Saturday, August 30, 2008

Welcome to Post-Bush United States of America

Wow. Just wow. What have we become.

Insulting

Okay, I've had a little time to mull over this Palin thing and read some reactions and it turns out that I'm sticking with my first reaction: Pure disgust. It's the first time McCain has so starkly reminded me of this guy:



John McCain has just affirmed for us that he is squarely in the camp of those Republicans who are deeply unserious about governing. Joe Conason calls this choice "The epitome of tokenism" and he's absolutely right. But furthermore, it's a choice that tells us that whatever is driving John McCain to seek the presidency has less to do with a sense of civic calling than, more likely, an insatiable hunger for power and glory. And, good Lord, if there is one thing the last 8 years have taught us, is it not that what this country does NOT need is another arrogant man-child with a Napoleon complex and utter disdain for the brass tacks of his actual job?

Friday, August 29, 2008

Gee, I wonder how Joltin' Joe is feeling right about now.

Meanwhile

McDipshit picks a VP.



Hey, Obama can stay above petty partisanship so I don't have to.

UPDATE: Anyone see this? Someone's Depends are in a wad!

UPDATE AGAIN: For those of you who might think I'm being too mean to Huggy Bear, I give you this:
McCain's an asshole. He's a man who called his wife a c*nt in public. He has a violent temper and he's hated by many of his colleagues. And most of them are wandering around pretending that he's some sort of plaster saint.

I don't say this lightly. Heck, I liked George Bush Sr., unlike a lot of folks, for example. You can be a good man, and a Republican. But you can't abuse everyone around you and be a good man. Democrats need to learn from Reid and stop pulling their punches.
Not to even mention, this.

UPDATE THE THIRD: Could the McCain campaign actually be stupid enough to believe that puting Palin on the ticket will influence Hillary voters who are still "undecided" about voting for Obama? Maybe they think they will make some gains with women in general (I doubt it), but Hillary voters? Not when word of this gets around:
Once onstage, together with Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano, Palin talked about what women expect from women leaders; how she took charge in Alaska during a political scandal that threatened to unseat the state's entire Republican power structure, and her feelings about Sen. Hillary Clinton. (She said she felt kind of bad she couldn't support a woman, but she didn't like Clinton's "whining.")

"With profound gratitude and great humility..."

Wow. Right out of the gate he distinguishes himself from George W. Bush who hasn't ever seen the working side of "humility" in his entire pampered life. And that was just the beginning. It was an awesome speech, an awesome moment in history, in every sense of the word. Today I am very proud of my country, and very, very proud to be a Democrat. Among the interesting commentary I heard after the speech last night was from an observer on NPR who noted that, while it has historically been considered an advantage to have one's convention scheduled second, the GOP may come to regret having scheduled their convention so closely following this Democratic one. This is going to be a very tough act to follow.

Naturally, there is wonderful commentary to be found from the usual suspects in Blogville. Some of my favorites:

Andrew Sullivan:
To my mind, it is vital that both parties get to own the war on Jihadist terror and that we escape this awful Rove-Morris trap that poisons the discourse into narrow and petty partisan abuse of patriotism. Obama did this tonight. We are in his debt.

Look: I'm biased at this point. I'm one of those people, deeply distressed at what has happened to America, deeply ashamed of my own misjudgments, who has shifted out of my ideological comfort zone because this man seems different to me, and this moment in history seems different to me. I'm not sure we have many more chances to get off the addiction to foreign oil, to prevent a calamitous terrorist attack, to restore constitutional balance in the hurricane of a terror war.

I've said it before - months and months ago. I should say it again tonight. This is a remarkable man at a vital moment. America would be crazy to throw this opportunity away. America must not throw this opportunity away.
Kevin Drum:
This is an iron fist in a velvet glove. Or is it a velvet fist in an iron glove? Whichever it is, he's calling out McCain in plain language not just for running a nasty, Rovian campaign, but for running a fundamentally unserious campaign. By tackling this head on, Obama has put a serious dent in McCain's ability to continue campaigning with dumb soundbites and too-cute-by-half innuendo. This isn't a teenager's campaign for junior high school student council, he was saying, it's a campaign for president of the United States and you're old enough to know that you should damn well treat it that way.
hilzoy
As publius said, "The McCain campaign seemed small and petty tonight — it has nothing to say about the large yet concrete issues discussed tonight." One of the things that's really striking about Obama is his ability to take facts like the smallness of McCain's campaign, which have been clear for a while to political junkies like me, and give a speech that makes them as clear as they can be, not by explaining them but by embodying the largeness of spirit that makes them plain.

It was a stunning achievement.
Digby:
My mind was greatly relieved last night. I think we are heading into the fall campaign with a standard bearer who is prepared now to take the fight to the Republicans. He's not going to lie back and take the character assassination now that McCain has shown that he's willing to roll around in the mud with the filthiest of GOP pigs. And he's not going to pretend that conservatism isn't responsible for the mess he's asking to be allowed to clean up. That bodes well for the long term.

For the first time, I'm feeling not just optimistic about the Dems chances of winning (I've always felt that) but that they might just win on their own terms.

Yes they can.
And also at Hullabaloo, the Dover Bitch makes publius' point a tad more concisely.

Here is the full text. I'll post the video when I find a good one.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Billmon

Thanks Maha for pointing me to this post by Billmon. I keep telling my boys to take notice, that they are living in historic times. I really believe this to be true. When I was growing up, I had the persistent feeling that I had missed the big action - I was too young to go to Woodstock (my best friend's older sister went) and "hippie" was an archaic term by the time I graduated from high school. Now, I realize that I was right in the thick of it, and I wish I had paid closer attention. I'm not sure the boys really get it, but it's hard. I just hope that I can give them enough so that when they are older, they can look back and say, Yeah, I remember my mom talking about that.

I am big. It's the Party that got small.


While breathlessly waiting to see who McDesmond picks to be his circus monkey VP, read this great post by Dover Bitch over at Hullabaloo. And as long as you're over there, just read everything else.

Did he have a lobotomy?

I'm planning to watch Obama's speech tonight in real time, as opposed to how I have been observing the rest of this convention. Like Mike, all this hoo-haw is reminding me of the Olympics and I'm pageantry-ed out. Nevertheless, I am indeed excited about our historic candidate and I look forward to seeing him work his rhetorical juju from atop Mount Olympus the podium at Mile High Stadium.

Then, of course, it's on to the next chew toy for us political addicts to gnaw on which is speculating about who that doddering old fossil McCain will pick as his running mate. Some seem to think it might be Joe Lieberman which would certainly be amusing. Best quote:
but David seems genuinely oblivious to the fact that Lieberman is now seen as George Bush without the intellectual complexity.
Heh. "Intellectual complexity" indeed. Others seem to think it might be Kay Bailey Hutchinson. Which would be not amusing at all. Unless we can manage to whip up a media narrative about a behind-the-scenes cat fight between Cindy 'n' Kay. Whee! Good times!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Big Dog

Andrew Sullivan gives a good assessment of Bill Clinton's speech:
Yes, he nailed it with this line:

"People around the world have always been more impressed by the power of our example than by the example of our power."

...

But since 2000, the worst aspects of Republicanism have crowded out its once necessary virtues. The reflexive impulse to use force over diplomacy, to use aggression over persuasion, to spend and borrow with no concern for the future, and to violate sacred principles such as the eschewal of torture with no respect for the past: these must not just be left behind. They have to be repudiated.

The United States needs this repudiation, as does the world.
McCain, alas, cannot provide it. He may once have. But his party is too far gone, and his moment passed. His use of fear and deception and brattish contempt in this campaign have sealed the deal for me. But Clinton reminded all of us of what is more broadly at stake. He did it with passion and measure and eloquence. And surpassing intelligence.

Ann Richard's daughter

Cecile. Made me cry.

Good Advice

Diane gives it.

Well done, Hillary

I like Hillary Clinton. I have always thought she was a class act, in the face of all the crap that the press and Republicans have consistently flung at her for so many years, she kept her head high and fought on like a champ. I think she's been a great Senator for New York, and while she was never my preferred choice as the Democratic nominee for President, I would have backed her enthusiastically if that's how the chips had fallen. I think she ran a poor campaign for the nomination, and she's ultimately responsible for that, just as John McCain is responsible for the mud-slinging that his campaign is engaged in. But I also think she was ill-served by some of her closest advisors, and that's a shame. Nevertheless, in contrast, Barack Obama has more than proven himself as a talented and capable leader, with an excellent, disciplined staff and it's just clear as day to anyone with as little as a single working brain cell that he, and not John McCain, is what this country needs. Now.

Which brings me to her speech last night. She did a great job, exactly as I expected she would. She could not have spoken more clearly, truthfully, forcefully. She is grateful to those who supported her, taught her, and she understands her mission. There is not a shred of doubt remaining that any Hillary-voters out there who are still declaring that they "aren't sure" or, even worse, still say that they would rather vote for McCain than Obama, are clearly doing so not for Hillary or for their "constituents" back home. They're doing it for the GOP and John McCain, and most likely have been all along.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

"If Hunter Thompson were alive he would kill himself again."

Greenwald analyzes press coverage of the convention and finds it wanting. The title of this post comes from a link he provides to like-minded commentary.

Oh Dear

Accident or prank? You make the call. As usual, the comments are priceless, including:

Clearly this is excellent news for John McCain.

Sprinkler systems have a liberal bias.

John McCain spent five and a half years in a place where he couldn’t intentionally set off a sprinkler system!

Did they pray for Rain?


and multiple references to "hot air".

Pardon me, do you have any Grey Poupon?

TBogg catches Wonkette being, um, uncivil. Thing is, she claims she's describing Joe Lieberman, but I find it a fairly apt characterization of most of the GOP. But then, that's just me channeling my inner Howard Beale as opposed to, say, George Sanders.

Why I'm not watching the convention

For one thing, "Notorious" and "Spellbound" were on last night so the choice of what to watch was pretty much of a no-brainer for me. For another thing, I'm afraid I might end up like this guy and for much the same reason, because even though I'm making a good effort NOT to watch the damn thing I still feel exactly like tristero does.

P.S. I am planning to join my Drinking Liberally pals on Thursday night to watch Obama though. That I will do. I think.

Monday, August 25, 2008

On Unity

The McBush campaign's noun-verb-POW strategery is pretty funny.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Ham 'n' Ry

After a week of hearing about poor ol' John Ask-My-Staff McRichieRich, I feel the need to soak in some Ry:




I'm just sorry that YouTube doesn't yet have Ry's version of One Meatball, or my personal favorite That's the Way the Girls Are From Texas.

Okay, so it's Biden

General consensus appears to be that it's a good (enough) choice, but this is one of the most encouraging things I read. (H/T hilzoy).

Friday, August 22, 2008

Just a matter of using the right tool

The most priceless part of this story is the picture and the expression on the champion fisherman's face.

A parent has bragging rights, dammit

Had a conversation with my Sandy-man last night which I am inspired to relate to you dear blog-readers by a desire to counteract the bad news about Texas found here. Just so you know that we're not ALL assholes, though we sure do seem to have a lot of them on national average. Anyway, here we are, Sandy and I, watching the Olympics and Sandy turns to me and tells me (apropos of what, I really can't say) that he recently had a conversation with his aunt (my ex's older sister) wherein she tried to convince him that gays should not be allowed to adopt because the children would grow up confused about their sexuality. To which my heroic young son responded that since white parents can adopt black kids and he doesn't see that as a problem and why isn't it the same thing, and to which his aunt responded, Well I hope you're right. Wheee! Gold star for Sandy! He then went on to tell me that one of his friends has lesbian parents, "and HE'S okay!" so we went on to talk a little bit about that. God I love that kid.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

How I won't be celebrating my birthday

Cindy McCain is speaking at the RNC that night. Thank God for the Urban Dictionary. I had to look up "Tweaker".

A Puzzler

What was Bush doing at a train station in Pakistan?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Is it November yet?

I want to say that I really, really don't care who Obama picks for his VP but I probably care more than I'd like to and my Don't-Care stance is most likely a protective stance against anticipated disappointment. Wesley Clark would have been a choice that pleased me, especially after the flap over his being-a-POW-doesn't-necessarily-qualify-one-to-be-President comments. I'd have been happy if Obama had announced him as VP the next day. But he didn't. It also looks like he won't be nominating Noam Chomsky or Jeremiah Wright either. Too bad. That would have spiced things up a bit for me! CW seems to be holding these days for Joe Biden. Yawn. TBogg puts the right words to how I feel about that. So, whatever. Just let it be November already.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Monday, August 18, 2008

Monday morning


Above: Jeannette is in the midst of her final 6-month stint in the south of France and sent some pix of her latest work, which seems a fine way to start off a Monday post.

But, moving right along, how else to brighten up one's Monday than to make fun of John McTruthy and the wingnuts who love him. To begin with, I understand there was some kind of churchy thing over the weekend during which McPious told an adoring crowd this:
Q: At what point is a baby entitled to human rights?

A: At the moment of conception.
To which my immediate response was: Too bad Republicans seem to think that such entitlement ends at birth. More on the event from Blue Texan in a deliciously-titled post ("McCain's Bushlike Moral Infantilism") here. Maha too of course. And Tbogg is in fine form with these two back-to-back posts on Senator McIntegrity. All in all, I'd say the old guy got a pretty right good and well-deserved thumping in the blogosphere (albeit not, of course, in the MSM) for his smarmy performance. As for Obama, what the heck. I sort of wish he didn't feel the need to pander to these folks but if he does, he does and he might as well do a decent job of it which, by most accounts he seems to have done. Whatever.

In other news, the rascals over at SadlyNo have been having a whale of a time making fun of one Amy Alkon and this post has to be the pinnacle of that effort, and the comment thread had me busting a gut this morning. I'm still recovering.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Bush and McSame

"The president was writing checks to the Georgians without knowing what he had in the bank," said a senior administration official.
Does anyone find this statement surprising? Has he not been doing this all his life?

I was going to point to the hilarious spectacle that McCain is making of himself over the Georgia situation (I mean, really. Foreign policy is supposed to be his strong suit??) but Maha covered it for me.

Something significant to hope for

Crooks and Liars points us to this hilzoy post over at Obsidian Wings that is very interesting indeed. Dear God, let SOMEBODY in this administration be held accountable for SOMETHING!

Welcome to Walmart

Maybe this woman won't shop at Walmart anymore. I hope she sues the hell out of them. And cusses up a storm while she does it. I'm trying to imagine what I would do if some asshole came up to me in a store and told me "You need to watch your mouth." I also seriously wonder if said asshole would have approached a man in the same circumstances. Somehow, I bet not.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Not Politics

Get this: Yesterday afternoon I took the most spectacular dive, tripping over an armchair whilst carrying a large pile of papers to be shredded. In the process, I managed to smash my face with the arm of the chair and I now have a shiner that would be the envy of any 9-year-old boy. (I'm fine, the most damage was done to my pride, which really didn't need any more bruising...) The story has gotten around the office, of course, and now everyone is dropping by to take a look. I'm telling everyone that I finally pushed my 75-year-old office mate over the edge and it's kind of amazing how many people believe me....

UPDATE: LOL! Thanks heydave:

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Let's talk

In a post titled "It's time to talk about Katrina" by dday over at Hullabaloo, we find this:
In fact, there's a new documentary being released right before the anniversary of the storm that could catalyze this conversation, and I had the privilege of seeing a preview yesterday. Trouble The Water, a Sundance Grand Jury prize-winner directed and produced by the producers of Fahrenheit 9/11 and Bowling for Columbine, follows two residents of the 9th Ward, Kimberly Rivers Roberts and her husband Scott, as they survive the hurricane and the flood and struggle to survive what comes after. Kimberly picked up a video camera just a week before the storm and documented the events of August 29th from her attic, eliciting stunning footage and an entirely new perspective. First of all, the conservative myth that black Katrina victims were a bunch of whiners and moaners while white flood victims in Iowa "worked together" and showed their true American-ness is revealed as utter bullshit. Kimberly and Scott, along with their fellow residents left behind in the 9th Ward, were nothing short of heroic, saving their neighbors, pulling them from their houses and eventually bringing them to safety. One man, who used an old punching bag as a life raft to save dozens of people, remarks in the film "I never thought God had a purpose for me until that day." This is the story of a community brought together by the violence of the flood and the neglect of the government, forced to become their own first responders.

At one point, in an episode that I certainly never heard before, Kimberly and Scott walk about a mile through the water to a near-abandoned Navy base that was marked for closure and had hundreds of beds. With several dozen 9th Ward residents at the gates, the Navy personnel pulled out ammunition, cocked their rifles and turned their guns on the crowd, saying "Get off our property or we're going to start shooting." Months later the base received a COMMENDATION from Bush for "protecting the integrity of the base."
I have disliked past Republican presidents, Reagan especially, but this George W. really takes the cake.

Monday, August 11, 2008

RIP Isaac Hayes

The theme from "Shaft" will certainly be the first thing that comes to most people's minds upon hearing this news, and rightfully so. Driftglass has another take. And I think this NSFW item might be a, er, jewel in Mr. Hayes' crown as well:

Friday, August 8, 2008

We didn't need this

Awful news. Edwards would have been a wonderful Attorney General, and he's lost to us now. A tragedy for him, his family and for all of us.

UPDATE: Digby questions The Rulz.

Meanwhile, back in Brainland

Tristero over at Hullabaloo points us to this quote from a Paul Krugman column that a lot of folks are talking about:
In any case, remember this the next time someone calls for an end to partisanship, for working together to solve the country’s problems. It’s not going to happen — not as long as one of America’s two great parties believes that when it comes to politics, stupidity is the best policy.
Which, in turn, reminded me of another quote from a Hendrik Hertzberg column last week in the New Yorker:
Berliners are Germans, and Germans are foreigners, and since well before John Kerry was demonized for knowing how to speak French it has been axiomatic that heartland Americans don't like foreigners piping up about our elections, however much brainland Americans may disagree.
Elitst bastards that we are!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

"Bad apples all around"

Salon gives us this excerpt from what looks like a very interesting book by Thomas Frank called "The Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Rule." A taste:
How are we to dissect a deluge like this one? We might begin by categorizing the earmarks handed out by Congress, sorting the foolish earmarks from the costly earmarks from the earmarks made strictly on a cash basis. We could try a similar approach to government contracting: the no-bid contracts, the no-oversight contracts, the no-experience contracts, the contracts handed out to friends of the vice president. We might consider the shoplifting career of one of the president's former domestic policy advisors or the habitual plagiarism of the president's liaison to the Christian right. And we would certainly have to find some way to parse the extraordinary incompetence of the executive branch, incompetence so fulsome and steady and reliable that at some point Americans stopped being surprised and began simply to count on it, to think of incompetence as the way government works.

But the onrushing flow swamps all taxonomies. Mass firing of federal prosecutors; bribing of newspaper columnists; pallets of shrink-wrapped cash "misplaced" in Iraq; inexperienced kids running the Baghdad stock exchange; the discovery that many of Alaska's leading politicians are apparently on the take -- our heads swim. We climb to the rooftop, but we cannot find the heights of irony from which we might laugh off the blend of thug and Pharisee that was Tom DeLay -- or dispel the nauseating suspicion, quickly becoming a certainty, that the government of our nation deliberately fibbed us into a pointless, catastrophic war.
UPDATE: See also this interview of Thomas Frank by Salon's Rick Perlstein.
Well, conservatives have been screaming for decades about how disrespected and downtrodden they are, and the media has finally learned the lesson. They are terrified of the famous "liberal bias" critique, and the tidal waves of criticism that will crash down on them if they examine conservatism straightforwardly. So they don't.

What they prefer instead is to talk about "both parties," and always to assume that everything in American politics is done simultaneously and in precisely equal measure by both sides. Believing this closes off all kinds of inquiry to you, blinds you to all sorts of not-so-subtle nuances and imbalances in the system.

There's also the problem that the things I focus on -- for example, that conservatism tends to be an organic product of business interests -- are things that disturb them. Journalists might be social liberals, but there are damned few of them who are ready to scrutinize the power of business or the benevolence of markets. Or the motives of entrepreneurs, even when they call themselves "political entrepreneurs."

My own observation, though, is that we have been living through a conservative era, that conservatives regard the state and corruption and political activity in a particular way, and that therefore these things need to be investigated. Yes, I know, the liberal era of 30 years ago had huge flaws, too, and its own pattern of corruption, its own favored groups, all of which are very, very well known. I know those things. Everyone knows them. But they happened a long time ago.

I think we need to talk about the people who are ruling us now -- how they think, what they have done with the state, and why it is that a new scandal seems to erupt every goddamned week.
UPDATE II: Maha weighs in too.

Accountability

I wish I could have gone to Netroots Nation just for the opportunity to chat with Dahlia Lithwick but, alas, I could not. Here she is, making good sense as usual:

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Who Got It Right?

Yes, Paris Hilton is cute, but Anonymous Liberal makes a great catch with this post that shows quite clearly which of the two Presidential candidates (sorry Paris!) actually has better judgement.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

No! Really?

I listened to this NPR interview this morning of Ron Suskind talking about his new book, "Way of the World" and I think what irritated me the most was Steve Inskeep's drama queen incredulity ("Are you saying that the President KNOWINGLY LIED...?") in asking his questions. If Inskeep's shock was manufactured, it was disgustingly patronizing to his listeners, and if it was genuine that is somehow even MORE disturbing. For Pete's sake, anyone who has paid even the most nominal attention to the news since the release of the Downing Street memos has been aware that the Bush administration lied us into this war with Iraq. What's shocking is not any new revelation about Bush administration mendacity, but the mainstream media's and DC establishment's complacency about it, at least up until now. So, Steve Inskeep, where have YOU been?

Friday, August 1, 2008

Hmmmm

All my YouTubes seem to have disappeared. I don't know if this is true for anyone reading this blog or if it has something to do with my own computer, so would one of you dear readers please leave a comment and tell me if you see any of the YouTubes in my last few posts?

Tinfoil Hats

A few posts back, I wrote about how the rightwing uses derisive sneering to diminish supporters of their opponents' issues and candidates. Included in this repertoire of insults is the accusation that we crazy leftist moonbats who accuse the Bush administraton of lying the country into war with Iraq are paranoid "conspiracy theorists." Yeah right. Whatever. As the overwhelming and incontrovertable evidence of flagrant criminality and mendacity pervasive throughout the Bush administration continutes to mount up, such sneers - which never had much bite to begin with - lose even their comic appeal. Yet Congressional Democrats continue to tremble in fear at the prospect of being Swiftboated as "too partisan" apparently if they dare to suggest such a terrible thing as "impeachment" while President Smirkface, having thoroughly kneecapped the country, cruises toward retirement.

UPDATE: And, uh, yeah.