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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