Saturday, September 27, 2008

Dear Lord....

Sen. Obama and Sen. McCain Exchange Letters on Ethics Reform

As noted below, I didn't really see what a lot of other people apparently saw in the debate last night: John McCain being condescending and angry toward Barack Obama. But this extraordinary exchange of letters makes me think that maybe there's something to it that I missed.

Read the whole thing and tell me if you disagree with these two propositions:

1) Obama comes off as reasonable, respectful, and professional.
2) McCain comes off as a raging petulant asshole.

Back to BSP for BC

Breaking Cover On UNC-TV’s North Carolina Bookwatch
In an all-new episode of UNC-TV’s local literary series North Carolina Bookwatch with D.G. Martin, premiering Friday, October 3, at 9:30 PM, author J.D. Rhoades, the Shamus Award-nominated author of the critically acclaimed Jack Keller southern crime series, shares his explosive stand-alone thriller Breaking Cover, about this intriguing undercover federal agent--a chameleon whose specialty is assaulting criminal organizations from within.

The Debate

No big zingers, no big gaffes, no cheap shots. They both looked and acted like professionals, although McCain did paste that frozen, uncomfortable grin on his face when he wasn't speaking. Obama didn't say where he'd cut spending, but McCain gave Obama lots of material for future ads when he said that he'd freeze spending across the board except military and entitlements. O RLY? No education? No alternative energy? No health care reform? No disaster relief? No infrastructure? Just freeze everything the way it is right this second? Yeah, good luck with that. That had the feel of another McCain "shoot from the hip" moment.

In the long run, though, this was the area where McCain was supposed to be able to put Obama away: security and foreign policy. And he just didn't do it. Obama looked serious, calm, well-prepared, and above all Presidential. With no clear McCain win, Obama accomplished what he had to do.

Friday, September 26, 2008

McCain Wins Debate!

At least that's what this ad running in the Wall Street Journal Online said.

Problem is, it ran before McCain even announced he'd be attending the debate.

Chris Cilizza of the WaPo also reports that:

Another ad spotted by our eagle-eyed observer featured a quote from McCain campaign manager Rick Davis declaring: "McCain won the debate-- hands down."

Heh. Guess they saved me the trouble of watching it. Or at least the trouble of watching their spin, since I've already seen it.

When JMWWAPOW suggested postponing the debate, he made a stunning error of judgment that put him into a no-win situation. If he followed through and didn't show up, he'd look like he was using an excuse to run away from Obama and, as a bonus, bump Palin's upcoming drubbing by Biden out of its schedule. Now, however, he looks indecisive, even to the people who used to advise him:

"It just proves his campaign is governed by tactics and not ideology," said Republican consultant Craig Shirley, who advised McCain earlier in this cycle. "In the end, he blinked and Obama did not. The 'steady hand in a storm' argument looks now to more favor Obama, not McCain."

He might have saved face had he actually contributed something to the bailout talks, but reportedly he just sat there and didn't say much. He apparently didn't really know all that much about the alternative Republican plan he was supposedly backing:

Boehner and McCain discussed the bailout plan, but Republican leadership aides described the conversation as somewhat surreal. Neither man was familiar with the details of the proposal being pressed by House conservatives, and up to the moment they departed for the White House yesterday afternoon, neither had seen any description beyond news reports.

That's what "shooting from the hip" will do to you.

This is how JMWWAPOW handles crises: come up with some off-the-cuff impressive looking gesture that he doesn't bother to think through. It's like when he blurted out that if he was President, he'd fire the head of the SEC, even though the President doesn't have that power.

Neuroscientists talk about "the Lizard Brain," the older, primitive part of the human brain that controls, among other things, aggression and anger. JMWWAPOW thinks and makes decisions with his lizard brain, and we can't afford that right now.

The Very Defintion of Insanity, Plus: Your Daily Palin "WTF"?

JMWWAPOW's "solution"? More corporate tax cuts. Less regulation.

There's a quote that's been attributed to various people, but mostly to Albert Einstein: "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results."

If tax cuts and less regulation haven't worked for the last eight years, what on God's green earth makes them think it'll dig us out of this mess?

I have to agree with Yglesias:

If conservatives won’t play ball, I think the smart move for progressives on the Hill is to come back to Bush and Paulson with a much less palatable plan — huge stimulus, big tax hikes on super-high earners, mortgage cramdowns, etc. Let Bush either cave 100 percent to a Nancy Pelosi dream deal or else let Bush bring McCain and John Boehner to the table. There’s no reason for progressives to be making concessions to the Bush administration and the financial industry if they can’t even get their lackeys to back their own plan.

And look, I'm trying very hard to keep this blog from being "all Palin, all the time." But she just keeps saying stuff. And every time she opens her mouth, comedy gold falls out. Like this jaw-dropper from last night's interview with Katie Couric, during which time Governor Palin asserts, once again, that she's got foreign policy cred because her state's right next to Russia:'s very important when you consider even national security issues with Russia as Putin rears his head and comes into the airspace of the United States of America, where, where do they go? It's Alaska. It's just right over the border. It is from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right there. They are right next to, to our state."

WTF? Putin's been "rearing his head" in ALASKA? Was Georgia just a feint? And is Governor Palin asserting that it's she and not NORAD, who "sends those out" (whatever "those" are, presumably the Air Force) to meet the threat of the Russian Bear?

Can the Governor, perhaps, give specific examples of when she personally has had to face down Putin and his rearing head?

I mean, WTF?

Folks, this isn't out of context. I saw the interview in all its glory, and the rest of it was just as bad. Some parts were even worse. The woman is a train wreck.

Let me just observe that, when you get your ass handed to you by Katie Fucking Couric, you've got a serious problem.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Well, Glad We Don't Have THAT to Worry About...

Alaska Politics Blog : Palin blessed three years ago to be free from 'witchcraft' (Updated)
Palin once blessed to be free from 'witchcraft'
Associated Press Writer

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - A grainy YouTube video surfaced Wednesday showing Sarah Palin being blessed in her hometown church three years ago by a Kenyan pastor who prayed for her protection from "witchcraft" as she prepared to seek higher office.

The video shows Palin standing before Bishop Thomas Muthee in the pulpit of the Wasilla Assembly of God church, holding her hands open as he asked Jesus Christ to keep her safe from "every form of witchcraft."

"Come on, talk to God about this woman. We declare, save her from Satan," Muthee said as two attendants placed their hands on Palin's shoulders. "Make her way my God. Bring finances her way even for the campaign in the name of Jesus. ... Use her to turn this nation the other way around.

I bet the Republicans are going to be glad they spent so much time making sure that a candidate's preacher was a legitimate campaign issue. Now that the press is actually beginning to grow a spine regarding JMWWAPOW and Caribou Barbie, maybe some intrepid reporter will ask the Governor if she feels that she's safe from witches now. That should be entertaining.

I DEFY You....

I DEFY you to watch this interview and tell me with a straight face that Sarah Palin is prepared to step in and lead if John McCain is unable to complete his term.

“I’ll try to find ya some an’ I’ll bring em to ya!”

Dear Lord, she does everything but crack her chewing gum. I mean, I’m sorry, but am I the only one who thinks this is the most unprofessional sounding candidate we’ve ever had for high office?

Katie Couric, you horrible sexist you....

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Hey, Writers!

Wanna keep your fiction-writing muscles supple between books? Sure you do!

You can ghost-write letters to the editor for the McCain campaign!

Yes, as journalist Margriet Oostveen discovered when she signed on with the McCain campaign, they really know how to put a writer's gift for fiction to good use:

The assignment is simple: We are going to write letters to the editor and we are allowed to make up whatever we want -- as long as it adds to the campaign. After today we are supposed to use our free moments at home to create a flow of fictional fan mail for McCain. "Your letters," says Phil Tuchman, "will be sent to our campaign offices in battle states. Ohio. Pennsylvania. Virginia. New Hampshire. There we'll place them in local newspapers."

Place them? I may be wrong, but I thought that in the USA only a newspaper's editors decided that.

"We will show your letters to our supporters in those states," explains Phil. "If they say: 'Yeah, he/she is right!' then we ask them to sign your letter. And then we send that letter to the local newspaper. That's how we send dozens of letters at once."

No newspaper can refuse a stream of articulate expressions of support, is the thought behind it. "This way, we will always get into some letters column."

She tells how she creates a character on a day when VP nominee Sarah Palin is the subject du jour:

"...most of all, she is just like any mother of a child who deploys to Iraq in the service of this country."

Now we are getting somewhere. I look around. I type:

"My son, too, is there."

Oh god, you liar. Now build up suspense. New paragraph.

"And my heart needs him back safe so much."

Yes, yes. Well done. Another paragraph -- why not? Now let's pump some iron in that mother, for after all, we are not with the Democrats here. Look up the right, patriotic phraseology in the model letters.

"But when I see him again, I also want to see his face glow with pride. Just like the day he told me he enlisted."

Yes, like that. And now full speed in the direction of McCain's plans to continue the war. Sell that war. With a mother's heart.

"That is why Senator John McCain could count on my vote from day one."

So THAT's where those dingbat letters come from....

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


CNN.COM, from the hearings on the Big Bail-Out:

Paulson said he had put forward a brief three-page proposal on
Saturday without any details about oversight of the bailout program
because he felt it was proper to work with Congress on those details.

"I want it, we all want it," he said about oversight.


The proposed plan states very clearly:

Sec. 8. Review.

Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the
authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency
discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any
administrative agency.

Don't believe a word this guy says. Get the oversight provisions in writing. Then get rid of this lying, power hungry hack Paulson.


Think Progress » O’Reilly: The current ‘economic chaos…is the end of President Bush’s legacy.’

He’s done. He’s through. … He will now go down in history…as an ineffectual leader. And I’ll tell you the reason why, it’s poor leadership on his part. The people that he picked to run certain things have been disastrous. And no leadership and now Americans are getting hurt.

Congratulations, Papa Bear. You've just figured out what most of us have known for the last eight years.

Now how about a damn apology?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Dear Congressman

To: The Honorable Howard Coble, US House of Representatives, Sixth District North Carolina.

Dear Congressman Coble:

From what I've seen of the 700 billion dollar "bailout" plan proposed by the Treasury, it contains no oversight and gives the Treasury Secretary nearly unlimited powers to buy up junk assets with our money. Further, it provides absolutely no reforms to ensure we don't have to do this again in a few years.

I strongly urge you not to vote for any plan that does not contain these two vital provisions. The Administration is using this meltdown as another attempt to scare us into handing them more power with none of the checks and balances that are so vital to our democracy.

Jerry D. Rhoades, Jr.

You can find your Representative here.

Please take a moment and let them know how you feel so that this crisis doesn't turn into ANOTHER situation in which the Administration scares Congress into handing them more and more power.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

I Liked John McCain, Once. This Guy, Not So Much.

Latest Newspaper Column:

You know, there was a time when I kind of liked John McCain.

I was looking through some old columns from back around the turn of the century, and believe it or not, I really did have some good things to say about him. Of course, that was when he was running against George W. Bush, so the bar wasn't all that high.

But I liked McCain as a reformer, a guy who talked straight, a guy who really did look like he was going to take on the way Washington did business.

That was before John McCain turned into the caricature I refer to as John McCain Who Was a POW, or JMWWAPOW for short. I call him that, by the way, not to mock his honorable service, but to mock the way he now cheapens that service by trotting it out as a shield to deflect every question and cover every gaffe.

John McCain was an honorable man. JMWWAPOW will say literally anything to get elected. It's the only explanation of what has become the centerpiece of McCain's political strategy: repeating a campaign talking point over and over, even after it has been proven objectively false.

The first and most famous example is the mantra, constantly repeated by both McCain and vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, that Palin opposed the so-called "Bridge to Nowhere" project when she was governor of Alaska.

Reporter after reporter, news source after news source, has documented that Palin originally supported the wasteful, horrendously expensive boondoggle while she was running for governor. She pulled support for the project only when it became clear that federal support for the project wasn't coming.

And yet JMWWAPOW and Palin continue blithely to repeat the line, "I told Congress 'thanks but no thanks' for that Bridge to Nowhere." Why? Well, JMWWAPOW has stated that he never uses computers or the Internet. So maybe he thinks people listening to him won't look this stuff up.

Another way in which the McCainiacs and Palindrones show their contempt for truth (and for your intelligence) is in their misrepresentation of Barack Obama's tax policy. Over and over, McCain ads solemnly inform you that "Barack Obama is going to raise your taxes."

Recently, on Fox News, of all places, McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds repeated that "during a struggling economy, [Obama] proposes raising taxes." Not true, shot back Fox reporter Megyn Kelly. "Virtually every independent analyst who took a look at that claim said that's not true." She went on to chide Bounds: "If that's false, why would John McCain do that, Tucker? Why wouldn't he just level with the voters?"

Why, indeed, unless it's that JMWWAPOW doesn't care about the truth anymore.

Let me tell you something, senator: When your misstatements are so outrageously false that Fox News won't even swallow them, you've got a problem. Of course, the ads don't really specify which "you" they're talking to. Maybe JMWWAPOW is talking to his rich buddies.

Fox News isn't the only usually reliable shill that's refused to enable JMWWAPOW's whoppers. They've even lost the king of sleazy political lies himself, Karl Rove.

Rove, appearing on Fox News Sunday, said Obama had gone too far in suggesting that JMWWAPOW was out of touch for not knowing how to use e-mail. Pretty mild stuff, really, especially since JMWWAPOW has stated he really doesn't use e-mail. Then Rove said, "McCain has gone, in some of his ads, similarly gone one step too far in sort of attributing to Obama things that are, you know, beyond the 100 percent truth test."

Translation: Obama is taking a true fact and making too much of it; McCain is just lying.

This is just amazing. Having Karl Rove tell you you've gone too far in not passing the "100 percent truth test" is like having Keith Richards tell you you need to stop taking so many drugs.

Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen wrote an extraordinary column a week or so ago in which he first confessed, "I'm one of the journalists accused over the years of being in the tank for McCain. Guilty." He then states that he admired John McCain because "when he talked about
service to a cause greater than oneself, he struck a chord that man, beaten to a pulp, who chose honor over freedom. This had nothing to do with access. It had to do with integrity.

"McCain has soiled all that. He means to win, which is all right; he means to win at all costs, which is not."