Sunday, August 31, 2008

A growing meme?

From a reader to Sullivan:
... the elation on the right regarding Palin's nomination made clear to me that none of them has ever been remotely serious about national security, either. On the contrary, as the left has insisted for years, for [the right] it really has all been about political advantage, noise and bluster and ugliness with no core of principle, no genuine strategic commitment.
I've also encountered that sentiment in a flurry of blog posts (sorry, can't find them at the moment). But basically, it's that the War on Terrorism is mostly about keeping Republicans in office. This goes from the color-coded terror warnings issued in 2004 - and discarded shortly thereafter! - to the present day "security theater" at airports. (And as this blog has pointed out, terrorism is not an existential threat to the nation.)

In any event, the Palin pick has caused observers to note again ,that in many ways, when it comes to actual national security (e.g. recruiting Arabic speaking linguists) Republicans are often found wanting. But they sure do like them charges that Democrats are wusses when it comes to fighting terrorism.


Are you authentic?

Gingrich on Palin:
The great threat to the Obama-Biden ticket can be captured in one word: authenticity.

There is something unaffected and "unsophisticated" (in the Columbia, Princeton, Harvard and University of Chicago meanings of the word) about Governor Palin. She really was point guard of a state championship basketball team. She really is a competent hunter. She is a hockey mom. She has one son about to go to Iraq. ...

This is a moment of stunning authenticity versus a sad collapse on the part of the Obama campaign from " change you can count on" to politics as usual ...
Gingrich is trying to make a virtue out of ordinariness. If that's so, why not just pick a name out of a hat?

As an argument, it's not going to work.


Saturday, August 30, 2008

Two voices, one thought:

Andrew Sullivan (30 Aug 2008 12:32 pm):
I would not be surprised if she is not the veep finally on the ticket. We'll see.
Josh Marshall ( 08.30.08 -- 11:57PM):
Personally, I don't see it developing that way.


Strange newsphoto:

The shoes of Republican presidential candidate Senator John McCain (L) and his vice presidential running mate Alaska Governor Sarah Palin are shown as they stand at a campaign event in Dayton, Ohio August 29, 2008.
(John Gress/Reuters)
Why did they release it?


Sarah Palin reminds me of Ashleigh Banfield:

Could be the glasses. Or maybe it's got something to do with coming from north of the 49th parallel. Or because they're about the same age (SP 1964, AB 1967).

No, it's the glasses.


Jonah Goldberg on Palin's speaking style:

The way she talks. She has something of a native Alaskan's accent/speaking style. When I heard her speak last month, I was stunned by how parochial she sounds, not substantively, but stylistically. She refers to herself not as a mom or mother but as a "mama." If she's the pick —and it sounds like she— I think this could be both an advantage and disadvantage. The disadvantage is that the press will make fun of her for it. The folks at Slate and New York magazine will titter at the rube from the provinces. Look at what sophisticated talkers Biden and Obama are compared to this bumpkin! (You'll get a similar but more shrill line of argument from feminists who will immediately claim she's not a real woman for whatever b.s. reason). This in turn could be a great advantage for her and the ticket because she'll play well in Peoria as an authentic American woman (and man, oh, man will the Nascar crowd love her husband). The cosmopolitanism of the Democratic ticket will stand out in even starker relief. But remember: at the end of the day all of the scorn and ridicule visited upon Bush for his cowboyish way of talking probably helped him.


In priase of Joe Lieberman:

This is what appears to be the story:
Over the last couple of years, Lieberman and McCain have grown increasingly close. So close, that McCain really wanted Joe as his vice-presidential running mate and as a result, McCain didn't really explore the field of potential partners. When the time for decision rolled around, McCain was forced to realize that a Lieberman pick wouldn't have worked - because the right wing would have bolted.

McCain was stuck. Denied Lieberman, McCain had to scramble and ended up chosing someone, Sarah Palin, whom he'd only met once earlier.
That "met only once" meme is devastating.

Thanks, Joe!


Who would Sarah Palin put on the Supreme Court?

Forget the debate about Sarah Palin's foregn policy / national security experience. It's important, but to a certain degree there is an establishment that can help with that (Pentagon, State Dept.) which provides a sort of base of opinion, and therefore some reassurance.

But remember, this election could determine up to 3 Supreme Court seats. A Supreme Court choice is much more the personal purview of the president. "Who would Sarah Palin put on the Supreme Court?" is a question that really gets you thinking.


Conflicting messages:

Reactions to the Sarah Palin pick:

... every Hillary Clinton supporter should take note -- they have an opportunity to reject a disappointing betrayal of their hopes and vote for real reform and real opportunity for women.
She was not chosen for her gender.


Friday, August 29, 2008

Sarah Palin pick = gimmick:

Andrew Sullivan:
... this struck me as a desperate and possibly disastrous ploy for the McCain campaign, a self-evident gimmick, driven by the demands of campaigning, not the duty of governing."
Anonymous Liberal:
... I have a feeling this pick may come across as very "gimmicky" to a lot voters.
Charles Homans (at the Washington Monthly):
... the Palin choice does have a gimmicky quality to it ...
This is a gimmick -- a pure political gimmick.
Chuck Todd:
This could look like a gimmick.       It's gimmicky, and the gimmick could wear out."
And other commentators 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

1. an ingenious or novel device, scheme, or stratagem, esp. one designed to attract attention or increase appeal.


Sarah Palin on teaching Creationism:

From this (via this via this):
'Creation science' enters the race

GOVERNOR: Palin is only candidate to suggest it should be discussed in schools.

Anchorage Daily News

Published: October 27, 2006
Last Modified: October 30, 2006 at 09:40 AM

The volatile issue of teaching creation science in public schools popped up in the Alaska governor's race this week when Republican Sarah Palin said she thinks creationism should be taught alongside evolution in the state's public classrooms.

Palin was answering a question from the moderator near the conclusion of Wednesday night's televised debate on KAKM Channel 7 when she said, "Teach both. You know, don't be afraid of information. Healthy debate is so important, and it's so valuable in our schools. I am a proponent of teaching both." ...

In an interview Thursday, Palin said she meant only to say that discussion of alternative views should be allowed to arise in Alaska classrooms:

"I don't think there should be a prohibition against debate if it comes up in class. It doesn't have to be part of the curriculum."

She added that, if elected, she would not push the state Board of Education to add such creation-based alternatives to the state's required curriculum.



Sarah Palin has been governor of Alaska for 21 months (assumed office December 4, 2006). Before that, she was mayor of Wasilla (population 5,470 in 2000).

Yet here is Kathryn Jean Lopez at NRO's The Corner:
The fact is that Governor Palin is more qualified to be President than Obama, based simply on her record v. his ...


Question of the day:

Would John McCain enter Sarah Palin in a Miss Buffalo Chip contest?


Thursday, August 28, 2008

Dear John McCain,

Please pick Joe Lieberman to be your running mate.


Karl Rove's status:

Today we read:
Republican strategist Karl Rove called Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) late last week and urged him to contact John McCain to withdraw his name from vice presidential consideration, according to three sources familiar with the conversation.
But isn't he supposed to be some sort of objective analyst over at Fox News Channel? Even if his anti-Democratic partisan tilt is accounted for, here he's meddling within the Republican party, in this case for McCain.


A growing meme:
"If Obama loses" - which, as this blog thinks, may happen due to an unwillingness of Americans to vote for a black man.


McCain sez Americans won't do hard work for $50/hour:

Which is $100,000 a year.

Earlier this year there were posts on various blogs about how John McCain said to a bunch of union guys* that US workers weren't inclined to do hard work - like picking lettuce in Yuma, AZ - even for $50 an hour. But where was the audio or video? It didn't seem to exist.

Until now. Someone found it and has it at Kos. The clip needs a little better contextual framing, but it should be in everybody's face up to election day.

* Building and Construction Trades Department - AFL-CIO (BCTD). Specifically, appears to be the Building Trades 2006 Legislative Conference, but that doesn't have McCain listed on the schedule, so this needs to be nailed down.


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Robert J. Samuelson, comedian:

Writes in the Washington Post:
Last week, I viewed "I.O.U.S.A.," an 87-minute documentary exploring the grim budget outlook. In many ways, unbalanced budgets define the political deadlock. The persistence of deficits over so many years (42 of the past 47) can have only one basic cause: Politicians of both parties prefer spending to taxing. As everyone knows, the disconnect will worsen, because aging baby boomers will bloat outlays for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. These programs already total nearly two-fifths of the $2.9 trillion federal spending in 2008. ...

Over the years, I've suggested changes to minimize these dangers. Eligibility ages for Social Security and Medicare should gradually rise to 70; people now live longer and should work longer.
Increases in productivity have, and will continue to, outpace increasing lifespans. That means greater national wealth (GDP) going forward, and the payroll taxes on that will cover Social Security. Also, Social Security is its own program with its own bonds that have to be honored.

Has Samuelson ever blown the whistle on the deceptive Unified Budget, as opposed to the more relevant General Fund Deficit? The Unified Budget hid the costs of Bush's tax cuts and the Iraq War.

Also, no mention by Samuelson about the military/"homeland security" budget, which is way too big.

Samuelson's op-ed is, yet again, another Social Security bashing that Dean Baker frequently calls out.


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Dark thought:

The more it looks as if Obama will lose in November, and it is as the racism element is gaining currency, the more vigorous Hillary Clinton will campaign for him.


Monday, August 25, 2008

Those presidental ads:

Most recently, there has been a consistent pattern for each of the campaigns:
  • Obama ads begin with "I'm Barack Obama, and I approve this message".

  • McCain ads ends with "I'm John McCain and I approve this message".
If menory serves, in the past (e.g. 2004) ads usually ended with that line. Is there an advantage to putting it at the beginning? Putting it at the beginning does two things:
Gets some people to "sit up and take notice", as it signals a political ad is next.

Allows the ad to unfold and make its case, the with last "punchline" lingering in the mind.
I suppose that there could be a further refinement on this. End a positive ad with "I'm candidate X, and I approve this message" but begin a negative ad with that line.

There has got to be a preferred positioning of the candidate "approve" statement. But what is it?


Sunday, August 24, 2008

Forms of criticism:

From Politico: (excerpts, emp add)
How Dems grew to hate the 'liberal media'

Gone are the days when only the right howled about bias and malice from network anchors and star political reporters. What began roughly a decade ago as frustration from Democrats over coverage of President Bill Clinton’s impeachment and adulterous escapades has morphed into an informally organized rapid response network, ready to pounce on any and all perceived media slights ...

Criticism from the left can take a variety of forms, including fact-checking, aggregating links and sometimes original reporting. ...

For instance, the liberal blogosphere became inflamed by Milbank’s July 30 column in which he wrote that Obama was shifting from “presumptive nominee” to “presumptuous nominee.” In that article, Milbank quoted Obama as saying in a meeting with House members that he had “become a symbol of the possibility of America returning to our best traditions.” The following day, additional context was revealed, indicating that Obama might actually have been speaking more humbly.
That the press faces criticism in the form of "fact checking" tells you all you need to know about how miserable journalism has become.


Saturday, August 23, 2008

Bill Kristol, concern troll: (emp add)
So Hillary Clinton gets about 18 million votes in 2008, and isn’t even considered for–she apparently isn’t even given the courtesy of being consulted–the vice presidential pick. Joe Biden manages to persuade a few thousand (if that) Iowans to support him. And Barack Obama selects Biden? Normally, if the VP pick came from that year’s presidential field, it’s the runner-up (Kerry-Edwards in 2004, Reagan-Bush in 1980, Stevenson-Kefauver in 1952). (Lyndon Johnson in 1960 hadn’t entered the primaries.) And Biden wasn’t even the third most successful candidate this year (hi, John Edwards!), or fourth (Bill Richardson, I suppose), or fifth (Dennis Kucinich!)

What’s more, Biden and Hillary have basically comparable foreign policy “experience” (such as it is in either case). Nor is Biden clearly more knowledgeable in foreign affairs than Hillary. And they have pretty similar foreign policy views. So no advantage to Biden there. And, unlike Jack Reed, for example, Biden didn’t serve in the military. So no advantage over Hillary there. Nor does he outshine her in executive experience (unlike Evan Bayh or Tim Kaine or Kathleen Sebelius)--neither Biden nor Hillary has any.

Also, if the VP is supposed to handle the Democrats’ populist economic message: after the last few months of the primary campaign, it would be hard to say Hillary hasn’t proven herself an awfully good carrier of that message. And Hillary can perform the attacking functions of the VP nominee as well as Biden.

Will the Democratic party, which is committed (to say the least) to gender equity, and which in fact has a 50 percent quota for female delegates, accept Obama’s imposition of a glass ceiling at its convention?

A modest suggestion to my justifiably outraged Democratic friends: Hillary’s name should be placed in nomination not for the presidency (Obama won that more or less fair and square)–but for the vice presidency. It would be an interesting roll call vote.
Yes, that's great advice for the Denver convention. Thanks, Bill!

... The Hill published an op-ed piece titled "Dems: Ignore 'Concern Trolls'" [who] were Republicans offering public advice and warnings to the Democrats. The author defines "concern trolling" as "offering a poisoned apple in the form of advice to political opponents that, if taken, would harm the recipient.




Biden's reputation as a motormouth:

May help him should he commit a gaffe during the campaign. It'll be, "There goes Joe again. Nothing to get excited about". (Yes, the Republicans will try to make hay of it, but perhaps the press will be disinclined to get involved.)

UPDATE: David Brody (CBN):
Biden has what we call “foot in mouth” disease and let’s be honest here. He’s going to commit some gaffes before November. The over/under number is probably five. He’s probably good for at least five gaffes before Election day.


Friday, August 22, 2008

The missing element in the Obama campaign:

Yes, McCain blundered when he said he didn't know how many houses he has. And the Obama campaign swiftly followed-up with charges that McCain is "out of touch" with the economic realities that most American's face.

But being "out of touch" isn't, in itself, the worst thing in the world. What the Obama campain should be saying is:
And that's why McCain:
  • Voted against raising the minimum wage.
  • Proposes to give more tax breaks to the wealthy than to the middle class.
  • Thinks that transferring health care from your employer to you is not going to stress your budget.
  • Is willing to take chances with Social Security.
McCain's super-wealth should be connected to policies McCain has voted for or is proposing, which are just fine for millionaires, but not for the rest of us.

So far, Obama has mostly discussed the words McCain (or Phil Gramm) have used. But it's necessary to make the point (and inplicitly defend against charges from the right that Obama - and FDR other Democrats - are "just as rich") that McCain's situation is connected to his economic policies.


Thursday, August 21, 2008


Here we go ...

Judging from the Republican response so far to McCain's "house gaffe", and listening to right wing radio promoting the Obama-is-in-love-with-terrorists (William Ayers + 9/11 reference!) meme, this presidential election campaign may well end up being be the most vicious you've ever seen.


The insinuation that John McCain, a former prisoner of war, would not know how many homes he has, is outrageous.
C'mon, Steve Schmidt, say it!


Number 1 and 3 at Yahoo:



In a Los Angeles Times story about McCain and Obama's tax plans, there is this graphic:
Even though (for the most part), Obama's plan raises taxes starting at an income of $250,000 - which is the upper 5% or so, the Times presents a figure for the wealthiest 20% (which includes the top 1%) and, when all the algebra is done, makes it look as if a household with an income of $120,000 is going to see a tax hike.

That's what using quintiles will do. But it's misleading. The Times should have, as much as possible, shown how the plans would work out, using the brackets that McCain and Obama's plan use.

All that averaging does is make it look like Obama's plan is tougher on the middle class (if we can use that word) than it really is.


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

American individualism:

At the WSJ blog, we read:
Take your gun to school: The AP is reporting that trustees of the Harrold Independent School District, a tiny Texas school district, may be the first in the nation to allow teachers and staff to pack guns for protection.

Superintendent David Thweatt said the small community is a 30-minute drive from the sheriff’s office, leaving students and teachers without protection. He said the district’s lone campus sits 500 feet from heavily trafficked U.S. 287, which could make it a target. “When the federal government started making schools gun-free zones, that’s when all of these shootings started. Why would you put it out there that a group of people can’t defend themselves? That’s like saying ’sic ‘em’ to a dog,” Thweatt reportedly said.

“Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition!” Back in Georgia, the AJC reported earlier this week, a day after Judge Shoob’s airport ruling state lawmakers began looking into making it legal for people with firearms-carry licenses to take their guns to church.

“I personally feel there are a lot of restrictions that should not be there,” said Senate Majority Whip Mitch Seabaugh, chairman of a Senate committee that began studying the state’s gun laws Tuesday. “People who get these [carry] permits are extremely law-abiding citizens,” Seabaugh said. “Those who have no regard for the law are carrying guns anyway.”
And in a comment (that appears to be genuine):
I couldn’t have said it any better.

“People who get these [carry] permits are extremely law-abiding citizens. Those who have no regard for the law are carrying guns anyway.”

My wife and I have both concealed carry permits in Texas and are both extremely law abiding. Not even a speeding ticket.

I hope/prey that I will never that have to use it, BUT it gives us great comfort knowing that we can take of ourselves.

As much as some try to deny it, there is evil out in this world. When & if it enters your world, you want to be able to defend your family.
Comment by Steve from Dallas - August 15, 2008 at 12:29 pm
Evil is out in this world. Seeking comfort. Don't trust the authorities. A gun will solve that problem.

These are people who feel isolated from the community they live in. Not only that, but they don't believe that the existing law enforcement agencies are able to protect them. As a result, they arm themselves. If someone is that removed from the community and its governance, then it's not surprising that they don't care for lesser programs (which often involve taxes and spending).

Speaking of disdain for the whole idea of working together, remember this?
The [New England Patriots} came out for the Super Bowl as a group, despite individual introductions, causing Rush Limbaugh to complain, "working together for the greater good is so close to 'the communist manifesto,' it's frightening."
To a large extent, this is fear-driven individualism. The press is a big factor - with sensationalistic reporting that magnifies the perception of crime or in touting the latest pseudo-terrorism threat. This fear reinforces itself and manifests itself in support for Republicans (screw government but fight! fight! fight!).


Preparing for the next presidential election:

Bill Clinton:
Former President Bill Clinton on Monday praised Senator Barack Obama's energy policy at the opening of the National Clean Energy Summit in Las Vegas.

But Mr. Clinton also lauded Mr. Obama's rival, Senator John McCain, and said that either candidate would be progressive on the issue of climate change.

"Obviously, I favor Senator Obama's energy positions, and Democrats have been by and large the more forward-leaning actors," Mr. Clinton said. "But John McCain has the best record of any Republican running for president on the energy issue and on climate change." He added, "I'm very encouraged about where the presidential rhetoric is in this campaign."

What former president says nice things about the other party's nominee in a likely-to-be-close presidential election?

There is no way a Democrat could be encouraged by McCain's stance on energy - at least according to the precepts of the party's position: move away from carbon-based sources, encourage renewables, eliminate tax breaks for Big Oil).

Don't kid yourselves. Bill is willing to sacrifice a Democratic win in November - and all that goes with it (Supreme Court nominees, federal agency repair, economic and foreign policy) to give Hillary another chance for the White House.

Before the Democratic nomination was wrapped up there was a (barely) plausible explanation for Bill's antics - he wanted to help Hillary win the '08 nomination. Now, with the candidate settled, any positive statements about McCain by Bill Clinton will be cheerfully trumpeted by the Republicans (and, since it's quasi-bipartisan, David Broder will swoon). Clinton is hurting Obama's chances.

UPDATE: McCain's record on energy/environment here. It's not pretty.


Holding a convension first is a disadvantage:

Democratic National Convention July 26 - July 29
Republican National Convention August 30 - September 2
Democratic National Convention August 25 - August 28
Republican National Convention September 1 - September 4
Holding a convention second allows for, among other things, picking a Vice Presidential candidate that can effectively parry that selected at the first convention. It also tends to replace the story of the first convention, and that "message" can last several weeks - which is politically useful late-breaking momentum.


Rick Warren probably worked on's new email:
Why in the world did they release such a buggy product?

I have an email account for minor stuff (e.g. when you have to enter an email at various places; for a craigslist account) in order to keep my "main" email clear of junk. But there is a problem with loading a js module on:

Windows 98
Windows 2000
Windows XP

using either IE or Firefox.

But it does load on a 4th machine, a Windows 98 box using IE (Firefox fails). Weird.

some messages are missing the "To" and "Subject" fields - !!

And who is BlueTie? Didn't the geeks there test before rolling out the product? Amazing that it doesn't work on Macs with Safari or Opera.

This is very reminiscent of Yahoo!'s "upgrade" of their television listings, which was a disaster.

RANTS BY OTHERS: 1 2 3 4 5

Apparently, this has been a problem for a month, starting in early July. Amazing.

ALSO: A semi-techie report.

FINALLY: The fact that it's still not resolved after six weeks makes me think that it's all over for - because email is a huge magnet for traffic. BlueTie may very well have killed an Internet portal with a software release. Quite an accomplishment.


Monday, August 18, 2008

Fill in the blank:
The insinuation that John McCain, a former prisoner of war, would [                                   ] is outrageous.
Put any charge in there and - poof! - McCain is exonerated.


Sunday, August 17, 2008 got the Rick Warren con-fab totally wrong:

Mike Madden, writing about the McCain/Obama get together at Saddleback Church:
... once Warren walked in wearing jeans and an untucked striped shirt, even someone who knew nothing about him would have recognized that he wasn't trying to be the next Jerry Falwell.
What's that supposed to mean? Apparently Madden never saw Falwell in "causal mode" on television from the Thomas Road Baptist Church (if memory serves, there was a barn as a backdrop). Falewll was often seen in easy-fitting pants with suspenders and a gaudy striped shirt.

Madden continues:
[Warren's] spiritual guidance didn't push any social conservative buttons. "Here's what I want you to do, between now and election," he told the church. "Don't just look at issues, look at character. Issues are important, but you also have to look at character." He set a bar that certainly didn't seem like it aimed to disqualify either side -- pick a candidate who's got integrity, humility and generosity.
Republicans love to change the focus from issues to character. Hey, McCain was stoic while a POW, so his character is sterling - just ask Richard Cohen!

Warrn is not a progressive Christian. He doesn't believe in evolution. And there's this: (via Madden)
Warren did say, though, he couldn't vote for an atheist. "An atheist says, 'I don't need God,'" Warren said. "They're saying, 'I'm totally self-sufficient in myself,' and nobody's self-sufficient enough to be president -- it's too big a job."
Besides Warren't bigotry towards atheists, he's saying that people can be self-sufficient with God, but exactly what does that mean? That a president can't do the job without spiritual guidance? That's very anti-Enlightenment - a trend, by the way, that's gethering steam in the United States.


Solving McCain's dilemma:

Some of the richest people I’ve ever known in my life are the most unhappy.
The Democrats can help with that!

Seriously though, the "some rich are unhappy" is a line designed to make it seem like they are struggling just like everybody else. They are not. Money can buy happiness and it certainly can help avoid unhappiness.


Two out of three:

The Washington Post's national security editor, Carlos Lozada, has a short entry where he says that maybe Bush won't be viewed as a terrible president. That history will judge him "more gently than many of his critics might imagine".

He cites three people's views on Bush. That of:
  • Fareed Zakaria (was in the neocon camp, but then changed to a mixed view of the Iraq War and other issues)
  • David Frum "the next Republican president can expect to hear from pundits and academics alike that he falls far short of the high standard set by [Bush]"
  • Robert Kagan "the war on terror has been by far Bush's greatest success"*
How about that? Frum and Kagan say Bush is actually a pretty good president!

* Kagan is jazzed because the unique and irreproducable 9/11 attack by people with zero military resources wasn't duplicated after security vulnerabilities were addressed (securing cockpit doors).


Friday, August 15, 2008

McCain and Obama to meet with Rick Warren:

Don't forget this: (April 2007)
WARREN: If you're asking me do I believe in evolution, the answer is no, I don't. I believe that God, at a moment, created man. I do believe Genesis is literal, but I do also know metaphorical terms are used. Did God come down and blow in man's nose? If you believe in God, you don't have a problem accepting miracles. So if God wants to do it that way, it's fine with me.


What is to be done?

In Eugene Robinson's op-ed that's critical of Jerome Corsi's latest book, he writes:
The Obama campaign faces a classic dilemma. If smear attacks are left unanswered, voters can get the impression that the lies are true. But there's no way to respond without giving the falsehoods wider circulation.
But why are there "smear attacks" out there to deal with? It's because Corsi is being promoted on right-wing radio and Fox News Channel (Hannity has been vociferous in praising Obama Nation).

According to Robinson, if there is an organized effort to promote falsehoods - and there is - then no matter what you do, those falsehoods get wide (or wider) circulation.

If that's true, and if censorship is not allowed, then the only way a politician or political party can effectively fight back is to launch falsehoods as well.


Washington Post bullshit:

In an editorial that complains that complains in a round-a-bout way that crackdowns on businesses employing illegal aliens is "misguided", we read: (emp add)
Despite the economic dip, there is still demand for unskilled labor that native-born Americans cannot supply. That demand will perk up when the economy does. The number of visas available for unskilled workers -- 66,000 per year -- is laughably inadequate. ...

A practical approach would acknowledge both the demand for unskilled labor and the fact that 5 percent of the American workforce consists of undocumented workers.
This "demand" that the Post is so concerned about is a "demand" by businesses, not the country as a whole. And how about this laugh-line:
there is still demand for unskilled labor that native-born Americans cannot supply
Why can't native-born Americans meet the demand for unskilled labor? It's not because of a skills gap! It's because wages would have to go up to get people to do those jobs, and that's something the Post is uninterested in.

And the Post is pretty much on board with the idea of borderless labor markets:
[The US should] raise the quota of temporary employment visas, establish a better system for employers to verify the legal status of job applicants and offer undocumented workers a way to register themselves and eventually earn citizenship. Critics will howl about an amnesty, but realists will see it is the way to address the reality of immigration and labor in a globalized marketplace.
Domestic labor in a Post-sanctioned globalized marketplace would suffer tremendously.


Thursday, August 14, 2008

More please:

Josh Marshall likes a recent Obama ad that goes after McCain. It's crisp. In particular, this screen grap shows how to cut through the clutter of wonk-speak:


Barry Ritholtz on the inflation news:

Love it: (emp add)
Wow! Big pop in inflation last month: July CPI rose 0.8% headline, 2X consensus expectations as food, energy, airline fares and -- of all things, clothing apparel -- rose in price.

The meaningless core rate rose 0.3%, 0.1% more than expected. Year over year price increases are 5.6% -- the biggest monthly gain since gains January 1991.


Shorter David Broder:
Let me tell you some political stories about events that took place 36 to 116 years ago.


Wednesday, August 13, 2008


From the NYTimes report on Corsi's anti-Obama book:
[In writing about] Mr. Obama’s denials that he had been present for the more incendiary sermons of his former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., Mr. Corsi cites a report on the conservative Web site that Mr. Obama had attended a sermon on July 22, 2007, in which Mr. Wright blamed “the ‘white arrogance’ of America’s Caucasian majority for the world’s suffering, especially the oppression of blacks.”

Mr. Obama, however, was giving a speech in Florida that afternoon, and his campaign reported he had not attended Mr. Wright’s church that day.

William Kristol, a columnist for The New York Times, had cited the same report in a column, and issued a correction. “There is a dispute about the date, and Kristol chose to side with Obama,” Mr. Corsi said. “We can nitpick the date to death,” he added, saying his “fundamental point” was Mr. Obama’s close association with someone ascribing to “black liberation theology.”

Mr. Corsi described most of the critiques of his book as “nitpicking,” ...
From the movie This is Spinal Tap:
[reading a review of an album] Marty DiBergi: "This tasteless cover is a good indication of the lack of musical invention within. The musical growth of this band cannot even be charted. They are treading water in a sea of retarded sexuality and bad poetry."

Nigel Tufnel: That's just nitpicking, isn't it?


Data point:

From the WaPo's Mukasey Confirmed As Attorney General (November 9, 2007):
The Senate confirmed retired judge Michael Mukasey as attorney general Thursday night to replace Alberto Gonzales, who was forced from office in a scandal over his handling of the Justice Department. ...

... Mukasey was confirmed as the nation's 81st attorney general by a 53-40 vote. Six Democrats and one independent joined Republicans in sealing his confirmation.

The choice, according to one of those Democrats, was essentially between "whether to confirm Michael Mukasey as the next attorney general or whether to leave the Department of Justice without a real leader for the next 14 months," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California.

"This is the only chance we have," she said, referring to Bush's threat to appoint an acting attorney general not subject to Senate confirmation. ...

Besides Schumer and Feinstein, Democrats voting to confirm Mukasey were: Sens. Evan Bayh of Indiana, Tom Carper of Delaware, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Ben Nelson of Nebraska. Of the Senate's two independents, Joe Lieberman of Connecticut voted for confirmation and Bernie Sanders of Vermont voted against.
Dianne Feinstein is the Cokie Roberts of the Senate.


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Republicans for Obama is excellent news for McCain:

At the Corner:
From a McCain insider, on the new "Republicans for Obama" organization unveiled today:
Barack Obama is a very liberal candidate that isn't even locking down conservative Democrats after his primary, so this is essentially a process exercise for the Obama campaign that exposes more vulnerabilities than strengths.
Found it at Martini Revolution.



Attorney General (!) Mukasey:
... not every wrong, or even every violation of the law, is a crime.
In other words,
It's not a crime if you are Republican.
A variant of IOKIYAR.


Monday, August 11, 2008

Myrtle Beach:

Located in South Carolina, the first state to secede from the Union. It's the resort town where Cokie Roberts thinks Obama should go for a vacation, presumably to show all those white folks that he's not foreign (or exotic, or something).


Olympics bleg:

If you watch the swimming events, just prior to the electronic klaxon (which starts the race) there is a human voice saying something. It's often hard to hear since the television commentators are usually speaking at the same time. But what is being said, and in what language?

It appears to be a two or three word phrase ending in something that sounds like "mark" (e.g. "on your mark"). Can it be that English is the lingua franca for the athletes in Beijing?


The wisdom of Cokie Roberts:

On Sunday Cokie Roberts said that Obama taking a vacation in Hawaii was politically unwise because it has the look of "some sort of foreign exotic place".

Which gives this blog an excuse to repeat a favorite post from May of last year, where she and her husband offered advice for Democrats:
Cokie and Steven Roberts on trade policy:

You're gonna love this: (excerpts, emp add)
Labor taking the wrong view on trade

In today's dynamic global economy, change has to be embraced, not rejected. That's why Democratic leaders cannot afford to listen to the labor movement as the country approaches a major debate over trade policy.

... Democratic leaders have to stand up to their old friends in the labor movement and tell them the truth: trade is vital to American prosperity and security, and you don't get a veto here.

As ardent free traders, we have long been skeptical of including labor and environmental rules in trade deals. They smacked too much of protectionism, and seemed to have one aim: Raising costs for foreign firms and making their products less competitive in the world market.

Freer trade is good for American businesses, American workers and American consumers.

... all the fear mongering about globalization destroying the American economy - heard frequently from Democratic candidates last fall - is wrong. In fact, the opposite is true.

[a] point that labor leaders never mention: their members, like all American consumers, can buy more goods more cheaply, from sweaters to softballs, when they are made abroad.

... do trade deals "sell out American workers"? Absolutely not. But there are losers as well as winners, and any free trader must also support better education, smarter midcareer training and more generous benefits for workers who do lose their jobs to international competition.

However, those losers, and their labor bosses, should not be allowed to dictate trade policy.
How about that (now discredited) line about getting a better education and midcareer training? That'll solve the problem for sure.

On just a purely political level, the Roberts' advice is poison for Democrats. Diss the labor faction? You've gotta be kidding.
Cokie called for Democrats to shun labor, calling them "losers". And asserts that she has "long been skeptical of including labor and environmental rules in trade deals", which, taken to the limit, means trading with countries using slave labor.

But hey, consumers can purchase cheaper softballs.


Sunday, August 10, 2008


The Washington Post has an editorial about two foreign nationals on death row in Texas. The editorial is titled: Texas's Disdain.

And refers to "Texas's death row".

According to the Texas Legislative Council Drafting Manual, that's incorrect. For possessives:
To form the possessive case of a singular noun that ends in "s," add an apostrophe and an "s" to the word. If a sibilant occurs before the final syllable, adding an apostrophe and an "s" would make the word awkward to pronounce. To avoid a triple sibilant in pronouncing the possessive form, add only an apostrophe:
the alumnus's books

the witness's answer

Texas' wildlife

Moses' guidance
Get with it, Washington Post!


Saturday, August 09, 2008

What a pain:

Ben Smith of Politico: (emp add)
When the North Caucasus slid into war Thursday night, it presented John McCain and Barack Obama with a true “3 a.m. moment,” and their responses to the crisis suggested dramatic differences in how each candidate, as president, would lead America in moments of international crisis.

While Obama offered a response largely in line with statements issued by democratically elected world leaders, including President Bush, first calling on both sides to negotiate, John McCain took a remarkably — and uniquely — more aggressive stance, siding clearly with Georgia’s pro-Western leaders and placing the blame for the conflict entirely on Russia. ...

Obama’s statement put him in line with the White House, the European Union, NATO and a series of European powers, while McCain’s initial statement — which he delivered in Iowa and ran on a blog on his Web site under the title “McCain Statement on Russian Invasion of Georgia” — put him more closely in line with the moral clarity and American exceptionalism projected by President Bush’s first term.
McCain campaign: (emp add)
The reaction of the Obama campaign to this crisis, so at odds with our democratic allies and yet so bizarrely in sync with Moscow, doesn't merely raise questions about Senator Obama's judgment--it answers them.


Edwards is a turd:

What a moron. He didn't cheat on his wife with a younger woman who was fabulously wealthy. Merely a younger woman. That shows a lack of judgment that clearly disqualifies him for high office.


Olympic plans:
  • Only tune in for basketball, softball, beach volleyball, and tennis.
  • Turn off television when U.S. atheletes are not present.
  • Purchase, or at least seriously consider, all products advertized.
  • Complain regularly that not all signs at the Olympics are in English.
  • Shout out "Yeah, you're the man!" whenever president Bush and his lovely wife Laura are shown in the stands.
That should do it.

VIEWING TIP: Check the Internet for early results (NBC is on tape delay). Then, only watch the events where Americans* win. USA! USA!

UPDATE: That Bob Costas fellow is saying lots of nice things about athletes from other countries. Homeland Security should confiscate his laptop when he returns.

* because the Unites States is superior to all nations, it owns the adjective "Americans" even though technically, "America" is a word that refers to two continents.


Friday, August 08, 2008

Edwards. Bad.


It works:

Stumped, at the Washington Post writes: (emp add)
A good example is the McCain's camp recent charge that Barack Obama skipped a visit to wounded American troops in Germany because he didn't want to go without a large media entourage. The facts don't back up the charge -- on this there is near unanimity among those who have looked closely at the facts -- but it hardly matters, sadly. If McCain and his surrogates make the charge enough times, people will buy it, and much of the media doesn't do a good enough job of calling the candidate on it.


John McCain's desktop:


Wednesday, August 06, 2008


McCain this Wednesday:
"What we need today is an Economic Surge to keep jobs here at home and create new ones."
What we need is a Chastity Surge to keep teenage pregnancy rates down.
The next day:
What we need is a Tax Cut Surge to help 23 million small businesses.
The day after that:
What we need is an Optimism Surge to stop this nation from experiencing a mental recession.
Until it reaches an apotheosis of:
What we need is a "Surge" Surge to insure that this nation is surging towards total surginess.


Pressure shark McCain gauge John tires the jumped:

That's all I gotta say.


Republican message: Obama is unpatriotic

In case the McCain campaign's theme, "Country First," was too subtle, the Republican National Committee just sent out a fundraising pitch called "Good for America--or Good for Obama?" Here are the highlights:
It seems the Democrats’ would-be president of the United States of America really believes that the rest of the world’s problems, and approval, trump the interests of Americans when it comes to how we live our lives and where our money is spent.
It goes downhill from there.


What they said:

Edited for clarity:
ANDREA MITCHELL: I have the view that John McCain doesn't like the kind of politics he's engaging in but went along with his new, tougher political advisers.

ROGER SIMON: For a guy who's supposed to have such a famous temper, McCain really doesn't like attacking. I think Andrea is exactly right about that. Which is why I think he is often uncomfortable with his own campaign.

MIKE BARNICLE: McCain is very proud of, has been very proud of, and it's clear in talking to him over the years -- his sense of honor. And I think an ad like that would offend his sense of honor. Do you agree with that, Andrea?

MITCHELL: I do, but I think that he may have been misled about what Obama did or did not say, about how he may have been mischaracterized from the House caucus meeting that he attended. You know, there's a lot of anecdotal stuff out there, and in this Internet age and with the blogosphere, things are just ricocheting around. And there's no way that he could be tracking all of this himself.

MITCHELL: But I was one of those reporters who was there and reported affirmatively that there was no plan to take the press. But I can tell you, knowing John McCain, he would be very offended, and justifiably so, if his advisers said to him, you know, he was going to take the press and then he canceled it because he couldn't take this entourage. He would have been offended by that, but it didn't happen ... and he was misled, if that's what he was told.


Tuesday, August 05, 2008

McCain today:
“My opponent doesn’t want to drill. He doesn’t want nuclear power. He wants you to inflate your tires.”
I think it's time to stop following this presidential campaign.



When politicians lie about what their opponents say, they degrade our democracy and disrespect voters. If they were to represent their opponents accurately ... then we could simply listen to both candidates and make up our minds on the merits. A candidate who lies about his opponent's position is not willing to let us do that. Instead, he puts us in the position of having to go prowling around on the web if we want to have any idea whether or not what he says is true.

When the McCain campaign says that "Senator Obama's solution to high gas prices is telling Americans to make sure their tires are inflated", and when McCain himself suggests that Obama thinks that inflating tires is "enough to break our dependence on Middle Eastern oil", it's as though they were saying: we are going to adopt a strategy that will force you, the voters, to spend hours of your lives checking each and every one of our statements for accuracy.
In politics, lying is cheating.


Those tire gauges:

Dick Polman:
Last Thursday, Barack Obama made the rather mild observation that Americans could actually conserve a lot of oil by "inflating their tires and getting regular tuneups." Yet in a matter of hours, and over the weekend and beyond, all the moving parts within the conservative/Republican message machine were humming with fact-free synchronicity. ...

[McCain's] aides merrily distributed little tire gauges emblazoned with the words "Obama Energy Plan," and while the credulous talk-show callers stormed the switchboards to fume about Obama's alleged naivete. ...

... the GOP's manufactured mockery of Obama trivializes a legitimate point - endorsed by Bush's own bureaucracy - about energy conservation, seeks to reduce Obama's energy plan to cartoonish shorthand, and cleverly exploits the belief (held by millions of Americans) that we should never be asked to take responsibility for anything, even the simple task of filling our tires and tuning our cars. Even now, any form of sacrifice, no matter how common sensical, is widely disdained as a Jimmy Carter concept.
The McCain ridicule of tire gauges is 21st century anti-intellectualism. It's also resentment of any notion that people should conserve energy, or those who advocate conservation. But as Bob Herbert points out today:
Two political leaders who are no longer very fashionable were on to this long ago — former Gov. Jerry Brown of California (derided as “Governor Moonbeam”) and former President Jimmy Carter, who presciently said of the energy crisis in 1977: “With the exception of preventing war, this is the greatest challenge our country will face during our lifetime.”

It may be hard to believe, but largely because of far-reaching efficiency and conservation measures imposed by Mr. Brown’s administration, California is now among the lowest of all the states in the per capita consumption of energy. If you could take automobiles out of the picture, it would have the lowest per capita consumption of any state.



Protest at the Fed.

As one commentor put it: "This is the most economically literate protest I have ever seen."

Other pictures here.

This all took place five weeks ago, but is still relevant.


Saturday, August 02, 2008

McCain = Limbaugh:

When pressed over some outrageous (or worse) comment, Limbaugh will give the standard excuse that's he's merely joking, which allows him to engage in all sorts of mudslinging. McCain is taking the same approach:
John McCain just held a presser in Florida. ... Described a new Web ad implying that Obama believes he's the Messiah as "having some fun."


Friday, August 01, 2008

Belgravia Dispatch is back:

With a new post.


Did they find the anthrax guy?

From this story, it looks like the have, and as the investigation was closing in on him he committed suicide earlier this week.

Throughout this entire mystery, one thing was clear, that analysis of the DNA of the anthrax, and its quality, was a clear indicator of the source - in this case, the government's biodefense labs at Fort Detrick, Maryland.

There were reports going back several years that indicated that the antrax was a domestic product, and in October 2006 it was reported that water used to process the anthrax spores came from a source in the northeastern United States.

Those attacks, in the wake of 9/11, amped up the fear factor that was gripping the nation and made it easier for Bush to sell the war against Saddam on the premise that WMD were circulating and he might initiate a bio-attack.