Saturday, May 31, 2008

Sad day

I understand why Obama left his church. It just makes me sad that he felt he had to.

My instinct is that he should have stood and fought, but against that he tried sweet reason earlier, and it failed, so it's hard to see what fighting would have helped - other than assuaging my feelings of outrage at the bullshit that all this pastor-parsing has substituted for intelligent conversation.


Notice that not one of these failed CEOs is hurting from his failure at all. The head that wears the crown lies pretty easy.

Truth to power

Bishop Geoffrey Robinson joins Scotty McClellan in speaking truth to unreceptive power. It's a hard and lonely role even when you do it late, as both of them have done.

We see from church attempts to suppress Robinson's message that Bill Donohue and the Catholic League do not exist to defend the free speech of Catholics, only that of doctrinaire Catholics, preferably orthodox cardinals.

Coming attractions

"Obama has disowned every minister, pastor, or priest he has ever known. How can he claim to be a Christian?" Wait for it. Drudge or some other wingnut will find this nugget.

Why is Obama responsible for every word spoken by every person he has ever spent time with or worked with? He has worked with Republicans, too. Is he responsible for every lunatic thing they've ever said?

It's also ironic that Bill Donohue claims the Catholic League defends free speech for Catholics by criticizing a Catholic priest for his speech!

Friday, May 30, 2008


There are so many jokes in Bob Dole sending Scott McClellan a poison pen letter by email.

Dole does email?

Guess who's going into Scotty's spam filter!

Were they best buddies or something? Or is Dole just looking for publicity for an upcoming book on the demise of his Republican Party?

Yawn! The GOP is really scraping for spinners now.

McCain-Dole, that's the ticket! Been there, done that. Didn't learn from it.

Chaos or conscience

Always fun to scoop CNN, which today posts the membership of the DNC Credentials Committee. Though the exact membership has changed a little over the intervening three months, possibly as a result of rearrangement of committee powers, I had this story nearly three months ago.

The composition of the panel still favors Hillary. Of thirty members, 12 are committed to her and only 8 to Obama. One of Obama's is from Florida.

Will they vote to win or vote for principal?

Give the story legs

Robert Wexler on House Judiciary wants to call Scott McClellan to testify before Congress, which is great media politics. It keeps the story alive and keeps the White House on the defensive, where it belongs with its unmitigated record of disaster.

But there's a Constitutionally important bonus: The Bushists' bullshit claim that everything that embarrasses them cannot be addressed in testimony before Congress needs to slapped down hard. Congress used to ask permission? No more.

If McClellan would testify voluntarily, let the White House try to stop him. Let them be powerless.

But it would be more useful to restore the balance of powers to negotiate with him to respond to a subpoena and reset the precedent of Congressional oversight, even if only in theatrical form.

I know nutink

... no matter how many times I've been under military escort in Iraq.

Can we please not replace Col. Klink with Sgt. Schultz?

The torch has been passed to an old generation

El Presidente Cerveza

Hillary hoists El Presidente beer while campaigning in Puerto Rico. I've had it; it's a step down from Budweiser. Of course, the name is the attraction, not the flavor.

Funny thing though - it's brewed in the Dominican Republic. Are they having an election, too?

Heavily cropped AP photo used under Fair Use. Click image to see full photo.

First public statement

An Amazon basin tribe, contacted for the first time, issued this statement: "Not the Scotty McClellan we knew. Now leave us alone before we catch something."

Uncontrollable laughter

The people Michael Gerson writes for actually need a reasoned answer to the question: Was Jesus a Libertarian?


Who are these people, and why doesn't their obvious detachment from reality put their right to vote at risk?

Who's credible?

Sad to say my government's credibility is so low that the defense attorneys have a point, even if some of them are probably defending the scum of the earth.

But we killed that story!

Scott McClellan's book is really confusing Wolf Blitzer. How could Scotty bring up Duhbya's cocaine use when the story was "dormant"?!

Long before 9/11, the press gave Duhbya a complete pass on his youth. The vague spin-mantra of the Bushists ("young and irresponsible" times two) made it completely clear that either Duhbya had snorted nose candy or had done something even more damaging to his electability.

Remind me, Wolf, did the media quash Bill Clinton's youthful indiscretions? Oh, sure, that was his fault. "I didn't inhale" just wasn't the sort of spin-mantra that dead-ends questions. It's the Democrats' fault!

But what about the draft-dodging? Who got in more trouble about that?

Thursday, May 29, 2008

More real journalism

The Fix assesses the "McClellan mess" with the help of four Republican spinners and zero Democrats of any kind. Oh, and this poses "no immediate danger to [McCain's] presidential campaign"!

Too bad Cillizza didn't take the buyout.

Frankly, I'll take the liberal bloggers over this tripe any time.

How journalism really works

It doesn't. Glenn Greenwald has the goods, as usual.

(h/t Atrios)

Journalism 101

Again, CNN fails the most basic rules of responsible sourcing:

In response to McClellan's suggestion in the "Today" interview that the White House manipulated intelligence in the run-up to the war, a senior administration official said, "Scott McClellan's assertions about the administration's decision to go into Iraq are just flat-out wrong and not supported by the facts."

The official was not willing to be identified because he was not authorized to speak about the book.

Unbelievable bullshit! Anonymous sources should only be used carefully to help the reader understand the story, not because they give a quote that fits your narrative. This is letting the White House put its spin into print without having to take responsibility for it.

This is what got us into Iraq! CNN hasn't learned anything from Scott McClellan's book, which is only the latest lesson in a series of thousands.

How Republicans view the working class

Unfortunately, there are Americans of all classes who are still fooled. At this point, you have to say that they want to be fooled.

Click image for full Matt Wuerker/Politico cartoon.

Flak jacket at the ready

Blood 'n' guts McCain hopes that Obama will look like Michael Dukakis when he puts on a flak jacket and a helmet to tour the latest safe Baghdad marketplace. The problem for McCain is that is that he has already shown us how silly he looks strolling through under escort by choppers and GIs.

Memo to the Obama campaign: Say, "We'll decide our travel schedule, thank you. Feel free to keep counting the days. How many days since the invasion? How many days since McCain voted for it?"

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

You were serious about that?

Jeff Jacoby can't understand what happened to the Bush Doctrine. Hey, it was a marketing tool, born of no conviction whatsoever. Does that clear things up for you?

Delusions of adequacy

Duhbya still believes his role in Rove-directed casting as a latter-day FDR. Explains why he has to surround himself with fluffers like Dan Bartlett.

Where are they now?

With Ari Fleischer and Dan Bartlett starting up their campaign to shoot the messenger (Scotty McClellan), does anyone know what ever happened to John DiIulio and Paul O'Neill? Have their wounds healed?

Brainwashed, I tell ya

Scott McClellan now tells us that it was all true:

  • He lied to us, though - poor baby - he didn't know it at the time.
  • Rove and Libby conspired to get their stories straight on Valerie Plame.
  • Duhbya's (mal-)administration was a propaganda operation, not a policy operation.
  • The Iraq campaign marketed lies to us.
  • America would have been better of if we did have a liberal media.
One question: When your country needed you, Scotty, where were you?

Update: See Glenn Greenwald.

Update: Wolf Blitzer exhibits his usual bulldog grip on reality. As if.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Brass balls

The simple straight-talking truth is that blood 'n' guts McCain doesn't support the troops. He supports the brass.

It may be hard for a third-generation officer to make that distinction. The troops, however, will be able to figure it out.

What's wrong with the Post

Richard Cohen. Today's column perfectly represents all the bullshit Broderism so rife in the political press.

Obama has said something in 2008 that sounds amazingly realistic - if only it had been said by McCain in 2006! You talk to the leadership of your enemy when there's a chance for peace.

Talk is cheap, especially compared to blood. And it's not by any means a promise to give away the store.

Sydney Pollack

Just last week, I looked up who directed "The Interpreter". Sydney Pollack, now gone.

I looked this up because over several viewings I have found much to admire in the acting that Pollack captured on film. Nicole Kidman has no peer at showing shellshock, but she is especially good in "The Interpreter". The play of emotion across her eyes is terrific. Sean Penn doesn't match his incredible performance in "Dead Man Walking", but he is good and real and his acting goes all the way through to his body language.

The stars, though, bring a lot of talent and craft to their performances. What I find more impressive is the depth into this cast of effective moments. The entire sequence after the bus explosion is filled with great, real moments. The Secret Service agents and news reporters all make their moments ring true.

Those moments could have been filler, but they weren't. I give Pollack credit for that.

Monday, May 26, 2008


What they died for is, of course, not the easy stuff of picnics, flag pins, and yellow ribbons. They died for their buddies and for their tribe of which we are members, but they also died for the ideals of self-government that makes this country more than a tribe.

Click image for full Mark Streeter/Savannah Morning News cartoon.

Billionaires in gated communities

They're funding McCain through a dozen different funnels, but they're raising it all in great big liquid gouts.

... asked couples to make donations of $86,200.
That is seriously a lot of Supreme Court approved "free" speech.

The tiny little item doesn't explain how that's legal, but it's all just accounting for the guys who brought us Enron, etc.

Don't think this ocean of money won't all end up buying - nudge-nudge-wink-wink - coordinated media.


It's not just hybrid drivers who can improve their mileage by changing their driving habits. Some days I do it in my VW Passat. Many cars have an in-dash computer that provides plenty of information. It's not a new technology. I had a crappy used 1989 Audi that had one.

Though the Passat is basically a 29 mpg car, I've been able to nurse nearly 40 mpg out of some round trips. It helps not to be running late. Surface roads are better than superhighways if they don't have many stoplights. The brakes are death to mileage; brakes turn gas-created momentum into waste heat. (Even the Prius's regenerative braking can't recapture 100% of the energy that would otherwise become heat. Demon entropy!) Upshifting earlier than normal helps, too; this car was built to travel at 40 mph in fifth. In fact, many of the same driving techniques that help in snow also help with mileage - keep it smooth, don't do anything hasty, slow down. A good rule even when driving for performance is to reach your top speed and upshift. The only cost is the downshift you'll need to accelerate.

But miles per gallon is not the end goal here. The idea is to use fewer gallons. If you get 20% better mileage on a route that's 30% longer, you've optimized the wrong number. I have one trip I make where I have a choice between the arterial highway route at 80 mph and 30 mpg and the surface road route at 35 mph and 35 mpg. Most important, though, the surface route is only a little more than half the distance. It takes about 5 extra minutes on the outward leg but taking the return trip this way led me to discover that it's actually faster.

Then again, there's a coworker who not only drives a Prius using a hill-avoiding route, she also carpools. For my part, I have a short commute, and I work from home a lot, but I burn my virtue up in trips to pick my daughter up from school.

Click image for public domain release posted on Wikimedia Commons by Rudolph Stricker.

John Yoo, professional bullshitter

John Yoo wrote Orwellian memos about torture and wiretapping that are only convincing to idiots who accept the redefinition of clear words on his whim. The law? The Constitution? 'Exclusive'? They mean whatever bullshitting legal whores like Yoo claim they mean, no matter how implausible.

Boalt Hall, the University of California Berkeley's law school, should be ashamed to employ anyone with so little respect for the purpose and mechanics of law. If a fucking dipshit like him (and I don't care whether he has the imprimatur of Harvard and Yale) can redefine the law to suit the lust for power of current and future Bushists, what's the point of calling anything "law"?

If you think my language is too rude, think about the fact that the people who started our country earned the freedom to write the Constitution after using something a lot sterner than 'whore', 'dipshit', or 'fucking'. They used bullets, grapeshot, and cannonballs. They killed redcoats, Torys, and Hessian mercenaries. They risked their own lives and in some cases lost them. But John Yoo and the Bushists think they can wash that all away with a few keystrokes.

(h/t David Kurtz at TPMMuckraker)

Image used in conscious violation of copyright law because I've decided in this case that it doesn't apply to me.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

In your dreams

Click image for full Mike Keefe/Denver Post cartoon.

Suspicious minds

Click image for full and hilarious John Branch/San Antonio Express News cartoon.

To talk or not to talk

Click image for full Robert Ariail cartoon.

Zero-child policy

The tragedy of 60,000 dead in Sichuan is compounded by the number of schoolchildren killed in the collapse of their shoddy schools. Since the schools of peasants collapsed and not the better built ones of the well-connected elite, almost all of the bereaved parents have no other children.

Revolutions have started for less.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Kneecapping the Constitution

The Fifth Amendment says in part:

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, ... nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law...
It unmistakably denies the President the right to hold any person in the United States without the due process of English common law.

Yet the Bushists, on the thinnest of legalisms, have held Ali al-Marri for six years without any of the niceties that a government of laws would obey. They have found lawyers who will argue that this is legal:
"What you assert is the power of the military to seize a person in the United States, including an American citizen, on suspicion of being an enemy combatant?" Judge William B. Traxler asked.

"Yes, your honor," Justice Department lawyer Gregory Garre replied.
Look, al-Marri may very well be guilty (though the past record of the Bushists is cause for skepticism). So try him, convict him if you can, imprison him, and deport him when his term is up. But don't pretend to represent the "Justice" Department when you argue against the law.

The Bushists have abandoned what it is to be American.

See this list of other Bushists abuses of the former U.S. Constitution.

Update: CNN carries the story, too.


I'm sure Roy Edroso will do a better job of this, but I can't help making fun of the communists in Russia who don't like "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Depends". Probably Kathryn Lopez is angry that Cate Blanchett is playing the KGB agent - isn't that glamorizing the extermination of the kulaks?

Could the retro commies and the idiot wingnuts pleeeeeez meet in the World of Warcraft section devoted to Cold War nostalgia?

Click image for details of its generous release by Popperipopp into the public domain.

We all remember

The rhetoric of American political campaigns, both from the candidates and the media, pretends to be tough and incisive. But it only dekes toward issues before ducking into hysteria. It exaggerates every utterance in whatever way it might be most negatively construed. My blog-buddy Winston Smith at Philosoraptor aptly calls this practice radically uncharitable interpretation.

Obama says it's worth talking to Iran, and blood and guts McCain fakes outrage, pretending that Obama said he'd happily take one of Iran's future nukes up the butt if that would start negotiations. If Americans at large had their bullshit detectors turned on, they would see this for what it is and chalk up the bullshit against its purveyor. Instead, we appear to prefer being lied to. And McCain locks himself into policy that has no alternative to violence.

Yesterday, Hillary made her now-infamous remark about RFK's assassination. People with an ax to grind or conventional wisdom to sell leapt to insinuate that she meant in her heart of hearts that, hey, she could still get lucky the way Hubert Humphrey did in 1968 if only James Earl Lee Harvey Sirhan would just do her a favor.

I think she was trying only to paint as precedented her time frame for accepting loss of the nomination. "We all remember ...," she started. She was using Bobby Kennedy's death as a memory aid, as a teacher or any speaker might find a touchstone. Her error was to use such a large fact to make such a prosaic argument. The fact's horror overwhelmed the mnemonic.

Mere mention of assassination does provoke our fears, mine anyway. Obama could be the sort of transformational figure that JFK, MLK, and RFK threatened to be before each in turn was gunned down. What would the 1960s have achieved had all three survived the decade?

There are thousands of Confederate throwbacks in this country who might take up arms against a renewal of that transformation, arms that they already own. James Earl Ray, Byron De La Beckwith, and the Philadelphia, Miss., KKK of 1964 are gone, but their hate-filled racist inheritors are still here. They have not failed to notice that Obama is a black man with a real chance to be President.

There are also thousands more Mark Chapmans, Arthur Bremers, and John Hinckleys - crippled little narcissists who kill for attention, who might again snatch chaos and defeat from the jaws of victory.

We all remember. Don't we?

Friday, May 23, 2008

Religious extremism - IOKIYAR

McCain is still trying to have it both ways on his religious extremists. Sure, he has finally cut them loose, but what Obama may or may not have listened to is worse, worse, worse. And you'll notice the media is going along just fine with this. It took a blogger to raise a stink.

Hagee's whining, too. His views have been distorted, poor baby, totally unlike Jeremiah Wright's views. Now don't you want a little separation of church and state?

The truth about Hagee's sort of primitive theology is that he may claim that he believes in free will, but he really believes that everything happens because Gawd wills it. So Hitler has to be part of the good news.

The really really really outlandish belief that Hagee holds hasn't really been examined: He thinks it's a good thing to end the diaspora so that the End Times can come and most of us can die. Because Gawd wills it.

Public domain image of the "Whore of Babylon" from Wikimedia Commons. Click image for details.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Kidney punching

Republicans should be forbidden by etiquette from ever accusing someone else of cheap shots - especially when they fill their rejoinders with cheap shots.

John McCain is willing to do or say anything to be President. So of course he'd just ignore good manners, anyway.

Like intel on Iraq

John McCain will permit, kinda sorta, inspection of his medical records. But instead of a transparent process, he's putting all sorts of rules and restrictions on how the media can take a peek:

Only certain news networks and newspapers will be permitted to enter the room, and they will have only three hours to examine the papers.

No cell phones or Internet access will be allowed in the room, located in a resort outside Phoenix, Arizona. Copying the records is also prohibited.

Anyone who leaves the room for any reason except the bathroom will not be allowed back.

This sounds like the way the Bushists "presented" intelligence on Iraq to the Congress before ramming the AUMF through. In each case, the presenter appears to have something to hide. At least, you can say that the Bushists did in fact have a plausible national security case, even though it turned out to be bullshit.

I would expect from this charade:
  • piles of paper impossible to analyze in the time allotted
  • no indexing or organization
  • dispersion of the data so that the natural competition of the news organizations will prevent discernment of the pattern they're trying to hide
The obvious conclusion is that McCain has cancer and his campaign is trying to hide it. The evidence is likely to be scant - some obscure chemotherapy, maybe an off-label use, prescribed under an uncommon name, maybe because it's experimental.

Granted, this is a wild and unsubstantiated guess. The real question for McCain is why he won't simply publish the records. It looks to me as though his campaign is taking a leaf from Duhbya's book.

Where Duhbya said that he was young and irresponsible when he was young and irresponsible - therefore admitting either that he did cocaine or that he did a whole lot of other stuff - McBush is admitting he's old and less than healthy because to go into more detail would require a worse admission.

Upside of peer pressure

We humans are social animals. We get fat together, we quit smoking together, we influence each other's choices. This really shouldn't be a surprise. It's why advertising works. It's why grassroots campaigning works better and why water cooler conversation works even better.

Massachusetts isn't more liberal than Texas just because its citizens are better educated. There's a self-sustaining consensus in each place about what's right. In Massachusetts, there's a long tradition of progress toward liberty. In Texas, as in much of the South, there's still a mildly feudal acceptance that the rich people have proven by their wealth that they should run things.

Karl Rove thought he could bring Texas's Southern white anti-government evangelical consensus to America as a whole in the form of a permanent Republican majority. He looked on a transformational conflict with radical Islam as an opportunity to do for his coalition of wealthies, bullies, and fundies what WWII had done for urbanites, farmers, union workers, and eventually minorities.

Too bad for him that his low-judgement neocon buddies and his dipshit boss fucked it up so badly.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Love and cancer

Two weeks ago, a dear friend phoned me to say goodbye. We've known each other for more than twenty years, but she felt herself slipping away from who she has been. With tenderness and toughness that I can hardly imagine, she wanted to spend ten last minutes with me before glioblastoma multiforme, diagnosed fifteen months ago, made that impossible.

After, I went outside into the bright spring sunshine and sat on the warped and splintering deck and wept. The three boys next door kept playing, laughing, living, just as my friend's three daughters will, I hope, in time. Then I went back inside to make the phone calls that she had asked me to make.

The first death that took someone I loved out of my life came from another glioblastoma multiforme. My grandfather went from vigorous septuagenarian to dust in a few short months. At fourteen, I spent his entire funeral struggling not to cry. That male imperative not to show my feelings was proxy for too-large grief.

No amount of experience with malignant glioma prepares you for another case. It's a dire diagnosis. Hope and pray is what we do even when there's nothing else to do. Especially when there's nothing else.

Sadly, the chance that Ted Kennedy will survive his glioma, whether it is GBM or merely grade III, is smaller than the chance his diagnosis is wrong. I don't want this to be true, but it's a brute fact.

Oh how I wish it were not.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Making sausage

When is $1 billion only $700 million (or less)? When the legislature decides that money ostensibly appropriated to stimulate biotech growth gets parcelled out to projects that are kinda-sorta-almost related to the goal - university buildings, highway interchanges, sewage treatment plants. It's not that these things aren't needed; it's just that they should get their own bill.

Yes, I know that's not how appropriations get passed, but this practice of larding up is one reason it's hard to point to dramatic successes in state government.

In fact, all of these earmarks do have their own bills. Their authors are just getting a second bite at the apple.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Tool of power

Even big media apologist Howard Kurtz can't hide the obvious opinion of Roger Ailes and Bill O'Reilly that their role in Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. is to act as a propaganda tool. Fox is about O'Reilly's puerile, egotistical, bullshit form of entertainment, not about informing its audience.

It's good to see Kurtz even report this story. Of course, there are some things he does wrong. The most glaring is that he doesn't provide GE/NBC's rebuttal of O'Reilly's delusional gasbaggery until the very end of the story. I'm sure Bill himself has some investment somewhere with tendrils into Iran, so by his own logic even such a saintly one as he is killing American soldiers.

Kurtz's omissions are also glaring. He provides no background on the alleged factual error Keith Olbermann made when describing Roger Ailes as providing advice to Rudy Giuliani. Fox's non-denial denial ("If he was offering Rudy advice, you think Rudy would have done as badly as he did? No way Roger was giving him advice.") should have been counterposed against the known history of Ailes advising the Bushists.

Later, Kurtz alludes to a Kos blogger who did an ambush interview with O'Reilly. Even Olbermann criticized it. Here's the thing: O'Reilly sends his producers out all the time to ambush their prey. He's supposed to be immune to this because he's in the media? No way. We have the power now.

It has always puzzled me that Bill O's viewers can't see that everything he says needs first a sniff check for bilious bullshit - from a safe distance where you won't be overcome by fumes.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The phone rings at 3 p.m.

Only a wee small problem with the Constitution.

Click image for full Bill Schorr cartoon.

Do they come in any other color?

Uh, no, white elephants only.

Click image for full Ann Telnaes cartoon.

Hillary hits a homer

On McCain's 2013 exit from Iraq:

"It sounded a lot like 'Mission Accomplished,' only postponed into 2013," said Clinton, referring to President George Bush's declaration less than two months after the Iraq invasion that major combat was over. "From my perspective, it's just more of the same. It's a continuation of the Bush policies that have been failures."

Nightmare scenario 2

Imagine if a Democrat made an assassination joke about a Republican. The media would have a total heart attack meltdown. They wouldn't put "pretty benign" anywhere near the headline. Even the though would give them the vapors.

Huckabee, instrument of nightmare scenario 1, still wants to be veep.

Problem with the truth

... is that people start to expect it, at least those who still thirst for it.

This New York Times story quotes from a 1985 article about one of poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko's criticisms of the Soviet system:

“The session was a closed one, but even so the poet’s strong words against distortion of history, against censorship, self-flattery, silence and privilege in the world of letters were strikingly bold.”
At that time, it was not yet obvious that the Soviet Union was doomed, though there had been signs for some time. In the late 1970s, my political science professor Thane Gustafson brought back a joke he had heard in Moscow. It went something like this:
Brezhnev hasn't seen his ancient grandmother in some time, and he wants her to see how well he's done for himself. So he sends a man from his security detail to pick her up and bring her to his palatial (ahem) apartment in the Kremlin.

She comes in but says nothing. Brezhnev is a little put out but calls for a Zhiguli limousine to drive them to his posh mansion in the best Party enclave in suburban Moscow. Again, his grandmother is silent.

Brezhnev calls for his helicopter, which is always on standby for his use. He whisks her away to his dacha on the Volga. Yet, after all this, grandmother says nothing, and Brezhnev can't keep the impatience out of his voice.

"Babushka, I show you all these wonderful things, yet you say nothing. Are you not impressed at what I have achieved from humble beginnings?"

She pauses and thinks before replying.

"Leonid, it is all wonderful what you have. But what will you do when the Communists come?"
How different is the American empire that the PNAC advocated and the Bushist neocons so badly botched in delivery?

Certainly, on the good side, we are not censored, and Ari Fleischer's infamous warnings didn't provoke silence, though they did slow down the popular realization of the war in Iraq for the debacle it still is.

We Americans are, however, thoroughly enamored of flattery from any source. This is why the McCain campaign tries to make hay whenever Obama tries to depart from the self-reverential formulas of capitalist realist art. Americans can't be bitter or discouraged! They're too heroic to admit that anything about America needs to be changed.

Distortion of history? Check. Eurasia had always been at war with Oceania. The Bushists are happy to distort the present. Why would they hesitate to rewrite the past, all the while using the timeworn but practical propaganda technique of charging that your opponents are revisionist historians?

Of course, our thirst for privilege and our assumption that privilege will always be ours is not a Bushist innovation. They've merely exploited it to divide us, rather than taking policy steps that would secure our future. Instead, they have sold our birthright to all buyers, especially the seldom open Chinese, for a mess of pottage (or is that a Mess'o'potamia!).

If America is to continue its leading role - even to escape the threat of economic and political ruin - we need to reacquire our taste for the truth over the treacly, sweetened bullshit fluff of voter flattery that currently dominates our political conversation.

Public domain images from Wikimedia Commons. Click images for info.

Earth to wingnut

Every Republican campaign needs someone to semaphore their ugliest messages to the wingnut pundits and to media outlets like McCNN. Mitt Romney kept Eric Fehrnstrom barking on a leash. Too bad he didn't use a choke chain.

John McCain's junkyard dawg is Tucky Bounds. It's his job to get Gingrichian phrases like "partisan rant" and "hysterical diatribe" into circulation.

The wonderful upside of this story is that Obama is hitting the right notes:

“I’m running for president to change course, not to continue George Bush’s course.”

“I want to be perfectly clear with George Bush and John McCain, and with the people of South Dakota,” he said at a Watertown campaign stop. “If George Bush and John McCain want to have a debate about protecting the United States of America, that is a debate that I'm happy to have any time, any place and that is debate I will win because George Bush and John McCain have a lot to answer for.”

It's no wonder the McDuhbya camp is feeling a little sting in their morning newspaper.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Rent or buy

Eliot Spitzer rented body parts (living ones), while these defendants sold body parts (deceased). In one case, the feds got involved with wiretapping and stakeouts over several months. In the other case, California was on its own.

Sure, the feds will tell you that they were looking for financial irregularities called structuring. Funny, though, one of the grave-robbers wrote checks repeatedly that fell under the old $10,000 transaction-reporting ceiling, too:

During that time, Nelson, who owned the Empire Anatomical Company, wrote several checks to Reid ranging from $5,000 to $9,000 for body parts. Reid deposited them into his personal bank account.
Update (5/18/08): Oops! Forgot to mention: David Vitter watch, day 310.

Imagine the flip side

Atrios or one of his minions has probably already blogged this, but can you imagine Carl Hulse writing about what a problem the Republicans would have if they won a moderate seat, say, Christopher Shays's seat in Connecticut?

Much easier to imagine the column Hulse would have written had conservative Democrat Travis Childers lost MS-01: Tut, tut, the Democrats can't win in the old Confederacy.

Is anyone else sick and damn tired of the reflexive contrariness of the pundits toward Democrats?

Friday, May 16, 2008

Brother, can you spare a dime?

"The change America deserves," according to John Boehner and the craven Bushist Republicans in Congress.

In Congress at least for now...

Public domain image from Wikimedia Commons.

Key GOP demographic

Wouldn't it be great if the media would ratchet back its obsession with reporting what exit polls say about who black people support and who white people support and who working class people support!

Instead they could report on the overwhelming choice of stupid people. If they did, they'd find that John McCain has them completely wrapped up. This is the shit-for-brains output of someone who calls himself GOP Rules:


Have you ever wonder why the symbol of the Democrats is a DONKEY- Because you all is that. MCCAIN GOT THIS… I Have never seen so many dumb people. LOL


WE are not even worrying about a backfire. We already know Democrats are dumb and lazy. So I hope Obama win so we can keep the Whitehouse because you all are to DUMB to go vote….lol


we will rule for another 4years and keep you ALL in your PLACE…lol


Really, that is some seriously mind-numbing self-fellating idiocy. Don't worry, this is not a single outlier. There are thousands of similar messages on comment boards all over the internet.

These are the people whom Karl Rove is patronizing by befogging them with the claim that Democrats are patronizing them. Of course, people like GOP Rules want to believe Rove is right, even when everything that has ever come out of his mouth is instrumental, rather than truthful - bullshit even on the rare occasions it is accurate.


Does Duhbya even know what 'impunity' means? Of course he does! He's lived all his life without consequences.

I would think that at least he would be outraged that a parvenu like Osama bin Laden would have the same deal. Duhbya's granddaddy didn't give a shit about Jews before there even was a (modern) Israel. It's pretty rich that Duhbya gets to lecture the Knesset about how traitorous the Democrats are (h/t Eschaton), when Duhbya couldn't smoke Osama if he were a cigar.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Obama must be an elitist

Foie gras is back in Chicago, and y'know he's from there.

Peace - no longer just around the corner

Blood 'n' guts McCain climbed down a little on Iraq - from a century to ... one Presidential term. Once 2013 rolls around, he can always say we heard him wrong; he said 2030.

McCain over eighty


Nebraska Republicans love blood 'n' guts McCain enough to give him 87% of their votes (fifth item). Ron Paul, the only other hard-working lunatic white guy on the ballot and another fossil besides, still got double digits at 13%.

Eligible bachelorette

In 2016, after (please god) eight years of President Obama, Chelsea Clinton will be 36 years old and eligible to run for President. Just thought I'd throw that out there to give Hillary something to get behind.

Public domain image from Wikimedia Commons, released by Kyle Cassidy.

Mean Joe Biden

Joe Biden obviously should be a reader of mine. Bullshit is the perfect word to describe Duhbya's tired old appeasement crap.

Still, while it's normal to be outraged, it's much better to mock him and to remind voters why they already hate his guts. I'd go with something like:

"George Duhbya Bush's tired, ugly, dishonest comments yesterday remind all Americans how much better off we will be when his Republican Presidency is over. Then we Americans can once again get past his habitual juvenile name-calling to the real business of solving problems."

Harry Reid actually sounds pretty good. Now if we can just get the rest of the caucus on the same message.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Lipstick on a pig

If the GOP succeeds at this lame attempt to whitewash the damned spot of its culpability, those of us who again remain sane will need some serious antidepressants (not just something to give us better boehners). The change we deserve is much, much greater than anything the Republicans would ever be willing to deliver.

West Virginia mountain momma

Hillary is still making the case for her electability. This is a pitch for the superdelegates to change or to change back.

Ironically, long ago and far away (in a galaxy much like our own), it was her lack of electability that concerned me. She was the only candidate for President I had ever heard of who had negatives above 50% among likely general election voters. I didn't think there was any way she could possibly change that after sixteen years in the national limelight.

Nonetheless, electability is an unpredictable commodity. The pundits can't predict much of anything, but their collective record on electability is even worse than usual. Here in Massachusetts, Deval Patrick was unelectable - too liberal for a state with an established practice of countering our thoroughly Democratic legislature with a Republican governor. He won anyway.

In joining the Patrick campaign early, I gave up on the fine gradations of electability that had made me support Shannon O'Brien over Robert Reich in 2002. In 2006, it worked, and I'm hoping for more of the same in 2008.

For President, I initially supported John Edwards. He had broad appeal, true, but he was also the most liberal candidate in the race. He wanted to restore the middle class and restore the Constitution. He had the good health plan that Hillary has since adopted (and it's better than Obama's). Above all, he knew that we are in for a bitter, dirty fight to recover the American economy and American democracy from deeply entrenched plutocratic interests who are perfectly represented by the Bushists.

When his Democratic primary electability was conclusively disproven, I had to pick between the two remaining viable Democrats. Obama, for all his sweetness and light, is the more likely candidate to move the Washington conversation back toward the pragmatic liberalish center of American voter views. Hillary botched Iraq - and still botches it. Obama is of the two the less establishment figure. Hillary would be like Bill before her a President of small measures and triangulation. She would also be instantly pinned down by the next Richard Mellon Scaife funding right-wing scandal-mongering, though that will probably be true for Obama, too, as it would be for any Democrat (other than a false one such as Zell Miller or Joe Lieberman).

Obama is much less likely than Hillary to go along to get along with the Bushist destruction of the Constitution. He's more likely to accomplish large things - peace, universal health care (even half a loaf), investigations of the Bushist depredations, a charismatic appeal to our better natures.

Of course, the electoral map worries me, even if yesterday's result in Mississippi-01 should give us all heart. Current polling suggests another 2000 election, with the Democrat winning the national popular vote while the Republican wins the Electoral College.

But it's May. Think of how many races have reversed in the six months before the election. Last night, I saw Obama on TV making the point that McCain is another four years of Bush. If he'll keep hitting that vulnerability even moderately hard, McCain is toast. So, Barack, go for it!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Let's pretend!

Not one of these three men is in a position to make a peace deal for Israel and Palestine.

Duhbya is about as popular as a bullshit sandwich and has less political capital. Olmert feels the hot breath of the law on his neck. Abbas is even worse off - he feels the hot breath of Hamas on his neck.

But Ed Henry of CNN is happy to lend them an air of breathless urgency.

Duhbya is looking for his legacy, but half of it got married a few days ago. Politically, there's nothing he can do.

This is hopeless window dressing.

Monday, May 12, 2008

This is your brain on hope

If this doesn't make you laugh, you're beyond hope.

Fish story

Republicans say that they want to protect the franchise to lawful voters by requiring proof of citizenship when registering and proof of identity when voting. Superficially, there's nothing wrong with this.

The problem is that they always draw their bills in a way that will exclude many thousands of lawful voters while catching at most a handful of ineligible cheaters. A photo ID is a perfectly reasonable requirement - if your voter registrars can provide them without a side trip across town, something that's obviously very inconvenient for anyone who doesn't have a driver's license. And that's the population we're talking about.

It's as if the Republicans are claiming that they don't want to catch the tuna; they really only want to catch the dolphins. But they're going to use a tuna net anyway.

And they expect us to believe that they're fishing for the by-catch.

McCain, an eentsy bit better than Duhbya

The Washington Post heads its story about John McCain's alleged environmentalism in two ways:

  • Front page, teasing the link: "A Mixed Environmental Record"
  • On the story page: "Environmental Stances Are Balancing Act For McCain"
Yah, "mixed" if you mean mixed up; "balanced" if the fulcrum is way over to the anti-environmental end.

I'd call the story "McCain slightly greener than Bush".

The story claims that McCain would cap greenhouse emissions, but it fails to note that his idea of a cap is voluntary, i.e. useless.

This is not the first story where Juliet Eilperin left her perspective at the door, instead providing the uninformative faux balance that the media is so fond of. On the other hand, at least it's a story about an important policy issue.

Update: McCain comes out for cap and trade.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

What's fishy?

Recession is defined in aggregate. There are large segments of the economy that are shrinking, and the ordinary working people see this on a daily basis, even if Duhbya doesn't.

Click image for full Beth Cravens cartoon.

In good company

Click image for full Rob Rogers/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette cartoon.

Why call it 'care'?

With enough tort reform, we could all have "care" like this.

John McCain is not the only person who has lost his moral bearings. Our government builds systems with the plain intent of not giving a damn if they kill people.

Guantanamo, torture, and habeas corpus

John McCain was against it before he was for it. If he'll compromise his "principles" on torture, there's nothing he won't compromise.

McCain challenged the White House by sponsoring a bill banning the torture of detainees in military custody, a move that made him a target of conservative attacks. But in a compromise with fellow Republicans, McCain allowed the bill to include a provision that removed the detainees' right to contest their imprisonment in federal court.

In 2006, he supported the Military Commissions Act, which provided military trials for some of the detainees, but allows evidence obtained through torture. In February, McCain sided with Bush by opposing restrictions on the CIA's use of tactics widely considered to be torture, prompting some human rights activists to accuse McCain of betraying his own cause to woo conservatives in the presidential race.
Hillary Clinton temporized and kept her head down. She'll acquiesce to abuses in order to stay a player.
Hillary Clinton was a freshman senator with only a year in office when Bush began to bring detainees to Guantanamo Bay in January 2002. She and many fellow Democrats in Congress said so little in opposition to the prison during those early years that right-leaning commentator William Safire accused them of giving Bush a blank check in his treatment of detainees. "Not a peep out of Hillary Clinton," he wrote.
(God, I hate to agree with Safire.)

Barack Obama, on the other hand, stood up to be counted:
"He said, 'I don't know which way this shakes out politically, but this is wrong, and you can count on me,' " said Thomas Wilner, one of 80 Guantanamo Bay defense lawyers who has since signed a public letter supporting Obama's candidacy. "A lot of people were afraid that they would look weak on terrorism. He really understood that our greatest strength is our values."
For this, he gets called un-American!

Double standard

Relatively minor Democratic bullshit gets prominent play, while John McCain's typical Republican budget bullshit gets tacked on as a $4 trillion afterthought. And most of even that scant, belated coverage is the McCain campaign's captious spin in response to the complete fiscal irresponsibility of his proposals. IOKIYAR!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Your flag decal

... won't get you into heaven any more.

Pulled up to a stoplight yesterday behind a massive pickup whose driver had a red, white, and blue chip on his shoulder. It wasn't the flag stickers on his tailgate.

It was the other sticker that said, "If my flag offends you, call 1-800-LEAVE USA."

Offends me? It's my flag too, buddy, even if I value it as a symbol of the Constitutional republic, not as a sacred tribal talisman.

If people are giving this guy the finger, I'm sure it's because of his driving, not his flag stickers. Or maybe it's because he's driving the type of low-mileage vehicle that makes oil so expensive in dollars and blood. In fairness to him, though, he did have a tool box in the bed, so he may really need a big-ass truck, unlike most pickup owners.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Bullshit - an acquired taste?

Oops. In two days:

Makes me miss the old, old days of Media Whores Online. Ya think the transcriptionists will ever tire of the taste of grass-fed bullshit?

Vitter watch, day 301

At least Vito Fossella (R-more than one place) never paid for sex.

"Your honor, I just couldn't resist a woman in uniform."

What!? Comics on Friday?!

Hey, why not? If the woman across the street, in this suburb where we don't even have sidewalks to roll up, can start a party at 10:00 p.m., I can post some random comics panels.

Click images to see full cartoons.

Places to liberate

I notice that Duhbya and the neocons are not proposing to liberate Burma, despite the callous willingness of its oppressive military government to let its own people die. Why is that?

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Safety? I got mine, you've got mining

Looks as though Murray Energy sent its miners underground with at least glaring neglect of their safety. They died, ho hum. How's that for the investment class?

Veto proof

Duhbya's threat to veto $1.7 billion in loan guarantees for actual people, when he was thrilled by the $29 billion bailout of the holders of bad paper at Bear Stearns is proof of all that anyone needs to know about Republicans.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Forty years after

If Loving v. Virginia came before the Supreme Court today, would the court even grant certiorari? I doubt it would now, and it certainly won't if John McCain has the chance to replace Stevens and Ginsburg.

The current Supremes would rule against the Lovings on some narrow procedural grounds, maybe that the ACLU lacked standing to ask for a review in the Virginia courts that had first propounded this travesty of justice. They would say, probably 5-4, that there was no issue of law to be decided. The Lovings pleaded guilty to a felony and moved away from the scene of their crime. The fact that their "crime" was an interracial marriage would be irrelevant.

Never mind equal protection. The current Supreme Court majority could construe it to mean the opposite of its well-understood meaning.

Forty years is not such a long time. Many Southern states still had prohibitions in their constitutions against interracial marriage. Some still do, though they are null and void under the U.S. Constitution.

These two people made a difference. Her eyes say, "So be it." His show wariness. They went ahead anyway.

Image from the AP, published in both the Boston Globe and the Washington Post. Cropped and fuzzed in an attempt at fair use. Click the image for the full photo.

High noon in home room

At the end of April, the Commercial Appeal ran an important report about guns in the Memphis public schools - 162 incidents over five years. Even with no fatalities and only a few actual woundings, this is a jaw-dropping number - close to one a week during the school year.

Six of the incidents happened at a school I once attended. One happened where my mother taught remedial reading many years ago, another where my father taught math even more years ago. Three guns were found at the high school that I could see from the dining room of the first house I really remember.

I have to wonder how many guns are not being found. Metal detectors only managed to find eight of the guns. Tips led to most of the confiscations. Many of the violating kids started as victims. How many gang members are too intimidating for anyone to rat on? How many of them carry a gun every day without the school system finding out?

What's the right way to make this better?

The NRA and its more rabid adherents will tell you that an armed society is a polite society. Oh, yeah, right. Like Baghdad. They will claim that the solution is to arm the teachers so that they can blow away the little miscreants.

High noon in home room, film at 11:00.

In fact, some of the kids are themselves enacting the NRA theory. They don't feel safe, so they arm themselves for self-defense. Of course, it's seldom that cut and dried; some of them, teetering on the brink of a life of crime, are defending themselves against violent consequences of their own acts.

I have no objection to more cops in the schools, especially those with large gang populations, and those cops have to be armed. They have to be more judicious than the cops who killed Sean Bell.

If metal detectors don't do much, is there a technology that could help? Sniffers for nitrogen compounds? They're way too expensive, but they might have fewer false positives than metal detectors. What about the airport machines that see through your clothes? Oh, yeah, imagine sending your daughter in to school every day for a high-tech strip search. Surveillance cameras? Aside from the fact that the schools probably have them already - Big Brother Jr. - I've never seen any security video outside of the movies that is more than slightly useful to find a gun before it's in flagrant use, when there's still something to do besides proving guilt.

What's left? The short answer is that I don't have a short answer. It's a hard problem.

Triage, first. One of the kids was only expelled after three offenses. I'm not interested in throwing away anyone - by forty, most of these kids will be through with crime, and the ones who are still alive will need education to succeed at all in work. But I'm most interested in preserving a chance to learn for the children who don't sling a gun into their book bags.

That's going to mean pulling juvy kids out into more secure schools. They can earn their way back to a normal schools by cleaning up.

But there are also liberal remedies that need to be applied to prevent the loss of youth. Kids need things to do, lots of them. I was appalled to learn that one of the kids who got caught in Memphis had found much less support from the community and government in New Orleans before Katrina washed it all away and sent him to Memphis as a refugee.

Conservatives love to lampoon midnight basketball, but you can't carry a gun on the court, and basketball doesn't cost much.

Originally published on TennViews.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Hard disk forensics

Another Republican political appointee who reports to Duhbya has been caught with his pants down - but only figuratively. It appears that he was trying to make sure his computers provided no evidence against him, by wiping "deleted" files from their disks. (You do know that your deleted files are all still sitting out there until something overwrites them, don't you? Even after that, there may still be digital palimpsests that linger for CSI to look at.)

Here's the thing: Scott Bloch paid his geeks with an agency credit card. Please! Don't these morons know anything about covering things up. Really, Eliot Spitzer knew more than Bloch, just not enough. I'm surprised that the RNC doesn't have committed conservative geeks on retainer.

Well, this beats the hell out of the hard dick forensics that the wingnuts concentrated on when Bill Clinton was President.

The big question: What of the many things it could be was he hiding?

Not watching returns

I've got cards to play (let's hope), so I'll get the news on the way home. Nothing I do will change the outcome anyway.

Obama really, really needs a split or a sweep today. Hillary really, really needs a sweep but can stumble on with a split.

The pundits will say that over and over in different ways while they slobber over every stupid turn this campaign has taken in the past couple of months. Wish we could put a gas tax on them!

Monday, May 5, 2008

It worked for Duhbya

For $300, Duhbya bought assent from the Reagan Democrats for his ridiculously plutocratic 2001 tax cuts. Now, John McCain and Hillary Clinton are trying the same stupid, pandering sort of back-handed insult at a $30 price point.

Insult? Isn't Obama the elitist? No, Clinton and McCain are insulting the intelligence of the voters. Of course, sad truth be told, the voters in the past have deserved this insult. They haven't been able to tell the difference between real populism and the fake kind that Republicans - and now Hillary - are so keen on.

Here's a hint:

"I'm not going to put my lot in with economists, because I know if we did it right . . . it would be implemented effectively," said Clinton, who was asked during an hourlong television appearance to name a credible economist who backed her plan to lift the 18.5-cent federal tax on gasoline for the summer.

In a barely veiled attack on Obama, Clinton added, "We've got to get out of this mind-set where somehow elite opinion is always on the side of doing things that really disadvantage the vast majority of Americans."

When someone says something like this that makes you go "huh?", bullshit is probably one of the top ingredients. My interpretation: "I'm not going to listen to smart people. I'm too smart to do that." Sheesh, smart people are often wrong even in consensus. So make an argument why they're wrong. But no. Then the second paragraph opposes her point if taken literally. It looks like a Freudian slip.

It's a sad fact about America that acting stupid probably helps Hillary's chances.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

The white knight is talking backward

If the voters don't make any sense, why should politicians?

Click image for full Matt Davies cartoon.

W's not a vowel

Except in Welsh...

Click image for full Rex Babin/Sacramento Bee cartoon.

Solution in search of a problem

Click image for full Mike Keefe/Denver Post cartoon.

What we really need is a guarantee of the right to take guns into maternity wards! It's the only way to make sure the babies are safe!

Goes double

I'm sure the whole damn liberal blogosphere is linking to this. The conservative blogosphere? I'm sure that's a whole nother story.

Real journalism!

Imagine helping voters make rational decisions!

Well, you don't have to imagine. Here it is.

A different kind of power

In the run-up to the invasion of Afghanistan, a friend wondered whether we would get more from the money we were going to spend on force, however justified it might be, by sprinkling the countryside with schools instead. The people there live in abject, grinding poverty. They would not have needed a palace such as Oprah endowed in Africa.

I admit that I was skeptical. Faced with the implacable destructive power of fundamentalist Islamism, frequently expressed by the then-ruling Taliban, I had a hard time imagining that any school more enlightened (and subversive) than an Islamist madrassah would survive long in the desolate Afghan backcountry.

The numbers, however, did add up. For the $25 billion we naively thought we would spend on arms and bribes, I estimated we could build and permanently endow teaching staff for a million spartan one-room schoolhouses. In impoverished Afghanistan, $25,000 buys a lot of brick and mortar and would surely leave more than $20,000 behind to pay for a teacher out of medium-risk investment returns - 5% would provide $1000 a year in a country where the per capita income is about $300.

Now, some Turks are doing this on a smaller scale in Pakistan. They are limited to the cities, and I'm sure their cultural goals are different from ours. But it does make me think, What if?

Image from Wikimedia Commons, generously released into the public domain.

Bet they all wear flag pins

This is the military-industrial complex hard at its number one goal. Guess what. It's not peace. Or war, for that matter. It's profit, suckled from the government teat.

Kudos to Farah Stockman and the Boston Globe for pursuing this story.

Bullshit as always complimentary

It's amazing to me how much bullshit gets into the newspaper without compunction.

Hook, line, and sinker

Boston Globe reporter Jenna Russell bought the story of the Bellows Falls boosters:

The idea seemed as innocent as apple pie with a scoop of fresh-churned ice cream: A mural painted on the side of an old red barn, in the vintage style of a 1950s postcard, urging passing travelers to head south to "See Bellows Falls."
Innocent? Oh puh-leeze. The Bellows Falls Downtown Development Alliance didn't know anything about the state-wide billboard ban, and yet they just happened to decide to paint their billboard on a barn.

C'mon, they were obviously trying to see what they could get away with.

Three-card monte

“John McCain is playing a disturbing game of three-card monte with his own credibility and our country’s economic security,” said Damien LaVera, a spokesman for the Democratic National Committee.
Republicans have been saying for forty years or more that there's an incredible amount of fat in the budget. They say this about the federal budget, the state budgets, and any local budgets they don't want to pay taxes toward.

Yet they have never yet identified even a tenth of the actual cuts that they would make, and somehow that unbroken record of bullshit is seldom ever called for what it is.

This story, source of the quote, is actually pretty good.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Shooting straight in every direction

John McCain routinely gives emphatic answers that contradict what he said yesterday or last year. He's not so much a flip-flopper as just generally flippity-floppy.

Yesterday, he said we'd never have to fight again in the Middle East if we were energy independent. Never, not seldom. Today, no, no, no, he was talking about Gulf War I. But, if we had by some miracle become energy independent between the wars, would that mean we would never have "had" to fight in Iraq? Uh, no.

Y'see, the Congressional Record shows that McCain was after WMD when he voted authority to Duhbya. Does he think we found those? Tomorrow, he'll remember that deposing Saddam was why he wanted to go.

What if we became energy independent during McCain's beloved 100-year stay in peaceful, democratic Iraq? Never mind how we get that counterfactual to happen; could we come home then? Or do we really have to wait until McCain's grandkids are giving up the ghost?

When will it again become a requirement of American politics that a candidate make basic sense?

Major combat operations

... aren't even over in Afghanistan.

If one of the Democrats manages to prevent McCain from delivering four more years of Bushist misrule, Afghanistan is the place to prove Democratic national security credibility. The Taliban, after all, actually did attack us.

The problem with that, of course, is that Americans are tired of Iraq, which has been going on for five years, while the war in Afghanistan has taken six and a half. Fatigue makes a hard problem even more difficult.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Poor non-competitive Republicans

Mitt Romney's campaigned hard in 2004 to put more CEOs into the Massachusetts legislature. He directed an unremittingly (ha) negative campaign, but he failed utterly. I live in one of the Senate districts that he targeted with laughably nasty mailings at the rate of several per week, and it turned people off.

My Senator won 60/40.

Now the Republican Party is having trouble recruiting candidates. Boo-hoo.

They're going to run on the argument that their electoral failure is the best reason to elect more of them. Yeah, right.

Massachusetts has had Democratic government for two years, and the world has not fallen apart. Taxes haven't gone up. There are still checks and balances here, unlike Washington before 2006. Democrats aren't the monolithic blocs that Republicans are.

Corporate chiselers

American Airlines thinks it has found a way to screw its skycaps out of short money it couldn't win in court. It's despicable. Here's the money quote:

[Tim Smith] also said the skycaps' new hourly wage is "very much in line with the type of job that [the skycaps] are performing, their educational level, experience level."
For those of you following along to Obama's travails at home, this is what it is to be an out-of-touch elitist.

Image from Wikimedia Commons used under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0.

Update: American's CEO made "only" $6.6 million last year.


It's o.k. to ridicule lunatic black Christian Jeremiah Wright, but John Hagee is a lunatic white Christian, and thus he represents a demographic that's way too large for the media to get cross-wise with.

(h/t Lawyers, Guns, and Money)

Thursday, May 1, 2008

McCNN - still not embarrassed

CNN is still pimping this Ed Henry story that should embarrass them. I bitched about it the day it first ran, April 21, but the so-called editors still think it deserves more page views, when it really didn't deserve to see the light of day.

Update: May 13 and this POS is still up on the front politics page. Twenty-three days!

Update: June 1, and this turd has floated to the top again!

New feature - electoral blogroll

Hey intrepid reader!

I've added a new link list over there on the right, labelled "Electoral data". I expect to add other useful voting and polling aggregation sites to it.

If you forget where they are yourself, feel free to stop by here to find them. But stop in, have a cup of coffee, and read a little, too.

I really should have done this for the blogroll just below "Electoral data". "Shouting to be heard" links to several smaller blogs that deserve a larger audience in the cacophony of the blogosphere, even if they, like my own blog, haven't found it yet.

Pranking McCain

I'd love to see this prank for the network news cameras: Chants of "four more years" when McCain comes on stage at his next rally.

If a member of Billionaires for Bush could insinuate himself into the crowd and start the chant, I'm sure the Republican true believers would join in. After all, they want to retain all the failed and terrible policies.

But the rest of the electorate has a different take on Bushism, despite their foolish, media-driven willingness to listen the same old bullshit from McCain.

And the GOP political operatives would be stymied. They couldn't very well shush the chant - that would be an even bigger story.

Can you imagine fifty people a day, walking in, chanting a Nixon reminiscence and walking out? They'd think it was a movement.

Public domain image from Wikimedia Commons.