Friday, October 31, 2008

Friday Stuff

The Great Unwashed show their true colors in Pottsville, PA (hat tip to Michael Morrill at Keystone Progress)...

...I thought this was a terrific analysis by Josh Marshall of TPM Media concerning the recent Obama-McBush presidential numbers; bottom line? McBush has to steal Obama votes at this point, and I have four words for that - "Na. Ga. Ha. Pen."...

...Rachel Maddow conducts a great interview with Steve Coll of The New Yorker about all of the frackups overseas that Commander Codpiece is going to leave for his successor...

...Elvis Costello And The Attractions ("Monkey To Man"; I dedicate this both to Dubya and those asshats in Pottsville).

Halloween Stuff

A hat tip to The Daily Kos and Jane Hamsher for this...

...and the kids will be singing this and knocking on doors in a few hours ("I Want Candy" by Bow Wow Wow).

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Thursday Stuff

In addition to this boneheaded maneuver (h/t Michael Morrill of Keystone Progress), the "Alaska Disasta" is guilty of making a highly inopportune sports reference today in Erie, PA, so noted by K.O. to the point where she earns a "Worst Persons" citation (I have a feeling Sir Charles could have booted Bill Orally's butt but chose not to do so - wise move, it could have hurt him politically; and Pamela Geller is certifiably insane)...

,,,"The Pap Attack" gives Joe The Plumber the takedown he deserves, along with the Palin-McBush campaign...

...I tried to come up with a baseball-related tune to properly pay tribute to the World Series triumph of the Phils (sorry, not "Centerfield," and I can't handle that dippy Justin Roberts vid any more), and I found this; "Hot Corner" by the B-52s (yeah, I know it's a stretch)...

...and here are some scenes of fun and frivolity (mostly legal stuff, but some borderline activity) featuring some individuals who happened to be in the city of Philadelphia last night.

(Posting now becomes officially sporadic for about the next five days; hope you like videos, my friends - I'll try to stick in some commentary, but I'm not promising anything.)

The Case For Patrick Murphy, 2008

Last week, I assigned myself the task of summarizing every single awful No vote by U.S. House Repug Joe Pitts in his re-election bid against challenger Bruce Slater (prompted by the Philadelphia Inquirer’s completely expected endorsement of Pitts in PA-16 and Jim Gerlach in PA-06), and believe me when I tell you that that was an experience that I don’t want to endure again for a good while (I hope the post was illuminating to some degree).

Well, I now have the much happier task of reviewing the many positive votes (mostly) by Dem U.S. House Rep Patrick Murphy for PA-08 since his swearing-in as a member of the 110th Congress. Let’s begin…

  • He voted for better ethics rules and earmark reform (here).

  • He introduced legislation to end the practice of “supplemental” budget appropriations for the Iraq war (here).

  • He supported a nonbinding measure (H Con Res 63) opposing President Bush's decision to add 21,500 combat troops to Iraq and pledged congressional support of troops deployed there as well as veterans of the war (here).

  • He voted for the Employee Free Choice Act (here).

  • He voted to approve budgets totaling $280 million for standing committees and to establish a special advisory panel on global warming (here).

  • He supported a bill to extend whistle-blower protections to civil servants at national security agencies, employees of government contractors, and federal workers who expose the distortion of scientific data for political purposes (here).

  • He stood up again in support of our troops in Iraq (here).

  • He voted against the Democratic budget here because he believed it was too much of a giveaway, which was a noble effort (though again, I think any politician in the U.S. Congress is going to have a problem honoring a pledge to uphold the budgetary line; not absolving fiscal mismanagement, but only acknowledging the reality – more here).

  • He flip-flopped on the Delete Online Predators Act that he opposed when running against Mikey Fitzpatrick, a comparatively minor disagreement in the scheme of things, IMHO here (though there were some bigger ones, some of which were inevitable).

  • He supported a bill that would spend $562 million over six years to make the Small Business Administration more responsive to companies harmed by natural disasters (he also supported another attempt to impose an Iraq troop withdrawal timeline – both here).

  • He voted to expand the federal law against hate crimes to include offenses based on sexual orientation, gender or disability (and freed up more grant money for that purpose here).

  • He voted for a bill to remedy illegal or unethical practices in the federal student loan program; also voted to grant civil-service job safeguards to 170,000 DHS employees (here).

  • He supported a troop withdrawal timeline in the Iraq Supplemental bill upon which the Dems caved in the face of yet another hissy fit from Commander Codpiece (noted here).

  • He voted to present a plan for relocating all detainees from the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (including data such as the number of prisoners being held without charges, though he opposed videotaping prisoner interrogations, curiously enough – here).

  • He did a lot of good things to support the environment here.

  • He opposed an Iraq war funding bill without a troop withdrawal timeline again here.

  • This also shows how Patrick supports our veterans (here also).

  • He wisely voted against reviving the Iraq Study Group here (a truly rare instance where he sided with Joe Pitts).

  • He voted against raising congressional pay here.

  • He voted for the College Cost Reduction Act of 2007 - this bill passed the House with wide bipartisan support; it provided the single largest investment in higher education since the GI Bill (here).

  • He and the congressional Dems voted to implement the 9/11 Commission recommendations here.

  • He authored two measures for inclusion into the Veterans Health Care Improvement Act of 2007; a permanent program that would identify active duty military members at risk of homelessness, and a proposal for the Veterans Administration to make its homeless veterans programs more accommodating for female veterans (here).

  • He secured more earmarked funding than any other U.S. House representative from this area (and read this and try telling me why this is a bad thing).

  • He endorsed Barack Obama for president here, which to me is true prescience despite what I said at the time (and no, I don’t care that PA went for Hillary Clinton – the Dems are coming home to their candidates and the Repugs mostly to theirs, though the people in the middle are going to decide things next Tuesday, as is usually the case).

  • He tried to secure a quarter of a million dollars to help prevent gang violence here.

  • He attended a working session/fundraiser with former Bucks Repug State Senator Joe Conti (the whole “reaching across the aisle” thing) here.

  • He sponsored the National Flood Insurance Advocate, an independent office within the Federal Emergency Management Agency, to help direct home owners and business owners through the often confusing national flood insurance program (here).

  • He voted to renew the State Children's Health Insurance Program (here).

  • He tried to pass the Clean Railroads Act which would close a long-existing loophole in federal law that “(allows) rail companies to run roughshod over state and local laws and the will of a community” (here).

  • He offered to help launch an Army Corps of Engineers study of the Delaware River, even though the Bucks County commissioners (Repugs Cawley and Martin by name) refused to help fund this critical initiative; significant federal funding would not arrive to the district unless the study was completed first (here).

  • He voted for legislation to raise the minimum wage (here).

  • He voted for a bill expanding Trade Adjustment Assistance and extending the program to include workers in service industries and some government employees (here).

  • He voted for a fix to the Alternative Minimum Tax, opposed by Dubya and the Repugs because it more than doubled taxes on hedge-fund and private-equity fund managers (wonder if anyone would have a problem with that now?here).

  • He voted for a bill to increase federal regulation of the lending practices now devastating the U.S. housing market (see above – here).

  • He held a congressional field hearing to discuss ways to improve response to disasters at the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center just outside Doylestown (PA) (here).

  • He voted to raise vehicle mileage requirements by 40 percent by 2020, boost residential and industrial energy-efficiency standards, phase out the incandescent light bulbs now used in most U.S. homes, and increase production of ethanol and other biofuels sixfold by 2022 (here).

  • He helped to let a veteran know he was exempt from property taxes when the man was not informed to that effect by the VA (here).

  • He voted to override one of Dubya’s SCHIP vetoes here.

  • He authored the Truth in Tuition measure added to the College Opportunity and Affordability Act that passed in the House in February; the Act forced all colleges and universities, both public and private, to publicly explain the reasons behind a tuition increase (and he also opposed the resolution honoring the Super Bowl Champion New York Giants, the act of a true Philly homeboy - both here).

  • He coauthored the Improper Payments Elimination and Recover Act of 2008, introduced in the U.S. House with Repug Brian Billbray of California; it required government agencies to report any improper payments involved in projects funded through those agencies that exceed $10 million or represented 2.5 percent of total project funding (also required the agencies to recover funding if they overspend by $1 million or more – here).

  • He voted to override Dubya’s veto of a fiscal 2008 intelligence budget (HR 2082) that required CIA personnel to obey the Army Field Manual's ban on waterboarding and other forms of torture of prisoners (here).

  • He played a big role in wrapping up the Washington’s Crossing Veterans Cemetery matter, a true bipartisan effort (and to be fair, Mikey Fitzpatrick worked on that also – here).

  • He obtained more financial aid for the children of police officers, firefighters and other emergency personnel killed in the line of duty (here).

  • He handled himself well on “The Colbert Report” here (or at least I thought so anyway).

  • He cosponsored the Safe Climate Act here.

  • He advocated suspending gas and diesel taxes over last summer, along with Tom Manion (another disagreement with yours truly – here).

  • He voted to direct the Occupational Health and Safety Administration to adopt rules for controlling combustible dust at factories (here).

  • He introduced an amendment to a housing bill authorizing $7,500 tax credits for first-time homebuyers and allowing homeowners who don't itemize deductions to claim as much as $700 of their property taxes as a federal tax deduction (here).

  • He supported Amtrak consumer fare cuts and supported efforts to add additional stops at the Cornwells Heights, PA station (also helped obtain a glucose monitor for a constituent family member suffering from juvenile diabetes, both here).

  • He voted against a Dem spending bill that would have guaranteed a $340 billion deficit here.

  • He voted to shelve the Dennis Kucinich resolution presenting 35 articles of impeachment against Dubya (yes, I understand the political cost, but it was still the wrong vote – here).

  • He voted for the sham FISA bill here (and he defended his vote here).

  • He supported cutting back on the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in an attempt to lower gas prices here.

  • He voted to negate Supreme Court decisions that have narrowed the types of disabilities and number of disabled workers protected by the 1990 Americans With Disabilities Act (here).

  • He voted to repeal subsidies to oil companies in favor of investing in alternative energy here.

  • He voted to give oil companies a "use it or lose it" mandate to either drill on federal land they have leased or give up the right to do so (also voted to override Dubya’s veto of a bill cancelling a 10 percent payment cut to doctors, both here).

  • He opposed a windfall oil profits tax (along with both Manion and Lingenfelter; another disagreement – here).

  • He voted to direct the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to curb "excessive speculation" in the oil futures market that can lead to higher gas prices (also voted to bolster the federal law that bans pay discrimination based on gender – both here).

  • He voted to remove most restrictions on gun possession in the District of Columbia (a most definite disagreement – here).

  • He voted to set pro-consumer rules for credit-card firms (here).
  • And believe it or not, that’s about all I can come up with (tongue in cheek – I was beginning to wonder if this would ever end).

    I should also point out that I didn’t pay much attention to the whole “earmarks” thing because I thought it was a nonissue since they were disclosed. Also, I had nothing to say on the whole “book deal” matter, since there was never anything there to begin with as far as I’m concerned.

    For anyone living in PA-08 who may be reading this, I hope this gives you more than enough reason to send Patrick Murphy back to Washington as our congressman next Tuesday (to help, click here, and here’s a message).

    Thursday AM Stuff

    All kidding aside - vote...

    ...and for anyone who missed it last night, here's the half-hour Obama infomercial.

    Update: Wise words from John Cole here (h/t The Daily Kos), particularly these...

    Notice what is missing from (Obama's broadcast), conservatives? Attacks on John McCain. For 30 minutes, Barack Obama talked about what he thinks are the problems currently facing the country, about what he thinks he can do to help fix them, how you can help him, and why it is important to elect him. He did not spend his time telling you why you should not vote for McCain, he spent his time telling why you should vote for him. You may not agree with his ideas, but you can not argue he has them and is presenting them to the country in a clear and nonthreatening manner.

    Now, for a moment, consider what the Republican 30 minute infomercial would look like this year- if I had to guess, it would be ten minutes about McCain as a POW, ten minutes of McCain saying he isn’t Bush, and then ten minutes of bullshit smears about Ayers, Khalidi, socialism, celebrity, and maybe Rick Davis could go before the cameras and pull a tire gauge out of his ass. For sheer nostalgia, maybe the lead McCain blogger could put those table-top gamers back in their place again. All the while, McCain could pepper his speech with folksy rejoinders about earmarks. And now that we are done with a hypothetical Republican 30 minutes, how did McCain actually respond to the commercial? In case you missed it, he whinged (sic) about public financing (when did that become a Republican cause) and then muttered something about Obama delaying the World Series, and even that was a lie.
    Tee hee hee - about five days to go, my fellow prisoners...

    Wednesday, October 29, 2008

    WE WIN!!!

    (By the way, I also posted over here; also, I should note that I'm in the middle of a humongous post that I couldn't quite finish today.)

    Sorry - I know there's a bunch of political stuff to get to, including Liddy Dole's awful new ad and Sarah Palin giving up and asking about 2012 already (way too funny, and Obama's half-hour show was good too), but right now, I really don't care because PHILS WIN THE SERIES!! PHILS WIN THE SERIES!! PHILS WIN THE SERIES!! PHILS WIN THE SERIES!! PHILS WIN THE SERIES!! PHILS WIN THE SERIES!! PHILS WIN THE SERIES!! PHILS WIN THE SERIES!! PHILS WIN THE SERIES!!!!!!!

    Yes, I'm such a homer, it's true (and I can actually embed this song and REALLY MEAN IT!!!).

    Lord, this is sweet - eternal thanks to you for this blessed moment (and to the guys in the red pinstripes also, of course).

    Update 1 10/30/08: Cenk talks about the Liddy Dole ad here (Atrios had a Britney Spears video in his post over the issue; don't know what's up with that - maybe he was celebrating too and mixed it up with something else).

    Update 2 10/30/08: Good job by Kay Hagan in response...

    McBush McWhiffs Again

    This Daily Kos post tells us that John W. McBush is revving up the Whaaa-mbulance one more time over Barack Obama’s prime-time broadcast tonight at 8:00 (on Fox, MSNBC, CBS and NBC I believe)…

    "No one will delay the World Series with an infomercial when I'm president," (McBush) said to the approval of a crowd of thousands at a stadium (in Hershey, Pa.).
    (Note to self: do not go to Hershey next year for summer vacation.)

    Well, as the post and the WaPo story tells us, Obama didn’t “delay” anything, since Game 5 is due to resume tonight at approximately 8:37 (cancelling only the “pre-game” show with Joe Buck – more on him in a minute), though McBush’s convention speech this year caused the NFL to change its schedule to accommodate him (“pot, meet kettle” once again).

    And while I’m on the subject, please allow me to digress into a sports-related vein, since this is the first time in a number of years that I’ve chosen to endure Fox TV coverage to watch any portion of a championship event because a home team was involved.

    Sam Donnellon of the Philadelphia Daily News wrote what I thought was a spot-on column today about the farcical decision of Fox and Major League Baseball to allow Game 5 to be played on Monday night in conditions that might have been more appropriate for an episode of “The Deadliest Catch” than a sports competition.

    Among Donnellon’s many good observations is that, while announcers Buck and Tim McCarver blathered on about the team speed of the Tampa Bay (Not Devil) Rays and how it could be affected by the rotten weather, Rays center fielder B.J. Upton stole second base before he eventually scored the tying run on a single by Carlos Pena. Also, Reuben Frank of the Courier Times noted that, while Tampa Bay stole 142 bases last year, the Phils stole 136 (to match their NL-leading 214 home runs; I believe that was the number), so while Tampa Bay is quite good in that department, the Phils are no slouches either (so, wouldn’t the Phils’ speed be affected also?).

    Another thing… is there a more joyless baseball announcer in the universe than Joe Buck? Every utterance from his mouth sounds like a command, which works from time to time, but it’s OK to have fun too (his father, the legendary St. Louis Cardinals broadcaster, Jack Buck, never had a problem with that – I used to listen to him broadcast “Monday Night Football” on the radio with Hank Stram, former coach of the Kansas City Chiefs). But of course, Buck the younger is a real pro when it comes to transitioning into the promos for Fox TV shows (particularly the return of “24” next month – repeated to the point where we could not possibly forget it) and then returning to the action as the pitched ball is already on its way to the next batter.

    Ok, that’s enough; I’ll get back to bitching about politics later.

    Tuesday, October 28, 2008

    Tuesday Stuff

    (By the way, I also posted over here.)

    There's a lot of reasons to vote against Repugs, especially now of course, and usually that has to do with a lot of "he said, she said" stuff from which I, among others, try to discern something approximating the truth. However, when an elected official bails out in the face of genuine human misery as Saxby Chambliss did here, that is another matter entirely (more info here)...

    ...OK, so it looks like Ted ("Tubes") Stevens isn't going to resign as he appeals his conviction. Fine; I'll just remember that if and when the House Ethics Committee comes back with some bad stuff against Charlie Rangel and the wingers are calling for his head, OK (and apparently, Fox humanoid Megyn Kelly was too busy arguing with Bill Burton of the Obama campaign to report on Stevens' conviction just like the rest of her fraud network; I saw the vid, and I'm not going to waste space on this page to let her rant - go here if you want to take a look)...

    ...darn that K.O., delivering a Special Campaign Comment on Governor Hottie which takes care of at least five different posts I was planning to concoct on Palin before the election...

    ...and with all of the campaign hubbub going on, it's easy to forget that President Highest Disapproval Rating In Gallup Poll History is still taking up space at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, but fortunately, bluesman Mem Shannon has not; here's "Goodbye Mr. President (Time For You To Go)"; a spot-on number, though we all care very much who comes afterwards (and to help him out, click here).

    More DHS Follies With Mike (“City Of Louisiana”) Chertoff

    (As always, I apologize for that truly disturbing pic.)

    This ABC News story tells us that...

    Texas officials accused the Federal Emergency Management Agency of slow response and insensitivity on Monday, saying the agency has failed to provide timely help to town officials and Hurricane Ike victims who need temporary housing and money.

    "It's a tragedy, what's going on down there," Jack Colley, the state's director of emergency management, told the Senate Transportation and Homeland Security Committee during a hearing on hurricane recovery.

    Colley suggested that FEMA should be removed from the federal Department of Homeland Security and placed under presidential oversight.
    The next preznit is going to have an epochal mess to clean up from His Fraudulency, and the economic crisis and the wars will take precedence, but I think fixing FEMA for good should be somewhere on the list of priorities, and removing it from under DHS should be part of that (maybe a cabinet level position for now; just a thought).

    And I neglected to mention this little item that “flew under the radar” a few days ago…

    The Bush administration has informed Congress that it is bypassing a law intended to forbid political interference with reports to lawmakers by the Department of Homeland Security.

    The August 2007 law requires the agency’s chief privacy officer to report each year about Homeland Security activities that affect privacy, and requires that the reports be submitted directly to Congress “without any prior comment or amendment” by superiors at the department or the White House.

    But newly disclosed documents show that the Justice Department issued a legal opinion last January questioning the basis for that restriction, and that Michael Chertoff, the homeland security secretary, later advised Congress that the administration would not “apply this provision strictly” because it infringed on the president’s powers.

    “This is a dictatorial, after-the-fact pronouncement by him in line with a lot of other cherry-picking he’s done on the signing statements,” (Sen. Arlen) Specter said in a telephone interview. He added, “To put it differently, I don’t like it worth a damn.”
    Aw, shut up and take your medicine like a good little Repug, Arlen (file this under “The Mayberry Machiavellis strike again”).

    83 days to go, my fellow prisoners…

    Vote For Steve in PA-31!

    That miracle of technology known as is currently having a few hiccups, so I don’t have a link to this, which is the Courier Times’ endorsement of Steve Santarsiero for PA House Rep. in District 31…

    One inspired reform in the way government operates in Lower Makefield. The other promises to carry on the legacy of respected state Rep. Dave Steil. A leader in the fight to reform the state legislature, Steil isn’t seeking re-election.

    Of all the races on the ballot in next week’s general election, the state House race in the 31st House district stands out because of the quality of the candidates.

    In our view, Democrat Steve Santarsiero, a public school teacher, has a record of reform as a supervisor in Lower Makefield – exactly the kind of spirit that’s needed to make the state Legislature more responsive to Pennsylvania residents. He deserves credit for: getting all township supervisor meetings televised; requiring public interviews of board appointees; developing an open space inventory; and generally fostering a culture of change and openness in local government. He also led the successful drive to stop Matrix Corp. from building a shopping center on critical open space in the township, and preserved development-threatened farmland by converting it into a very successful public golf course.

    Republican Pete Stainthorpe, like Santarsiero, is committed to needed reforms in the Legislature and has embraced Steil’s long campaign to change Harrisburg. Stainthorpe, a respected local businessman and township supervisor, says he won’t compromise on vows to end seniority for chairmanships, do away with bonuses, require all legislative bills to go to a vote, and allow the chief clerk to run the House, not the party caucuses.
    One area that both candidates differ on involved public education. Stainthorpe backs an effort in the legislature to ban teacher strikes; Santarsiero does not.

    In our view, Santarsiero has a convincing, proven record of government reform that Stainthorpe does not. He also points out that his opponent stifled public comment during the Matrix hearings and opposed television supervisor meetings – not exactly the mark of a reformer. We believe Steve Santarsiero will be a crusader for public access in Harrisburg – just as he has been for Lower Makefield. For this reason, the Courier Time strongly recommends him for election.

    However, if banning teacher strikes is a paramount issue for you, we urge you to seriously consider Pete Stainthorpe.
    To help Steve, click here.

    Update 10/29/08: Here's the link.

    The Neocon "Purity" Purge Over Palin

    This Daily Kos post links to a column in today’s WaPo by Richard Cohen telling us of how all of the usual conservative suspects fell in love with “Governor Hottie” and trumpeted her for months before John W. McBush eventually selected her as his running mate.

    Cohen’s column references this New Yorker story by Jane Mayer (love the illustration), which tells us, among other things, that two cruises to the frozen north full of right wingers (bet THAT was a fun time…I don’t want to imagine what that crowd is like when they “let their hair down”) turned out to be highly fortunate for the former mayor of Wasilla, AK.

    Concerning the first one (from Mayer’s story, and Cohen recounts much of this, but it’s here again for background)…

    On June 18, 2007, the first group disembarked in Juneau from the Holland America Line’s M.S. Oosterdam, and went to the governor’s mansion, a white wooden Colonial house with six two-story columns, for lunch. The contingent featured three of The Weekly Standard ’s top writers: William Kristol, the magazine’s Washington-based editor, who is also an Op-Ed columnist for the Times and a regular commentator on “Fox News Sunday”; Fred Barnes, the magazine’s executive editor and the co-host of “The Beltway Boys,” a political talk show on Fox News; and Michael Gerson, the former chief speechwriter for President Bush and a Washington Post columnist.


    During the lunch (where they all made nice, of course, featuring a big spread with “halibut cheeks,” which apparently is a choice item), everyone was charmed when the Governor’s small daughter Piper popped in to inquire about dessert. Fred Barnes recalled being “struck by how smart Palin was, and how unusually confident. Maybe because she had been a beauty queen, and a star athlete, and succeeded at almost everything she had done.” It didn’t escape his notice, too, that she was “exceptionally pretty.”

    According to a former Alaska official who attended the lunch, the visitors wanted to do something “touristy,” so a “flight-seeing” trip was arranged. Their destination was a gold mine in Berners Bay, some forty-five miles north of Juneau. For Palin and several staff members, the state leased two helicopters from a private company, Coastal, for two and a half hours, at a cost of four thousand dollars. (The pundits paid for their own aircraft.) Palin explained that environmentalists had invoked the Clean Water Act to oppose a plan by a mining company, Coeur Alaska, to dump waste from the extraction of gold into a pristine lake in the Tongass National Forest. Palin rejected the environmentalists’ claims. (The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against Coeur Alaska, and the dispute is now before the Supreme Court.) Barnes was dazzled by Palin’s handling of the hundred or so mineworkers who gathered to meet the group. “She clearly was not intimidated by crowds—or men!” he said. “She’s got real star quality.”
    God, conservatives in love – I may retch (and nothing like making fun of those dastardly environmentalists in the bargin, eh?).

    And sensing the self-promotion opportunities, Mayer tells us that “Governor Hottie” wanted some more wingut love; you betcha!

    On August 1, 2007, a few weeks after the Weekly Standard cruise departed from Juneau, Palin hosted a second boatload of pundits, this time from a cruise featuring associates of National Review. Her guests, arriving on the M.S. Noordam, included Rich Lowry, the magazine’s editor and a syndicated columnist; Robert Bork, the conservative legal scholar and former federal judge; John Bolton, who served as the Bush Administration’s Ambassador to the United Nations from 2004 to 2006; Victor Davis Hanson, a conservative historian who is reportedly a favorite of Vice-President Dick Cheney; and Dick Morris, the ideologically ambidextrous political consultant, who writes a column for The Hill and appears regularly on Fox News.
    This no doubt explains the origins of Lowry’s adolescent infatuation with the “Alaska Disasta,” as noted for all time here.

    As Mayer tells us…

    As Jack Fowler, National Review’s publisher, recalled it, when the guest speakers were invited to come to a special reception at the governor’s mansion, “We said, ‘Sure!’ There’s only so much you can do in Juneau.” The mansion itself, he said, was modest—“not exactly Newport.” But the food was great, and included an impressive spread of salmon. Palin, who circulated nimbly through the room, and spoke admiringly of National Review, made a good impression. Fowler said, “This lady is something special. She connects. She’s genuine. She doesn’t look like what you’d expect. My thought was, Too bad she’s way up there in Alaska, because she has potential, but to make things happen you have to know people.”
    And as far as “the Pericles of Petticoat Junction” is concerned (here, a nickname coined by James Wolcott, definitely someone I don’t want to have mad at me if I can help it)…

    Hanson, the historian, recalled Palin in high heels, “walking around this big Victorian house with rough Alaska floors, saying, ‘Hi, I’m Sarah.’ ” She was “striking,” he said. “She has that aura that Clinton, Reagan, and Jack Kennedy had—magnetism that comes through much more strongly when you’re in the same room.” He was delighted that Palin described herself as a fan of history, and as a reader of National Review’s Web site, for which he writes regularly. She spoke about the need to drill for oil in Alaska’s protected wilderness areas, arguing that her husband had worked in nearby oil fields and knew firsthand that it wasn’t environmentally hazardous. Hanson, a farm owner, found it appealing that she was married to an oil worker, rather than to an executive.
    As you can read from Wolcott's link, Hanson turned out to be as right about Palin as he has been about the Iraq war.

    Bolton, for his part, was pleased that Palin, a hunting enthusiast, was familiar with his efforts to stave off international controls on the global flow of small weapons.
    Yeah, that sure has been a pet cause of Bolton’s all right; what a contemptible gutter snipe – this story from July 2001, when the U.N. small arms treaty was proposed and subsequently gutted by the U.S., tells us that…

    Frustration at Washington's tactics was felt most strongly among African governments, many of which have seen their countries torn apart by internal conflicts. "The United States should be ashamed of themselves," said Jean Du Preez, a South African delegate. "We are very disappointed."
    Any other person of conscience should feel the same way (and I realize that that automatically excludes the neocons).

    Back to Mayer’s story…

    (Palin) spoke knowledgeably about missile defense, too, he said, and discussed his role, in 2001, in guiding the Bush Administration’s withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. Jay Nordlinger, a senior editor at National Review, had a more elemental response. In an online column, he described Palin as “a former beauty-pageant contestant, and a real honey, too. Am I allowed to say that? Probably not, but too bad.”
    Mayer’s story goes on to tell us how all the other cruising neocons “went king size,” if you will, for Palin, and it also gives us a good bit of insight into the back-and-forth that ultimately led to her selection.

    Which brings us to this moment, of course, with Palin going “more Rogue” now, as K.O. put it last night, and some of the “divided conservatives” whining as follows (from the Murdoch Street Journal last Friday here)…

    The abuse being heaped on Sarah Palin is such a cheap shot.

    The complaint against the Alaska governor, at its most basic, is that she doesn't qualify for admission to the national political fraternity. Boy, that's rich. Behold the shabby frat house that says it's above her pay grade.

    Sarah Palin didn't design a system of presidential primaries whose length and cost ensures that only the most obsessional personalities will run the gauntlet, while a long list of effective governors don't run.

    These rules have wasted the electorate's time the past three presidential elections, by filling the debates with such zero-support candidates as Dennis Kucinich, Mike Gravel, Al Sharpton, Duncan Hunter, Chris Dodd, Joe Biden (8,000 total votes), Wesley Clark and Alan Keyes.
    (I should note that I omitted Daniel Henninger’s swipe at Congress because I considered it a bit of childish temperament that wasn’t pertinent to anything.)

    Oh sure, let Henninger bray about the ridiculous length of our election cycle (off point a bit, but I believe I should note this), when, as it turns out, our media companies are the ones who prefer that status quo just as it is, thank you very much, as noted here (and here are more current numbers).

    And of course, Henninger tells us that that same media sustaining itself on political ad money is also really to blame for what he perceives as poor Palin treatment (gosh, I may cry)…

    By not bothering to look very deeply at the details beneath either candidate's governing proposals, the media have created a lot of downtime to take free kicks at Gov. Palin. My former colleague, Tunku Varadarajan, has compiled a glossary of Palin invective, and I've added a few: "Republican blow-up doll," "idiot," "Christian Stepford wife," "Jesus freak," "Caribou Barbie," "a dope," "a fatal cancer to the Republican Party," "liar," "a national disgrace" and "her pretense that she is a woman."
    And who was it who called Palin a “cancer” again, as noted here?

    And along with the charge that Barack Obama has “next to no record of political accomplishment,” (apparently, Henninger’s boss didn’t get the memo...aaarrrggghhh) the intrepid WSJ hack spews as follows…

    For nearly two years, all the major candidates have rotated through our lives as solitary personalities attended by careerist campaign professionals. Barack, Hillary, Rudy, Mitt, Mike, McCain. When the moment arrived to pick a running mate, input from the parties was minimal. That famous party boss, Caroline Kennedy, advised Barack Obama. They picked a three-decade denizen of the Senate. John McCain's obligation was himself and his endless slog to this big chance.
    Caroline Kennedy a “party boss”? On second thought, I don’t think I’ll cry after all, because I’m too busy laughing my ass off.

    And in today’s Journal, Henninger’s fellow propagandist William McGurn praises Palin for her supposed commitment to special needs children (not calling into question anything she does as a mother, but in her role as a politician), which, as noted here, is surprising because…

    (Palin) signed legislation that would increase financing for children in Alaska with special needs — though she was not involved in its development — yet that state is the subject of two lawsuits that allege inadequate services and financing for those children, particularly those with autism.
    Also, as Think Progress notes here, Palin cut funding for the Special Olympics, though the amount is in dispute somewhat (still, though, it belies her claim as a special needs advocate as far as I’m concerned).

    And just think, primarily because of two cruises to her state full of a bunch of right-wing bottom feeders, the Repug nominee for president ended up saddled with the governor of Alaska on the party ticket, an admittedly charismatic individual who told the cruise guests before they left (according to Mayer)…

    ..when the moment came for (Dick) Morris and other guests to depart, Palin was sad to see the Washington insiders go. Hanson recalled, “She said, ‘Hey—does anyone want to stay for dinner? We’re going to eat right now.’ She also invited everyone to come back the next day. ‘If any of you are in the area, all you have to do is knock. Yell upstairs, I’ll be right down.’ ”
    Gosh darn it, ol’ Sarah is just plain folks, dontcha know!

    So the reckoning is coming, my friends, due to arrive in about a week. And afterwards, I strongly suspect that “Governor Red High Heels” will go traipsing back to the hinterlands where she belongs, having propelled “Senator Honor And Virtue” into crashing something else besides one of his five jets when he served in the Navy.

    And as the Repug political bloodletting begins in earnest, we’ll all know some of the people we have to thank for it.

    Update: OK, so…Obama braves the bad weather and speaks at a rally of about 9,000 today, but the Palin-McBush team bails before a possible crowd of 10,000 because of snow flurries? And “it was to be the last time the two appear together for a rally before Election Day,” huh?

    And you still think Palin-McBush have a glimmer of hope of seizing PA in the election, huh J.D. (sorry Ed, but c'mon)? Well, check this out.

    And nice cheap shot to resurrect the "guns, clinging, bitter" stuff again. Well then, what do you have to say about this guy?

    Monday, October 27, 2008

    Monday Stuff

    (By the way, I also posted over here today.)

    Hey, say what you want about Shadegg, but at least he ADMITS he's a frackup; to help hasten his retirement to private life, click here...

    ...and to commemorate the conviction of Alaska Senator Ted ("The Internet; It's A Series Of Tubes!") Stevens, here's the dance remix one more time...

    ..."More Rogue," huh? Looks like "Governor Hottie" (or should I say Madame Frankenstein at this point) isn't taking orders from anyone anymore (except maybe "Elisabeth" - way too damn funny)...

    ...and the baseball gods appear to be intent on torturing us some more; Series Game 5, now tied, is currently in a rain delay (here's "Pop Fly," by Justin Roberts).

    Forgetting The "One-Party Elephant"

    I’m sure you’ve heard by now, along with me, what is destined to be one of the final, dying gasps of the Palin-McBush campaign as they approach what should be electoral obliteration in about a week (though I’m not assuming anything, I hasten to add). And that is the cry to “beware of one-party rule,” or words to that effect (echoed by, among other people, Kevin Ferris yesterday in the Inquirer, and Jonathan Martin here).

    And as long as I’ve brought up Ferris’ weekly literary exercise in freeper fiction, please allow me to highlight the following mess in particular…

    …(Joe Biden)…went out of his way Sunday to scare voters, saying an international crisis is inevitable solely as a test to an inexperienced President Obama. Worse, and oddly enough, Biden also suggested that Obama wouldn't handle the issue well.
    Give me a break; here is the exact quote from Biden (as Obama said, maybe it was a bit of a flourish in elocution, but Biden’s fundamental point is correct)…

    "Mark my words. It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy. The world is looking. We're about to elect a brilliant 47-year-old senator president of the United States of America.

    "Remember I said it standing here, if you don't remember anything else I said. Watch, we're going to have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy.

    "I promise you it will occur. As a student of history and having served with seven presidents, I guarantee you it's going happen. I can give you at least four or five scenarios from where it might originate."
    Where in that excerpt does it indicate that Barack Obama would not handle a crisis “well,” as Ferris puts it?

    However, what I really wanted to highlight in Ferris’ noxious punditry is the following…

    "Pennsylvania is not out of the game for us," Cindy McCain said in an interview after an appearance at the National Constitution Center on Monday morning. "We're very much in it and very competitive."

    Reasons for that, Cindy McCain said, are worries about the economy and one-party rule in Washington.
    I’ll respond to the beer heiress and her prognostication about our beloved commonwealth a little later, but for now I just want to take a little trip back in time about, oh, four years ago or so, and recall the following:

    This tells us how Dubya “gambled heavily and won big” in the 2002 mid-term congressional election, in which “Mr. Bush criss-crossed the country as the campaign hotted up, visiting candidates in key battles where advisers believed his presence could make a vital difference. Paying visits to three, four, even five states in a single day was not uncommon. In all, he visited a total of 25 states on the campaign trail.”

    The story also noted that Dubya, who apparently is not fond of travel (I’m sure Clinton “hit the road” more than Dubya as president, but I don’t have any stats on that at the moment), became “grouchy and bad-tempered in the final five days of the campaign,” according to the Independent.

    Awwww, poor President Highest Disapproval Rating In Gallup Poll History (I mean, what else is a figurehead supposed to do in an election year?).

    But not to worry; because “gambling Dubya” managed to pull it off that year and in '04 (barring electoral fraud in Ohio, of course, which is a subject of at least one whole other post), Nancy Gibbs and John F. Dickerson of Time Magazine gushed that, “For sharpening the debate until the choices bled, for reframing reality to match his design, for gambling his fortunes—and ours—on his faith in the power of leadership, George W. Bush is TIME's 2004 Person of the Year.”

    And call me crazy, but even though the Repugs managed to consolidate their holds on the Senate and the House that year, I don’t recall reading about “the dangers of one-party rule” anywhere, or words to that effect (with this post noting presciently that, "The one consolation that people are clinging to is that (Dubya) will fuck things up so badly in the next four years that the Democrats will move back into favour. That's if we still have a world." – hey, the bad word didn’t come from me, it’s a quote, OK?).

    So what happened after that? Well, the Dems take over Congress in 2006, of course, with the predictable tepid response from our dear corporate media cousins, as noted by Media Matters here (what could be more boring than a Venn diagram?).

    And it’s not as if the Repugs weren’t warned; as Frank Rich noted so correctly here in his New York Times column yesterday, the entire George Felix Allen “Macaca” incident in Virginia that year was a warning that the red meat, cultural conservative, values voter demagoguery had had its day (fortunately for the Dems, though, the Palin-McBush team never got the memo, which I believe has a lot to do with its current slide into electoral oblivion).

    And getting back to the former Ms. Hensley’s PA prediction, I give you this from the aforementioned Frank Rich column…

    The constant tide of anthropological articles and television reports set in blue-collar diners, bars and bowling alleys have hyped this racial theory of the race. So did the rampant misreading of primary-season exit polls. On cable TV and the Sunday network shows, there was endless chewing over the internal numbers in the Clinton victories. It was doomsday news for Obama, for instance, that some 12 percent of white Democratic primary voters in Pennsylvania said race was a factor in their choice and three-quarters of them voted for Clinton. Ipso facto — and despite the absence of any credible empirical evidence — these Clinton voters would either stay home or flock to McCain in November.

    The McCain campaign is so dumb that it bought into the press’s confirmation of its own prejudices. Even though registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by 1.2 million in Pennsylvania (more than double the 2004 gap), even though Obama leads by double digits in almost every recent Pennsylvania poll and even though no national Republican ticket has won there since 1988, McCain started pouring his dwindling resources into the state this month. When the Democratic Representative John Murtha described his own western Pennsylvania district as a “racist area,” McCain feigned outrage and put down even more chips on the race card, calling the region the “most patriotic, most God-loving” part of America.

    Well, there are racists in western Pennsylvania, as there are in most pockets of our country. But despite the months-long drumbeat of punditry to the contrary, there are not and have never been enough racists in 2008 to flip this election. In the latest New York Times/CBS News and Pew national polls, Obama is now pulling even with McCain among white men, a feat accomplished by no Democratic presidential candidate in three decades, Bill Clinton included. The latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News survey finds age doing more damage to McCain than race to Obama.
    I look at it this way; the last time we had one-party rule under the Repugs, a terminally ill woman in a persistent vegetative state was paraded before the nation, almost the entire leadership of the majority party was embroiled in a lobbying scandal led by a man currently serving a four-year prison term, and our government floundered in a virtually helpless state as practically the entire Ninth Ward of the city of New Orleans was destroyed in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina (and that’s just for starters, to say nothing of the Iraq War, of course).

    Assuming all good things next Tuesday, the Democrats would have to go a long way to amass a more abject record of futility than that.