Michelle Bachmann: "Part of the problem is
today, only 53% pay any federal income tax at all; 47% pay nothing," the
former federal tax attorney said. "We need to broaden the base so that
everybody pays something, even if it's a dollar."
Paul Ryan: "We need to lower tax rates for corporations and individuals, and broaden the tax base."
This is why Republicans are winning at politics right now: they are euphemism machines. Taxing the rich? That's "class warfare". Taxing the poor? That's "broadening the base". That they can say both with a straight face? That's the scary part.
(I know I haven't written much lately. Now I return with a completely serious and unfun perspective on politics. You may continue not paying attention to this space. You are welcome.)
We all derive our understanding of the world from our particular perspective. My perspective is as somebody who works in the world of energy. As our demand for power in this country grows, we have two ways that we can respond. We can build more power plants, or we can become more energy efficient. In Texas, each utility has rebate programs where they pay their customers to become more energy efficient. Why would a utility company that makes its money by selling electricity pay its customers to use less of it? Because as demand increases, they have to build power plants, and eventually it actually becomes cheaper to pay your customers to use less than it is to build more capacity. They understand that a megawatt saved is the same as a megawatt produced.
Now think about it in terms of a senior citizen who gets $500 in Social Security every month. If the government cuts her benefits by $100, or levies a tax of $100, what is the difference? If you are a government contractor and your taxes are raised by $1M, or the government cancels a $1M contract, what is the difference? What, exactly, is the difference between a tax increase and a spending cut?
The difference is only in who is affected. If spending is cut on social programs, it is predominantly the poor and disenfranchised who suffer. If marginal tax rates are raised, it is the wealthy and middle class who pay the price. That this is not the rational basis for our national economic policy is due wholly to the influence of money in our politics.
No, this is not a headline I wrote just to see if I could get Kevin's head would explode. Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Kentucky) made headlines over the weekend by objecting to the senate's attempts to extend, among other things, unemployment benefits and some infrastructure projects originally funded as part of the stimulus bill. I'll let the Daily Show explain:
Here is where I disagree with Bunning, and Republicans in general: while in control of Congress and the White House for 6 years (2000-2006), you could have given two fucks about balancing the budget. Instead, you turned a budget surplus into the biggest deficit in history, and now you're all, "Oh, we can't afford to give unemployed people benefits or sick people health care, because the deficit is too big." Fuck you, you bunch of hypocrites.
But if I'm going to call hypocrisy on the Republicans, then fair is fair: nobody forced you to pass Pay As You Go legislation, Democrats. You decided that you wanted to play politics with the Republicans and the Tea Partiers and all their bellyaching about the deficit. Maybe it was stupid, but you did it. Now to just take every piece of legislation, slap the word "emergency" on it, and pass it anyway is to be just as hypocritical as the Republicans. This is why people hate politicians. This is why people say you all suck. Because when it comes right down to it, you all do.
In a follow-up comment to Kevin's anguished cry of frustration at politicians forming (or justifying) their position in opposition to climate change legislation based on the amount of snow outside their offices, I said that science would expect heavier snowfall in a warming world. Today in Wunder Blog, Dr. Jeff Masters explains further:
Another interesting result from the Changnon et al.
(2006) paper (Figure 2) is the relationship between heavy snowstorms
and the average winter temperature. For the contiguous U.S. between
1900 - 2001, the authors found that 61% - 80% of all heavy snowstorms
of 6+ inches occurred during winters with above normal temperatures. In
other words, the old adage, "it's too cold to snow", has some truth to
it. The authors also found that 61% - 85% of all heavy snowstorms of 6+
inches occurred during winters that were wetter than average.
Take climate change out of the equation for a moment, and just observe that some winters are warmer than others. All precipitation, rain or snow, requires water vapor to be in the atmosphere. The warmer the air temperature, the more water vapor the atmosphere can hold. In a relatively warm winter, when local temperature are still below the freezing mark, more snowfall would be expected.
If the average temperature before global warming was 28 degrees, and the average temperature after global warming is now 30 degrees, guess what? It's still cold enough to snow!
But even this argument gives too much credence to the cave-man level comprehension skills at work here: its warm right now, so there's global warming! It's cold right now, so global warming is a hoax! There is a difference between weather and climate. They are micro- and macro- effects. Think in terms of the economy: its bad right now, but you personally might still have a job. The economy is the climate. The job is the weather. Or maybe, as with all things, I should simply let the Daily Show explain it:
Who knew YouTube was such a hotbed for political insight? The video I posted of Jerry Jones and George W. celebrating a Cowboys touchdown Saturday night has elevated the political discourse in ways I could only dream. Here's a sampling of reaction to the video, which I said "made me want to vomit":
Say whatever you want about Bush,
At least he was damn sure to call a terrorist a terrorist
Unlike this clown that want to give them constitutional rights and a lawyer
The crowd enthusiastically cheered Bush when he appeared in the box.
When you have a Muslim radical in the White House leading our nation down the drain I guess Bush looks a lot better.
I'm glad it did you liberal puke! GO COWBOYS! Conservatives 2010!!!
You know the ACORN Lawyer Obama was rooting for that dog murdering
thug Michael Vick and that choke artist Mcnabb*. In Obama's
words...TYPICAL black people.
And in the interest of fairness and balance:
Some good ol' Illuminati , Skull & Bones shit right here, they probably were up there doing f'ing lines together!
Jerry invited Bush after he found out that Satan and Hannibal Lecter were busy.
*I might not agree with this guy's politics, but he's right: McNabb played this game with a turkey leg lodged in his esophagus.
Let it be said that reasonable people can disagree. They can disagree on politics, food, music, and the relative hotness of Olivia Wilde compared to Megan Fox. But when the source of the disagreement is not facts but ideology, the results can appear, to an outsider, kinda sorta maybe crazy.
See, I understand Glenn Beck on a certain level. He loves the Republican Party, and the conservative movement. Fine. I love the Yankees. I'm not saying I love the Yankees more than I love my wife. I'm just saying its a good thing I've never had to choose, Sophie's Choice-style. But I love them alot. So, when presented with a player on the Red Sox, I cannot judge his abilities as a baseball player rationally. I understand this. Kevin Youkilis was batting .400 through the month of May? So fucking what, he fucking sucks because he's a piece of shit Red Sox douchebag.
The difference between a love of the Yankees and a love of a political ideology is that the stakes are much, much lower. Its okay to be unreasonable about your sports team because there is no chance the Red Sox are going to detonate a weapon of mass destruction in Yankee Stadium. But when your love of an ideology leads you to wistfully hope for the murder of thousands of Americans to prove your point, you are no longer part of the same discussion as the rest of us. You are on the lunatic fringe.
Listen to the interview again. I've excerpted the relevant part below:
MICHAEL SHEUER (aka bearded crazy person): The only chance we have as a country right now is for Osama Bin Laden to deploy and detonate a major weapon in the United States [...] Only Osama can execute an attack which will force Americans to demand that their government protect them effectively, consistently, and with as much violence as necessary.
GLENN BECK (aka clean shaven crazy person): Which is why I was thinking this weekend that, if I was him, that would be the last thing I would do right now.
Read that again: Glenn Beck actually thinks that Osama Bin Laden will not attack the US under the current circumstances, and this is a problem for him. We need to be attacked so that we are protected, because if we aren't attacked, then we are unprotected. What? WHAT?!? What do we need protection from if he's not going to attack? What are you talking about, Glenn Beck?
If preventing an attack is the goal, then by Beck's own logic, we are succeeding! So that must mean that preventing terrorist attacks aren't actually the goal. In fact, terrorism is just a means to an end, a way of instilling a fear in the populace that conservatives can use to their political ends.
But we already knew that, of course. It's just surprising to hear someone finally come out and admit it.
Well, this is kind of like that. Except instead of South Park, it was Rep. Alcee Hastings; instead of Comedy Central, it was the floor of the United States Congress; and instead of fake sex acts, it was actual ones.
This is a continuation of the Congressional debate over whether to extend federal hate crimes legislation to include homosexuals (also covered here).
Now, I don't know if you were expecting me to discuss the merits of the usual conservative debate tactic of lumping in homosexuality with pedophilia and bestiality, or some other sort of reasoned debate about the role of sexuality in society. Maybe we'll get to that some day. But I couldn't really think about any of that until I tracked down the definition of each and every sexual act mentioned by Alcee Hastings in this video. The list, with definitions, is after the jump.
In 1998, 21-year-old college student Matthew Shepard was tortured and killed by two men in Wyoming. During their trial, it was revealed that these men targeted Shepard because he was gay. As a result, legislation was introduced at both the state and federal level to amend existing hate-crime legislation to include sexual orientation. The Matthew Shepard Act was passed through both houses of Congress in 2007, but was vetoed by President Bush.
Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives once again debated the extension of federal hate-crime legislation to include sexual orientation. Here is what a reasonable objection to the legislation might look like: "While a tragedy, the existence of hate-crime laws would not have saved Matthew Shepard's life. The despicable act which took place is already illegal. It is called murder, and his murderer's are in prison serving two consecutive life sentences."
Here is what a less reasonable objection looks like: We don't need to impose additional penalties on perpetrators of hate-crimes, because hate-crimes never happen!
"If you didn't vote for this bill -- against this bill and against this
rule for anything else, you could vote against it because we are
spending additional money. I also would like to point out that there
was a bill -- the hate crimes bill that's called the Matthew Shepard
bill is named after a very unfortunate incident that happened where a
young man was killed, but we know that that young man was killed in the
commitment of a robbery. it wasn't because he was gay. This -- the bill was named for him, hate crimes bill was named for him, but it's really a hoax that that continues to be used as an excuse for passing these bills."
Today, the House Republicans released their budget. You may be thinking, hey, didn't they release one last week? Well that one they made the completely understandable mistake of forgetting to include numbers. Any at all. But they did have a sweet graph that's just as good:
The underpants gnome comparison is totally played out, don't go there. Well after much hand wringing and raucous laughter from Republicans and everyone else, respectively, they decided that that was just a practice run, and the real budget was coming. And now it's out, and it's even better! Can you guess what the big idea is? If you said 'tax cuts for corporations and the rich' you win! But it also claims to cut the deficit. How does it do both of these, you ask? Well for once they don't just smear the words 'Laffer curve' with their own poo on a sheet of paper, so I guess there's some credit for that, but here are the highlights:
Eliminate Medicare for everyone not in it already
Thinking big, I like that! Instead, they'll give everyone vouchers worth roughly what the per person cost of Medicare is. Which would be bad since you can buy a lot less coverage alone without the bargaining power of the whole bloc, but not apocalyptically awful except for the fact that the vouchers are tied to inflation, not health care costs, which rise much faster. So you start out getting just a little less, but every year the vouchers cover less and less and you have to spend more and more out of pocket to maintain coverage.
Give people the choice of two tax plans, then assume they'll voluntarily pay the higher one
Five year spending freeze on everything except the military
Basically every program the government spends on, including schools, SCHIP, state aid, law enforcement, unemployment, and everything else will get a spending freeze with the effect of cuts the size of inflation Interestingly, it's done without regard whatsoever to merit of the programs. Corn subsidies and schools get cut equally. But don't worry, we can spend as much as we want on bombs and guns!
Several people I've read call cutting government spending during a recession 'Neo-Hoover' economics, but that's really unfair to Hoover. He was dealing with a basically unprecedented situation, without Keynes or the rest of modern economic thought, much of which came about directly due to watching his mistakes and learning from them. Deliberately going back to policies known to fail, contra to all logic and economics, deserves a much worse title.
But then again, none of this is going to happen. The truly scary part is that this is the very best the opposition party can come up with. In the Senate, lest we forget, 36 out of 41 Republican senators voted to replace the Obama stimulus plan entirely with $3 trillion in tax cuts. And it only takes 40 votes to stop legislation. Change, for the moment, requires two Republican votes. And this is the course of action they want to take.
To steal a line from the prescient John Cole : "Imagine trying to negotiate an agreement on dinner plans with your date, and you suggest Italian and she states her preference would be a meal of tire rims and anthrax. If you can figure out a way to split the difference there and find a meal you will both enjoy, you can probably figure out how bipartisanship is going to work the next few years."
Meghan McCain has written an article for the Daily Beast titled "Looking For Mr. Far. Right." Please go, read that, and then come back and read my advice to her. Thanks to OC tipper Jim.
You are full of shit.
There are exactly two things that are interesting about you. The first is that you are smoking, smoking hot. The second is that your last name is McCain. And guess what? You've had the same last name for years! You haven't magically turned into John McCain's daughter since the election. This isn't even the first time your dad ran for office. For years, you have been introducing yourself as Meghan McCain. For those same years, people have responded, "Oh, like John McCain?" Inevitably, the conversation has turned to politics. Hey, too bad what happened to your dad in 2000 with that whole secret black baby thing. Hey, your dad is a real great guy, I'm all about campaign finance reform too. Hey, your dad must be retarded, because you are SPECIAL, baby.
But now, since the election, this has become a problem for you. You just can't seem to put your finger on it. You can't stand those Obama supporters, but the real hard-line McCain supporters don't do it for you either. Allow me to diagnose your problem in three easy steps:
1) You come from a political family, and politics are a part of everything you think, do, and say. 2) You can't stand Obama supporters because you are, as you admit, Looking for Mr. Far Right. 3) You can't stand those hard-line McCain supporters because you know they'll be thinking about him to become aroused instead of you.
There is a very simple solution for this: OPEN YOUR MOUTH. Your sexy, sexy mouth. Instead of writing a 2000 word column for the Daily Beast complaining, "Oh, how come these guys keep talking politics on my dates," why don't you try saying, "Hey, I know I'm John McCain's daughter and all, but I don't really want to get into politics tonight." Or something! Tell your dates! Don't tell the Daily Beast! The Daily Beast won't help you.
And try dating someone who isn't an incredibly creepy Republican hard-liner who wants to dress you up as your mom. I don't know where you found him.
Why, it's Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal! How else to explain the fact that the governor decided to deliver yesterday's Republican response to Obama's speech in the tone and cadence of 30 Rock character Kenneth Purcell? Don't take my word for it though - check it out here.
Whatever your opinion of his politics, you have to love his taste in television!*
RUSH: "My hope, and please understand me
when I say this. I disagree fervently with the people on our side of
the aisle who have caved and who say, "Well, I hope [Obama] succeeds. We've
got to give him a chance." [...] I know what his
politics are. I know what his plans are, as he has stated them. I
don't want them to succeed.
I wanted Obama to succeed, I'd be happy the Republicans have laid
down. [...] I do not want the government in charge of all of these things. I
don't want this to work. [...] I hope he fails."
Yes, yes, Rush Limbaugh is a loudmouth and a fathead and yadda yadda yadda. But his candor in this case is helpful in illuminating an important point. At this point in my life it would be fair to label me as a Democrat. Does that mean that I hope Republicans fail? Was I hoping for George Bush to fail? Of course not. Hoping for the failure of our elected leadership, whatever their party, is foolishness. Are you, Republicans, really secretly hoping for Obama to fail? What? The? Fuck?
[The following is part one of an email conversation between Jesse and Jim with our thoughts about the midseason shows. This part is exclusively about 24 season 7 and has spoilers, so if you haven't watched yet, don't read yet.]
From: Jesse To: Jim Subject: The following e-mail takes place between 8:00 am and 9:00 am
I want to start this conversation with two quick thoughts:
1) I didn't realize it in the fall, but the networks were apparently holding all the shows I really wanted to watch until midseason. But we're going to have to get to them later, because:
2) "24" is back, baby! It is back!
Correct me if I am wrong, but you and I have not always seen eye to eye on this show. I am, without a doubt, the bigger fan. I watched from day one, despite the horrible, horrible ad campaign (cue the Limp Bizkit: IT'S JUST ONE OF THOSE DAYS). You were more reluctant, and have recoiled at some of the more ridiculous moments. I, on the other hand, relish the ridiculousness. The phrase "jump the shark" has become one of the more obnoxious memes surrounding the TV biz, but it is uniquely applicable to this show. If 24 doesn't "jump the shark" 8 or 9 times a season it almost feels like a disappointment. If Jack Bauer actually jumped over a shark tank with a motorcycle in pursuit of terrorists, would we even flinch?
You enter a bathroom stall in a men's room in an office building to find that somebody urinated all over the seat. Not just on the rim, but they actually left the seat down and then peed all over it. You've just come back from lunch at Taco Bell, all other stalls are occupied, and it is an emergency situation. What do you do? (Inspired by true events.)
A. You sigh to yourself, and meekly sit down on the urine-soaked seat. B. You shrug, wipe the seat clean with a bit of toilet paper, and then sit down. C. You step out and wait for another stall. D. You loudly accuse the other bathroom occupants of pissing on the seat, punch someone in the face, and then poop in the sink.
Permanently. First off, despite what schmaltzy movies may tell you, the filibuster was mostly used for evil. See blocking anti-lynching laws, or Strom Thurmond blocking civil rights legislation. But in the past, they were very rare. In the last 15 years, however, they've changed from last ditch measure to regular occurance. Now to filibuster something, the Senator's don't even have to actually do it. They just announce their intention, which results in a cloture vote to end debate. If it doesn't get 60 votes, the measure is considered filibustered and fails.
This is incredibly stupid to begin with, but it's made even worse by being in the Senate, where every state gets equal representation regardless of size. A filibuster coming from the 20 smallest states would represent an incredibly small number of actual people.
Moreover, the filibuster isn't particularly essential to the rights of the minority party since the American system has a wide variety of points to kill legislation. Both chambers of Congress must pass it, then they have to agree on the exact wording (lots of bills get massively changed here), then the president has to sign it, and even then the courts can kill it whenever they feel like it.
But since killing the filibuster when one party controls both chambers and the executive would garner deservedly terrible press and distract from the goal of actually accomplishing things, the very least they can do is ACTUALLY MAKE THEM FILIBUSTER. Some may ask why this insane and clearly ahistorical interpretation of filibuster intent is allowed. Some have suggested that Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) suffered from a botched gender reassignment surgery, and under his suit consists solely of one huge, gaping vagina. Now me, I'd say that's a bit unfair, but it'd be irresponsible not to report on the possibility. Really though, if Mitch McConnell wants to spend his Christmas on the Senate floor reading a phonebook with the goal of killing off thousands of jobs in the middle of a recession, let him. But for the love of God, don't count him voting 'no' on cloture the same as doing it.
LATE ADDITION: Here's some evidence for my assertion that lots of filibusters is a new and ahistorical thing (h/t Ezra Klein at the American Prospect)
On Monday, I challenged you, the Obscure Nation, to try to beat my prediction of the Electoral Map. In keeping with the spirit of this historic election, you responded in near record numbers - that's right, two people entered!!
My map was hopelessly pessimistic. I predicted an Obama victory, but with only 291 votes to McCain's 247. I think some of the excess red on that map might be from me cutting myself.
The winner of the challenge is William Ockham, who predicted Obama would take down 376 electoral votes. His only misses were Missouri and part of Nebraska, which he put in Obama's column. Here's how the standings break down.
First place: Reality, Obama 364 - McCain 174 Second place: Willie O, Obama 376 - McCain 162 (+12) Third place: Nate Silver, Obama 349 - McCain 189 (-15) Fourth place (tie): Kevin CJ, Obama 338 - McCain 200 (-26) Fourth place (tie): Karl Rove, Obama 338 - McCain 200 (-26)
(Hey, have you ever seen Kevin and Karl Rove in the same place? I know I haven't. Interesting...)
Last place: My dumb ass, Obama 291 - McCain 247 (-73)
Thanks everyone for playing. Or not playing. Whatever.
Watching the election last night, it became clear very early that things were going to go well for Barack Obama. The only holdout was the Suze. She refused to believe that it was possible that he would win. "Remember how we thought Kerry was going to win? Remember how that felt? REMEMBER?!?" she said at least half a dozen times. Each time a critical new state was called for Obama - Pennyslvania, Ohio, Michigan - Suzi would tell us not to count our chickens before they hatched. Actually, that's what she said the first couple of times. By the end of the night, she just stuck her finger out at me and Kevin and cried, "Chickens! CHICKENS!!"
After watching video and seeing pictures of some of the celebrations that took place after Obama's victory last night, I know exactly how she felt. He's been elected, yes. But that was the easy part. Now for the hard part: delivering on all the promise and hope that people have invested in him. And the only thing more historically significant than our election of the first black president is how historically fucked up our country is at this moment.
The election is only the first part. Obama and this country have a long way to go. Chickens! CHICKENS!!
I upset someone on Facebook today. His name is Stoffer. He posted this message:
"I voted for Bob Barr."
I posted a comment on his message:
To which he promptly replied that he did not care to hear about my political views and that I should, in fact, go fuck myself.
Fair enough. I would argue that if he didn't want to hear mine he shouldn't show me his, but I'm not here to pick on Stoffer. But it is embarrassing. I'd rather stand up in a crowded room and announce that I'd just peed myself than say I'd voted for a third party candidate.
The election of 2000 was the death of the third party candidacy as a viable option. No longer was it acceptable to vote your conscience. No, that's wrong. What I really mean is, nobody's conscience should tell them to vote for a third party candidate. Voting for a third party candidate is to vote without voting, without consequence. It is to say, I will not take any responsibility for the outcome of this election. It is the easy way out. It is compromise that is difficult.
Voting is, by necessity, a reductive act. It eliminates all nuance. You may be an analog person, but voting is digital. 1 or 0. On or off. Republican or Democrat.
I do not claim to agree with every policy position of Barack Obama. I'll give you an example: I find his support of "Clean Coal" to be pandering to states with large coal mining industries where he needs votes. That doesn't mean I'm going to vote for the Green Party candidate, even if they are opposed to Clean Coal technology. I don't know if they are or not - I haven't bothered to look it up. It is a waste of time.
I accept my decision as compromised, as many decisions are. There are times where it is honorable and courageous to be principled and take a stand, and to refuse to compromise. I refuse to eat at Friendly's. I will not compromise on this issue. But when you step into the voting booth, voting for a third party candidate does not feel like a courageous and principled stand. It feels like a cop-out.
But it can be worse than a cop-out. Back to the 2000 election. Al Gore defeated by George W. Bush, with Ralph Nader scooping up 5% of the vote. It is not going out on a limb to state that, if it was a binary decision, 9 out of 10 Nader voters would have gone to Al Gore. So, too, would the election. And if 9 out of 10 Nader voters preferred Al Gore to George Bush, then their principled stand against the two-party system only served to hurt them.
So fight for your principles. Write letters, donate time and money to charities, and try to influence your peers. But when you step into the voting booth, don't be a jackass. Don't pee on yourself. Democrat or Republican. 1 or 0. Make a choice that matters.
All the chatter at ObscureCraft has been Obama this, McCain that. By now, Sarah Palin must be stomping her feet in frustration: "What about me? I'm still here and crazy, you know!" Right you are, Sarah Palin, sorry about that.
Take it away, militant feminist and saucy homosexual:
Yesterday on Monday Night Football, the Washington Redskins played the Pittsburgh Steelers. For the last 40 years, the last game played by the Redskins before Election Day has been predictive of the results. If the Redskins win, the incumbent party holds the White House. If the Redskins lose, the incumbent party loses. This has been accurate every time except once, in 1984. Last night, Obama beat McCain 23-6.
The town of Dixville Notch, New Hampshire is the first town in the United States to vote. All the residents get up at midnight to deliver their ballots. The town voted for George W. Bush in 2004 and 2000, for Bob Dole in 1996, and for George H.W. Bush in 1992. Last night, Barack Obama won Dixville Notch by a vote of 15 to 6.
If you find any bellwethers I've missed, leave them in the comments.
A woman from a Detroit suburb made headlines this Halloween by refusing to give out candy to Obama-supporting children. If I'm the 1000th person on the internet to make a spreading-the-wealth related candy distribution joke do I win a prize?
"I said no handouts for Obama supporters. No handouts for tricksters and liars. Obama is scary."
Uh, maybe Obama is scary, but he isn't scarier than vampire or a ghost! And I bet you gave all the McCain supporting ghosts candy!
When asked about the children who were crying because they didn't get any candy, her response was:
"Oh well. Everybody has a choice."
I hope the neighborhood children exercise their choice to egg the holy living fuck out of her house.
On a serious note: you just do not see Democrats doing this kind of shit. I am sorry, but if you see some crazy person doing some crazy thing like denying non-voting, Obama-supporting 5-year-olds candy, its a Republican. Just a hunch, but this feels like the kind of thing a crazy evangelical Christian Republican does.
Unsurprisingly for readers or anyone who knows me personally, I will be voting for Barack Obama tomorrow. Thanks to the Electoral College, my vote will be meaningless, but I believe it's a moral imperative. Beyond policy issues, which reasonable people can and do disagree about, there's a question of character. People have pointed to many different moments as to why the John McCain of 2008 doesn't much resemble the John McCain of 2000, mostly the appointment of Sarah Palin and the hiring of campagin manager Steve Schmidt, but really it came in the Fall of 2006, during the debate over the Military Commissions Act. The one that suspended habeus corpus and legalized torture. For a full refresher see this NYT Editorial written at the time.
John McCain, a former prisoner of war and victim of brutal torture, made a bold, courageous stand. With fellow moderate Republican Arlen Specter and a few others, they declared to their own party that certain things were simply not acceptable. Now, I run in pretty liberal circles, and other, more cynical people told me that it was a charade and when the chips were down, they'd vote for the bill. But I didn't believe it. Perhaps Specter, or Chafee, or Snowe, but not John McCain.
It was the last time I'd ever give him the benefit of the doubt. I don't know what George Bush offered him in the 'negotiations' that convinced him to switch his support to the bill, probably donor lists, contacts, and other institutional support in the 2008 primary. We do know he did get them shortly afterwards, specifically the list of Bush's "Rangers", his best fundraising bundlers.
In 2000, John McCain ran an honorable campaign, and was beaten by dirty tricks, specifically a whisper campaign in South Carolina that his adopted child was his illegitimate black baby. It was a horrible smear tactic, but it taught McCain the wrong lessons. It seems like a hard decision, but after publically endorsing torture for the party's support, his later decisions must have been more swallowable. Down in the polls in 2008, he hired the architect of that campaign to work for him:
"When then-Gov. Bush called upon Eskew, Tompkins and Rhodes to help him during the Florida recount, a senior McCain adviser told me that "when the going gets tough for Governor Bush, he turns to the darker side of our party. We saw that in South Carolina, and we see that today."
Eight years later, with a tough fight of his own, McCain has turned to one of the same men. Asked if the McCain campaign would have a comment about hiring one of the South Carolina strategists the senator and his 2000 campaign team once held responsible for smears against him, McCain 2008 spokesman Brian Rogers emailed, "No.""
He sold his principles, and the last thing America should do is reward that level of cynicism and mistrust of the public. Don't prove Tucker Eskew right.
It would mean that nobody knows anything. Obama has led in the polls for weeks. FiveThirtyEight.com, the popular electoral projection website, puts his odds of winning at 96.3%. Former Bush administration officials have been falling over themselves to be the first and loudest to endorse Obama. And McCain himself went on Saturday Night Live and did everything short of delivering a concession speech.
It would mean that race still matters above all else. And I'm not calling all McCain supporters racist. What I mean is this: according to CNN.com, 70% of those polled said race would not be a factor in their decision. They say it like that's the headline. Here's the headline I see: 30% of those polled said race WOULD be a factor in their decision. And if Obama loses with an apparent lead in the polls, then I know where I would point a finger first.
It would mean we get the government we deserve. Whatever you think about policies, McCain/Palin have run one of the nastiest, most underhanded campaigns I have ever seen. So quick to attach labels, and turn everything into a meaningless slogan. Terrorists. Socialist. Real America. Muslim. Atheist. Drill baby drill. Think what you want about his association with William Ayers or Jeremiah Wright, but I dare you to justify this:
Pay particular attention to the photograph at the 20 second mark: Obama, leering, casting his gaze downward. What might he be looking at? Why, perhaps its one of those sexy sexy kindergarteners. Here are a few more labels: despicable. Indefensible.
And it would mean that there is no longer a place for the Democratic Party in national politics. If they cannot win an election when the incumbent president has an approval rating in the 20s, and 85% of people think the country is going in the wrong direction, then they might as well hang it up.
Side note: I promise that ObscureCraft will get back to covering non-election related topics by the end of this week. But right now its all I can think about. I'm like a kid on Christmas Eve, except I'm terrified that instead of a puppy, I'm going to open a box and find a severed puppy head like Brad Pitt in Seven. The only way I can deal with my nerves is to blog. So expect about 100 more posts like this over the next 48 hours until I calm down.
I know it must be startling to you regular reader(s?) to hear that, but it is true. Although, I think that isn't really the proper way to put it. I didn't vote for Barack Obama because I think he is a transformational figure who will change the way Washington does things and usher in a new era of enlightenment and understanding and end racism and defeat the Nazis and yadda yadda yadda. I didn't really vote for Barack Obama so much as I voted against the Republican Party.
The Democrats could have run a ticket of Teri Schiavo and Beaker from the Muppets and I would have voted Schiavo/Beaker '08. It doesn't matter to me if Obama's pastor hates America, or if he and domestic terrorist William Ayers are BFFs, or if he's a secret Muslim or a socialist. The Republican Party needs to be removed from power. The actions (inactions?) and incompetence of the last eight years needs to be repudiated.
Five years ago, Tom DeLay redistricted Texas to maximize Republican House seats. The idea was simple: if you had 10 seats, and the overall split was 60/40, then normally the party would expect to get 6 seats. But if you gerrymandered every district so that each one had a 60/40 split, you'd get all of them! DeLay wasn't quite that successful (his unprecedented mid-decade redistricting changed the split from 17 Democrats, 15 Republicans, to 21 Republicans, 11 Democrats), but one of the districts he took was the 10th Congressional. With his handpicked successor, Michael McCaul taking the reins, he was to have the seat for his entire life. Until Texas Democratic Party Boyd Richie had an idea...
That's right, get a man who plays a judge on television to run. There are so many things I love about this image that I can't list them all here, but for one just notice in the bottom right how he carefully displays the cowboy boots under his robe. In case you didn't think the show was Texan enough otherwise. Keep in mind Larry Joe is not an actual judge, although he is a successful lawyer. Now the 10th stretches from northeast Houston all the way to Austin. Yes, that's over 200 miles. The idea was to siphon some of the cities off and dilute them in the huge red waste that is the area between the two.
Larry Joe is thus the perfect candidate to run as a Democrat. Hipsters in Austin (everyone who lives in Austin) will vote for him ironically, rural TV fans will vote for him sincerely, and minorities in Houston will vote straight ticket anyway because the state Republican party is hella racist. Seriously, check the Texan platform, it's way crazier than the national platform. He's also rich from his TV show, so has dumped his own money into the race!
As a 501(c) nonprofit*, ObscureCraft does not actually endorse candidates. But we do endorse watching daytime court TV, so you do the math.
CROWN POINT, Ind. (AP) -- "A judge weighing whether to close down early voting sites in Lake County's Democratic strongholds questioned local officials about the absentee voting process during visits to the disputed sites.
Lake County Superior Court Judge Diane Kavadias-Schneider toured the Gary, Hammond and East Chicago satellite voting sites Monday and heard hours of testimony and arguments on whether they are legal and fair.
Republicans want to shut down the centers in the largely Democratic county on the grounds that they will increase the likelihood of vote fraud in the Nov. 4 election.
Kavadias-Schneider, who was appointed a special judge in the case by the Indiana Supreme Court, questioned county elections board director Sally LaSota on Monday about the process of early voting and safeguards against vote fraud.
LaSota assured the judge that the elections board staff ensures voters are registered and don't vote more than once. When Kavadias-Schneider asked, "What of those who have already voted?" R. Lawrence Steele, a GOP lawyer, replied, "Maybe those votes should be discarded."
. . . .
Kavadias-Schneider asked LaSota on Monday about possibly opening even more early in-person voting centers in suburban communities in response to Republican complaints that Democrats have opened voting in the county's three largest Democratic strongholds.
But Steele told the judge that Republicans don't want more early voting centers open -- they want the Gary, Hammond and East Chicago's centers closed.
The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now has been getting a lot of bad press lately, with even Republican presidential candidate John McCain going so far as to say during a debate that that the group might be responsible for "one of the greatest frauds of voter history in this country, maybe destroying the fabric of democracy in this country."
The accusations are grave: ACORN is supposedly responsible for turning in a huge number of false voter registration forms, even registering 'Mickey Mouse' in Florida.
I'm writing this for you, Jesse. I just wanted you to know, in no uncertain terms, just how politically sophisticated your family truly is. In speaking with your Uncle Bernie this evening about the upcoming election, he proceeded to tell me that there was a guy in the supermarket wearing an obviously pro-Obama tee shirt. It had a picture of Sarah Palin on the front with an X through her picture and than a "Vote for Obama" slogan on the back. Being the open minded individual that he is, he told me that if he were only 10 years younger, he would have shoved that tee shirt right up that guy's ass. Now that would be something you don't see every day.
Now Jesse my dear, you know I don't care too much for Barack (in Jewish circles in Florida, the 80 and up crowd think it's Baruch) but even I wouldn't go that far. Shoving tee shirts up people's asses is way beyond my commitment to politics.
He actually won on a technicality - Trig was supposed to refer to the name of Sarah Palin's Down's syndrome-y baby, but according to the rules we decided on, any of the words could be said in any context. So, Gwen Ifill cost me my debate win when she said:
Governor, on another issue, interventionism, nuclear weapons. What
should be the trigger, or should there be a trigger, when nuclear
weapons use is ever put into play?
Short version: House Republicans are spineless, backstabbing bitches. And that's coming from someone who thinks the proposed bill was terrible and should have failed.
From the perspective of lawmakers, there's a classic collective action problem. Every Congressman (with the exception of the diehards like Kucinich or Paul), has been convinced that the bill is necessary. However, they also know that it's exceedingly unpopular with their constituents. The optimal outcome for any individual congressman is the same: the bill passes while they vote 'No' and then run on it. This is what Congressional Whips are for.
However, there's a bigger problem. If either party can get away with letting the majority of their members vote against it, then they all benefit, since the party can run nationally against it in 2010. So Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer met with Minority leader John Boehner to come up with a scheme to get the bill passed without endangering their incumbents. The members of the party with the safest seats would vote for it, letting the 40% who were in trouble safely vote against. Each party would deliver 50-60% of their membership, keeping either side from getting demagogued badly for something that they both believed necessary.
Pelosi delivered: 60% of Democrats voted for the bill. 33% of Republicans did. Boehner apparently screwed up his count, since if he had delivered a few more he might have been able to get it passed with majority Democratic support. Keep in mind how cynical this is. He (and the rest of the caucus) believes this bill is absolutely essential for the health of the American economy. But he was perfectly willing to promise support, then stab the other party in the back by voting no at the last second, panning to run against 'the 700 billion dollar giveaway to corporate fatcats' in 2010. And what was the figleaf given for the betrayal, the willingness to sink the economy? Nancy Pelosi was mean to Republicans in her floor speech.
So where does Congress go now? I'm reminded of an ancient fable. During wartime, a Greek king was holding court one day when a mystic showed up with twelve scrolls of prophecy that held the key to winning the war . After proving that they were perfectly accurate, she demanded a staggering sum of gold for them. The king refused, saying that they weren't worth that much. So the prophet grabbed a nearby torch and set one of the scrolls on fire. She then repeated the same price for the remaining eleven scrolls. Again, the king refused. So once more she incinerated one of the scrolls. This continued until after burning the sixth scroll, the king gave in and paid the full price. Because he knew it was necessary.
"Yes, you ALMOST want to look away, but can't. It reminds me of when I watch Ricky Gervais in "The Office"
or "Extras" and half cover my eyes or wince, while laughing, as
pathetically unqualified characters try to fake their way through
Who, oh who, could the author of this quote be talking about?
I had another lovely political discussions with my mom yesterday (who I totally don't think is a bitter, bitter woman, by the way), where she re-iterated her opinion about the presidential election. All four candidates, on the Democratic and Republican side of the election, are bums. They are scoundrels and phonies and scumbags.
I think this an overly cynical point of view, but it's not like she doesn't have a point. Obama did ride on the coat tails of Pastor Wright to the top of Chicago politics, and then dump him like a used Kleenex when he got inconvenient and, you know, insane. The only way Biden can keep himself from plagiarizing other people is by saying the first stupid thing that comes to the top of his head. And McCain, well...
But Palin is different. She's more than just your typical politician with a few scummy things in her past.
She is stupid. Dangerously, incredibly stupid. And dismissing all of them equally misses this point.
This presidential campaign has easily been the most hilarious of my lifetime (older readers are welcome to chime in), but in the last week, like a sitcom run out of ideas and desperate for ratings, it's gone from hilarious to batshit fucking insane:
You and I own 79% of AIG. And right after winning Time's "Person of the Year", things are looking up!
John McCain wants a timeout in the presidential campaign because he's losing really badly of the economy. Funny, it seems like just a week ago he was talking about how strong the fundamentals of our economy were. Bonus Round! Events not important enough to suspend campaigns: Civil War, Great Depression, WWII.
But what can he do to save the Republic? Take it away top McCain surrogate Lindsay Graham! "McCain supporter Sen. Lindsey Graham tells CNN the McCain campaign is
proposing to the Presidential Debate Commission and the Obama camp that
if there's no bailout deal by Friday, the first presidential debate
should take the place of the VP debate, currently scheduled for next
Thursday, October 2 in St. Louis."
Just how scared is their campaign about having Sarah Palin face questions, even if they're so easy a special needs third grader could answer them.? Let's look at the pool report from Politico:
"McCain then looked around the room and gestured as if to welcome
questions. The AP reporter shouted a question at Gov. Palin ("Governor,
what have you learned from your meetings?") but McCain aide Brooke
Buchanan intervened and shepherded everybody out of the room. Palin looked surprised, leaned over to McCain and asked him a
question, to which your pooler thinks he shook his head as if to say
[This entry is long, and I am irate. You have been warned.]
When a horse named Barbaro started the 2006 Preakness Stakes, he was a heavy favorite. Barbaro had already won the Kentucky Derby, and some horse racing experts were predicting that he be the first horse to win the Triple Crown since Secretariat.
There are bettors that like to bet large sums of money that huge favorites like Barbaro will "show" - that is, finish in the top three. A typical payout is that, for every $1 that you wager, you'll get 5 cents back. To make serious money, a bettor must lay out an incredible amount of cash. A $100,000 bet would win you $5,000. In horse racing circles, there is a name for these types of bettors. They are called bridge jumpers.
Barbaro did not win the 2006 Preakness Stakes. He did not place, and he did not show. He shattered his leg before the first turn, and despite several surgeries, he had to eventually be put down. The bridge jumpers were left to deal with the consequences of their decision.
Sometimes, you can be so depressed that nothing seems to have a spark. You can appreciate humor, but it won't make you laugh from deep in your gut. But occasionally something so phenomenal happens that it's all wiped away in an instant. Life has obviously been a bit topsy-turvy lately, but this is one of those things. The money quote:
"The pastor whose prayer Sarah Palin says helped her to become governor of Alaska founded his ministry with a witchhunt".
This is not a metaphorical witchunt, or a crusade. This guy actually accused a woman of causing car accidents with magic. In fact, he demanded she leave town or repent, whipping up the public to stone her. "Public outrage eventually led the police to raid her home, where they
fired gunshots, killing a pet python which they believed to be a demon."
I'm just going to go ahead and quote the last couple paragraphs here because it's too ludicrous to even attempt to paraphrase.
"It was during that these sermons that Mrs Palin, who was then
preparing for her gubernatorial run, was anointed by Pastor Muthee. His
intercession, she says, was "awesome".
Her June 8 speech was to mark the graduation of students from the Wasilla Assembly of God's Masters' Commission, which, as Pastor Ed Kalins explains,
believes Alaska will be the refuge for American evangelicals upon the
coming "End of Days". After her speech, Mrs Palin was presented with an
honorary Masters' Commission diploma."
And then you stop to think about it, and the smile is gone from your face.
Freedom of religion is obviously a founding principle of our democracy, and I'm certainly no stranger to some of the weirder evangelical groups. From elementary to middle school I went to a private 'Christian' school where we were taught that the earth was six thousand years old, the rapture was imminent, Christians were a persecuted minority under direct and constant attack, evolution was a lie from Satan to deceive the unwary, and more. In fact, the other things were much more interesting. There's an entire subculture that grew from at the intersection of urban legends and evangelical belief structures. When you place blind faith in not just the Scriptures but in other people's interpretations of it, questioning the source just isn't common. So urban legends get a new spin and are used as examples of the wickedness of the world. Some of the things taught to me by teachers were that people commonly place AIDS infected needles in the coin returns of payphones, and at the mall homosexuals will place rohypnol in drinks if you don't pay attention constantly.
Some of this was intended more as parable than literal truth, but literalism is their worldview. It teaches blind obedience rather than informed submission. It teaches not to ask questions. And in its most extreme form, it ends in witch hunts.
This is the kind of person who may end up a heartbeat away from the presidency. And that heartbeat has advanced age and a history of melanoma. Make no mistake, that is not considered a negative by a substantial chunk of the evangelical population, and is the reason they'll work so hard for it. Winning an election would be near impossible for them, and they know it: they're the persecuted minority after all.
Once in awhile, I come across an idea that seems so obvious, so plain, and so in tune with how I think, I can only shake my fists at the sky in fury. That idea should have been mine!
Although it is hardly alone on the internet, this is the best website documenting all the things that are younger than presidential candidate John McCain. Some of the things I was genuinely surprised to find are younger than John McCain? The microwave oven, zip codes, and penicillin.
But chronicling items younger than John McCain is nothing compared to what the sick twisted mind at this website is up to. I Miss My Mommy is a blog ostensibly written in the first person by Trig Palin, the Downs Syndrome afflicted newborn of vice-presidential candidate/Miss Wassilla 1984 winner Sarah Palin. Almost as amusing as Trig Palin wistfully lamenting why his mommy left him ("Cause I'm a librul [...] Mommy haytes libruls") are the comments from readers enraged by the existence of the site itself. Some of my favorite comments:
"I have 3 members of my Family that have learning issues, you make me sick!"
"You, the moron behind this blog, get a life. If you can't do that, go masturbate at pictures of Michelle Obamanation or Barbara Streisand or Maria Cantwell." [How do you masturbate at pictur... wait, never mind.]
"Just to let you know, I've flagged this blog as offensive and this
little liberal sewer is getting eviscerated on Digg, where I've also
advocated everyone to flag this blog. It honestly doesn't surprise me
to read such crudity coming from the minds of the Left. Not anymore." [Eviscerated on Digg? Heavens no!]
I would die of happiness if I could get anyone to comment on my blog with that kind of vitriol. Seriously. Somebody post here and tell me how much I have offended them.
And finally, since we here at ObscureCraft want to follow in the steps of MSNBC and try to shed our liberal bias, I give you my favorite Obama site. Here to mock his idolization by his followers that is completely out of proportion with anything he has actually done for the country so far: BOIYNB.
With the Pandora's Box of hilarity that is Sarah Palin, it's easy to forget the O.G. of terrible candidates, John McCain. However, he's been doing his best to keep from being overshadowed by apparently declaring war on musicians.
The most recent is Heart: Palin's nickname is Barracuda, causing the campaign to use it post-speech.
"The Republican campaign did not ask for permission to use the song,
nor would they have been granted that permission. We have asked the
Republican campaign publicly not to use our music. We hope our wishes
will be honored."
McCain, who runs an honorable, respectful campaign in no way influenced by Rove protege Steve Schmidt, did not honor them, using the song again after his own speech.
"I think it's completely unfair to be so misrepresented. I feel
completely fucked over."
They issued another statement following:
"Sarah Palin's views and values in NO WAY represent us as American
women. We ask that our song 'Barracuda' no longer be used to promote
her image. The song 'Barracuda' was written in the late '70s as a
scathing rant against the soulless, corporate nature of the music
business, particularly for women. (The 'barracuda' represented the
business.) While Heart did not and would not authorize the use of their
song at the RNC, there's irony in Republican strategists' choice to
make use of it there."
But this is no one off event.
Van Halen: Van Halen management tells us the band had no idea McCain was planning
on using "Right Now" during his big entrance in Ohio telling us,
"Permission was not sought or granted nor would it have been given."
John Hall: Yes, Rep. John Hall (D-NY). In delightful irony, George Bush did the same thing a few years earlier.
"This is yet another example of John McCain not learning anything from
George Bush's mistakes," Hall wrote First Read in an interview over
e-mail. "First, McCain adopted Bush's failed policy of an open-ended
war in Iraq, then he wrapped his arms around the failed Bush economic
policies that have put the squeeze on middle class families. Now, he's
making the same mistake George Bush made illegally using a copyrighted
song without asking either the writers or the performers for
Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, asked and got permission to use the song at her rallies.
Yes, the diehard Democrat who actually stumped with possible babydaddy John Edwards for months last year.
"Mellencamp hasn't yet made a public response, but his reps are quietly
reaching out to McCain and asking him to stop playing his tunes.
(McCain's press office did not immediately respond to a request for
Yes, anti-nuclear activist Jackson Browne is suing the campaign. Why? Far from simply playing the song at a rally, the McCain camp set one of their ads to "Running on Empty" without bothering to license it or even sending a postcard. Unfortunately thanks to McCain-Feingold's Campaign Finance Reform, the settlement he's likely to receive will not go to McCain's opponent, as Browne has already maxed out his donation to Obama's campaign. Perhaps, in a blatant violation of the spirit if not letter of McCain-Feingold, he'll set up a 527. Just like John McCain.
Back during his primary campaign, he "found out that he has few fans in Scandinavia when he tried to adopt
Abba's "Take a chance on me" as his campaign song. After running into
difficulties with the Swedish supergroup, McCain lamented to reporters
on board his plane that it wasn't as easy to play the song as he
"It gets expensive in a big hurry and if you're not careful you can
alienate some Swedes," he joked."If word gets out to Stockholm that
we're using Abba music, then there'll be a worsening in U.S.-Swedish relations.""
Apparently this poor experience with the costs of licensing is the reason he's stopped even asking, much less paying.
McCain's people MUST have known about Stephen Colbert's "Make McCain Exciting Challenge." In case you didn't: McCain gave a speech in front of a green screen earlier in the campaign. Colbert grabbed the footage, threw it online, and let Colbert Nation have their way with it. Well, have their way they did.
McCain's people must think that, by getting his face onto The Colbert Report, he will benefit from the Colbert bump. He wouldn't be the first one.
The Colbert bump is very, very real. Mike Huckabee rode that bump, after a series of appearances on the Report, all the way to brief front-runner status early in the campaign.
(Holy Jesus, he's in front of a blue screen now. Does he know that they can use those too?)
In just a few years, Colbert has gone from second (or third) banana on The Daily Show to one of the most influential people in the world. Don't believe me? Well, don't take my word for it.From Vanity Fair:
"There's no denying the growing stature of
his 30-minute faux evening talk show. This year he asked Hillary
Clinton for audio/video-technician tips, and queried Michelle Obama on how "hope" and "change" fit into the Obama household discussions (as in "I hope that you will change
the cat litter"). According to one study, the "Colbert Bump"--originally
a self-deprecating gag--actually exists. After Democrats appeared on The Colbert Report,
they saw a fund-raising jump of 44 percent the following month. Even
Republican Mike Huckabee tripled his approval numbers when he went on
Influential, intelligent, quick-witted, and oh so good looking. What's not to love? Oops - I think I've got a little Colbert bump of my own. If you know what I mean.
How else to describe what has happened in the last few days in the presidential race? Sarah Palin is a walking Oh my God. The news is breaking faster than her pregnant teenage daughter's water. For someone who is pro-life, her candidacy is quickly turning into an abortion.
And on and on.
Just to make sure nothing falls through the cracks, I've taken it upon myself to aggregate all the Palin news I can muster into one place. As of September 3, 2008, here is your Obscure Guide to Sarah Palin.
(Photoshopped? Yes. Awesome? Yes.)
One assumes that, before accepting the job, she at least had McCain explain to her what a VP does.
"As for that VP talk all the time, I'll tell you, I still can't answer
that question until somebody answers for me what is it exactly that the
VP does every day?"
Here's a positive part of the selection: it's fun to watch talking heads try to justify it!
"The founder of the Alaska Independence Party -- a group that has been
courted over the years by Sarah Palin, and one her husband was a member
of for roughly seven years -- once professed his 'hatred for the
American government' and cursed the American flag as a 'damn flag.' "
Didn't we spend the entire summer talking about Obama's former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, for this exact same shit? Except I don't think Wright ever mentioned secession:
" 'The fires of hell are frozen glaciers compared to my hatred for the
American government,' [AIP founder] Vogler said in the interview, in which he talked
extensively about his desire for Alaskan secession, the key goal of the
Oh, and here's another guy vying to be Sarah Palin's Jeremiah Wright:
"Palin's church, the Wasilla Bible Church, gave its pulpit over to a
figure viewed with deep hostility by many Jewish organizations: David
Brickner, the founder of Jews for Jesus [on August 17th]."
Wouldn't a Jew for Jesus be called a Christian? That group as always confused me. Anyway, here are some of the insightful remarks Mr. Brickner had to say while Sarah Palin was in attendance:
" 'Judgment is very real and we see it played out on the pages of the
newspapers and on the television. It's very real. When [Brickner's son]
was in Jerusalem he was there to witness some of that judgment, some of
that conflict, when a Palestinian from East Jerusalem took a bulldozer
and went plowing through a score of cars, killing numbers of people.
Judgment -- you can't miss it.' "
That's right - terrorist attacks by Palestinians on Israeli citizens was judgment for the Jews unbelief in the divinity of Jesus Christ. Hmm, why does that sound so familiar...
"Palin's name is listed on 2003 incorporation papers of the 'Ted Stevens
Excellence in Public Service, Inc.,' a 527 group that could raise
unlimited funds from corporate donors. The group was designed to serve
as a political boot camp for Republican women in the state. She served
as one of three directors until June 2005, when her name was replaced
on state filings."
Abuse of power
"Alaska's former commissioner of public safety says Gov. Sarah Palin,
[...] personally talked with him on
two occasions about a state trooper who was locked in a bitter custody
battle with the governor's sister.
In a phone conversation Friday night, Walt Monegan, who was Alaska's
top cop until Palin fired him July 11, told the Daily News that the
governor also had e-mailed him two or three times about her
ex-brother-in-law, Trooper Mike Wooten, though the e-mails didn't
mention Wooten by name.
Monegan claims his refusal to fire Wooten was a major reason that Palin dismissed him."
Nice! Get your sister's ex fired from his job so he can't win a custody battle. Also, ruin his career in the process. Those are some family values!
"In her introductory speech Friday as McCain's running mate, Gov.
Sarah Palin picked up on the Ketchikan bridge that was never built as a
symbol of bad federal policy.
"I championed reform to end the abuses of earmark spending by
Congress," Palin said at her first campaign appearance. 'In fact, I
told Congress -- I told Congress, 'Thanks, but no thanks,' on that
bridge to nowhere. If our state wanted a bridge, I said we'd build it
Well, that's pretty great, actually. Okay, okay - it would be great if it weren't a flat out, bald-faced, catch-me-if-you-can lie:
"On Oct. 22, 2006, the Anchorage Daily News asked Palin and the other
candidates, 'Would you continue state funding for the proposed Knik Arm
and Gravina Island bridges?'
Her response: 'Yes. I would like to see Alaska's infrastructure
projects built sooner rather than later. The window is now -- while our
congressional delegation is in a strong position to assist.' "
And the full of shit-ness about earmark spending doesn't stop there. Not even close.
"Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin employed a lobbying firm to secure almost $27 million in federal earmarks for a town of 6,700 residents while she was its mayor." [OC: that's $4000 a person.]"
"There was $500,000 for a youth shelter, $1.9 million for a
transportation hub, $900,000 for sewer repairs, and $15 million for a
rail project -- all intended to benefit Palin's town, Wasilla, located
about 45 miles north of Anchorage."
Hey, know what's hilarious? Cancer.
"The governor's appearance on KWHL's "The Bob
and Mark Show" last week is plain and simple one of the most
unprofessional, childish and inexcusable performances I've ever seen
from a politician."
"Early on in the conversation before Palin started to crack up, [DJ Bob] Lester
referred to [Alaskan Senate President Lyda] Green as a jealous woman and a cancer. Palin, who
knows full well Lyda Green is a cancer survivor, didn't do what any
decent person would do, say, 'Bob, that's going too far.' "
"Then Lester clearly sets the stage for what he is about to say by
warning his large audience and Palin. He says, 'Governor you can't say
this but I will, Lyda Green is a cancer and a b----.' Palin laughs for
the second time."
"[A]s mayor, Palin continued to inject religious beliefs into her policy
at times. 'She asked the library how she could go about banning books,' he says, because some voters thought they had inappropriate language in
them. 'The librarian was aghast.' That woman, Mary Ellen Baker,
couldn't be reached for comment, but news reports from the time show
that Palin had threatened to fire Baker for not giving 'full support'
to the mayor."
Mm, an old-school conservative, with old-school conservative book burning values!
Family planning Her views on abortion:
"I am pro-life. With the
exception of a doctor's determination that the mother's life would end
if the pregnancy continued. I believe that no matter what mistakes we
make as a society, we cannot condone ending an innocent's life." [OC: this includes cases of rape and incest.]
"Today, pro-life groups in the U.S. are reclassifying the most common
contraception methods, including the birth control pill, the patch, the
IUD and the depo-shot, as 'abortifacients,' claiming, with no
scientific backing, that they cause abortions. On their website,
Feminists for Life classifies emergency contraception as an abortion
method." [OC: Sarah Palin is a member of Feminists for Life]
Well, that abstinence-only education program worked great for your daughter Bristol, pregnant at the age of 17. Oh, and about the father of this lucky child, Levi Johnston? Here are some excerpts from his (now taken down) Myspace page:
"I'm a f - - -in' redneck ... I live to play hockey. I like to go camping and hang out with the boys,
do some fishing, shoot some s- - - and just f - - -in' chillin' I guess ... Ya f - - - with me I'll kick [your] ass ... [I am] in a relationship [but] I don't want kids."
Oops! Enjoy your shotgun wedding, Levi.
But surely Sarah Palin, mother of a teenage mother, would at least have some compassion for other teenage mothe... oops!
"Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the Republican vice-presidential nominee
who revealed Monday that her 17-year-old daughter is pregnant, earlier
this year used her line-item veto to slash funding for a state program
benefiting teen mothers in need of a place to live.
After the legislature passed a spending bill in April, Palin went
through the measure reducing and eliminating funds for programs she
opposed. Inking her initials on the legislation -- "SP" -- Palin
reduced funding for Covenant House Alaska by more than 20 percent,
cutting funds from $5 million to $3.9 million.
So, pregnant teens: you better have those babies like God intended. But don't expect any help actually caring for them from us. Sluts.
Did I miss anything? Or, Jesus Christ, did some more news break? Send me your tips here.
Obama sez: Drilling = fail, keeps ur tires inflated for gas savings bonanza! McCain sez: LOL, what a joke, drilling FTW!
So, is Obama out of his mind? Can proper tire inflation really save as much oil as we could get from all the proposed offshore drilling?
Recall from the previous Word Problems article you most likely didn't read that, at peak production (which would be anywhere from 10-20 years from now under any reasonable scenario), drilling from both the offshore sites and ANWR would pump about 2 million barrels of oil into the market every day against the 20 million barrels we use.
Now we have our benchmark, time for the hard part: how much oil could we really save with proper tire inflation and regular tune-ups?
This isn't research I'm prepared to do. Thankfully, the good folks over at the Department of Energy have done it for us on this website:
Properly inflating your tires is good for an additional 3% on your vehicle's fuel efficiency. A properly tuned engine is good for another 4%. A clogged air filter could be a 10% hit. And even the wrong motor oil can give you a 2% improvement.
Taken together, these car maintenance conservation techniques could save a worst-case driver 15%. Here, I'll throw a dart at a dartboard and call it at 5% improvement for the average driver.
The savings from tire gauges and car maintenance is slightly smaller than the 10% increase in available oil from the potential drilling, with one little caveat. Inflate your tires now, and you get the savings now. Start drilling right here, right now, and the savings don't start for a decade.
(Can we pause here so I can laugh at the spectacle of politicians insisting that Congress return from vacation to vote on drilling? Yeah, that 5 weeks is really going to make a difference moving forward with an energy plan that has a 10-20 year lead time. Does this bullshit really fool people?)
Unfortunately, it looks like this oil drilling talk is starting to take hold. According to recent surveys, 70% of Americans are in favor of more drilling. While I don't think it will solve any problems, and may result in an environmental disaster in the Gulf and/or the Alaskan wildlife refuge, that really is an environmental question, not an energy question.
Looking at it through the prism of achieving energy sustainability, and putting aside any environmental concerns: I say let 'em drill. Drill to your hearts content, motherfuckers. Drill in the Gulf, drill in ANWR, drill for oil in Teddy Roosevelt's head if you think it's there. Because, eventually, there won't be anymore places to drill for oil in, no more magic beans that would solve everything if mean old Nancy Pelosi would just let the American people have them. The excuses will run out, and the price of gas will be as high as ever. And then maybe, just maybe, we'll be able to make some progress, instead of this childish horseshit.
Senator Ted Stevens (R-Al) represents everything that is wrong with the inherently un-Democratic body that is the United States Senate. Representing a state populated almost entirely by caribou, he wields as much power as senators from states where the entire population can't fit inside an Applebee's. More power, even, because he's not afraid to be a horrible man.
Sen. Ted Stevens, the nation's longest-serving Republican senator and a
major figure in Alaska politics since before statehood, was indicted
Tuesday on seven felony counts of concealing more than a quarter of a
million dollars in house renovations and gifts from a powerful oil
contractor that lobbied him for government aid.
Prosecutors said that work included a new first floor, garage,
wraparound deck, plumbing and electrical wiring. He also is accused of
accepting from VECO a Viking gas grill, furniture and tools, and of
failing to report swapping an old Ford for a new Land Rover to be
driven by one of his children.
Other than being a shill for oil companies looking to drill in ANWR, his most notable contribution to the national political landscape is the Bridge to Nowhere. As nakedly a pork barrel spending project as there has ever been, the proposed bridge would have been longer than the Golden Gate Bridge and taller than the Brooklyn Bridge. Except instead of connecting San Fransisco to Marin County or Manhattan to Brooklyn, it would have connected Ketchikan (pop 8900) to Gravina Island (pop 50. Yes, 50).
Okay, big deal, right? Well, if the $223 million of taxes that were earmarked for the bridge in 2005 are mildly aggravating but not upsetting, perhaps this will put it in perspective:
"Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens threw the senatorial version of a hissy fit on
the floor the other day. The issue was a proposal by his Republican
colleague, Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn, to block $453 million earmarked
for two Alaska bridges in the recent highway bill and instead use some
of the money to rebuild the Interstate 10 bridge across Lake
Ponchartrain wiped out by [Hurricane Katrina].
"I will put the Senate on notice -- and I don't kid people -- if the
Senate decides to discriminate against our state and take money only
from our state, I will resign from this body," Mr. Stevens vowed. ... the amendment failed 82 to 15."
That's right, he busted out with "I'll take my ball and go home" on the floor the US Senate because they wanted to send money earmarked for Alaska to rebuild New Orleans. But surely Alaska needed that scratch, right?
"[Alaska] ranks number one in per capita federal spending,
$12,279 in 2003, compared with Nevada, number 50 at $5,235 for every
resident. Alaskans received $1.89 in federal help for every tax dollar
they sent to Washington, making the state second only to New Mexico as
a net beneficiary of federal largess."
Man, why you always gotta be disriminatin against Alaska? New Orleans always be gettin all the breaks.
The only thing about this story that makes me sad is that he's already 84. He'll only have to live in disgrace for a couple of years before dropping dead.
I know I'm late to the party having anything to say about this, and it's likely that everybody has already forgotten this thing existed. Before this issue of The New Yorker even came out, the news cycle consumed, digested, and spat the cover out:
"OMG, this cover is soo offensive!"
"No, dude, it's totally satire. Don't you get it?"
"Yeah, man, I get it, I'm totally hip and everything, but what about all those squares out there that won't?"
"Dude, that's totally condescending and stuff. Why you gotta be like that?"
"Man, fuck it. Look, Angelina had her babies!"
Unfortunately, it took me a couple of days to actually come to terms with what exactly was bothering me about the cover (I have a job and other things to worry about, sorry). Because I was one of those people who did not like the cover when I saw it. It just took me a few days to find the words to explain why.
This cover is good satire, but sure, I also happen to think these guys are shitheads. But I don't think it's my lefty liberal commie bias that leaves me disliking the new cover.
Same guy, but this works for me. (By the way, if we're electing presidents based on who handles a crisis best in the middle of the night, then Frankie the dog for president!)
So, what is difference between these pictures as the Obama one? The subject of the satire is in the image. With the Obama cover, the satire is not targeted at the subjects, but instead at the reader - or more specifically, the readers who think this is an accurate depiction. But if you think this is an accurate depiction, then how is it satire? And if the satire can only effectively speak to those that already agree with you, then what is the point?
Much ado about the venerable Reverend Jackson and his not quite fit for the pulpit declaration that Barack Obama talks down to black people and that the Rev wants to cut his nuts off. This statement was, naturally, accompanied by a snip-snip motion.
Come on, do you expect me to believe that Jackson, who has spent his entire adult life speaking into a micro- or megaphone, doesn't know when his words are being recorded? Surely the Rev doesn't actually believe that telling black men they should stop fathering and abandoning out of wedlock children is a bad thing (although it may have hit a little close to home).
No, he knew exactly what he was doing. Jesse Jackson hating Obama can't do anything but make him a more attractive candidate to general election voters. "Oh no, Obama is a scary secret Muslim, I'm gonna vote for the dried out husk of John McCain that George W. Bush has hollowed out and climbed inside of. Wait, what? Jesse Jackson doesn't like Obama? Well, that changes everything... maybe he isn't so bad after all..."
Let me be the first to stand up and applaud the Reverend Jackson for helping the cause of Obama for Pres by putting the considerable heft of his reputation as a hypocritical blowhard to work.