Saturday, December 27, 2008

I Must Not Have A Sense Of Humor

The Hill:
RNC candidate Chip Saltsman’s Christmas greeting to committee members includes a music CD with lyrics from a song called "Barack the Magic Negro," first played on Rush Limbaugh’s popular radio show.
Meanwhile, GOP house negro Ken Blackwell says that "the media is too sensitive":
"Unfortunately, there is hypersensitivity in the press regarding matters of race. This is in large measure due to President-Elect Obama being the first African-American elected president," said Blackwell, who would be the first black RNC chairman, in a statement forwarded to Politico by an aide. "I don't think any of the concerns that have been expressed in the media about any of the other candidates for RNC chairman should disqualify them. When looked at in the proper context, these concerns are minimal. All of my competitors for this leadership post are fine people."
"Fine people"?? Coming from the guy who stole Ohio for Bush in 2004, that's something that I'll take with a BIG grain of salt....say, about the size of Utah. Who says the GOP isn't full of racist old white men?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy ChristmaHanuPanchaEidKwanza!

Happy Holidays to you all, whatever they be!

"Bad Senator! No Presents For You."

Norm Coleman didn't get his Christmas wish (yes yes yes, I know he's Jewish!) from the Minnesota Supreme Court today:
In a unanimous decision handed down just now, the state Supremes denied Coleman any relief in a lawsuit he was waging to deal with allegations of double-counted absentee ballots, which his campaign says have given an illegitimate edge to Al Franken. The Coleman campaign was seeking to switch 25 selected precincts back to their Election Night totals, which would undo all of Franken's recount gains in those areas and put Coleman back in the lead.

The court, however, sided with the Franken camp's lawyers in saying that a question like this should be reserved for a post-recount election contest proceeding, as the proper forum to discover evidence -- and which also has a burden of proof that heavily favors the certified winner.

Simply put, Coleman is in very big trouble right now. With Al Franken leading by 47 votes, this lawsuit was Coleman's best shot at coming from behind. And it just failed, making a Franken win nearly a foregone conclusion when this recount finishes up in early January.
Normie, no doubt, will sue--let him! As far as I'm concerned, it's all over but the shouting and the swearing-in of Senator Al Franken. Norm, be a man and just effin' concede, will ya?

Senator Franken....heh....the only thing that sounds better than that is President Barack Obama. It just might be a merry Xmas and a Happy New Year, indeed!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Somebody Remind Me To Never Buy A Book By Orson Scott Card Ever Again

Seems that science fiction author Orson Scott Card is a nominee for the 2008 Malkin Award, given by the Atlantic's Andrew Sullivan. The award, "named after blogger, Michelle Malkin - is for shrill, hyperbolic, divisive and intemperate right-wing rhetoric. Ann Coulter is ineligible - to give others a chance." Pretty awesome. Card earned his nomination with a hateful diatribe in--where else?--the Mormon Times:
Regardless of law, marriage has only one definition, and any government that attempts to change it is my mortal enemy. I will act to destroy that government and bring it down, so it can be replaced with a government that will respect and support marriage, and help me raise my children in a society where they will expect to marry in their turn. Biological imperatives trump laws. American government cannot fight against marriage and hope to endure. If the Constitution is defined in such a way as to destroy the privileged position of marriage, it is that insane Constitution, not marriage, that will die.
Dammit, I'm in the middle of a six-book series by Card! Guess I'll have to buy used copies of the remainder of the series, to keep the money out of his hands, or download them on BitTorrent. What an asshole!

Coleman: "I'll Do Something Else If I Lose"

Norm contemplates losing. He'd better contemplate defending himself on charges of corruption.

And, oh yeah: Franken's ahead by 48 votes. Go Al!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Yes We Can, Detroit-Style

The 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid gets 52 mpg from a hybrid gas-electric powerplant. No wonder Ford didn't want any bailout money!

Rick Warren?

Dump him, and replace him with Kirbyjon Caldwell (Carleton '75). Nuff said.

Do The Math

Where did that $350 billion of the TARP go? The Associated Press reported over the weekend that none of the banks that received the TARP funds could give a reasonable answer as to where it went. Some even wouldn't say what they did with it at all. And no one is willing to step up and ask them "Where did it go?! What did you spend it on? More bonuses, more corporate jets, more lavish 'workshops' at plush resorts? Why did GM and Chrysler have to have the dirt under their fingernails checked, but Citigroup just had to fill out a two-page form? WHAT THE FUCK DID YOU DO WITH THE MONEY, YOU ASSHOLES?!?!"

Jim Cramer is willing to ask, and he really wants to know. Especially check him out starting at 4:19, he's on fire:

I've said it before: no one in Congress was willing to ask the banks and the insurance companies how they fucked up the money, because no one in Congress really understands how the financial markets work, and they didn't want to be made to look like fools in front of the tv cameras and the "Wall Street titans." Let me tell you, I worked for ten years in the financial markets, and I'm not surprised that the banks, after begging for the dough, now aren't willing to say where all that money went. They don't think that they have to; they think that they're still Masters of the Universe...even though they're the same idiots who got us into this mess in the first place.

The guys that run Citi, and Morgan, and Bank of America, the hedge fund managers who make half-a-billion-with-a-B dollars a year, they don't think that they're subject to the same rules as the rest of us, plain and simple. They went crazy, made up insane financial instruments, synthetic derivatives based on air--polluted air, at that!--that screwed up the worldwide financial system, then ran to Uncle Sam for the money to clean up their fuckups. But, having been asked, do you think that anyone in Congress would then inquire of the banks to kindly enlighten us as to some idea of how they're going to use the money?--Seeing as how the last set of ideas these geniuses had got us into this mess in the first place. No, because these bankers knew how to con them. "Don't ask, you wouldn't understand the answer anyway," they said, away from the tv cameras. "Don't ask," said Hank Paulson, "this is far too complex to explain to the likes of you, and this is an urgent matter!" So Congress bent over, and gave up the cash. Or rather, they bent us over, and picked our pockets.

So no one asked the lords of the financial markets what they were going to do with the money. But making cars, heyyy, now that's something that the average congresscritter, especially the southern Republican ones, think they know something about. "You just stand in place and do the same thing every day, right? And you think that's worth $70 an hour?" (Which itself is utter bullshit. Additionally: salary for a member of the U.S. Senate = $169,300, or roughly $81 an hour.) "Why, that's almost as much as we make! And all we do is stand in the same place every day and do the same.....waitaminute, what are you going to do with all this money??" Notwithstanding the fact that the CEO of Merrill Lynch made more money in 2007 than a whole local of the UAW does in a decade. Notwithstanding the fact that part of the reason the automakers are in such dire straits is that there's no credit available for people to use to buy their products in the first place, thanks to the aforementioned financial wizards. Nowithstanding the fact that the lords of Wall Street didn't have a single condition attached to the $350 billion that they've been given.

So General Motors and Chrysler had to account for damn near every penny, promise to sell their jets, come up with a new business plan, and do it all in three months, or else! Yeah, do just that, and build us some flying pigs too, and then we'll give you the money. That's what Congress asked the auto manufacturers to do before they got a loan. But the banks were given their billions, no questions asked, and they got away scot-free, the way that skilled professional thieves always get away.

We need to ask some hard questions, and demand answers. We need to follow the money, as Jim Cramer suggested, and find out what did they do with it, where did it go, and when did they do it. And we need to bring some serious regulation back to Wall Street, to make it somewhat less of a least, for the next ten or twenty years or so.

Because the professional thieves will always find a new way to steal. But for a little while, maybe we can make things a little fairer for the rest of us.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Return Of The Lizard People

The infamous "Lizard People" ballot returns, courtesy of a reader:

Al's Down By 2!

The Minnesota Supreme Court does Al a solid. Can you say "Senator Franken"?

Ancestry Is No Guarantee Of Excellence

I was listening to MSNBC's Nora McDonald this morning, as she tried to provoke a fight between the Republican talking head and the Democratic talking head over why Caroline Kennedy was being questioned about her qualification to replace Hillary Clinton in the Senate. The Republican talking head said it was sexism that was provoking all the questioning, and the Democratic talking head actually agreed. They both cited the questioning of Sarah Palin as another example of men doubting that women can handle the responsibilities of public office. I think both of them were talking out of their asses.

I'm already on record as opposing Kennedy's appointment to the seat, but it's got nothing to do with sexism. Caroline Kennedy is an intelligent, well-educated woman, but she has never held elective office. I don't think that just because she's a Kennedy, she's automatically both the most-qualified and the natural first choice for the appointment. As Rachel Maddow said last night, why don't we just go ahead and make the Senate into the House of Lords?--because we have far too many legacy elections and/or appointments in government already, from the disastrous election of George W. Bush, to the first election of Hillary (Mrs. President Bill) Clinton as the Senator from New York, and the assumption that Joe Biden's son Beau will take his Senate seat as soon as he returns from Iraq, just to name a few. Being born into a political family does give one a leg up, just as being born into a family of doctors or a family of CPAs will help a child if they choose to go into that profession. But it doesn't guarantee excellence in that particular field, no matter the pedigree. We need look no further than GWB to see the truth of that assertion.

On the other hand, being elected to public office is no guarantee of excellence, either. Sarah Palin is the governor of Alaska, previously was the mayor of Wasilla, AK, and she's a dumb as a post. Palin was questioned about her qualifications because her selection as the Republican vice presidential candidate was made with no regard as to her intelligence, her general and political knowledge, her understanding of current national and international issues, her knowledge and understanding of the U.S. Constitution, Federal law, the legislative process, and an awareness of the responsibilities of the office--all of which she most abjectly lacked. Palin was questioned because she demonstrated, over and over again, that she was a clueless idiot and a disaster-in-waiting as the potential VP of a presidential candidate who was seventy-two years old. It was entirely appropriate to question Sarah Palin's qualifications because, like Caroline Kennedy, she was not vetted by the voters before assuming such a potentially important office. Palin was appointed as a candidate without experience in a national office and exposure on the national stage, and her lack of qualifications for the office soon became glaringly obvious.

Caroline Kennedy is now being put forward as a candidate, although she has a different though similar lack of experience and exposure. Kennedy has been a very private person up to now, preferring to work on the sidelines rather than being on the front lines as an elected official. And though she's a lawyer, an advocate for education and children's issues in New York state, and the daughter of one President and the niece of two U.S. senators (among her many family connections in politics), she has never run for or held elective office before. And while I don't think that having previously held office is a mandatory requirement for membership in the Senate (see my support for Al Franken's senate bid), I do think that one's pedigree doesn't automatically grant that person the experience and exposure necessary to be an effective senator. I'm sure that Caroline Kennedy is an intelligent, thoughtful, progressive woman, but so are a lot of other New York women, and some of them are already elected officials. Why not one of them, instead?

Being governor of a state with a population of 680,000 and having no knowledge or prior interest in the government, laws, and issues facing this country, does not prepare someone to be Vice President or President of the United States. And being a Kennedy does not prepare someone to represent New York in the United States Senate. It's not sexist, it's reasonable and necessary questioning.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

"Throwing The Shoe At Him"?

Ever since Iraqi journalist Muntadhar al-Zeidi threw his shoes at Bush during a press conference in Iraq, the act of "throwing a shoe" at a person in disfavor as the ultimate insult seems to be catching on. Keith Olbermann tonight had several examples of this phenomenon, and said "Flying footwear... officially the new political equivalent of flipping the bird." The New York Times ran a story about an irate subway rider who attempted to throw a shoe at the M.T.A.'s chief executive. called it "the shoes...felt round the world."

I wonder if this will catch on. Personally, I don't care, but I'm not tossing my boots at some asshole--they cost a lot of money! But if people really want to do this, I say have at it. And I can't promise that if I were ever to confront Bush, I wouldn't give him the American verbal equivalent of throwing my shoes at him, either.

As far as al-Zeidi is concerned, I think he should be tried by an Iraqi court, found guilty, and charged the Iraqi equivalent of $5.00. Frankly, I'd like to shake his hand.

Back Again

I've been teaching myself how to use Ubuntu Linux this last week, hence the scarcity of posts. I've been interesting in learning how to use Linux for a while, and after discovering Ubuntu's Wubi installer, I finally found a way to install Linux on my main box in peaceful coexistence with the Windows XP installation already there. It's not as easy to learn as the Linux fanboys claim, but I'm getting there. As anyone who knows me is aware, I hate Micro$oft's hegemony on personal computing, their medieval ideas about security, and their support for so-called "digital rights management", AKA claiming innocence while aiding and abetting the biggest thieves around. I'm looking forward to achieving my goal of being totally Micro$oft-free in 2009!

Also on the geek front recently, the existence of dark energy has been confirmed, the Cleveland Clinic has successfully completed the first face transplant procedure attempted in America, and President-Elect Obama has selected a Nobel Prize-winning physicist for his Secretary of Energy.

I intend in the next few days to discuss how tech firms seem to be opposed to the card-check bill coming up next year in Congress, Norm Coleman's legal troubles, and the emergence of CNBC as the voice of the opposition; plus Blago, the economic stimulus package, Madoff, and more--stay tuned!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

"The Party of Herbert Hoover"

Republicans were warned Thursday by none other than Dick Cheney that failure to bailout the American automobile industry will label them "the party of Herbert Hoover forever":
Bush personally lobbied recalcitrant Senate Republicans after Vice President Dick Cheney failed to round up support Wednesday during a contentious two-hour meeting.

"If we don't do this, we will be known as the party of Herbert Hoover forever," Cheney told them, according to a Senate Republican aide, evoking the president whose inaction is widely blamed for helping trigger the Great Depression in the early 1930s.
Gee, the truth hurts, doesn't it? John Judis also noted:
If you look at the history of the Great Depression, what tipped that event from a global recession to depression was precisely a series of dumb, craven--or in Keynes’ word, “feather-brained”--moves by politicians blinded by ideology or by narrow self-interest. An interest rate hike here, a balanced budget there, a spending reduction or two, and we went from ten to twenty percent unemployment. Don’t imagine for a moment that the failure to bailout the auto companies isn’t one of those feather-brained moves.

Put it this way. What we have learned from the economics of the Great Depression is that in order to end the spiral of unemployment, government has to throw money at companies and consumers. It should be trying to raise wages, not lower them. The Wall Street bailout was a fiasco, but it was probably better than nothing. And the auto bailout was considerably better thought-out. Now there is a good prospect that two of the Big Three will fail, jeopardizing, perhaps, as many as a million jobs. That’s exactly the kind of thing that Americans should not be doing. But don’t tell that to those great patriots Corker, DeMint, or Shelby. They know better.

Ohhh, yeah, they know better, alright! Economic geniuses, every one of 'em....turning America into a third world country, and getting paid every step of the way.

Friday, December 12, 2008

GOP Senators to Big 3: Drop Dead

Yesterday Senate Republicans defeated a bill to bailout Detroit carmakers, then blamed it on the United Auto Workers. In a transparent attempt to destroy the union, Republicans blamed the U.A.W. for their own intransigence, risking the collapse of General Motors and Chrysler to further their narrow-minded parochialism and ideological extremism:

Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) then outlined what he said was a simpler alternative to the White House-brokered bill, which he called "a very poor product." He proposed giving General Motors and Chrysler the loans they want in return for three covenants, the first of which would require the companies by March 15 to either reduce their debt by two-thirds or file for bankruptcy. The other two covenants would require concessions from the United Auto Workers union and the companies' bondholders.


"Instead of the car czar, this ought to be titled the president's puppet," complained Corker, echoing the concerns of many of his GOP colleagues. Corker yesterday unveiled an alternate proposal that would force bondholders in the car companies to accept equity as partial payment; force the UAW to immediately reduce worker pay packages to match Nissan, Toyota and Honda; and ban compensation to idled workers, among other provisions.

"If we don't have the forced restructuring plans in place, many of us don't believe that American car companies will come out of this in a competitive position and the taxpayers' money will be wasted," said Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.).

Ensign added that he fears a car czar would not have the expertise to deal with the auto companies. "When GM, Ford, Chrysler, their management teams have not been able to run their companies, obviously, very well, how does anybody expect some car czar or some politician to be able to make the decisions that are right from a business standpoint?"

Democrats have resisted forced restructuring, arguing that, under the Bush administration it could amount to open season on the UAW. They also sympathize with the automakers' argument that bankruptcy proceedings would scare off potential buyers.

As DHinMi at Daily Kos relates, it's all a crock:
The job bank provision is a canard, because the UAW and the Big Three are already eliminating it. So what this really is about is playing chicken with the economy and the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of workers. A majority of GOP senators are either stupid and convinced that the problem with the Big Three is labor costs. In fact, many of the problems facing the Big Three aren't specific to them. The worldwide auto industry is a mess, due to the freeze on credit; worldwide trade is expected to decline for the first time since 1982.
I've had it with Republican shortsightedness, union-busting, and corruption. They would rather see General Motors and Chrysler go into bankruptcy and see over 5 million jobs disappear, than help these companies, whose workers and their unions helped defeat their party in this year's election. These traitorous Repugs don't care if the American manufacturing base destroyed, as long as unions are destroyed, and foreign companies continue to build non-union auto plants in their states. They don't care if their actions deepen and legthen the recession or bring on a full-scale depression.

Jeff at The TC Daily Liberal was never so right as when he described the Republican Party as
the party of obstruction and pettiness. They don’t stand for anything, yet they’re always willing to pick a fight...The Republicans have put their war against the unions ahead of the health of our economy.

The irony, of course, is that their vote is going to be meaningless anyway. The Bush administration will probably use TARP money to give automakers the $14 million anyway. All the Republicans did was show that they’re still not willing to compromise. No matter how grave the circumstances, nothing will make them turn away from their petty attacks and act in our economy’s best interest.
Exactly so. Make no mistake, this is about union-busting, pure and simple. This is about trying to finish, in their final weeks with some power, the job that Reagan started when he destroyed PATCO.

Again from Daily Kos, Senaca Doane writes:
I am sympathetic to those who don't want public money spend on private enterprise, or who don't trust the management of the Big 3, or who think that the Big 3 are doomed anyway, or who think that the bureaucracy of the UAW is top-heavy and wasteful. To various degrees and with varied levels of enthusiasm, I accept all of these critiques.

And yet, our decision now is not to get rid of the Big 3 or their leadership. They will head to bankruptcy, under current management, if no bailout is forthcoming.

It is not about whether to save public money (more of which will go into cleaning up the consequences of an auto industry failure than would be spent now.)

It is about one concern only: the destruction of the UAW and as much of the American labor movement as the Republicans can manage in these last few weeks before their power is sapped.


Unionism is seen by conservatives as unnecessary, socialistic, out of touch, out of date -- everything that has been said about unions since they first ever came into being. These arguments are part and parcel with non-enforcement of working conditions laws and elimination of the minimum wage: they think that America would be better off if our workers were as desperate and meek as those of China.

...Put aside for now the significant benefits that the union movement (for all its troubles) has conferred on both unionized and non-unionized workers in the past century or so -- and don't think for a moment that those non-unionized auto workers in the South would have, or will have, relatively decent pay and good working conditions were it not for the need to compete with the packages negotiated up north by the UAW. Consider instead the tremendous benefits that movement has conferred upon the Democratic Party.

For much of the 20th century, it was union-provided labor that allowed Democrats to stay competitive with Republican financial advantages.

Still, when Democrats meet, we often as not meet in union halls. When we phone bank, it is often in union halls, with union workers joining other activists on the phones.

If you want to know whether a white working or middle class voter will vote Democratic, one of the best predictors has long been: "do they have a union job?"

I do not give one jolly quivering monkey hump whether you like the union movement or whether you see problems with the union movement (as in some ways I do) or whether you have substantial disagreements on policy with the union movement (as I do.) The vote taking place this week in the Senate is about Republican attempts to dismantle the Democratic coalition.
This is the hidden core of Republican opposition to a bailout. We can't let them get away with this. Right or wrong, the Big 3 have to be saved.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

What Does Norm Coleman Have Against Democracy?

Honestly, I can't see why Coleman doesn't to see all the votes counted...unless Normie doesn't want the votes against him counted:

Do The Right Thing?

I caught Mike Huckabee promoting his new book on The Daily Show the other night. The worst thing I find about Huckabee is that he spouts arrant nonsense and divisive bullshit while sounding like an easygoing and wise elder statesman. His views are totally at odds with a rational, just and pluralistic society, yet he couches his wingnut beliefs in reasonable-sounding statements.

Huck asserted that "for 5,000 years marriage has been defined as being between a man and a woman." Really? In ALL human societies? Not at all! Yet the average person, without a grounding in history and anthropology, would buy his argument. That the average person would listen to bullshit like this without their biblical knowledge, general education, and critical thought coming into play is a topic for another post, but still I'm concerned that rightwingers like Huckabee are listened to by educated people without the laughter and ridicule their statements deserve.

Frankly, I get sick of religious rightwingers picking and choosing Biblical laws and verses to fit their prejudices and political stances. I hear crap like Huckabee's assertions, and I wonder if the speaker eats shellfish, or keeps his wife and daughters separated from the family during their periods. The hypocrisy of these Christian Taliban astounds me. I keep waiting for more moderate Christians to denounce them (and thankfully, some are starting to do so).

John Stewart gave back to Huck as good as he got, and I'm glad of it--but we need more people like him to stand up and call statements like Huckabee's for what they are, namely, bullshit. That would truly be "doing the right thing."

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Norm Coleman Is Another One

The Pioneer Press reports that Normie is under investigation by the FBI. Sounds like another item in the news right now? Ask the Minnesota Independent:
Because the charges against Blagojevich are criminal and made by the U.S. Department of Justice, they are (so far) on a wholly different order from allegations about the Colemans that were made by private plaintiffs in a pair of Texas civil suits from October.

The dissimilarity, however, ends approximately there. In both cases, the charges are that illegal payoffs to the elected official would be masked as payment of work performed by the wife. The monetary amounts are in the same ballpark: Laurie Coleman’s company received $75,000 and was to be paid $25,000, while the salary proposed for Patricia Blagojevich ran as high as $150,000.

One difference: In the Colemans’ case, payments — which haven’t been shown to be illegal, and whose propriety Sen. Coleman has insisted on — were actually made, not just talked about during wiretapped conversations.

Gee, at this rate, we might need a special "Republicans Only" federal prison.

Ill. Gov. Blagojevich Arrested

What an asshole!

Meanwhile, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. says "I'm not Candidate 5."

Can we just have another special election, this time in Illinois? Because I'm pretty sure that by now the entire process has been poisoned.

Republicans Hate Unions

Listening to Mitch McConnell and Richard Shelby, I realized that the GOP hates unions. No big surprise there, but the extent of their hatred for unions, and consequently, the Big 3, astounds me. Are they so opposed to unionization that they're willing to see 3 million jobs go down the shitter? Apparently so.

Funny also how Shelby's home state of Alabama has non-union automobile factories owned by Honda, Toyota, Hyundai, and Mercedes-Benz. Alabama has given hundreds of millions of dollars in "incentives" to these manufacturers to persuade them to build their factories in the state. Do you think that McConnell and Shelby might have interests that are more parochial than national at heart?

Monday, December 8, 2008

Idiocy Averted

The Supreme Court has turned down an emergency appeal from a New Jersey man who says President-elect Barack Obama is ineligible to be president because he was a British subject at birth.

The court did not comment on its order Monday rejecting the call by Leo Donofrio of East Brunswick, N.J., to intervene in the presidential election. Donofrio says that since Obama had dual nationality at birth _ his mother was American and his Kenyan father at the time was a British subject _ he cannot possibly be a "natural born citizen," one of the requirements the Constitution lists for eligibility to be president.

I predict an appearance on Faux News in the near future for Donofrio.

Sen. Caroline Kennedy?--Thanks, but no thanks!

I have to say that I agree with Kos, Atrios, and Jane about the appointment of Caroline Kennedy to Hillary Clinton's soon-to-be-vacated seat in the Senate:
It's one thing when the children of politicians use their name and network advantages to make political careers for themselves - regrettable but inevitable in our very imperfect meritocracy - but quite another when it's just bestowed on them.
I revere the memory of her father and uncle, I met her as a teenager and I'm sure she's still a nice person, and she's got a J.D. from Columbia, but Kos is right:
Caroline has done nothing to help beat back the right-wing machine. But now, she's supposed to be handed by fiat what others fight their whole lives to attain?
If she wants to help--now that the struggle is over and the real fighting is about to begin--can't Obama just give her an ambassadorship to someplace nice and warm, like Belize or Costa Rica, instead?

Sunday, December 7, 2008

He's Cool

On a related note, SNL still hasn't hired a new black comic for Obama impressions. Is this being post-racial, or stupid? I'm still not sure.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Al Picks Up 37 Votes!

Eric Kleefeld @ Talking Points Memo:
Ramsey County elections manager Joe Mansky just confirmed to us by phone that Franken picked up a net 37 votes over Norm Coleman from these ballots. The ballots were just discovered this morning, after an apparent machine breakdown on Election Night prevented them from being counted the first time around -- but the hand count had no similar problems picking them out.
Thirty-seven more votes for Franken, after 171 were found in a voting machine in Maplewood. Of course, the Coleman campaign will contest this, as they have every other ballot that's not been clearly, fully, and completely marked. I swear, these people must proctor SAT exams in their other lives. And I expect the wingnuts to lose their minds about this; or, as Jeff at the Twin Cities Daily Liberal puts it, "conservative freakout in 3…2…1…"

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Detroit Bailout

E.J. Dionne:
There is a paradox at the heart of the proposed bailout of the auto industry. The rescue would have no chance of passing without the muscle of the Big Three’s unionized work force. Yet you can’t turn around without hearing someone trash autoworkers for the terrible crime of trying to earn a decent living.

I really don't understand how Obama's wanting to "spread the wealth around" was so terrible, yet this kind of attitude is never called out for what it is: class warfare, in its purest form. And please don't give me that "they make $70 an hour!" bullshit.

Monday, December 1, 2008

In Memoriam: Gil Heron and Everett Strong

Gil Heron, the father of poet and musician Gil Scott-Heron, passed away on November 27th at the age of eighty-seven. Called "The Black Arrow," Heron was the first black player in British professional soccer.

As anyone who knows me knows, his son Gil Scott-Heron has been a major influence in my life. His music has been part of my life for over thirty-five years, a large part of the musical score of my life and times. GSH's music has been a source of inspiration, hope, and catharsis for me. His title of "Godfather of Rap" bears witness to his influence over modern rap and hip-hop. Although his later years have been scarred by addiction and incarceration, his political acumen, wit, and sense of history are as relevant today as when he recorded The Revolution Will Not Be Televised in 1971.

Yesterday was also the anniversary of the passing of Everett Strong, my father. He died twenty-eight years ago, when I was a young and angry man of twenty-five, just when I was getting to know him, and getting to know myself. Although he wasn't a highly educated man--my dad left school after the eighth grade to help support his family--my father read three newspapers a day, supported my efforts at higher education, and left me with lessons of love and support for those near and dear to me.

I'm not the man my father was, but I am my own man, and I try every day to be someone he would have been proud to know. I was raised in a loving home, with a mother and father who were home together every day of my life, for the love of each other as well as for me. Gil Scott-Heron, on the other hand, was abandoned by his father at an early age, and raised by his grandmother. I've often wondered, after hearing these words from his song Hello Sunday! Hello Road!, what Gil's life might have been like, if things had happened differently for him:

And it was on a Sunday I met my old man,

I was twenty-six years old.

Naw, but it was much too late to speculate

I was luckier, much luckier.

Thanks, Dad...and Gil, my condolences.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The McCarthy Gene

Neal Gabler in the L. A. Times:
The creation myth of modern conservatism usually begins with Barry Goldwater, the Arizona senator who was the party's presidential standard-bearer in 1964 and who, even though he lost in one of the biggest landslides in American electoral history, nevertheless wrested the party from its Eastern establishment wing. Then, Richard Nixon co-opted conservatism, talking like a conservative while governing like a moderate, and drawing the opprobrium of true believers. But Ronald Reagan embraced it wholeheartedly, becoming the patron saint of conservatism and making it the dominant ideology in the country. George W. Bush picked up Reagan's fallen standard and "conservatized" government even more thoroughly than Reagan had, cheering conservatives until his presidency came crashing down around him. That's how the story goes.

But there is another rendition of the story of modern conservatism, one that doesn't begin with Goldwater and doesn't celebrate his libertarian orientation. It is a less heroic story, and one that may go a much longer way toward really explaining the Republican Party's past electoral fortunes and its future. In this tale, the real father of modern Republicanism is Sen. Joe McCarthy, and the line doesn't run from Goldwater to Reagan to George W. Bush; it runs from McCarthy to Nixon to Bush and possibly now to Sarah Palin. It centralizes what one might call the McCarthy gene, something deep in the DNA of the Republican Party that determines how Republicans run for office, and because it is genetic, it isn't likely to be expunged any time soon.
I think Gabler is onto something here. I've long said that Palin is merely the modern-day embodiment of McCarthy, wrapped in snark and a tight skirt; the idea that she is the spiritual descendant--through Nixon--of McCarthyism, makes perfect sense to me. It also means that 1) the Republican Party is likely to split along intellectual-rational vs. evangelical-extremist lines, and 2) we won't soon be rid of Palin.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


Bloomberg News:
The U.S. government is prepared to provide more than $7.76 trillion on behalf of American taxpayers after guaranteeing $306 billion of Citigroup Inc. debt yesterday. The pledges, amounting to half the value of everything produced in the nation last year, are intended to rescue the financial system after the credit markets seized up 15 months ago.

The bailout includes a Fed program to buy as much as $2.4 trillion in short-term notes, called commercial paper, that companies use to pay bills, begun Oct. 27, and $1.4 trillion from the FDIC to guarantee bank-to-bank loans, started Oct. 14.

The money that’s been pledged is equivalent to $24,000 for every man, woman and child in the country. It’s nine times what the U.S. has spent so far on wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to Congressional Budget Office figures. It could pay off more than half the country’s mortgages.
So now we finally have the true estimated cost of the bailout, including Monday's bailout of Citigroup to the tune of $25 billion: a jaw-dropping $7.7 trillion dollars. That's seven-thousand seven-hundred billion dollars. That's one hell of a lot of zeros.

That's 137 times Bill Gates' net worth.

That's a stack of $100 bills 5,225 miles high.

7.7 trillion seconds ago is 243,997 years ago, the time of the emergence of Neanderthal Man.

$7.7 trillion is like giving $25,600 to every man, woman, and child in the America.

Or rather, that's how much every individual in the country in in hock for this bailout.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Watch The Unblurred Palin Turkey 'Pardon' With Keith O.

Keith Olbermann sees the Palin Turkey Slaughter for the first time. The unblurred version, too!

Nate Silver Calls It: Franken By 27 Votes

Uber-geek Nate Silver of calls the Minnesota Senate election for Franken by a nose:
...Franken will gain a net of .837 votes for every 10,000 cast. With a total of 2,885,555 ballots having been recorded in the initial count, this works out to a projected gain of 242 votes for Franken statewide. Since Norm Coleman led by 215 votes in the initial count, this suggests that Franken will win by 27 votes once the recount process is complete (including specifically the adjudication of all challenged ballots).

Cross your fingers!

The Scowcroft Factor

Ygelsias about Scowcroft:
On economic issues, moderate Republicans are almost all still to the right of moderate Democrats. But on foreign policy, traditional Republican realists have a lot more in common with liberal Democrats than either do with Democratic hawks. Both are likely to have opposed the Iraq War or soured on it early. Both are likely to be skeptical of the idea that we should base our foreign policy on self-righteousness. Both are likely to appreciate the importance of taking a balanced approach to the Israel-Palestine conflict. And both are likely to be skeptical of the idea that the highest expresion of humanitarian impulses is launching unilateral wars surrounded by high-minded rhetoric.

Under the circumstances, outreach from Obama to Republican realists would constitute a counterpoint rather than an intensification of outreach from Obama to Hillary Clinton’s top level of supporters and advisers.
Brent Scowcroft and Bush41 formulated a realistic and effective foreign policy. Too bad Junior didn't listen to his elders. Being more than a bit of a realpolitik advocate myself, I see several good things about this. There's nothing wrong with emphasis on an Israeli-Palestinian peace accord, either. But, on the other hand, I'd still like to see more Democratic foreign policy wonks in the Obama Adminstration.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Hillary?? There Go My Chances With the Obama Administration!

Yes, of course I tossed a resume at the trasition team. What am I, stupid? A chance to work for perhaps the most important administration in my lifetime, an opportunity to serve under the first African-American president this nation has ever seen? Of course I sent them a resume!

Then I read a fascinating and disturbing article by Spencer Ackerman, discussing some of the unmentioned consequences of a Hillary Clinton State Dept.: namely, the likelihood that she'll recruit and hire members of the foreign policy establishment, rather than the Young Turks that surrounded Obama during the primaries, like Susan Rice, Samantha Power (no chance in hell that she'll get a job under Clinton, more's the pity), and Greg Craig (now appointed as Special Counsel to the President).
Some progressive Obama supporters think the arrival of Clinton at the State Dept. will mean they’ll be frozen out. That would have implications for their advancement in subsequent Democratic administrations.

“Basically, you have all of these young, next-generation and mid-career people who took a chance on Obama” during the primaries, said one Democratic foreign-policy expert included in that cohort. “They were many times the ones who were courageous enough to stand up early against Iraq, which is why many of them supported Obama in the first place. And many of them would likely get shut out of the mid-career and assistant-secretary type jobs that you need, so that they can one day be the top people running a future Democratic administration.”

In the foreign-policy bureaucracy, these middle-tier jobs — assistant secretary and principal-deputy-assistant and deputy-assistant — are stepping stones to bigger, more important jobs, because they’re where much of the actual policy-making is hashed out. Those positions flesh out strategic decisions made by the president and cabinet secretaries; implement those policies; and use their expertise to both inform decisions and propose targeted or specific solutions to particular crises.
Althought I've never complained about the number of Clintonistas in Obama's developing Cabinet, I have to wonder why he went with his biggest critic on foreign policy--at least in his own party. Now, it's not like he has a large group of recently-experienced people to draw from. The next most recent Democratic administration before Clinton's was Jimmy Carter's. You know, back when Checkoslovakia existed, and Africa was one country. And better to have some experience, I feel, and be wisely led, than to have no experience and wise leadership. Look at how well that worked out for Bill! Someone has to know where the restrooms are, and whether or not the German Chancellor likes shellfish.

But Hillary? Let's be honest, being on a first-name basis with a large number of world leaders doesn't necessarily mean that they'll listen to what she has to say, when she sits down to talk business with them. I'm on a first-name basis with a lot of people to whom I wouldn't give a thin dime! But there she is, or will be, so it seems. And experts and career diplomats like Rice and Power have to sit on the sidelines, or take orders from her? Well, there goes my chances of getting a job at Foggy Bottom this decade.

Charles Brown at the Undiplomatic blog goes on to note that
During the primaries, the Clinton campaign asked foreign policy experts to remain “exclusive” to Hillary (meaning they could not also offer advice to other candidates). That’s not an unreasonable position, even if the other leading candidates (including Obama) chose not to follow suit. I know many people in the foreign policy community who volunteered for the Clinton campaign because they thought she was the best candidate. But I also know a few who, because of ambition, felt that they had to work for her even though they preferred another candidate. When Obama ultimately won, all of them were welcomed by his campaign and integrated into Obama’s existing campaign apparatus.

If Hillary were to become Secretary of State, I presume that she, like most Secretaries, would be given significant leeway in picking most (if not all) of her senior advisors (meaning in the case of State the two Deputy Secretaries, the Under Secretaries, and those Assistant Secretary postions not assigned to career foreign service officers). It would be logical (and not unreasonable) to conclude that she probably would favor those who served her during the primaries.

But doing so could create two problems. First, the team of rivals could turn into rival fiefdoms, with Obama supporters dominating the NSC (and Defense) and Clinton supporters dominating State. Given the fact that the next Administration urgently needs to reintegrate State into existing foreign policy structures (and give it the resources both to achieve its mission and play a more robust role in intra-agency negotiations), Obama needs to end existing inter-agency rivalries, not create new ones.

Second, there was no love lost among the two camps’ advisors during the primaries. The Clintons attacked those it viewed as disloyal (such as Bill Richardson and Gregory Craig), which angered many in the Obama campaign. In addition, I heard from more than one friend that they were warned that they could forget about a role in a Clinton administration should they not support Hillary during the primaries. Given those realities, Obama risks angering those who did support him, and some of his supporters may regard Hillary’s likely selection of her loyalists to senior posts as a betrayal.
Sounding worse and worse. I think I'd have better luck tossing a resume at Citigroup. What? Never mind.

How Well Did You Do?

I scored 87.88% on this quiz. How about you?

Caribou Barbie Strikes Again!

Watch as Sarah Palin gives an interview at a turkey hatchery after her annual pardon of a turkey. Meanwhile, behind her in the frame, other turkeys are being slaughtered on-camera:

According to reports, she knew what was going on behind her, yet replied "No worries!" when a photographer asked her if she wanted to move to another location for the interview. What was that little fool thinking? Of course, the wingnuts are trying to spin this as a positive for Caribou Barbie. Man, did we ever dodge a bullet when this idiot lost!

UPDATE: I've replaced the video with the uncut version. Thanks to TPM Election Central.

The Recount--Now With Extra Weirdness!

Nate Silver thinks Franken is being too nice. I agree. We need Al to be #60! As of tonight, he's closed to within 136 votes of Coleman so far--go Al!!

MPR has coverage as well, and some samples of disputed ballots; it's worth taking a look. And what the hell was this guy thinking:

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Fairy Gold

The Dow dropped 444.99 points today to close at 7552.29, its lowest since 2002. The American auto industry is hurting, on the verge of collapse, and looking for a government handout. Citigroup is looking for a merger partner to stave off a crash in their shares' valuation.

When will the GOP admit that the last eight years of "prosperity" was nothing more than fairy gold?

White Men Just Steal Everything!

Mike Huckabee's new book is titled Do The Right Thing.

The Continuing Victory of Intelligence and Common Sense

Politico reports that Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano has been tapped to become the Secretary of Homeland Security.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A-rab, please!

So apparently, al-Zawahri thinks he can talk smack about President-Elect Obama:
In al-Qaida's first response to Obama's victory, al-Zawahri also called the president-elect _ along with secretaries of state Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice _ "house Negroes."

Speaking in Arabic, al-Zawahri uses the term "abeed al-beit," which literally translates as "house slaves." But al-Qaida supplied English subtitles of his speech that included the translation as "house Negroes."

The message also includes old footage of speeches by Malcolm X in which he explains the term, saying black slaves who worked in their white masters' house were more servile than those who worked in the fields. Malcolm X used the term to criticize black leaders he accused of not standing up to whites.

On a personal level, al-Zawahri and al-Qaida can kiss my ass. And like Ta-Nehisi Coates, I think he needs to keep Malcolm X's name out of his lying mouth. But the best response that I've heard to this crap came earlier this evening, from my sensei:

"House negro? Yeah: White House."

Sect. Clinton....How's That Again?

Josh Marshall:
But I think we should consider that during her time on the national stage Sen. Clinton has been at the helm in two big undertakings -- had two big executive leadership tasks. One was health care in 1994 and the other was her presidential bid in 2007-08. Each was something of a trainwreck from an executive-level management perspective. And the State Department is a notoriously intractable bureaucracy.

I don't get it, either. I don't care how popular she is overseas, I don't think that Hillary: 1) is a team player, and 2) can control Bill. With all their disagreements on foreign policy, I think that if Hillary really needs a payoff for her support in the general election, give her a seat on the Supreme Court instead. State is f'ed up enough after Condi's reign there.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Yes, I'm talking about the Senate Democrats. Today, by a margin of 42-13, the Democratic caucus voted to allow Joe Lieberman to keep his chairmanship of the important Senate Governmental Affairs and Homeland Security Committee. Despite Lieberman's betrayal of the party by campaigning not only for John McCain, but also for down-ticket Repugs like our own Norm Coleman, the cowards and good ol' boys in the party voted for "conciliation", not justice.

Fuck 'em.

Lieberman doesn't deserve that chair, just like he doesn't deserve his seat in the Senate. He's now in a position to stir up trouble for President Obama, and I'm betting that he will. Lieberman is out for Lieberman, only. He's going to spend the next four years being a pain in the ass to us, and then he'll retire to a nice fat lobbyist job, rather than face Ned Lamont in 2012 (Ned hinted that he's planning to challenge Joementum again on tonight's broadcast of The Rachael Maddow Show). He should be so lucky!

Harry Reid showed NO leadership on this one. He should have pushed to have Lieberman stripped of his chair, to rightfully punish Lieberman, and to keep Obama's hands clean. Instead, we're stuck with this traitorous asshole for the foreseeable future.

Monday, November 17, 2008

You've Gotta Be Kidding Me!

Prince is against gay marriage? PRINCE?? From the New Yorker, via Andrew Sullivan:
When asked about his perspective on social issues—gay marriage, abortion—Prince tapped his Bible and said, “God came to earth and saw people sticking it wherever and doing it with whatever, and he just cleared it all out. He was, like, ‘Enough.’ ”
Man, who does he think he's kidding? That scrawny little punk, with his wispy mustache and platform shoes? The guy with the dildo guitar and the falsetto voice, imitating James Brown dance moves and Sly Stone horn arrangements? What would Prince be without the sexually ambiguous image that he perfected and made famous?--just another talented multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter. You can trip over dozens of 'em just like that in Hollywood and New York. It's like Mariah Carey's marriage to Tommy Mottola: he wouldn't be where he is without it.

Gay activist and blogger Joe My God thinks it's insane, too:
The irony, it burns. The pop star who made his name on his effete, androgynous "Is he GAY or not?" persona - now he hates us. Here's a guy who made zillions on some of the most deliciously filthy music in history (Head, Sexy Motherfucker, Erotic City, Darling Nikki) who now says that "people sticking it wherever and doing it with whatever" were justifiably wiped out by God. I guess it's time for US to justifiably wipe out Prince from our computers. And the next time your local gay DJ drops a Prince tune, make sure to let him know THIS story.
Ohhh, I will, I will! I've always known that Prince was crazy, but I didn't know he was Christian-Taliban crazy. What a hypocrite! I was already angry with Prince over his stance on downloaded music, but now this? As an African-American, a musician, and a resident of the Twin Cities, he shames me. It'll be a cold day in hell before Prince gets another dime from me!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Congrats to Nate Silver!

The Huffington Post reports that Nate Silver of has signed two book deals. Yay Nate!

What To Do About Lieberman?

My advice?--In brief, kick his ass out of the caucus. He's earned it.

The long answer: Joe Lieberman, for his support of John McCain, his false and defaming accusations against President-Elect Obama, his support of and campaigning for downticket Republicans like Norm Coleman, and his lack of effort as chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, has earned nothing less than being stripped of his chairmanship. He has yet to apologize for his traitorous actions, as Evan Bayh suggested, and he has shown no interest in being contrite or even reasonable. Indeed, he's acted as if he is the one holding the upper hand here, threatening to leave the Democratic caucus in the Senate if he's stripped of his chairmanship. Should the Senate Democrats acquiese to his demands, in hopes of securing the 60-vote supermajority? Shouldn't we forgive and forget, rather than lose the chance of reaching that fabled goal?

To that I say: Joe, don't let the doorknob hit your ass on the way out the door.

Lieberman has been a thorn in our side for a long time now. I'm sure that the Democratic voters of Connecticut feel the same way now, too. (Lemont 2012!) After the way Joementum has acted, why should he be rewarded for his backstabbing? That's crazytalk! Homeland Security is a premier committee, and its chairmanship should be given to a proven activist Democrat, someone in line with the President-Elect's views and agenda. What has Lieberman done to deserve this assignment? Has he been an aggressive chairman, scouring out corruption and defending the American people, the way his House counterpart, Rep. Henry Waxman, has on his House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform? No! Joe has sat on his hands and done nothing throughout the reign of one of the most wasteful, dishonest, and corrupt administrations in American history. Worse, he crossed the line and campaigned for his friend John McCain, the Republican candidate for the Presidency. And worst of all, he even campaigned for Republican Senate and House candidates!

Joe's even said on CNN that he would vote with the Republicans on any filibusters, so what good is he to us? None! I believe in mercy, but I also believe in justice. Joe Lieberman deserves for his actions to be stripped of his chairmanship. Should he then chose to leave the Democratic caucus, it will be his choice, and it won't hurt us in the Senate. But he's got to give up the chair.

Obama's First Weekly Address

President-Elect Obama's ( I LOVE writing that!) first weekly address. And it's on YouTube, too! Over 643,000 views on YouTube as of the time of this post.

"The sacrificial lamb"?

Marc Ambinder:

A strategist for a rival potential presidential rival e-mails to express amusement with Gov. Sarah Palin's come one, come all PR strategy:

"Fine with us. Let her be the sacrificial lamb for 2012."

Oh please, let's not even get that close!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I Think He's Right About This

Josh Marshall makes a case for Bob Gates, and, in the background, Brent Scowcroft:
One thing to understand about Bob Gates is that he's a Scowcroft guy.

Scowcroft, to the best of my knowledge, never endorsed Obama. But he also, very pointedly, didn't endorse McCain either. And going back many months he's been an important player, far in the background and not for public consumption, in the Obama world. Remember, Hagel, who's sort of been Obama's Joe Lieberman (in the good sense) is very close to Scowcroft. He and Powell are close too. He's the guy who brings all this stuff together.

It's also worth knowing that Scowcroft has also been involved in a multi-year rearguard battle against the neocons in the Bush administration, especially in key efforts trying to block sundry wars with Iran, shut down John Bolton, etc.

I have a lot of respect for Scowcroft (even if he did give Condi Rice her first job in politics) and his worldview, and anybody who's been trying to keep the lid on the neocons earns a tip of the hat from me. Add in people like Susan Rice, Anthony Zinni, Samantha Power, and Anthony Lake, and I think we'd have the nucleus of a formidable Obama foreign policy team.

Sign O' The Times


Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Wasilla Hillbillies

Cue the banjo's the GOP circular firing squad!

Newsweek (emphasis mine):
NEWSWEEK has also learned that Palin's shopping spree at high-end department stores was more extensive than previously reported. While publicly supporting Palin, McCain's top advisers privately fumed at what they regarded as her outrageous profligacy. One senior aide said that Nicolle Wallace had told Palin to buy three suits for the convention and hire a stylist. But instead, the vice presidential nominee began buying for herself and her family--clothes and accessories from top stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus. According to two knowledgeable sources, a vast majority of the clothes were bought by a wealthy donor, who was shocked when he got the bill. Palin also used low-level staffers to buy some of the clothes on their credit cards. The McCain campaign found out last week when the aides sought reimbursement. One aide estimated that she spent "tens of thousands" more than the reported $150,000, and that $20,000 to $40,000 went to buy clothes for her husband. Some articles of clothing have apparently been lost. An angry aide characterized the shopping spree as "Wasilla hillbillies looting Neiman Marcus from coast to coast," and said the truth will eventually come out when the Republican Party audits its books.
This is a surprise? Palin has backstabbed everyone who's ever given her a helping hand upwards, and proven herself to be vacuous, venal, and ignorant at every opportunity. The very idea that she could be a leader of the Republican Party is proof-positive of the GOP's detachment from reality, and the bankruptcy of their ideas. But some of the more dimwitted Republicans are seriously suggesting that she be acclaimed a leader of their party.

Kagro X at Kos:
Yes, in the few short weeks we knew her, Sarah Palin turned out to have more hands in more pockets than we could keep track of. She and Joe (the Plumber) were the perfect pair. Instantly famous but for no good reason, pushy, greedy, and all the while cheating behind the scenes, and cheating on the very issues about which each of them complained that regular Americans were getting a raw deal from the elite.

Meanwhile, HuffPost relates this astounding story from Faux News:
According to Fox News Chief Political Correspondent Carl Cameron, there was great concern within the McCain campaign that Palin lacked "a degree of knowledgeability necessary to be a running mate, a vice president, a heartbeat away from the presidency," in part because she didn't know which countries were in NAFTA, and she "didn't understand that Africa was a continent, rather than a series, a country just in itself."

Cameron relates how McCain aides were terrified of Palin's lack of knowledge of international and national issues, and even basic civics. Cameron reports that Palin was unfamiliar with the concept of "American exceptionalism," and that not only did she not understand that Africa was a continent rather than a single country but also that during debate prep Palin was unable to name all the nations in North America.
That's not stupid, that's Kellie Pickler Stupid.Though it pains me to do so, check out the video below from Faux. The degree of Palin's ignorance is astounding. Listening to Carl Cameron talk about her "knowledgeability", however, helps me to understand how these idiots could like her in the first place:

"Palin in 2012"? Don't make me laugh!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I'm Exhausted For Now, So: Heroes and Villians, The Short List

Been following all the news today with less than four hours of sleep. Lots to think about and say, but not enough coherency to say it all as thoughtfully and eloquently as I'd like.

So, briefly:

Congratulations again to President-Elect Barack Obama and Vice President-Elect Joe Biden. Yes We Can and Yes We Did!

Thanks to Sen. John McCain for a graceful concession speech last night--I hope that we get to see that McCain again, in the months and years to come.

Thanks also to Gov. Howard Dean, who proved to the Repugs that the Fifty-State Strategy was not only viable, but potent--go ahead and scream if you want, they won't dare say anything this time.

To Rep. Keith Ellison--congratulations on your reelection. I'm proud that you represent me in Congress.

To Al Franken, our next senator from Minnesota--my continued support, prayers, and hopes. 500 votes to go!

To Ashwin Madia--Never give up...semper fi!

To El Tinklenberg--go for it again in 2010!

To Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz--thanks for many amusing hours of watching you pwn Heather Wilson all over cable news.

To Karl Rove, who, with his disciples Rick Davis and Steve Schmidt, misread the mood of the nation and ineptly led John McCain to defeat in the final repudiation of far-right wingnuttery--"I poop on you!"

To "Crazy" Michele Bachmann--we'll be watching you.

And to the worst political joke in a generation, Sarah Palin--there's a lucrative talk show career waiting for you on basic cable. I suggest that you seriously entertain their offers.

I'll be back again tomorrow, feisty, fresh, and at full strength!

Recount For Franken - Coleman Race

The race between Al Franken and Norm Coleman for Senate is going into extra innings. With a difference of just 462 votes, state law mandates a recount. Since "Crazy Michele" Bachmann won her race against El Tinklenberg, and Ashwin Madia was narrowly defeated by Erik Paulsen, this news just pisses me off to no end. Thank all the gods that Obama took Minnesota 55-44, or I'd seriously have to think about moving.

The Light Of The World--Again

New York Times:

"From far away, this is how it looks: There is a country out there where tens of millions of white Christians, voting freely, select as their leader a black man of modest origin, the son of a Muslim. There is a place on Earth — call it America — where such a thing happens."

Yes, I'm still in jubilant shock and awe. And, yes: at last and again, I'm damn proud of my country.

Tonight's Prepared Remarks By President-Elect Obama

If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.

It's the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen; by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the very first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different; that their voice could be that difference.

It's the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled - Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been a collection of Red States and Blue States: we are, and always will be, the United States of America.

It's the answer that led those who have been told for so long by so many to be cynical, and fearful, and doubtful of what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.

It's been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America.

I just received a very gracious call from Senator McCain. He fought long and hard in this campaign, and he's fought even longer and harder for the country he loves. He has endured sacrifices for America that most of us cannot begin to imagine, and we are better off for the service rendered by this brave and selfless leader. I congratulate him and Governor Palin for all they have achieved, and I look forward to working with them to renew this nation's promise in the months ahead.

I want to thank my partner in this journey, a man who campaigned from his heart and spoke for the men and women he grew up with on the streets of Scranton and rode with on that train home to Delaware, the Vice President-elect of the United States, Joe Biden.

I would not be standing here tonight without the unyielding support of my best friend for the last sixteen years, the rock of our family and the love of my life, our nation's next First Lady, Michelle Obama. Sasha and Malia, I love you both so much, and you have earned the new puppy that's coming with us to the White House. And while she's no longer with us, I know my grandmother is watching, along with the family that made me who I am. I miss them tonight, and know that my debt to them is beyond measure.

To my campaign manager David Plouffe, my chief strategist David Axelrod, and the best campaign team ever assembled in the history of politics - you made this happen, and I am forever grateful for what you've sacrificed to get it done.

But above all, I will never forget who this victory truly belongs to - it belongs to you.

I was never the likeliest candidate for this office. We didn't start with much money or many endorsements. Our campaign was not hatched in the halls of Washington - it began in the backyards of Des Moines and the living rooms of Concord and the front porches of Charleston.

It was built by working men and women who dug into what little savings they had to give five dollars and ten dollars and twenty dollars to this cause. It grew strength from the young people who rejected the myth of their generation's apathy; who left their homes and their families for jobs that offered little pay and less sleep; from the not-so-young people who braved the bitter cold and scorching heat to knock on the doors of perfect strangers; from the millions of Americans who volunteered, and organized, and proved that more than two centuries later, a government of the people, by the people and for the people has not perished from this Earth. This is your victory.

I know you didn't do this just to win an election and I know you didn't do it for me. You did it because you understand the enormity of the task that lies ahead. For even as we celebrate tonight, we know the challenges that tomorrow will bring are the greatest of our lifetime - two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century. Even as we stand here tonight, we know there are brave Americans waking up in the deserts of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan to risk their lives for us. There are mothers and fathers who will lie awake after their children fall asleep and wonder how they'll make the mortgage, or pay their doctor's bills, or save enough for college. There is new energy to harness and new jobs to be created; new schools to build and threats to meet and alliances to repair.

The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even one term, but America - I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you - we as a people will get there.

There will be setbacks and false starts. There are many who won't agree with every decision or policy I make as President, and we know that government can't solve every problem. But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree. And above all, I will ask you join in the work of remaking this nation the only way it's been done in America for two-hundred and twenty-one years - block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand.

What began twenty-one months ago in the depths of winter must not end on this autumn night. This victory alone is not the change we seek - it is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were. It cannot happen without you.

So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism; of service and responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other. Let us remember that if this financial crisis taught us anything, it's that we cannot have a thriving Wall Street while Main Street suffers - in this country, we rise or fall as one nation; as one people.

Let us resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long. Let us remember that it was a man from this state who first carried the banner of the Republican Party to the White House - a party founded on the values of self-reliance, individual liberty, and national unity. Those are values we all share, and while the Democratic Party has won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress. As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours, "We are not enemies, but friends...though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection." And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn - I may not have won your vote, but I hear your voices, I need your help, and I will be your President too.

And to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of our world - our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand. To those who would tear this world down - we will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security - we support you. And to all those who have wondered if America's beacon still burns as bright - tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from our the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity, and unyielding hope.

For that is the true genius of America - that America can change. Our union can be perfected. And what we have already achieved gives us hope for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

This election had many firsts and many stories that will be told for generations. But one that's on my mind tonight is about a woman who cast her ballot in Atlanta. She's a lot like the millions of others who stood in line to make their voice heard in this election except for one thing - Ann Nixon Cooper is 106 years old.

She was born just a generation past slavery; a time when there were no cars on the road or planes in the sky; when someone like her couldn't vote for two reasons - because she was a woman and because of the color of her skin.

And tonight, I think about all that she's seen throughout her century in America - the heartache and the hope; the struggle and the progress; the times we were told that we can't, and the people who pressed on with that American creed: Yes we can.

At a time when women's voices were silenced and their hopes dismissed, she lived to see them stand up and speak out and reach for the ballot. Yes we can.

When there was despair in the dust bowl and depression across the land, she saw a nation conquer fear itself with a New Deal, new jobs and a new sense of common purpose. Yes we can.

When the bombs fell on our harbor and tyranny threatened the world, she was there to witness a generation rise to greatness and a democracy was saved. Yes we can.

She was there for the buses in Montgomery, the hoses in Birmingham, a bridge in Selma, and a preacher from Atlanta who told a people that "We Shall Overcome." Yes we can.

A man touched down on the moon, a wall came down in Berlin, a world was connected by our own science and imagination. And this year, in this election, she touched her finger to a screen, and cast her vote, because after 106 years in America, through the best of times and the darkest of hours, she knows how America can change. Yes we can.

America, we have come so far. We have seen so much. But there is so much more to do. So tonight, let us ask ourselves - if our children should live to see the next century; if my daughters should be so lucky to live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will they see? What progress will we have made?

This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment. This is our time - to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American Dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth - that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope, and where we are met with cynicism, and doubt, and those who tell us that we can't, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people:

Yes We Can. Thank you, God bless you, and may God Bless the United States of America.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

We Did It, Baby!!

Virginia Is The Trouble Spot This Time?

There's trouble in Virginia this time:

Voters were lined up by the hundreds Tuesday as polls opened in Virginia, and reports quickly began to mount of malfunctioning voting machines and polling places opening late.

The State Board of Elections said at a briefing there were no "widespread problems" and blamed human error and the rain for those problems that were reported.

...In several suburban Richmond counties, voters and elections officials reported paper jams on some machines and balky touch-screen machines in some localities had local registrars turning to paper ballots.

At one precinct in Richmond's north end, hundreds of people encircled a branch library by 6 a.m., the scheduled opening of the polls. But the line grew for another 25 minutes before the poll workers opened the doors. They said the librarian who had a key to the polling place had overslept.

...In Chesapeake, approximately 1,000 voters stood in line to vote, and some people reported malfunctioning machines.

At George Mason University in Fairfax, Provost Peter N. Stevens wrote in a campus e-mail that a hacker had entered a message into the university system stating the Election Day had been rescheduled.

Also reported on Kos. I'm watching this

Did My Part

We got up this morning early and voted. I felt like crap, but as I told my SO, "nothing in heaven or hell could keep me from voting today." The line was about 90 minutes long, but it was a beautiful fall morning--looks like the weather is on our side, too!


Tomorrow The World Changes

It's been a long two years of presidential campaigns, but finally the quadrennial event of American politics is upon us. For me, it's been a time of elation, frustration, irritation, and astonishment. Tomorrow we may elect the first African-American to the office of President, an event I doubted I'd see so early in my lifetime, if at all. Even more, tomorrow is the first day of the beginning of the end, or the end of the beginning, for America and for the world.

We have come to a crossroads as a country, species and planet. Things must change from the course they've taken the last eight years, or our country, and, I firmly believe, our species will not survive. We are faced with monumental challenges on every front: the economy, terrorism, racism, global warming, depletion of natural resources, a growing divide between rich and poor, worldwide environmental pollution, nuclear proliferation, and yes, even species extinction. We can no longer take anything for granted: not our jobs, our health, our finances, our neighbors, our safety, nor our future. Events have overtaken human resistance and ignorance to the point that we now face global climate change, changes that would certainly affect all our lives and the lives of our children and grandchildren; and ultimately, the continuation of the human species on this planet.

More immediately, an ill-advised and duplicitous war has sapped our resources, our blood and our treasure. Our leaders have lied to us about every facet of their plans, activities, and goals. Our image around the world has changed from being "the shining city on a hill", from the global unity and support we received after 9/11, to the hatred and scorn with which America is viewed by most of the world. Our economy once led the world; now we are the world's greatest debtor nation. Our Chinese bankers have financed our two wars, and sold us cubic miles of plastic crap to offer in our stores, in return. Over a billion Muslims around the world wonder if we are starting a new Crusade, and our homegrown Christian Taliban spreads ignorance and fear in the hearts of uninformed Americans. We argue about gay marriage while neglecting the welfare of our children, and we fight over offshore drilling for oil even when it's crystal clear that Americans have to begin giving up the petroleum habit. We continue to fight about the issues of the Sixties while the Twenty-First century is waiting for us to truly begin living in it.

This election will produce the first truly American president of the Twenty-First century. We have an opportunity to begin addressing our manyfold problems while there's still time to begin fixing them; or we can turn away from the future, and leave it to the BRICs to build that future for themselves, and our children to suffer living in it. Time has run out: the global changes that began four decades ago are accelerating, and we may have passed the point of no return for some things. Our nation can either begin to repair our economy, our reputation, our earth, sea, and sky, and our hearts, or we can continue to descend into darkness. We need to begin repairing the damage at home and abroad; we need to begin building the true new world order; an order not of dominance, but of compassion. And we need to start now.

There is only one choice in this election, only one man running for president this election year who can help us find the path to the world of our dreams, and not to our nightmares. And tomorrow, I will proudly vote for him: Barack Obama.

Monday, November 3, 2008

A Few Comments Before The Comments Of The Night Before

Sarah Palin's pet Personnel Board released a report clearing her of all wrongdoing in the Troopergate matter. Yeah, and monkeys will fly out of my butt. Funny how the people who all owe their jobs to her find her innocent.

Also, Palin today--today, the day before the election!--released a one-and-a-half page summary of her medical records, instead of a full medical report, as she had promised. Yet somehow, Mark Halperin at Time thinks that's a full medical report. As Josh Marshall said, "it's fitting that the McCain-Palin campaign ends with a couple of politically motivated pretend nods to transparency." This doesn't answer any of my questions about Trig Palin's birth records. I still think that kid is her daughter's.

Lastly, I agree with Arianna Huffington: "where's the WiFi"? My SO and I plan to have at least three computers running all Tuesday night. To hell with CNN, give me HuffPost, TPM Election Central, and Kos! Give me, Politico, and Ta-Nehisi Coates! Give me the Twin Cities Daily Liberal,, and MNPublius! This year the intertubes have been the place for fast and complete information, and TV just the place where they tell the story to everyone else. Go broadband!