Monday, October 27, 2008

Helpful time (and sanity) saving hint

Let's say your a left-leaning political junkie who likes to keep an eye on what the wingnuttiest wingnut right is up to. Like me, however, you find it difficult, nay painful to wade through that much garbage and still keep down your breakfast. And further, like me, you don't want to give those bastards any clicks.

Here's the solution: read Bill Kristol's comments.

You're not clicking on his main article so you won't get counted as a reader, plus you don't have to steel your nerve (or risk your blood pressure) by reading his inane drivel. But, through the good services of the NYT readership, you not only get a good feel for Kristol's garbage du jour, but you also get to enjoy his skewering by said readership.

It's a win/win.

Stevens (R-Alaska) Guilty of Corruption

Do get the feeling that, increasingly, the term "corrupt Republican" is a redundancy?

Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens was convicted today of lying on financial disclosure forms to hide tens of thousands of dollars in gifts and renovations to his Alaska home that were financed mostly by a powerful business executive and his oil services company.

Schadenfreude reigns as Mr. Bridge-to-Nowhere is found to be as venal in his personal life as he was in his public.

But, happy giggles by liberals aside, Stevens' conviction has important implications for the upcoming election.

The news that Ted Stevens has been found guilty on all charges in his federal corruption trial badly imperils any lingering chance that the long-time Alaska Republican Senator had at winning reelection in eight days time.

It's hard to imagine worse timing for the Stevens' conviction to be announced -- roughly one week before he faces Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich in a race long targeted by national Democrats as a takeover opportunity.

This was one of the races Dems need in order to achieve that magic filibuster-proof 60 seats in the Senate. So far, so good.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Know Hope

From Obama's speech today in Richmond:

At a defining moment like this, we don't have the luxury of relying on the same political games, the same political tactics, that we've become accustomed to. This slash-and-burn politics that divides us from one another... which the challenges and crises we face right now, we can't afford to divide this country. By race, by class, by region, by who we are, by what policies we support. Let me tell you something, because I know you've been hearing a lot of stuff lately. There are no real parts of the country and fake parts of the country. There are no pro-America parts of the country and anti-America parts of the country. We all love this country. No matter where we live. Or where we come from.

Two things. Not only are these points self-evident (or at least they should be), but this is the sort of speech that, 8 years ago, John McCain might well have endorsed.

That he now could not is a tragedy for both McCain 2.0, as well as the country.

Watch the video:

Some endorsements matter more than others.

I understand, and frankly agree, that endorsements don't make all that much difference, especially this late in the game.

But still you have to believe the optics on the last round of endorsements might be telling.

Sure Barack Obama racks up endorsements from Colin Powell, and even neo-con Ken Adelman, but hey, McCain just got a high=profile endorsement of his own:

Al Qaeda.

"Al-Qaeda will have to support McCain in the coming election," said a commentary posted Monday on the extremist Web site al-Hesbah, which is closely linked to the terrorist group. It said the Arizona Republican would continue the "failing march of his predecessor," President Bush.

Maybe that's their reasoning. Personally I think bin Laden just has the hots for Sarah Palin.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

So, how was your weekend?


(wēk'ĕnd') n. - A time period usually extending from Friday night through Sunday.

Once upon a time (last month) weekends were used to rest up from a busy week's activities and recharge yourself for the week ahead. A time when the most pressing news events happened on ESPN and the Golf Channel.

So much for that.

First, late Friday, Minnesota Representative and McCain supporter Michelle Bachmann got into a heated exchange with Chris Matthew's on Hardball were she not only questioned the patriotism of Barack Obama and the Democratic party, but also suggested the media should conduct a witch hunt on capitol hill to expose unpatriotic congressmen as well.

The effect of all this right-wing blather?: Nearly $500,000 was donated to her Democratic opponent in the next 24 hours and the DCCC has decided to put resources into this suddenly competitive district! (BTW, if you'd like to donate follow the links from the dkos article on the affair from Ms. Bachmann's Democratic rival, Elwyn Tinklenberg.)

Then came Sunday with two huge announcements, Obama's stupefying $150,000,000 haul in September donations, and his long-anticipated endorsement by General Colin Powell.

Oh, and also, Mrs. CaliBlogger and I saw W yesterday. Almost made me feel sorry for the guy.

Well, almost.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Obama v. McCain: the last (thank God) debate

Winner: Bob Scheiffer. Not only a good questioner, he actually got the candidates to engage in what, mostly, sounded like an actual debate.

Winner: Barack Obama. Given the fundamentals, Obama's challenge throughout these debates was much like Reagan's in 1980, to make people in whose interest it would be to vote for him comfortable enough to do so. I.e. to look and act presidential.

Mission accomplished!

Loser: McCain (what did you think I was going to say?). Faced with Mission Impossible: to revitalize his campaign without going negative (which has only hurt him with independents), McCain has shown he's no Tom Cruise, or even Peter Graves.

And he forgot that it's the message that's supposed to self-destruct.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Prescient Obama

Barack Obama said in the most recent debate (I paraphrase) that we need a president who can not only see what's right in front of him, but see around the corner.

He's both correct in that observation, and capable of such vision:

[H/t Andrew Sullivan]

Thursday, October 09, 2008

No complacency: just a win is not enough

And since the O-man is high-minded enough for the both of us, I have no qualms about agreeing with what kos says about today's GOP:

Break their back, crush their spirits

Frankly, the only divide I want to see Obama bridge is between progressive and Bluedog Democrats. I just don't think Republicans in their current state are salvageable, with the ones surviving the coming firestorm being the hardest of the hard right.

Obama: the right leader for our time

According to the oft cited quote from Winston Churchill: “You can always count on Americans to do the right thing - after they've tried everything else.”

And certainly it seems that, by design, by luck, or by divine providence, whenever the US has been faced with a major crisis it has eventually brought forth a leader to deal with that crisis. FDR saw the country through both the great depression and World War II, Abraham Lincoln successfully defended the union and ended slavery during the civil war, and at the nation's most critical moment, its birth, George Washington set an unmatched example of how to lead, and transfer leadership for the new republic.

As the US stares down the worst economic crisis since the great depression, as it finds itself embroiled in two land wars, as it sees its military, political, and economic leadership at new lows, will we be again so fortunate as to choose a man who historians will rank with Washington, with FDR, with Lincoln?

Reformed religious right leader, author, and Obama supporter Frank Schaeffer certainly thinks so:

Great presidents are made great by horrible circumstances combined with character, temperament and intelligence. Like firemen, cops, doctors or soldiers, presidents need a crisis to shine.

Obama is one of the most intelligent presidential aspirants to ever step forward in American history. The likes of his intellectual capabilities have not been surpassed in public life since the Founding Fathers put pen to paper. His personal character is also solid gold. Take heart, America: we have the leader for our times.

As a skeptic and cynic by inclination, as well as training, I have a hard time buying into the totality of Schaeffer's paean.

And certainly such belief would be mocked incessantly by the right (despite, of course, some of the rather silly things they've said about W over the years).

The thing is though, I really want to believe.

And, even as an agnostic, even I might be inclined to say a word or two in prayer to whatever gods there may be, that Obama become the man we so desperately need him to be.

You can read Schaeffer's whole post over at

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Paris for prez

And why not? Her policies make more sense than McCain's, and she can talk in complete sentences unlike Sixpack Sarah. Plus she's getting the advise from one of the greatest fake president's of all time.

See more Paris Hilton videos at Funny or Die

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Obama v. McCain Part II

I'm a terrible judge of how these things are viewed through non-partisan eyes.

I thought Obama was his usual calm, certain self on economics.
On foreign policy I liked his "crush al qaeda" fire, Also I frankly think Obama's position towards going after them with or without Pakistan's help is very main street. McCain loses points every time he goes after Obama on this.

McCain was much better composed for this one than the first, though I wonder if the "that one" comment about Obama is going to be a sound bite that ends up biting McCain.

Those are my first thoughts, for an Obama rave from an experienced debater I suggest Andrew Sullivan.

Monday, October 06, 2008

McCain plans to cut Medicaid/Medicare

McCain plans to cut Medicaid/Medicare by 1.3 Trillion!
What's this?
Some left-wing scare tactic?
Is the Obama campaign getting desperate?
Um, no.
From that bastion of pinko sympathizers, the Wall Street Journal:

John McCain would pay for his health plan with major reductions to Medicare and Medicaid, a top aide said, in a move that independent analysts estimate could result in cuts of $1.3 trillion over 10 years to the government programs.

The Republican presidential nominee has said little about the proposed cuts, but they are needed to keep his health-care plan "budget neutral," as he has promised. The McCain campaign hasn't given a specific figure for the cuts, but didn't dispute the analysts' estimate.


The only people the McCain camp hasn't entirely managed to scare off are seniors who largely depend on these medical insurance programs. And now he's trying to scare them off too?

As an Obama supporter all I can say is thank you.

Gloves officially off

For those of you out there who were afraid the O-man couldn't throw a punch, well, that's not much of a question anymore is it?

Devastating doesn't nearly say it.


Sunday, October 05, 2008

Sarah Palin and aversive racisim

Like he needs my help, but I'll anyway recommend Nicholas Kristof's NYT op-ed, Racism Without Racists.

You should read it yourself, but his main point is that overt racism is a minor problem for Obama. More important is what he refers to as "aversive racists":

“In the U.S., there’s a small percentage of people who in nationwide surveys say they won’t vote for a qualified black presidential candidate,” Professor Dovidio said. “But a bigger factor is the aversive racists, those who don’t think that they’re racist.”

Faced with a complex decision, he said, aversive racists feel doubts about a black person that they don’t feel about an identical white. “These doubts tend to be attributed not to the person’s race — because that would be racism — but deflected to other areas that can be talked about, such as lack of experience,” he added.

Keeping this in mind helps focus on two recent campaign developments, the "Obama as a terrorist sympathizer" being so repugnantly parroted by McCain's lipsticked bit-bull, and that pit-bull's recent debate performance.

The first is an easy call of course. Character assassination by association is a tried and true political tactic, most often used against people of sterling character for one simple reason: if the candidate is clearly of the highest charater, such as Obama clearly is, what other choice do you have?

Palin's debate performance is another matter. Many on the left have criticized it as being a verbal lapdance for rightwing fanboys (see Lowry, Rich). Let me, however posit a different take. Whatever else you think of Palin's winky, hokey, barely intelligible debate performance, one thing is crystal clear: she has got to be the whitest woman in the US.

And as such, to sub-concious racists across the land, much more qualified than the, um, darker-hued gentleman from Illinois.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Biden v. Palin, First Thoughts

  1. Most authentic moment by either side: Biden's voice catch rcalling the death of his first wife in that terrible accident.
  2. Promise fulfilled: Palin warned up front that she had no intention of answering any questions she didn't have note cards on.
  3. Speaking of note cards: do you have any idea how that went over with the public. Given my opinions I, of course, think needing to use note cards in a debate about who should be a heartbeat from the presidency is a little, ah, Bush league.
  4. Biden should always have a timer to look at when he's speaking (I thought this during the primary debates as well. When he's forced to be brief he's smart, concise, and much less likely to put his foot in his mouth.
  5. Palin scaled the rather low bar set for her by putting nouns and verbs in proper order when she spoke.
  6. Biden's best (like I said) with a time limit, very strong performance, and excellent self-control (I only noticed one peeved galnce at his opponent).
  7. Outcome: slight edge for Biden for providing the only honest human emotion of the night.
Overall: Neither delf-destructed, which, given Obama's lead, means he (and the rest of us) are the winners.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

McCain/Palin Ifillibuster

You may have heard that, in their continuing efforts to lower expectations for Sarah Palin's performance in tomorrow's debate, the new rightwing kerfuffle is about debate moderator Gwen Ifill's upcoming book on Obama.

This makes sense for GOPers because, with Palin's competence already at ground zero because of her incoherent* responses to Katie Couric's lob-ball questions, the only thing left is to work the ref.

Of course, the fact that Ifill's book deal was public knowledge before she was accepted by the McCain camp to moderate does make their last minute whining seem just a tad disingenuous.

But they claim they just didn't know about it.

And hey, I kinda believe them given that, like their candidate, they just don't hold with no book-larnin'.

*Random thought, Palin is incoherent, Wasilla is the meth capital of Alaska, co-incidence? Hmmmm.