Monthly Archives: September 2008

I’m in the Obama Landslide Mode

Which means locating the office where I can call people to remind them to go out early.

Oh, and Roberto, since you made the case for Biden and got linked to FOX news (and nothing Mason wrote did), you could go here  and tell Julie Mason a thing or two.  Or not.

Pete Seeger on Leterman

I love it.  He started his song, and then taught the chorus to the audience.  His group members were all smiles while singing a song about Dr. King.

His new CD is Pete Seeger at 89Wiki link.

Letterman also had a tribute to Paul Newman that made me cry.


I’ll backtrack through this:

First, Marc Ambinder has a reasonable and clear take on what happened today with our democracy (and I like the title).  From there, I latched onto this link.  I remember when Newt threw his temper tantrum; it cost Newt, but not the Republicans.

Other links.

And Barney Frank — winner for today.


The Amazing Race Begins Tonight!

I love this freaking show.  My BS was in physical anthropology with a minor in sociology.  Of course, I had to study a lot of cultural anthropology to get my degree, too.  And even though I didn’t get to go to Barro Colorado or Central Africa to study predation in monkeys, I do use my education every day interacting with my international students.  Which is the long way of saying how this show really appeals to me because of its cultural content.

Of course, I also love the personalities.  The show’s producers always seem to get great people to participate.  (Except that I didn’t really like the ‘family’ version. )  I looked up the teams for this season a while back, and I have my early favorites.

Just a few more minutes!  YaY!

Grasping at Straws

I saw this first on Malkin’s blog and ignored it.  But then I clicked on the National Review’s Campaign Spot blog and decided to do a little poking around.

To set this up:  During the debate, McCain mentioned the bracelet that he wears for a soldier who was killed in Iraq.  Obama then pointed out that he too wears a bracelet, given to him by the mother of a soldier with the message that Obama do everything he can to ensure that another mother doesn’t have to endure what she has.

Well, it looks like Malkin and the National Review think it’s important that Obama looked at the bracelet on his wrist while speaking about it.  They think it was because he couldn’t remember the name on the bracelet.  Since I’m in the tank for Obama, I think it’s, you know, kind of normal that you touch and look at something that has significance for you while you talk about it.

I think it is FUNNY that the National Review’s Jim Geraghty resorts to phonetic spelling instead of using the google (like I did) to find the correct spelling of the man’s name.  One search just using “sergeant ryan david” got me this post from February of this year.  Even though that post doesn’t link to the NYT article, another quick search got me this post.

This is all pretty lame.  Looking through the hits my searches got, I see that all of the wingnuts are going with the phonetic spelling — which is actually a correct spelling — instead of doing a simple google search.  Pathetic.

Oh, and a couple of other things — the recording of the debate I made on my other tv didn’t have the hissing of McCain’s and Lehrer’s ‘s’s’, so maybe it was just my HD;  the video on the National Review link has the weird McCain neck tie thing that I didn’t see on either the HD or the video tape of the debate.

My take on that is your response to the extranious things depends on not only what channel you watched, but in what form you watched it . . .  it complicates the 1960 comparisons I’ve seen some people make last night and today.

Maybe Not So Tinfoil Hat After All

by Roberto

Thomas Frank, author of 2004’s “What Is The Matter With Kansas: How
Conservatives Captured the Heart of America”, has a new book out titled
“Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Rule” (published by Metropolitan Books,
369 p.).  In it, he describes, in witty and well-sourced detail, what he
believes is the deliberate agenda of destruction on the part of the
Republican Party and the Conservative movement as a whole. The destruction
involved is that of the American Federal government itself.  The process
was begun under Reagan, with the undermining of, and overt taking apart of
those social programs most closely associated with LBJ’s Great Society.
It was then helped along, not always consciously, by some elements in Bill
Clinton’s domestic policy, and has been continued with great crudity and
no real attempt at disguise, under George W. Bush.  The American
government, as represented by its institutions, its budget, and the
reputations of individual agencies and departments, have been targeted for
demolition by the free-marketers and the right-wingers who are the heart
and soul of the Republican Party.  This policy of total war on the
structures which allow us to exist as a civil and secular society,
includes the grotesque misapplication and misuse of taxpayers’ money (in
order to empty the coffers and thereby impoverish any future Democratic
administration),  as well as a permanent green light on incompetence, in
order to so sully the credibility of America’s public institutions that no
trust will be possible between those governed and those responsible for
Frank appears to believe that this process became ‘deliberate’ due to a
collision between two principles. The worn-out cry of “small government”
running up against naked greed.
Once they found themselves in power, and with self-acknowledged thugs like
Tom Delay proudly elevated to the highest positions within their party,
Republicans deemed it easier to auction off, plunder, and/or trash the
government than to do the hard intellectual work required of anyone truly
desirous of responsible belt-tightening and good fiscal stewardship.  It
was of course on the promise of such responsible hard work that the
hapless dupes who voted Republican had sent these people to Washington in
the first place.
Frank’s body of evidence is enormous, and ranges over everything from
extravagantly expensive and sometimes obsolete weapon systems forced upon
a reluctant (believe it or not!) Pentagon to the bloated invoices from
no-bid contracts on work never done to the cascade of pallets of
shrink-wrapped cash unloaded at Baghdad Airport and Bagram Air Force Base
which promptly and regularly vanished into thin air.  Running parallel to
this sorry tale of robbery on a massive scale, we have also seen the modus
operandi of government agencies shifted to a constant and thorough-going
level of incompetence, neglect, and indifference, primarily effected
through cronyism.  Competent and hardworking professional civil servants
have been placed in the position of taking directives from
fresh-out-of-college know-nothings or no-show hacks whose sole credentials
are that they’ve voted Republican or are related (through blood or vice)
to members of the Administration.  The Justice, Interior, and Health and
Human Services Departments have been the ones hit the hardest but they
haven’t been the only ones. The corruption runs wide and deep.
I have to say that all my instincts tell me to reject the portion of
Frank’s thesis which argues that this 8-year epic of imbecility is either
deliberate or thought out. Gross human incompetence, the theory-driven
arrogance of neocons without a whit of real-life, real-world experience
these I can accept.  But to credit the darker side of Frank’s argument is
to come up against an irrationality and a hatred of civil society which
leaves me utterly baffled.
But then again, with so much at stake in the upcoming election, the wiser
course might be to believe the worst about the other side.
For years now, Grover Norquist has gotten laughs with this line: “I don’t
want to abolish government, I just want to shrink it down to a size where
I can drag it down the hall and drown it in the bathtub.”
The radical nihilism at the root of such a worldview offers nothing in the
way of common ground or room for compromise.  People like myself simply
don’t exist in Norquist’s vision of the ideal future. By contrast, my
vision of the ideal future would be one where folks like Norquist would be
few and far between, walking museum-pieces of bigotry and ignorance. In
the end America is big enough for both me and Grover, and in the next 8
years of Democratic-led hope and prosperity, he will be free to growl away
in darkness to his heart’s content.

It’s (almost) showtime!

I’m actually very excited about this debate.  I don’t think I will hear anything particularly new, and given that I have watched Jim Lehrer for years, I know how he rolls.

Will there be any memorable moments that will eventually added to the film footage of what not or to do at a debate?

I’m not sure I’ll be able to do it, but I will try to update this post as the debate progresses.

And it begins!  Only cheers allowed are at the beginning.


I knew he would do that.  I read that Kennedy had been taken to the hospital.

Jim pulls a funny.  I think he will get them to do it — Obama seems willing.

Still whistling, calls Republicans crackheads, will veto all spending bills.

Dickweed now calls up one of his smears from the ads he’s running.

Obama is taking Jim’s lead.  Talking to John directly.  This is good.

Jim directs John — but John is still whistling and won’t talk to Obama.

The Ireland thing.  Dumb.

“I’ve not been elected as miss jello”




Obama, wiping the stage with McCain, and McCain pulls a Fred.

The hell is McCain talking about — two tax codes?  Choosing between two tax codes?  Obama is better at this than me.

Obama flubs.  Crap.


OOpps out of order.


He’s just lying now.



McCain — old shit, and more old shit.

Whisper whistling now.


Obama said Latvians.

Never torture again.

Thanks McCain.

I might have given it to McCain, but this last bit is a complete fail.

Dwindling now.

Just Wondering

There have got to be more than a few Republicans out there thinking about what could have been.  At the Republican convention, the fire-beathers were out in force, including a little punch to more than half of Americans by the President himself. 

Just think, the Republicans could have nominated any number of out of work politicians who wouldn’t have had to pull a stunt like McCain did just to get attention.  They could have stayed on the stump, pounding away at the useless Congress.  One of them would have picked one of the others (instead of the little lady that needs protecting from the mean old press) as a running mate and both of them could have spent the last few days advocating for the Bush plan or just throwing stones from a distance.  None of them would have cowered from a debate.  They perhaps would have turned down the nice ‘help’ from the administration that McCain has been all to happy to use.

Back in the summer, I thought I was getting into tinfoil hat territory by thinking that the Bush administration was setting things up for McCain.  Now, I’m not so sure.  It’s as if they are over-doing it.  Let’s see if I can remember them all (may not be in chronological order:

  • McCain goes to Colombia and long held hostages are released while he is there.
  • Obama goes to Germany and the DoD basically stops him from visiting wounded soldiers.
  • Georgia blows up and McCain has an ‘in’ with his lobbyist — prepared heads-up.
  • Bush administration pressures Iraqi government in negotiations in order to help McCain
  • Bush administration sparks a financial crisis media blitz it was already prepared for and the Bush himself parrots (or is it the other way around) McCain’s suggestion on national tv.
  • Bush putting Petraeus in a position over the conflicts in  Iraq and Afghanistan, from which he can’t be fired (from what I have read, Bush & Co. aare laughing their asses off about that).

I’m probably leaving something out.

One point McCain didn’t get was trying to own the anniversary of 9/11.

I almost feel sorry for McCain.  Almost.

Updated by adding another point I had forgotten.

Bush Speaks!

Initially, it sounds like blame the home buyers.  Once again, he’s just learned something and is now “teaching” the rest of us.  (Here’s a cartoon I saw a while back.  It explains the sub prime debacle.)

Now the scare tactics — the bank in your neighborhood could fail etc.

Bush backs McCain’s plan to meet tomorrow.  I swear, is there nothing the Bush administration won’t do to help McCain?

Democrats Seem to Cave on Drilling

I saw this AP article about Democrats dropping the provision in a spending bill which would continue the off-shore drilling moratorium.  While some Republicans and Conservatives may be doing a happy dance, it’s not that big of a deal.

I heard T. Boone Pickens (not someone I agree with politically, but someone I respect as far as knowing the oil industry) in a radio interview state that even if this very thing happened and new leases were offered in the Gulf of Mexico by the government, more than 90% of those leases wouldn’t be bid on.  In other words, this little tantrum by Republicans has been and will continue to be just an election year gimmick.  And that’s what Obama has always called it, correctly.

In the past, oil futures rose when a devastating hurricane hit the Gulf.  During and after Ike, oil futures dropped.  Local gas stations have the same price for a gallon of gas as they did before Eduard.  The market seems to have leveled out — despite the clamoring by Republicans just after the summer break.

As far as the moratorium, it will be back in place soon — soon enough for this petty “victory” for Republicans and Conservatives to be a blip on the political landscape.

In home news, I have two of my kittens back.  Cisco went right back to his same old habits — he didn’t miss a beat.  Caroline had some troubles.  She peed herself in the crate.  I washed her off, though she didn’t like it much.  It’s been hard on her.  Tonight will be her night with me.  No pups allowed.