Thursday, October 30, 2008

You know it's bad when:

You see a story teaser like this at the Huffington Post
You note the claim that the "latest attack" is a "vile smear", but you're not sure which one they are referring to.

UPDATE: The Washington Post editorial was saying that likening Rashid Khalidi to neo-Nazis was the "vile smear", not that McCain has leveled a smear against Obama - at least within the scope of this editorial. The Huffington Post teaser is misleading. Still, the point stands. You read about a McCain charge that's over the top - or worse - but you're not sure which of the three you've learned about recently is being discussed.


Extended David Broder:
"[McCain's] vice presidential choice, his best opportunity to put his stamp on the future, was made, typically, more on instinct than careful appraisal. McCain saw Sarah Palin as reinforcing his own reformist credentials. The convention embraced her, not as a reformer but as the embodiment of beliefs precious to the religious right. And the mass of voters questioned her credentials for national leadership." But I won't.


Is today's right wing crazy more crazy than that of a decade ago?

It sure seems like it. For instance, there is a syndicated radio program Midnight Radio Network, directed at truckers - and heard in Los Angeles on KABC-AM from midnight to three o'clock in the morning. It's more extreme than Limbaugh, if that's possible. The very pugnacious hosts, Eric Harley and Gary McNamara, say thinks like Obama is a Marxist and that if he gets into power we will all be "enslaved" (presumably economically). Of course, it's always Barack Hussein Obama, and the callers into the show are similarly very, very opposed to him and any other Democrat.

Interestingly, for a show that is supposed to be on the side of truckers, the hosts were defending oil companies earlier this year, saying that they deserved the huge profits they were racking up when commodity prices were soaring.

In any event, it appears that the right wing is set to be kind of what it was like during the Clinton years when Bill and Hillary were accused of murders, drug smuggling, and hanging crack pipes on the White House Christmas tree. But those attacks took time go get momentum and weren't part of the mix when Clinton first assumed office.

Will we see an endless stream of charges that Obama is a secret traitor ready to hand over the country to terrorists? Like the way McCarthy attacked George C. Marshall:
On June 14, 1951, as the Korean war stalemated in heavy fighting between American and Chinese forces, Republican Senator Joe McCarthy attacked. He charged that Marshall was directly responsible for the "loss of China," as China turned from friend to foe. McCarthy said the only way to explain why the U.S. "fell from our position as the most powerful Nation on earth at the end of World War II to a position of declared weakness by our leadership" was because of "a conspiracy so immense and an infamy so black as to dwarf any previous such venture in the history of man." McCarthy said that "If Marshall were merely stupid, the laws of probability would dictate that part of his decisions would serve this country's interest." McCarthy argued that General Albert Coady Wedemeyer had prepared a wise plan that would keep China a valued ally, but that it had been sabotaged; "only in treason can we find why evil genius thwarted and frustrated it." McCarthy suggested that Marshall was old and feeble and easily duped; he did not charge Marshall with treason. Specifically McCarthy alleged:
"When Marshall was sent to China with secret State Department orders, the Communists at that time were bottled up in two areas and were fighting a losing battle, but that because of those orders the situation was radically changed in favor of the Communists. Under those orders, as we know, Marshall embargoed all arms and ammunition to our allies in China. He forced the opening of the Nationalist-held Kalgan Mountain pass into Manchuria, to the end that the Chinese Communists gained access to the mountains of captured Japanese equipment. No need to tell the country about how Marshall tried to force Chiang Kai-shek to form a partnership government with the Communists."
Given what's been said recently by NRO luminaries Stanley Kurtz, Andy McCarthy, Victor David Hansen, et al, maybe we're headed to a level of crazy that prevailed in the 1950's.


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

100 years ago: Teddy Roosevelt is a socialist!

Acording to a letter sent to the New York Times.

His crimes?
  • Public works programs
  • Land management
  • National forests and parks
  • Inheritance tax
  • Income tax


Two things that never got much coverage:

I'm surprised that the following items didn't become big factors in the presidential race:These are easy to understand and could have been politically potent, but they never seemed to get into the mix of the political discussion.


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Flaming idiots:
Effigy of Sarah Palin hanging by a noose creates uproar in West Hollywood

A West Hollywood Halloween display showing a likeness of Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin hanging by a noose has caused a furor among some residents who reported it as a hate crime, authorities said Monday.

But Los Angeles County sheriff's officials said the mannequin sporting a beehive hairdo, glasses and a red coat does not rise to the level of a hate crime because it was part of a Halloween display.
This kind of crap should be denounced by those on the left.

The fellow who did this moronic stunt is also trying to get people to vote against Prop 8 (which would invalidate this year's pro gay-marriage court ruling). Good luck with that.


Monday, October 27, 2008

If Obama wins in November, we're all doomed:

According to Sean Hannity.

We'll be bowing down to the anti-American United Nations. Nanny state nazis will be in charge (Pelosi, Reid). It'll be the end of freedom and liberty. The country will be bullied by big labor. Stuff like that.

Great fun listening to right-wing radio these days.


President Bush is a Marxist:

Barbara West, WFTV anchor, asking Joe Biden a question:
You may recognize this famous quote: “from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs” That’s from Karl Marx. How is Senator Obama not being a Marxist if he intends to spread the wealth around?
President Bush in a speech at United Nations Financing for Development Conference (22 March 2002):
Developed nations have a duty not only to share our wealth, but also to encourage sources that produce wealth: economic freedom, political liberty, the rule of law and human rights.


Hilarious advice from Bill Kristol:
[It's] time for McCain to ... finally to make his case.

... McCain and Palin can spend the final week speaking for themselves. They should throw themselves open full time to the media.

Next Sunday, McCain and Palin could divide up the talk shows. Sarah Palin live! Lots of people would tune in.

Obama has bought a half-hour of television in prime time Wednesday. McCain and Palin could buy time Thursday night — giving voters some incentive to keep an open mind at least until McCain and Palin get to make their case.

... McCain ... needs to speak about America’s greatness and its future; about how the ingenuity and toughness of the American people will turn around this financial crisis ...

McCain has a chance to close this election in a big and positive way.

Would this turn things around? Unlikely. But why not take a shot?
Unquoted (above) were several references by Kristol about "war", "Iraq", and of course, "Petraeus".


Sunday, October 26, 2008


For those with long memories, back in the 1970's conservatives would bristle at arguments that there should be support for the poor because otherwise the sick/unemployed/disenchanted would make life miserable for the rest of us. They would say that's "extortion" and not a legitimate argument (by their lights).

Well, look what they are saying now. John McCain on MTP:
MR. BROKAW: Let me ask you quickly about your $300 billion bailout of, of mortgages.


MR. BROKAW: Some people have said, look, if there's a homeowner out there who's done the irresponsible thing...

SEN. McCAIN: Mm-hmm.

MR. BROKAW: ...and a bank is looking at that foreclosure and saying, "Hey, I don't have to work this out. I can just get the government to pick it up," why should a taxpayer in Waterloo, Iowa, or in Akron, Ohio, have to subsidize somebody who has done the dumb, wrong thing?

SEN. McCAIN: Well, in simplest terms, if their neighbor next door throws the keys in the living room floor and leaves, then the value of their home is going to dramatically decrease as well.
A Washington Post editorial this Sunday:
... there are legitimate social and economic reasons to limit foreclosures. Foreclosures not only cost families their homes, they drive down the property values of whole neighborhoods.

A broad [foreclosure rescue] plan might prop up house prices generally, at the cost, financial and moral, of putting taxpayers on the hook for borrowers who could make it on their own. A narrow plan would be fairer to taxpayers but lift home prices only modestly.

The Hope for Homeownership program, which went into effect Oct. 1, was also probably oversold. It offered $300 billion worth of federally guaranteed refinancings for borrowers who met certain eligibility criteria. But since it also required both borrowers and lenders to take a financial "haircut" in return for the help, there may not be many takers.

Which brings us to the notion sketched by Sheila C. Bair, chairwoman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. She suggested last week that the government set out a standardized loan modification package for loan servicers to follow, enabling them to do workouts faster. In return for their picking up the pace, the government would guarantee some or all of the newly modified loans. By offering a strong material incentive to lenders, Ms. Bair's concept addresses one of the weaknesses of previous proposals.


Today's conservative spin:
Hitler raised campaign funds from anonymous donations at beer halls, and gave speeches in Berlin to huge crowds.

At the same time, FDR was doing all sorts of bad things like creating the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Tennessee Valley Authority, and the Social Security program - all which could have been stopped if we had a divided government.

Back then, voters ignored warning signs and made a tragic mistake. Let's not make a similar one this year!


Saturday, October 25, 2008

Andy McCarthy amps it up:

Not content to promote the bogus Ashley Todd "B for Barack" story, Andy McCarthy of the National Review has latched onto Stanley Kurtz' latest conspiracy theory. It's The Obama/Ayers/Khalidi Connection. Excerpts:
AMcC: I just caught up with an interview by one of my favorite guys, Hugh Hewitt, of another of my favorite guys, Stanley Kurtz.

Stanley, of course, has done singularly vital investigative work on Obama's background ... But Hugh's interview is a real primer for those who haven't delved into it much. It also spotlights an important point that has largely been missed. That is, while there has been focus on the Obama/Ayers tie and the Obama/Khalidi tie, no real attention has been paid to the Ayers/Khalidi tie — which is very strong and tightens the circle significantly.

SK: Now if you lived just a few blocks away from someone, and you’ve been on a foundation together, and at least in the first year, you were on the board together, and then you’re on a panel together, when you run into each other, what are you going to be talking about? Here’s something I also haven’t mentioned. Rashid Khalidi and Bill Ayers were practically best friends. People don’t know this, and I’m actually saying this for the first time. I haven’t written about this. They were best friends, and we know that Obama had interactions with Khalidi, that Khalidi had held the coffee that kicked off his Congressional campaign, I believe. And Ayers and Khalidi were extremely close if you look at the acknowledgements in their books.
AMcC: ... these people were drawn to each other because they shared a revolutionary, anti-American ideology — these were not guys who just happened to know each other from the Hyde Park softball league.
And so it goes. McCarthy is convinced that Obama is an anti-American guy planning to hand over the country to Chavez or Putin or maybe ACORN. As Yglesias points out, McCarthy, Hewitt, and Kurtz, are all looking for what they want to see and ignoring reality. This is paranoid-conspiracy-land, for which there is an apt remark by Paul Johnson in his A History of the Jews. Writing about the blood libel: (p 211)
As with all conspiracy theories, once the first imaginative jump is made, the rest follows with intoxicating logic.


McCain vs Palin, who to blame?

As Kevin Drum notes, the skirmishing has begun between the two camps. The first story he links to contains these items:
"These people are going to try and shred her after the campaign to divert blame from themselves," a McCain insider said, referring to McCain's chief strategist, Steve Schmidt, and to Nicolle Wallace, a former Bush aide who has taken a lead role in Palin's campaign. Palin's partisans blame Wallace, in particular, for Palin's avoiding of the media for days and then giving a high-stakes interview to CBS News' Katie Couric, the sometimes painful content of which the campaign allowed to be parceled out over a week.

Her dodging of the press and her nervous reliance on tight scripts in her first interview, with ABC News, became a national joke — driven home to devastating effect by "Saturday Night Live" comic Tina Fey. The Couric interview — her only unstaged appearance for a week — was "water torture," as one internal ally put it.

Some McCain aides say they had little choice with a candidate who simply wasn't ready for the national stage, and that Palin didn't forcefully object.

... the final straw for Palin and her allies was the news that the campaign had reported spending $150,000 on her clothes, turning her, again, into the butt of late-night humor.

"She never even set foot in these stores," the senior Republican said, noting Palin hadn't realized the cost when the clothes were brought to her in her Minnesota hotel room.

"It's completely out-of-control operatives," said the close ally outside the campaign. "She has no responsibility for that. It's incredibly frustrating for us and for her."
Palin is unprepared to be Vice-President, but that aside, she was not handled well by the McCain campaign. In the first weeks after she became the nominee, they could have made her the "energy candidate" and put her in various places where energy is part of the economy of a particular state. Held press opportunities on energy only, while in the background tutoring her on other policy areas. Stuff like that.

What happened was that they put Palin in campaign rallies for the faithful, which was completely unnecessary as well as making her look overly right-wing and a bit nasty to the general electorate. Her bio was enough to seal the deal with Christian conservatives. It was the centrist vote they should have targeted, and could have, but didn't.

Taking into account the McCain campaign's other screw-ups, I think that they are mostly to blame for what went wrong. Maybe Palin was stubborn and a bad learner, but I doubt it. A vice presidential candidate typically follows orders, as Palin apparently did for the first five weeks. Especially a candidate that is new to the scene and fairly young.


Early voting distortion effect?

There's a lot of early voting going on, and much of it seems to be by Obama supporters. If that's the case, won't that make the exit-polling on November 4 tilt more to McCain, leading to some early (and wrong) preditions of a Republican win in some states more likely?


Andy McCarthy of NRO gets defensive: (bold emp add)
To the Obamaniacs sending me outraged emails over the phony assaulted McCain volunteer story: Get a life. It takes me much less time to delete than it does for you to write.

I don't owe you or Sen. Obama an apology. My post noted press reports on an incident that has apparently proved to be without foundation. ...

Sen. Obama has expressly tied community organizing to "direct action." As he stated in the chapter he contributed in 1988 to a compendium about organizing in the post-Alinsky era, “[G]rass-roots community organizing builds on indigenous leadership and direct action.” (Emphasis added.) ...

I don't apologize for thinking it was possible that an Obama supporter could conceivably have attacked the woman who made the false report. I also don't apologize for believing that a "direct action" culture is likely to lead to violent attacks, regardless of whether this particular attack happened.

... my brain is not ruled by political correctness, and if you are saying that you instantly concluded the story could not possibly have been anything but a hoax, it's you who are kidding yourself.
As Jenn Q. Public puts it:
It doesn’t matter whether Ashley was genuinely attacked for her political beliefs. What counts is that the story seems entirely plausible, and that’s scary. It’s entirely believable that an Obama supporter would viciously maim a McCain volunteer ...


Right-wing blog data point:

Dan Riehl of Riehl World View:
"I'm not doubting [Obama's grandmother] is ill. But believe me, if you think this guy would leave the campaign trail for an hour if he felt he were running from behind, he wouldn't do it. Not unless he thought it helped him to do so...Man. I hope his numbers don't start to drop. He might have to hold a pillow against her face and maybe later break into tears the way Hillary did. Only I suspect hers were genuine."
After criticism of those remarks were made, he updated the post thustly:
[D]ue to the extreme criticism from the "Laura killed her high school sweetheart, Cheney shot his friend, Bushitler" Left - I felt I should update and bump this post. I'm sorry if my sarcasm regarding the pillow reference came across as too unkind. I am certain Obama is a kind man. Consequently, I don't actually believe he would "smother" his Grandma with a pillow.

I imagine his compassion would compel him to use a plastic bag. But as that is so environmentally unsound, I didn't want to even suggest it in case it might damage his reputation among the faithful, so many of them being Green and all.
That blogger gets 6,000 visits a day.


Ashley Todd, meet Charles Stuart:

NOW (1, 2):
[Ashley] Todd, who is white, told police she was attacked by a 6-foot-4 black man Wednesday night.

She also indicated she was sexually assaulted as well. She indicated that when he had her on the ground he put his hand up her blouse and started fondling her.

Ashley Todd, 20-year-old college student from College Station, Texas, admitted Friday that the story was false and was being charged with making a false report to police ...
On Oct. 23, 1989, Charles and Carol Stuart left childbirth classes at the hospital. Moments later, Charles Stuart called police on his cellphone to report he and his wife had just been shot. Carol Stuart died that night - their son 17 days later. Charles Stuart told police a black man had shot them. The police promptly began a manhunt in the largely black Roxbury neighborhood that the Irishman picked up in the Parkman case would have understood only too well.

As the Boston Globe put it at the time: "Two weeks ago, Carol and Charles Stuart were merely expectant parents. Then their relatively anonymous, happy lives came to an end on a dark side street in Boston's Mission Hill neighborhood. An assailant robbed them of their jewelry and money, then pumped a few slugs into their bodies."

Only it turned out that while they might have been anonymous, they were not happy. Charles Stuart was having an affair and had money problems. No black man had come near them - Charles Stuart shot his wife, then himself.
But none of that matters to some on the right. Here's Jenn Q Public:
It doesn’t matter whether Ashley was genuinely attacked for her political beliefs. What counts is that the story seems entirely plausible, and that’s scary. It’s entirely believable that an Obama supporter would viciously maim a McCain volunteer because we expect that behavior from people who delight in smearing the minor children of politicians.

Even if Ashley’s story proves to be completely false, ask yourself whether you believe it could happen. Do you want to vote with people you expect to physically attack their political opposites, or against them?
If something is "plausible", in the right-wing world, it's as good as being true.


Friday, October 24, 2008

Support the Fed!

Via Floyd Norris:
It was yesterday that General Electric said it would borrow through the Federal Reserve’s new credit facility when it opens for business next week.

Bloomberg quotes a G.E. spokesman as follows: “This is our way to demonstrate our support for what the Fed is doing, which is providing all around liquidity.”
GE is quite the noble corporate citizen, isn't it?


Joe Biden, Joe Lieberman, Joe the Plumber, and ...

Joe McCain!

Enough already.


Question of the day:

Did Palin's makup artist also work on Ashley Todd?



The New York Times endorsed Barack Obama for president but has very few words about Palin (only saying his choosing her was "irresponsible") which is quite a contrast with other newspapers.


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Clash of the fonts:


There's your problem:

Bloomberg headline: Greenspan Concedes to `Flaw' in His Market Ideology
Greenspan reiterated his ``shocked disbelief'' that financial companies failed to execute sufficient ``surveillance'' on their trading counterparties to prevent surging losses. The ``breakdown'' was clearest in the market where securities firms packaged home mortgages into debt sold on to other investors, he said.

``As much as I would prefer it otherwise, in this financial environment I see no choice but to require that all securitizers retain a meaningful part of the securities they issue,'' Greenspan said. That would give the companies an incentive to ensure the assets are properly priced for their risk, advocates say.
It's the ideology, stupid. And in Greenspan's case it was that of Ayn Rand.

MORE: From the Los Angeles Times:
"As I wrote last March, those of us who have looked to the self-interest of lending institutions to protect shareholders' equity (myself especially) are in a state of shocked disbelief," Greenspan said. "Such counter-party surveillance is a central pillar of our financial markets' state of balance. If it fails, as occurred this year, market stability is undermined."

"The problem here is something that looked to be a very solid edifice ... did break down. And I think that, as I said, shocked me. I still do not fully understand why it happened." Greenspan said.
Here's why it happened (at least the aspect Greenspan talked about): Without regulation, short term gains - especially for those running the companies - will often take priority over long-term solvency.

... when asked by Waxman if he had "any personal responsibility for the financial crisis," Greenspan dodged a direct answer. He admitted a flaw in his free-market ideology, but said he made decisions as chairman based on federal laws, "not my own views."
"Not my own views". Right.

ON THE LOOKOUT: For Brad DeLong's commentary, if any, on Greenspan. DeLong is a Greenspan fan, so it'll be interesting to see what he'll say about the guy. Maybe, just maybe, if DeLong conceeds that Greenspan was wrong, he'll take a step towards conceeding that free-trade globalization is also wrong. C'mon Brad, admit it. Free-trade globalization has weakened domestic labor for the last couple of decades, resulting in no-growth of wages, no sharing in the productivity gains, and diminished welfare capitalism (e.g. no more defined benefit pensions).


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I   am   Spartacus   Joe the Plumber:


High Fructose Corn Syrup:

I hate it. It completely ruined soft drinks, and much else. It has terrible "mouth feel" (it's sticky). And there are questions about it contributing to obesity and diabetes (see also Wikipedia)

There is a good story about how it came to become ubiquitous in the United States over the last 30 years.. And Ezra Klein comments on that (and other foods).


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Are blogs obsolete?

Paul Boutin says yes. Mathew Ingram says no.


David Brooks' Patio Man is Derf's White Middle Class Surburban Man:

Unfortunately the archives at are only 3 cartoons deep (but still worth checking for each week's new cartoon). Here are two from this year. The first was issued about six months ago, the second one is "current".

I am virtually certain that there was a cartoon with White Middle Class Surburban Man out on the patio grilling up hamburgers, but can't find it on the web. White Middle Class Surburban Man isn't a bad persion, but is someone who is filled with the typical aspirations and anxieties you've read about, which make him favor Republicans. He's probably a Republican as well. Anyway, you get the point.


Change the travel plans!

Obama is going to Hawaii, allegedly to visit his ailing grandmother. It's obvious the real reason is to deliver a counterfit birth certificate in order to "prove" he's met the qualifications for becoming president.

If Obama and his granny want to get together then they should fly to Myrtle Beach, an unexotic place where real Americans hang out (according to Cokie Roberts).


October 9, 2008

That was the day that the word "allegedly" was removed* from the entry about Obama being born in Hawaii. So maybe that issue has finally been put to rest.

Interestingly, at the same time the DOW fell 700 points, and sliped a bit more the next day, reaching a record low for this year.

* - and has stayed removed to this day


Monday, October 20, 2008

"Jumble The Rope"

Is an anagram for "Joe the Plumber", and about as interesting.



Limbaugh on Powell's endorsement of Obama:
Let me say it louder, and let me say it even more plainly. IT WAS TOTALLY ABOUT RACE! The Powell nomination — or endorsement — totally about race.
"totally" has a dictionary definition of "wholly; entirely; completely" which doesn't allow for other factors. Limbaugh is not saying that Powell's endorsement was "partially" or even "mostly" about race, but that it was entirely about race - which is about as big an insult you can hurl.

One of my pet peeves is not Limbaugh per se, but the fact that he is legitimized by folks like the Bush family. Not too long ago there was a congratulatory phone call to Rush on his 20th year in broadcasting made by Bush Sr., Bush Jr, and Jeb. Nobody seemed bothered by that comity, even though Limbaugh had racked up a long list of outrageous statements.


Cartoonist Matt Boors is good:

Check him out (and look at some of the previous cartoons as well).


Saturday, October 18, 2008

Shorter George Bush: "We're minimizing whatever clout the taxpayer could have exercised for bailing out the banks"

From his radio address today:
The government's involvement is limited in size. The government will only buy a small percentage of shares in banks that choose to participate, so that private investors retain majority ownership.

The government's involvement is limited in scope. The government will not exercise control over any private firm, and federal officials will not have a seat around your local bank's boardroom table. The shares owned by the government will have voting rights that can be used only to protect the taxpayer's investment -- not to direct the firm's operations.
If all that money is going to the banks, wouldn't the public want to have some say in how it's going to be used? Bush is "selling" the bailout by saying that there won't be much, or any, control over how those dollars are going to be used. Bush is pitching to the right wing free-market fundamentalists, but won't the rest of the country be pissed off?


Getting tired of the "redistributionist/socialist" nonsense:

This time from McCain himself:
Republican presidential candidate John McCain on Saturday accused Democratic rival Barack Obama of favoring a socialistic economic approach by supporting tax cuts and tax credits McCain says would merely shuffle wealth rather than creating it.

"At least in Europe, the Socialist leaders who so admire my opponent are upfront about their objectives," McCain said in a radio address. "They use real numbers and honest language. And we should demand equal candor from Sen. Obama. Raising taxes on some in order to give checks to others is not a tax cut; it's just another government giveaway."
Obama's tax policy is designed to make the middle class pay less, and the rich pay more, for things like the bank bailout. Obama is not proposing "giving checks to others" as we generally think of it. There may be tax refund checks after filing a 1040, but that's not a transfer of money from person A to person B.

And another thing, "socialism" is the government conrtolling or owning businesses. What we have in the United States is Welfare Capitalism, not socialism.


Second YouTube embed post: (and a couple of days old, but here just for the record)

It's a follow up on this blog's first YouTube embed post.

Can't get enough of the Batman / Penguin campaign.


Friday, October 17, 2008

What's with the Kool-Aid?

UPDATE: From the Department of Not Getting It, a post at
The ‘Obama Bucks’ image shows Obama surrounded by food that has historically been stereotyped with southern black individuals, most notably fried chicken, watermelon, ribs and Kool-Aid. Those are racial stereotypes from our past that are rightfully repudiated in 2008 when noticed.

But the good news is that we are progressing beyond the power of such stereotypes. At a basic level, Barack Obama is merely surrounded by food we all eat. That is the way the San Bernadino GOP woman from ‘Chaffey Community Republican Women’, Diane Fedele, says she saw it when she sent a newsletter out containing the image which she had found in her email box.

She says that she was making an argument that Barack Obama will usher in a socialist welfare state, not that Obama is black. We all know that already. Diane Fedele has since apologized profusely. Assuming she is telling the truth, in an odd sense she seems to be the enlightened one among us.
Poster (above) goes by the name MCCAIN and claims to be "a man of color" who asserts that Kool-Aid "has historically been stereotyped with southern black individuals". So that answers this post's title question, although it was an association I was unfamiliar with until today.


From three big newspaper endorsements:

Washington Post:
The choice is made easy in part by Mr. McCain's disappointing campaign, above all his irresponsible selection of a running mate who is not ready to be president.
Los Angeles Times:
[McCain's] selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate was, as a short-term political tactic, brilliant. It was also irresponsible, as Palin is the most unqualified vice presidential nominee of a major party in living memory.
Chicago Tribune:
... it's clear [Palin] is not prepared to step in at a moment's notice and serve as president.
There will be more of these from other newspapers in the coming weeks.

UPDATE: There's more:

Kansas City Star:
McCain chose a vice presidential candidate who is so clearly unqualified for high office that the thought of her stepping into the presidency is frightening. That irresponsible decision casts serious doubt on McCain’s judgment at this point in his political career.
Salt Lake Tribune:
out of nowhere, and without proper vetting, the impetuous McCain picked Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate. She quickly proved grievously underequipped to step into the presidency should McCain, at 72 and with a history of health problems, die in office. More than any single factor, McCain's bad judgment in choosing the inarticulate, insular and ethically challenged Palin disqualifies him for the presidency.
Houston Chronicle:
Perhaps the worst mistake McCain made in his campaign for the White House was the choice of the inexperienced and inflammatory Palin as his vice-presidential running mate.


Thursday, October 16, 2008

McCain robocall round-up:

FYI, here are the four most recently reported on at TPM. Emphasis added.

No. 1: (partial)
"Barack Obama and his fellow Democrats got caught putting Hollywood above America. On the very day our elected leaders gathered in Washington to deal with the financial crisis, Barack Obama spent just 20 minutes with economic advisers, but hours at a celebrity Hollywood fundraiser. Where are the Democrats' priorities?"
No. 2:
"Barack Obama and his fellow Democrats aren't who you think they are. They say they want to keep us safe, but Barack Obama said the threat we face now from terrorism is nowhere near as dire as it was in the end of the Cold War. And Congressional Democrats now want to give civil rights to terrorists."
No. 3:
"You need to know that Barack Obama has worked closely with domestic terrorist Bill Ayers, whose organization bombed the U.S. Capitol, the Pentagon, a judge's home, and killed Americans. And Democrats will enact an extreme leftist agenda if they take control of Washington. Barack Obama and his democratic allies lack the judgment to lead our country."
No. 4:
"I'm calling on behalf of John McCain and the RNC because you need to know that Barack Obama and his Democrat allies in the Illinois Senate opposed a bill requiring doctors to care for babies born alive after surviving attempted abortions -- a position at odds even with John Kerry and Hillary Clinton. Barack Obama and his liberal Democrats are too extreme for America. Please vote -- vote for the candidates who share our values. This call was paid for by McCain-Palin 2008 and the Republican National Committee at 202 863 8500."
Joe Klein is pissed off. Steve Benen provides some analysis. Joe (not a plumber) Gandelman says it's sleazier than the Rove 2000 operation.

McCain's fairly weak attacks on Obama during the televised debate were not designed to "work" in that forum (i.e. score points). But by mentioning Ayers, ACORN, and the post-abortion babies, McCain was legitimizing those topics for the far nastier robocalls.


Look out China, we're coming after you!

Peter Schiff, economic adviser for Ron Paul's 2008 presidential campaign and super-free-market fan, writes in the Washington Post: (emp add)
... even today, as market forces deflate the credit bubble, the government is stepping in to re-inflate it. First came the Treasury's $700 billion plan to purchase mortgage assets that no one in the private sector would buy. Now it has recapitalized banks to the tune of $250 billion, guaranteeing loans between banks and fully insuring non-interest-bearing accounts. Policymakers say that absent these steps, banks would not be able to extend loans. But given our already staggering debt burden, perhaps more loans are not the answer. ...

Real credit can be supplied only by savings, so artificial steps to stimulate lending will only produce inflation. By refusing to allow market forces to rein in excess spending, liquidate bad investments, replenish depleted savings, fund capital investment and help workers transition from the service sector to the manufacturing sector, government is resisting the cure while exacerbating the disease.
Who knew workers were transitioning to the manufacturing sector? Given the wage differential between China and the United States, this country will soon be outselling them, and selling to them.


"garrotting is confined almost entirely to Luton" (Monty Python)

From episode 35:
We admit that there have been outbreaks of hanging recently, but the police are trying to keep the situatuon under control.

You must remember the courts are very busy at the moment and the odd death sentence is bound to slip through.

Electrocutions are another big worry. But we hope that guillotining has been eradicated from the urban areas, and garrotting is confined almost entirely to Luton.
The Washington Post's editorial on the third debate:
On trade, Mr. Obama served up a disappointing echo of the objections of trade unions to free-trade agreements with Colombia and South Korea. He claimed that he opposed the deal with Colombia because trade union leaders there were being "targeted for assassination," though there has been a dramatic decrease in such killings ...


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

McCain in the debate: "I am Ronald Reagan"

That's the impression you get when he said this:
This really gets down to the fundamental difference in our philosophies. If you notice that in all of this proposal, Senator -- government wants -- Senator Obama wants government to do the job.

Senator Obama wants government to do the job. I want, Joe, you to do the job.

I want to leave money in your pocket. I want you to be able to choose the health care for you and your family. That's what I'm all about. And we've got too much government and too much spending and the government is -- the size of government has grown by 40 percent in the last eight years.


It's not just the fringe:

It's Michael Gerson in the Washington Post, writing about the presidential campaign, and asserting that:
[the] credit meltdown [is something] that congressional Democrats helped to cause


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The story of 2008:

It looks like Obama will win the election. That will be historic. Also, the economic situation (present and going forward) will have a huge impact on our lives.

But I cannot help but think that the selection of Sarah Palin will be seen as one of the most bizarre, and reckless, actions ever taken by a major party.
  • She's unqualified. Her political resumé is incredibly thin and she's not been engaged with issues of national importance.
  • She's ignorant and can't think straight.
  • She's a vindictive and overly self-confident mediocrity.
  • She hasn't given a press conference since being selected as the Vice-Presidential nominee.
  • She hails from a place that is not, as Palin likes to say, a microcosm of America. Most significantly, Alaska is a petro-state.
  • She has no understanding of what Republican economic policies are all about. For example, she says she had problems with health insurance until she and Todd got "good union jobs". Increasing union power is not a Republican goal.
  • Her record as mayor of the 5,000 person city of Wasilla isn't sterling.
  • Only when she was mayor of Wasilla, were women charged for rape kits (a policy she supported).
  • She blatantly lies about her ethical performance.
But basically she's unqualified.

When she was announced about a month ago, the inital reaction was: "Who?"

Then it was: "Maybe Palin is capable; talent can be found in all sorts of places".

Followed by: "Palin's getting good press and the Republicans are jazzed. She could be a big deal".     If the election were held two weeks after the Republican convention, McCain/Palin might have won.

That was when the phenomenon peaked. In subsequent weeks, Palin's stock fell as she came off poorly with Gibson and (especially) Couric. At the same time she started slinging mud at Obama which eroded whatever appeal she initially had.

Then some conservatives (Frum, Brooks) came out and said Palin was unqualified which isn't something you expect from reliable water-carriers.

So what are we left with? Palin exposed for what she is, a "big wheel" in Wasilla, but that's about it. And this is the Republican choice for Vice President?

Some conservatives are already thinking of Palin in 2012. No way. Whatever status she now holds, it is set to drop and never rise again.


Monday, October 13, 2008

High praise for Krugman at the Power Line blog:

Paul Mirengoff:
[Over time] Krugman veered off into left-wing commentary (I've always wondered whether it was President Clinton's decision not to make him head of the Council of Economic Advisers that pushed Krugman in these directions -- punditry and hyper-leftism ...

The economic analysis Krugman serves up in his New York Times columns is often an embarrassment. ...

Unfortunately, it may well be the case that Krugman won his award due at least in part to his left-wing, anti-Bush commentary. Every year, we have occasion to note the leftist bias of the Nobel awards. The prizes seem to have become, in part, a method of rewarding Bush's harshest critics, Al Gore and Jimmy Carter for example. If there's a chemist out there who has written an anti-Bush op-ed, there may well be a Nobel Prize in his or her future. ...

... as honors go, a Nobel Prize in anything relating to public policy is not much more meaningful than praise from the Daily Kos.


It was conceivable and expected:

In the news: (emp add)
Dow jumps 938 as governments pledge bank aid

NEW YORK - Wall Street has stormed back from last week's devastating losses, sending the Dow Jones industrials soaring a nearly inconceivable 938 points after major governments' plans to support the global banking system reassured distraught investors.

The Dow by far outstripped its previous record for a one-day point gain, 499, reached during the waning days of the dot-com boom in 2000.

The market was likely to have a rebound after eight days of precipitous losses that took the Dow down nearly 2,400 points, but no one expected this kind of advance.
Bear market rallies are notorious for being extremely strong and sharp. Considering the huge losses over the past twelve months, an 11% jump - especially after a world-wide rescue plan is announced - is not surprising.


Sunday, October 12, 2008

What is "you-know-what"?

John McCain, speaking about Obama:
"... after I whip his you-know-what in this debate, we're going to be going out 24/7"
Hmm. I wonder what he meant by that?
  • Whip his ass.
  • Whip his sorry ass.
  • Whip his sorry black ass.
  • Whip his sorry, terrorist-loving black ass.
  • Whip his crypto-Muslim, sorry, terrorist-loving black celebrity ass.
  • Whip his possibly-not-born-in-the-USA, crypto-Muslim, sorry, terrorist-loving black celebrity ass, with honor and dignity.     (You betcha!)


Andy McCarthy of the National Review asks the critical question: (his post title)
Did Obama Write "Dreams from My Father" ... Or Did Ayers?
Indeed. In fact, did Obama write "Dreams from My Father" ... or did
  • Bernardine Dohrn?
  • Mohammed Atta?
  • Hugo Chavez?
  • Vladimir Putin?
  • O.J. Simpson?
  • Paris Hilton?
  • The Artificial Intelligence Lab at Google?
  • You? That's right, you, the one reading this blog right now. Fess up!


Endurance test:

Did anybody read Maureen Dowd's latest column all the way to the end?

678 words. I bailed after 312.


Saturday, October 11, 2008

Bookseller having fun:

If you go to and lookup DOW 36,000 and then check the Used and New books page, you will find this entry (for $1.35)


Thursday, October 09, 2008

Palin pre-empts state report, clears self in probe (actual story title)

Whew! I was beginning to think Palin was in trouble, but now that she's cleared herself there's nothing to worry about.


The Royal Bank of Scotland advisory from June 19 of this year:

Pretty much right on the money.
RBS issues global stock and credit crash alert

The Royal Bank of Scotland has advised clients to brace for a full-fledged crash in global stock and credit markets over the next three months as inflation paralyses the major central banks.

"A very nasty period is soon to be upon us - be prepared," said Bob Janjuah, the bank's credit strategist.

A report by the bank's research team warns that the S&P 500 index of Wall Street equities is likely to fall by more than 300 points to around 1050 by September as "all the chickens come home to roost" from the excesses of the global boom, with contagion spreading across Europe and emerging markets.

Such a slide on world bourses would amount to one of the worst bear markets over the last century.
On September 29, it was 1106 (the lowest value for that month). Today it's 909.


Just when you thought McCain couldn't make things worse:

In the news: (emp add)
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) made an overnight change in the homeowner bailout he proposed at Tuesday’s presidential debate, making it more generous to financial institutions and more costly for taxpayers.

McCain's staff says it was always meant that way.

When McCain sprung his surprise idea at the start of the debate in Nashville, his campaign posted details online of his American Homeownership Resurgence Plan, which would direct the government to buy up bad home mortgages, allowing strapped people to keep their property.

The document posted and e-mailed by the McCain campaign on Tuesday night says at the end of its first full paragraph: “Lenders in these cases must recognize the loss that they’ve already suffered.”

So the government would buy the mortgages at a discounted rate, reflecting the declining value of the mortgage paper.

But when McCain reissued the document on Wednesday, that sentence was missing, to the dismay of many conservatives.

That would mean the U.S. would pay face value for the troubled documents, which was the main reason Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) gave for opposing the plan.
What a terrible plan. Where's the upside, politically, for this?

The McCain campaign is thrashing about wildly.


Monday, October 06, 2008

Who is the real Barack Obama?     -     John McCain (6 Oct 08)


In the long run:

Bush today:
"I believe that in the long run, this economy is going to be just fine."
John Maynard Keynes:
"In the long run, we're all dead."


A lot going on today, huh?

Stock market. McCain campaign.

It's hard to keep up with either of them since, literally, every hour brings in substantial news.

Floyd Norris is live-blogging the panic. Anonymous Liberal is blogging McCain's honorable campaign.


Accentuate the negative:

Those Obama ads about McCain and Keating have one interesting aspect. They show a (moderately) youthful McCain, making this year's version look very old.


Sunday, October 05, 2008

What does the Secret Service think when Palin says
Barack Obama is "palling around with terrorists"
Does that put Obama at greater risk for his personal safety? It'd be interesting to learn how the Secret Service reacts when such statements are made, especially by a leading candidate for national office.

FOLLOW ON: Palin defends her remarks:
"The heels are on, the gloves are off," she declares, a threat delivered with a smile.
Sounds like a vicious bitch.


Question for the day:

Now that the McCain campaign has declared that they will attack Obama's character, will we see an ad from the campaign* that shows the aftermath of a Weatherman bombing?

* not RNC or a 527


Spread the word!

Hugh Hewitt, no less:
Americans will ... trust John McCain to pilot the country for the next four years


Shorter David "The Dean" Broder:
I find Sarah Palin to be entirely credible as a Vice-Presidential candidate.


Palin-speak: (from the debate)
  • let's commit ourselves just every day American people, Joe Six Pack, hockey moms across the nation
  • Let's do what our parents told us before we probably even got that first credit card.
  • we have an opportunity to learn a heck of a lot of good lessons through this
  • the middle class of America ... is where Todd and I have been all of our lives

  • It's a toxic mess, really, on Main Street that's affecting Wall Street.
  • We're circulating about $700 billion a year into foreign countries, some who do not like America
  • Your plan is a white flag of surrender in Iraq and that is not what our troops need to hear today, that's for sure.
  • I had a good conversation with [Henry Kissinger] recently. And he shared with me his passion for diplomacy.

  • [John McCain] has been the maverick. He has ruffled feathers.
  • it's so obvious I'm a Washington outsider.
  • [McCain and I are] a team of mavericks
  • I think we need a little bit of reality from Wasilla Main Street there, brought to Washington, DC.

  • Say it ain't so, Joe, there you go again pointing backwards again.
  • I know education you are passionate about with your wife being a teacher for 30 years, and god bless her. Her reward is in heaven, right?
  • ... here's a shout-out to all those third graders at Gladys Wood Elementary School, you get extra credit for watching the debate.
  • I like being able to answer these tough questions without the filter, even, of the mainstream media kind of telling viewers what they've just heard.


Friday, October 03, 2008

Sarah "no facts" Palin:

Look at these two statements made (in sequence) during the foreign policy portion of the Vice-Presidential debate. (facts in emphasis)
Gwen, no one in the United States Senate has been a better friend to Israel than Joe Biden. I would have never, ever joined this ticket were I not absolutely sure Barack Obama shared my passion.

But you asked a question about whether or not this administration's policy had made sense or something to that effect. It has been an abject failure, this administration's policy.

In fairness to Secretary Rice, she's trying to turn it around now in the seventh or eighth year.

Here's what the president said when we said no. He insisted on elections on the West Bank, when I said, and others said, and Barack Obama said, "Big mistake. Hamas will win. You'll legitimize them." What happened? Hamas won.

When we kicked -- along with France, we kicked Hezbollah out of Lebanon, I said and Barack said, "Move NATO forces in there. Fill the vacuum, because if you don't know -- if you don't, Hezbollah will control it."

Now what's happened? Hezbollah is a legitimate part of the government in the country immediately to the north of Israel.

The fact of the matter is, the policy of this administration has been an abject failure.

And speaking of freedom being on the march, the only thing on the march is Iran. It's closer to a bomb. Its proxies now have a major stake in Lebanon, as well as in the Gaza Strip with Hamas.

We will change this policy with thoughtful, real, live diplomacy that understands that you must back Israel in letting them negotiate, support their negotiation, and stand with them, not insist on policies like this administration has.
IFILL: Has this administration's policy been an abject failure, as the senator says, Governor?

No, I do not believe that it has been. But I'm so encouraged to know that we both love Israel, and I think that is a good thing to get to agree on, Senator Biden. I respect your position on that.

No, in fact, when we talk about the Bush administration, there's a time, too, when Americans are going to say, "Enough is enough with your ticket," on constantly looking backwards, and pointing fingers, and doing the blame game.

There have been huge blunders in the war. There have been huge blunders throughout this administration, as there are with every administration.

But for a ticket that wants to talk about change and looking into the future, there's just too much finger-pointing backwards to ever make us believe that that's where you're going.

Positive change is coming, though. Reform of government is coming. We'll learn from the past mistakes in this administration and other administrations.

And we're going to forge ahead with putting government back on the side of the people and making sure that our country comes first, putting obsessive partisanship aside.

That's what John McCain has been known for in all these years. He has been the maverick. He has ruffled feathers.

But I know, Senator Biden, you have respected for them that, and I respect you for acknowledging that. But change is coming.
The Palin response was devoid of any facts or policy positions ("loving" Israel doesn't count). Remarkable.


Wednesday, October 01, 2008

We did it!

National Debt Exceeds $10 Trillion

Congratulations to everyone.


Life imitates art:

COURIC: And when it comes to establishing your world view, I was curious, what newspapers and magazines did you regularly read before you were tapped for this — to stay informed and to understand the world?

PALIN: I’ve read most of them again with a great appreciation for the press, for the media —

COURIC: But what ones specifically? I’m curious.

PALIN: Um, all of them, any of them that have been in front of me over all these years.
The Simpsons episode Burns Verkaufen der Kraftwerk

Man 1: You have been safety inspector for two years. What initiatives have you spearheaded in that time?

Homer: Uh... All of them?

Man 1: I see. ... Then you must have some good ideas for the future as well?

Homer: I sure do!