Thursday, October 09, 2008

SAFE AND SOUND Nearly Makes Fellow Writer Miss Her Plane

Sorry, L.J....

Your Humble Blogger is presently having a large time at Bouchercon in Baltimore. I've described trying to do and see everything going on at this convention as like trying to drink from a fire hose, and so far, it's been no exception. Headed back to the fray...more later.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

The Debate, Redux (UPDATED)

I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised. No Bill Ayers, no Jeremiah Wright, not even any Sarah Palin. In short, not as many cheap shots as I expected. McCain pointing at Obama and going "you know who voted for it...that one!" was condescending, but it could have been worse.

Obama seemed to be losing focus in the last half hour, but Brokaw gave both candidates the opening they needed with the "zen-like" last question, which basically gave both of them license to repeat an abbreviated version of their stump speech. And when you do that, sorry if I seem biased, but Obama wins.

Oh, and on that subject: as a moderator, Tom Brokaw sucked. SUUUUUUCKED. But, admittedly, not in the way I thought he would. I expected him to bend over for McCain (see previous posts). Instead, he chose to basically lose control of both candidates, letting them go beyond time and run roughshod over the rules.

Thing is, Obama's ahead in the polls. All he had to do was not lose. He didn't lose, so I'm giving this one to Obama.

UPDATE: John Cole at Balloon Juice, one of my favorite blogs, has this to say:

Given ninety minutes to go after Obama like he and his partner and his surrogates have the past few days, and he said nothing. Given all that time to question Obama’s patriotism, to question his background, to suggest he does not support the troops, and McCain refused to do it. Why didn’t he look him in the eyes and call him Sen. Hussein like his surrogates aredoing? Or is that just supposed to be in the background, to make Obama look suspect, to accuse him of being in league with terrorists- but like every punk and every bully he can’t own up to it himself.

As for myself, call me naive, but I can't help but wonder if John McCain is a good man who secretly has no heart for the kind of nasty divisive campaign his advisers apparently want him to run. He doesn't play the "palling around with domestic terrorists" card because deep down, he knows it's not true, even as his campaign advisers try to push it.

That doesn't make me support him, mind you; quite the contrary, It makes him sad. And it makes him entirely unfit to lead this country.

American Brownshirts Ascendant

Dana Milbank

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


Palin, speaking to a sea of "Palin Power" and "Sarahcuda" T-shirts, tried to link Obama to the 1960s Weather Underground. "One of his earliest supporters is a man named Bill Ayers," she said. ("Boooo!" said the crowd.) "And, according to the New York Times, he was a domestic terrorist and part of a group that, quote, 'launched a campaign of bombings that would target the Pentagon and our U.S. Capitol,' " she continued. ("Boooo!" the crowd repeated.)

"Kill him!" proposed one man in the audience.

I'd really like to see one of the Town Hall questioners tonight ask McCain if this is the vision of America he endorses. But I'm sure all Tom Brokaw cares about is questions about Bill Ayers and Reverend Wright. After all, he's the one who's been promising the Republicans that NBC would be nice to them.

Mr. Brokaw said he had also conducted some shuttle diplomacy in recent weeks between NBC and the McCain campaign. His mission, he said, was to assure the candidate’s aides that — despite some negative on-air commentary by Mr. Olbermann in particular — Mr. McCain could still get a fair shake from NBC News.

Here's the problem: to the Republicans, "a fair shake" means "you let us get away with anything we want and repeat every scurrilous allegation we fling wihtout analysis, fact check or followup so people believe it.' To these people, "a fair shake" means Fox News. Brokaw is going to bend over for these people. We can expect lots of questions about Bill Ayers and Revcerend Wright, and none on people in McCain and Palin crowds threatening reporters and calling for lynchings.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Inteview at The Literary World

Lauretta Pierce interviews yours truly over at The Literary World.Thanks, Lauretta!

And Now for the Lighter Side....

Calum Best: I turned Lindsay Lohan into a lesbian -
Calum Best has confessed he turned Lindsay Lohan into a lesbian.

He said: “I think I turned her.”

The ladies’ man, who clearly picked up his skills from legendary lothario dad George Best, dated Li-Lo for a short time in May 2007 when the pair were pictured getting up close and personal on a beach in the Bahamas, but they soon went their separate ways.

As the old joke goes..."don't believe I woulda told that one, brother!"

Well, If You Really Want to Go There, Senator McCain....

Over at his excellent blog The Heart of the Matter, Barry Eisler asks Why Do the Palins Hate America?

After all, if guilt by association is okay for the McCaniacs, why don't we start exploring some of the associations of John McCain and Sarah Palin? Like the America-hating organization First Dude Todd Palin is a proud card carrying member of and to whose convention Caribou Barbie delivered a speech? How about McCain's ties to an ultra-right wing group the Anti-Defamation league describes as 'extremist and anti-semitic"? How about McCain's ongoing association with convicted felon G. Gordon Liddy, who admitted plotting to kill journalists, plotted to firebomb the Brookings Institution, and liked to tell people on his radio show the most effective way to shoot ATF agents ("Head shots, head shots.... Kill the sons of bitches")?

Wink your way past that, Governor Wilma.

Republicans on Bailout: WAAAAAAAAAAH!

Latest Newspaper Column

Shortly after the House voted down a revised version of President Bush and Treasury Secretary Paulson's $700-billion bailout of the financial industry, House minority Leader John Boehner went on TV and showed himself to be a true statesman.

"You know," he told the American people, "the bill didn't fly with some of our own people because it didn't take into account their free-market principles and the concerns of their constituents. And, truth be told, it was a bad bill, conceived and sold to us in an atmosphere of panic. We'll have to get back to work on something that everyone can live with."

Ha ha ha! Just kidding. Boehner actually blamed the failure of 100 Republicans to vote for their own president's bill on the fact that Nancy Pelosi hurt their delicate little feelings.

"We could have gotten there today," Boehner groused, "had it not been for this partisan speech by the speaker on the floor of the House." Pelosi's speech, Boehner said, "poisoned" efforts to get Republicans to back the bill.

Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank was quick to recognize the absurdity: "If people's feelings were hurt because of a speech," he said, "and that led them to vote differently than what they thought the national interest requires, then they really don't belong here. They're not tough enough."

Dudes. You just got called "not tough enough" for Congress by a gay guy. That's got to sting.

The facts are these: The Democrats delivered what they promised, namely the vote of 60 percent of their caucus. The speaker even held the vote open to give more time for arm-twisting. In the end, though, fewer than 30 percent of Republicans voted for their own president's bill, according to McClatchy Newspapers syndicate.

I kept waiting for Boehner to say something later to retract or amend his remarks. Because what he was saying, in a nutshell, was that his Republican caucus is a pack of spoiled children who'll buck him and their supposed party leader any time someone they purport to despise says something they don't like.

But nooooooo. Turns out that "Democrats are at fault because you weren't nice enough to us" is apparently the new party line, to the extent that the Republicans could cobble together a party line.

Honorable John McCain, who "suspended his campaign" to rush back with his hair on fire and supposedly save the day, asserted that now wasn't the time to start assigning blame for the bill's failure. Within the hour, however, the McCain campaign released a statement doing just that, assigning blame to Barack Obama, even though Obama's not even a member of the House. (Man, that Obama fellow's in control of everything!)

But I guess that this sort of flip-floppery shouldn't surprise anyone, coming as it does from the same fellow who said one day he didn't support the bailout of AIG and the next day said he was for it. Frankly the only thing consistent about Honorable John's campaign these days is its inconsistency.

McCain also utilized another well-worn campaign tactic for him, a tactic known as "lying through his teeth." He accused Obama, for example, of failing to support the bailout plan. It is true that Obama did refer to the plan as an "outrage"; however, he went on to say: "But we have no choice. We must act now. Because now that we're in this situation, your jobs, your life savings and the stability of our entire economy are at risk."

Frankly, I think that kind of grudging acceptance is about as close as any Americans are right now to supporting the bailout, and most of us aren't even that close.

Both Republicans and Democrats have failed to convince the public (including me) that using $700 billion to buy the bad debts of Wall Street millionaires who made stupid financial moves is going to benefit anyone but said millionaires.

And the people lit up the Congressional switchboards letting their elected representatives, some of whom are up for re-election, know how they felt. That's why the bailout failed the first time, however Boehner and McCain try to spin it.

People simply aren't ready to believe dire predictions of economic disaster from the administration that sold us the fairy tale about Iraqi WMDs. Nor are they ready to believe the same Democratic leadership that went along with the story and voted George W. Bush a blank check for an unnecessary war. It's like Bush himself says: "Fool me once, shame on -- shame on you. Fool me -- you can't get fooled again."

Maybe someone will be able to explain to me and to the rest of the country why this bailout is a good idea. But that someone won't be a guy who says his party votes based on who talks nice to them. And it won't be an erratic, flip-flopping grandstander like Honorable John McCain, a man who's proven only that he'll say anything to get elected.