Less than a week until we’re rid of Tucker Bounds

I think I’m in love Campbell Brown (of CNN). She’s the only journalist who has had the balls (on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart) to actually state that having Tucker Bounds on a show is virtually useless, and good riddins’ to him (I’m paraphrasing here). You may know that it was one such appearance by the ubitquitous Bounds that prompted the McCain campaign to cancel an appearance with Larry King on CNN. Evidently, Brown was a little too “hard” on poor little Tucker. (Or maybe McCain was afriad of the “hard-hitting” questions that King might lob at him. Everyone’s getting a bit fesity in the face of the incredibe amount of bullshit the McCain-Palin campaign and their surrougates have been dispensing in the final days of the campaign).

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Links for the “Undecided” voters

If you’re still undecided, my first question is “Really?” Have you not been paying attention for the past 2 years? You can’t make up your mind between two candidates (leaving aside the ones who no chance of actually winning the election) who are about as different as can be in terms of policy, political philosophy, temperament, and most issues? OK, maybe there are a few left. Here are a few things you ought to read or hear before you go vote.

Colin Powell Announces He’s Voting For Obama
Powell remains one of the most respected of Americans. Watch his appearance with Tom Brokaw on Meet The Press and listen to what he says, in his own words, about how he came to the decision he did.

New Yorker Editors Make A Choice
The Editors of The New Yorker recently published their Choice for President. As is typical with The New Yorker, it’s a long, thoughful (and thought-provoking) piece that reviews the pros and cons of both candidates and provides actual facts in support of their conclusions.

Who’s Better For The Economy?
Does the economy do better under Democrats or Republicans? Which party seems to foster better growth? The New York Times has an interactive chart that graphically (pardon the pun) tells the story. You might be surprised (or perhaps not, depending on how much you’ve been following economic reporting). As Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously said, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own set of facts.”

Who You Callin’ A Maverick?
A descendent of the original Maverick, Samuel Augustus, begs to differ with John McCain and Sarah Palin. Read about the Texas Mavericks (one of whom coined the term “gobbledygook”), who have long been leftists. And find out why the term doesn’t apply to current Republican team.

McCain, the Passive-Aggressive

Finally, we had a flash of the old John McCain. You know the clip — the supporter saying he was “afraid of a Barack Obama Presidency.” Not surprising, considering that McCain and his Caribou Barbie attack bimbo had just spend several days spreading bullshit about “palling around with terrorists” (wink, wink, we’re sure you’ll know what we really mean) and having surrogates mention Obama’s middle name (wink, wink, you know — the same as that guy that attacked us on 9/11; never mind that guy Hussein had nothing to do with attacking us, and they know it) and “what do really know about him (wink, wink, he’s probably a secret Muslim and a “Manchurian Candidate” who will turn against America and where was he really born; never mind that thousands of articles have been written about Obama and he’s done hundreds of television and radio interviews and oh, by the way, he was born in KANSAS for God’s sake. And, for that matter, if you actually watch the movie, you’d know that the Machnurian Candidate was capture, tortured and brainwashed in ASIA — sound like anyone in this race?).

McCain, to his credit (at long last) was forced to defend his opponent, saying without hesitation that  no one had anything to fear from an Obama presidency (good for Obama; bad for McCain). And one one supporter said she was afraid of Obama because “he’s an Arab,” McCain shook his head, took the mic away, and replied, “No. No. He is not.” (McCain might have taken the moment to explain that all Muslims are not Arabs — most of the Muslims in the world are not Arab — and that all Arabs are not Muslim, either. But then McCain seems to have that persistent problem of confusing Sunni and Shia, so it’s understandable he didn’t pick up on the opportunity).

The McCain compaign has been complaining about the tactis of the Obama campaign as a way to justify their own behavior. (Of course, the Obama folks have trotted out the same tit-for-tat excuse, and they should likewise be ashamed, though their “attacks” have been tame in comparison and are at least more fact-based:  McCain really did pal around with Charles Keating, and he was not “exonerated” as he claims, though he has apologized in the past for his behavior).

The difference is, of course, that you have not been hearing people at Obama rallies screaming “Kill McCain” or “Bomb Palin.” You don’t hear people saying “I couldn’t vote for McCain because he’s a  terrorist” or “I think Sarah Palin is a religious whacko” (even though the latter is arguably true). McCain now claims to be offended at the criticism. I like to believe it’s the inherent decency that is — or at least used to be — evident in McCain coming out. But it’s awfully hard to accept that when he and his Rove-inspired minions are the ones who created the climate in the first place.

Desperation sure ain’t pretty!

Not Your Father’s Presidential Vote

Perhaps the sky, along with the stock market, has fallen. The son of William F. Buckley (“Mr. Conserative” himself) is voting for Barack Obama for President. Chris Buckley is one of those conversatives I like and respect. One who’s not “angry at ayone” (to cop Mike Huckabee’s phrase). I’ve read a number of his books and he can be wickedly funny.

Read his announcement for yourself by clicking this link

One of the things I always admired about William F. Buckley was his intellect — something that seems out-of-favor among Republicans these days. His positions were always arrived at through logic. I seldom agreed with his conculsions, but I could admire the way he arrived at them. Buckely always liked a fight, but a fair fight. He loved the give-and-take of ideas, even those diametrically opposed to his own. And you could win him over with a persuasive argument bolstered by actual facts.  Buckley’s writing would send you running for the dictionary. This, I think, was a good thing.

A Toothless Old Radical

So Caribou Barbie seems to have become emboldened as a result of her shuckin’ and jivin’ her way through her one debate. Not emboldened enough to go up against Tom Brokaw on Meet the Press, of course, but bold enough to hit the campaign trail spouting the kind of garbage that was hurled against John McCain by the Bush-Rove cabal in 2000. (And continued shame on McCain, who has decided that decency — not to mention country — be damned, as long as he can maybe become President).

The lastest barrage takes off from a “swift boat style” commercial, financed by Harold Simmons, the same piece of garbage that helped finance the original in 2004 against John Kerry. Quoting the NY Times (I guess we now know one of the newspapers Palin reads), Palin said that Barack Obama “pals around with terrorists.” Never mind that The Times article pointed out that there is no real “palling around” going on, and even quoted a former Harvard classmate (who is actually a McCain supporter) that, if anything, Obama was considered far too moderate by his classmates. If the guy is a bomb-thowing radical, he’s sure been doing a great job of hiding it.

Now, Bill Ayres and his wife Bernadine Dohrn were members of the Weather Underground in the late 60s. The Weather Underground did set several bombs, were implicated in a number of bank robberies, and were responsible for several deaths. (The townhouse that blew up on 11th Street in Greenwich Village — killing a few of its occupants — was a Weather Underground “bomb factory.”)

It’s not clear which acts Ayres did or did not take part in, and he has been quoted as saying that he doesn’t regret his actions of the time. But he has denounced any violence that harms people in his memoir of the era and in numerous interviews, saying that destruction of human life is never justified for any cause. The Weather Underground’s aim was to destroy property, and they at least tried to be sure that no one was in the buildings they attacked (though this was not always successful). This is not, by the way, meant as an excuse, merely a statement of explanation. And you do have to remember that this was in the context of an illegal and “secret” war in Cambodia, the bombing of civilian targets in North Viet Nam (something John McCain is more familiar with than most, both from above and below), illegal domestic spying, suppression of rights, etc. For all the upheavals of the current period in our history, it’s hard to remember that things were actually worse at that time. Not everyone reacted rationally.

 After years underground, Ayres and Dohrn turned themselves in. Charges against Ayres were dismissed due to government misconduct (illegal searches and wiretapping, etc. — sound familiar?). Both he and Dohrn are now college professors (he at University of Illinois At Chicago; she at Northwestern). Ayres has also authored numerous books on education, and is considered by many — though certainly not all — in and around Chicago an educational reformer and a respected member of society.

Now, as Barack Obama pointed out, he was 8 years old during the days of the Weather Underground. Some might say that, since Ayres never “served his debt to society,” he’s unfit for “pal” status even now. But remember that Ayres turned himself in, and was prepared to face the consequences. It was the screwups of the government that prevented the case from going forward. This attitude also suggests that people don’t change over time. It’s been 40 years since the days of the Weather Underground, and Ayres seems a far different person than he was then. One would think that someone so steeped in religion, Sarah Palin would be willing to forgive someone for his past sins. Perhaps that only applies to witches in her church.

All of this would be more relevant if there actually were something more than a short-term tenuous relationship between Obama and Ayres. Perhaps Palind doesn’t read The Times at all, but merely skims the front page. Or maybe it’s just more of Karl Rove, pulling the same old crap. The question is:  will it work again? If it does, then we, as a country, deserve the screwing we’ll get.

Yakkety Yak

OK, so Caribou Barbie didn’t fall flat on her face. I have to admit after seeing her “performance” (and that’s really the right word for it), that I dislike her a little less. Only a little, though. She didn’t come off like a blithering idiot, as she did with both Charles (“Charlie, Charlie, Charlie”) Gibson and Katy Couric. (A little aside:  who would have thought Katy Couric would become a pit bull with lipstick herself. She may not be a good anchor, but she seems to be demonstrating that she does have a decent place in broadcast journalism).

I was kind of endearing (I will admit) that Palin asked Joe Biden before the debate started if she could call him Joe. But after a while all those “aw shucks” and “Joe Sixpacks” started to really grate on me. All the pundits are saying, “she had to do what she did:  show that she could hold her own in the debate.” Excuse me????? Hold her own. I think not. “Holding your own” in a debate means being able to thrust and your opponent and parry when he strikes you. What she actually did was mostly duck the questions, even going so far as to admit she was not going to answer the question. This isn’t “holding your own;” this is “cutting and running” (to use one of the Republicans’ now-seemingly-retired phrases). The talking Palin doll has increased her repository of talking-point phrases, but that was about all. While Joe Biden reeled off facts and figures, Palin talking in hick generalities punctuated with cliches right and left. Like her running mate, she kept repeating the same tag lines over and over, regardless of whether they were true, or had any relevance to the question at hand. Am I the only one who noticed that she was frequently reading the talking points off her notecards?

On the surface, she seemed self-assured and reasonably informed. But did you listen to her talk? Much like Dubya’s famous mangling of the English language, Palin’s mouth frequently got ahead of whatever it is that passes for a brain in there. Yes, there were nouns and verbs and conjunctions and the occasional adverb. But a great many of her sentences just made absolutely no sense. They sounded like they were English, but they were really just a series of partial bullet points strung together in random order, sort of like the “Military Intelligence” game where you randomly pick works from three different columns to construct a seamingly meaningful but ultimate nonsensicle phrase.

When, oh when, did education, verbal ability and mental agility become negative qualities? John Kennedy famously searched out the “best and the brightest.” We seem now to have entered an era where lack of intellectual curiosity and lack of education are deemed good qualities. Perhaps this is another indication of how low the bar is being set. But then what would one expect after 8 years of George Bush?

Push the button on the Sarah Palin doll

Good grief, why is this woman still being taken seriosuly at all? OK, I know that at least a goodly number of people are wising up, as more of her background leaks out and her few public appearances just pile up the embarassments. I almost feel sorry for her. Almost. Except for the fact that she had the chutzpah to actually think that she should run for VP (with a good chance of actually succeeding John McCain before his mythical term is up). Continue reading

Earmark this!

A pattern has emerged from the Republicans in response to everything thrown at them:  avoid the question and try to change the subject. Thus, the question of Sarah Palin’s quest for earmarks for Alaska (more per capita than any other state in the Union) becomes a chant from the McCain surrogates of “Barack Obama did it too!” This, of course, misses the point. Continue reading

Enough!

Sarah Palin’s answer’s to Charlie Gibson’s question about “The Bush Doctrine” really tells us all we need to know about her. First there was that “moose stunned in the headlights” look. Then the passive-aggressive reverse question to stall for time while she searched her mental Rolodex of coached talking points for one that might at least somewhat fit. Poor Charlie Gibson looked exasperated and finally had to tell her the answer; she clearly didn’t have even the vaguest notion of what he was talking about. Finally, she reeled off a few generic, meaningless talking points about “crushing Islamic extremists that threaten our way of life.” (Never mind that a good deal of Islamic extremism is directed at other countries and has only minimal impact on “our” way of life).

Contrast this with any of dozens of lengthy interviews with Barack Obama or Joe Biden, who clearly have a depth of knowledge about the situations. One might disagree with some of their conclusions or their proposed policies, but only most die-hard ideologues would suggest that they didn’t know the background.

So, enough, already. It has nothing to do with being from a small town; it has nothing to do with having been a small-town mayor or even the short-term governor of one of the smallest (in population, not area) states in the Union. When the candidate for Vice President isn’t even as knowledgable as many 5th graders, the debate is over.  Why is anyone taking this woman seriously?

John McCain, it seems, wants more than anything to be President. Nothing else seems to matter. ‘Twas not always this way, but it sure is now. It’s sad to see, but “country first” my ass. It’s “Karl Rove first” all over again.

Sometimes you do need a weatherman…

So along some word that the McCain campaign cancelled a fund-raiser in Miami. The reason?  A tropical storm/hurricane was heading towards the mainland, with the storm tracking right up the middle of the appendage known as Florida. Now the thing with hurricanes and tropical storms is that they generally form far out in the ocean, so you generally know they’re likely to be heading for land a couple of days ahead of time. The folks at McCain central, it seems, don’t know how to check a weather forecast.

You may recall back when Barack Obama was trekking his way across the Middle East and Europe, the McCainiacs thought that having ol’ Johnnie Boy helicopiter out to an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico would be a good photo op that might knock Barry off the front the pages. That trip, of course, had to be cancelled because — wait for it — there was a tropical storm, possibly hurricane, coming in.

John McCain has been running around claiming how much better prepared he would have been, as President, than Bush was for Hurricane Katrina. (Of course, he didn’t say much at the time; this was the usual 20-20 hindsight talking). You wonder, since he can’t seem to see a hurricane coming.

Maybe he can ask Barack to check his blackberry for a weather forecast.