/blackberry cornmeal croustade and some bubbly to a friend's house to watch the debate. While I'm at it I printed out some home made "debate bingo" cards at this nice site. My bingo terms (with a few left for us to fill in once we get there) include:

drill baby
putting politics aside
lower taxes, gates of hell
I don't love war (said in a pathetic and self aggrandizing way)
and, in the center bloc, two unlikely words "republican" and "president bush".

I expect if we actually do this as a drinking game we will be sleeping it off on the floor of our friend's house tonight.


Ever Wonder What They Think?

Over at Hot Air (h/t Sadly No for the link to "Cap'n Ed") the comments section on how brave sir robin...I mean, John McCain, fought for principle in the white house meeting looks like this.

Rush Limbaugh gave a detailed description of what went down in the White House yesterday on his radio show. Apparently, Pelosi, Reid and the other Democrat Leaders deferred to Obama to lead the discussion. However, instead of acting in a bipartisan manner, Obama decided to rip the Republicans for their policy position on this matter. Obama was suppose to stick to support for the Democrat plan. Instead, he “got in their faces”.

Needless to say,the Republican Leaders led by Boehner responded vigorously to the attack. The meeting was totally derailed by Obama.

Another tells us it was practically fisticuffs:

We hear from several sources who were in the room that the meeting between Bush, John McCain (R-AZ) and Barrack Obama (D-IL) quickly devolved into a pissing contest between the two presidential candidates. Obama initially took control of the meeting, this while Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Harry Reid (D-NV) sat in silence. McCain then began to mumble something incomprehensible about "a plan" but we see no evidence that the AZ senator has formulated a serious proposal. So nasty and sharp was the exchange between McCain and Obama that President Bush had to get in between the two men.

But the real shocker is that they all believe that the bailout bill is no more than a stalking horse for which grand, left wing, commie front organization.? Oh, come on. No, not Move On. No, not Hitler. No, no, I'll wait.

Ok, here:

At the debate, Mcain has a great opportunity to go over the heads of the MSM and tell the American people to their faces he believes 100% of any “profits” from any bailout package belong to the American taxpayers. Period.

He then points out the current legislation among other things has a built in slush fund whereby the first 20% of profits - conceivably $100-$200 million (which belong to the taxpayer) will go instead to fund voter registration and other community activist groups - including ACORN which is presently facing criminal charges in over a dozen states.

Then he should call upon Pelosi to bring the bill to the floor, either with the 20% slush fund, or without, and have an up/down vote.

alwyr on September 26, 2008 at 1:19 PM

And you wonder why we struggle to reach 50 percent in this country?


Debate: On

McCain to be shot down and rendered to MS by his own staff.

Quote of the Day - 100% Content-Free News Edition

Whether or not you agree with what Senator John McCain did and is doing, there's general agreement on this: it could help or hurt his presidential hopes.
--Wolf Blitzer
The clip is worth watching to see Toobin call bullshit on the bogus campaign 'suspension', but that first line from Wolf made me laugh out loud--partly because it reminded me of an A.J. Liebling essay I just read called "Death on the One Hand", about news reaction to Stalin's slow death. It's brilliant skewering of content-free "on the one hand this, and on the other hand that" coverage in a relative news vacuum, and it's even more relevant today as 24-hour cable news creates a much larger news hole to fill. An excerpt:
Inconsiderate to the last, Josef Stalin, a man who never had to meet a deadline, had the bad taste to die in installments....

The annoying hiatus that the old Bolshevik permitted to intervene between his syncope and his demise put a strain on even the ruggedest professional seers, who had to start explaining the significance of his death before he had actually died and then keep on inventing exegeses until he was in his tomb. Altogether, their ordeal lasted a full week, but they stood it better than their readers.

OK, I Read Dune at an Impressionable Age

I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain. [1]
I've been lurking over at the Christianist Women's Blogs ever since Sarah Palin and I've had mixed feelings about them. They are truly lovely women, struggling with many of the same issues any woman and mother struggles with in this society: food, shelter, beauty, body image, children's issues. Its all there for them, like it is for me. At the same time they bewilder me with their interpretations of scripture, which I find utterly repulsive very often. I got into respectful fisticuffs over their exaltation of the notion of judging others very harshly. They approved a post by Dr. Laura viciously attacking a pregnant teen who expressed her anguish at the social condemnation that she experienced as a result of her pre-marital sexual activity and pregnancy. And yet they rallied around to defend Sarah Palin as a mother because "these things happen" in every family, including their own. Today there are two posts up back to back about the "Godly Woman". More... The top post begins that every woman should "fear the lord...because without fear she would have no reason to obey him." That's pretty much par for the course for Christianist interpretations of the phrase "fear the lord" so I'm not surprised, so much as I am saddened that these women welcome fear as the primary motivating force for their moral lives. But right below that post is another entitled "Biblical Womanhood and Freedom from Fear" which reminds the author and her readers to "fear not." [I'm not linking because I don't think these women should or could be exposed to a lot of direct criticism from the bloggosphere. I don't think it would be helpful and they really don't handle even gentle disagreement well.]

Here are the responses from her commenters.

I was so encouraged by this. I struggle with fear in pregnancy, and being newly pregnant again has brought that to the surface again. I think I am doing better giving my fears over to the Lord this time around (this is number 5), but your post today really gave me an extra boost of encouragement and hope. Thank you!

September 25, 2008 3:54 PM

Blogger Amanda said...

With all that is happening around us it is easy to lend ourselves to fear. Even though I know I should not fear, I still sometimes need extra encouragement. I really needed this, thank you.


September 25, 2008 7:24 PM

Blogger Gentleshepherd said...

Thank you for this post! Funny how a simple short message can speak volumes.

I had been struggling with emotions and fears about our oldest who is continuing to choose a very dark path and the heartache of it involving our first grandchild.

I do not need to fear, none of this is a surprise to our Father and He is so in control! Thank you.

Kim said...

Very Very encouraging. Lately I have been waking up in the middle of the night with feelings of fear (worry about my kids).
I don't know why, but it always hits me at night and wakes me up. I will even get up and go check on my kids.
It's good to know that God is in control and that a godly woman knows this.

September 26, 2008 6:58 AM

Can you read these posts and not see how painful and frightening life is, for these women. Its a miracle that they get up, do what they need to do, and occasionally raise their heads from their fears and griefs and vote at all. Its not surprising that they vote on impulse and with very low information, on single issues, and on spite and fear. Its pretty much all they've got.

You know who else was right about things besides Frank Herbert?
Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness. To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions. The criticism of religion is, therefore, in embryo, the criticism of that vale of tears of which religion is the halo.

Ya, I'm a geek.

Friday Random Ten

Joy Division - I Remember Nothing
Bush Tetras - Snakes Crawl
Camper Van Beethoven - Borderline
John Foxx - Europe After the Rain
Santo & Johnny - Sleep Walk
Chicha Libre - Primavera en la Selva
Chief Checker - Africa Irie
Liz Phair - Mesmerizing
Tricky - Bacative
Cracker - Sidi Ifni

Anybody acquire any interesting new music lately?

Paris Vaut Bien Une Messe

From a commenter over at Obsidian Wings:

OK, so Obama, Frank, Dodd, and Pelosi need to go sit down with Paulson: we'll push through the deal we all reached on Thursday morning, in exchange for the endorsement, by Bush, Gates, and Paulson, of Obama for President. Is the financial system hanging by a thread or not?


Ok, My contractor says he'll vote for Obama

none of you know my long running relationship with my [wonderful] republican contractor who gutted and renovated our house the year before last. We used to have three and four hour arguments, over the cabinet knobs and the various floods and disasters that accompany a year long project, about politics. He's a basically very good guy with authoritarian leanings. He came over this morning to measure something and of course I demanded to know if he was going to vote for McCain. More... He said no, because McCain was "too old" and then he began listing every other thing--the Palin choice, the debate head fake, as reasons that even if McCain weren't too old he wouldn't be voting for him. But he told me that he just "would stay home" because "here in MA" his vote won't count either since the state is "going for obama." We had a long talk about the guys who work for him, even lower down on the financial scale, and how permanently disgusted with politics they are. And how electoral college "winner take all" system of the elections makes them feel even more disenfranchised. Even if they want a candidate, like Obama, they feel their vote "doesn't really count" that its only the "swing states" that matter. So where someone who is very politicized and energized, like me, looks at the swing state maps and goes "now what can I do?" they look at the nightly news and think "someone else's vote counts, not mine."

I argued with him saying that he had basically come to the democratic position on everything from regulation to the war and that Obama would need a mandate becuase if he wins the electoral college but not the popular vote the republicans will never let him forget it. I just said to him, straight out "Obama wants your vote, and so do I. We need it." So, he says he'll actually go out and vote for Obama (his wife already is). This isn't here to be one of those "cheer up" Kos diaries. Its here because I really believe there are lots of votes out there of people who are wavering, or disgusted, or whatever and we need every one of them. And people are just waiting to be asked.


Head Fake

Shorter David Brooks: "Leave the John McCain in my mind ALOOOOOOONE!"

Also: "The devil campaign made McCain do it."

Thursday, September 25, 2008

They never listen to me

I'm afraid the Obama campaign never, ever, listens to me. And so far they are doing fine. But I'd like to let them know what I think they should be doing about John McCain's Hamleting excercise over the Debate. Over at 538 they say this:

Perhaps, however, rather than trying to postpone the debate, McCain is instead seeking to increase its importance. Surely the drama of the past 30 hours has made it an even more captivating event, probably leading to increased viewership. Moreover, with the subject matter likely to be expanded to include the economy, and the candidates having had less time to prepare, the entire exercise becomes less predictable, with gaffes more likely to occur, but also the potential for "clutch" performances.

Which is true. There is no way McCain is not going to show up for that Debate. So the thing the Obama people have to do is deflate the excitement over "will he or won't he" and all the chatter about "he isn't there because he was needed in washington' and "he could come to the debate because he solved all of washington's problems" The Obama people should say loud and clear that they expect McCain to show up because "the most dangerous place in America is to get between McCain and a camera" and that they know that there is "no way McCain isn't going to show up for his moment in the sun." They should also say that, given the erratic way he's acted over the last few weeks they fully expect him to come in late and waste a lot of time primping, preening, and showboating. they should point out that the entire washignton thing was some kind of bizarre passion play since McCain didn't show up early enough to take part in real negotations, doesn't have a clue what his own alternate plan is going to be, pretends that the sky is falling but leaves washington with no solution. etc...etc...etc...Since they expect him to come they should quietly make backup plans but be ready for McCain to walk in and to try to dominate the situation by some drama queen show of concern or affectation. Whatever they do they need to start spinning now, or McCain wins simply by showing up.

Historic? I'll say.

Update 1: CNN calls the Obama, Bush and McCain meeting that is happening right now—”Historic”

I"ll say its historic. Isn't this like the first time that John McCain and Bush have been seen in the same room since McCain won the nomination? Things must really be bad if Bush is agreeing to share some of his Charisma with McCain.

Welcome Thursday Morning CCAE'ers

If anyone from my lecture this morning makes it through the internet thicket and finds their way here please do click on the comments link and say hi! Here are the links I promised you to major sites. These links are "clickable" which means you just click the link and it should take you there. As I promised, there is a blogroll down the side where you can also click on links that look interesting to you. I know a lot of you are reading Huffington Post, Arianna will also have clickable links. Most of these blogs will have clickable links that will take you to some pretty interesting places. This is a very short "gateway" list. If people make it here and want some recommendations to specific kinds of sites I'm happy to give them. Just leave me a message in the comments section and I'll reply there.

All the News From All Over:


Political Organizing and Community Blogs:

Daily Kos
Red State
Huffington Post

Polls and Political Organizing:

Best Political Commentary and Information Sources on National Races
Talking Points Memo

Politics and Civil Liberties
Glenn Greenwald

If my other co-bloggers have more links please post them.


How Many of You have a Rich Relative or a Degenerate Gambler in the Family?

Man, I woke up writing Obama's speech to the nation on the economy, with charts, graphs and folksy aphorisms. If only. I think McCain will, indeed, turn up at the last minute for the debate and I know he doesn't want the debate or the discussion to turn on the economy because he's just spent the last two days grandstanding and probably isn't prepared. What I'd love to see is for Obama to get the chance to do a Bill Clinton style take it to the people discussion. And I'd love to hear him rip into the deregulators and give a list of previous incidents (keating five!, S and L! AIG! Sweden's Bank Meltdown!) and I'd love to hear him take the accusation that this is all down to mortgage fraud by consumers head on. He should compare responsible lending and borrowing and explain how and why the banks and the investment banks started making money by fraudulently loaning stuff out knowing they'd make money, for a while, anyway. And I'd like to hear him bring it down to our level by pointing out that the banks are going insolvent now not merely because people aren't paying their mortages but because they overvalued their assets and the stock sellers are demanding back money that isn't backed by assets. The line reverberating in my head is
"anyone have a rich relative or a degenerate gambler in the family? Well, you know you can't tell those people a thing. When they've got the money, or they are winning, they are too arrogant to want your help or your advice or any regulation of their behavior. When they are losing, suddenly they are all over you for help but they still won't take your advice. That's Paulson and Bernake and the whole of Wall Street in a Nutshell. They need a twelve step program for fiscal sobriety before we can help them."


Wednesday, September 24, 2008


The Pantload has dumped another large block of text over at The Corner, proudly attributing this one to some "Newt." Here are the best bits:

Newt On the McCain Gambit [Jonah Goldberg]

Statement just came out:

Newt on Senator McCain’s Decision to Suspend His Campaign to Forge an Agreement on the Financial Crisis:

The McCain Leadership Factor...

This is the greatest single act of responsibility ever taken by a presidential candidate and rivals President Eisenhower saying, 'I will go to Korea.'...

If McCain can develop this plan, bring enough Democrats to support it to get passage, and then convince President Bush to sign it, this will be one of the most amazing achievements in the history of presidential campaigns....
Dang, who can forget when Eisenhower said that about Korea?! Goosebumps!

Ok, that's It, Barney Frank Wins the Thread

For what it's worth, the man who is leading congressional Democrats in negotiating the bailout deal with the administration isn't impressed with Sen. McCain's announcement.

Rep. Barney Frank told a group of reporters outside the House chamber:

"It's the longest Hail Mary pass in the history of either football or Marys."

Yes. Yes.Yes again yes again yes.

What McCain should Do--The Corner

Obama's Presser [Jonah Goldberg]

I think he did very well. Frankly, I now have no idea at this point whether this will work to McCain's favor or not. Time will tell. I do think this shows that McCain is a player in the Senate the way Obama is not. My gut as of 5:17 PM is that McCain should do something like the Grant gambit mentioned below and show up for the debate at the last minute and then leave immediately after to get back to Washington. But who knows whether that will hold up through 5:19.

Update: What Paul said below.

Power Play [Mark R. Levin]

I think Paul at Powerline has a good plan.

Obama is saying that, as far as he's concerned, it's full speed ahead with the debate. McCain's best move is probably to show up and debate. McCain can observe that he preferred to spend the time working to solve the financial crisis, but that Obama felt otherwise, and he (McCain) is not one to back out of a clash. McCain can also point out that the Obama who now thinks a given debate on a given night trumps dealing with a major crisis is the same Obama who wouldn't accept his challenge to a series of town hall debates during the summer.

The Grant Gambit [Jonah Goldberg]

From a reader:


I think McCain should show up for the debate looking reluctant and disheveled. He could apologize for this condition, saying he had to rush back from doing the nation’s business. He could be like Grant having to apologize to the impeccably dressed Lee at Appomattox for showing up all muddy and in an old private’s coat. There was, after all, a war that needed winning.

I just busted my vocabulary

I'm agog. I'm aghast. I'm agogagast. I'm agog, gog, and magog.
I know this is all over everywhere but gosh darn it don't you think we should have one post on it?

Nothing To See Here

Spikey Mikey Isikoff in Newsweek of all Subversive Rags:

It is not unusual for major corporations to enter into consulting retainers so that individuals could be available if needed. And the two sources stressed that Davis at no time made any threats or demands on Freddie Mac. But the sources indicated that Freddie Mac seldom called on Davis or the firm. On one occasion, Davis was asked to attend a meeting of the firm's political-action committee during the 2006 campaign in order to give the Republican Party's perspective on the upcoming elections. In addition, Davis did meet with McLoughlin for breakfast on "one or two" occasions. Other than that, one source said, Davis "doesn't do anything" for Freddie Mac. The firm "doesn't even talk to him." In addition, Freddie Mac has had no contact with Davis Manafort other than receiving monthly invoices from the firm and paying them. But the money could be perceived as helping Freddie Mac ensure a good relationship with one of McCain's top aides in the event that he became president. The payments, along with other lobbying and consulting contracts, are expected to be terminated by the new federal overseers, the sources said.
No wonder they went bust if they were routinely paying 15,000 a month to a guy who "doesn't do anything" and to whom they "don't even talk." Where can I get one of those featherbedding jobs? I figure that Freddie M owes me *big* bucks because I never talked to them or did anything for them either--and for a lot longer than Davis Manaforte.

Free Sarah Palin

Via Matt Yglesias:

Campbell Brown, I want to bear your children.

Wednesday Wildflowerblogging

White Heather
White Heather (Cassiope mertensia) in the drainage below Ridge Lake, Emigrant Wilderness.

No One Ever Went Broke Underestimating the Stupidity of Newspaper Publishers

Dear Boston Globe,

Salon is reporting today, via a story reported by a Dutch Journalist, that the McCain campaign assigned "volunteers" to ghost write astro-turf letters in support of McCain and Palin after the Republican convention. They assured the volunteer, who was actually a reporter, that they would ask their supporters in battleground states to sign these letters and send them to local newspapers to create a false groundswell of "popular" support by "average" people. I've been wondering about the flood of pro-Palin propaganda when I have yet to meet an actual New Englander who can stand the woman. Can the Boston Globe be certain that the many letters they have published from angry, authentic, local supporters of McCain/Palin weren't actually from an outsourced McCain astroturf program?

Here's the first paragraph of the article: and a link (http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2008/09/24/mccain_letters/)

"Sept. 24, 2008 | "You can be whoever you want to be," says an inviting Phil Tuchman. "You can be a beggar or a millionaire. A mom or a husband. Whatever. You decide!"

I volunteer in political campaigns now and then. After a series of outings for Obama and a first mission as a phone banker for John McCain, I returned to McCain's headquarters in Arlington, Va. The offer was too alluring to delay -- they wanted to put me into action as a ghostwriter. Next to commercials and phone banking, writing letters to the editor is the most important method of the McCain campaign to attract voters. At least that is what's written in the guidelines that McCain campaign worker Phil Tuchman presents to me.

Today he is training six ghostwriters. (bolded text from the article)"




Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Fire Sale

I'll tell you who thinks the Dems are going to win this election--the republicans and the bush whitehouse, that's who. Over at TPM Josh was calling Bush's poison pill in the form of John McCain the "tiberius option" in which the failing ceasar forces the worst choice on his country so that, retroactively, he looks like a god. But to me this whole thing is starting to look more like a mafia style bust out and a liquidation sale. This bailout and all the other assorted stuff that is being swept up in it is nothing short of Bush's fire sale. He's going out of business and he's selling off the entire country's inventory to pay for his friends and their retirements, leaving nothing for the rest of us.


Dental or Mental? I say its Spinach and I say the Hell With It.

I've been a little stressed out lately. How stressed out? I got up at four AM to finish my "lecture" on political blogging, handled the sick kid with croup, begged for babysitting help from Mr. Aimai who's under the gun with his own stuff, and got all dressed up and got myself to the center TWO DAYS EARLY. yay me. My usual modus operandi would have been to be two days late.


Three Years

Yesterday was the third blogiversary of If I Ran the Zoo. I wish I were more excited about the milestone. The last year has been spectacularly horrible for...well, several of our contributors, and it's not one I'm thrilled to commemorate in any form. I've also been doing a piss-poor job of blogging lately--I'm depressed, demotivated, and a little burnt out. I'll get back into it, I know, but right now the very thought of blogging exhausts me. So the timing is sub-optimal.

That said, I am still proud of what we've done here over the last three years. I think we have a great bunch of contributors with a great body of work, and we've built up a great little community here. So, thank you to all of the other contributors, and thank you to the people who come here regularly and give us a reason to keep on going.

This Whole Country is Out of Order!

Shorter David Brooks: "Ein Volk Ein Reich Ein Führer Daddy."

Update: Via Atrios, Glenn Greenwald has the long version.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Dead Flowers

Dead Geranium
Geraniums on a Porch Newel

Monday Movie Review: Kinsey (another re-run)

I have a Netflix I'm pretty excited about, but I had to watch the Emmys for my other blog, and I had a lot of personal stuff to deal with, so I never watched a movie. Here's another rerun. Sorry about that.

Kinsey (2004) 8/10
Biologist Alfred Kinsey (Liam Neeson) decides to focus his research efforts on human sexuality.

Kinsey is an interesting and complex movie. On the one hand, it's a biopic, making an effort at telling the truth about work that was a breakthrough, and paved the way for an entire field of research. There was no such thing as sex research when Kinsey started, which is why he started, appalled that even the most basic questions about what constituted normal or usual sexuality could not be answered.

In another way, it's a character study, taking quirky and difficult personalities and looking at them dispassionately. Kinsey is abrasive, disconnected from human feelings, self-important, and pedantic. His wife, Clara (Mac) McMillen (Laura Linney, in a radiant performance), can only be described as an odd duck. By comparison to Kinsey, she is warmth itself, but she, too, is awkward and disconnected, and could not possibly fit in with most people.

The Kinseys had what we'd describe now as a polyamorous relationship, at least at times. It seems most reviewers look at this movie and describe Mac as patient and long-suffering. Not unlike the way that most people describe women in polyamorous relationships, which they assume benefit men and impose upon women. But it seems pretty clear that both of the Kinseys are negotiating difficult emotional and sexual terrain, making mistakes, hurting themselves and each other, and finding some sort of way through. The interpersonal experimentation was probably inevitable in an environment where people were suddenly talking about sex when no one else did. Ultimately, they were also photographing and filming sex, and unsurprisingly, they could not remain dispassionate on the subject of arousal.

The third view of this movie is as a polemic about sexual secrecy, and here I find it most compelling. Kinsey reminds us of a world in which teenage boys were told they would die from masturbation, and were tortured and humiliated to prevent it. Where a woman could believe that "babies came out of navels" until her wedding night, and her husband could believe that oral sex caused infertility and must be avoided at all costs. For all of the flaws in Alfred Kinsey's methods and sampling, he was a warrior against ignorance. He understood that sexuality was a basic human need and expression, and that to be confused and lost and afraid in regards to it was wrong. In our current era of abstinence-only "education" and purposeful misinformation about birth control, it is worth remembering the kind of world that the far right is trying to revert to.

(This cross-post is an 8 on the Kinsey scale.)

Can someone format this for me, I think we're going to need it

This "dysfunctional family letter generator" seems to me to need tweaking since I need to send it to Congress every so often:

Dear Congressman X/Wallstreet/Bush Administration/ William Kristol/ NRO staff:

I just wanted to let you know that you have completely my life. If you you'd be dangerous. I have because you have one too many times. I have looked the other way, which makes me . This time you have . I have never shirked my responsibility to tell you that you are . You would be so much better off if you would just lay off of the . You must be . You are ! It is time for you to . Let this also serve as notice that all future visits have been cancelled as .

you ,

PS: Please do not reply back, . I need time to

Signed, Aimai

Columns that Can Be Dismissed Without Reading, Part LXVIII

Bloomberg has a column titled How the Democrats Created the Financial Crisis. It's by a guy named Kevin Hassett.

Yes, that Kevin Hassett.

Hows that 'Dow 36,000' strategy working for ya, Kevin?

(Moral Clarity)

Actual Bill Kristol:

(What are cherished principles for but to be violated in emergencies?)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

And the Best Snark of the Day award on a non financial topic?

Jesse over at Pandagon rickrolls us all:

At issue was the length and duration of the questioning period for both candidates, as well as the topics covered. The format finally settled on was split between the candidates. Mr. Biden will be governed by shorter answer periods than the presidential candidates will see, and also a shorter response period to Palin’s answers. His range of topic areas will vary between foreign policy, widely believed to be his strong suit, and areas such as the economy, energy policy and social issues.

Mrs. Palin will be governed by a slightly altered set of rules. Instead of being asked questions by the moderator, she will be given a series of nouns, all of which fit into categories such as “Things That Are Sharp” and “Places You Wear Boots”. Her task will be to name the category in which all of the people, places or things fit, and do so for six such categories in sixty seconds. Mr. Biden, kept in a soundproof booth, will then have to come out and replicate the task. The winner will be determined based on who either names all six categories most quickly or, barring completion, who names the most categories accurately.

Just read the whole thing.

A Free Market in Regulation

What I wanted was an ugly free for all in which all of wall street would be forced to battle, in a gladiator style death match, for the bailout by trading oodles of equity and of regulation for a small share of the pie and a chance not to go to jail for major fraud. But really, I wasn't that succinct and reading around the bloggosphere I discovered that many of my betters had actually already been down this road more elegantly. So I'm editing this post to remove my own words and to simply put up Robert Reich's which are much, much, much more to the point:

1. The government (i.e. taxpayers) gets an equity stake in every Wall Street financial company proportional to the amount of bad debt that company shoves onto the public. So when and if Wall Street shares rise, taxpayers are rewarded for accepting so much risk.

2. Wall Street executives and directors of Wall Street firms relinquish their current stock options and this year's other forms of compensation, and agree to future compensation linked to a rolling five-year average of firm profitability. Why should taxpayers feather their already amply-feathered nests?

3. All Wall Street executives immediately cease making campaign contributions to any candidate for public office in this election cycle or next, all Wall Street PACs be closed, and Wall Street lobbyists curtail their activities unless specifically asked for information by policymakers. Why should taxpayers finance Wall Street's outsized political power - especially when that power is being exercised to get favorable terms from taxpayers?

4. Wall Street firms agree to comply with new regulations over disclosure, capital requirements, conflicts of interest, and market manipulation. The regulations will emerge in ninety days from a bi-partisan working group, to be convened immediately. After all, inadequate regulation and lack of oversight got us into this mess.

5. Wall Street agrees to give bankruptcy judges the authority to modify the terms of primary mortgages, so homeowners have a fighting chance to keep their homes. Why should distressed homeowners lose their homes when Wall Streeters receive taxpayer money that helps them keep their fancy ones?

Sunday Sierrablogging

Ridge Lake 06
Ridge Lake below Granite Dome, Emigrant Wilderness.

September Surprise

Bush has located his WMDs. Turns out they were on Wall Street. To save the nation from the ticking timebombs, Worst President Ever is now playing chicken with a Dem congress in pursuit of extraordinary powers. Yglesias surveys the stakes:

The Crisis

I'm blogging under the influence, so perhaps things aren't quite as dramatic as they seem to me right now, but the bailout plan on the table right now seems to me like something of a crisis point for American liberalism. The plan is bad. But bad policies get enacted all the time. But we’re at a point now where congress is, allegedly, in the hands of progressive leadership. Simply put, if congressional Democrats manage to acquiesce in a plan that spends $700 billion on a bailout while doing nothing for average working people and giving the taxpayer virtually no upside in a way that guarantees that even electoral victory would give an Obama administration no resources with which to implement a progressive domestic agenda in 2009 then everyone's going to have to give serious consideration to becoming a pretty hard-core libertarian.

It'd be one thing for a bunch of conservative politicians to ram a terrible policy through. Then we could say "well, if some progressives win the next election things will be different." But if this comes through an allegedly progressive congress then the whole enterprise starts looking pretty hollow.
Barack Obama, prepare to be drowned in a bathtub.

P.S. Of course, that's the optimistic scenario. As Delong and Krugman point out, John McCain could appoint a Sarah Palin or a Phil Gramm to Treasury.

Friday, September 19, 2008

"Funnily enough"

Over at The Corner, Lisa Schiffren and Mark Levin agree: poor minorities and community organizers (yuk yuk yuk) busted the US economy.

Finally, Family Values for the Rest of Us

From Harold Meyerson at Tapped:


In one of the most far-reaching events in Jewish history since the Destruction of the Second Temple, an organization called the Jewish Council for Education and Research, which is a pro-Obama PAC, has announced that on Columbus Day weekend it will encourage young Jews to visit their grandparents in Florida and urge them to vote for Obama -- an activity that the organization has named, “The Great Schlep.” Participants, the organizers say, will “sign pledges to call their grandparents frequently during an Obama Administration.”

Is this Mishpoche Values, or what?

--Harold Meyerson

Predictable and Disgusting

John McCain gets very confused in an interview, and rather than admit his confusion chooses to insult a NATO ally. Sarah Palin talks about bringing transparency to the federal government with an initiative that was originally Obama's (and it's already in effect). McCain's response to economic meltdown is a promise to fire someone he won't have the authority to fire.

When you have a news cycle this bad, and you're John McCain, what do you do? You remind the voters that Obama is a Scary Negro.

It's all they've got...and with their former fans in the press bailing from the tire swing, I don't think it'll be nearly enough.

And the Award for best "Why does America Hate America?" Sob Fest goes to

Jay Nordlinger:

Then there is continuing amazement over the sheer hatred that Palin has aroused: “I am almost 60 and come from Massachusetts. In all my years, I have never seen anything like this, and don’t want to see it ever again. I have a friend who is both feminist and left-leaning. I asked her why they hate Palin so much. She said, ‘Because she’s had it all: family, career. And she did it without a man like Bill Clinton helping her. She did it on her own.’”

I have said it before: Hillary Clinton’s husband was president of the United States. Sarah Palin’s works the night shift in an oil field. Who is the feminist hero? Bien sûr.

I myself have a tale to relate. More... An episode left me kind of shaken, honestly. Last week, I was talking to a friend of mine — a very warm and humane woman. We’ve been friends for years. I had been away, and we hadn’t talked politics — but then, we never do. We never had. She’s a liberal, of course — virtually everyone here in NYC is. And I never, ever bring up politics (with pretty much anyone — not worth the trouble) (and, of course, I do it professionally).

But she said to me, out of the blue, “What do you think of Sarah Palin?” And while I was drawing breath to answer, she said, “I hate her.”

That kind of took my breath away — because this friend of mine is no hater. But she said it with firm, horrible conviction. She said it with true emotion in her eyes. Frankly, I was too taken aback to reply, other than to say, “Well, my feeling is the exact opposite.”

I can see how you might disagree with Governor Palin — she’s a conservative, after all. I can see how you might find her unprepared even for the vice-presidency. But hate? Hate a woman who rose from a modest background to be governor of her state? Who is obviously a warm, civic-minded, talented mother of five?


It must be abortion, religion, and culture. If she were pro-choice, went to a mainline church (only on Christmas and Easter), and didn’t hunt, she’d be okay. At least less attacked. But then, she wouldn’t be herself, would she?

I consider myself a very patriotic person, and I have been teased or damned all my life for my pro-American views — particularly in academic settings. But, I’m sorry, this is, in many ways, a sick country.

Look, Jay, I'll spell it out for you. You put the world's least intelligent, least prepared, least ready small town hustler up for the VP slot because you thought she could "turn the world on with her smile" and then you found that da pipple thought the job was kinda important and that choosing someone so monumentally stupid was dangerous. And *that's* proof that the country is sick? The rest of us take it as proof that the country isn't as stupid as you thought they were. If a Doctor as stupid as Sarah Palin came at me proposing to perform open heart surgery you'd bet I'd be angry. And if people like you stood around and told me I'd better go under the knife with this bimbo and like it because she rolls around and speaks in tongues, or has a husband who "works the night shift" I'd come to hate her, you, and the horse you rode in on. Because the Vice Presidency isn't a popularity contest its a god damned job.