Friday, December 26, 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Tribute To An Iraqi Journalist

"Killer of Iraqis, killer of children."
- Muntathar al Zaidi

"This is a goodbye kiss, you dog!"
- Muntathar al Zaidi

Pointing the soles of one's shoes at someone, or striking them with shoes, is a serious insult in the Arab world.

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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Bailing Detroit

Of late I've found myself in agreement with conservatives such as David Brooks regarding a bailout for the US auto industry.

Brooks writes:
Not so long ago, corporate giants with names like PanAm, ITT and Montgomery Ward roamed the earth. They faded and were replaced by new companies with names like Microsoft, Southwest Airlines and Target. The U.S. became famous for this pattern of decay and new growth.

Granting immortality to Detroit’s Big Three does not enhance creative destruction. It retards it. It crosses a line, a bright line. It is not about saving a system; there will still be cars made and sold in America. It is about saving politically powerful corporations. A Detroit bailout would set a precedent for every single politically connected corporation in America. There already is a long line of lobbyists bidding for federal money. If Detroit gets money, then everyone would have a case. After all, are the employees of Circuit City or the newspaper industry inferior to the employees of Chrysler?
As a business person, I believe that companies succeed and fail for a variety of reasons, some due to good or bad management, and some due to factors out of their control. And still there are reasons due to technological progress.  Buggy manufacturers didn't realize they were in the transportation business and lost out to automobile companies a hundred years ago. More recently, traditional map publishers are suffering because they were too late to the electronic mapping transition (internet and GPS). The leading mapping data company, Navteq, was just bought by Nokia for $8 billion, probably 100 times what Rand McNally is worth today. (And Rand McNally now gets much of its data from Navteq.)  When companies fail, employees and vendors are hurt. But eventually new companies grow and create new opportunities. Government should stay out.

I do not agree with Brooks' comparison to other industries however. The main reason being that there are many more players in each. The demise of any one or two companies will not bring an entire industry to its knees and have as wide-ranging an effect on other businesses that serve the failed company or its employees.

I did find this piece a compelling counter-argument to Brooks:
One reason for the casual support for letting GM fail is the assumption that bankruptcy would be no big deal: As USA Today editorialized recently, "Bankruptcy need not mean that the company disappears." But, while it's worked out that way for the airlines, among others, it's unlikely a GM business failure would play out in the same fashion. In order to seek so-called Chapter 11 status, a distressed company must find some way to operate while the bankruptcy court keeps creditors at bay. But GM can't build cars without parts, and it can't get parts without credit. Chapter 11 companies typically get that sort of credit from something called Debtor-in-Possession (DIP) loans. But the same Wall Street meltdown that has dragged down the economy and GM sales has also dried up the DIP money GM would need to operate.

That's why many analysts and scholars believe GM would likely end up in Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which would entail total liquidation. The company would close its doors, immediately throwing more than 100,000 people out of work. And, according to experts, the damage would spread quickly. Automobile parts suppliers in the United States rely disproportionately on GM's business to stay afloat. If GM shut down, many if not all of the suppliers would soon follow. Without parts, Chrysler, Ford, and eventually foreign-owned factories in the United States would have to cease operations. From Toledo to Tuscaloosa, the nation's?assembly lines could go silent, sending a chill through their local economies as the idled workers stopped spending money.
I do agree it would be tragic for our economy if GM actually closed its doors and this explains why a bankruptcy filing might have that result. Yes, eventually foreign car companies would buy those plants and create new workforces, but it would take years. 

I'm certain that if not sooner than January 20th, the Obama administration and Congress will put together a bailout for GM and if necessary, Ford. I would just hope that stringest measures  would indeed be part of the package, such as:

Government can fire/hire top executives
Government gets stock warrants it can sell when the stock price recovers
(see Chrysler bailout)
Government owns the assets if the company does eventually fail

At the same time, I agree with taking steps to equalize the opportunities for import/export. If our exports are facing tariff or other limitations that we do not impose on imports, or inequalities due to environmental regulations etc., we should take steps to create fairness as well as incentives for more foreign-owned car companies to build plants here.

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Saturday, November 08, 2008

Monday, November 03, 2008

Mmmmm...Norah O'Donnell

I just watched Chris Matthews' Sunday show on NBC and I couldn't keep my eyes off Norah O'Donnell. Do I remember what she said? No. Just the right hint of cleavage and breast form in a red dress, not to mention a nice bit of leg. Well, who can pay attention to Joe Klein with that going on next to him?

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One More Day

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Sunday, November 02, 2008

He's No Goode

When not flitting about the Fifth Dimension, I used to live in Charlottesville, Virginia, a very Democratic college town surrounding by Republican counties. The representative in Congress there is Virgil Goode. His name is pronounced like GOO with a d at the end and his charming old-Virginia accent sometimes sounds a bit more like Forrest Gump. If Charlottesville controlled the vote, he'd have been out a long time ago, being aconservative Dem who switched to the Republican party. But his district goes down to southside Virginia, a Republican stronghold that has been hit hard economically over recent years.

Not focused on such unimportant matters as the economy, Goode has concentrated his efforts on being a true Christian American. Here's an oldie but a Goode-ie:

Congress of the United States
House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515-4605

Dec. 7, 2006

Mr. John Cruickshank
7— S— Dr.
Earlysville, VA 22936

Dear Mr. Cruickshank:

Thank you for your recent communication. When I raise my hand to take the oath on Swearing In Day, I will have the Bible in my other hand. I do not subscribe to using the Koran in any way. The Muslim Representative from Minnesota was elected by the voters of that district and if American citizens don't wake up and adopt the Virgil Goode position on immigration there will likely be many more Muslims elected to office and demanding the use of the Koran. We need to stop illegal immigration totally and reduce legal immigration and end the diversity visas policy pushed hard by President Clinton and allowing many persons from the Middle East to come to this country. I fear that in the next century we will have many more Muslims in the United States if we do not adopt the strict immigration policies that I believe are necessary to preserve the values and beliefs traditional to the United States of America and to prevent our resources from being swamped.

The Ten Commandments and "In God We Trust" are on the wall in my office. A Muslim student came by the office and asked why I did not have anything on my wall about the Koran. My response was clear, "As long as I have the honor of representing the citizens of the 5th District of Virginia in the United States House of Representatives, The Koran is not going to be on the wall of my office." Thank you again for your email and thoughts.

Sincerely yours,
Virgil H. Goode, Jr.
70 East Court Street
Suite 215
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151

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Saturday, November 01, 2008

Friday, October 31, 2008

Palin Doesn't Understand the First Amendment

"If [the media] convince enough voters that that is negative campaigning for me to call Barack Obama out on his associations, then I don't know what the future of our country would be in terms of First Amendment rights and our ability to ask questions without fear of attacks by the mainstream media."
- Sarah Palin
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
- U.S. Constitution, Amendment 1
Please explain, Ms. Palin, how the media's opinion or filter affects your rights under the first amendment. Is there a proposed bill to put tape over your mouth if what you say will be interpreted by the media in a way you disagree with?

The point is that you cannot be protected from attacks or misrepresentations of your comments any more than your adversaries can be protected from your attacks and misrepresentations unless they are slanderous or libelous to a degree provable in court.

I think it would be an awfully good idea for you to read the freaking Constitution before you put your hand on a bible and swear to uphold it.

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Rick Sanchez is My Hero

I've always viewed Rick Sanchez of CNN as just another TV talking head. In the last two days he has practiced something sorely missing on television these days - journalism.

This relates to this tape. The McCainiacs are everywhere claiming that Obama "pals around" with anti-Semites. It should be noted that the "anti-Semite" in question is a Palestinian, i.e. a Semite. What they really mean is that he's against the Jews. The fact is that he is against Israeli policy.  Not the same thing.

So here's the end of one of these segments:

The McCain campaign has made a decision  not to speak the name of Rev. Jeremiah Wright, but Sanchez confirmed today that unnamed sources in the McCain campaign confirmed that's who Goldfarb was referring to. 

Sanchez then nailed a conservative talk show host appearing on CNN with the same journalistic technique, trying to make him give facts or specifics to support the vague attacks. He couldn't. Hopefully that will show up on youtube as well.

It's time for the "press" to press these surrogates to defend their attacks with specifics, and to stop reporting such charges without comment when they can be proven false.

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Friday, October 24, 2008

Fox News Announces McCain Campaign Is Over

This was posted yesterday, and since then Moody's story has been proven false. Emphasis is mine:

Less than two weeks before we vote for a new president, a white woman says a black man attacked her, then scarred her face, and says there was a political motive for it.

Ashley Todd, a 20-year-old white volunteer for John McCain’s presidential campaign, says she was mugged at an ATM machine in Pittsburgh (my hometown) by a big black man. She further says he threw her down, then disfigured her by carving the letter “B” into her face with a sharp implement when he saw that she supported McCain, not Barack Obama.

Part of the appeal of, and the unspoken tension behind, Senator Obama’s campaign is his transformational status as the first African-American to win a major party’s presidential nomination.

That does not mean that he has erased the mutual distrust between black and white Americans, and this incident could become a watershed event in the 11 days before the election.

If Ms. Todd’s allegations are proven accurate, some voters may revisit their support for Senator Obama, not because they are racists (with due respect to Rep. John Murtha), but because they suddenly feel they do not know enough about the Democratic nominee.

If the incident turns out to be a hoax, Senator McCain’s quest for the presidency is over, forever linked to race-baiting.

- John Moody, Executive VP, Fox News

And the reason why McCain's campaign is linked to this race-baiting is their communications director in PA was pushing this story before the facts were known. 

Waiting for McCain to apologize and fire him.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Additional Proof that Palin is Not Well-Informed

I guess Palin read that the Vice President is President of the Senate. But I don't think she's actually read the Constitution or read any civics books to know what the means. The role of the President of the Senate is to preside over the Senate (i.e. bang the gavel) and cast tie-breaking votes. Not exactly "in charge." Especially when the other party has a (filibuster-proof?) majority.

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Daily Show on Real America

Let's have some MSM follow-up with Wasilla's current Mayor! Why is it that we only get real insights from the "fake" news shows on Comedy Central?

And on Colbert last night, he mocked Colin Powell's reference to Obama as a "transformational candidate" saying (I may be paraphrasing) that McCain is one: "The campaign has transformed him into everything he's ever hated."

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Monday, October 20, 2008

I Voted Today!

And it felt so good! 

I really like turning out on election day and had resisted getting a mail ballot, although more than half the registered voters in my state have done so.

But I found myself available in mid-afternoon and so went down to one of the early voting places that opened today. It was busy, but only a short line.

That's one for Obama. And according to CNN, McCain  may be giving up on my swing state as I write this.

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Sunday, October 19, 2008

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General Powell's Moving Endorsement

"...It was a photo essay about troops who are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. And one picture at the tail end of this photo essay was of a mother in Arlington Cemetery, and she had her head on the headstone of her son's grave. And as the picture focused in, you could see the writing on the headstone. And it gave his awards--Purple Heart, Bronze Star--showed that he died in Iraq, gave his date of birth, date of death. He was 20 years old. And then, at the very top of the headstone, it didn't have a Christian cross, it didn't have the Star of David, it had crescent and a star of the Islamic faith. And his name was Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan, and he was an American. He was born in New Jersey. He was 14 years old at the time of 9/11, and he waited until he can go serve his country, and he gave his life. Now, we have got to stop polarizing ourself in this way."

And after:

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Saturday, October 18, 2008

War Room

Sundance Channel was running "The War Room" this afternoon, the documentary about the Clinton campaign in 1992 where James Carville invented the concept of a campaign war room and rapid response. I thought it an interesting point in history to watch it.

It's been well documented that there was a sign that said "The Economy, Stupid." But what I didn't know was above that line it said "Change vs. More of the Same."

David Axelrod knows that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

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Pallin' With Palin

So there's Sarah Palin pallin' around with the SNL crew. Why, they're making a joke about how she hasn't given any press conferences, and she's right in on it! How cool is that?

Actually, it's disgusting. Unforgiveable. Unacceptable. Not funny.

OK, but the Amy Poehler rap was pretty good.

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Getting Real

Two years ago, Senator George Allen may have lost his re-election bid due to a remark that welcomed an American who didn't look American enough to him to "the real world of Virginia."

Republicans evidently did not learn a lesson from that and as per Palin's comments the other day, continue to use language attempting to divide us.

Here's the latest reference to the "real Virginia" followed by a reprise of George Allen:

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You Tell 'Em Joe-the-Senator!

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The Anti-Bradley Effect

I'm thinking -- or perhaps hoping -- there's an Anti-Bradley Effect going on.

The Bradley Effect is when in an election with a black candidate facing a white candidate, a percentage of white voters will tell pollsters they are voting for the black guy because they don't want to admit they're actually voting against him because he's black. It's been a concern this might be the case in this year's presidential race.

But I'm wondering if the opposite might be happening: White folks in Appalachia who are not necessarily racists but still uncomfortable about African-Americans, who don't want to admit they are desperate enough to actually vote for the black guy.

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Friday, October 17, 2008

Joe McCarthy in a Skirt

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Palin's Real America

"We believe that the best of America is in these small towns that we get to visit, and in these wonderful little pockets of what I call the real America, being here with all of you hard working very patriotic, very pro-America areas of this great nation. This is where we find the kindness and the goodness and the courage of everyday Americans. Those who are running our factories and teaching our kids and growing our food and are fighting our wars for us. Those who are protecting us in uniform. Those who are protecting the virtues of freedom."

- Sarah Palin

So, Sarah, please tell us exactly what parts of the United States are not "the real America." What are the areas where people are not "hard-working, patriotic, pro-America?"

Do you mean all the cities, perhaps? Or just Cambridge, MA and Hollywood, CA? Are you saying there is not kindness on the south side of Chicago, people protecting in uniform in the Bronx, soldiers from Compton?

Please explain what you meant by this statement.

Which parts of America do you wish to be Vice President of?

Which Americans do you plan to represent in office?

Let me tell you who is un-American, madam. You are. You who seek to value only those who agree with you, and to devalue those who disagree. You who wish to divide us by where we live, how we live, and what we believe. You who will say just about anything to win an election. You represent some of the worst this country has to offer.

I do agree with the phrase that was hurled at me as an epithet when I protested the Viet Nam war:

America, love it or leave it.

Loving America means living your life according to your values. It means standing up for what you believe, and like anything or anyone you truly love, being able to say when it is doing something wrong and trying to change it.

So Sarah, we who live in cities, we who work in offices, veterans who live on the streets having been abandoned by your party, we are patriotic, we are pro-America, we believe in the American ideal. Do you?

MESILLA, NM -- Joe Biden today accused his Republican counterpart of engaging in the same kind of divisive politics seen in the Bush Administration, saying he has yet to find a part of the country that is not “pro-America.”

“Folks, it doesn’t matter where you live, we all love this country,” he said. “One of the reasons why Barack and I are running is that we know how damaging the politics of division that continues to be practiced by the McCain campaign, how damaging this policy of division has been for Americans over the last decade or more.”

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Palin, please tell us which areas of the country are NOT "pro-America"

Palin also made a point of mentioning that she loved to visit the "pro-America" areas of the country, of which North Carolina is one.

- Washington Post

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Joe the plumber has held more press conferences than V.P. candidate Sarah Palin.

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Brought to you by the Chaffey Community Republican Women, Federated

Now before you get all offended, I'm convinced the foods pictured weren't meant to reflect on Obama as an African-American. No, even if he was white they would have shown those foods as indicative of what minorities who use food stamps buy with them. Now isn't that better?

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Spreading the Wealth Around

How can you be a capitalist and a socialist at the same time?

Welcome to the United States of America.

The point is there is no pure economic system that works perfectly. Thus, take a basic direction and moderate it to meet reality and changing needs. That's what we do.

So, when Obama talks about spreading the wealth around some folks go crazy. They think he's gonna take all the profits from businesses (large or small) and then they won't have any incentive to grow and add jobs.

Actually, that's not what Barack had in mind. He's talking about letting the top marginal tax rate return to 39% from the current 36%. So for people making more than $250k, the amount in excess of $250k would be taxed at a 3% higher rate than it is today, just as it was in the nineties. Agree or disagree, I don't see how that will discourage people from wanting to make more money.

Although I am not in that bracket, I do well enough that each new dollar I earn has a significant tax burden. Tell my boss -- I still want that raise.

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Brought to You By the Virginia Republican Party

It probably does not need to be said that none of the actual examples of evil men noted inside the flier are black. I'm sure the Party would say this image represents an American looking at evil, but the truth is clearly it is meant to represent evil, and whether the subject is actually Obama or just someone who looks like him, we know, Virginia Republican Party, this this is racist trash.

I'm waiting for John McCain to repudiate it. After all, he says he always does.

Details here.

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Meet Joe the Plumber

Here's the actual discussion between Obama and "Joe the plumber" referred to in last night's debate.

Obama did make the political error of saying he would "spread the wealth around." Of course, it is the truth. It is also the basis of our progressive income tax system from its inception.

Can you imagine McCain making as thorough, detailed and thoughtful a response to such a question?

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Rope a Dope

Some Obama supporters have worried that he allowed himself to be on the defensive in the debates, particularly the first and third ones.  I disagree.

It's true that McCain was on the attack, never moreso than last night. How'd that work for him?

Obama was able to absorb nearly every punch with a calm, reasoned response. And then once in a while, he delivered a well-timed, well-placed counter-punch that was damaging because it was so unexpected.

Muhammed Ali called this technique Rope-a-Dope.

Ronald Reagan used to say that the most frightening nine words in the English language were "I'm from the government and I'm here to help." That is no longer true. This year, the most frightening eight words are "I'm John McCain and I approved this message."

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So Proud!

“Let me just say categorically I'm proud of the people that come to our rallies. Whenever you get a large rally of 10,000, 15,000, 20,000 people, you're going to have some fringe peoples. You know that. And I've -- and we've always said that that's not appropriate.”

- John McCain, at last night's debate

McCain may say it's not appropriate to shout threats and epithets about Obama, but Palin hasn't commented when this happens at her own rallies.

I know an Obama worker who has been to a number of Obama rallies, and he has not witnessed any negativity, period. The most he could come up with was seeing buttons saying "How many houses do you own." His point is that Obama speeches and rallies are positive.

I feel a bit sad for McCain because I believe at heart he's a decent man who has allowed operatives to throw his principles overboard in order to win. Then, when the negativity gets out of hand -- in his presence -- he'll try to close Pandora's box by saying things like (paraphrasing) "Obama isn't an Arab, ma'am, he's a decent family man," as if those were opposites.

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McCain: What is this "health" you women speak of?

"Senator John McCain’s health plan would drastically restructure America’s health care system, with especially devastating effects on women."

- Worse for Women report

Tonight, McCain betlittled concerns about protecting the health of the mother when considering a late term abortion. He even put air quotes around the word "health" twice, and said that pro-abortion forces are trying to stretch the word health to mean "just about anything."

The "just about anything" the Republican base knows he meant was that the mental health of the mother doesn't count.

It's also interesting that immediately after Obama said no-one is pro-abortion, McCain referred to the "pro-abortion movement."

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Advances in Bathroom Technology

Seen at the PDX men's room:

As I pondered the above sign whilst relaxing on the can (there was another copy of the sign on the door facing the stall occupant) I wondered for the first time who decided which excretion was Number 1 and which was Number 2.

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Friday, October 10, 2008

Officers Don't Get PTSD

Marie Claire Magazine: But no cold sweats in the middle of the night?

Cindy McCain: Oh, no, no, no, no, no. My husband, he’d be the first one to tell you that he was trained to do what he was doing. The guys who had the trouble were the 18-year-olds who were drafted. He was trained, he went to the Naval Academy, he was a trained United States naval officer, and so he knew what he was doing.

Tell that to those veterans you care so much about. Oh, I think they've heard about this. Thanks Fox News!

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Thursday, October 09, 2008

The Stock Market is Bullshit

I had this realization more than a year ago and regret I didn't do anything about it. Like many Americans, most of my retirement fund is in stocks. I bought into the myth that the market always goes up over time and it's the only way to build your nest egg.

I understand business, but I don't really understand stocks, because I am not a good gambler. Buying stocks is gambling, simple and pure. So, I depended on a broker and most of my money is in mutual funds.

But while stocks represent ownership in companies and to some degree do better or worse based on the performance of the company, they are also subject to emotional trading, and they are in themselves a commodity.

As America transitioned from company pensions to 401ks, a lot of new money entered the market. Thus there was greater demand for the available stock, and that makes prices go up.  So the 401k effect in itself was a bubble. Add that to the realities of today's economy and you have a crash.

While the market may continue to drop, at this point I don't feel like I have any real choice but to leave my accounts alone and hope they rebound before retirement. But when the S&P returns to about 1,500 (probably 5-7 years), I'm out. I doubt I'll actually be retired then, but if I do invest, it will be in something I understand, and something not likely to rise or fall on emotion.

No more gambling for me.

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Hussein Hussein Hussein Hussein Hussein Hussein Hussein Hussein Hussein Hussein Hussein Hussein Hussein Hussein Hussein Hussein Hussein Hussein

Do you recognize this man?  He was a friend of the United States.  He made peace with Israel.  He was a king.

His name was Hussein.

It wasn't Sidney.

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Barack on Bill Ayres

I think Obama has handled the Ayres thing pretty poorly. Saying that Ayres did bad things when Obama was eight doesn't hold water. And saying Ayres is just a guy he knows in the neighborhood, same thing. It just provides more fodder for his opponents.

The fact is that Ayres was responsible for bombings, and I do consider him to have been a domestic terrorist. And he has never clearly apologized for those actions, which to me is the crux of the matter. The fact that no-one died in his bombings is hardly material.

Yes, in years since he has become a respected member of the education community. Obama must have known about Ayres' past and made a decision to have this limited association with him -- serving on a board and letting Ayres have a house party when Obama first ran for political office. 

Obama could simply have said that while he abhors Ayres' youthful actions and wishes that Ayres would repudiate them, that Ayres has in years since contributed much to society and on balance, Obama was willing to have a very limited association with Ayres; that Obama understands some will disagree with that decision.

It wouldn't stop the vitriol from the McCain camp, but it would impress some people who may be on the fence.

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Hey McCain, Stop Hiding Behind Your Wife's Skirt

So Cindy McCain has to knock Obama for voting to end funding for her son in Iraq. Of course, most folks don't realize that's the only way Congress can end a war it once authorized. They also don't seem to know McCain has voted against funding the troops when that funding bill included stuff he didn't like.

So McCain is hiding behind his wife's skirt. Letting her say stuff he won't.  Same thing with Palin. Another skirt.

Hey, didn't McCain just see Obama in person?  Funny, he didn't say anything about this, or about Bill Ayres, etc.

As Joe Biden said today, "In my neighborhood, when you’ve got something to say to a guy, you look him in the eye and you say it to him."

As we've seen, McCain can't seem to look Obama in the eye. At both debates, Obama turned to McCain and said what he meant.

Hey Mr. Brave Ex-Prisoner, you scared to say it yourself, much less to Obama in person?


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Sunday, October 05, 2008

When Will McCain Disavow This?

Click on image of article to see it larger.

Bobby Lee May is Treasurer of the Republican Party in Buchanan County, Virginia and is the county's representative on McCain's Virginia leadership team.

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Friday, October 03, 2008

Justice, Finally

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Palin Uber Alles

You know, we might be bleeding our authority over to the Legislative or Judicial branch to do our job in the Executive branch as administers.

What is this flexibility Palin keeps talking about regarding the position if Vice President? Now she says she means the President can assign work to the Vice. Reasonable, although no reference to that in the Constitution. 

As regards the role in the Senate, I'd say that if she prefers to spend her time over there a lot, she's welcome, according to the Constitution, to bang the gavel a lot in addition to castings votes in case of a tie. But what is this "bleeding authority" over to the Judicial branch?????!!!!!

The best job of the VP is to supervise the counting of electoral votes and announce the winner. That was freaking bitter for Nixon on 1960 and Gore in 2000. Can't wait for Cheney to open the envelope!

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The 8-minute Commercial Some 527 Should Run in the Appalachians

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Thursday, October 02, 2008


I thought Palin did a great job tonight.

That's if you don't count actual answers to actual questions that were asked.

Near the end she said she was glad to talk directly to the American People without the filter of the mainstream media.

Instead, she spoke through her own filter by filtering out all those bothersome questions Gwen Ifill had.  At least Palin was honest. Early on she said she wouldn't be answering those darn questions, at least not the way Ifill and Biden would have liked. 

And now she is free to continue not answering questions. Think you'll see any more interviews by the "mainstream media," much less a press conference, before November 4th? Not a chance. Doggonit.

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Wednesday, October 01, 2008

The Obfuscation Express

Twice, Steve Inskeep of NPR asks McCain about Palin's foreign policy cred and twice McCain describes her qualifications to be Secretary of Energy in response:

MR. INSKEEP: We’re talking with Senator John McCain. And Senator, as you know, the vice presidential debate comes on Thursday — your running mate, Governor Sarah Palin against Joe Biden. Governor Palin has been asked about her foreign policy qualifications, and cited Alaska’s proximity to Russia as one reason she’s qualified. I’d like to ask you, Senator, what specifically do you believe that Alaska’s proximity to Russia adds to Palin’s foreign policy qualifications?

SEN. MCCAIN: Well, I think the fact that they have had certain relationships, but that’s not the major she has stated, and you know that. The major reason she has stated is because she has the knowledge and background on a broad variety of issues, including probably the major challenge of America, and that’s energy independence. And she has been responsible, taken on the oil companies, and we now are going to have a $40 billion dollar natural gas pipeline. She has oversighted the natural gas and oil and natural resources of the state of Alaska and, by the way, quit when she saw corruption there. She has the world view that I have. She is very highly qualified and very knowledgeable.

MR. INSKEEP: Given what you’ve said, Senator, is there an occasion where you could imagine turning to Governor Palin for advice in a foreign policy crisis?

SEN. MCCAIN: I’ve turned to her advice many times in the past. I can’t imagine turning to Senator Obama or Senator Biden because they’ve been wrong. They were wrong about Iraq, they were wrong about Russia. Senator Biden wanted to divide Iraq into three different countries. He voted against the first Gulf War. Senator Obama has no experience whatsoever and has been wrong in the issues that he’s been involved in –

MR. INSKEEP: But would you turn to Governor Palin –

SEN. MCCAIN: — I certainly wouldn’t turn to them, and I’ve already have turned to Governor Palin, particularly on energy issues, and I’ve appreciated her background and knowlege on that and many other issues.

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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

500 Words

Read my entry in Katie Schwartz's contest -- an essay on the election with various takes on a naughty word. Yes, it's a rant, but one reader described it as poetic (!).

Vote for me by making a comment.

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The truth: She didn't read anything

Here's a nice debating trick. When you have no answer for a question, attack the questioner for insulting you by implying you don't do what you, in fact, don't do:

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L'Shanah Tova

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Sunday, September 28, 2008

McCain: Don't Listen to Anything Palin Says, Unless It's Scripted For Her

Saturday night, while on a stop for cheesesteaks in South Philadelphia, Sarah Palin was asked by a Temple graduate student about whether the U.S. should cross the border from Afghanistan into Pakistan.

"If that's what we have to do stop the terrorists from coming any further in, absolutely, we should," Palin said.

"She would not…she understands and has stated repeatedly that we're not going to do anything except in America's national security interest," McCain told ABC's George Stephanopoulos of Palin. "In all due respect, people going around and… sticking a microphone while conversations are being held, and then all of a sudden that's—that's a person's position… This is a free country, but I don't think most Americans think that that's a definitve policy statement made by Governor Palin."

Excerpted from CNN report

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"It was like watching Gidget address the Reichstag"

Must-read Matt Taibbi's Rooling Stone article about Palin.

There's a lot of great ranting in the piece, but here's the sober "money quote":

Democracy doesn't require a whole lot of work of its citizens, but it requires some: It requires taking a good look outside once in a while, and considering the bad news and what it might mean, and making the occasional tough choice, and soberly taking stock of what your real interests are.

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Friday, September 26, 2008

Yeah, I'm sure that's all he said!

"I'm John McCain and I approve this message even though it's being put on You Tube while I'm still on stage. I guess those SNL guys had a point."

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Don't Know Much About...

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Where's Your Flag Pin, Senator McCain?

Oh, that's right. Only the black guy with the funny name needs one to prove he loves his country.

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"If BS were currency, Palin could bail out Wall Street herself."

By conservative columnist Kathleen Parker.

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Must Read: Palin on Russia Proximity providing Foreign Policy Cred

Couric: You've cited Alaska's proximity to Russia as part of your foreign policy experience. What did you mean by that? 

Sarah Palin: That Alaska has a very narrow maritime border between a foreign country, Russia, and, on our other side, the land-boundary that we have with Canada. It's funny that a comment like that was kinda made to … I don't know, you know … reporters. 

Couric: Mocked? 

Palin: Yeah, mocked, I guess that's the word, yeah. 

Couric: Well, explain to me why that enhances your foreign-policy credentials. 

Palin: Well, it certainly does, because our, our next-door neighbors are foreign countries, there in the state that I am the executive of. And there… 

Couric: Have you ever been involved in any negotiations, for example, with the Russians? 

Palin: We have trade missions back and forth, we do. It's very important when you consider even national security issues with Russia. As Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, where do they go? It's Alaska. It's just right over the border. It is from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right there, they are right next to our state. 

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Saturday, September 20, 2008

Confused, alright!

I don't know who authored this.  I'm about the millionth person to post it, but in case you haven't seen it...


I'm a little confused. Let me see if I have this straight.....

If you grow up in Hawaii , raised by your grandparents, you're "exotic, different."

Grow up in Alaska eating mooseburgers, a quintessential American story.

If your name is Barack you're a radical, unpatriotic Muslim.

Name your kids Willow , Trig and Track, you're a maverick.

Graduate from Harvard law School and you are unstable.

Attend 5 different small colleges before graduating, you're well grounded.

If you spend 3 years as a brilliant community organizer, become the first black President of the Harvard Law Review, create a voter registration drive that registers 150,000 new voters, spend 12 years as a Constitutional Law professor, spend 8 years as a State Senator representing a district with over 750,000 people, become chairman of the state Senate's Health and Human Services committee, spend 4 years in the United States Senate representing a state of 13 million people while sponsoring 131 bills and serving on the Foreign Affairs, Environment and Public Works and Veteran's Affairs committees, you don't have any real leadership experience.

If your total resume is: local weather girl, 4 years on the city council and 6 years as the mayor of a town with less than 7,000 people, 20 months as the governor of a state with only 650,000 people,

then you're qualified to become the country's second highest ranking executive.

If you have been married to the same woman for 19 years while raising 2 beautiful daughters, all within Protestant churches, you're not a real Christian.

If you cheated on your first wife with a rich heiress, and left your disfigured wife and married the heiress the next month, you're a Christian.

If you teach responsible, age appropriate sex education, including the proper use of birth control, you are eroding the fiber of society.

If, while governor, you staunchly advocate abstinence only, with no other option in sex education in your state's school system while your unwed teen daughter ends up pregnant, you're very responsible.

If your wife is a Harvard graduate lawyer who gave up a position in a prestigious law firm to work for the betterment of her inner city community, then gave that up to raise a family, your family's values don't represent America 's.

If you're husband is nicknamed "First Dude", with at least one DWI conviction and no college education, who didn't register to vote until age 25 and once was a member of a group that advocated the secession of Alaska from the USA, your family is extremely admirable.

OK, much clearer now.

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Saturday, September 13, 2008

Not Healthy

from today's New York Times:

Disputed characterizations are not uncommon on the trail. At a campaign stop this week in Missouri, Mr. McCain said that Mr. Obama’s plan would “force small businesses to cut jobs and reduce wages and force families into a government-run health care system where a bureaucrat stands between you and your doctor.” Jonathan B. Oberlander, who teaches health policy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said that Mr. Obama’s plan would not force families into a government-run system. “I would say this is an inaccurate and false characterization of the Obama plan,” he said. “I don’t use those words lightly.”

I have different point than that McCain mischaracterizes Obama's plan:

If you want to understand how out of touch he is, think about your own health insurance. Is there not a bureaucrat standing between you and your doctor now?

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Palin the Doctrinairhead

Bob Herbert nails it in his piece about Palin today. The issue is not her relatively thin resume, per se, it's that there is no evidence she is knowledgeable about most of the issues -- especially regarding foreign policy -- she would have to deal with if she became president. Her interview with Charlie Gibson only proved this.

Ms. Palin’s problem is not that she was mayor of a small town or has only been in the Alaska governor’s office a short while. Her problem (and now ours) is that she is not well versed on the critical matters confronting the country at one of the most crucial turning points in its history.
Some have said it was a "gotcha" when Gibson asked her about the Bush Doctrine, and that there are actually several Bush doctrines. Evidently there are several, but I knew what he was referring to, and in any case, she didn't reply "which one." It was evident she had never heard the term.

We need a lot more of the Powell Doctrine and a lot less of the Bush Doctrine.

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Friday, September 12, 2008

Say Again?

"I have had a strong and a long relationship on national security, I've been involved in every national crisis that this nation has faced since Beirut, I understand the issues, I understand and appreciate the enormity of the challenge we face from radical Islamic extremism. I am prepared. I am prepared. I need no on-the-job training. I wasn't a mayor for a short period of time. I wasn't a governor for a short period of time."

- John McCain, October 2007

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Sarah Palin is a Dog

Hey, don't get mad, she compared herself to one, right?

And need a guide to Winning in the No-Spin Era by Someone Who Knows the Game?

Why, look to former McCain advisor Torie Clarke. And what is the title of her book perchance?

Thanks to Chris Matthews

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Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Must Read Mullet

Swing voters are stupid << Nails it on the subject of people voting for people "just like them."

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Monday, September 08, 2008

Econ 101 for Sarah

The problem with Freddie and Fannie was that they needed more regulation to assure they backed only well-qualified loans. Until now they haven't cost the taxpayer anything and it's not yet certain that they will.

Governor Palin evidently does not understand that Fannie and Freddie are not big, expensive government bureaucracies, but are the source of funding for the majority of mortgages in this country.

So when she says she'll make them smaller, does she intend to have less liquidity so mortgages are harder to get even for qualified borrowers?

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Sunday, September 07, 2008

Small Town Values

The harangue about "small town values" at the Republican convention is offensive and does not ring true.

I've lived in Manhattan and I've lived in Gray, Maine, pop. 5000. In neither place was there a wall of agreement on "values."

Doncha love it that the former mayor of New York makes fun of Obama for being too cosmopolitan. And small town folks grieve over those New Yorkers who died in the World Trade Center while dismissing their friends and families by implying that "real people" are only found in small towns.

's a great take on the subject.

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Monday, September 01, 2008

Palin's Sense of History

I've been wondering if Palin is a woman of substance with whom I happen to disagree, or a true lightweight.

Certainly, the quotes about not thinking much about the Iraq war (2007) and wondering what the vice president does (a month ago) raise questions.

But here she is on the Pledge of Allegiance in 2006:

Q: Are you offended by the phrase "Under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance? Why or why not?

PALIN: Not on your life. If it was good enough for the founding fathers, its good enough for me and I’ll fight in defense of our Pledge of Allegiance

Dear Sarah, the Pledge was written in the late 1800s.

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How's that Abstinence-only Program Working for Ya, Sarah?

Q: Will you support funding for abstinence-until-marriage education instead of for explicit sex-education programs, school-based clinics, and the distribution of contraceptives in schools?

PALIN : Yes, the explicit sex-ed programs will not find my support.

* * *

A spokesman for GOP presidential candidate John McCain tells The Brody File that he, “strongly opposes efforts by the Democratic-controlled Congress to eliminate abstinence-only sex education classes for school-aged children.”
-May 24, 2007

* * *

The 17-year-old daughter of Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is pregnant, Palin said Monday. Bristol Palin, one of Alaska Gov. Palin’s five children with her husband, Todd, is about five months pregnant and is going to keep the child and marry the father, the Palins said in a statement released by the campaign of Republican presidential candidate John McCain.
-Reuters, September 1, 2008

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Hey, Teresa, pay attention!

As a participant in Frank Lutz's focus group, Teresa, a Hillary delegate to the DNC said:

"I always thought he was a moderate...You know, I change my mind almost every day, but right now I"m wondering where the John McCain I really liked in 2000 went, what happened to the moderate?"
HELLO, Teresa! John McCain has always been a conservative, and he's always been upfront about it. He has NEVER been a moderate. Back in 2000, I was one who expressed admiration for him because he seemed like the real deal although I disagreed with him on nearly every issue.

It's time for these Hillary supporters who are uncertain about their vote to ask themselves what they really believe in. It's fine if you're worried about Obama's thin experience. But DO NOT blame him or the media for Clinton's loss. I'm not saying there wasn't sexism in the media coverage, or that there wasn't a level of fawning over Barack. But Clinton sunk her own boat by having a mismanaged, poorly run campaign.

Just as it's not productive to keep talking about Florida in 2000 because Gore would have won anyway if he had only carried his home state, Clinton had such an advantage going in that it's meaningless to talk about how close the primary campaign was. She should have won early and so handily that there would have been no contest by April.

So, Teresa, please try just a bit to get past personalities, and look at what the candidates will do if they get into office. It's all there on their web sites.

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Sunday, August 31, 2008

Something's Fishy...

...about Sarah Palin's infant story.

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That Governor from Montana

Gotta love Brian Schweitzer, a guy who can get people excited about a speech on energy!

In his DNC speech he pointed out that the US uses 25% of the world's oil production and has 3% of its reserves. I know that in time every place that has oil will be drilled; there won't be a gallon left in the ground. But it won't solve our problem.

My favorite quote is in this screenshot:

Here's the full speech. If you don't have 15 minutes, advance to about 13:00 and watch how he energizes the crowd:

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The Veep from Nowhere on the Bridge to Nowhere

August 2006:

"People across the nation struggle with the idea of building a bridge because they’ve been under these misperceptions about the bridge and the purpose," said Palin, who described the link as the Ketchikan area’s potential for expansion and growth. Palin said Alaska’s congressional delegation worked hard to obtain funding for the bridge and that she "would not stand in the way of the progress toward that bridge".
September 2006:
"We need to come to the defense of Southeast Alaska when proposals are on the table like the bridge and not allow the spinmeisters to turn this project or any other into something that’s so negative."
August 2008:
"I championed reform to end the abuses of earmark spending by Congress. 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 ourselves’".

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Not to Worry

Gov. Sarah Palin has as much foreign policy experience as Gov. George W. Bush did in 2000.

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Saturday, August 30, 2008

Palin's Greatest Hits

Oh, and another doozy from Doocy:

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The Wit and Wisdom of Sarah Palin

Do you feel ready to be a heartbeat away from the presidency?
"Absolutely. Yup, yup. Especially with a good team around us."

That's the best she can do?

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Have you thought about foreign policy more than the next Vice President of the United States?

I've been so focused on state government, I haven't really focused much on the war in Iraq. I heard on the news about the new deployments, and while I support our president, Condoleezza Rice and the administration, I want to know that we have an exit plan in place; I want assurances that we are doing all we can to keep our troops safe. Every life lost is such a tragedy. I am very, very proud of the troops we have in Alaska, those fighting overseas for our freedoms, and the families here who are making so many sacrifices.

- Sarah Palin in 2007

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Friday, August 29, 2008

Meet Larry, Darryl and Darryl


DENVER — A group of suspected drug users arrested in Denver this weekend with methamphetamine, guns and bulletproof vests made racist threats against Barack Obama but posed no true danger to the presidential candidate as he accepts the Democratic nomination this week, federal authorities said Tuesday.

The three men — all high on methamphetamine when arrested — are the subject of an assassination investigation but so far, authorities say, it appears that they had no capacity to carry out any attack on Obama.

"The law recognizes a difference between a true threat — one that can be carried out — and the reported racist rantings of a drug addict," U.S. Attorney Troy Eid said.

He said the men's plans were "more aspirational, perhaps, than operational."

An affidavit released by Eid's office Tuesday showed the investigation into alleged threats began with an unnamed female who was with the men — Tharin Gartrell, 28; Shawn Robert Adolf, 33; and Nathan Johnson, 32 — while they were doing drugs in a Denver hotel room last weekend.

The woman told police that the men were calling Obama the N-word and saying he shouldn't live in the White House.

"A bunch of meth heads get together, we don't know why they do what they do. … People do lots of stupid things on meth," Eid said.

Johnson told a Denver TV station that others involved in the case had made racist statements regarding Obama and had discussed killing him Thursday, the day of his acceptance speech at Invesco Field at Mile High.

"He don't belong in political office. Blacks don't belong in political office. He ought to be shot," Johnson told KCNC-TV Monday in an interview from jail.

Gartrell was arrested after police east of Denver stopped a truck swerving erratically around 1:30 a.m. Sunday. He had a suspended driver's license and the truck was rented in the name of another person, said Aurora police Detective Marcus Dudley.

Aurora police Lt. Bob Stef said police saw two scoped rifles, two wigs, camouflage clothing, a bulletproof vest and two walkie-talkies in the truck. A search also revealed 4.4 grams of what police believed to be methamphetamine and three IDs in other people's names, Stef said.

Johnson and Adolf were arrested in area hotel rooms after interviews with Gartrell. Adolf jumped out a sixth-story window when police arrived Sunday. He broke his ankle in the fall.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Been waiting for Barack to call McCain on his inference that Obama is a traitor...

"These are the judgments I've made and the policies that we have to debate, because we do have differences in this election. One of the things that we have to change in this country is the idea that people can't disagree without challenging each other's character and patriotism. I have never suggested that Sen. McCain picks his positions on national security based on politics or personal ambition. I have not suggested it because I believe that he genuinely wants to serve America's national interest. Now, it's time for him to acknowledge that I want to do the same. Let me be clear: I will let no one question my love of this country."

- Barack Obama

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Friday, July 04, 2008

Remembering Jesse Helms

As Mrs. Mxyzptlk said, "Good riddance to bad trash!"

(he finally did)

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Saturday, April 19, 2008

“How can I vote for a president who won’t wear a flag pin?” asks Nash McCabe

Nash, you're out of luck. Here are pics grabbed today from the Clinton and McCain web sites:

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Saturday, April 05, 2008