By now you've probably seen this story. Pushing back against Palin's total ignorance of national and international affairs, the McCain campaign had this to say.
"[Sarah Palin is] going to learn national security at the foot of the master for the next four years, and most doctors think that he'll be around at least that long," said Charlie Black, one of Mr. McCain's top advisers, making light of concerns about Mr. McCain's health, which Mr. McCain's doctors reported as excellent in May.
I love the qualifier "most" in that statement. Is that to imply that there were conflicting opinions? How reassuring.
I would say more but Ana Marie channeled her former Wonkette and provided such tasty snark that you should just go over and read her instead.
Sarah Palin has fallen a long way since her 1984 beauty contest days. It's hard to believe she could win that title again when her idea of appropriate executive demeanor is to giggle approvingly when two radio shock jocks are mocking her political rival.
The backstory, Palin knew that Alaskan Senate President Lyda Green had survived cancer, yet as the Anchorage News editorial said, "Not only did she sit by and watch a decent public servant get thrashed in front of tens of thousands of people, she actually enjoyed it."
And in reading this 2006 puff profile, it seems clear that Troopergate wasn't the first time she used her public office to wreak revenge on her private enemies. She's been at it since she started in politics.
Not that it's shocking to find out she's just another petty GOP hack, but it terrifying to contemplate the possibility that she could be a heartbeat away from the presidency in a few months.
On the assumption that you, my dear highest demoninator readers, do not need the education; I'm doing my public vetting of Mrs. Palin at the Detroit News, where they do. Best to click on the link at the bottom of this post for my archives if you're interested in what I'm saying since my co-bloggers are burning up the real estate over there and you definitely want to avoid JD if you value holding down your lunch. But Mako came up with this YouTube of Rove that is too amusing not to share.
Too cute by half. Mayor of the second largest city in Alaska? Behold, lovely downtown Wasilla.
The bloggers have unearthed so much oppo on Palin, it's difficult to know how to approach the pushback on the pick. It's too easy to fall into the trap of criticizing her for the wrong reasons and rekindle the anger over sexism that permeated the primaries. But in a moment of inspiration this morning, I believe I've hit on winning tack. Better to focus the criticism on McCain for making such a reckless choice. In checking Memeorandum just now, I see Sully and even the Politico are also tracking towards this approach as well today.
I took a slightly different tack at DetNews this morning, linking the reckless manner in which the choice was made to McCain's "against the odds" style of gambling. I can't crosspost because the newspaper owns first rights for 72 hours, but here's the best quote.
The real question Americans should be asking themselves is what does this tell us about John McCain? The choice was obviously made for political reasons. Palin was chosen solely because she is woman who personifies the worst nanny instincts of the extreme religious right. McCain hopes to get some media attention, solidify his standing with the fundies and hopes to poach some disgruntled Hillary supporters into his camp. The odds are it will backfire, but McCain loves to dare the odds and play against them.
The bottom line is, McCain chose to gamble away our national security and the future of our country in order to put his personal ambitions first. ...
If you have a moment, read the whole post. I'd be interested in what you highest denominator readers think of the approach.
Well we should be talking about Obama's speech but McCain deployed the GOP weapon of mass distraction and chose an incomprehensible VP.
Sarah Palin looks like a nice woman on the surface. Great populist story. Married 20 years today, five kids, wife of a fisherman who belongs to a union, son in the military. But she looks like a deer caught in the headlights.
This was obviously an 11th hour pander in search of PUMAs which she made very clear at the end of her acceptance speech. A little arrogant though if you ask me, for her to imply that she's going to be a pioneer by crashing through the glass ceiling after Hillary did all the work to crack it to the breaking point.
It would appear the choice was so last minute she wasn't even vetted. Cindy McCain looked surprised to hear it was Palin's anniversary today. And Palin called Cindy Mrs. McCain, another clue they have never even met.
McCain succeeded in his short term objective to steal the news cycle. The media are caught flatfooted, no one had ever heard of her before so they're obsessing about the surprise while the bloggers are already doing the oppo. Palin is anti-choice, supports teaching creationism in the schools instead of science, is involved in some kind of investigation surrounding an attempt by her to get a person fired for personal reasons. If I understand that one correctly, Palin is attempting to squash the investigation. I'm guessing she's cozy with Big Oil. Oh and she's on record as not wanting the VP nomination because she doesn't even know what a VP does.
I feel kind of sorry for her. She seems likeable enough for a quasi-fundie, but the air of sacrificial lamb around her is palpable. Her so called experience amounts to little more than being the mayor of a tiny town of 9000 residents, the president of the PTA and now a short stint as a new governor where she's already embroiled in an impending scandal. She's going to crash and burn when she has to answer any questions of substance.
Basically she's just more of the same old politics but with a prettier and younger face. I'm not sure the McCain camp really thought through the visual on this either. Seeing the two of them together, Palin makes McCain look like her great grandfather and even makes Cindy look older. After the novelty wears off, voters are going to be asking themselves if they want this untested young woman to be one heartbeat away from the presidency.
Quick links to amusing stories of the day. It seems they can't give them away for free. Tickets are still available for McCain's big VP roll out rally tomorrow in Dayton, Ohio. I'd love to know how many are left. They don't say but if they're issuing an open call, I have to think it's a lot.
Maybe that's because even the dullest GOP loyalists realize that the Straight Talk Express has morphed into the GOP Talking Points Express, or as I like to call it, the Double Talk Shuttle. Short but funny interview with McCain at the link.
And this is quite possibly the funniest convention story I've read yet from the resident bloggers. I'm surprised Harry told it.
I'm usually bored senseless by the conventions but I'm enjoying the festivities this year. That's partly because I've had the good sense to skip the cable bloviators and get the direct feed from CSPAN, but also because it appears the Democrats may have finally learned the lessons of 04 and decided to fight back against the Republicans this time around.
The content of all the speeches was great, although some delivered their lines better than others. Bill Clinton was awesome, disposing of another media myth that he was too bitter over Hillary's loss to be a team player. I don't see how he could have made a stronger endorsement of Obama and it was a stark reminder of what it used to be like when we had an articulate president. And John Kerry was surprisingly strong. As many remarked, if he had made speeches like that in 04, he would have won.
Biden got good reviews from many commentators as well. I thought his speech was little weak, but maybe it just seemed so in contrast to Clinton and Kerry's fiery rhetoric.I expected him to go after McCain a little harder, but he certainly framed his populist creds well and did nothing to diminish the success of the night. If you missed the speeches or want to catch up, I've discovered CSPAN has an excellent archive page.
The Democrats did good last night. I even tuned into MSNBC after it over to see how Tweety was handling all that unity after he had spent days pimping his bogus PUMA narrative. As I pointed out at AOTP, he wasn't handling it well. I know it's mean of me, but I loved watching him meltdown.
I'm late this morning because I have a new gig. I'll be posting at Art Of The Possible on Thursdays for the foreseeable future. At least I hope I will, after my clumsy start. Apparently I've never used Wordpress before and I'm having a little trouble with the platform. It took me well over an hour to get a post into publishable format and the fonts are still screwed up. I have a feeling my usual methodology of drafting offline and pasting into the template isn't going to work there. If anybody knows where I can find a decent tutorial on-line, it would be greatly appreciated.
Meanwhile, check out my first post and please leave a comment if you're so moved. It could help restore my standing with the management who are probably wondering why they gave a technodope like me the keys to the place.
There's a live chat going on from 6:30-7:30 -- that would be right now -- at Art of the Possible with Glenn Greenwald, who will be talking about what's going on in Denver at the convention. Glenn is covering the big show as a credentialled journalist from Salon. Head on over and join in the conversation.
Update: Well I chatted and it was fun. I'm still learning how to interact in that format. I think all the practice I've had in the Eschaton comment section helped though. It's almost the same. It was very cool to talk directly to Glenn and John Cole stopped in too. He's always fun.
I don't think they archive the chat there so let me pass on that Glenn told us that the PUMAs are largely fictional, the media elites are just as insipid in real life as they are in front of the camera and that the only power brokering going on is at the corporate shindigs where media, old and new, are not welcome. Apparently He and Jane Hamsher had a encounter of the unpleasant kind outside the ATT event.
I'm off to the dentist this afternoon, so here's a few links to keep you occupied.
If you're looking for behind the scenes convention coverage, I've been following a lot of bloggers who are there and I think Sinfonian has the most comprehensive and interesting stuff. Which is not to imply that others don't but their coverage is spotty. Sinf is updating regularly.
NTodd is not at the convention but is tapped into the network and passes on this video of LEO overkill. I mean really, not matter how you feel about Code Pink, that was so uncalled for. The police state is here folks.
And while, he's not on on the convention floor, I'm thrilled to see Welcome to Pottersville is back to posting after a long hiatus. Always something worth reading there.
In other news, our man Capt Fogg isn't covering the convention but notes that Alaska Republicans don't seem to think that an indictment for fraud should stop their candidate from being on the ticket. Crazy. Fogg has a wealth of eloquent thoughts on the absurd state of our society. Start at the top and just keep scrolling.
Everybody is talking about Hillary's speech today but Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer was just as good, and in some ways better.
I can see now why so many people were hoping he would get the VP nod. I think he might well have been better than Biden, except of course he doesn't have Biden's foreign policy creds which I'm guessing the Obama camp thought was more important in the long run.
Meanwhile, in case you somehow missed it, Hillary Clinton's speech is here and a lot of people liked Kucinich. His is pretty short.
I rarely get compliments in the comment section at the Detroit News, so when I saw this header I was expecting some snark. Boy, was I surprised.
LIBBY NAILS IT!!!!
Libby. OMG!!! My wife and I were just chatting about how Chris Matthews is drivin' us nuts with this crrraaaap! Keith Olberman's body language speaks for itself having to sit next to this IDIOT!!! As Howard Dean said, it's allllllll filler because they are too lazy to discuss anything else that has substance.
The appearance of long time Republican Jim Leach, who spoke at the Democratic convention last night was seriously shortchanged in the elite media coverage. He's a weak orator but the content of his speech was strong and called for the "country first" bi-partisanship our lazy media elites keep insisting the voters want. Yet when the real thing manifests under their powdered noses, they ignored it. It's disgraceful.
Fortunately, Steven Benen now posting at Washington Monthly, caught a transcript and has these excerpts:
"As a Republican, I stand before you with deep respect for the history and traditions of my political party. But it is clear to all Americans that something is out of kilter in our great republic.... Seldom has the case for an inspiring new political ethic been more compelling. And seldom has an emerging leader so matched the needs of the moment.... I stand before you proud of my party's contributions to American history but, as a citizen, proud as well of the good judgment of good people in this good party, in nominating a transcending candidate, an individual whom I am convinced will recapture the American dream and be a truly great president: the senator from Abraham Lincoln's state -- Barack Obama.... This is not a time for politics as usual.... Obama will recapture the American dream and be a truly great president."
We need more Republicans, and for that matter more Democrats, like Jim Leach. And we need far fewer elite bloviators like Chris Matthews.
I already published longer posts on the opening of the Democratic convention at Newshoggers and Detroit News so I'll just give you the shorter version here.
Overall - the Dems did well. The early speakers did a good job of outlining what's at stake in 08 and drawing a bright line between the parties.
Pelosi - meh. She did okay but she's not an inspiring speaker.
The Kennedy tribute - Caroline is terrific, the documentary was very good and Ted didn't leave a dry eye in the house. The Kennedys haven't lost their ability to inspire.
Michelle Obama - Just wow. She knocked it out of the park. She'll make a fabulous First Lady that Americans can be proud of. And the kids talking to Daddy at the end was just charming. [Video here. ]
The Media - Major fail. If I had to watch it on the cable news, I wouldn't have made it through the night. The overpaid pundits are largely idiots and wrong about everything. Carville is a total putz. And they shortchanged long time Republican, Jim Leach from Iowa, who is not a great orator but the content of his speech was explosive. Thank goodness for CSPAN.
On Main Street America, the unofficial recession has taken the fun out of shopping for the majority of Americans. Even the "aspirationally wealthy" who make under a million a year in income are cutting back to the point where the venerable Saks Fifth Avenue is posting losses in revenue. But life is good in Beverly Hills.
"Business has been crazy-great," gushed Kim Gregory, manager of the Christofle shop on Brighton Way, purveyor of silver flatware and other furnishings. "It's like Christmas in here."
"Most of my clients have those black American Express cards, the ones made out of titanium," Gregory said. "They don't worry about their mortgages. They don't worry about recession. They just want to buy."
And tourism may be down for the budget travellers but at the top end of the economic scale, the weak dollar apparently makes it worth the hassle at US customs to come to America for some hard core shopping.
Not all those purchases were made by well-to-do Americans and Canadians, of course. Retailers in Beverly Hills said they were seeing a lot of business from European travelers with pockets full of super-strong euros, as well as visitors from Saudi Arabia flush with record-high oil profits.
"Saudi princesses," confided a saleswoman at one Rodeo Drive clothing store she didn't want named. "That's who's doing all the buying."
I wonder if they ever chat up Meghan McCain while they're waiting for the cashier to ring up their purchases? [via]
The whole poli-junkie world is obsessed with the convention and I just don't care what Hillary's supporters are going to do. I don't care what the blathering teevee pundits think about the horserace. I don't care what the blithering print pundits think about anything. I'm sitting here worrying about what the White House has in mind for the October surprise. I have a bad feeling about it already.
You should probably read this post. I don't quite understand what he's talking about here, but it sounds like a serious security problem so I'm going to try to figure out how to install the safeguards he listed.
I covered Avedon's rare and excellent full length rant on the state of the electorate at Newshoggers this morning, so I won't repeat that here, although I would urge you go over and read it. Nobody makes more sense than Avedon when she gets her rant on.
And she also has a linky post that worth clicking through in full. I already covered Frank Rich yesterday so you can skip that, but don't miss the link that does tell you how to vote. My favorite quote from that was:
If you have enjoyed the Bush administration and if you believe you, the United States and the world are better off now than eight years ago and you would like more of the same on steroids, vote for Senator McCain.
She also flags an surprisingly good column by Modo. Maureen is still a twit but she takes on John Mccain this week and does a better job than usual.
Also don't miss the silly Fox video. Apparently Fox News think it's an abridgement of their freedom of speech, if protesters refuse to talk to their faux reporter. And it's amusing to see the vacuous anchor get the vapors over the crowd's chanting. [Warning - the chant is a little profane. NSFW]
This is just frightening. Cernig keeps an eye on the foreign press where they still remember their mission is to inform and discovers Robert Kagan is abroad and pitching the neocon's latest fixation. The good news is they've apparently decided that Iran is not our number one enemy anymore. The bad news -- well -- I'll let Cernig tell you.
That's basically an admission from Kagan that a McCain foreign policy would consist entirely of looking for reasons to fight with Russia and China.
The neocons finally have their wet dream. No longer do they have to hype up a bunch of ragtag misfits hanging out in Pakistan's wilds or an "existential threat" from Iran that is anything but. They've got an enemy worthy of their ideology, their notion that America shows itself best when in a war for its very existence. They want to take on the two largest rival military powers in the world, both at once. And they don't want to do it by diplomacy, containment or any of that other pantywaist stuff. Oh no - they're want to use "hard power' - that's a euphemism for war, folks - and they believe McCain is just the angry old duffer they can lead by the nose into providing it.
"Scary" doesn't even begin to describe it. Completely batshit insane would be better. In case anyone doesn't remember, the era of nineteenth-century great power rivalry led directly to the Great War and WW2, the first of which began over a tiny incident that lit the fuse on the powderkeg. How comforting is it to know that, under a McCain presidency, the neocons would actively go looking for a new spark?
I'd say the answer to that is, not comforting at all. I don't know how it could be any more clear that the real danger to our national security isn't terrorists, it's the neo-cons like Kagan.
Frank Rich has a column worth reading in full today. It's short but I'll give you a few key quotes, not necessarily in order of appearance.
What we have learned this summer is this: McCain’s trigger-happy temperament and reactionary policies offer worse than no change. He is an unstable bridge back not just to Bush policies but to an increasingly distant 20th-century America that is still fighting Red China in Vietnam and the Soviet Union in the cold war. As the country tries to navigate the fast-moving changes of the 21st century, McCain would put America on hold.
....McCain increasingly resembles those mad Japanese soldiers who remained at war on remote Pacific islands years after Hiroshima.
Rich goes on to offer some sound advice on presentation.
Obama’s real problem is not a lack of detail but his inability to sell policy with “an effective story.” ... How we dig out of this quagmire is the American story that Obama must tell. It is not a story of endless conflicts abroad but a potentially inspiring tale of serious economic, educational, energy and health-care mobilization at home. We don’t have the time or resources to go off on more quixotic military missions or to indulge in culture wars.
In short, it's the same advice I've been giving Obama for months now. Skip the long winded explanations. Keep it simple. Low info voters buy into sloganery. Sadly the wonkery we obsessives thrive on, glazes the average voter over.
But perhaps the best advice Rich offers is to need to reframe the mythical maverick narrative. As he points out, "McCain is not nearly as popular among Americans, it turns out, as he is among his journalistic camp followers. Should voters actually get to know him, he has nowhere to go but down." So true.
If this is all McCain's got to attack Obama with, the race is in the bag for the Democrats. And if the motive was to ramp up the discontent among the PUMAs and other malcontents who still can't accept Hillary lost the race and find the will to move on, the GOP wasted their money. That crowd doesn't really need any help. I think it will backfire with independents who are already engaged in full time mockery of that particular contingent.
I managed to miss it live, but Ron has the video. He did good. He relied a little heavily on his notes but I doubt he had much time to prepare to be thrust back into the spotlight and after all the suspense, the pressure must have been intense.
Of course, the media will seize on the seven tables line, but I thought his best delivery was when he was talking about how we can't afford four more years of the same old slimy policies. He looked really genuine and comfortable with those lines. I'm feeling encouraged. Hopeful even.
So those accusations of plagiarism against Joe Biden, for a speech he made twenty years ago? Not really true. There's no evidence he actively tried to conceal the source. He credited the few paraphased bits he used dozens of times in a stump speeches, except on two occassions.
If this is all Rove has got to discredit him, it's going to be a long season for the GOP. I doubt they'll get this one to stick. [via]
Word has it McCain "tends to play for a few thousand dollars at a time and avoids taking markers, or loans, from the casinos, which he has helped regulate in Congress." He has only recently stopped shooting craps and even then, only at the insistence of his handlers.
In the heat of the G.O.P. primary fight last spring, he announced on a visit to the Vegas Strip that he was going to the casino floor. When his aides stopped him, fearing a public relations disaster, McCain suggested that they ask the casino to take a craps table to a private room, a high-roller privilege McCain had indulged in before. His aides, with alarm bells ringing, refused again, according to two accounts of the discussion.
Of course, when you're as wealthy as McCain, I guess losing thousands on a roll of the dice isn't a such a big deal. In sharp contrast, Obama favors low stakes poker.
But he always had his head in the game. The stakes were low enough — $1 ante and $3 top raise — to afford a long shot. Not Obama. He studied the cards as closely as he would an eleventh-hour amendment to a bill. The odds were religion to him. Only rarely did he bluff. "He had a pretty good idea about what his chances were," says Denny Jacobs, a former state senator from East Moline.
Kind of a perfect metaphor for this election. Your choice is between a reckless guy who shoots crap and doesn't give a damn about the potential losses or a careful card player who's willing to take an educated risk, but only when he has a good hand. The safe bet in November couldn't more obvious. [via Tim F.]
Well, I'm glad I didn't stay up all night waiting for the big surprise announcement since Obama went with the safe pick. You can find hundreds of reactions on Memeorandum but from the places I've cruised this morning, the reaction from the progressive lefties to Biden appears to be a collective -- meh.
That was my reaction. I'm not thrilled or inspired, but I'm not horrified either. It's a good enough pick and it makes sense in many ways. More importantly, anecdotal evidence would suggest that it's playing well with senior citizens, who are a reliable voting block. That can't hurt.
There's some talk about Biden's tendency to run off at the mouth, but I consider that a plus myself, as evidenced by this short clip.
Biden is a fighter, and more importantly in a race where elitism has become a major talking point, it's another positive that after decades inside the system, he's still one of the poorest politicians inside the Beltway, who gave his $800,000 in honoria for speaking engagements to charity and his wife is a schoolteacher.
As for the GOP's new waterboy, AP Washington Bureau Chief Ron Fournier's concern trolling, which seems to have a lot of traction in the news cycle, I'll let Steve Benen dispatch that as only he can do. Many wondered what would happen to AP when Fournier took over the bureau. It seems clear, he is leading the march of the once venerable wire service into irrelevancy.
That's the beauty of the internets. The days when past statements disappear down the memory hole are over, a fact which the elite media obviously hasn't fully grasped. Hacks like Fournier are due for a rude awakening. [links via Eschaton]
A lot of people are thinking that McCain may have thrown down the POW card one too many times yesterday when the campaign pushed back against the reaction to his house gaffe by saying, "This is a guy who lived in one house for five and a half years -- in prison," referring to the prisoner of war camp that McCain was in during the Vietnam War." The best take on it I've seen is by Brandon Friedman at Vet Voice.
The fact is, John McCain's service during Vietnam was honorable and he sacrificed a great deal. But his service to the country carries no more weight than that of any other POW. Likewise, while McCain has given so much to his country, thousands of veterans--past and present--have given as much or more. In this war alone, thousands of troops have lost limbs, been paralyzed, and been burned beyond recognition. So to see McCain resort to playing the POW card when answering legitimate questions, in my mind, cheapens that experience. And by cheapening his own experience in war, he degrades all of our experiences in war. He turns the horrific incidents we've all seen, touched, smelled, and felt into a lame excuse to earn political points. And it dishonors us all.
Read the rest for yourself. Another really good point he makes that has been little remarked is how McCain seems to forget that over 150,000 homeless vets, many of whom also served in combat in Vietnam, live on America's streets. The only "houses" they own are cardboard boxes under a bridge. So maybe instead of voting against legislation to help war veterans and banging the drum for more wars, McCain could be doing something to help those war heroes who also served honorably.
My pal expat Brian has started a little contest to see who can find the best old rock and roll tunes in the dim reaches of our baby boomer memories. He's started the game here and his first challenger has stepped up to the plate.
Now I'm a little younger than these guys but I can't resist a challenge like that. I'm going to split up my entries between two blogs though. So start at a Quarter to Three.
I didn't watch it myself, but I see Jed Report has a clip from CNN's program that actually brings up the fact that McCain lied about the circumstances of his affair with Cindy while he was still married to his first wife. I'm surprised they did it but then again, I see no indication in the clip that they called them on it when they lied about it again on air.
I thought the most interesting statement came from Cindy at the end of the clip where she says, "I think I've been a good wife and a good mother. I think that's what John saw in me. " Is that imply that Carol McCain wasn't?
I mean how rude of Carol to have had a terrible accident while she was loyally waiting at home for her husband to return. Sure sign of a bad wife and of course, Carol also committed the mortal sin of not being rich. I guess if you can't afford to give your kids a credit card with a $50,000 a month limit, it makes you a bad mother too.
I have been worried about Capt. Fogg who was right in the middle of Hurricane Fay. Yes, I know it was 'only' a tropical storm, but Fogg has links to the photos of the aftermath. As he says, it's not just the wind, it's the flooding and the tornadoes.
Glad to hear you weathered the storm my dear. Hope your boat did okay too.
He said that among other things he would expand the mortgage deduction beyond people who itemize their taxes.
“John McCain, with those homes, they get a mortgage deduction, up to $1 million,” he said. (The Obama plan would give a 10 percent tax credit on up to $8,000 of mortgage interest payments to households who take the standard deduction. The campaign estimates that 10 million homeowners would benefit from this proposal.)
That's a whole lot more Americans than would be helped by McCain's tax cuts for the wealthy.
Cernig has all the links so I'll just give my congratulations to the latest bloggers doing the Blogtopia(y!sctp) shuffle. Kevin Drum is moving to Mother Jones, Steve Benen is taking over Kevin's spot at Political Animal where he'll be joined by Hilzoy of Obsidian Wings, who will apparently be cross-posting and our man Cernig has just become a front pager at Crooks & Liars. Not to worry though, Newshoggers will continue on as usual.
I can't be sure since I don't usually read the LTEs at the Detroit News and only noticed this one because it was featured on the editorial page, but this may be the first time I inspired a letter to the editor with my blog there.
McCain didn't cheat
Libby Spencer's Aug. 19 blog ("Did McCain cheat?") hit a new low. GOP presidential candidate McCain did not cheat at Saturday's civic forum hosted by the Rev. Rick Warren. He drove to the event and when he got there he was put in a secure room. Spencer's blog is judgmental and lacks integrity.
Misguided criticism as usual, but it's notable because it's so coherent compared to the rants in the regular comment section attached to the blog.
This is good news. A federal appeals court on Tuesday thwarted the EPA's latest scheme to eviscerate existing clean air regulations, known around here as the Bush administration's Polluter's Protection Act. As you might know, the EPA was trying to squash state's rights to issue stricter regulatory control on industrial pollutants than the now ineffectual federal agency required.
Good for the court for putting the kibosh on that scam. We'll all be able to breathe easier now.
When I read Michael Moore's open letter to Caroline Kennedy this morning, my first inclination was to laugh but the more I think about it, the better I like the idea. In many ways she would be perfect. I mean who doesn't love her?
As I said in my Detroit News post, she would negate the scary unknown factor among the older voters, take the wind of the complaints of the diehard Hillary crowd and present an extraordinarily difficult target for the GOP smear machine.
Plus, she would be a great foreign ambassador and such an unexpected pick would dominate the news cycle for a long time, perhaps even through the GOP covention. I wish she would consider taking Moore's advice, to "pull a Cheney." It could change everything.
Libertarian candidate for president, Bob Barr wants to be invited to the presidential debates. I think they should let him participate.
Even though he has no perceivable chance of winning, the pubic deserves an opportunity to hear from a third choice. In fact any candidate that can get on the ballot in all the states should be given equal air time to make their case. If we had a Fairness Doctrine, they would get it.
Just in time for the closing rush of the presidential election, MSNBC is shaking up its prime-time programming lineup, removing the long-time host –- and one-time general manager of the network — Dan Abrams from his 9 p.m. program and replacing him with Rachel Maddow, who has emerged as a favored political commentator for the all-news cable channel.
A liberal lesbian as a lead talking head. It would been unthinkable in 04. If I still get MSNBC on my cable, I may start watching teevee again for this.
His top contenders are said to include Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. Less traditional choices mentioned include former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, an abortion-rights supporter, and Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman, the Democratic vice presidential prick in 2000 who now is an independent.
Still uncorrected in the original at the time of this posting. Maybe she really means it.
I mentioned it in a post today at DetNews, but I wasn't that inclined to make an issue out of McCain's cross in the dirt story, even though Hilzoy's latest find makes a compelling case that it's fiction. I figured that it's a time honored tradition for old war vets to make up stories about their heroic deeds.
But Andy Sullivan makes a good case for giving it more attention.
And why are we not allowed to ask these questions, when they relate to one of the most important questions anyone can ask about a president: the question of integrity? If McCain has fabricated a religious epiphany for political purposes, it is about as deep a betrayal of core integrity as one can imagine, and the latest example of how pernicious the religious domination of political life in America has become.
The integrity angle is obvious. I pound that point often but to the extent that it gives legitimacy to the demands of the extreme religious rightwingers, it does serve as a useful illustration of how disportionate an influence such a statitiscally small group has on our political process.
If you read nothing else today, read Bill Moyers' interview with retired US Army Colonel Andrew J. Bacevich . Bacevich defines what's broken in our government, and our society, with a truly non-partisan slant that spares no one from blame. He notes that we're living on borrowed time, borrowed money and the debt is about to come due. When it does, it won't be pretty.
It's almost impossible to excerpt without doing injustice to that which is left out, but here's a couple of key grafs.
I am expressing in the book, in a sense, what many of us sense, even if many of us don't really want to confront the implications. The Congress, especially with regard to matters related to national security policy, has thrust power and authority to the executive branch. We have created an imperial presidency. The congress no longer is able to articulate a vision of what is the common good. The Congress exists primarily to ensure the reelection of members of Congress.
He goes to explain how this dynamic created a National Security State, which to my mind is a polite way to describe our current police state and also how consumerism has shaped and distorted our foreign policy. But his description of the failure of the Democratic Party to fulfil its mandate of 06, really hits home.
Well, I may be a conservative, but I can assure you that, in November of 2006, I voted for every Democrat I could possibly come close to. And I did because the Democratic Party, speaking with one voice, at that time, said that, "Elect us. Give us power in the Congress, and we will end the Iraq War."
And the American people, at that point, adamantly tired of this war, gave power to the Democrats in Congress. And they absolutely, totally, completely failed to follow through on their commitment. Now, there was a lot of posturing. But, really, the record of the Democratic Congress over the past two years has been - one in which, substantively, all they have done is to appropriate the additional money that enables President Bush to continue that war.
I would also add that they managed to ensure that the mechanisms of the National Security State and its related surveillance society would survive into the next administration, when they expect to take control of it. (If you prefer to watch the interview, rather than read the transcript, you can get the video here).
It's the low info voters who allow themselves to get shilled by the propagandists that keep electing good for nothing politicians. The newest Pew Survey on News Consumption, underscores the point in its biennial report. When asked to name which party is in control of Congress, who our current Secretary of State is and who the current Prime Minister of Britain is only 18% of the overall public was able to correctly answer all three question, while a third didn't know the answer to any of them. On a brighter note, as in the last survey, more educated voters and young viewers of Colbert and the Daily Show outshone the public at large by a significant margin.
To a great extent this can be attributed to our lazy elite media who would rather talk about flag pins than national health insurance, but it's also a failure of the voters to take the time to get informed. It's not like the information is that difficult to find and maybe once in a while, the tragically disinterested could maybe skip an episode of American Idol and read something.
I was just thinking about dying the other day. At the time I was feeling pretty overwhelmed by my personal problems and thought it would be so much easier to just go to sleep and not have to wake up and deal with it. Nobody depends on me for their survival. I've had a full and interesting life and I could pass on at this point with few regrets.
Then this story about a lung cancer victim whose public health plan wouldn't cover her chemo but would cover assisted suicide showed up in my email. At first read, it sounds shocking but I'm not sure it's such a bad choice.
She was in remission and the cancer recurred. The most time the chemo will likely give her is a year. The norm is a few months. Maybe she could beat the odds and live a few more years but it appears she's pretty much stuck at home on a respirator with her dog. She looks to be in her 60s, but it's not like she has a full and normal life as it is. I don't think I would want to live like that.
I've seen a few people go through chemo. It's ugly. If I knew I would only get a few months from going through it, I think I wouldn't do it. I'd just let myself die. And if it turned out to be a long and painful death, I'd be glad to have the option to cheat the grim reaper on the short side instead of prolonging the inevitable. [hat tip]
Meanwhile, my hummingbirds are so silly. I have a four station feeder but they waste their energy chasing each other away from it instead of sharing. Reminds me of the materialistic Republicans somehow.
Song in my head. I remember listening to this one on the beach when I was a teenager.
It's been awhile since I've done one of these and I have a bunch of interesting links starting with this belated nod to Thomas Freidman for nailing McCain on his energy policy hypocrisy. Not often one finds a reason to praise Little Tommy.
On the other hand, there's no reason to praise Rush Limbaugh, and Capt Fogg exercises his usual eloquence in not praising the old blowhard for his latest dip into the slime pool.
The health insurance industry assembled an alleged public talking tour. Trouble is it isn't actually open to the public. Dates are only announced to industry insiders and I doubt they're talking about how to make health care affordable despite the focus on the uninsured.
I haven't been able to to bring myself to think about Meghan McCain's new book, a/k/a shameless political propaganda for young children. Fortunately JT Duffy has kindly reviewed it for us.
Kvatch and his fellow Ragebots have a collectible photo of McCain in 1973 with his first wife and a preview look at the detention cages for protesters at the Denver Convention.
Mikevotes has the ultimate photo of McCain $520 Ferragamos.
Avedon showed me this site, Meet the Bloggers, on online talking head show for progressives hosted by Cenk of Young Turks fame. They have an interview with Bernie Saunders up right now.
The eye candy today is of hot air ballons. I used to go this rally in Greenfield every year when I crewing for Topper. Here's some video of the balloon launch at the The Green River Festival. I only recognized a couple of the balloons. And they don't have skydivers anymore.
But I did find some photos of my oldballoon, Topper from 2006. She's the oldest experimental balloon still in the air. The original owners who I flew with, Bob and Dottie Batcheller have both passed on. Glad to see the new owner Bob is still flying her.
Our founding fathers intended the jury trial system to act as a check against corrupt courts and self-serving legislators. Time was that a jury was free to decide that they couldn't convict under a law they believed was unconstitutional or wrongly applied. That's no longer true. Judges are unwilling to relinquish their control of the proceedings and any troublesome juror that bucks the judge's instructions is simply removed.
This came up most recently in a drug case in Boston that caught my eye because I happen to know the judges referenced in this article. The juror in this case indulged in a bit of showboating I think, but his basic challenge to the legality of the proceedings was sound. By rights, I think Judge Young should have declared a mistrial. Instead he solved the problem by replacing the juror with an alternate.
My old law firm tried cases before him and he’s a hard nosed jurist who tends to give the benefit of the doubt to the prosecution for the most part. I’m not surprised he chose to change the jury to get the verdict, but I was very surprised to see Judge Gertner agreed with what he did. I know her too, on a more personal level and know her to very fair-minded and more liberal judge. I would have expected her to support the juror and the defendant’s rights, even with a less than sympathetic defendant, such as we saw here.
If she's not willing to stand up for a citizen's right to challenge the court, I think there's no hope for the people to reclaim the use of this centuries old balance on the system. It's too bad.
You may have noticed that I've stopped signing my posts. That's because I'm going back to making this a solo effort for a while. I miss my co-bloggers like crazy but since I'm out of work and actively job hunting, and I've heard that prospective employers google you these days, I decided to keep it simple here. I've been at this too long to bother to try to hide my blogging but I want to be sure that what they're finding is clearly my own work.
So with great regret, and limitless thanks, I'm putting expat Brian, Mikevotes, and Kvatch on the alumni list. Capt. Fogg is also going there but he kindly agreed to remain as a background admin so he could take care of the place in the event I get hit by a truck or something.
It's makes me sad, but on the brighter side, I've discovered that I can add this timesaving automatic footer at the bottom of the posts to make it easy for those of you that might want to see what else I'm thinking as I wander around the intertubes, dropping new posts along the way. A small comfort, but these days, I take my comfort where I can find it.
Josh says this has been making the rounds but I hadn't seen it before, so maybe you haven't either. It's an independent effort, outside of either campaign, but it's really well done. I'd agree it has the makings of fine ad campaign for Obama.
Meanwhile, Watertiger is on a roll this week. I couldn't pick a favorite photo so just start at the top and keep scrolling for a pictorial preview of what a McCain presidency would look like. It would certainly keep the snark industry in business for the next four years.
I put Peggy Noonan on my DNR list (that's do not read) over a year ago and have never looked back. I think my life is better for it. Certainly my blood pressure has benefited. Besides, the beauty of the blogosphere is that someone else always has a stronger stomach for tripe and will read her for you. Today, Blue Texan does the honors and boy am I glad I didn't waste any grey matter on the full column.
I have some initial thoughts at Newshoggers on how the Russia/Georgia situation is changing the balance of world power. The way I see it, our impotence has just been laid bare by The Big Bear, for all the world to see. At the root of our diminished ability to respond, of course, is our continued occupation of Iraq, which we all know was always largely about control of the oil.
How ironic then, that Russia just raised the ante on control of world oil without barely lifting a finger. Business Week explains.
The sudden war in the Caucasus brought Georgia to heel, reasserted Russia's claim as the dominant force in the region, and dealt a blow to U.S. prestige. But in this part of the world, diplomacy and war are about oil and gas as much as they are about hegemony and the tragic loss of human life. Victory in Georgia now gives Russia the edge in the struggle over access to the Caspian's 35 billion barrels of oil and trillions of cubic feet of gas. The probable losers: the U.S. and those Western oil companies that have bet heavily on the Caspian as one of the few regions where they could still operate with relative freedom.
At the core of the struggle is a vast network of actual and planned pipelines for shipping Caspian Sea oil to the world market from countries that were once part of the Soviet empire. American policymakers working with a BP-led consortium had already helped build oil and natural gas pipelines across Georgia to the Turkish coast. Next on the drawing board: another pipeline through Georgia to carry natural gas from the eastern shore of the Caspian Sea to Austria—offering an alternate supply to Western Europe, which now depends on Russia for a third of its energy.
Unlike the neocons here, it appears Russia learned its lesson from ill fated blunders into unwinnable guerrilla conflicts. With one small, relatively inexpensive strike, suddenly they're holding all the aces. If it wasn't so deadly serious, it would be funny.
I came home last night and found my internet access was gone. Apparently there was a major meltdown at Time Warner and a bunch of subscribers were disconnected. My situation was more complicated because I don't subscribe directly but get my access through the apartment complex corporate account.
I was on hold for most of the morning before management could give me a direct line to a tech that fixed me up in a couple of minutes, so I'm just perusing the news. I'll be posting in a bit. Meanwhile I have fresh posts at Detroit News.
One of McCain's major themes is he's the guy who puts country first, ahead of his own interests. But Attaturk asks the right question about that today. Which country is talking about? McCain is front and center on the interests of Georgia today, but where was he when NOLA was drowning? Here.
I don't recall that he was holding any press conferences or writing impassioned op-eds calling for Americans to stand fast with our fellow citizens who became the victims of Katrina.
So let me get this straight. Obama, after being criticized relentlessly by McCain for failing to to have gone to Iraq and Afghanistan, goes there and is received with great enthusiasm, both in the occupation zones and on other stops on his trip. He makes some inspiring speeches in which he has the "audacity" to suggest the free world should work together to make the planet a better place. McCain and his trained monkeys in the elite media howl that he's being presumptuous.
Similarly, when Nancy Pelosi, took a bi-partisan condel to the Middle East on a fact-finding tour, the elite media and the entirety of the wingnut chorus railed for weeks about how she was usurping the president's role in foreign affairs. Back then, they were equating wearing a head scarf with treason.
It's not surprising that McCain would be keen on helping Georgia considering his chief foreign policy advisor, Randy Scheunemann was paid millions to lobby for the country's interests here. And as a former director of PNAC and a chief architect of the debacle in Iraq, neither is it surprising that Scheunemann and McCain falsely encouraged the Georgians to believe they would have military support from the US in their misguided challenge to Russia. Neocons talk big like that all the time.
Nor is it shocking to discover that the elite media seem to find McCain's untoward conduct 'presidential' rather than presumptuous or really just plain batshit crazy. But it is disappointing and frustrating to watch our overpaid media elites get away with this painfully transparent double standard -- again -- in order to carry McCain's water.
I've been thinking for a long time that Bush is drinking again and his public conduct over the last few weeks would suggest that it's getting to be a big problem. This Buzz Flash editorial, noting that breaking the Edwards story has given tabloid journalism some new credibility and they did break the story of Bush's drinking months ago, assembles the evidence from Bush's Olympic break.
But that little public display of our national embarrassment was apparently not a vacation. In fact, our imperial lowness, who hogged brush while bin Laden plotted and strummed guitar while New Orleans drowned, came home from his "state visit" to China to criticize Democrats for taking their annual summer recess.
When asked what stood out from his latest exercise in international humilations, he said it was having his picture taken with the US teams. I expect he was thinking of the women's volleyball team especially.
Meanwhile, anyone know about McCain's drinking habits, because it's hard to believe he said this while he was stone cold sober.
In the 21st century, nations don’t invade other nations.
He was explaining his "evolving' position on Georgia, but one can't fail to wonder if he remembers what he was doing in 2003. The irony of that statement surely won't be lost to any but the most deluded observers.
I've been wanting to get a closer look at the McCain family digs in Sedona and thanks to Architecural Digest, we get an inside peek at the palatial home. Wouldn't it be nice to have a lovely outdoor spa like this one in your master bedroom? More pictures here. Forget Pa Cartwright, this is JR Ewing all the way.
And this is only one of their 6 to 10 homes. Funny how no one seems to know exactly how many properties they own. This google earth tour has an aerial view of some of them. Stick with it to the island oceanfront condo in California.
But he's not the elistist? Sure. Everybody lives like this.
Our government doesn't really operate under the rule of law anymore. There's no clearer illustration of that than AG Mukasey's refusal to prosecute former Justice Department employees who illegally applied political litmus tests in deciding who to hire and fire within the Justice Department. Of course, we expected no less from Bush's hand-picked lackey.
Mukasey basically contends that the perps already suffered enough embarrassment by having their criminal conduct publicly exposed. Right. Remind me to recommend that defense the next time an unconnected friend gets a traffic ticket. Meanwhile, these white collar perps will probably all eventually write books from the safety of their comfortable homes and make a fortune on the speaking circuit.
On a related note, it's not unnoticed that this administration has no fear of abridging the laws that protect us from government misconduct. Via Avedon, I see that a google search for the phrase, "it's a free country" only turns up 260,000 hits and most of those are bemoaning the fact that it's not anymore. Only the links to decades old material use the phrase to describe the state of the nation.
If you want the full explanation, see my posts at Newshoggers and the Detroit News where I give the details on the latest WaPo water carrying for the GOP and the deeply disturbing Rasmussen Reports that finds 42% believe "offshore oil drilling would have the biggest impact in terms of reducing the price of oil."
If you trust my judgement, you can just go straight to the Natural Resources Defense Council Action Fund and send their point and click letter to your Congresslizards to let them know you're not buying their bogus propaganda.
I just watched the beginning of the first swimming final and Bush is in the stands. He held up the American Flag BACKWARDS. Waving it like the idiot he is. God. I hope no one tells him. I'm sure we'll hear more about this.
[Ed. Note: I'm bumping this up again because John Cole found the photo. Priceless. LS]
I haven't weighed in on the Russia-Georgia horror show mainly because I don't know enough about the region to have an informed opinion and there's a wealth of bloggers covering it, starting with my guys at The Newshoggers. They've been on the story since the first bomb dropped and have a lot of smart analysis and good links posted. Booman also has a good post up with a contrarian slant.
All I have to say is it's pretty clear that Georgia is being squashed like the proverbial bug and Bush did promise to stand behind them in their quest for freedom and democracy. Certainly we shouldn't send in our military but it would seem appropriate to make some kind of diplomatic gesture. But of course, we're talking about the Bush administration here.
You might think our president and his Secretary of State would be in DC, taking briefings on the situation. Even if we have no intention of intervening, it is a major event in the balance of world power. They might want to give it some attention. But no. In shades of Katrina, Condi Rice can't be bothered to interrupt her vacation to travel to the scene and attempt to broker a peace agreement. No word on whether she's shopping for shoes.
Well, I suppose it's time to confess my ugly little secret. I'm unemployed. Two weeks after I signed on for another year on my lease here, based on the assurance that I would have another year's worth of work, I was told that I would be laid off in a month. It's been six weeks now and I haven't been able to find even a crummy part time job. To say I'm unsettled would be to understate the situation considerably. I don't sleep well and I can barely eat.
I'm sad about leaving the old job. I miss the person I was caring for but mostly I'm embarrassed. I haven't had to look for a job in 25 years and it makes me feel like a total loser not to be working. I'm finding the job hunting process incredibly demeaning. I'm not even getting polite acknowledgements of receipt of my resume, much less interviews. Apparently there's not much of a demand for a 56 year old woman, with no real academic creds but 18 years of office management experience who works hard, learns quickly and is a crackerjack assistant.
I'm in a world of grief dear friends. I'm almost $5000 in debt from my operation. I need at least a couple of thousand of dollars in dental work done immediately or I'll probably never get a decent job. On the bright side, I finally got a lead on a good dentist, but I'm going to have to drop my health insurance. They're charging me $750 a month as a single payer. I have a really strict lease that can't be broken. I'm stuck here for the next 9 months in a tiny little town with no social network. I don't have a single friend here since John died. I don't think I've ever felt so alone.
It's really difficult for me to ask for help. I'm used to helping others, not needing it myself, but I really need it now. If you've ever felt inclined to donate a few bucks to the blog, now would be a good time to hit the "Make a Donation" button at the top of the sidebar. If you don't want to use paypal, you can email me for a land address. If you can't donate money, any advice would be welcome in either the comment section or by email as well. Kind thoughts would also be greatly appreciated.