Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I've been kind of wondering this, too:

Questions That I Have for the Secret Service

1. Shouldn't you have jumped in front of that shoe?
2. Shouldn't you have jumped in front of that second shoe?
3. Second shoe = the one thrown after being removed from foot after first shoe was thrown.
4. Let's say people had three feet. Would you have allowed a third shoe to fly unimpeded?
5. While the shoe was in the air, were you like, "Oh, its just a shoe."

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Nice column from Nick Kristof.

We can’t solve our educational challenges when, according to polls, Americans are approximately as likely to believe in flying saucers as in evolution, and when one-fifth of Americans believe that the sun orbits the Earth.

...

Perhaps John Kennedy was the last president who was unapologetic about his intellect and about luring the best minds to his cabinet. More recently, we’ve had some smart and well-educated presidents who scrambled to hide it. Richard Nixon was a self-loathing intellectual, and Bill Clinton camouflaged a fulgent brain behind folksy Arkansas aphorisms about hogs.

Friday, November 14, 2008

I watched Boogie Man the other night, and I'd highly recommend it, but I think my favorite part was this delightfully insane -- and 100% serious -- quote from Mary Matalin, explaining the unholy alliance friendship that sprang up between Lee Atwater and George W. Bush during the 1988 presidential campaign:

Both [Atwater and Bush] were deeply intellectual, and incredibly well-read.
Lee Atwater. George W. Bush. "Deeply intellectual." "Incredibly well-read." True, true.

Now that's some fine editing.



(Via Wonkette.)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Man, and I thought the VBBE's Character and Fitness Questionnaire was tough.

Update: 23/6 has discovered an eighth page, with eight new questions that the New York Times apparently missed. For example:

If you maintain a "blog," please provide hard copies of all entries ever posted, along with personal recommendations from at least three commenters who are not relatives of yours. If your blog title contains the phrase "daily musings," thank you for your interest, but the Obama administration will not require your services.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Paul Reiser, on Obama's first press conference.

So, when someone in the room snickered at "You know, I mean, the living ones," President Elect Obama, the comic-who-was-doing-fine-but-thought-he-was-losing-them had to now explain that one too. "You know, I didn't want to get all Nancy Reagan-y séance on you." ("Oh, no - now they're going to jump on that! 'Wet-Behind-The Ears Democrat Ridicules Republican Icon! Pictures at Eleven!')

Then it just keeps snowballing. Like the comic who accidentally swears on stage and then can't stop. ("Oh fuck, I just said shit.")

Somewhere in his brilliant performer mind, Obama must've known it was time to go to a new bit. ("C'mon, someone give me another question. Something easy. Oh good... something about the dog.")

Of course, two seconds later, the mind was back in red alert. ("Oh, shit... I just called myself a 'mutt.' Oh, fuck, I just said shit again!")

He was trying to put out a fire that wasn't really there, and in the process, made a silly joke. Clearly, there's some sort of transition time needed between campaigning (" I really want to convince you why I'd be good at this job.") and having won. ("Wow - I actually have the job?") I'm not sure how long it takes to make that adjustment, but knowing what we know of Barack Obama, I'm pretty sure he's already made it. Let's cut the guy some slack. And don't forget folks: please - tip your waitress.

So you know the whole "Sarah Palin didn't know Africa was a continent" thing? Turns out that was just completely made up. By this guy (albeit in one of his other characters):



And reported as news. Too awesome.

(So sayeth the New York Times.)

Update: I missed this somewhat crucial paragraph:

The pranksters behind Eisenstadt acknowledge that he was not, through them, the anonymous source of the Palin leak. He just claimed falsely that he was the leaker--and they say they have no reason to cast doubt on the original story. For its part, Fox News Channel continues to stand behind its story.
So Carl Cameron's original source is still out there. But as much as I continue to think it would be hilarious if this were actually true, Josh Marshall makes a valid point:
I quite agree from a partisan perspective. The more Palin the better. But I think we also need to think about this from the broader perspective of national dignity. And simple human decency. You're at a party and someone's drinking too much and starting to do embarrassing things. Even if you don't like them, and even if the unlovely part of you thinks it's kind of funny, still someone should step in. On the other hand, if Rush and Sean, are up for it, maybe we just tap another keg?

A great nugget from Al Gore:

In an earlier transformative era in American history, President John F. Kennedy challenged our nation to land a man on the moon within 10 years. Eight years and two months later, Neil Armstrong set foot on the lunar surface. The average age of the systems engineers cheering on Apollo 11 from the Houston control room that day was 26, which means that their average age when President Kennedy announced the challenge was 18.
Their average age was 26. How depressing is that?

Sunday, November 09, 2008

From the Onion: Dom DeLillo (or "Dom DeLillo") on the election. Uncanny.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

This is pretty wild:

Among the more unusual measures on this year’s ballots was one in Florida that would repeal an old clause in the state constitution that allows legislators to bar Asian immigrants from owning land. The repeal would be symbolic, as equal protection laws would prevent lawmakers from applying the ban. With 78 percent of precincts reporting just before 11 p.m. Tuesday, the vote was close, with 52 percent voting to preserve the clause.
Italics mine, to illustrate the fact that Floridians are out of their damn minds.

I thought it might be interesting to keep track of FiveThirtyEight.com's projections during the last week of the campaign, in order to compare the progression to the eventual result. I'm sure that kind of historical data is available somewhere on the site, but I wasn't able to find it, so I'll make a note of it here. To be updated daily if I actually remember this between now and the election.

Popular VoteElectoral College
ObamaMcCainObamaMcCain
October 28, 200852.146.5348.2189.8
October 29, 200852.046.6344.1193.9
October 30, 200852.046.4346.5191.5
October 31, 200852.246.4349.7188.3
November 1, 200852.246.6344.0194.0
November 2, 200851.947.2332.9205.1
November 3, 200852.046.1346.5191.5
November 4, 200852.346.2348.6189.4
Actual52.945.7365173

Update: They say races traditionally tighten up in the last week or so. I'm chalking up the November 2 numbers to that phenomenon.

Second update: Exact numbers aren't in yet, but we're getting close, and things are looking awfully good for Nate Silver (if anything, he may have been on the low end). The jury's still out on Missouri (McCain up by about 6,000), North Carolina (Obama up by about 14,000), and Omaha, Nebraska (which has one electoral vote that could go either way). Once those are in, I'll update this table to reflect the actual election results.

Post-election update: Not too shabby.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

It's Excellular!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

This number-cruncher fellow says the networks will call the election for Obama at around 11pm on Tuesday (which is not-coincidentally also when he predicts they'll call Virginia and Pennsylvania). His methodology seems a little light, but it's a fun thing to think about all the same (and in his defense, he sounds a bit like Dr. Ashen, so that's fun).

My game-plan for Tuesday is to spend the evening flipping back and forth between PBS, MSNBC, and Comedy Central (with the occasional stop at CNN or FOX). On the web, I'll be keeping an eye on the nifty Daily Kos map, Hotline's blog, and the New York Times. Any other suggestions?

Update: Nate Silver says he'll be updating and live-blogging throughout the evening, so that plus the three sites above should cover about 98% of my web surfing Tuesday night.

Four things that have made me laugh in recent days:

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Funny quote.

The Palin fires, however, show signs of banking. Over at Sheffield Lanes, mention of her name summons no glint from older bowlers, or from Jeremy and Joe Long, in their 20s, tipping Buds. They liked Mrs. Clinton but pass on Ms. Palin.

"She’s always talking about the ‘Average Joe,’" Jeremy Long said. "Average me! I don’t want myself in the Oval Office. I want someone smarter."
Elitist!

Balls of steel, the man has.

Two days after he was convicted on seven felony counts in Washington, Senator Ted Stevens returned to Alaska on Wednesday night to begin a six-day campaign sprint, telling several hundred supporters at a rally here that he would be vindicated on appeal and asking them to elect him to a seventh term.
Actively campaigning, two days after a felony conviction. That is phenomenal.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

This is from a while ago, but it's amusing enough that it's worth posting anyway. The Lexis search string that the Justice Department used to weed out those pernicious potential Democrats:

[First name of a candidate]! and pre/2 [last name of a candidate] w/7 bush or gore or republican! or democrat! or charg! or accus! or criticiz! or blam! or defend! or iran contra or clinton or spotted owl or florida recount or sex! or controvers! or racis! or fraud! or investigat! or bankrupt! or layoff! or downsiz! or PNTR or NAFTA or outsourc! or indict! or enron or kerry or iraq or wmd! or arrest! or intox! or fired or sex! or racis! or intox! or slur! or arrest! or fired or controvers! or abortion! or gay! or homosexual! or gun! or firearm!
Thank God you don't pay by the keyword.

(Via Slashdot, which points out that "sex" appears twice, so it must have been very important to them.)

Letterman's Palin debate recap



(Via Wonkette.)

"Lowest common denominator" is actually inapt, because none of these fucking people has any idea what a "denominator" is.

Worse, Palin's routine attacks on the media have begun to spill into ugliness. In Clearwater, arriving reporters were greeted with shouts and taunts by the crowd of about 3,000. Palin then went on to blame Katie Couric's questions for her "less-than-successful interview with kinda mainstream media." At that, Palin supporters turned on reporters in the press area, waving thunder sticks and shouting abuse. Others hurled obscenities at a camera crew. One Palin supporter shouted a racial epithet at an African American sound man for a network and told him, "Sit down, boy."

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

There's a word for this kind of thing, but I can't for the life of me remember what it is.

Mr. McCain said of Mr. Obama on Monday: "My opponent’s touchiness every time he is questioned about his record should make us only more concerned."
Hypo... hypo... "hypothetical"? "Hyperbaric"? "Hippocratic"? I know it's something like that.

So that's why Obama hasn't mentioned the Keating Five much.

Courtesy of a site called ph33r and loathing (a site about which I know nothing whatsoever), the Sarah Palin debate flow chart:

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Economists and their liberal elitisms hate America John McCain.

Friday, October 03, 2008

This made me chuckle:

Asked what would happen if the markets or the government did not come through, Mr. Schwarzenegger replied, "This is no such thing in my vocabulary as ‘what if not.’ We will."
Hard to blame him for a vocabulary lapse like that; the subjunctive is tough in any language.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Semi-live-blogging the vice presidential debate!
Because such is my civic duty

8:47: Gwen Ifill limps onto stage, and the audience cheers like she's an injured football player leaving the field under her own power. Nice, I guess, but a little weird.

8:50: The C-SPAN voiceover woman explains the debate format, and notes that each candidate will get a two-minute closing statement. Completely scripted, completely planned ahead of time. What are the odds Palin screws it up?

8:55: This audience is exceptionally good at practicing being quiet. So is Ifill. (And the C-SPAN voiceover woman, for that matter.)

8:57: God, remember when Dan Quayle's ticket actually won, despite his inability to spell? That's a sobering thought.

9:01: Ifill's a-talkin'! (With an echo, too!)

9:02: No "untoward outbursts," you unruly jerks.

9:03: Palin: "Hey, can I call you 'Joe'?" Oughtn't he to have said no, just to fluster her?

9:04: Less than a minute into his first answer, Biden is explaining Obama's plan for the economy. Well done, "Joe."

9:06: Palin's first answer contained no gaffes. This makes me sad.

9:08: The "fundamental" of our economy. Palin's first goof, and it was an utterly boring one.

9:08: They're a team of mavericks!

9:10: She really is quite good at this, which is depressing.

9:11: Biden's coming off as a little too calm, I think. Say something interesting, Joe!

9:12: Let's all laugh at Joey Danko for being poor!

9:13: "Government's gonna have to learn to be more efficient." Perhaps we can fire the employees of the National Gallery of Art?

9:14: Biden was in the Senate during the whole Keating Five business, right? Maybe that'll get a mention tonight (since Obama's been strangely reticent about it so far).

9:15: "I may not answer the questions in the way either [Biden] or the moderator want to hear." Everyone else heard that, right?

9:16: Remember that scene in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, when the Bulgarian veela morphed from beautiful women into scary, mean-faced fire-throwers?

9:17: In the middle class, paying higher taxes is not patriotic.

9:18: And yes, "healthcare being taken over by the Feds" is my worst nightmare.

9:19: "You know how Barack Oba- excuse me, you know how John McCain..." – Nice, Joe.

9:20: Ha, "the ultimate Bridge to Nowhere."

9:22: What the hell was that? "Characterized. Characteris...? Characterized."

9:2: Palin just bragged about how McCain wouldn't say one thing to one group and then turn around and say something else to another group. John McCain. True story.

9:24: Palin's area of expertise is energy.

9:25: Joe's lookin' awfully strong on the windfall profits tax.

9:27: "We have John McCain to thank for bringing people to the table." John McCain. True story.

9:29: We have domestic supplies of energy all over this great land! Damn you, you East-Coast politicians! Why won't you let us tap into them?

9:30: Ha! Biden was all set to respond to something when Ifill rather abruptly moved onto to next topic, and I swear it looked like she'd just shot his dog.

9:31: Palin doesn't want to argue about the causes of climate change. Which is good, because neither do climate scientists.

9:33: "Investing in clean coal technology"? What the hell, Biden? If you're forced to respond to a question about it, fine, but don't bring it up yourself.

9:34: People are so hungry for those miniscule oil reserves to be tapped into!

9:35: Hey-oh! "Nucular," sayeth the energy expert.

9:36: Ifill just cut off Biden for the second time in the last five minutes.

9:38: Sarah Palin would be "tolerant" of adults "choosing their own relationships." [Ahem.] How admirable!

9:39: The little sigh that Biden gave when Ifill brought up the fact that both candidates have children in Iraq was possibly the most real thing I've ever seen from him.

9:40: What's the deal with "eye-rack"? Do you think she really doesn't understand how to pronounce it, or is it more of a folksy, "I'm not gonna learn their terrorist language" kind of thing?

9:44: Palin just all but called Barack Obama a coward.

9:45: "Ih-rack," for the record, doesn't bother me nearly as much as "eye-rack." But why not go all the way and pronounce it correctly?

9:47: "Nucular Eye-ran!" Jesus H. Christ. (And yet she can pronounce Ahmadinejad. Go figure.)

9:48: Henry Kissinger shared with Palin "his passion for diplomacy." I think I read that on the Onion.

9:50: Biden seems to have made a definite decision to refer to John McCain as "John," rather than "Senator McCain." Interesting.

9:51: "John" recently said that he "wouldn't even sit down with the government of Spain." Awesome inflection.

9:52: "Building our embassy in Jerusalem"? What the hell?

9:53: "No one in the United States Senate has been a better friend to Israel than Joe Lieberman Biden," says Joe Lieberman Biden.

9:59: Three weeks in Iraq :: seven years in Afghanistan. That's a nice comparison, and I hope we see more of it.

10:00: Holy crap, she knew the name of your fancy "top general in Afghanistan"! Didn't see that coming, did you, "Joe"? Now, granted, his name is actually McKiernan, and she thinks his name is McClelland. But she's pretty impressed with herself for coming so close!

10:03: Palin "doesn't understand" the concept of changing one's mind. This is hardly surprising.

10:06: John McCain "knows how to win a war." Er... right.

10:07: "How would a Biden administration be different from an Obama administration?" That's a pretty nifty question, Gwen.

10:09: And as smarmy as she is, Palin did a really good job with that one. (Despite the fact that "Wasilla Main Street" is probably an unfathomably depressing place.)

10:10: Ha, Biden spends a lot of time in Home Depot. (In his defense: those big aisles can be confusing.)

10:11: Doggone it!

10:11: Jill Biden's "reward is in heaven"? Is that, like, a threat?

10:12: We need to ramp up how much money those schools are deserving.

10:12: I hate to admit it, but the "extra credit" line was genuinely funny.

10:13: Christ, another funny, right in a row. She's closing awfully strong.

10:17: Wait, did Biden really just say that Article I defines the role of the vice president? [Update: No, I misunderstood his point. Biden got it right.]

10:18: As governor of a "huge state"?

10:20: Biden thinks his Achilles' heel is his "excessive passion"?

10:21: Biden, getting choked up about his son: assuming that was sincere (and I think it was), I'd say that's the second most real thing I've ever seen from him.

10:22: Lieberman, Giuliani, Romney, and Lingle? A) Who the heck is Lingle? And B) who cares what those other three losers think?

10:23: Yeah, Joe! Way to save the "he's not a maverick" attack for the late innings. That was clutch.

10:25: I liked Biden's answer on judicial philosophy, but I'm interested to see if he takes heat for being a bit too in-the-weeds there.

10:27: Jesse Helms: a raging racist, and a terrible person, but he adopted a child with a disability, so you have to feel like a jerk for disliking him.

10:29: Palin hates the "filter" of the mainstream media. Like when Katie Couric asks a question, and then uses CBS's patented Dimmer™ filter to make Palin's answers appear to be semi-literate.

10:32: Nice close from Biden.

10:33: Does Palin just shout all the time? Or did they leave her microphone on? Because you could kind of hear Biden during the Meet-the-Parentses, but she was clear as a bell.

So, if we're starting from Square One, I think Biden won the thing pretty solidly. But we're very much not starting from Square One, and Palin –- after the interview debacles of the last several weeks -– really didn't have to do much beyond not drool on herself. And drool she did not. So I don't really know what to say. Please, American people: see through the embarrassingly low standards.

[Update: the immediate reaction that I've seen (on ABC and MSNBC), even from the right, has been surprisingly pro-Biden. I am reminded of the fact that I worried Obama had lost last week's debate, too -- and look how that one turned out. So let's hope I'm wrong about this one, too.]

The So-Ready-To-Be-President Chronicles, Vol. MMCXII:



Transcripteration:

Couric: What other Supreme Court decisions do you disagree with?
Palin: Mmm. Well, let's see. There's... of course, in the great history of America, there have been rulings that... there's never going to be absolute consensus by every American, and... there are those issues, again, like Roe v. Wade, where I believe are best held on a state level and addressed there, so, you know. Going through the history of America, there would be others, but...
Couric: Can you think of any?
Palin: Well, I would think of any again that could best be dealt with on a more local level, maybe I would take issue with, but you know, as a mayor and then as a governor, and even as a vice president, if I am so privileged to serve, we'd be in a position of changing those things, but in supporting the law of the land, as it reads today.
Ah, remember the good ol' days, when Sarah Palin just wanted to know "what it is that the V.P. does"? Well someone apparently explained it to her, and did so in such a way as to make the poor woman think that overruling the Supreme Court is one of the perks of the vice presidency. That wasn't very nice.

It's funny because it's true. (And let's face it: if someone could greenlight Beverly Hills Chihuahua...)



Tell it, Diddy!

(Both links courtesy of my sister.)

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Sarah Palin is so ready to be president.



I will transcribe my favorite bit, because it is truly priceless:

Couric: We began, though, with reports that the lobbying firm of Senator McCain's campaign manager received payments as recently as last month from mortgage giant Freddie Mac, even as it was failing. I asked for [Palin's] reaction during our exclusive interview.
Palin: My understanding is Rick Davis... recused himself from the dealings in that firm, I don't know how long ago, a year or two ago, and that he's not benefiting from that, and you know, I would hope that that's the case.
Couric: But he still has a stake in the company, so isn't that a conflict of interest?
Palin: [4-second pause] Again, my understanding is that... he... he recused himself from the dealings with Freddie and Fannie, any lobbying efforts on his part there, and I would hope that that's the case, because as John McCain has been saying, and as I've been in a... on a much more local level, been also rallying against, is the undue influence of lobbyists in public policy decisions being made. [Sic, sic, a thousand times sic.]
Got that, Katie? Now move on. (CBS obviously cut the section in which Palin explained that she is also very concerned about maps and the Iraq.)

Monday, September 29, 2008

Remember when Krugman used to be this great all the time?

Now, to a large extent the poor quality of Mr. McCain’s advisers reflects the tattered intellectual state of his party. Has there ever been a more pathetic economic proposal than the suggestion of House Republicans that we try to solve the financial crisis by eliminating capital gains taxes? (Troubled financial institutions, by definition, don’t have capital gains to tax.)

Monday, September 22, 2008

God, I miss The West Wing.

OBAMA They pivoted off the argument that I was inexperienced to the criticism that I’m — wait for it — the Messiah, who, by the way, was a community organizer. When I speak I try to lead with inspiration and aptitude. How is that a liability?

BARTLET Because the idea of American exceptionalism doesn’t extend to Americans being exceptional. If you excelled academically and are able to casually use 690 SAT words then you might as well have the press shoot video of you giving the finger to the Statue of Liberty while the Dixie Chicks sing the University of the Taliban fight song. The people who want English to be the official language of the United States are uncomfortable with their leaders being fluent in it.
Awesome. Read the rest. You will enjoy it. There are times when condescension is called for, people!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Heck of a job, Franci.

So when there was a vacancy at the top of the State Division of Agriculture, [Palin] appointed a high school classmate, Franci Havemeister, to the $95,000-a-year directorship. A former real estate agent, Ms. Havemeister cited her childhood love of cows as a qualification for running the roughly $2 million agency.

Yikes.

Palin says her time as mayor taught her how to be a leader and grounded her in the real needs of voters, and her tenure revealed some of the qualities she would later display as governor: a striving ambition, a willingness to cut loose those perceived as disloyal and a populist brand of social and pro-growth conservatism.

But a visit to this former mining supply post 40 miles north of Anchorage shows the extent to which Palin's mayoralty was also defined by what it did not include. The universe of the mayor of Wasilla is sharply circumscribed even by the standards of small towns, which limited Palin's exposure to issues such as health care, social services, the environment and education. ...

Palin limited her duties further by hiring a deputy administrator to handle much of the town's day-to-day management. Her top achievement as mayor was the construction of an ice rink, a project that landed in the courts and cost the city more than expected.
I think the sentence "her top achievement as mayor was the construction of an ice rink, a project that landed in the courts and cost the city more than expected" is about as close as the Washington Post can come to "she sucks."

Also:
Although the town had a $4 million surplus, Palin cut the museum budget by $32,000, and the three older women who worked there quit instead of deciding which would have to go. But Palin dipped into the budget to create the deputy administrator slot, which some council members complained was at odds with her small-government stance. She told city officials not to talk to reporters.
Charming.

This is old (and possibly something I've posted before), but it's pretty awesome.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

I'm not a big fan of the "I can out-shout you" school of talking-headialism, but if that's what MSNBC is going to put on the air, I suppose it's nice to see the good guys winning.



(Via AMERICAblog.)

"Perhaps" Sarah Palin will have to learn a bit more about NATO before declaring [preventive*] war on Russia:

There's a bit more on Georgia and Ukraine and NATO. What Obama and Biden favor is for NATO to offer these two countries accession to the "Membership Action Plan" (or MAP), a process set up in the late 1990s to help aspirant countries prepare for possible membership in the Alliance. MAP isn't a promise of membership, and the last members to join NATO were in MAP for nearly a decade. It would take at least as long for Ukraine and Georgia to become members of NATO, not least since one of the criterion for membership is that there are no territorial disputes involving the country that is requesting membership... A lot of mumbo jumbo on NATO accession procedures, this. But here's the kicker: What Palin said is that Ukraine and Georgia should become NATO members now. Not even Bush is arguing that. (He, too, favors MAP.) McCain was with Bush on this until recently and, I assume, if asked still is. Palin didn't know the distinction, and is suggesting that these countries get into NATO tomorrow. She may not realize that this is a decision that NATO members need to make collectively, all 27 of them, which won't happen, given that MAP was denied the countries just a few months ago.
* - Ahem.

AMERICAblog points to this interview, containing the following fantastic exchange:

[Some local news anchor]: Well, you say you're sure [Palin] has the experience, but again, I'm just asking for an example. What experience does she have in the field of national security?

McCain: Energy. She knows more about energy than probably anyone else in the United States of America. She represents, is a governor of a state that 20% of America's energy supply comes from there. And we all know that energy is a critical and vital national security issue. We've got to stop sending $700 billion of American money to countries that don't like us very much. She's very well versed on that issue. And, uh, she also happens to represent, be governor of a state that's right next to Russia. She understands Russia, and their newly aggressive behavior in the world which is also something we have to be very concerned about.
Hear that, you stupid liberals? She knows more about energy than probably anyone else in the United States of America! So shut up already!

The Washington Monthly's Steve Benen objects:
I'm afraid this is just embarrassingly incoherent. First, the notion that Palin's proximity to Russia counts as national security experience continues to be unusually stupid, even for McCain.

Second, "Energy" is not a response to the question, "What experience does she have in the field of national security?"

And third, to insist, publicly and on the record, that Sarah Palin "knows more about energy than probably anyone else in the United States of America" is, quite literally, laughable. We are, after all, talking about a politician who isn't sure about the human impact on global warming, and hasn't demonstrated any real expertise on the issue. Ever.

This is why it's fun to read blogs.

This was John McCain, late last year on why he was qualified to be the president:
I am prepared. I need no on-the-job training. I wasn't a mayor for a short period of time. I wasn't a governor for a short period of time.
And here is Sarah Palin last night on why she is ready to be a 72-year old heartbeat away from the presidency:
Charlie, again, we've got to remember what the desire is in this nation at this time. It is for no more politics as usual and somebody's big, fat resume maybe that shows decades and decades in that Washington establishment, where, yes, they've had opportunities to meet heads of state.
So there you have it. The ultimate he said, she said. John McCain explained why Sarah Palin isn't qualified to be a heartbeat away from the presidency, and Sarah Palin explained why John McCain doesn't represent change, just more of the same old politics as usual.
His is ironic and unintentionally funny; hers is ironic and unintentionally hilarious.

Update: That McCain quote is also amusing when contrasted with this McCain quote:
Listen, mayors have the toughest job, I think, in America. It's easy for me to go to Washington and, frankly, be somewhat divorced from the day-to-day challenges people have.
Which of those two quotes do you think he meant to apply to Sarah Palin?

"In what respect, Charlie?"



Unreal.

The Atlantic's James Fallows:

What Sarah Palin revealed is that she has not been interested enough in world affairs to become minimally conversant with the issues. Many people in our great land might have difficulty defining the "Bush Doctrine" exactly. But not to recognize the name, as obviously was the case for Palin, indicates not a failure of last-minute cramming but a lack of attention to any foreign-policy discussion whatsoever in the last seven years.
(Via Matthew DeLong at the Washington Independent.)

Michael Palin for President.



(Via Kos.)

An excellent Dugout-style chat between the Republican Vice Presidential runners-up, courtesy of 23/6 (via Kos). Excerpt:

MittyMittyBangBang: u believe this chick?
GoodNPawlenty: dont even start
MittyMittyBangBang: wut happened 2 the maverick we used 2 know?
GoodNPawlenty: time 2 put that guy in a home already
MittyMittyBangBang: hehe
MittyMittyBangBang: she is a worse VP pick than me and im a friggin mormon

TAPPED's Adam Serwer on Palin's RNC-speech contempt for community organizers:

If I had spent my mayoralty subjecting people to loyalty tests and trying to ban books, a community organizer might make me nervous, too.
(Also amusing: the included photograph of MLK, captioned, "Another irresponsible 'community organizer.'")

Relatedly, Kos passes along an email (and Politico's Jonathan Martin does the same): "Jesus was a community organizer and Pontius Pilate was a governor."

Friday, September 12, 2008

This made me laugh.

Deep Thought (in the manner of Atrios)

If Sarah Palin is an expert on foreign affairs by dint of Alaska's proximity to Russia... does Barack Obama (who lives just across the lake from Canada!) pass that same absurd not-at-all-absurd test? Not to mention Joe Biden -- there's nothing but the Atlantic Ocean between him and half of Europe.

There's something distinctly unsettling about the fact that The View asks tougher questions than the Associated Press.

Update: The whole rape-kit issue is pretty insane, and I hope it continues to gain traction, but in light of McCain's rough appearance on The View this afternoon, it's funny to note this TPM post from a few hours before the Gibson interview:

I get the sense that maybe the subject is so charged that people don't want to bring it up. But I'm wondering if Charlie Gibson might be able to raise the matter during the Barbara Walters style interview he's doing today with Gov. Palin up in Alaska.
I'd imagine Josh Marshall meant it sarcastically, but if The View has too many more episodes like this afternoon's, the phrase "Barbara-Walters-style interview" could end up acquiring a whole new meaning.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

This is pretty funny:

Apparently, the Republicans couldn't find very many African American supporters to show on the Big Screen Of Triumph, when introducing McCain (see 6:45, 7:02)... so they simply put up stock photos of black people. You know, riding bicycles and appreciating their moms and stuff.

This is pretty gosh darn well done:



(Via Kos.)

Monday, September 08, 2008

A smorgasbord! (And my first post in months!)

Two Comments on Palin
Wonkette, during Palin's speech at the convention: "This is really incredible. We need a new, meaner word for 'vapid lightweight.'"
The Jed Report (via AMERICAblog), following the revelation that Palin's headed back to Alaska for a "timeout": "Forget whether or not Sarah Palin is ready to be president. She's not even ready to be a candidate for vice president!"

One Funny Audio Clip
The voicemail John McCain left for Sandra Sarah Palin ("What are you, the fucking Postmaster General?").

Three Daily Show Highlights
The Daily Show was absolutely on fire last week (the Republican National Convention is like Christmas for those guys), but here are several pieces worth highlighting:

  • A great segment on the sexism inherent in criticizing Sarah Palin, who is A Lady (the single best segment of the week):


  • A piece on the Palins and the difference between choice and Choice (good, but not as great as the sexism one above):


  • And finally, this piece on "small-town values." (This last segment comes from Friday's convention wrap-up, and if you have the time, you really ought to watch the entire thing; it's terrific.)

Saturday, July 19, 2008

This is pretty old, but I just stumbled across it in my bookmarks, and it's awesome enough that it's worth posting now.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Former chief White House speechwriter Michael Gerson (Washington Post, July 9, 2008):

Many social problems seem complex beyond hope. But dramatic progress against hunger is not. There are many explanations why this effort has not been undertaken -- but there are no good excuses.
Current chief White House speechwriter Marc Thiessen (Washington Post, July 7, 2008):
With the passing of Sen. Jesse Helms, the media have demonstrated one final time that they never fully understood the power or impact of this great man. ... President Bush had it right when he said on Friday that "from Central America to Central Europe and beyond, people remember: In the dark days when the forces of tyranny seemed on the rise, Jesse Helms took their side." This is the Jesse Helms that Miroslav Medvid remembers. Unfortunately, it was not the Jesse Helms written about this weekend.
That's change we can believe in!

Monday, June 23, 2008

I'm not sure what's worse about this: that it's on Obama's own website, or that it's in a section that refers to Michael Smerconish as an "expert."


(Via Wonkette.)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Onion:

Man Who Used Stick To Roll Ball Into Hole In Ground Praised For His Courage

SAN DIEGO—A man who used several different bent sticks to hit a ball to an area comprised of very short grass surrounding a hole in the ground was praised for his courage Monday after he used a somewhat smaller stick to gently roll the ball into the aforementioned hole in fewer attempts than his competitors. "What guts, what confidence," ESPN commentator Scott Van Pelt said of the man, who was evidently unable to carry his sticks himself, employing someone else to hold the sticks and manipulate the flag sticking out of the hole in the ground while he rolled the ball into it. "You have to be so brave, so self-assured, so strong mentally to [roll a ball into a hole in the ground]. Amazing." The man in question apparently hurt his knee during this activity.

Andy Cobb is an American hero.



(Via Wonkette.)

Thank you, New York Times:

Mr. McCain has been a champion of public financing of campaign [sic] throughout his career.
Except for sometimes, of course.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Apropos of nothing, here are three sports-related things that made me laugh, and one sports-related thing that made me sad:

  • The Onion News Network: NHL Star Called Up To Big Leagues To Play For NFL Team ("Reggie, when Ovechkin started out in the NHL, do you think he ever dreamed he'd be able to play sports professionally one day?")
  • Fire Joe Morgan: Heaven Is Reading This HatGuy Column ("Yes, 'twas a fine time. The baseball men would laze about, drunk on molasses moonshine, cheeks puffed with tobacco crabgrass. No coloreds were allowed, and the only women were the Lace Tutu Girls, whose sole purpose was to light your cigar and freshen your martini -- toplessly, of course. Ah, 1988.")
  • The Onion: Nationals Book It After Foul Ball Accidentally Smashes Capitol Rotunda ("Although McConnell had no evidence at the time that Zimmerman was responsible for the damages, he was the chief suspect, as he is the only National able to hit the ball farther than 300 feet.")
  • E:60: Down and Out? TCU defensive end Tommy Blake's struggle with mental illness absolutely destroyed his NFL draft value. The mental illness in question? Depression. "There are some teams that just won't deal with it," says former NFL GM Randy Mueller. Sad.

You tell 'im, Ernie.



(Via Wonkette.)

John McCain on the Daily Show (part I; part II). I'm not going to transcribe the whole interview, but here's a summary:

Stewart: Senator McCain, it's an honor.
McCain: Glad to be here.
Stewart's brain: Ask him about Hagee!
Stewart: You are... gosh, you are just swell, and I hope you know it.
McCain: Thank you, Jon.
Stewart's brain: No, man. Hagee!
Stewart: Have I ever told you about how I wish I could vote for you one million times every day?
McCain: You're very kind.
Stewart's brain: Okay, fine. Forget Hagee. Try to pin him down on exactly how long he's willing to stay in Iraq if American casualties continue.
Stewart: You're in my Facebook, you know.
McCain: Absolutely, Jon. Facebook, right, whatever.
Stewart's brain: What the fuck is the matter with you? Alright, here's one you'll like. Ask him why he said that Hamas endorsed Barack Obama.
Stewart: "There was one comment -- and this could have been taken out of context as well [it wasn't] -- you felt that Hamas had endorsed Obama. Did they officially..."
McCain [taken aback]: Well, a spokesperson from Hamas said that they wanted [blah blah blah].
Stewart's brain: Hey, way to go! An actual question. Now follow up, follow up!
Stewart: [Clever logical trap that McCain didn't actually catch until it was too late.]
McCain: [Wary agreement.]
Stewart's brain: Damn, yo!
Stewart: "So they don't really endorse Barack Obama. They just... they would hate anybody, because they hate our way of life."
Stewart's brain: Going for the jugular!
McCain: "That is true, but... [bullshit bullshit bullshit, glaring inconsistency]."
Stewart: Oh. Right. Good point.
Stewart's brain: ... So close.
Stewart: Want to come see my treehouse?
Stewart's brain: I hate my job.
Seriously, it was pathetic. McCain spent a solid fifteen minutes onstage, and Stewart spent fourteen and a half of those minutes utterly refusing to call McCain on anything. ("How do you differentiate yourself from George Bush" is not a confrontation; it's an invitation to recite a campaign commercial.)

Way to carpe the diem, Jon. Really, kudos.

Stop hurting America.

George Johnson, one of my favorite science journalists, bizarrely turned up on the Colbert Report last night. He was kind of a letdown, though, so for those of you who'd consider buying his book but found yourself turned off by his lackluster Colbert preformance, be sure to give him another chance.

John Sidney McCain, on why the North Carolina GOP oughtn't to have run its Obama ad:

We are the party of Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, and Ronald Reagan. And that party, that Republican party... there's no room for this kind of activity.
Ah, yes. Ronald Reagan, bastion of tolerance. Do you think McCain maybe doesn't remember Ronald Reagan? Or is this just another example of McCain being awful at pandering?

Also, in vaguely related news (which is to say, both of these thoughts were inspired by the NewsHour): maybe Judy Woodruff is a great reporter, I don't know; but as a moderator, she is awful. (As I've mentioned.)

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Op-edification:

In the delicate world of diplomatic protocol, mispronouncing a foreign leader's name ranks among the worst of faux pas. But that is lost on many Americans. Who can forget Hillary Rodham Clinton's verbal gymnastics after being asked by Tim Russert to name the new president of Russia? (Most transcripts cleaned it up as "Medvedev -- whatever.") Or recall the guffawing last September after a draft of President Bush's speech before the United Nations was found that included the phonetic spellings of several names of foreign countries and leaders. Among them: Harare (hah-RAR-ray) and Mugabe (moo-GAH-bee).

At a time when the United States is trying to improve its image abroad, mangling the names of foreign dignitaries does not help. Nowhere is this issue more sensitive than at the United Nations, where diplomats view the mispronunciation of names as a subtle if passive-aggressive form of U.N. bashing.
Couldn't agree more. The Clinton-Medvedev incident, in particular, was absolutely pathetic (mostly because I like to hope imagine pretend that Democrats are above that kind of petty ridiculousness). The one thing I would add, though, is that it's not just about U.N. bashing; they do it domestically, too. "Barack" is not the same word as "barrack," Pat Buchanan.

John McCain declares his distaste for "activist judges." Or, as they're known to anyone with a more-than-rudimentary understanding of the judicial system, "judges."

Kos, thinking big picture:

If Clinton were to drop out this week, we'd face an uncomfortable situation in West Virginia, with Clinton likely crushing Obama. That would look terrible for the presumptive nominee.

Better than that would be to garner enough superdelegate commitments this week, so that Oregon can push Obama past 2,024. That way, it isn't the supers who clinch it for Obama, but actual voters.

A rosy picture:

Clinton advisers acknowledged that the results of the primaries were far less than they had hoped, and said they were likely to face new pleas even from some of their own supporters for her to quit the race. They said they expected fund-raising to become even harder; one adviser said the campaign was essentially broke, and several others refused to say whether Mrs. Clinton had lent the campaign money from her personal account to keep it afloat.
She's in it to win it!

Update: The Times writes that "the conventional wisdom of the elite political pundit class that resides on television shifted hard, and possibly irretrievably, against Senator Hillary Clinton’s continued viability as a presidential candidate" [nice of them to notice], and reveals that "Clinton has lent her campaign more than $6 million over the last month," as her "options dwindle." Clearly the latte-drinking, can't-bowl-its-way-out-of-a-wet-paper-bag New York Times has allowed itself to become distracted by Obama's Elite Math.

Other Update: John Zogby ("There really is no mathematical chance for her to win") is a perfectly dignified man, and a canny pollster. But I swear, every time I picture the guy, I imagine this. I blame Patrick Murray.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Minor leagues: positive message, low production values.
Major leagues: negative message, high production values.



[Catch-up time. Bear with me for a while.]

McCain has officially opted into the public financing system for the general. Which means that it should only be a matter of months before he opts back out again.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Observation

It's hard to watch a hockey game while simultaneously monitoring the various cable-news types (who are currently muted, and making a determined effort to silently out-terrible each other). It's very hard to do those two things while focusing any significant portion of one's brain on thinking coherent thoughts about cap-and-trade.

Incidentally, the official Purple State prediction (a tradition unlike any other): Clinton 54-46.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Everything that is wrong with the world:

Bob Gates doesn't support the troops.

If you're looking for a good way to waste some time...

Sunday, April 20, 2008

I don't really have anything useful to say about the New York Times' Pulitzer-baiting Pentagon-media-training piece -- mostly because I haven't actually read it yet (7,500 words? I've read shorter Harry Potter books) -- but based on what I have read, I tend to agree with Glenn Greenwald: "to the extent there are new revelations here, they are a far greater indictment of our leading news organizations than the government officials on whom [the article] focuses."

Uneasy news, this:

Although John McCain's candidacy is still viewed with suspicion by many conservative leaders, polling suggests he has overcome the concerns of rank-and-file conservatives: McCain isn't viewed more unfavorably by conservative voters today than George W. Bush was at this point in the 2000 election cycle.

Meet the Press. Obama chief strategist David Axelrod, to recently-promoted recently-hired Clinton chief strategist Geoff Garin:

Axelrod: You know, as long as we're on the subject -- and I don't want to dwell on this -- did you not put a negative ad on this weekend in Philadelphia? A 100% negative ad attacking Senator Obama?
Garin: No, I don't believe we did.
Axelrod: Yeah, you did. Go back and check with your people. It's an ad on lobbying. And it's circulating...
Garin: It's not. It ends up, I believe, with...
Axelrod: No, no, it's a 100% negative ad, Geoff. Go back and ask your people. I understand you're new, in the campaign, and I love you, man, you're a good friend of mine, I know you to be a good, positive person, but I think there are some vestiges of the old regime still in play.
Oh no he didn't!

[Incidentally, was it just me, or was Russert particularly bad-journalisty this morning?]

Also funny: on Face the Nation, Clinton supporter Ed Rendell mentioned the Tomb-of-the-Unknown-Soldier debacle (Tomb-gate?), to which Obama supporter Bob Casey responded, paraphrasally, "Yes, that was despicable, but the Clinton campaign does it, too." To which Rendell responded, with a straight face, "Well, yeah, but we're not hypocritical about it." So apparently the problem is not the despicability, per se; it's the despicability in combination with the fact that Obama pretends he doesn't like despicability. That hypocrite!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

John McCain is the soul of magnanimity.

A.J. Rossmiller on meritocracy in education.

Either I'm missing something, or this doesn't make a lick o' sense:

In Erie, Pa., Mr. Obama criticizing a comment Mr. McCain made Thursday on Bloomberg Television. In the interview, Mr. McCain conceded that people were facing "very challenging times" but went on to say that "there’s been great progress economically" during the Bush administration.

"John McCain went on television and said that there has been great progress economically over the last seven and a half years," Mr. Obama told the audience. "John McCain thinks our economy has made great progress under George W. Bush."

Tucker Bounds, a spokesman for Mr. McCain, called Mr. Obama’s remarks "recklessly dishonest."
Huh?

Update: Josh Marshall wondered the same thing.

The New York Times half-realizes that ["critics say"] John McCain is a big, big liar.

The Washington Independent's Mike Lillis:

OK -- so the price of gas is at an all-time high, and everyone agrees that much of the reason is that demand for gas is at an all-time high. So what's the solution to this dilemma?

Well, if you're Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) it's easy: You propose legislation, as he did yesterday, to scrap the federal gas tax for the entire summer. (The idea did well on cable news.) That would encourage greater consumption, leading to even greater demand, leading to higher pri -- Wait a minute! Wouldn't that have precisely the opposite effect to that we want?
In McCain's defense, the economy is not really his strong point.

Hillary Clinton, on "activists":

"Moveon.org endorsed [Sen. Barack Obama] -- which is like a gusher of money that never seems to slow down," Clinton said to a meeting of donors. "We have been less successful in caucuses because it brings out the activist base of the Democratic Party. MoveOn didn't even want us to go into Afghanistan. I mean, that's what we're dealing with. And you know they turn out in great numbers. And they are very driven by their view of our positions, and it's primarily national security and foreign policy that drives them. I don't agree with them. They know I don't agree with them. So they flood into these caucuses and dominate them and really intimidate people who actually show up to support me."
Seriously: if this keeps up, she's going to end up endorsing McCain in the general, and that's just going to be embarrassing for everyone.

(Via AMERICAblog, Daily Kos.)

Friday, April 18, 2008

John Edwards on the Colbert Report:



(Clinton and Obama both put in an appearance, too, but weren't as funny.)

I was going to pseudo-liveblog* last night's debate, but the reviews are so abysmal that I'm honestly not sure I have the stomach to even watch it. To wit:

  • AMERICAblog: "the worst debate ever." (John Aravosis also posts a list very similar to this one.)
  • Kos: Gibson and Stephanopoulos are "idiots." (Kos also links to Editor & Publisher's Greg Mitchell, who calls the debate "perhaps the most embarrassing performance by the media in a major presidential debate this year.")
  • Hunter: "After the first forty minutes of last night's Democratic debate, it was clear we were watching something historic. Not historic in a good way, mind you, but historic in the sense of being something so deeply embarrassing to the nation that it will be pointed to, in future books and documentary works, as a prime example of the collapse of the American media into utter and complete substanceless, into self-celebrated vapidity, and into a now-complete inability or unwillingness to cover the most important affairs of the nation to any but the most shallow of depths."
  • MyDD's Todd Beeton: "tabloid hour."
  • TAPPED's Sam Boyd: "You know who lost? America."
  • Josh Marshall: "genuinely awful." (Marshall also wondered, "What happened to the League of Women Voters? Can we give the debates back to them?")
  • Attytood: a "televised train wreck" that "disgraced [the] profession of journalism."
  • Jon Stewart: "The first hour of last night's debate was a sixty-minute master class in questions that elevate out-of-context remarks and trivial insipid miscues into subjects of national discourse... which is my job."
  • Oh, and some guy named "Barack Obama" or something: "It took us 45 minutes before we even started talking about a single issue that matters to the American people."
  • Also, the people behind that great john.he.is video from a couple of months ago made an ABC News parody that's worth watching (via AMERICAblog).
There are plenty more where those came from, but I think you get the idea. (Apparently the only person with access to a keyboard who actually liked the thing was David Brooks.)

So, point is: no way I'm watching that. Sorry, loyal readers (ha!); you'll just have to stick with Wonkette [Part I, Part II].

* - Tape-delay-blog, if you will.

Other Deep Thought (in the manner of that last Deep Thought)

When you sit back and think about it, our energy system -- cars that burn oil; electricity generation that burns coal -- is pretty laughably obsolete.

Deep Thought (in the manner of Atrios)

James Spader and the writers of Boston Legal should take a sabbatical from television and hire themselves out to members of the plaintiff's bar.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Official Village Voice Election-Season Guide to the Right-Wing Blogosphere.

(Thank you, TAPPED.)

Finally got around to watching this behemoth of a Frontline last night, and I'd very highly recommend it. (You can even watch it online, if you're willing to sit in front of your computer for four hours.) It runs from just after September 11th until just before the surge (or what Condoleezza Rice called the "Clear, Hold, Build" strategy, when she proposed it in 2005), and it's fascinating. In case you don't have time to sit through it, though, I've assembled a Cliff's Notes version below:

These people......came off as...
Colin Powell, Richard Armitage, Jay Garnerreasonably competent, but out of the loop
Condi Rice, George Tenet, Tommy Frankssemi-willing pawns
Philip Zelikowhaving a comically deep voice
Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitzscary; crazy (like a fox?)
Cofer Black, Ahmed Chalabicrazy (like a crazy person)
L. Paul Bremerborderline developmentally disabled
George W. Busha terrible, terrible speaker; not a very good president*

Good times.

* - Had to get his own box, because he is the president. Do not assume that means he didn't fit into any of the other categories.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Scandal!

(Odds more people care about this than about the fact that McCain hasn't bothered to learn the difference between Shia and Sunni Islam: middling-to-high.)

DNC fundraising email:

A recent report by the Associated Press has revealed that the Republican National Committee is pulling together a joint fund with John McCain called the "Victory Committee." Its goal is to raise $120 million -- which they're sure to spend trying to destroy our candidates.

We've seen this before -- we know they're already launching attacks on Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. And while they're tearing them down, they'll try to spin John McCain to the American people.

It's a $120 million makeover fund, designed to make everyone forget about the last eight years of John McCain, George Bush, the war, the economy, Katrina, and a stunning lack of competency.
...

"So please join us in decrying this admittedly-legal exploitation of the campaign finance laws"?

"We, on the other hand, will be taking the high road and simply pursuing that lawsuit that we filed the other day"?

"Just wanted to let you know"?
That's why I'm making an urgent request for you to help us with a contribution today -- we have to keep up. They've got a head start, but we can stay competitive if you make a contribution right now.
Ah. Right.

As I've said before: at the end of the day, I don't really have a problem with this kind of thing. But it sure feels slimy.

Robert Reich goes green-mode:

Are Americans who have been left behind frustrated? Of course. And their frustrations, their anger and, yes, sometimes their bitterness, have been used since then -- by demagogues, by nationalists and xenophobes, by radical conservatives, by political nuts and fanatical fruitcakes – to blame immigrants and foreign traders, to blame blacks and the poor, to blame "liberal elites," to blame anyone and anything.

Rather than counter all this, the American media have wallowed in it. Some, like Fox News and talk radio, have given the haters and blamers their very own megaphones. The rest have merely "reported on" it. Instead of focusing on how to get Americans good jobs again; instead of admitting too many of our schools are failing and our kids are falling behind their contemporaries in Europe, Japan, and even China; instead of showing why we need a more progressive tax system to finance better schools and access to health care, and green technologies that might create new manufacturing jobs, our national discussion has been mired in the old politics.

Jon Stewart, on Barack Obama the flaming elitist:

You know... I hear what you're all saying, but doesn't "elite" mean good? Is that not something we're looking for in a president anymore? You know what, candidates? Come with me [to Camera 3].

I know "elite" is a bad word in politics, and you want to go bowling and throw back a few beers. But the job you're applying for? If you get it, and it goes well... they might carve your head into a mountain. If you don't actually think you're better than us, then what the fuck are you doing?
Update: Hunter:
Where did we get this notion that the President of the United States should be a drinking buddy? Where did we get the notion that the strongest nation on earth should be led by a folksy, easy-to-like drunk? I don't mean where did the country get this notion, I mean when did the media decide that this was a valid measure of a leader, something worth endlessly discussing, and analyzing, and tittering over? When facing down the leader of a rogue nation in a series of intense negotiations, I don't want the guy shooting pool at the corner bar, I want someone with a head for the job, for God's sake, and I don't give a rats ass if he likes buffalo wings, or bowling, or can smash an empty beer can on his head. ...

Yes, there are uninformed, dull-witted voters in the world, people who will decide who to vote for based on choice of beer. But why -- why, in the name of all that is holy, and several things that are not -- would the political media itself, presumably the group of people most informed about the actual issues of governance riding on each election, choose to celebrate that lack of substantive information and instead wallow in the meaningless?

By my count, that's seven Nepals in under two minutes. No wonder Stephen Hadley doesn't think the president should boycott the Opening Ceremony; he's not even aware there's a country called Tibet.

Monday, April 14, 2008

"Dear Hillary,

I'm takin' it to the next level.

Sincerely,

Barack Obama"



(Via On Call, Wonkette, AMERICAblog, etc.)

Sunday, April 13, 2008

The McCain campaign finance imbroglio (that's right, "imbroglio") is about to enter Round Two. (Though, as Jonathan Singer puts it, "Will this suit finally shame reporters into covering this issue correctly? It should, but to tell you the truth, I'm not holding my breath...")

Remember that one time, how John Kerry pretended to be a hunter and a gun-lover, and then he won the election? That time was awesome.

Also: Hillary Clinton loves America. Barack Obama probably doesn't even know how to pronounce America.

AMERICAblog's A.J. Rossmiller makes a great point on McCain:

His lack of knowledge of the political dynamics of a war we're now five years (and 4,000 lives) into is embarrassing, especially considering he's running on that as his main strength. I mean, even if he didn't know it before, shouldn't he, y'know, take the time to learn it now?? And if not, shouldn't the press occasionally mention the fact that he appears to have no idea what he's talking about?
No. The press should not. Partly because, to quote Hunter, "the media just doesn't expect [McCain] not to say false things, especially on his self-declared strong point, foreign policy." And partly because... well, you know, it's, like, really hard, and stuff. Sunnis... Shiites... they all look the same to me.

So, really, does this make any sense to anyone?

Flash-forward several months and Webb and Hagel's vision (after months of consideration) is on the cusp of codification. The 21st Century G.I. Bill may be included in the language of the next Iraq war supplemental. And while, if considered separately, it could require 60 votes for passage, more than 50 Senators -- including many Republicans -- have already signed on as co-sponsors.

And yet, surprisingly, one of those Senators who has not yet offered his support is John McCain. How could a veteran of Vietnam and someone widely touted as Congress' foremost champions of veterans' affairs not sign on to a largely bipartisan, uncontroversial measure? (Both Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are co-sponsors).
Seriously, with what constituency is that going to win points? 53 cosponsors, this bill has. How is McCain not one of them? (Wesley Clark and Jon Solz wonder the same thing.)

(Via The Carpetbagger Report, via TAPPED.)

This would be pretty great:

Comedian John Cleese has a crush on Obama - and he wants to be the White House hopeful's speechwriter.

The legendary British funnyman, known for his hilarity in the groundbreaking "Monty Python" TV series and movies, told a British newspaper that his comedic chops could help the Democrat capture the Oval Office.
(Via TAPPED.)

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Hunter is brilliant.

From Thursday's Daily Show, an awesome salute to Fox News.



It's so nice to see Hillary Clinton and John McCain finally finding something they can agree on.

Friday, April 11, 2008

A nice [short] documentary on liquid coal, produced by the NRDC.

Instaputz (via Atrios) gets to the bottom of McCain's trouble "distinguishing between Iraq and Iran."

Monday, April 07, 2008

The Pulitzer committee would like you to know that I have impeccable taste.

Bob Schieffer, on Face the Nation yesterday:

Well it seems to me that this [the recent fighting in Basra and Baghdad] is going beyond the reasons that America went to Iraq, and that was to provide, you know... establish some sort of stable democracy in this part of the world, to help the Iraqis put down these terrorists that were a threat to the United States. Now we have this militia fighting, it's all about the neighborhood, it seems to be now, much more so than it is about Iraq.
[Emphasis added to illustrate Bob Schieffer's tenuous grasp on recent history.] Way to be CBS's chief Washington correspondent, Bob!

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Mark Penn is out (-ish). That's like whoa.

[Via MyDD, AMERICAblog, TPM, the Politico, First Read, the New York Times, and the BBC [among others].)

A fascinating issue ad that I happened across during the basketball games last night:

[Voiceover:] The FDA is supposed to protect our health, food safety, medicines, medical devices. But their own scientific experts say the agency can't do their [sic] current job properly, and warn that lives are at risk. Yet some in Congress want to add to the FDA's plate, proposing seven billion dollars for new tobacco regulations, when numerous agencies are already working to reduce tobacco use. Even the head of the FDA has concerns about the idea. Tell Congress not to add tobacco to the FDA's plate. Fix the system before it shatters.
"Paid for by Reynolds American, Inc." says the fine print. Come on, guys: you couldn't even be bothered to set up an ambiguously-named shell company? You're getting sloppy, Big Tobacco.

This just in (eight years ago): John McCain doesn't care what you "consider" to be a racial slur.

[I bookmarked this about six months ago, and then completely forgot about it, but it's awesome enough to deserve a mention despite its complete lack of currency.]

A neurobiological study out of NYU and UCLA has finally and conclusively demonstrated that liberals are smart and conservatives are stupid. (Though I may be oversimplifying.)

Exploring the neurobiology of politics, scientists have found that liberals tolerate ambiguity and conflict better than conservatives because of how their brains work. ...

Frank J. Sulloway, a researcher at UC Berkeley's [natch] Institute of Personality and Social Research, [said] liberals could be expected to more readily accept new social, scientific or religious ideas.

"There is ample data from the history of science showing that social and political liberals indeed do tend to support major revolutions in science," said Sulloway, who has written about the history of science and has studied behavioral differences between conservatives and liberals.
(Via Slashdot.)

Two great blog posts worth highlighting:

  • DailyKos's DHinMI explains, quite briefly, the basics of campaign finance law.
  • MyDD's Todd Beeton muses on McCain, and posts an excellent email from MoveOn called "10 things you should know about John McCain (but probably don't)."

Saturday, April 05, 2008

John McCain's son Jimmy is a 19-year-old with a 71-year-old father and a 48-year-old brother. That must be pretty weird.

"Army Worried by Rising Stress of Return Tours to Iraq," says the New York Times. "You've got to be kidding me," say tens of thousands of PTSD-riddled soldiers.

Friday, April 04, 2008

I'll tell you: this Martin Luther King fellow... I think he's going places.

(On the Emmanuel Cleaver scale of mediocrity, you've gotta figure MLK is at least an 11.)

(Or, to paraphrase John McCain, "Martin Luther who-now?")