Wednesday, May 28, 2008

“But babes, this is Jake and Elwood. The Blues Brothers.”

“The Blues Brothers? Shiiit! They still owe you money, fool.”

Tonight in my email:
Your request for "The Blues Brothers [sound recording]" is now ready for pickup at the Pittsfield Branch Library and will be held until library closing on Tuesday, June 3.

Thank you for using the Ann Arbor District Library.

The topic of movie soundtracks came up last month at twoglasses, and I realized I had a serious hole in the digital collection. Well, no longer. Unfortunately, it's not the only Blues Brothers album I really want, it's the only one they have at the AADL, and iTunes has jack.

Oh, and if those Howard clowns still haven't seen the movie...

“It's .6 miles to the library, we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark, and we're wearing sunglasses.”

"And there were war profiteers giving three cheers..."

This is pretty funny. Be sure to "flip" through the preview pages...and pay close attention to the stuff in the room. I've spent quite a bit of time with the original book the last few years, and I really appreciate the details...

Tell It To Her, Scott

When I saw this picture today, accompanying a completely unrelated story, I just about lost my shit. Appallingly, I've seen worse photos before, but this one struck me today and made me think immediately about the ongoing "book tour of redemption" by Scott McClellan.

Much has been written in the last day about the "tell-all" memoir by the former White House professional liar. I don't have much to say beyond "Fuck him. I hope he rots in Hell."

I could alternate several other words between the stream of obscenities that would flow from my fingers, but it pretty much boils down to this: Scott McClellan, you stood before the country and knowingly told lies on behalf of The Worst Administration Ever. On every possible topic. Untold thousands died as a result. And you did nothing to stop it. You are a coward of the first order and the fact that you admit this now, only in order to make a buck off it, repulses me even more.

Many writers have referenced the death of American troops and the debt McClellan owes them and their families—don't get me wrong, he is an accessory in every one of their deaths—but they are soldiers...This innocent little girl and thousands like her, never enlisted for what you helped unleash upon them.

Scott McClellan, take a good look at that child and realize that you personally helped put every single one of those sutures in her face.

Your punishment should be a tour as an IED scout in Iraq. Not so you can die, but so you can shit your pants every fucking day that you might. All the while I hope that girl's horribly mangled face haunts you every single night. And when you make it through your tour in Iraq, you return home only to be crushed to death by a palette of your unsold books.

[photo from The Atlantic, by Ahmad al Rubaye/AFP/Getty]


The Raconteurs in Concert, May 27, 2008 - The Raconteurs just want to have fun. Loud and brash with an arsenal of infectious riffs, the quartet plays with swagger, a wry sense of humor and one, singular message: Let's rock. Hear The Raconteurs in a full concert, recorded live from Washington, D.C.'s 9:30 Club

NPR has a last night's Raconteurs concert available online for your listening pleasure here.

I know I'm supposed to come up with a review of the not so-new-anymore new album, let me just sum it up by saying I don't think it's left the deck in my car since I got it.

It's a tougher album for me to evangelize like I did with the debut record, but it is just as good, if not better. Rather than make a more accessible album to build on their success and grow their base, it almost seems as if they wrote and recorded this for their fans and without regard for newcomers.

Kind of the opposite of selling-out—what fan would complain about that?

I'm four songs into the concert as I write this and the boys are bringing down the house, er headphones...

UPDATE: There IS an encore if you stick it out at the end...

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

David Brooks Gets a Hit...

After reading an excerpt at Sullivan's that NYT's concern-troll extraordinaire David Brooks suggests Tom Daschle and Sam Nunn as VP picks for Obama, I clicked through, ready to get medieval on this sure-to-be-bullshit column...

Surprisingly, aside from the names that spit out at the end, Brooks actually has a pretty good point about VP selections...
[link] ...Most discussion focuses on what state or constituency this or that running mate could help carry in the fall. But, as a rule, recent vice presidential nominees haven’t had any effect on key states or constituencies. They haven’t had much effect on elections at all, except occasionally as hapless distractions.

A vice president can, however, have a gigantic impact on an administration once in office (see: Cheney, Richard). Therefore, a sensible presidential candidate shouldn’t be selecting a mate on the basis of who can help him get elected. He should be thinking about who can help him govern successfully so he can get re-elected.

Yeah, yeah...but he nails it here:
If Barack Obama is elected, his chief challenge will be that he hopes to usher in a new style of politics, but he has no real strategy for how to do that.

He will find himself surrounded by highly partisan Democratic politicians, committee chairmen and interest groups thrilled to finally seize power. Some of them might have enjoyed his lofty rhetoric about change, but in practice, these organization types have no interest in changing politics. They just want to take the money and patronage that has been going to Republican special interests and give it to Democratic special interests.

These entrenched Democrats are more experienced than Obama. They know how to play the game better. The effect of their efforts will be to turn his into a Potemkin administration filled with great speeches but without great accomplishments or influence over legislation.

Now I don't think Brooks is giving Obama enough credit—it's not like that shit hasn't occured to Obama, and unlike Brooks, I am sure he has a plan to deal with it. But Brooks makes a good point that just because the President will have a "D" after his name, there is no reason to expect Democrats in Congress and D.C. to suddenly adopt Obama's reformist gameplan. In fact, Democrats drunk on power actually worry me more than marginalized Republicans.

So Brooks starts out right, but comes up with the wrong conclusion. I loathe Daschle, and while he knows how government works, he's hardly what I'd call a firm hand, and not one I would trust near the till. Daschle is precisely the type of politician Obama is running to replace—and the kind of guy I was happy to see sent packing. And Sam fucking Nunn? The future of politics, Mr. Brooks, not ’80s Oldies. Nunn for the cabinet? You bet. On the ticket? Not so much.

I'll give you credit for a single on this column, Brooks, but you tried to stretch it for the double and I have to gun you down.

More on the Fall of Paul

Mark Kleiman with perhaps the most scathing condemnation of Krugman I've seen yet. Not on the substance of Krugman's column, but what he says about Krugman's motives [emphasis added]:
[...] But he still can't bring himself to say a single positive thing about the only person standing between John McCain and the White House. Instead he gives the nominee a bunch of bad and condescending advice. The Bush years have been good for Krugman; he could continue into a McCain Presidency without breaking stride. A Clinton Presidency might have brought him a senior appointment. But an Obama Administration would make Krugman a marginal figure.

Do you think his unconscious mind has figured this out? Or is there any other explanation for his continuing to do what he can to weaken the nominee of the party he claims to favor?

[...] As a long-time admirer of Krugman, I remain appalled by the breathtaking dishonesty of his attacks on Barack Obama, and the result is an anger that no doubt sometimes interferes with my judgment. I hadn't known that Krugman had disclaimed any interest in a Washington job; that part of my attack was clearly off the mark.

Still, under President Clinton Krugman would have the President's ear; under President McCain he'd have an excellent target; under Barack Obama he'd be carping from the sidelines.
I'm still looking for another explanation for writing a column designed to weaken the man Krugman admits will be the nominee of your party. To be a friendly critic, you must first establish your friendliness.

Strong stuff. Kleiman follows up by sharing a convincing justification of Krugman's actions sent to him from a Professor of Statistics at Carnegie Mellon. It's worth reading, and far be it for me to get caught up in the rumble between Professors at Berkeley, Princeton and Carnegie Mellon—but, personally, it just makes Krugman sound more petty and like more of a dick.

Monday, May 26, 2008

It's Monday, and we all know what that means...

...Paul Krugman is pissing me off.

Today's column is titled "Divided They Stand" and in it you'd expect Krugman to lay out a plan for the Democrats to unify the party to take on McCain. Well, he'll get to that in a minute...First, he has to spend four paragraphs bemoaning the latest "fake scandal" that is being trumped up against Clinton—never mind that this RFK thing was entirely of her own making. Yes, the outrage amps were cranked up "to eleven," but it was Hillary herself that kicked it off, and then compounded it with her weak-ass "apology."

Krugman in his rush to absolve Hillary and shift blame to Obama (or the universally vague "Obama supporters") never mentions that Obama and his campaign were pretty goddamn gracious about the whole thing and resisted piling on like Clinton did every time she had a chance to show some class or grace.

Krugman gets down to the business of "uniting the party" by announcing Obama has a problem:
Mr. Obama will be the Democratic nominee. But he has a problem: many grass-roots Clinton supporters feel that she has received unfair, even grotesque treatment. And the lingering bitterness from the primary campaign could cost Mr. Obama the White House.

To bolster his case, PK points to some stupid poll showing that Obama trails McCain in Florida while Hillary leads. In fucking May—with the Dems still splitting votes versus McCain. From that poll, Krugman extrapolates that this is all the result of disgruntled Clinton supporters, and that Obama needs to win over and bring them back to the party.

First, I think the number of "I'm so disgruntled that Hillary lost that I'll vote for McCain or stay home because Hillary had a tough time and I blame it all on Obama" is way overblown. It certainly pales in comparison to the number of African American voters who would be (far more justifiably) disaffected if Clinton were to somehow abscond with the nomination. Plus, let's not forget the excited youth vote (aka the future of the party) that Obama actually seems to be delivering for once.

Second, these disgruntled die-hard Hillary supporters (I tangle with them regularly at Shakesville) are beyond Obama's appeal, if not all reason. They are the equivalent of Bush's 23-percenters, and that brand of identity politics is not worth bending Obama's platform to embrace.

Krugman blames Obama (?!?!) for dismissing Clinton's support as "a purely Appalachian phenomenon." More bullshit. That's only come up as a result of three recent primaries, all of which took place with Clinton desperately trying to close the gap, and SHE is the one that attempted to use those numbers as an indication that Obama can't win with "hardworking white Americans." Obama and his campaign would just assume not acknowledge those losses, but when forced to explain them, the only thing differentiating these "blue collar whites" from the ones that Obama carrieds everywhere else—from Oregon to Wisconsin—IS the Appalachia/racism factor.

The big problem really is that Krugman, as always, is laying all of Clinton's mistreatment (and there has been plenty) at the feet of Obama and "Obama supporters." That's bullshit. And frankly, this sounds disturbingly like February's "Nixonland" column when Krugman used his email inbox as illustrative of the wide world of Obama supporters.

Disgruntled Clinton supporters can and should be pissed at the treatment of their candidate by the media and punditry—it's been at times awful and disgusting—but Obama and his "official" campaign have been pretty fucking easy on her. There have been tussles, but by and large, he has run a pretty high-road campaign, even as Clinton threw the kitchen sink at him, and even questioned his qualifications for the job—while endorsing their GOP foe's.

Krugman spends exactly one brief paragraph on what role Clinton has had and will have in all of this:
Mrs. Clinton needs to do her part: she needs to be careful not to act as a spoiler during what’s left of the primary, she needs to bow out gracefully if, as seems almost certain, Mr. Obama receives the nod, and she needs to campaign strongly for the nominee once the convention is over. She has said she’ll do that, and there’s no reason to believe that she doesn’t mean it.

What fucking planet has Krugman been on the last week? I was actually ready to write almost the same thing—two weeks ago! Before Hillary decided to head down to Florida and undermine the legitimacy of the presumptive nominee. That's not playing the spoiler? Comparing the electoral process to Zimbabwe is being graceful?

So when Krugman concludes that it's Obama that has to clean up the race, it's almost laughable. Hillary has been setting fire to everything she can as she goes down, but "mainly it’s up to Mr. Obama to deliver the unity he has always promised..."
One thing to do would be to make a gesture of respect for Democrats who voted in good faith by recognizing Florida’s primary votes — which at this point wouldn’t change the outcome of the nomination fight.

Really, then why was the gracious, non-spoiling Hillary continue to beat the Florida thing into the ground?
The only reason I can see for Obama supporters to oppose seating Florida is that it might let Mrs. Clinton claim that she received a majority of the popular vote. But which is more important — denying Mrs. Clinton bragging rights, or possibly forfeiting the general election?

Yeak, Professor, Hillary just wants "bragging rights" and a "Perfect Primary Attendance Trophy"...she would use that exact popular vote scenario (dubious though it would be) to try and hijack the race. In fact, she's already trying...
What about offering Mrs. Clinton the vice presidency? If I were Mr. Obama, I’d do it. Adding Mrs. Clinton to the ticket — or at least making the offer — might help heal the wounds of an ugly primary fight.

Here’s the point: the nightmare Mr. Obama and his supporters should fear is that in an election year in which everything favors the Democrats, he will nonetheless manage to lose. He needs to do everything he can to make sure that doesn’t happen.

Of course to Krugman, adding Clinton to the ticket has no down side. None at all. As if the droves of disaffected Republicans currently sitting this one out wouldn't be awakened by a Clinton anywhere on the ticket. Pretty sure there're more of them than there are pissed-off Hillarybots. And nowhere in there is there anything that Clinton could do—like perhaps to knock some sense into her supporters?'s all on Obama to try an win them over, while Hillary goes about stoking the embers.

Andrew Sullivan wraps up his critique of Krugman..."I've been open to an Obama-Clinton ticket; but the more you see of the Clintons, the more you realize that getting rid of them - and the assumptions they represent - is part of what this entire campaign has come to be about."

Yeah. Pretty much.

UPDATE: More from: Carpetbagger, Too Sense, John Cole, Aravosis

Sunday, May 25, 2008

More on RFK

A couple of things...

One. I am more disturbed and creeped out by Hillary's statement than I am outraged. For many this is the "last straw." For me, that was weeks ago, so I'm not getting all frothed up over this. I suppose it's Clinton Outrage Fatigue.

Two. On the other hand, I'm not going to begrudge anybody for cranking up the outrage over the remarks because they were outrageous, and frankly something has to drive her out and it might as well be this. But, the one interpretation I am not really buying—and the one most people are most readily reaching for—is that she is using a hypothetical assassination as a reason to keep running.

That, to me, is clearly NOT what she said, and I don't know why anyone would try and put those words in her mouth. It just doesn't make sense. In nearly all cases, whenever anybody "drops out" of the race, they are technically "suspending" their campaign, for various fundraising and technical reasons. So the idea that she needs to keep her campaign active in case something happens to Obama is preposterous. If something happened it's not like the Dems would let McCain run unopposed...and HRC would be the most logical replacement candidate as the runner-up, whether she had "conceded" or not.

That said, I cannot fathom a possible reason or context to justify her mentioning the assassination of a Presidential candidate. Period. Certainly not to answer that particular timeline-related question, but not in any other circumstance I can think of.

That line becomes especially creepy when the race had basically reached the point where the discussion has turned to the possibility of her being the VP, and thus the first successor. One would think that invoking anything regarding assuming office due to unforeseen circumstances would be a topic given a very wide berth.

But when the likely nominee is a black man, Clinton should never have even gotten close to making a gaffe like this, because the very real shadow of Obama's assassination has loomed over the race as soon as he became viable—it's not talked about, but it's not necessarily far from people minds. And making it worse, Obama's not just a black man (as if that isn't enough) but a black man struggling to overcome the persistent rumor that he's a stealth Muslim raise the stakes even higher.

In conclusion, I think it speaks more to the unraveling of Clinton as a candidate and a demonstration of a disqualifying level of self-absorption and self-importance, and an empty void where a President needs discretion, tact and understanding. Casually referencing a tragic moment of one of the country's most disgraceful periods as a talking point to be (repeatedly) used regard to what it means to a huge swath of the country is just another example of (both) Clintons' delusions of grandeur and historical self-inflation and sense of entitlement.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

She's Done.

There's much more to say about the new low Hillary established today, and I'll be coming back to unload, but for now I'll let KO handle things...

UPDATE: I don't see how anyone in the real world (which excludes Taylor Marsh, Jeralyn and the irrational faction* of Shakesville—no link because this never happened over there...) can possibly stand by her any more. Not after this.

Not because it was malicious. Or that she actually is staying in the race because Obama might get shot. But because this was an unnecessary gaffe of epic proportions.

I actually understand the context she was invoking—that campaigns have extended into June—but why she felt the need to use RFK as her example instead of, say, Hart/Mondale, but then to compound her unforced error by not just alluding to, but actually using the word "assassinated" in reference to the soon-to-be first black nominee for PResident in a country with a bloody legacy is simply incomprehensible to me. Sure, what she said is "historically true", but it was completely gratuitous and unnecessary, not to mention unbelievably insensitive, even cold-blooded. Screw it—sociopathic.

And she has gone to this well before. More than once. This was just the first time there was a video. Like Tuzla, the fact that there is a pattern negates any claim of "off the cuff slip." There is no reason for her use RFK as her example or to tread anywhere near the assassination of a rival.

As I am sure she is well aware Barack Obama was granted Secret Service protection earlier than any candidate since, well, RFK—who was running just after the assassination of that LBJ coattail-rider Martin Luther King.

She just gave the superdelegates all the cover they need to pull the plug on her, and simultaneously torpedoed any shot at VP. A silver lining I suppose.

Her campaign's strategy of hanging around until some scandal or mega-gaffe decided the nomination was a success—but like everything else, just not the way they planned.

[TPM has the original statement and the non-apology apology clips here.]

* Update and clarification: I read regularly at Shakesville, and I'm not really sure why, but I do. It is an enjoyable place for me, I suppose, because there's actually a debate as opposed to agreement. But it can be frustrating and annoying...There are contributors and commenters over there that are as in the tank for Hillary as the die-hard moron Bush-supporters, and that's who I was referring to. Melissa has a thread up on the RFK debacle today, and she has a pretty reasonable reaction, though I think she downplays it a bit.

Friday, May 23, 2008


I don't know if any of that is true. But it's coming from the Clinton camp for some reason—whether it's about an actual exit from the race or press-managing-gamesmanship is unclear. Either way, Obama needs to be giving her the Heisman. Big Time.

That this shit is going on—or if it's not, that she tolerates this tactic from her "inner circle"—is Exhibit A why she is undeserving of a VP nod from Obama or the office of President she seeks. To put it mildly, who the fuck does she think she is?

The always-excellent Hilzoy does a better job with this than I can, or have time to try [emphasis mine]:
I have been thinking about Clinton's conduct ever since she compared her efforts to get the Florida and Michigan votes counted to abolitionists, suffragists, and the current crisis in Zimbabwe. I agree with Josh Marshall that her attempts to gin up resentment and a sense that the nomination was stolen from her are toxic. Even Ezra Klein, who has been a lot more open to Clinton than many people, has concluded that she is trying to ensure that Obama loses. Since then, there have been a lot of stories wondering what on earth she is up to. And while I haven't heard what the NYPost describes as a "Groundswell Of Calls For O-Hill Union", there has definitely been a groundswell of stories about that alleged groundswell, much of which seems to be coming from the Clinton campaign itself. There have also been a lot of stories asking: what does Obama need to do to keep her on board?

Note what's missing here: any sense that Clinton herself is a responsible moral agent. People are writing about her as though she were a bomb that needed to be expertly defused, as opposed to a person who can govern her own life, and is responsible for her own choices.

I am aware that it must be hard to face the fact that you've lost. But it became clear that she was not going to win the nomination months ago -- I would say after Wisconsin, but certainly after Texas. Moreover, this is not unprecedented. People lose the nomination every four years. Most of the time, they do not stay on until it is mathematically impossible for them to win; they leave when it has become clear that they will not win. They do not complain about disenfranchising all the states with later primaries, they do not threaten to keep their supporters home, and they certainly do not threaten "open civil war" if they don't get nominated for Vice President. On those rare occasions when some candidate does this in the absence of some truly monumental issue, we normally think that that candidate is a narcissistic and unprincipled person who has just shown why s/he should never, ever be President.

There is absolutely no reason not to apply these same standards to Hillary Clinton. Right now, instead of floating demands in the press and comparing herself to abolitionists and suffragists, she could be telling her supporters that she lost fair and square; that while there was a lot of sexism in the campaign, there was racism as well, and that sexism does not explain why a candidate with literally every institutional advantage over her opponent lost the nomination. She could be reaching out to the voters who supported her in places where Obama has had trouble, and urging them to vote for him. She could, in a word, be doing the right thing: trying to earn that respect she seems to want.

Instead, she's throwing tantrums, making demands that she has no right to make, and threatening civil war.

LIVE IN PORTLAND! The Decembrists! (some Obama guy might show up)

Obama's Decemberists
Posted by: Hugh Hewitt Tuesday, May 20, 2008 at 7:30 PM

Turns out that Obama's opening act at the megarally was The Decemberists, a hugely popular indie rock band, which typically opens their concerts with the Soviet National Anthem.

How odd that the MSM didn't tell us that a few of the 75K in attendance may have come for the tunes.

And did the Obama rally begin with the Soviet National Anthem? The concert went for 45 minutes and was widely pitched on Facebook etc. But did the band trim their act to make it Obama-appropriate?

Yeah, you tool, like The Decembrists are U-freaking-2. The opening band had nothing to do with who and how many attended that rally. I appreciate the fact that Obama is providing some entertainment for the crowd who often has to wait hours for the candidate to appear. If Hewitt and the others on the right think there are tens of thousands of devoted Decembrists fans that could care less about Obama or politics, yet decided to line-up for hours ahead of time, go through security, sit in the sweltering sun and through a speech they care nothing about all for 30 minutes of free music you are, to put it kindly, brain-damaged.

As "proof" Hewitt cites an "evite" from the Obama campaign. That evite actually neglects to even mention the band by name—instead listing band members as special guests.

Trying to claim that Obama's big draw was his merely piggybacking on a Woodstock concert crowd is beyond mendacious, it's freaking hilarious.

[Hewitt sources this even more hilarious "article" from Newsbusters—check the comments, hysterical. I got to Hewitt from Sullivan.]

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Dick(s) of the Week: "Two Male Offenders"

Vandals Damage Stonehenge

LONDON (AFP) - Vandals used a hammer and screwdriver to vandalize England's world-famous Stonehenge ancient monument, the first such incident for decades, officials said Thursday.

The night-time attack by two men last week involved the central megalith in the 5,000-year-old ring of standing stones, said the conservation body English Heritage, adding that they could have been looking for a souvenir.

Yesterday we got our copy of National Geographic and Stonehenge is the cover feature. I was looking at it with Kid F, and marveling at the sheer engineering feat of moving stones that weigh up to 50 tons from between 20 and 240 miles away. Five thousand fucking years ago...
[link] The giant sarsen stones (which form the outer circle), weigh as much as 50 tons each. To transport them from the Marlborough Downs, roughly 20 miles to the north, is a problem of even greater magnitude than that of moving the bluestones. Most of the way, the going is relatively easy, but at the steepest part of the route, at Redhorn Hill, modern work studies estimate that at least 600 men would have been needed just to get each stone past this obstacle.

Yeah but assholes with handtools felt like they were entitled to take a piece home with them. Perhaps these two dicks need to be used as part of a demonstration that henge means gallows.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Manny Being Manny

How do you not love this guy? Even you Yanks fans...

Missing from that clip is this play where Manny robs an Oriole of extra bases, climbs the wall, high-fives a fan in the bleachers and then doubles up the runner at first all in stride...Ridiculous.

[h/t Crank]

Thursday, May 15, 2008


By now you've probably seen the Bill O'Reilly tantrum video, but you haven't been able to fully enjoy it without the proper context...

UPDATE: The "never-before-seen" footage shows he other side of the argument...

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Special Comment Asskicking

I was going to write a post about Bush's interview, particularly about the "golf sacrifice," but anything I'd come up with would seem penned by Mr Sunny Patch compared with this. I'll just hand it over to the master...

Barack Sends His Regards

When I heard this morning that Obama was here in Michigan I was sure it was part of some massive 40th Birthday Surprise...alas, is seems he is double-booked—he is bypassing Ann Arbor and heading straight to Grand Rapids—to accept the endorsement of John Edwards!

I wonder what happened between this week and last week to cement the endorsement? I mean, besides John Edwards reading my blog...

UPDATE: Video.

Quote of the Day

John Scalzi:
Poor, rural, working-class white folks in Appalachia didn’t vote for the rich urban former law professor senator from Chicago. They went for the rich urban former law professor senator born in Chicago instead. But since the vote went so overwhelmingly in one direction rather than the other, and rich urban former law professor senators with Chicago ties are otherwise largely interchangeable, there has to be another controlling factor here. I can’t think what it might be, though. Maybe it will come to me if I think about it.

[h/t Sullivan]


...but still not nearly as old as John McCain

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

All or Nothing

"I respect Hillary supporters because they haven't had the chance to get to know her like I have. She does not have the political skills of her husband. Or Barack. You need somebody who can bring people together. She criticized my health care bill because it wouldn't achieve universal coverage until 1998. Well, today we'd be celebrating the 10th anniversary of having every American with insurance." - Congressman Jim Cooper, of Tennessee

Everybody knows Hillary Clinton tried and failed to get universal health care implemented in the 90s. What not everybody knows is that she took a Dubya-esque "My way or the highway" approach and derided the plans of everyone—Democrats included—who failed to reach her unattainable goals at the time. She stacked her Commission with insiders and yes-men and refused input from anyone who wouldn't meet her on her terms. The fact that this is still a campaign issue fourteen years later is on her as much as anyone who opposed her—her approach probably set the movement back years.

That she continues to do the same thing to Obama's more measured, but probably more attainable, plan doesn't indicate, to me, she's changed or that she'd have any more luck getting things done now.

[h/t Sullivan]

Monday, May 12, 2008

A Cup for Paul Krugman

Professor, I really didn't want it to come to this, but you leave me no choice... I understand that you support Hillary Clinton. That's fine. But you are still pretending you are neutral, and that you offer sober analysis, yet you have been little more than a campaign mouthpiece and now seem to be completely through the looking glass and even exceeding the rhetoric of the campaign itself.

The day after Hillary Clinton shoves her foot all the way down her throat regarding the work habits of white people*—with no clear extrication procedure available—you decide to take pen in hand and write a column about a candidate, and a campaign, that has a "problem" with race, and you write it about Barack Obama?!? Are you fucking serious?

Fellow academician Mark Kleiman said it perfectly:
If you actually wanted to help Barack Obama (who is, as you note the presumptive Democratic nominee) you would give him advice in private and praise him in public. Telling him that he shouldn't disrespect white people is neither necessary nor helpful. You might at least pretend to believe that some of the people who voted for your preferred candidate were voting for her, rather than against him.

Take a fucking sabbatical until this race is over, Professor, and join us on the other side. You are embarrassing yourself.

* In defense of HRC, I think she made a horrible mistake when she spoke, and NOT a dogwhistle remark. I could be wrong of course, but I'm hoping not.

Thursday, May 08, 2008


* I know, I know, but what else am I gonna come up with? Are you more comfortable with "Hitlarity?"

Bad Idea

I don't like this, and I hope it's not true, or at most a trial balloon...
Obama plans to declare victory May 20

Not long after the polls close in the May 20 Kentucky and Oregon primaries, Barack Obama plans to declare victory in his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination.

And, until at least May 31 and perhaps longer, Hillary Clinton's campaign plans to dispute it...

[...] The Obama campaign agrees with the Democratic National Committee, which pegs a winning majority at 2,025 pledged delegates and superdelegates--a figure that excludes the penalized Florida and Michigan delegations. The Clinton campaign, on the other hand, insists the winner will need 2,209 to cinch the nomination--a tally that includes Florida and Michigan...

[...] Obama will not reach the 2,025 magic number on May 20. Rather, on that date he is all but certain to hit a different threshold--1,627 pledged delegates, which would constitute a winning majority among the 3,253 total pledged delegates if Florida and Michigan are not included.

"On May 20 we're going to declare victory," said an Obama senior advisor who asked that his name be withheld to speak candidly, adding that after those contests they will be "the ones with the most pledged delegates and the most popular votes."

Don't do it. In fact, I am astonished to even read this.

Behind the Music

This is pretty damn funny.

I know there are a lot of Haters out there, but I actually have no problem with John Mayer. I think his radio stuff is pretty banal, but his live John Mayer Trio blues album TRY! is "the shit" and "fucking awesome."

Worst. Strategist. Ever.

From TIME's "The Five Mistakes Clinton Made":
2. She didn't master the rules
Clinton picked people for her team primarily for their loyalty to her, instead of their mastery of the game. That became abundantly clear in a strategy session last year, according to two people who were there. As aides looked over the campaign calendar, chief strategist Mark Penn confidently predicted that an early win in California would put her over the top because she would pick up all the state's 370 delegates. It sounded smart, but as every high school civics student now knows, Penn was wrong: Democrats, unlike the Republicans, apportion their delegates according to vote totals, rather than allowing any state to award them winner-take-all. Sitting nearby, veteran Democratic insider Harold M. Ickes, who had helped write those rules, was horrified — and let Penn know it. "How can it possibly be," Ickes asked, "that the much vaunted chief strategist doesn't understand proportional allocation?" And yet the strategy remained the same, with the campaign making its bet on big-state victories. Even now, it can seem as if they don't get it. Both Bill and Hillary have noted plaintively that if Democrats had the same winner-take-all rules as Republicans, she'd be the nominee.

Karen Tumulty must have stayed up all night thinking of four other mistakes not directly attributable to Penn. That guy is a $10 million moron. The only person more incompetent than Mark Penn is the person who hired him...and then continued to stick with him...

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Get Out of Our Way

It's long. Twenty minutes long. But if you haven't watched an Obama speech yet, do yourself a favor. If you don't have twenty minutes, watch half now, and half later. But make sure you watch it. Especially the second half.

It is happening.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

"I submit that you are illogical"

Alas, Evil Spock Krugman still lives...

Today on his NY Times blog, the once-good Professor weighs in on the issue of the gas tax. He's an economist...he's a Clinton supporter...could this be interesting? Will he be the first economist with a pulse to support it? Or will he go off the reservation and hammer Clinton for this idiocy?
Gas Tax Hysterics

OK, this has gone overboard.

Hillary Clinton’s proposed gas tax holiday is not, in my view, a good idea. [...]

Whoa! Krugman's gonna join the reality-based chorus? He's gonna call this out as the politics, rather than policy, that it is?...

Not exactly.

Krugman instead uses this column to hammer other economists for making a big deal out of what he deems a really unimportant little issue.
But the furor over what is, when all is said and done, a small and temporary policy proposal is entirely disproportionate... [economists] place excessive weight on issues where professional judgment differs from lay opinion...So when a presidential candidate says something that conflicts with economistic wisdom, it becomes THE MOST IMPORTANT ISSUE EVER. Except, you know, it isn’t.

Um, Professor? I don't really think it's the economists that are making this the biggest fucking issue facing the planet—it's your candidate! Have you been in a cave the last two weeks? Hillary is putting on a demagoguery clinic! The reason responsible economists are weighing in is that for once the media is doing it's job (slightly) and asking them.

What's that? You can explain that too?
Part of it, clearly, is the fact that many people in the media really, really want Obama to win and Clinton to lose...and have seized on the gas tax as their latest proof that she is ee-ee-vil.

Ho-lee fuck. Now it's the Vast Left Wing Conspiracy...

Of course, the Gas Tax Holiday IS a stupid little issue. Not only stupid, but actually irrelevant to this race as it won't actually happen this summer no matter what HRC promises to the contrary. But the reason this has become such a BIG deal is because Hillary Clinton has made it the centerpiece of her revamped populist approach, AND as her main weapon against Obama—declaring him "elite" and uncaring" for disagreeing with her (and McCain). She has made it a big deal, and the fact that she is presenting the whole thing dishonestly and disingenuously requires responsible economists speak out.

Perhaps one day, you will once again join them Mr. Krugman.

UPDATE: That column is from May 6, before results from that days primaries. Here is Krugman today:
Talleyrand and the gas tax holiday

I’m on record as saying that Hillary Clinton’s advocacy of a gas-tax holiday, while it wasn’t good policy, didn’t rise to the level of a crime.

Judging from last night’s results, however, it was worse than a crime: it was a mistake.

Wrong. It was a crime against decency and integrity—it was fraud and it was perjury. The public showed her (and you apparently) that we've had enough of that shit.


Why not? Everybody else is doing it...

INDIANA: Clinton wins by 5 or less.

NORTH CAROLINA: Obama by at least 10.

That will increase his delegate lead by another half dozen or more while taking half the remaining delegates off the table. Hillary's math only gets worse.

I'm happy to be wrong if this is the result: Obama by a wider than predicted 15 in N.C. and a narrower than expected 2-point loss in Indiana. He gains 15 delegates and 200,000 in the popular vote at the end of the day.

Not Just a Maverick...

John McCain's also an action hero...

McCain Declines Secret Service, Dares Assassins To Try Something

Hilarious. "The Onion" and "The Daily Show" continue to lead the world in journalism.

Speaking of dropped in a jungle, check out Fridge's fisking of Bear Grylls.

Profiles in Courage. Or Not.

[TPM link] John and Elizabeth Edwards have finally made their endorsement plans -- or lack of them -- official.

On the eve of potentially decisive voting in Indiana and North Carolina, with political tensions at white-hot levels, John and Elizabeth revealed all in an interview with People magazine, of all outlets.

The news in the interview is that they confirmed they will not endorse either candidate in the presidential race, because they are "saving their political capital for their own causes -- his, fighting poverty; hers, fighting for universal health care," reports, um, People mag.

Thanks guys! There is no moment I can imagine when your "political capital" will be worth a fraction of what it is worth at this moment. Good luck with that. Keep that powder dry.

Seriously. I never had the Edwards love that many on the Left had. Not this time, and not in 2004. I always had the impression he was a bit of a charlatan. He reinvented himself as a populist this last time around, and certainly had moments when he was making a valuable contribution to the race, but once his window closed he took his ball and went home.

Now faced with a decision that requires risk and has unclear implications, Edwards punts. Maybe he didn't get what he wanted from either candidate? Maybe he's afraid to pick the wrong horse? Maybe he wants to endorse Clinton but is afraid of the Obama blowback?

I don't know, but this does NOT impress me a bit. There are thousands of his supporters looking for a little leadership here and he offers none. This isn't MArch when one could say with a straight face that the choices were pretty close. After the last two months, if John Edwards is unable to discern a difference between Obama and Clinton, then he is a fucking moron. One of these candidates embodies everything he was running against, and the other—while not perfectly aligned—is fighting for the same things he supposedly was. Has he not been paying attention to Hillary's non-stop pander-fest in his home state over the last week? Literally saying anything to peel off votes?

I was disappointed in Edwards the day he rolled over for Dick Cheney in the 2004 VP debate, this is far worse.

UPDATE: The TPM link above seems to be hinky, here is the PEOPLE teaser interview.

Whose Votes Matter

Monday, May 05, 2008

Cutting Through the Bullshit

While in North Carolina, I had the pleasure of seeing Hillary Clinton's preposterous Gas Tax Holiday pander-thon all over the tv... Here's Obama calling that shit what it is...

Is This a Real Question?

From NPR:
Politics & Society
If Your Neighbor Poses as Your Husband, Is it Rape?

Day to Day, May 5, 2008 · Massachusetts is the latest state to consider putting a new crime on the books: rape by fraud. Currently, a sex act only qualifies as rape if physical force is used. We talk to a woman who was tricked into having sex with her boyfriend's brother, who pretended to be her boyfriend — and unable to convict him of rape because of this limited definition.

Yes, that's fucking rape. It's not about physical force, it's about consent. What the fuck is wrong with Massachusetts? A woman who consents to have sex with her husband, and then when the lights come on finds out it's an impostor, was just raped by any common sense interpretation of the term I can fathom. I cannot even believe this is a law.


Oh, and do you know what else is rape? THIS. And the fucking assholes in Oklahoma just wrote this into law...

Births and Resurrections

First of all, congratulations are in order to the Smittys who welcomed two more to the clan late last week. Mrs F gave me the news while I was out of town and unable to go online. I'm out-femaled 3-1 around here, but with new twins boys, Smitty Jr, and a giant boy-at-heart and in-deed (Smitty himself), Mrs Smitty is in a whole other world...

Get your ass off the computer, Smitty, and change a diaper or two! Or ten.

Earlier today I got a comment from beyond the grave from Otto Man. Actually, I knew OM was still alive from his participation in the comments at KSK, but I was laid low when I saw that Thrillhous and all the boys at Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Nachos are back in action. I went over there expecting the same dead site that expired near two years ago just to poach a link, and just about shit my pants when I saw they're back posting and have been for at least a week or so.

Promptly reinstalled in the blogroll where you belong my friends. Welcome back.

What he said...

Yesterday, while stuck in an airport I watched the most inane conversation and "analysis" between Wolf Blitzer and his panel of expert morons, and just shook my head at the garbage they treat as important and the shallowness of the treatment of issues.

It's fucking awful, and if (when?) Obama loses at either stage of this election it will be due less to his abuse at the hands of Hillary Clinton than to the disservice of what poses for the press.

In six minutes, Bill Moyers speaks more truth and explains more fully the complexity of Rev Wright and the whole tempest surrounding him and Obama than the entire 24-hour cable and internet news media could manage in six weeks.

If only we could have more coverage and analysis like this:

Back in the Saddle

Sorry for the unannounced departure...I was out of town and had so many loose ends to tie up before I left, I neglected to mention I'd be gone from blogging...

Not that anyone missed me.

Anyway, my unscientific survey based entirely on yard signs indicates an absolute thumping of Hillary Clinton by Barack Obama in North Carolina. Western North Carolina. As in Asheville and surrounding towns. Which is to say, these results in no way reflect the potential statewide outcome, yet this analysis is every bit as valuable as the bullshit I saw on Sunday morning.