Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Obama's Catholic Problem

A statistic the Clinton camp (or at least her boosters) keep pointing to regarding electability is her dominance among Catholics over Obama. There are different theories floating around why this is the case, but I think they are all looking too hard, and past the big reason staring them in the face. Here's Sullivan [emphasis added]...
Is the lack of support a function of many Catholics' distance from African-Americans? Or is it Obama's problem, as Deal Hudson counters? Deal says abortion is the issue, but against Clinton? On this, I feel as distant from my fellow Catholics as I do from my fellow gays. It may be that I have long been fascinated by black Catholics in America, their remarkable journey, and have attended a black Catholic church in Washington. Obama's reasoned faith seems to me very compatible with a Catholic sensibility. So I lean with the racial and cultural divide as an explanation.

It's race. As someone who grew up Catholic in Connecticut with my father's family being Irish Catholic from Boston, and my mother's family Polish Catholic from New York, plus my ten years living in and around NYC among the Italian Catholic community, there is no shortage of, nor subtlety to, the racism among Catholics.

Deal Hudson is full of shit (big surprise, right?) and is pretending his church doesn't have a problem with race by blaming regionalism and issues like abortion.

Not even counting the supposed reluctance of Latinos (overwhelmingly Catholic) to support black candidates, there is more than enough old-school racism in these tradional Catholic cities, communities and neighborhoods. Abortion need not enter the discussion...

All of that said, I think this issue diminishes in the general election. Those Catholics supporting Clinton now are in many cases staunch enough Democrats that they'll vote for Obama when the other Democratic option is unavailable.

I hope.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Full Court Press Conference

I am watching it now. Obama is kicking some serious ass. I hope there is video or transcript soon. [UPDATE: Added.]

He is hitting MANY of the things I said below. He is not just "distancing himself" or "throwing Wright under the bus"—he is repudiating what is wrong about Wright and his remarks, and he is doing it gracefully—but he is leaving NO DOUBT that Wright's remarks are antithetical to Obama and everything he stands for.

I don't know how you could parse anything differently out of that, though many will try. It is an issue that Obama surely did not need to deal with, but he made the most out of the opportunity.

Barack Obama did what he needed to do. Will the media and will his opponents?

UPDATE: Sullivan agrees.

Right on Wright?

I haven't watched the the Moyers interview, the Press Club Address OR the NAACP speech, or read the transcripts yet, but from what I have seen and read, this conclusion doesn't seem too far off...
It seems obvious to me that he's doing everything he can to wipe out Obama's candidacy, and I'll tell you why I think it is. I think that people like Reverend Wright -- and I think there are a lot of other race business hustlers out there, by the way, who think this -- really upset that if a black candidate is elected president, that they're going to be somehow diminished in their task, at keeping everybody in their flocks all revved up and angry about the ages old sin of slavery and the ongoing discrimination.

So it appears to me, if you look at Reverend Wright, listen to what he says and analyze it from the context or perspective of what's best for him, which is clearly all he's interested in, what's best for him is that if Obama loses, because then it's easy for him to say, "See, the white power structure doesn't want a black man to rise to the pinnacle of power in the United States of America." It would certainly fuel Reverend Wright's future and continue to help him raise money and keep people whipped up into a frenzy. He's not helpful. Whatever he thinks he's doing, it is not helpful to Barack Obama.

Now, you tell me if you think that this is the Reverend Jeremiah Wright trying to help Barack Obama. "The Rev. Jeremiah Wright said Monday that he will try to change national policy by 'coming after' Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) if he is elected president. The pastor also insisted Obama 'didn't denounce' him and 'didn't distance himself' from Wright's controversial remarks, but 'did what politicians do.' Wright implied Obama still agrees with him by saying: 'He had to distance himself, because he's a politician, from what the media was saying I had said, which was [portrayed as] anti-American. I said to Barack Obama last year, "If you get elected, November the 5th I'm coming after you, because you'll be representing a government whose policies grind under people."'"

Is this helpful to Barack Obama? Once again, he has just destroyed the entire reason for Obama's success, and that is...he's a new kind of politician; he's a politician we haven't seen before; ...and here comes Reverend Wright, (paraphrasing) "Eh, just your average run-of-the-mill politician. He had to say what he said," meaning there's nothing new, nothing unique, nothing distinct about Barack Obama. He's just a politician.

[...] These are not just a little couple of comments taken out of context with Reverend Wright. This is one angry, livid, enraged individual, and Obama's got a serious problem with him now. You may not want to admit it and the Democrats and the superdelegates may not want to admit it publicly, but they've got serious problems here. This guy is undermining the Obama candidacy...

My theory is that it would be far better for Jeremiah Wright for Obama to lose because that will give him a whole new launch pad for his America-is-racist-and-hates-black-people comment, that America is run by "rich white people" who couldn't handle the prospect of a black man being president; and Barack was beaten down by the same forces that have kept blacks down since slavery, blah, blah, blah. The bilge and the drivel that he argues. In all seriousness, folks; if the Democrat Party and if Barack Obama had any say-so whatsoever, this guy would be hibernating. He'd be on a permanent vacation until November. Nobody would be able to find him. He certainly wouldn't be speaking publicly. But he's out there doing it. Now, last week I thought this was a rehabilitation tour to make Reverend Wright a teddy bear and to show the American people that the man in these sermons -- the snippets of sermons that we've seen -- is not who he really is, but that's off the boards now. That's not possible now because he's only exacerbating the problem that he has with the American people. He is a radical. He is anti-American. He is an extremist. He's doing nothing to mollify that and he's not helping Obama in the process.

Rush Limbaugh Show, April 28, 2008

Reverend Wright DID accomplish some unifying with his latest remarks...he has me, Andrew Sullivan and Rush Fucking Limbaugh on the same page.

I need to read and watch more, and flesh out a better conclusion, because god knows I'd love to be wrong—but it sure seems like Wright is a proud, vain man who was hurt by Obama, and is also perhaps threatened by being surpassed by Obama and becoming irrelevant.

Obama again stuck up for Wright this past weekend and said in his FOX News interview (another thing I need to get to) that Wright is a good man misepresented by the events of the last weeks and Wright deserves a chance to defend himself and clear his name.

I don't imagine what Wright is doing is at all what Obama had in mind. Wright is not willing to go quietly, he adding all the wrong context to the infamous snippets, and seems not only willing to, but actually relishing hanging Obama out to dry in the process.

This is not just a headache, it's a fucking nightmare for Obama.

UPDATE: Kevin Drum thinks Hillary should do the right thing and help bail Obama out on this. I want some of what he's smoking...

UPDATE 2: Sullivan tries to see past this...

Fighting Despair

So many readers seem to be feeling it. I have too. But remember what we're dealing with here: last fall, no one gave Obama a chance. It was always a very long shot. When I wrote that Obama piece, Clinton was ahead by at least 20 points and it wasn't budging a jot. Every pundit also expected the classic Clinton-Giuliani set-up for 2008: the perfect boomer red-blue battle. It didn't happen. The Republicans, from a smaller and demoralized base, gave us McCain. And the Clintons have lost the mathematical chance of winning the nomination by any fair means. The change has already happened.

Obama is a freshman senator; he is 46 years old; he is African-American; he is a liberal - even if he is very gifted in talking to conservatives. He has taken on the biggest brand and machine in American politics, the Clintons, and won. If you didn't think this would be an uphill struggle, you've been deluded. Of course, race will not go away; it will come back again and again and again. Of course, generational resistance will not go away: Obama is a big leap for the over 50s for all sorts of reasons. Of course, the usual Rovian tactics will be used against him - brutally. He does represent real change - culturally, politically, and in terms of global politics. Politicians who represent real change do not win easily; they usually require a real crisis to rise. That's how RFK and MLK emerged - in crisis, after being smeared (sometimes with a grain of truth) and finally assassinated. That's how Reagan and Thatcher emerged. We forget how their chances were considered flimsy for so long.

Obama is still in this; and the Wright fiasco gives him a chance to remove this cloud and address it again. He has the most votes, the most states, the most money, the most new voters and the most delegates and the most Senators on his side. This is no time for a failure of nerve - on the part of the Obama team or his supporters.

The only way past this is through it. And it's not just up to Obama; it's up to those of us who see him as a vehicle for real change.

Obama has scheduled a press conference, let's see what happens.

In a fucking serious world with a legitimate press and informed voters, he'd be able to say, simply:

"This guy doesn't speak for me, my campaign or what I believe in. I have stated my disagreement with his comments in the past, and I disagree with what he said again yesterday. Reverend Wright is wrong. His comments are wrong, and they are divisive. It's not helpful to white OR black America, or trying to create ONE America. Reverend Wright and his beliefs represent just another example of the divisiveness of the past, and it is what I am trying to move us past."

"I attended the fantastic ministry and community that Reverend Wright and thousdands of Chicagoans helped to build, and I will not abandon my church. Nor will I throw the Reverend to the wolves. HE is a man that has done good things in his life and his work, and those will not be undone by this, but he seems content to take the dialogue on race in a different, and destructive, direction.

I am hoping to reach a crossroads and to bring this country together on a journey to something better. It appears Reverend Wright is searching for the fork in the road. He is on a different path and it will not cross mine again. Thank you. Period. The end.

Now, how can you dumb motherfuckers ignore what I just said, and how many different ways can you all ask the same stupid-ass questions."

Palette Cleanser

It's Raining Kitchen Sinks

I hope we can stop hearing about Barack Obama enjoying some kind of immunity in the media now, because it's clear that honeymoon is over and he is taking fire from ALL sides now.

• McCain is go after him with bullshit about Rev. Wright, and being the "candidate of Hamas."...

• Hillary's calling him chicken for refusing to participate in a moderator-less debate where she'll be even more free to make random mentions of Hamas and Farrakan...

• Newsweek's cover feature is on Obama's "elite problem" and their cover uses the fucking arugula vs. beer...didn't I explain this shit in my open letter to the media?

• And now Reverend Wright has returned Obama's loyalty by fucking him over something fierce...It's now time for Obama to Sister Souljah the hell out of that guy. This is a HUGE moment that I think could save or bury his campaign. It should be a non-issue, but it seems clear his opponents and the media have decided to define him on this.

This is a perfect storm of bullshit that really does scare the shit out of me coming right before two big primaries.

I'm too swamped to blog now, more to come soon...

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Polls Are Now Open Closed, those dirty fucking hippies, are having another ad contest. This time it's "Obama in 30 Seconds." Submissions are closed, and voting/rating is open now closed.

Here is Lee Stranahan's entry, it's pretty good.

And I like this one even more.

I removed the embedded videos and put links instead. The videos played automatically and simultaneously and were getting annoying...but click through and check them out. Also, I added Stranahan's blog to the roll.

I had started this post last Tuesday, and didn't realize how short the time to vote was...finalists will be announced tomorrow (4/29), I'd expect to see both of these among them.

Sunday Brunch Link Buffet

These 1/18 scale car wrecks with real bonsai trees are awesome. As a kid, if my AMT models weren't up to snuff, I would often take a lighter to soften the plastic and do a rudimentary version of this. But these "wrecks," when combined with a real miniature tree, are spectacular. I see a new post-toddler hobby in my future...

Pixeloo—A Photoshop expert takes cartoon characters and adds real skin and hair textures to create riveting, yet somewhat disturbing, likenesses of a "real" Homer Simpson, a Jessica Rabbit (using Angelina Jolie, Kate Walsh and Alyson Hannigan for reference) and others...

CeilingCat. Ridiculous and hilarious.

Teaser trailer (video here) and poster art for the upcoming Frank Miller ("300," "Sin City")-written and -directed "The Spirit." Looks good.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Family Bed

Don't piss me off, L.A. Times...
Parents warned about sleeping with infants
L.A. County officials says the increasingly popular practice known as 'co-sleeping' can have tragic consequences.
By Rong-Gong Lin II, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer | April 24, 2008

[link] Los Angeles County officials Wednesday urged parents to avoid the increasingly popular practice of sleeping in the same bed as their infant children, calling the practice a "potentially lethal act."

County statistics released Wednesday show that 44 infants died after they slept next to an adult in 2006, a 76% increase over the previous year. It was the county's highest number of deaths ever associated with "co-sleeping," the practice of sleeping in the same bed, couch or chair with an infant.

And of course there's always the tragic example given...
Patricia Ploehn, director of the county Department of Children and Family Services, recalled a case in 2006 in which a father sitting on a chair fell asleep with his infant child sleeping on his chest; he awoke to find that the infant had slipped in between the armrest and seat cushion and died.

Waitasec—that's not "co-sleeping." That's a dad falling asleep in a chair and dropping his baby. Claiming that's "co-sleeping" like saying a guy who falls asleep smoking and lights his chair on fire and burns to death was "smoke-sleeping."

We co-sleep. Carefully. Mrs F sleeps with Baby on a mattress on the floor, with minimal extra pillows, etc. I sleep in the guest room because I'm too sound of a sleeper and would be a potential threat to a newborn—but mostly because I snore.

Kid often hops into my bed during the night and so does the dog. I think it's great. There's not a dependence—Kid can sleep completely through the night in any bed, and falls asleep on her own. There's a parent/child affection and bond I enjoy and value, and so does she.

The fact that this is so fucking "controversial" is an uptight, cultural issue in this country. It's totally natural, and common everywhere else in the world.

What is not mentioned in those statistics is any kind of specifics—how many involved drugs or alcohol? Unsafe practices? Falls? Those numbers collect every infant/toddler death that occured with a sleeping adult, of which proper co-sleeping is probably a small percentage, and the death, while tragic, was likely unrelated.

This is bullshit journalism, and just a variation of the amber alert parent paranoia-inducing garbage filling the media.

“Talkin’ ’bout my generation”

From a 27-year-old reader at Andrew Sullivan's. A briliant observation, and scathing indictment of the yuppie/boomer generation and how it relates to Obama v. Clinton.
[...] It's difficult and often hyperbolic to define a generation's attitudes toward anything, let alone something as complex as voting behavior. But, I do believe this election is being driven by an Obama voting bloc that, to a certain extent, blames the anxieties that I mentioned above on our parent's generation.

No, not on our parents directly, since how could you not express affection for such an over-indulgent group of ex-hippies, but on their lack of self-discipline. They were the generation that got their wish in the 1960s with John F. Kennedy and Bobby Kennedy. Who saw the promise of a new politics embodied in both men, and had the electoral power through sheer demographics to propel them to what would have been successful presidencies.

The promise was cut short, but that generation of baby boomers lived on as the definitive political and economic force in American politics. In the late 60s and early 70s they expressed their social power through a burgeoning cultural and political revolution. As the 70s became the 80s they began to grow into their prime earning potential, demanding tax cuts and beginning a spending spree that would fuel almost all of the economic growth of the 1990s. They were narcissistic and short-sighted; all too willing to view an ascendant, powerful America as their personal reward for being born at the right time and place...

[...] Now that it appears we've reached the limit of unrestrained consumption, they appear more than willing to take their social security checks and medicaid benefits and ride into the sunset, leaving in their wake a bankrupt, increasingly desparate younger generation. They even have the gall to claim that we're the generation of narcissists! In my mind, the struggle between Clinton and Obama lays bare this generational conflict...

This is excellent stuff, and I cannot agree more with it. The Clintons in particular are crystalline examples of this theory. They started out their journey in the right place. They got where they wanted to go. They had a chance to make their mark, but lost their way, and seemed to forget why they originally set out on the trip. And now they refuse to give up the driver's seat OR ask for directions even though they are now wandering in circles. To them it's not possible that anyone else can drive or knows where to go.
[...] The greatest dogwhistle of the Obama campaign so far is his ability to lay out this urgency to our generation. Viewed in this light, the only thing Obama has to tell me about yesterday's election is that Pennsylanvia has the second oldest population in the country. After hearing that fact, I get it. He was never going to win.

Another good point. It's the one thing I don't hear any "experts acknowledging regarding Clinton's victory. People are blaming Obama's gaffes or a failure to connect to blue collar workers, but the reality is he gained on Clinton in every possible demographic compared to Ohio. The ONLY place she is dependably beating him now is among older voters.

Can the younger generation seize the moment and deliver?

Worst. Headline. Ever.

Penis theft panic hits city

By Joe Bavier Wed Apr 23, 1:07 PM ET

KINSHASA (Reuters) - Police in Congo have arrested 13 suspected sorcerers accused of using black magic to steal or shrink men's penises after a wave of panic and attempted lynchings triggered by the alleged witchcraft.

Reports of so-called penis snatching are not uncommon in West Africa, where belief in traditional religions and witchcraft remains widespread, and where ritual killings to obtain blood or body parts still occur.

Another reason to skip that holiday in the Congo...

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Total Package


It's a mere sidebar to the big issues, but I think it matters. It's more than just Barack Obama as the President. If he wins, there is so much more brought to the table than the just the candidate and his policies.

Just the fact that there'll be little kids running the halls is great enough, but seriously...look at what that First Family represents.

Change. Hope. Progress.


Nothing against HRC (for a moment), but an eight-years-older pic of her and Bill minus Chelsea just ain't the same...

[h/t: Shakes]

Back To The Future

Hillary's path to the nomination...

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

No Change You Can Believe In

Well, Hillary wins Pennsylvania, and the closest margin I've seen with 98% reporting is 52-46, with most putting it at 8 to 10 points.

It's a clear enough win that she can "claim" she's got the momentum, but that's a joke—Obama shaved 20 points off Clinton's 26-point advantage from six weeks ago. In her speech, Clinton claimed the "tide is turning." No, Hillary, it is still washing your ass out to sea, you've just managed to hang on to the pier a little're almost out of pilings, and you have no way to get back to shore.

It would have been nice for Obama to notch an upset here and break the back of Clinton's campaign, but alas we are where we were yesterday for at least a few more weeks. She made no significant gains in popular vote OR delegates (she looks to have picked up 10-12 delegates while she trails by 150+), so she just continues to stall the inevitable.

She needed a blowout, and she didn't get it. Another 158 delegates are off the table, and the lead remains insurmountable—in a sense, it's a "hold" for Obama.

UPDATE: John Cole puts it a bit more colorfully...
Hillary’s campaign now seems to boil down to her playing the role of Lucy, with little more than catcalls that Obama “can not close the deal.” “Sure,” she seems to say, “he has kicked my ass in every measurable metric this campaign, but why, oh why can he just not finish me off? Clearly that means you should make me the nominee.”

Regardless, Hillary’s vanity campaign will continue on, trailing in delegates, trailing in the popular vote, trailing in enthusiasm and money, but not lacking in the firm resolve that only Hillary can save us all from our selves. I can not tell you how much I am looking forward to more Clintonian triangulation and McCain worship and plans to nuke Iran over the next two weeks as we wait for the super-delegates and the voters of North Carolina and Indiana to break out the wreath of garlic and wooden stakes so we can finally be rid of this menace.

Pretty much.

Children at Play. Or Not.

I gotta put a plug in for a special that Mrs F saved from PBS that I watched last week, "Where Do Children Play?"

Fascinating stuff.

Filmed here in Michigan: in Detroit, rural Michigan and literally right down the street here in Ann Arbor, this special looks at how kids are playing—or not playing—and their relationship with nature, the outdoors and each other...

The environment/situation that comes across worst, and the one that presented with only the evidence in this show that I would chose last for my kids? The urban grit of Southwest Detroit? The isolation of Beaver Island? Nope. The supposed "ideal" of Ann Arbor—the tree-lined streets of our very own Old West Side, where the highly-regarded neighborhood elementary school is mere blocks away for every student, yet almost NONE of them walk to school. The town where every damn kid gets carted around in minivans from scheduled activity to scheduled activity, and no one goes to the playground.

We gotta get the hell out of here...

Barbie's Figure Sags

I'll take my good news where I can get it...
Barbie Sales Fall; Mattel Reports $45M Loss
No. 1 toymaker Mattel lost more than $45 million in the recent quarter. Recalls are part of the problem, but also, global sales of Mattel's iconic Barbie doll aren't growing. In the U.S., Barbie sales even fell by 12 percent.

I'm not rooting for Mattel to fail, but I wouldn't mind seeing Barbie fall by the wayside...

The Furious Girls are 100% Barbie-free. We strive for more natural, imaginative toys wherever we can. My Little Ponies™ seem to be the necessary evil/compromise, but at least they won't give the girls self-esteem issues.

Oh, and Mattel? You might try less lead in your toys too. That'll help the bottom line.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Mr Furious Heartily Endorses…

"The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane"
by Kate DeCamillo

Quite simply the finest children's book I've ever read. Period. Phenomenal story, breathtaking artwork, extravagant print-production. So good I would recommend this story to anyone, whether or not they have kids. Like so many other children's stories (The Velveteen Rabbit leaps to mind), this tale is centered around the "life" of a toy, but it is so much more. An adventure, or more accurately a mis-adventure, but mostly an emotional journey.

I read this to Kid after we gave it to her for Easter, and I could hardly put it down. There are moments in this story I thought were a bit too much for her five-year-old sensibilities, but they were easily "edited" in my recitation. I think this story really benefits from being read aloud to a child, but an older kid would love to read it to themselves as well.

Here is the NY Times Book Reviewbut don't read the review, they give FAR too much of the story away, but along the sidebar there is a link to read, or listen to the audiobook version of the first chapter.

UPDATE: A blogger's review that does a better job than I describing the wonder of this story. ALERT: Unlike the NYT review no details are revealed, but certain things are revealed here, so if you like to go into a story totally cold, stop reading now and just go get the book...

NOTE: I bumped this back to the top, because I didn't want another Hillary post above the fold for the next 18 sue me.

Hope vs. Fear

Hey, isn't tomorrow a big primary? IT must be time to unveil a controversial new attack ad, here's Hillary's last minute ad dump in Pennsylvania...

Some are flipping out over the fact that Osama Bin Laden appears briefly in the ad, that doesn't bother me in particular, he's just one moment of a stream of bedwetting imagery. This ad just bothers me on a more basic level—it's pure Rovian fear-mongering bullshit. This is a Republican ad and there is no pretending otherwise.

I seem to remember someone addressing this style of campaigning before...

Friday, April 18, 2008

"a formidable enemy"

Another benefit of Hillary finally dropping out of the race will be the subsequent release of the "good" Paul Krugman from wherever the Clintons have imprisoned him.

Then this parallel-universe interloper and his propaganda will be forced back to wherever he came from and the power of this column can once again be brought to bear on the true enemy—John McCain and the GOP.

For the uninitiated, I'm talking about a classic among classics.

Seen Enough

Former Clinton Secretary of Labor and frequent talk show guest Robert Reich has been watching what's unfolding in Pennsylvania, and is set to publicly announce his endorsement.

Of Obama.

"She's an old friend," Reich said, "I've known her 40 years. I was absolutely dead set against getting into the whole endorsement thing. I've struggled with it. I've not wanted to do it. Out of loyalty to her, I just felt it would be inappropriate."

So what's changed? I asked Reich.

"I saw the ads" — the negative man-on-street commercials that the Clinton campaign put up in Pennsylvania in the wake of Obama's bitter/cling comments a week ago — "and I was appalled, frankly. I thought it represented the nadir of mean-spirited, negative politics. And also of the politics of distraction, of gotcha politics. It's the worst of all worlds. We have three terrible traditions that we've developed in American campaigns. One is outright meanness and negativity. The second is taking out of context something your opponent said, maybe inartfully, and blowing it up into something your opponent doesn't possibly believe and doesn't possibly represent. And third is a kind of tradition of distraction, of getting off the big subject with sideshows that have nothing to do with what matters. And these three aspects of the old politics I've seen growing in Hillary's campaign. And I've come to the point, after seeing those ads, where I can't in good conscience not say out loud what I believe about who should be president. Those ads are nothing but Republicanism. They're lending legitimacy to a Republican message that's wrong to begin with, and they harken back to the past 20 years of demagoguery on guns and religion. It's old politics at its worst — and old Republican politics, not even old Democratic politics. It's just so deeply cynical."

So, will James Carville call him Judas or Benedict Arnold?

Here's the thing...Much of what Clinton is up to with tearing into Obama is not designed to make an impact on voters, it's designed to worry undecided superdelegates. Hillary could give a shit about voters, the math there doesn't allow her to win. She's trying to scare superdelegates into bailing on Obama because he's unelectible—and can't handle the Republicans. It does not appear to be working. Obama's had a BIG week of endorsements and superdelegate pick-ups.

P.S. What? It's 12:01, that's not "morning" anymore...

UPDATE: The endorsement is now up at Reich's blog.

Because It Is

Taking a morning off of politics...It is simply gorgeous outside here in Michigan. I've been riding the bike to work again this week, and today I decided to take my time coming in.

Oh, and I love that song as much today as the first time I heard it.

[h/t Sullivan for the video]

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Debate Live on TiVo Blogging Never mind.

I fucking cannot stand Hillary Clinton. She has taken every single opportunity to speak to drag this right into the gutter. I can't even expend the energy to go blow by blow anymore, she is that exhausting.


As this thing comes to a close I will say this...Hillary Clinton is kicking Obama's ass tonight. In many instances they are saying the same things, but she is doing a better job laying them out.

An Open Letter...

To the media and all professional pundits and columnists.

Barack Obama's NOT "elitest," he just looks that way because you are all fucking retarded

Since Barack Obama made the "mistake" last week of telling the truth about the plight of the forgotten people and towns in this country, his opponents and you morons with microphones have been having at him—spinning wildly to portray him as some "out of touch elitest."

Let's review some of the heavy, issues-oriented analysis of the last week, shall we?:

• We know Chris Matthews thinks orange juice is for pussies, and that real Presidents drink coffee.

• Everyone seems clear that "real Presidents" can bowl at least 150.

• Hillary "Salt of the Earth" Clinton can chase her shot of whiskey with a beer. But don't mention that even though she has more than enough scratch to buy a round for the entire Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, that if she did, her campaign would stiff the bartender on the tab.

• You were all so helpful in 2000 and 2004 to remind us that we need a President we can "have a beer with." Never mind the fact that that reg'ler fella Dubya is a recovering alcoholic and cannot "have a beer" lest he careen off the wagon and start doing lines of coke off his painting of a horse thief.

But, as vapid and irrelevant as all of those thigs are, do you know which utterly stupid fucking thing is pissing me off the most?


Yes, arugula. Last summer (as in nine months ago) Barack Obama was in Iowa talking to some "regular small town Midwesterners" and he started said this:

"Anybody gone into Whole Foods lately and see what they charge for arugula? I mean, they're charging a lot of money for this stuff."

WTF? What a fucking snob. Is he kidding? This is DesMoines, not the Upper East Side...

Back then, bow-tied, yet blue-collared, George F. Will was the only one sharp enough to catch this slip from the ivory tower by Obama, but during this week's pile-on, Obama's "arugula" moment has new life...

What "FUN" for you bunch of goddamn Heathers. A perfect storm of effete and elite. It's like Michael Dukakis grabbed his belgian endives, hopped in Howard Dean's Volvo to meet John Kerry for wind-surfing and lattes and green tea on the beach.

Here's the fucking problem with that bullshit.

Barack Obama isn't George H.W. Bush enthralled by a checkout scanner, he wasn't making a gaffe by trying to order arugula in an Ames, Iowa greasy spoon. Or lamenting his grocery bill to try and seem down to earth.

And these aren't coal miners in Western PA, (who might very well know what arugala is, btw), he was in Iowa. Talking to farmers. You know, farmers? The people who grow crops. Like arugula.

Obama was talking specifically to farmers about diversifying crops, about profit margins, about ways for them to increase their share of the high prices paid for certain foods.

The nerve of that fucking guy.

So, in conclusion, could you all just do everyone a favor and shut the fuck up and stop trying to judge who's a regular guy? That means you, Chris "Three Mercedes" Matthews, and you too, Maureen "Dateline: Abroad" Dowd.

Mr Furious

MORE: Watch this video, but be forewarned that you will want to start throwing things around the room.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

No, Not "Elitest", Elite...

...there's difference. And Hillary and McCain are going to find out the hard way.

I might be wrong (it's been known to happen) but something tells me the molehill politics they are trying on Obama over his actually being honest with voters and talking about the tough times and disillusionment of some towns in America is going to bite them in the ass.

It'll depend (as usual) how this is filtered through the media, but Obama is right and EVERYONE knows it. He knows it, McCain knows it, and Hillary sure as shit knows it. He just spoke honestly about what everyone knows, but has always been afraid to say.

Do you think the people who are bitter about their towns being decimated by plant closings and a collapsing economy, who struggle without healthcare, or pensions, or any prospects for improvement are going to hold it against Obama for telling them the truth? Or do you think, just maybe, the blue-collar guy in question might just think, "Holy shit! This guy gets it!"

Or the politician that comes to town and gives them the song and dance about bootstraps, work ethic, and tells stories about their grandfather the factory worker? Which politician is really condescending?

They've heard your bullshit before Hillary. Over and over again. Platitudes about flags, and apple pies and ass-kissing like "Pennsylvanians know how to roll up their sleeves" ain't cuttin' it anymore.

The people who are bitter, know who they are, and I think they'll be able to see pretty clearly who's "in touch".


Here's the choice, America. You want a President who will hold up a mirror, tell you what's wrong and try and lead the country out of it? Or do you want just another politician who will come into town, blow smoke up your ass, tell you about the "promise of America" and then go back to Washington and fuck you all over again.

Open your fucking eyes, people.

Slow Not Slow

Things are slow 'round here, because they're not slow anywhere else...Busy at work, busy at home, and most of all busy as hell with a big trial/freelance assignment that has taken all available computer-alone-time, which is when I normally do the blog thing.

Seems like everyone else is slacking on the blogfront too, maybe it's the breaking of spring?

Things'll get back to normal soon enough.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

This (No Longer) American Life

I caught part of this episode of "This American Life" a couple weeks ago and was pretty much left deciding whether to drive straight to Canada or to D.C. and crash my car into the West Wing...

I went online and listened to the whole thing. As Ira Glass says in the intro, the abuses of the Bush Adminisration are, by this point, legion. Huge, blatant disregard for laws and the Constitution with massive implications. So TAL decided to focus on two personal, below-the-radar stories of abuse of power that are no less egregious—and in their own way, twice as infuriating.

Listen to The Audacity of Government.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Welcome Back

Even haters have to admit that was pretty damn moving when you consider what that guy's life's been like for the last twenty years. Bill Buckner was an extremely good player and a class act and never deserved what he and his family had to go through.

Excuse me, there's something in my eye...


Her opening statement during the hearing with Gen. Petraeus. It's very good.

好秘书 中国呼吸网 肿瘤网 中国皮

Ugh. The goddamn Chinese spam is back. (I assume that's Chinese...hopefully that reads something along the lines of "add six-plus inches!" or "secure viagra"...)

Anyway. It means turning on that damn verification in the comments. Sorry.

Monday, April 07, 2008

R.I.P. Moses—PLUS: Tribute Video!


To people my age, Heston is inseparable from the NRA and Conservatives and known for that almost as much as his movie roles... But according to his bio, he was actually pretty good liberal until he seemingly lost his mind in the 70s...something I was completely unaware of. So, for that reason, a fond farewell and here's hoping they don't turn you into Soylent Green, Mr. Heston.

[h/t Cesca]

Sunday, April 06, 2008

"As Good As It's Gonna Get..."

NOTE: This is a post I had 95% finished last week, that got pushed aside by my anger over the Scaife "Race Card." That has NOT subsided—there is no possible way I will EVER regain this gracious of a position regarding Hillary or her political future. But, I decided to put it up as it reflects the way I think the party honchos like Dean, Leahy and others should handle Clinton. To his credit, Obama has been more than gracious regarding Hillary continuing her run [video], and she has repaid him with nothing but lies and misrepresentations.

At Shakes last week there were a few threads (here and here) reacting to calls for Hillary Clinton to pull out of the race. By and large, I think the denizens of Shakesville are too protective of Clinton, and too reactive to everything said about her, but after some objection from me and others, they had a point about Kristoff's column last week, and Leahy's remarks a day or two later. Care should be taken with language about Hillary's "right" to remain in the race.

I wish the race were over, but I think there is no point in calling for her to drop out from party bigwigs until reassessing after PA. I think if she wins convincingly there, she has a point (however mathematically futile) about remaining at least through the conclusions of the primaries.

If Obama beats her in PA, or she wins narrowly and fails to pick up any ground on him in the overall delegate total, I think calls for unifying behind one candidate are in order. I just wish people would be a little more Dean-esque (neutral) when making those comments.

I certainly am under no obligation to be even-handed, and won't be. My respect for Clinton after the last two months has evaporated, and I have a vested interest in Obama winning. I DON'T think the campaigns have behaved comparably at all and I think any attempts to equate Clinton(Penn)'s "kitchen sink" strategy with Obama's comparatively high(er)-road response is inaccurate and irresponsible.

EXTRA CREDIT: The title and first label are a movie quote...

Friday, April 04, 2008

Speaking of magazine covers...

...I think this one is pretty damn good...

I hope his wife frames one and hangs it over the fireplace.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Don't "Fall" For It

When you are faced with the opportunity to watch a trailer for Tarsem Singh's "The Fall" DON'T watch it.

Just take "DAVID FINCHER and SPIKE JONZE Present" for what it's worth (which = "fucking great!") and wait for the movie. Then see it right away, before it's all spoiled.

I wish I never watched the trailer...

The Logic Of Hillary '08

Five video "parables" that boil down the arguments of the Clinton campaign...


Wednesday, April 02, 2008

"King" or "Kong"?

I know there's no shortage of race-related debate going on, but as a magazine art director, I can't resist this story. From

Monkey Business
So is that Vogue cover racist or not?


UPDATE: More here at Jezebel, and at Condé Nast's Portfolio, both of which reference an even worse possible inspirational source...

"The Body" Politic

Jesse Ventura unloads on the current political situation. [video] Hard to disagree with most of what he says...

Larry King on the other hand would be useless as a scarecrow.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Scaife Deals Hillary the Race Trump Card

Last week, a desperate Hillary Clinton decided the stakes in Pennsylvania are high enough that she needed to ante up her soul at the table of Richard Mellon Scaife, the godfather of the "vast right wing conspiracy." So Clinton sat down and went all-in.

Yesterday, the first hand was dealt. And it was as ugly as it gets...
Obama's indoctrination

By Ralph R. Reiland | Tribune-Review columnist
Monday, March 31, 2008

The Department of Justice reports that approximately 8,000 blacks were murdered in the United States in 2005. In one year, that's exactly double the total number of American military deaths during the entire five years of the war in Iraq; in one year, that's 10 times the average number of American military deaths per year since the start of the war.

A recent study by the Bureau of Justice Statistics at the Department of Justice shows that blacks committed murders in 2005 at a rate seven times higher than whites.

[...] For 1976 through 2005, the Justice Department reports that blacks, 12 percent of the U.S. population, committed 52 percent of the nation's murders and were 47 percent of all murder victims.

Until I heard the racist and anti-American tirades of Barack Obama's pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, it hadn't occurred to me that the murderous fires in the black community were being stoked from the pulpits inside black churches.

THAT is why Hillary Clinton should never have walked into the level of Hell that is the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and sat down with a demon like Richard Mellon Scaife. Because his "paper" runs absolute fucking bullshit like that—and I omitted several paragraphs of black-related crime statistics in the middle of that blockquote.

Whether or not this is in any way orchestrated by or with her campaign is now irrelevant. She just sat down at the table with these "editors" and gave the paper credibility and sought its endorsement. It looks and smells exactly like quid pro quo whether she wants it or not. Hillary Clinton is the clear beneficiary of this column aimed precisely at the voters her meeting with Scaife was designed to reach. While Obama is the clear target of one of the most race-baiting, fear-for-your-life-whitey pieces of shit I've think I've ever read.

Clinton can't distance herself from this. Can't claim she has "no control over what this paper prints." She crossed a bright fucking line last week by doing that interview and this was the only possible outcome. Did they print this column because Hillary met with them? No. I'm sure they would have printed this shit anyway, because it's what Scaife and his paper do!

That's the reason it was a story last week. Clinton supporters tried to play it like "it's just another editorial board interview..." or that "she showed toughness in facing her critics."

They. Are. Wrong. She had no obligation to talk to Scaife and the Trib, and no good reason to do so. She made a calculated decision to lend credibility to the man who spent millions savaging her and her family and has done as much as any single person to sow and fertilize the "vast right wing conspiracy." [more on Scaife here] She yukked it up with Scaife, starting the interview with "It was so counterintuitive, I just thought it would be fun to do."

"Fun?" Making a fool of yourself bowling with the locals is "fun." Selling yourself and your party out and tying them to the worst elements in the media and society is pretty fucking far from "fun."