Tuesday, September 30, 2008

MLB Playoffs: Who Do I Root For When the Sox are Eliminated?

My gut feeling is that the Sox will get mowed down by the Angels. Compared to last year's Championship team, we are minus Manny, and crossing our fingers with a hobbled Beckett, Lowell and Drew. That alone should seal our fate. But the Angels are also a much better team than last year with the addition of Teixiera.

We've always seemed to have our way with the Angels, but this year they pummeled the Sox, winning eight of nine and doubling us up on the scoreboard. The Angels have a strong front three, a pesky lineup and a young Mariano closing. The Sox got great years out of Lester, Dice-K, Pedroia and Youkilis and on paper I even like the match-ups, but as a team they just haven't been consistent.

I fear the Angels win in 4.


So then what? In the AL, I am pulling for the Rays all the way. These aren't the punk Gerald Williams/Canseco douchebag Devil Rays, this is a dynamic team of young players that have put it all together. Worst to first is too good a story to pass up, and I HATE the Ozzie Guillen ChiSox. Go Rays!

And in the NL, I gotta go with my man Manny. I love the fact that he pushed this Dodger team over the top, and a chance for his redemption coupled with Torre outlasting the Yanks plus former Sox faves Lowe and Nomar in supporting roles, choosing an NL team is easy for me.

Bailing Out the Bail-Out

Publius at Obsidian Wings finally has electricity and internet back (he's in Houston) and his comeback post is a good one—The Progressive Moment

Kos contributor Trapper John suggests a miniaturized version of the Paulson plan—Small Is Beautiful Can somebody give me a good reason why it wouldn't work?

Monday, September 29, 2008


The bailout doesn't even get through the House. I'm no economist, but then, none of the douchebags voting on this are either. My initial reaction is the same as Friday, "Good."

Again, the more I read about this "compromise plan" the worse it looked—even if Krugman and others thought it was worth passing. I don't see any reason why taking some time to make sure what passes is RIGHT instead of just QUICK is a problem.

Taking a bit more time to weigh options might give me a chance to find out what the hell might be wrong with this plan, because it sounds far preferable to this bailout to me.

Based on Paulson's original proposal, this whole thing reeked of the White House demanding the whole damn solar system when all they really want is the planet. Negotiations ensue and when the dust clears, the Dems stand around patting each other on the back for getting the GOP to "settle" for the Earth and the Moon.

Um...Holy Shit?

Worse news than economic meltdown. Worse news even than McCain as President...Washington Post, p.A2:
The rise in global carbon dioxide emissions last year outpaced international researchers' most dire projections, according to figures being released today, as human-generated greenhouse gases continued to build up in the atmosphere despite international agreements and national policies aimed at curbing climate change.

In 2007, carbon released from burning fossil fuels and producing cement increased 2.9 percent over that released in 2006, to a total of 8.47 gigatons, or billions of metric tons, according to the Australia-based Global Carbon Project, an international consortium of scientists that tracks emissions. This output is at the very high end of scenarios outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and could translate into a global temperature rise of more than 11 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century, according to the panel's estimates.

At this point I don't give a shit about the solvency of Social Security or any of that shit. We aren't gonna need it if we're all dead—this needs to be handled and handled fast. Can we please get serious about this shit?

No more fucking morons who think dinosaurs and humans shared a campfire. We need Obama and the Dems to win in a walk and replace every one of the incompetent retards Bush installed throughout the government with actual scientists.

I don't want to hear any more crap about Clean Coal™ from Obama after the election. It's garbage. It's a fucking lie. No new coal plants. Period. Take every existing coal plant and upgrade it to the max, but no more new ones. We need a real solar initiative, and fucking windmills everywhere—in Ted Kennedy's backyard, yours and mine. Here in Asheville and the mountains, I'm sure there will be all kinds of objections to windmills destroying the view—fuck that. The smog from the coal plants gets so bad here there is no fucking view, and I don't want my kids having asthma.

This is The New Deal and the Space Race wrapped into one. Autoworkers in Michigan can be manufacturing turbines, I don't care if it's for a government factory. Just get moving on this shit. It's good for the economy, healthcare, energy...everything.

[h/t Kevin Drum who summed up thusly, "We are so screwed."]


I've posted this before, but I just got it in an email again, and it's worth re-posting in case you haven't seen it... After the erratic, unstable, desperate and increasingly bellicose behavior of McCain over the last month or so, this is even scarier...

Pass it on.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Knight in Shining Terry Cloth. . . [with updates on phones and fools]

Total. Fraud. [link]
After declaring he’d return to Washington to help with the bailout negotiations immediately after last night’s debate, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) never went to Capitol Hill today. In fact, McCain stayed largely holed up in his Arlington apartment, leaving only to go to his campaign headquarters just around the block, the New York Times reports:

Asked why Mr. McCain did not go to Capitol Hill after coming back to Washington to help with negotiations, [McCain adviser] Mr. Salter replied that “he can effectively do what he needs to do by phone."

Yeah. 72 hours ago the planet was tipping off its axis, tv appearances canceled, campaigns suspended, and debates should be rescheduled so Johnnie Drama could fly to D.C. to personally, with his bare hands, wrest an economic solution from a hapless Congress, Treasury and President...

But today, when nobody's paying attention, McCain can handle his "role" in the negotiations in his bathrobe from one of his thirteen houses.

UPDATE [even better]: I suppose that's understandable, because when he DID show up in person it went like this
Bush turned to McCain, who joked, "The longer I am around here, the more I respect seniority." McCain then turned to Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to speak first.

Boehner was blunt. The plan Paulson laid out would not win the support of the vast majority of House Republicans. It had been improved on the edges, with an oversight board and caps on the compensation of participating executives. But it had to be changed at the core. He did not mention the insurance alternative, but Democrats did. Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, pressed Boehner hard, asking him if he really intended to scrap the deal and start again.

No, Boehner replied, he just wanted his members to have a voice. Obama then jumped in to turn the question on his rival: "What do you think of the [insurance] plan, John?" he asked repeatedly. McCain did not answer.

If there were video of that exchange it would end this thing right fucking now.

Josh Marshall has the next two paragraphs...
[...] McCain did not answer.

One Republican in the room said it was clear that the Democrats came into the meeting with a "game plan" aimed at forcing McCain to choose between the administration and House Republicans. "They had taken McCain's request for a meeting and trumped it," said this source.

Congressional aides from both parties were standing in the lobby of the West Wing, unaware of the discord inside the Cabinet room, when McCain emerged alone, shook the hands of the Marines at the door and left. The aides were baffled. The plan had been for a bipartisan appearance before the media, featuring McCain, Obama and at least a firm statement in favor of intervention. Now, one of the leading men was gone.

Awesome. THAT is the difference between tactics and strategy, Senator McCain.

UPDATE 3 [you can't make this stuff up]:

This morning on Fox News Sunday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) praised Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) for returning to Washington to help the bailout negotiations, saying his presence was vital to the negotiations:

"John didn't phone this one in.... You can't phone something like this in. Thank God John came back."

Seems to me, the only time progress WAS happening was when McCain was nowhere near negotiations—the deal is almost done before he parachutes in, he screws it all up, sits on his hands in the big meeting, and then backs down and goes to the debate. He then spends Saturday hanging around the house LITERALLY PHONING IT IN, drops by the campaign office and then he and Barbie go out to dinner with the Liebermans.

Yeah, sounds like he played a VITAL role, Sen. Huckleberry. As Benen said,
""Thank God John came back"? There's partisan hackery and then there's THIS kind of partisan hackery."

Friday, September 26, 2008

On the Road

In Charleston for business today and then family tomorrow, so blogging will be sporadic at best over the weekend. I don't have ANY idea about what happened in the wider world besides the headline on the paper outside my hotel room door this morning announcing a breakdown on the bailout...

"Good." Was my reaction in its entirety.

Good, because anything that happened that fast would surely be a bad plan, and good because it puts McCain behind the eightball.

That's all for now...

Saturday night and we're home. Time to dive into the internets...

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Motive

Anonymous Liberal, via Benen:
"I think the McCain campaign knew the Couric interview would be a disaster as soon as it was done taping and spent much of the day frantically trying to think of a way to push it out of the headlines," A.L. explained. "The clincher for me is the fact that McCain cancelled his Letterman appearance at the last second and instead sat down for an impromptu interview with, of all people, Katie Couric. The hope was to bump the Palin interview even on the CBS Evening News, which otherwise would have hyped and teased the Palin interview all afternoon and used it to lead the broadcast. Instead, CBS devoted most of its coverage to McCain and played segments of the Palin interview almost as an afterthought. Mission accomplished."

How bad was it? See for yourself...

From the comments at John Cole's place:
I’m still in shock over how terrible the Palin/Couric interview was. “Train wreck” is being charitable – it was more like a train derailing on a bridge, tumbling a thousand feet into a canyon and landing on a pile of old dynamite and gas drums. And then a jumbo jet crashed into the flaming wreckage. Followed by an earthquake that caused the whole mess to slide off a cliff into the sea, where the few miraculous survivors were eaten by sharks.

And let's not forget they had to bump the about-to-explode story of McCain's campaign manager being exposed as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Freddie Mac.

OF course those are the rational excuses for this behavior when it might just be McCain's insane need to be the knight in shit-covered armor. Or his gambling problem.

Late Night Awesome

Don't leave Dave Letterman holding the bag and expect him to cover for you...

John McCain gambles and loses AGAIN. He cancels on Letterman, telling him "he's needed immediately in Washington and the campaign is suspended"...then he goes down the street and tapes an interview with Katie Couric.

Bad move.

Letterman leads the show with five solid minutes of just wailing on McCain, and then brings in Keith Olbermann to fill the time!

Which video is going to be passed around the internet and watched by more people? Letterman's drubbing or Couric's foot massage?

I don't think that's even close...

UPDATE: This morning on ABC News radio: A wrap-up story on Letterman hammering McCain, including a clip; zero coverage of Couric interview.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Recommended Reading

The best breakdown of what happened to financial sector I've seen. Hilarious, but also breaks it down beautifully. Check it out...

Economic Disasters and Stupid Evil People

It's a thing of beauty.

His Campaign Has Fallen And It Can't Get Up

And everyone seems happy to kick McCain when he's down...
He's a kid pulling the fire alarm because final is coming up and he hasn't studied. Such a panicked response to declining poll numbers and major national events does not inspire confidence. You don't get to call time out when you're president.

Big Media Matt:
I think walking and chewing gum at the same time is part of the president’s job.

Dr. Josh
What's changed today in the financial crisis other than John McCain's poll numbers tanking? Isn't this the campaign equivalent of faking an injury when you're down late in the 4th quarter?

McCain, who has played no direct role in the negotiations thus far, wants to swoop in and tell everyone what they need to do. This from a man who hasn't shown up for work at all in literally months.

Rep. Barney Frank:
"It's the longest Hail Mary pass in the history of either football or Marys."

Obama, FTW:
Obama, speaking to reporters in Florida, turned down McCain's offer to delay the debate. "Presidents are going to have to deal with more than one thing at a time," he said. "It's not necessary for us to think that we can do only one thing, and suspend everything else."

Chickenshit or Bullshit?


McCain wants to suspend the campaign and postpone the Presidential Debate so he can fly back to Washington and grandstand on the bailout.

I thought the fundamentals of the economy were strong?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Little Big Man

Robert Reich has five conditions for Wall Street to get its money.

How Big?

Big enough for Paulson and his new checkbook to attend the G8 Summit...

Budget expenditures, 2008 Country Ranks:
1. United States $2,731,000,000,000
2. Japan $1,575,000,000,000
3. Germany $1,477,000,000,000
4. France $1,372,000,000,000
5. United Kingdom $1,237,000,000,000
6. Italy $1,029,000,000,000
7 Hank Paulson's Bailout $700,000,000,000
7 8. China $634,600,000,000

Sorry, Canada. Maybe you can come back next year...
8. Canada $551,200,000,000

[h/t Balloon Juice]

Monday, September 22, 2008

“IT'S A TRAP!” or “This is good news for John McCain.”

As I mentioned previously, last week was pretty busy for me, so I am just catching up on pretty much everything that happened during that time...

My initial thoughts were that this economic meltdown couldn't have come at a better time for Obama—or more precisely—a worse time for McCain. I read the unanimous rejection of the Bush Bailout Plan by anyone with a brain. I saw some more palatable plans suggested (see below). But the one post I read that is really sticking with me is this one at Hullaballo, wherein Digby directs us to a possible GOP jujitsu move:
Republican incumbents in close races have the easiest vote of their lives coming up this week: No on the Bush-Pelosi Wall Street bailout.

God Himself couldn't have given rank-and-file Republicans a better opportunity to create political space between themselves and the Administration.
...Let this be the political establishment (Bush Republicans in the White House + Democrats in Congress) saddling the taxpayers with hundreds of billions in debt (more than the Iraq War, conjured up in a single weekend, and enabled by Pelosi, btw), while principled Republicans say "No" and go to the country with a stinging indictment of the majority in Congress...

And it will work, too. These GOP cocksuckers threw open the vaults and let their buddies ransack the economy for eight years, and now, just as the scope of the theft is uncovered, and the Dems step in to re-lock the door, the GOP shouts "Look!" and pins it all on them.

And nobody is better poised to work this angle than McCain—he can demagogue the shit out of this: Pander to conservatives by "standing up to" the spending, play anti-government and anti-corporate "maverick" by bucking Bush on the issue, and at the same time he can blame the Democratic majority for passing the massive giveaway.

There is not a question in my mind that this could play out that way and not just cost Obama the election, but have an impact on the Congress.

Perfectly timed, no? And the last several years show that the Democrats are all to willing to try and kick the football every time Lucy tees it up.

There is a way around this...overwhelming opposition to Paulson's plan, and crafting one along the lines of Dodd's but with more than a five-man oversight panel. They need MAJOR regulatory reforms, and punitive measures. And as Ed Kilgore notes:
Democrats are right to demand significant substantive concessions before offering their support for the Paulson Plan. But just as importantly, they need to demand Republican votes in Congress, including the vote of John McCain. If this is going to be a "bipartisan" relief plan, it has to be fully bipartisan, not an opportunity for McCain to count on Obama and other Democrats to save the economy while exploiting their sense of responsibility to win the election for the party that let this crisis occur in the first place.

Kilgore's right, this plan only works if the Democrats inoculate themselves by making sure it's bipartisan. Bring it to the floor, and make the Republicans, starting with McCain, vote "yea" first.

UPDATE: Kleimann climbs onboard:
And — this is the part I didn't guess up front — the Democrats don't trust the Republicans not to double-cross them by allowing a bailout to pass (thus satisfying the Republicans' paymasters) while mostly voting against "the Bush-Pelosi bailout" and running as populists.

[...] At minimum, Harry Reid should announce right now that no bill will reach the Senate floor unless both Presidential candidates have signed on as sponsors.

Too bad Harry Reid has never shown the strategy or stones to pull that off.

A Better Bailout?

Sebastian Mallaby has a better idea
Within hours of the Treasury announcement Friday, economists had proposed preferable alternatives. Their core insight is that it is better to boost the banking system by increasing its capital than by reducing its loans. Given a fatter capital cushion, banks would have time to dispose of the bad loans in an orderly fashion. Taxpayers would be spared the experience of wandering into a bad-loan bazaar and being ripped off by every merchant.

[...] First, the government should tell banks to cancel all dividend payments. Banks don't do that on their own because it would signal weakness; if everyone knows the dividend has been canceled because of a government rule, the signaling issue would be removed. Second, the government should tell all healthy banks to issue new equity. Again, banks resist doing this because they don't want to signal weakness and they don't want to dilute existing shareholders. A government order could cut through these obstacles.

Meanwhile, ...the government should help not by buying banks' bad loans but by buying equity stakes in the banks themselves. Whereas it's horribly complicated to value bad loans, banks have share prices you can look up in seconds, so government could inject capital into banks quickly and at a fair level. The share prices of banks that recovered would rise, compensating taxpayers for losses on their stakes in the banks that eventually went under.

My wife could recite chapter and verse on how little I know about financial matters, but this sounds a hell of a lot better than just handing over a $700+ billion for bad paper.

Sounds like Dodd's counter-proposal is something similar...

Same with P-Krug:
[...] the financial system needs more capital. And if the government is going to provide capital to financial firms, it should get what people who provide capital are entitled to — a share in ownership, so that all the gains if the rescue plan works don’t go to the people who made the mess in the first place.

That’s what happened in the savings and loan crisis: the feds took over ownership of the bad banks, not just their bad assets.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Check My Math. Please

My calculator isn't big enough to handle the math, and it's been far too long since I had to do math unassisted...

So this "bail-out" is pretty much like handing my family a bill for $10,000. Is that about right? One trillion dollars divided by approximately 100,000,000 households?

Are you fucking kidding me?

And this isn't even going to buy us any assets like the S&L bailout did, or even any regulation or accountability?

This is handing the Bush Administration a blank check to dole out as they see fit?

Do I have all that right?

Where the fuck is Obama's ass-kicking ad on this?

Friday, September 19, 2008

Aargh! I be deservin' the black spot!

I be so busy this tides I forgot all about it

This tides be deadline tides at work an' I barely got online at all. Dasn't look like I missed anythin' 'ceptin' th' collapse o' th' economy. An' John "Commodore Dark Arse" McCain be still a lyin' motherhorker.

Here be this voyage`s story o' me kickin' some ninja ass...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

What's Wrong With This Cover?

Let me help you out. Pretend you walk up to a newsstand. You're looking for the new issue of People. There it is, right there in the rack. The rack that covers the bottom portion of the cover. And who is placed inexplicably low on the cover? The McCain's adopted daughter Bridget. WTF?

I have been a magazine art director for 15 years, and I can tell you with absolute certainty that this was a deliberate decision by the magazine. Nothing gets more attention than the cover, and there are a host of people that weigh in on even the tiniest of details.

For each and every cover, the prioritization and placement of text and every important element takes into account the newsstand rack, the mailing label, you name it. Nothing is placed anywhere without a reason and careful consideration.

The art director, editor and photographer determined that the "MEET THE McCAINS" copy could afford to be placed low because PEOPLE generally gets prominent placement and is often unobstructed. And in racks where it is partially obscured, Cindy and John McCain are instantly recognizable.

This was probably one of dozens of shots taken, and one of multiple arrangements of the subjects, but I cannot think of any reason why any of the shots would have included putting an adult on a foot-high riser.

But the decision to place Bridget, of all the children, that far down is simply awful. It would be questionable to place anyone sitting that much lower than anyone else, but the fact that they chose her, and the likely reason why is what's disgraceful.

It is straight-up racism. Now, I'm not implying that this is the result of racist actors, but race IS the reason. She was deliberately minimized on the cover with certain elements of the public in mind. The fact that she is blocked on some racks is a bonus to them for their decision to isolate her from the family to start with.

What they have done is relegate her to the spot usually reserved for the family dog.

There is no good reason she should not be placed one "head" higher. The only possible reason I can rationalize is that the decision was in part to give prominence to the chest of [minor celebrity] Meghan directly behind her. But that is not sufficient reason. If boobs were an element that they wanted to capitalize on, they simply would have moved Meghan slightly to the right and made sure Bridget was at the right height, but off Meghan's chest to the left.

So, my experience tells me it was no accident that they chose to run with a shot with the "different" child banished to the lower corner, and it is a fucking disgrace.

For the record, this is all on People. I don't have any reason to attribute any blame to McCain. Hell, as was pointed out in comments elsewhere, John and Cindy might even've thought "Hey, Bridget's right there in the front row!"

[h/t Shakesville]

UPDATE: Still the Palin cover at the CVS around the corner. Why did they use a shot of the baby asleep? Now I have to question if it is to minimize his Downs appearance.


I'm on deadline this week, and Mrs F and the kids are sick. Blogging will be taking a backseat for a bit...

To keep you fired up, here is a photo I just received in an email from my Republican/Borg-drone uncle.

What kind of reality-suspension does it take to buy into that?

At least Obama plans to slap a diaper on that baby—the Republicans have been letting it shit all over the damn house!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Happy Birthday, Professor

"simplest possible stickings across it..." Indeed.

[h/t Space Cowboy]

UPDATE: I told you I could watch this shit all day night...There's a YouTube of ten of the best minutes of recorded music in history. "Xanadu" from "Exit: Stage Left"

Isaac's Storm. Or, "Ike" for short...

As a kid, I remember having (or reading) a book on natural disasters throughout history—from Pompeii and Krakatoa to the San Francisco Earthquake the Johnstown Flood—I found that stuff riveting, and read it over and over. One of the stories that stuck with me was that of the storm that destroyed Galveston, Texas in 1900.

In the '90s, I spent a small fortune on books from amazon.com, and nonfiction stuff from Jon Krakauer and Sebastion Junger were staples in my reading diet. A lesser-known book was Isaac's Storm by Erik Larsen. Centered around an early meteorologist, Isaac Cline, it was a fascinating look at the destruction of Galveston and the hubris and folly of man in the face of the overwhelming power of nature.

From what I just read here and here, Galveston might be looking like 1900 all over again...

Except Ike is now playing the role of the power of nature, and these Darwin Award contenders will be representing the folly of man.

Look, I'm a weather nerd with the best of 'em. Love a thunderstorm, and pined to see a tornado while I lived in the Midwest—so I can understand the temptation to experience a hurricane... But, when the National Weather Service forcast contains the words "face certain death" and a mandatory evacuation is ordered and the police drive through in dump trucks to take everyone out and tell anyone who refuses that they need to write their names on their arms in black marker so their bodies can be identified, it's time to get the fuck outta Dodge.

Which VP Cares About Women?

Could somebody please explain why any woman who supported Hillary Clinton should now vote McCain/Palin? Or for that matter, why any self-respecting woman—pro-choice or pro-life—should be swayed by the fact that McCain's VP pick is female. Because it would appear that Sarah Palin's record on womens' issues is even worse than McCain's: When Palin was mayor of Wasilla, it was the city's policy to charge rape victims for the cost of the rape kit to collect forensic evidence.

Wasilla was the only town in all of Alaska with this policy, and the state legislature had to pass a law to specifically stop the town's practice. A move that elicited complaints from Palin's hand-picked police chief and the mayor herself.

Hilzoy takes a closer look at this and draws a great contrast between VP candidates as a result...

[...] when Sarah Palin was mayor, Wasilla used to charge rape victims for their forensic exams. It's abhorrent, especially when you note that as mayor of Wasilla, Sarah Palin had no problem raising [millions] to build a sports center, but drew the line at paying for rape exams.

But there are two points that are worth underscoring. First, this would have been bad enough if it was just a matter of being decent to women who have been raped. But it's not. Unless the police catch the guy in the act, forensic exams provide some of the best evidence against a rapist. Not collecting this evidence means significantly lowering your chances of convicting the man who did it. That means that the people who pay for this idiotic policy are not just the rape victims whose tests are not done, but any women their rapists might go on to rape in the future. Not collecting the evidence that would put rapists behind bars means more rape victims in the future.

You'd think that $5,000 to $14,000 a year would be a small price to pay for putting violent sex offenders behind bars. Apparently, Sarah Palin disagrees.

Second, Alaska had to ban this practice in order to qualify for funding under the Violence Against Women Act, which was, of course, sponsored by Joe Biden

[...] One Vice Presidential nominee turned her back on past and future rape victims. Another was looking out for them.

Oh, and guess who voted against the Violence Against Women Act? John McCain

So, in Sarah Palin's Mavericky World of Reform™, if you are raped not only are you the only crime victim forced to pay for your own investigation, but you get the added bonus of being forced to have the rapist's baby as well.

Feel the Feminism!

UPDATE: Sickening specifics from McClatchy (which has rapidly become the only useful news organization). [Emphasis mine]:
Eight years ago, complaints about charging rape victims for medical exams in Wasilla prompted the Alaska Legislature to pass a bill -- signed into law by [former Governer Tony] Knowles -- that banned the practice statewide.

"There was one town in Alaska that was charging victims for this, and that was Wasilla," Knowles said

A May 23, 2000, article in Wasilla's newspaper, The Frontiersman, noted that Alaska State Troopers and most municipal police agencies regularly pay for such exams, which cost between $300 and $1,200 apiece.

"(But) the Wasilla police department does charge the victims of sexual assault for the tests," the newspaper reported.

It also quoted Wasilla Police Chief Charlie Fannon objecting to the law. Fannon was appointed to his position by Palin after her dismissal of the previous police chief. He said it would cost Wasilla $5,000 to $14,000 a year if the city had to foot the bill for rape exams.

"In the past we've charged the cost of exams to the victims' insurance company when possible," Fannon told the newspaper. "I just don't want to see any more burden put on the taxpayer."

It was all about the tax burden. This is a town that Palin was comfortable putting $20 million in debt to build a rink for the "hawkey moms", but couldn't scrape up the relative change in the couch cushions to have the police pay to collect it's own fucking evidence? In a state where residents get an oil royalties check every year? Oh, and did I forget to mention that rape in Alaska is double the national average, and the state has led the country in per capita rapes 26 of the last 30 years?

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Holy. Fucking. Bullshit.

I had no intention of blogging politics tonight. In fact, last night I became so despondent about the damn election, I didn't think I wanted to waste my time anymore.

That didn't last long.

McCain launched another ad today, and even though his past several ads have been totally dishonest and infuriating, nothing approaches what he does in this one.

[blood. boiling.]

It's an "education" spot. The ad warms up by pulling some out-of-context quotes from newspaper articles to claim Obama is bad for "supporting the public school monopoly" or some bullshit, but that's just the pretext for bringing up the most dishonest and offensive attack I think I've EVER seen in a political ad.

McCain's shop takes an awkward photo of Obama, silhouettes it out of its setting, and uses it as the visual for a claim that basically accuses Obama of being, at best, a leering pervert—or, at worst, a fucking child molester.

[voiceover] Obama's one accomplishment? Legislation to teach "comprehensive sex education" to kindergartners.

Learning about sex...

...before learning to read?

Barack Obama.

Wrong on education. Wrong for your family. "

That's a goddamn outrage.

I know exactly what that claim is misrepresenting, because right wing asshats tried to make hay with this a year or two ago... In Illinois, Obama supported a program that has nothing to do with "sex education" in the sense McCain implies—it was a program to teach children about inappropriate touching to help protect them from predators.

Accusing a man who is the father of two young girls, who supports commmon-sense precautions that are commonly taught in schools and communities nationwide, of being some sort of perv or sex offender.

John McCain "approves this message."

What a fucking desperate, pathetic, piece of shit of a man he is.

UPDATE: Talking Points Memo has the video, Steve Benen Hilzoy has more, including details on the legislation.

FOLLOW-UP: I'm not settling for some weak-ass statement from an Obama campaign spokeperson. This calls for a direct response from Obama himself. Not in response to a reporter, but buy a fucking spot and ram this shit down McCain's throat. When McCain hasn't been trying to paint Obama as an arugula-eating elitist, he's been working the scary, angry black man angle.

Time for Obama to be angry alright. But with a twist McCain will regret. Nothing is more powerful or righteous than an angry parent. McCain just opened the door for Obama to rip his goddamn head off. Will he do it?

The Rude Pundit is on the same page...
We know the game here, the racial politics, the fear of sex that's rampant on the right. John McCain has finally released his rage and hatred, and it is a sight to behold. Watching McCain unleashed is like watching a starving tiger in a pen of gazelle. It ain't gonna be pretty. The Rude Pundit imagines McCain seeing the faces of his captors in everyone he looks at, and he's got a bayonet.

Unless the Obama campaign starts throwing shit at McCain, it will be over. Yeah, Obama wants to change politics, but ask anyone who has ever tried to subvert a system: you gotta do it from the inside. And if you cringe at the idea of Obama stepping into the muck and mire of post-Atwater poltics, then ask yourself: will he get more done by keeping his shoes clean and losing?

[...]Stay angry. Again: The McCain campaign just said that Barack Obama wants to teach 6 year-olds how to fuck. That deserves a little more of a response than it's "perverse" or whatever shit the Obama campaign just put out.

[...] In other words, Obama campaign, as so many others have advised, go on offense, and that means you have to offend.


This is the horse-made-of-bullshit Cowboy John McCain rode out of the stable the other day...

A couple of real mavericks those two...

It is filled with misleading crap, but it includes one clear, undeniable, flat-out lie. It says Palin "stopped the bridge to nowhere." Not even close to true. The U.S. Congress stopped the bridge (in effect) when they removed the earmark that dedicated the money to the bridge. And this occured before Palin was even elected governor! And during that campaign she actually supported the bridge project. Even after the bridge became a national symbol of waste and a late night tv punchline, Palin still supported it, telling residents of the area that "you aren't 'nowhere' to me."

Once she was governor, the project was a political non-starter, but she still took every dime of the federal money for the bridge and allocated it for other projects—including the roads that lead to the non-existent bridge.

Here is Obama's response ad in which attacks back with the same theme...

It's about fucking time. The ad actually uses the word "lying"—which is accurate and patently obvious—yet further than I thought they would go.

Now Obama just needs to get out in front on this shit and play some offense, not just defense.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Pressure Cookers and a Race Boiled Down

From a reader at Andrew Sullivan's...
[...] One benefit of this long campaign is that it really does show a person's character. And I realized. We have two men running for president right now. One has stayed true to himself throughout despite all the pressure. The other really hasn't or maybe we've just seen what he really was all along.

Obama said at the outset that he wanted a civil campaign on the issues. He said he would avoid the politics of person destruction. He demanded a cool, no drama organization -- much like himself.

He organized a strong team. Set clear goals. Adopted a sound plan and stuck to it. Reasoned, careful. Solid judgment. And in the intense glare of things like Wright and flags pins, he stuck to it all. Above all, Obama really has stayed true to who he is.

McCain on the other hand, despite his calls for a civil campaign, injected personal attacks. He cosied up to the same religious extremist he once decried. People like Hagee. And when that wasn't enough, he brought onto the ticket a evangelical with extreme views on abortion, contraception and sex education -- positions well to the right of most of the people in the Republican Party. And he hired the same polarizing, no-holds-barred political assassins that George Bush unleashed on America and McCain himself.

Senator McCain didn't stay true to himself. He morphed into a right-wing, polarizing ideologue campaign. And why? On the one hand, he's ambivalent about his ambitions, but often he'll lose sight of his values and overreach for the sake of those ambitions. In other words, he falls victim to the allure of power and loses his good judgment. He doesn't stay true to himself.

I dearly hope American's will come to appreciate this about these two men. One has stayed true to the better angels of his nature. One succumbed to the darker angels of his. Which one would make a better president in these sad and trying times?

These facts are so plainly obvious, yet never pointed out in the mainstream.

Last night, McCain pivoted from the blistering attacks of the previous evening and played the role (for the most part) of the kindly old veteran telling tales on a porch swing. He is hoping to prop up the illusion of his Maverick™ and serious statesman image. I hope people wake up and stop falling for it...Too bad I have such little faith in the media and even less in the electorate.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

GOP Training Almost Complete

Detroit Mayor Kilpatrick pleads guilty, resigns
Will pay $1M fine, spend 4 months in jail
Sep 04, 2008 15:17 EST

Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick pleaded guilty to felony charges Thursday in a sex scandal, forcing him out of office after months of defiantly holding onto his job leading the nation's 11th-largest city. "I lied under oath," Kilpatrick said in court.

[...] As part of Thursday's deal, the 38-year-old Democrat is to serve four months in jail and five years of probation. He also would pay the $1 million in restitution over the five-year probationary period, cannot run for any elected office for five years and loses his law license.

But wait! He could be Vice President! Waaay more people live in Detroit than all of Alaska, and Canada is right across the river!

It's too bad. Kwame was a young guy with talent and real potential. He was elected right after we moved to Michigan, and I recall thinking how cool it was that this 31 year old who celebrated his victory by "raising the roof" was elected mayor of an ascendant Detroit. He did some good things and had big plans but ended up squandering a great opportunity and abusing his position. He turned out to be a giant jackass, and deserves every bit of that punishment.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Impressions of Palin

She's very good.

Seriously. Some of that is the context—she shared a stage with some AWFUL speakers—but she blew away the field. She is far and away the best public speaker and presenter on the GOP team, and will clearly be the highlight of this otherwise moribund convention. I fear she will be a terrific motivator for a swath of the party that has pretty much sat on the sidelines until now.

There was a laundry list of bullshit in that speech, but nobody watching that will know it, and no one in the media will call her on it.

Palin brought out pure red meat for the base. Perfectly prepared, and served with a smile. She hit every GOP applause line, and checked off the usual list of imaginary foes, and totally fraudulent talking points.

Her record is thin, her experience lacking, and the substance of her message is crap, but it won't matter, I think she just earned herself a giant fucking pass from the doubters in her party and from a media just waiting to get put back in its place.

John McCain might have made a risky campaign decision, or a bad post-election governing decision, but he clearly made a great casting decision, and I think she just aced her audition.

It remains to be seen how this message is received in the wider, non-convention arena, but she did her job tonight.

She's a gamechanger.

"Live Mic" Murphy and Peggy "Noonan!"

This is awesome. During RNC coverage today, Republican strategist Mike Murphy and conservative WSJ columnist Peggy Noonan are busted during a break revealing their true opinions of the Palin pick...

Keep those comments in mind when these two bullshit artists give the polar opposite as their "analysis" later tonite.

(In case you can't see the video, or had trouble hearing it, here's the transcript.)

Chuck Todd: [...] Tonight voters will get their chance to hear from Sarah Palin and she will get the chance to show voters she's the right woman for the job Up next, one man who's already convinced and he'll us why, Gov. Jon Huntsman.

(cut away)

Peggy Noonan: Yeah.

Mike Murphy: You know, because I come out of the blue swing state governor world: Engler, Whitman, Tommy Thompson, Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush. I mean, these guys -- this is how you win a Texas race, just run it up. And it's not gonna work. And --

PN: It's over.

MM: Still McCain can give a version of the Lieberman speech to do himself some good.

CT: I also think the Palin pick is insulting to Kay Bailey Hutchinson, too.

PN: Saw Kay this morning.

CT: Yeah, she's never looked comfortable about this --

MM: They're all bummed out.

CT: Yeah, I mean is she really the most qualified woman they could have turned to?

PN: The most qualified? No! I think they went for this -- excuse me-- political bullshit about narratives --

CT: Yeah they went to a narrative.

MM: I totally agree.

PN: Every time the Republicans do that, because that's not where they live and it's not what they're good at, they blow it.

MM: You know what's really the worst thing about it? The greatness of McCain is no cynicism, and this is cynical.

CT: This is cynical, and as you called it, gimmicky.

MM: Yeah.

UPDATE: Noonan explains herself. Some convincing, some not as much.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

In Case You Forgot...

...John McCain was a P.O.W.

Look closely and you might spot Fred Thompson giving his speech at the Republican Convention Tuesday night in front of a fucking IMAX of the Hanoi Hilton.

Word of the Day

Palintology: n. The act of digging into a person's background after you select them for a position of great political importance.

[h/t Toast]

Fair Game

I was offline most of the weekend, so I didn't get to see anything as it unfolded, but I've tried to catch up on all the news regarding the race, and I have this to say this regarding Gov. Palin's daughter Bristol's pregnancy...

Generally I'd be hard and fast on the fact that family, especially children, are off-limits. But, like a tv judge, "I will allow" some careful questions on the topic for this reason: the campaign—and McCain and Palin specifically—seem more than comfortable using pregnancy in the Palin family for political points when it suits THEM.

Gov. Palin is supposed to get a gold star for carrying her Downs Syndrome baby to term, even though her own beliefs on the subject make that a no-brainer decision, and the platform position of her party would mandate her having it.

And now, 17-year-old, unwed, 5-months pregnant Bristol Palin is also going to have HER baby, and what's more, according to the McCain camp, "Bristol Palin made the decision on her own to keep the baby." Well, isn't THAT special? When it comes to every other woman in the country, even victims of rape and incest, it'd be fine with both McCain AND Sarah Palin to make THAT decision FOR them.

Sorry. That doesn't earn a complete and total pass from me.


As for the "Palin faked her own pregnancy to cover up for her daughter" crap I saw, I'm treating that as the flip side of the "Obama is a secret Muslim" coin.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Weekend Report

Apparently the federal government is taking full advantage of the cover provided by Gustav to trample the Constitution and absolutely ABUSE their power regarding the RNC Convention. Glenn Greenwald is on the job.

Ezra on McCain's choice:
This was, for McCain, a major decision. And we can learn from it. And here's what even his supporters must admit: Country did not come first. Polls did. The calculations are fully transparent. Understanding that he needed to broaden his electoral coalition, he picked a woman. Understanding he needed youth, he picked a young politician. Understanding he needed to emphasize his reformist credentials, he picked a onetime whistleblower. What he didn't pick was anyone able to help him govern, or capable of stepping forward in a moment of crisis. Palin is not an experienced foreign policy hand like Lieberman or a successful and experienced governor like Tommy Thompson. Today, McCain chose his campaign over his presidency. Over our presidency.

McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds just talking completely out of his ass when questioned about Palin's lack of foreign policy experience... "Palin has more military command experience than Obama AND Biden because she commands the Alaska National Guard." Like all governors. Stateside. During natural disasters. Of which Alaska's had zero.

There was one BIG part of Obama's speech that I thought was weak. Bitch, Phd caught it as well...
I loved Obama's speech at Invesco, but there's one part where he was wrong:

Now, I don't believe that Senator McCain doesn't care what's going on in the lives of Americans. I just think he doesn't know. Why else would he define middle-class as someone making under five million dollars a year? How else could he propose hundreds of billions in tax breaks for big corporations and oil companies but not one penny of tax relief to more than one hundred million Americans? How else could he offer a health care plan that would actually tax people's benefits, or an education plan that would do nothing to help families pay for college, or a plan that would privatize Social Security and gamble your retirement?

It's not because John McCain doesn't care. It's because John McCain doesn't get it.

No, actually John McCain doesn't care. He doesn't care that millions of Americans don't have health insurance, or if he does, he cares more about party ideology that the government shouldn't be in the business of making sure people have health care. He cares more about the hollow platform of "individual responsibility" than he does about individuals, more about the political benefits of being pro-life than the moral implications of denying women agency over their own bodies. John McCain and Sarah Palin get it. They know. They just don't give a shit.

Perfectly put. It was the first thing I thought when I heard him utter the words. I'm sure I'm not the only one... Bitch, Phd makes a great point about Palin as well...
Does her support for overturning Roe, and her belief that creationism should be taught in schools, and her denial of global warming mean she's dumb? No. She just cares more about the triumph of her political worldview than she does about the Constitution. Just like a lot of Republicans.

[...] Dismissing Palin as insignificant isn't going to help us. She didn't get where she is, so fast and to such acclaim, by being a dummy. We should recognize her for what she is: smart, charismatic, and full of support for policy positions that hurt ordinary Americans.