Friday, August 29, 2008

It is Sarah Palin

The Pandersaurus makes his play.

So, I thought Barack Obama didn't have the experience to be president? But Sarah Palin, who's been the governor of the second least populous state in the Union for a year and a half, does?

Pandering hypocrite much?

Chuck Todd inadvertently nails the GOP:
They really wanted to pick a woman, and there were no obvious choices.

Ouch.

I'm increasingly coming to the belief that, were I a Hillary supporter, this pick would infuriate me, not make me more likely to vote McCain. This pick is obviously an attempt to mop up the PUMA vote by saying, "You wanted a woman for president? Here ya go! Here's one for Vice President! That's close enough, right?"

But here's the thing: Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton have nothing in common... except their gender. They have no policy positions in common and no common experiences. Hillary Clinton is a former First Lady and current US Senator who everyone (even Republicans) admit is an expert on health care and a hard core policy wonk. She went toe to toe with a bunch of deeply intelligent, powerful men in an endless litany of debates and kicked the s**t out of every last one of them. Clinton voters chose her over Obama because they wanted a sober, realistic, keenly intelligent, strong woman committed to universal health care with a great Democratic president at her side, not an anti-Roe pro-ANWR drilling creationist homophobe who only 2 years ago was the part-time mayor of a city of 7,000 people.

And here's McCain saying, "All you were really looking for is a woman, right? Here, take this one!"

the speech

Pat f**king Buchanan on Barack Obama's acceptance speech:

Think it might qualify as an effective speech?

all aboard!

If I were John McCain, I'd probably pick Kay Bailey Hutchison. I think he's still deluded enough to think he can sway Hillary voters, and he's more than happy to pander in a way that Barack is not. Barack willingly left him that opening by opting for Biden. Imagine how easy it will be play the "picking on a girl" card after the notoriously contentious Veep debate! I believe Hutchison is also an anti-Roe Christian, which helps him with the social cons, and being a Texas senator, she's one of a tiny number of senators that loves Bush even more than he does, which helps him with his troglodyte base. Plus, Hutchison's seat is about as safe as it gets, should she ascend to the White House.

These things may well apply to Sarah Palin as well, though I'm not as familiar with her. Hutchison is almost certainly a more experienced debater, though, and he's going to need that. Then again, Palin would likely be more content to be a curio in the White House, a mere talisman to conjure scorned Hillary voters, while Hutchison might be a little more insistent on taking part in his Administration.

Still, I'd be shocked if McCain doesn't pick a woman.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

John McCain's health care guy: all Americans are actually insured

From The Dallas Morning News:
But the numbers are misleading, said John Goodman, president of the National Center for Policy Analysis, a right-leaning Dallas-based think tank. Mr. Goodman, who helped craft Sen. John McCain's health care policy, said anyone with access to an emergency room effectively has insurance, albeit the government acts as the payer of last resort. (Hospital emergency rooms by law cannot turn away a patient in need of immediate care.)

"So I have a solution. And it will cost not one thin dime," Mr. Goodman said. "The next president of the United States should sign an executive order requiring the Census Bureau to cease and desist from describing any American – even illegal aliens – as uninsured. Instead, the bureau should categorize people according to the likely source of payment should they need care.

"So, there you have it. Voila! Problem solved."

The guy who helped write John McCain's health care policy thinks you already have all the insurance you need, so you should just shut the f**k up. Yet McCain thinks it's an awesome idea to let him craft the policies that could decide whether your cancer gets diagnosed before it kills you, or whether you get the chance to take Lipitor instead of suffering a fatal heart attack (ahem, two things that don't happen for people who rely on the ER for their primary care). And he wants you to elect him president.

But hey, have you heard that John McCain was a POW?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

have you heard that John McCain was a POW?

By election day 1996, people were joking: "hey, did you know that Bob Dole was injured in WWII?" because he had overused it in the course of the campaign. What was the ultimate patriotic trump card to use against a draft-dodging Democrat and his uppity feminist wife had become a punchline by Election Day. Dole lost in a landslide.

And how many people rolled their eyes when John Kerry said "reporting for duty" at the 2004 DNC? I did, and I was one of his supporters! Need I remind anyone of the RNC purple heart bandaids?

And you may not have heard, but Rudy Giuliani was mayor on 9/11.

At this point in the campaign, before he's even been officially nominated at the RNC, we've already seen McCain use the POW defense for not knowing how many houses he has, ditching his disabled wife for a hot, young, rich, blonde USC cheerleader, having a shitty health care plan, breaking the rules of the Saddleback forum, and a whole host of others. Those don't include the old hits, like when he used the POW defense during his first House race to counter accusations that he was a carpetbagger, or when he invoked the Hanoi Hilton to shield him from the Keating 5 scandal.

And the press is starting to notice. What was once a ridiculous chorus of buffoons perpetually invoking John McCain's "reticence" to discuss his POW experience has recently morphed into a litany of articles expressing "concern" that McCain is cheapening his experience (and, let's not forget, the experiences of all those who suffered in POW camps).

And last night, Rachel Maddow exposed it to primetime MSNBC viewers:

She's going to be good.

Meanwhile, you may have seen McCain whip out the POW defense most recently on Leno. That was his 13th appearance on the Tonight Show. I didn't watch; does anyone know if he accused Obama of being a celebrity while he was there?

Obama at bat, Schweitzer on deck

Meet your next president, ca. 2017.

The 'Nich goes to Denver

He's a feisty little bastard.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Biden

*shrug* Eh, what do I know?

I have to admit, this seems to me a very strange choice. I will give him this: Biden brings foreign policy experience, one would think more than McCain. He lends a little gravitas to the campaign. He has a humanizing personal tragedy (not to trivialize his experience, obviously, but our immediate concern is the electoral calculation). He has a reputation as a "straight talker," and it's a fairly well justified reputation (certainly moreso than John McCain's). Most of all, Biden has the experience and the connections, the "what you know" and "who you know," to be effective in a leadership and/or advisory role in an administration, which admittedly does speak to Obama's seriousness about picking someone would help him be a great president, and not just someone who will help him pick up a demographic here or a state there. The fact that he didn't go for the old "pick a guy from a swing state" canard also speaks to his judgment.

So why am I not enthused about this choice? Here are a couple of reasons: Biden ran in the primary and was a dismal failure, garnering about 1% of the Iowa vote despite having as much experience holding a federal office--35 years-- as all 4 candidates who beat him combined. In fact, were it not for Bill Richardson's 3rd place finish, who served 18 years in the House and in various Clinton Administration positions, Joe Biden would have twice as much experience as the people who beat him in Iowa combined. No matter what anyone says about his abilities in "retail politics," the fact is that, when he makes a foray into the primary marketplace, people admit that they kinda like him, but nobody buys.

Joe Biden doesn't fit very well with Obama's message of change. He's a long time Senator who's run for president multiple times before. He is a regular on all the news shows when they want a hoary old Democrat to counter a hoary old Republican. I'd mentioned once before that the optimal VP pick would be someone who is not perceived as part of: a) the Washington establishment, or b) the upper eschelons of the Democratic Party, and Joe is associated with both.

Biden is a loose cannon in debates, the very opposite of, say, Clinton's disciplined, measured, and highly effective approach. Biden likes to give memorable, unconventional answers and deliver lots of zingers, but he has a bit of a tin ear. Thus you get a guy who coined the devastating anti-Rudy "a noun, a verb, and 9/11" line, but also one of the few politicians to fall face first into the trap of using racial stereotypes to compliment Obama ("clean and articulate"). And should we forget his bizarre decision to berate one of the citizen questioners in the Youtube debate?

Say what you will about the assault weapons ban, this was perhaps the oddest, most uncomfortable moment in the entire debate.

And then there are his votes, specifically this one and this one (on the latter, he also personally fought to sink any ameliorating amendments, thus earning the nickname "Joe Biden (D-MBNA)"). Barack has made those 2 bills Exhibits A and B of his case that merely switching parties is insufficient for making transformative change.

But again, what do I know?

Friday, August 22, 2008

McCain's houses

Back home we had a pithy saying for situations like this: it's called "having more money than sense."

Mitt books a ticket on the Crazy Train?

I do not believe that God loves us this much.

This has "head fake" written all over it.

Veep

As I've said before, the strategist in me says that all the names trotted out there, and all the ones that appeared on Barack's "short list," are feints to divert attention from the actual running mate. Kaine looks pretty good, and looked damn good this week on MTP, and Clinton has her obvious advantages (and almost as obvious disadvantages), but I have an extraordinarily hard time believing that Obama would see Sebelius, Bayh, Biden, Dodd, Hagel, Reed, Nunn, or Chet Edwards as compelling choices. They all ring of "safe" picks that won't bring a lot of negatives, but also aren't exciting enough to bring a lot of "bounce," either (Hagel, in fact, would be an embarrassment down the road: he's very nearly the most conservative Senator in the whole damn Congress, Iraq War aside, and would you want that guy to be your tie-breaker in the Senate?).

So I'm going to construct an alternate list that I think is a little more risky, but has a little more potential payoff for a campaign that knows what it's doing. My general criteria are these: they should jive well with the message of "change," they should be respected voices but not perceived as "Washington establishment," they need to be seen as bold personalities that stand for their convictions but are also pragmatic and willing to compromise, and they need to have clean hands on Iraq (either opposed it or at least were not vocally pro-war). Few of the candidates are perfect. Hillary Clinton fails on a number of these criteria, but she brings so many other positives that I cannot see leaving her off of any short list (not to mention, she's been strangely quiet for some time now, and any speculation in her direction has been awfully scrupulously tamped down). Colin Powell also fails spectacularly on a number of counts, but for some reason people really want to see him redeemed and, more importantly, still trust him now that he's left the Administration, and the massive bounce generated from his name plus the national security cred plus the bipartisan thing earns him a spot on the list. They proceed from smaller names who could build support over time to the bigger household that would generate a lot of buzz but often carry bigger risks:

Brian Schweitzer, Governor of Montana
Russ Feingold, Senator from Wisconsin
Eric Shinseki, former 4-star general
Tim Kaine, Governor of Virginia
Jim Webb, Senator from Virginia
Wesley Clark
Michael Bloomberg, mayor of New York
Colin Powell
Hillary Clinton
...and what the hell, let's throw one in from way out of left field...
Tom Brokaw

And what's the fun of these events if you don't try to predict them? I'm going with Schweitzer. Or Kaine. What do you think?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

reaction from the "liberal media" on Rachel Maddow

Greenwald is dead on. The addition of Maddow to MSNBC's lineup makes her the 2nd liberal with her own show (3rd counting Bill Moyers). On all of cable TV. The bizarre reaction to her hiring, especially in light of current and recently-defunct shows headed by Brit Hume, Tucker Carlson, Michael Savage, Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Nancy Grace, Glenn Beck, and John Gibson, not to mention avowed Dittohead Brian Williams, puts all of the media's varied neuroses and weaknesses on full display, from their shell-shocked terror of right wing scolding to the reliance on narrative over evidence.

As Coach Leach would say: Rachel, swing your sword.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Bush: McCain's treatment not torture

Interesting. I can't believe I didn't think of that!

pandering on abortion

Sometimes candidates give answers to questions that are clear cut cases of pandering. Blatant, pathetic, eye-rolling pandering. Such was John McCain's answer to the question of when life begins at the faith and politics forum over the weekend:
At conception.

Interesting answer in light of his opinion that embryonic stem cell research should continue. I guess Christians get no straight talk from Senator John "my Veep may be pro-choice" McCain.

Atrios makes a good point:
While the Villagers seemed to object, and it didn't go well with the audience, I was quite pleased with Obama's response that the question of when life begins is above his pay grade. I remember Pastor Tim Russert asking, I think, Claire McCaskill a similar question and she was like, "What are you asking? When does an embryo become ensouled?"

Believe what you want, but the important question for politicians is how such things get translated into... policy. And when McCain says he believes life begins at conception (cheer!) it's pretty meaningless unless he's asked to explain how that would be translated into policy.

You want some straight talk on when life begins? Here it is: the position that life begins at conception is utterly and completely untenable from a policy perspective. If the government proceeds from the assumption that life begins at conception, then all abortion becomes ipso facto felonious, not just criminal, no matter what trimester or under what circumstances the conception occurred or what damage, short of death, the pregnancy could do to the mother. It is only an extremely tiny minority of Americans who would agree with this policy (over 60% of Americans, for instance, agree with Roe v. Wade as it stands, and how many more don't agree but still think rape and incest qualify as extenuating circumstances?), and yet it would require a tremendous investment of police and judges and whatnot to enforce it while further diminishing the already dangerously low number of doctors in this country. "Enforcing" in this case has to mean charging doctors and women with murder and conspiracy to commit murder, because in this context abortion is simply a woman paying a doctor to murder her child. And if you think the percentage of people who want to ban abortion is low, wait 'til you see the number that want women charged with murder.

For that matter, did you know that scientists think the pill, at least on occasion, prevents implantation of a fertilized egg? How could such a pill possibly stay legal?

And what about the non-abortion ramifications of this law? Suddenly every miscarriage would have to be issued a death certificate. Embryonic stem cell research would clearly be illegal, as would any life-saving medical procedures that require those cells. In vitro fertilization often ends with the discarding of a number of fertilized eggs, which, obviously, kills them. How can that not now be multiple homicide? Atrios once brought up another point: would this mean that blastocysts are entitled to child support?

You can believe whatever you want personally (and for what it's worth, I'm sympathetic to the opinion that life begins at conception/implantation/whatever), but policy positions have to be sensible and pragmatic, or else they spin off uncontrollably into a maelstrom of unforeseen side effects. The ideological forces these decisions unleash can make landfall in unexpected places while rushing to impose "consistent application" upon the legal code and law enforcement.

Hey, you got your politics in my D&D! Get your D&D out of my politics!

As comically absurd as the entire conversation is, I feel somehow obligated to respond to this nonsense emanating from (where else?) the Crazy Train and their bloggy minions, seeing as I'm literally setting up a D&D game as we speak (Spelljammer, as the kids say, is full of win). Setting aside all the obligatory and well-deserved FU's to Michael Goldfarb and Ace of Choads, does no one else find it grossly hypocritical of these d'bags to bash a group of hobbyists while having themselves clearly played enough of the hobby to be conversant in the jargon?

Or are we supposed to let that slide because being a conservative political blogger is so hip?

It's so typical of conservative behavior in any case. Take a small, defenseless group and hold them up for scapegoating and ridicule by everyone else. It's in their electoral strategy, their rhetoric, their foreign policy, even in their sense of humor. It's always about kicking around the little guys, be they D&D players or hippies or immigrants or atheists.

It's no surprise, either, that this trip originates with the John McCain campaign. He is an especially petty and cruel conservative, as we've seen in many of his comments about hippies or Obama supporters or bloggers or, well, Mitt Romney while he was being mugged at that last debate.

And in response to some of the comments, I'd like to point out that an Obama/Drizzt Do'Urden ticket would be a little, shall we say, ethnic. Similarly, Alustriel of Silverymoon would look like a mere Hillary substitution and Elminster never struck me as a guy who would do administrating well. He would be much better suited with a wizened, hard-nosed national security type like Bruenor Battlehammer. He even has executive experience!

Friday, August 15, 2008

a book by a conservative that i'm buying right freaking now.

No, not that book.

Here I am trying to enjoy the miraculous victory that Michael Phelps had in the 100m butterfly today, and I flip over to KERA as a pure fluke (TiVO's out of commission for the moment - I never channelsurf).

I see a couple of white-headed guys going on about some general political stuff and I flip back over to Numb3ers. Phelps takes the gold, and I still don't think I've seen a frame of video where he's actually in the lead anywhere, and as NBC goes to break, I end up flipping back over to KERA.

Before I know it, I'm totally sucked it by a guy named Andrew Bacavich (pronounced BASE-uh-vich) who's making a brilliant series of nuanced and emotional statements about the state of where we are as a country today.

Bacavich describes himself as a conservative - disillusioned with the failures of the Republicans to uphold their collective promises of smaller government, balanced budgets, and a return to the "traditional values" of the past (his quotes). Further disillusioned with the American imperialism that sent his own son off to die fighting in Iraq, and with the lack of Congress to illustrate a meaningful picture of the greater good, Bacavich describes the rise of the American imperial presidency. This presidency isolates the president from Congressional oversight with its myriad of agencies that don't answer to congress: The FBI, CIA, NSA, joint chiefs of staff, Attourney general, etc - and the congress willingly thrusts its powers onto the exective branch, so that it can get on with its business of getting re-elected. Further, he details how the empire of production that arose out of WWII shifted to the empire of consumption that we live in today, and the threat that the full-on consumption culture poses to our society and our security as a whole.

Watch the entire interview
when you get a moment. It's flat-out fascinating.

It's a blunt, scathing critique of the state of American govt and policy. And it rightly puts the blame not on those that run for and are elected to office, but to our moronic electorate that continually puts them into office. As Carlin says, "Garbage in, garbage out. If you have selfish, ignorant citizens you're going to get selfish, ignorant politicians. So maybe something else sucks around here." - actually, watching that passage again it's amazing how parallel the sentiments run.


So the book is called The Limit of Power, and I'll own it just as soon as I can get my oily mitts on it.

Here's a quote from the interview:

BILL MOYERS: What do you value most?

ANDREW BACEVICH: Well, I think the clearest statement of what I value is found in the preamble to the Constitution. There is nothing in the preamble to the Constitution which defines the purpose of the United States of America as remaking the world in our image, which I view as a fool's errand. There is nothing in the preamble of the Constitution that ever imagined that we would embark upon an effort, as President Bush has defined it, to transform the Greater Middle East. This region of the world that incorporates something in order of 1.4 billion people.

I believe that the framers of the Constitution were primarily concerned with focusing on the way we live here, the way we order our affairs. To try to ensure that as individuals, we can have an opportunity to pursue our, perhaps, differing definitions of freedom, but also so that, as a community, we could live together in some kind of harmony. And that future generations would also be able to share in those same opportunities.

The big problem, it seems to me, with the current crisis in American foreign policy, is that unless we do change our ways, the likelihood that our children, our grandchildren, the next generation is going to enjoy the opportunities that we've had, is very slight, because we're squandering our power. We are squandering our wealth. In many respects, to the extent that we persist in our imperial delusions, we're also going to squander our freedom because imperial policies, which end up enhancing the authority of the imperial president, also end up providing imperial presidents with an opportunity to compromise freedom even here at home. And we've seen that since 9/11.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Savannah

I've been listening to this King Wilkie album off and on since Christmas, and I've really fallen for the song "Savannah" (there's a player at the bottom of the page). I'd never noticed these lyrics before:
When the levee broke, nobody was around
But you stood by watching when I fell to the ground
There's no mud on my hands 'cause I do what I'm told
I wanna live a lot longer, now I'm feeling so old

I'm going down to Savannah
gettin' back what once was mine
goin' down to Savannah
will you have mercy on me this time?

I know that this is probably a reference to any number of Atlantic coast hurricanes, but post-Katrina these lyrics seem a lot more chilling. Then again, the album was recorded in 2006, so maybe that's intentional.

Monday, August 11, 2008

how to argue foreign policy like a conservative pundit

Every world event/political issue is exactly like that one time in World War II/the run up to World War II, and the people doing what I don't like are just like Hitler.

Clearly, history teaches us that we should always choose war, because the failure to choose war every single time anyone does something we don't like means they'll be strong enough to take over the world.

If you disagree, that's of course because you're Neville Chamberlain.

A few days later, the case against Ivins not looking nearly as good

Why am I not surprised? Glenn Greenwald:
The FBI's total failure to point to a shred of evidence placing Ivins in New Jersey on either of the two days the anthrax letters were sent is a very conspicuous deficiency in its case. It's possible that Ivins was able to travel to Princeton on two occasions in three weeks without leaving the slightest trace of having done so (not a credit card purchase, ATM withdrawal, unusual gas purchases, nothing), but that relies on a depiction of Ivins as a cunning and extremely foresightful criminal, an image squarely at odds with most of the FBI's circumstantial evidence that suggests Ivins was actually quite careless, even reckless, in how he perpetrated this crime...

The Washington Post Editorial page -- the ultimate establishment organ -- published its second Editorial yesterday calling for an independent investigation of the FBI's case against Ivins and pointed out just some of the numerous, critical holes in that case:
The case is admittedly circumstantial, and questions have been raised about the reliability of the FBI's scientific evidence, the inability to tie Mr. Ivins to the handwritten notes included with the mailed anthrax, the process by which the FBI excluded as suspects others who had access to the anthrax, and more.

The NYT today has an excellent Op-Ed from a microbiologist (the former Chief of Fort Detrick's bacteriology division) pointing out the numerous deficiencies in the FBI's scientific assertions. Critically, that Op-Ed describes the properties of the high-grade anthrax sent to Sen. Daschle and then notes: "It is extremely improbable that this type of preparation could ever have been produced at Fort Detrick, certainly not of the grade and quality found in that envelope."

I felt a little weird about that first big information dump on Bruce Ivins because of how much it focused on his psychological problems and fetishes. We saw the same sort of thing happen in the Kenneth Starr investigations and in various other trials, where the prosecutor would bombard us with stories about the defendant's peccadilloes and deviant tendencies to mask the thinness of their case.

Ivins appears to have been guilty of having a whole panoply of psychological problems, but evidence that someone is crazy doesn't actually prove that said person committed a given crime. In fact, it's not even particularly helpful in that regard.

I think it's still much too early for anyone to be rendering a verdict on this case one way or the other, but it's not looking good at this point.

What is Maureen Dowd's problem?

This may be the most hateful, sneering column I've ever read. Edwards' confession was "creepy?" Really? And what's with the odd, irrelevant side-swipe "Bill Clinton's alleged soul?"

Also, this is a trap:
The creepiest part of his creepy confession was when he stressed to Woodruff that he cheated on Elizabeth in 2006 when her cancer was in remission. His infidelity was oncologically correct.

Edwards would not have stressed that fact if he didn't think (almost certainly correctly) that Dowd et al. would have been all too happy to "elide" the timeline to sensationalize his infidelity, in some cases just letting people assume he was cheating during his wife's hour of need, and in other cases outright lying about it, unless he made it inescapably clear that such was not the case. It's a disingenuous and unfair attack.

For that matter, she claims:
John Edwards’s confession was a little bit breathtaking.

Not the sex stuff. That happens here all the time.

And certainly not covering up the sex stuff. That happens here all the time, too...

The stunning admission Edwards made to ABC’s Bob Woodruff, and in a written statement from Chapel Hill on Friday afternoon, was that he’s a narcissist.

Really? She's gotten so worked up that she would write such a bile-filled column, complete with puerile name-calling ("Breck Girl?" You're really still tossing that one around, Maureen?), because she's so upset that John Edwards is a narcissist? Isn't she a little long in the tooth for a "politicians are narcissistic" epiphany? It's not exactly cutting-edge political insight.

So why has Edwards' and Clinton's particular infidelities evoked such rage from Maureen Dowd? After all, it's not like they were out there waving their fundamentalist fingers and trying to prevent gays from marrying while they sullied their own marriages or anything, yet so far as I can tell, neither Larry Craig nor even the execrable Mark Foley got anything approaching the Edwards treatment. Maureen Dowd appears not to have even written about David Vitter when his scandal broke. Do dirty sins of the flesh "narcissism" and having a "need to sell what is secretly weakest about themselves, as if they yearn for unmasking" only merit heaps of scorn when the guilty party fits the Democrats-as-sexually-depraved narrative? What gives?

Friday, August 08, 2008

Edwards confirms he was having an affair

From AP:
Former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards on Friday admitted to an extramarital affair while his wife was battling cancer. He denied fathering the woman's daughter. Edwards told ABC News that he lied repeatedly about the affair with 42-year-old Rielle Hunter but said that he didn't love her.

He said he has not taken a paternity test but knows he isn't the father because of the timing of the affair and the birth.

A former Edwards campaign staffer claims he is the father, not Edwards.
...
The National Enquirer first reported on the affair in October 2007, and Edwards denied it.

Wow. Obviously one can argue that it's not of our damn business what's happening in his home life, which is true, or that the age of his kids and the health of his wife make his infidelity particularly heinous. I agree with both of those statements on a purely intellectual level, but my blood pressure rose at the thought of him running for president knowing about this time bomb. We're at a potentially pivotal moment in our country's history, one where the Democratic nominee has a leg up and the chance to make some serious waves, and this fool runs while he's got a campaign-crumbling skeleton in his closet?

It wasn't just his family or his reputation that he was gambling with.

millenarianism, or just politics absorbing religion?

If Obama were the Anti-Christ, wouldn't Christians want him to be elected, since that would prove that the End Times were upon us and God's Justice finally made manifest on earth, complete with the Rapture and eternal bliss for all true Christians?

For that matter, if Obama were the Anti-Christ, wouldn't it be futile to try to prevent him from rising to power, since it is prophesied in the Bible, which is supposed to be inerrant?

And while we're at it, if Obama loses, that would be pretty definitive proof that he is not, in fact, the Anti-Christ. Are any of these so-called "Christians" prepared to apologize for spreading such a scurrilous rumor about a man who clearly did not deserve it?

Garfield minus Garfield

As someone who absolutely loved Garfield as a kid, I think this idea is pretty awesome. Jon becomes a very different character when stripped of his pets.

an oldie but a goodie

A conversation on Grims' blog reminded me of this video that I found, actually, on Mike D's blog!

I will argue that this is the best misunderstood song ever.

The Truth.

Your view that the world is going to end is "irrational" and evidence of your abject stupidity. My view that the world is going to end, however, is eminently logical, not to mention...THE TRUTH!

Discuss. Even better, don't.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? From The South Bend Tribune:
MISHAWAKA — Emergency crews are on the scene of a fire that destroyed Polito’s Pizzeria Restaurant this morning.

Officials say the fire began shortly after 2 a.m. at 4615 Grape Road.

The fire was spotted by Indiana State Police Trooper Rob Murray, who was driving by the plaza ‘and could smell wood burning’.

Go figure, the Outback Steakhouse next door sustains only minor damage.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

and the number 1 reason not to vote for McCain...

He put Paris Hilton back on my news feeder. Sigh.

projection: John McCain's primary tool

So we have two major candidates for the presidency this year.

One of them is a celebrity who has frequently appeared on the small and big screens according to IMDB, including The Daily Show 12 times, Letterman 8 times, Jay Leno 10 times, and Larry King 9 times. He has not only had cameos on Saturday Night Live but has hosted it. He was in Beyond the Glory, had a cameo in Wedding Crashers, 24 and numerous documentaries such as Why We Fight and Port Town. His autobiography was made into a TV movie in 2005.

One of them is a notorious media darling. Reporters have on several occasions written about how this candidate wines and dines the media with cookouts and vast quantities of free booze, and about how reporters found themselves referring to this candidate's campaign as "we." He also recently took a trip to Europe and the Middle East in the middle of a presidential campaign.

One of them has a weak grasp of foreign policy. He frequently confuses Sunnis with Shi'ites, he cracks inappropriate jokes about sober matters of war and peace, and lacks a basic working knowledge of the timeline of the Iraq War.

One of them is a serial flip flopper. He has, in a relatively brief period of time, moved from hard-liner to centrist and back to hard-liner, having flip flopped along the way on abortion, tax cuts, lobbyist money in campaigns (he in fact doesn't support a reform bill he himself introduced), ethanol, torture, and affirmative action. In fact, one site catalogs 72 flip flops.

One of them is of highly dubious religious credibility. He's suddenly started hawking his faith recently, but used to claim another religion, and has never been baptized as an adult despite claiming to have attended evangelical services for 15 years. It is considered a newsworthy event when he actually shows up to church, because reporters found no evidence of him attending regularly before this past July.

The other one is Barack Obama.

riddle me this

Is the media still overly pro-Obama when everyone in the media states as an objective fact that the media is overly pro-Obama?

Women for John McCain

Nice.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Dear God NOOOO!!!!

Political Wire:
NBC News notes that nothing is on Sen. Barack Obama's official schedule yet "but the traveling press registration e-mail has us flying to South Bend at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday and not leaving until 3:25 p.m. the next day... It seems seems like an awfully long time to be in one place."

Could Obama be meeting with Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) to ask him to be his running mate?

Please let this be the Obama campaign juking the press (or juking the Crazy Train into picking a Bayh foil). Booman:
From a strictly ideological point of view, Evan Bayh represents the Clintons by proxy among members of the known short-list. He's the only person under serious consideration that endorsed Clinton during the campaign. He's a former chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council. There's a very good chance that Bayh would staff up the Naval Observatory with a bunch of also-rans and cast-offs from the Clinton campaign, giving them new life and hope for a role in a future presidency. For Team Clinton, Evan Bayh represents their best hope for jobs and significance in an Obama administration. These attacks on Obama are sending a clear message that they can make trouble for Obama if he shuts them out. As I see it, this is not really a lobbying campaign for Hillary, who they all know is persona non grata in the Obama household. It's an oblique campaign for Bayh.

And they just might get what they want. Just this morning, Bayh joined with Obama in sending a letter to Defense Secretary Robert Gates asking him to dedicate more money to address brain injuries. Obama will appear with Bayh on Wednesday in Elkhart, Indiana, and people there are buzzing with excitement and speculation that Obama will tap Bayh as The One. One theory is that Obama will want to get some coverage for his pick that doesn't have to compete with the Olympics, which start on Friday in Beijing.

I'm pretty sure I'm not alone in thinking that, if Obama's intent on using his VP slot to placate Clinton, I would really prefer he pick Clinton!

Bayh is the poster child for the old Democratic Party I know and despise. He's a spineless, finger-in-the-wind politician who habitually cedes the high ground to conservatives on national security, "morals," and generally turning the USA into a police state. Every time the Senate Democrats desperately need to hold the line on some Republican atrocity, Bayh is one of the last hold-outs, always unwilling to back the Democrats if it's gonna look like it was his vote that kept the GOP out of the winner's circle. After all, how is a Democrat to win re-election if he can't run as the more sensible Republican?

Can you just imagine Evan Bayh in a raucous VP debate? "Well, you're right Governor Romney, I stand in awe of the Great Maverick Patriot Straight Talker John McCain and all that he did in Vietnam, which of course clearly shows that he's the perfect presidential candidate. It's a little known fact that I really wanted to be his running mate! But if I may share one little quibble with your phrasing..."

Admittedly, Bayh is not without his strengths. As much as I would caution against relying on a tactic with such a weak track record, he is from a state that is, at the moment, at least, in play, and I'll wager his approvals are fairly high here. After all, the records for biggest Democratic landslide in an Indiana Senate race and highest percentage of the vote in a modern statewide Indiana election both belong to Evan Bayh, and they're not even both for the same race. If there's anything the Indiana Birch Borer has shown, it's that he can win statewide offices in the Hoosier State. Even though he's always the last guy off the fence in important votes, to his credit he did (eventually) vote against confirming United States Attorney General John Ashcroft, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito. Not bad for a DLCer. He's also extremely cautious as a politician; there is very little likelihood of Bayh stealing the spotlight from Obama. Very, very little. Heh.

On the other hand, Bayh is a politician associated neither with "change" nor with national security gravitas. In fact, here's a fun little riff on his Wikipedia page that, to my mind, should be a disqualification:
Bayh, in contrast to Senator Richard Lugar, was an early supporter of the Bush administration's policies on Iraq.[6] On October 2, 2002, Bayh joined President George W. Bush and Congressional leaders in a Rose Garden ceremony announcing their agreement on the joint resolution authorizing the Iraq War, and was thanked by Bush and Senator John McCain for co-sponsoring the resolution.

He's a relative unknown even in neighboring states, known mainly by political wonks because he's the son of 1976 presidential candidate Birch Bayh (and it's a widely held opinion among Indiana Democrats that Birch was the better man of the two). He is the very model of "milquetoast." And best of all, Indiana's governor is a Republican, which means he gets to choose the person to finish Bayh's term, handing the GOP a free Senate seat just as the Democrats are planning an ambitious agenda. Good thinking, morons.

Monday, August 04, 2008

some people have no integrity

Many of you may have heard here and there among your more gullible friends and family (typically those who pass up newspapers, preferring instead to get their news from chain emails) the suspicion that Barack Obama is the Antichrist. A buddy of mine has actually heard it from 2 or 3 independent sources, all claiming that a description matching Obama is right there in "Revelations" (oy):

Wanker: "Seriously, it says that he'll be a charismatic man who comes from the East."

Buddy: "East, eh? You mean like Hawai'i?"

Wanker: "No, you know, the Middle East, where his family comes from."

Buddy: "Middle East? You mean Kenya? Or are you talking about his mother's family from Kansas?"

Wanker: [getting increasingly exasperated] "C'mon, you know what I mean... his spiritual homeland, where his religion comes from..."

Buddy: [smirking, clearly unimpressed] "Massachusetts?"

Anyway, so despite it's painfully glaring logical flaws, the Dumbest Rumor Ever Forwarded continues to gain traction, such that the McCain campaign sees fit to respond to it in some way. A candidate with integrity would at least want to have no part of a rumor this vile, especially a candidate who's been sunk in the past by a vile and scurrilous rumor.

And then there's John McCain, happy to defecate on the national debate table if it scores points. Are any of you readers old enough to remember a Republican campaign that didn't rely on crass innuendo as its primary rhetorical tool?

Friday, August 01, 2008

it's coming, everyone. Can you hear it?

Football season!

In anticipation for all the kids down south, I found a preseason assessment that the best college football analyst I've read drew up for Texas Tech (I'm pretty sure that Sunday Morning Quarterback has a soft spot for the Red Raiders). I was surprised to read that Tech has been "discovered" by the talking heads and is being hyped as a potential January party-crasher. That sounds a bit optimistic to me. I was also surprised, however, to read that the improvement in Tech's defense when Ruffin McNeil became coordinator last year was almost entirely illusory, a case that SMQ makes pretty cogently.

All in all, it becomes clear that Leach's Red Raiders have to fix the same 2 things for which every Leach Tech squad has been notably lacking: defense and running game. Everybody knows that the D blows and that the O is all pass, but Tech also has two problems offensively: 1) they have an unusual amount of trouble with 3rd and short situations, and 2) they're functionally incapable of running out the clock. Both of these problems are due to the lack of a reliable running game. When you're all pass, your drives take very little time, which is great when you're behind or when you score on most of your drives, but it's terrible when you're facing a good defense or you're tentatively ahead and need to put the damn thing away. Tech very nearly lost to Oklahoma last year after pulling ahead 27-7 at the half because they couldn't run the clock out. If they ran, the running back would get stuffed behind the LOS, but if they passed, the clock would stop. Lots of unconverted 3rd-and-shorts that game.

Personally, I have grave doubts that either of these issues are really fixed, and I've have been a Tech fan way too long to have any expectations of consistency. Beating OK in Norman ain't gonna happen, and I'm deeply skeptical of Tech's chances against Texas and Kansas as well. Plus, I can't help but suspect that the truly ascendant team in the Big 12 isn't Texas Tech but Oklahoma State (who has beaten Tech, what, 2 out of the last 3 years?). And, finally, there's the consistency issue: don't be at all surprised to see the Red Raiders pound Texas in Lubbock right after flubbing one against Kansas St. Tech won't go undefeated, and I don't find a Kansas-like 11-1 to be very realistic, either. Incomplete teams have incomplete seasons; this is a 3 loss team at best.

Meanwhile, for the kids up north, SMQ also has a nice rundown of the upcoming ND-Michigan game, a real Cleveland Steamer of a match-up, to be sure.

Hey Brian Williams

ya think this story might be "newsworthy?"