Friday, October 31, 2008

endorsement: vote row E for WFP

If you are a regular reader, then I expect that you can guess what I’m going to say when it comes to choosing the next president of the United States. If you call yourself a liberal, or a progressive, or a lover of individual liberty and reproductive choice; if you want quality, affordable healthcare to be accessible to all Americans, if you want to restore some modicum of equity to the tax code, and some degree of sanity to our foreign policy; if you want to approach energy independence and global warming with the seriousness and the urgency those matters deserve; if you want a government staffed with experts instead of ideologues that is led by a man who trusts his intellect enough to be intellectually curious—or even if you just want some portion of all this—then there is only one way to vote on Tuesday: Barack Obama for president.

BUT, if you live in New York, there are actually two ways you can vote for Obama—you can go the old, stodgy, predictable route, and pull the lever or mark your box for Barack Obama (D), Democrat, or, if you really, really believe in all that I laid out above, you can vote for Barack Obama (WFP), Working Families Party.

As I have discussed in elections past, New York has something called “fusion” voting; this allows a candidate to receive the endorsement of more than one party, and to be listed on the ballot under multiple party lines. All the votes for a single candidate, however, are combined to count for the final total. A vote for Obama on Row E—the Working Families Party line—counts just as much as a vote on the Democratic line. . .

. . . and more.

More, because the Working Families Party is more than a social club or the vestigial organ of some moribund New York political machine, the WFP is an active and organized party that has been fighting for progressive ideals for better than a decade. They stand for universal healthcare, tax equity, and equal representation under the law. They have lead fights for a living wage, for green jobs and green homes, and affordable housing. They advocate for better-funded public schools so that every child gets a quality education, no matter where he or she lives, and the public financing of elections to get the corrupting corporate money out of the system.

Earlier this month, WFP teamed with organized labor and local activists to protest New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg and Speaker Chris “Quisling” Quinn’s naked power grab vis-à-vis term limit “extensions.” The effort did not prevent Bloomberg from buying enough influence on the City Council to win his rule change, but working together, the WFP and the people of NYC made a lot of noise and called a lot of attention to the undemocratic way that the mayor and speaker went about overriding the existing law. Because of this effort, the fight to unseat these arrogant plutocrats next year has a big head start.

By voting for Obama—and for other cross-endorsed candidates—on the Working Families line, you are showing candidate and country that you stand for these kinds of progressive ideals. A vote for BHO (WFP) Row E shows that you want our next president to embrace the progressive potential that has brought you to his side.

By voting for state candidates on the WFP line, you will help shape the next generation of New York politics. Democrats are poised to gain the majority in the state senate for the first time in over 40 years, and thus will control both houses of the legislature and the governor’s mansion. It will present a tremendous opportunity to reform a dysfunctional state government; a vote for the Working Families Party will give the left better leverage in the battles that lay ahead.

The Nation, The Albany Project, Daily Gotham, and have all endorsed a Row E WFP vote because they all know that strengthening the role of the Working Families Party is a solid step toward building a statewide progressive movement. Voting for Obama on the same line brings that voice to the national dialogue.

Barack Obama has promised change, and I truly believe that his election will noticeably transform the style and substance of our national leadership. What kind of change, how much change, and how directly that difference will affect the lives of hard working Americans, however, still hangs in the balance. The progressive direction advocated by the Working Families Party is the kind of change Democrats have been fighting for lo these many months and years—it is change we can believe in.

Vote Row E.

UPDATE: Thanks to the courts, we have a late-breaking exception to this rule in Western New York—NY-26, to be specific. Please vote for Democrat Alice Kryzan on the Democratic line.

(cross-posted on capitoilette, The Seminal, and Daily Kos)

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

can he? can we?

(Bowery & 4th • photo by me)

Who knew that the “B” on the sign for the Bowery Bar actually stood for Barack?

There were a handful of things I could quibble with in last night’s Obama infomercial (Barack’s word, not mine)—I thought several of the transitions went “bump,” his office setting was ambiguous to me, and I swear if I hear about “clean coal technology” one more freakin’ time, I’m gonna lose it—but I’m not in the hatin’ mood. . .

. . . and in part that is because of that infomercial.

You see, I can excuse the overly dramatic score and the unfortunate idea that the entirety of the “real America” seems to live outside of America’s biggest cities; I am not the target audience, after all. But, that said, at times, this thing still hit me. I mean it got me, I dunno, a little verklempt.

I’m not sure it was any one thing; it was more like the everything of it. The idea that just maybe this guy is smart enough to get it, if only a little—get that everything is sort of interrelated. If you want to stimulate the economy, you have to restore tax equity, and solve the healthcare crisis, and move away from hydrocarbon-based energy—and I’m hoping that he holds fast to this understanding when, come January, all the serious people in the village start telling him, “It’s too much,” and, “It’s too expensive,” and “America isn’t ready,” and “Just do a little test something first. . . then we’ll see,” because you know they will.

For me, I’m just trying to adjust to the idea that I might have a president, for the first time in my memory, that actually teases me with the idea that he might grow into a better leader once he gets to Washington. . .

. . . that is until he brings me right back down to earth with more “clean coal,” or more FISA “compromises,” or more reasons why we can’t completely leave Iraq or completely close Gitmo, or. . . no, no, no, not today, no. . . . Today: Yes we can!

(cross-posted on The Seminal)

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

it takes chutzpa to question Obama’s commitment to Israel

Or, in lieu of chutzpa, an RNC-financed 15 minutes of fame will do.

Perhaps you’ve heard of this guy, he’s a plumber—OK, an unlicensed, non-union plumber—I think his name is Joe? Anyway, even though he’s a member of the Natural Law Party, and as low as a low-info voter can go, the McCain campaign has wrapped its arthritic arms around him. Yesterday was day one of the Joe the dumber plumber bus tour, and JtP decided to use the opportunity to say that an Obama presidency would mean “death to Israel.” It was so inane and so nakedly hatemongering that even Shepard Smith of FOX News had to speak up:

Smith's indignation deserves praise—it’s nice to see a FOX-er realize that he’s still got to live in the America that the McCain-Palin team is trying to rip apart.

But why just let Shep Smith speak for Israel? We’ve got actual Israelis (and in such a nicely made little film, too):

And, if the Israelis won’t do, how about Barack Obama:

Our alliance is based on shared interests and shared values. Those who threaten Israel threaten us. Israel has always faced these threats on the front lines. And I will bring to the White House an unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security...I will ensure that Israel can defend itself from any threat - from Gaza to Tehran.... Across the political spectrum, Israelis understand that real security can only come through lasting peace. And that is why we - as friends of Israel - must resolve to do all we can to help Israel and its neighbors to achieve it.

Need a little more, Joe? How about this (from the Obama-Biden campaign website):

Barack Obama and Joe Biden strongly support the U.S.-Israel relationship, believe that our first and incontrovertible commitment in the Middle East must be to the security of Israel, America's strongest ally in the Middle East. They support this closeness, stating that that the United States would never distance itself from Israel.

“Never” is a pretty strong word, there, hey Joe? (It’s probably a stronger word than I would use if I were running for president, but I’m not, so Joe shouldn’t worry his bald little head. . . .) I will personally add that Obama’s stated goals of opening a serious diplomatic channel with Iran and encouraging a lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinian Authority would do more to ensure the security of Israel than pretty much anything the Bush Administration has done in the last eight years. . . which means it would do more than anything proposed by John McCain.

(cross-posted on The Seminal)

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

landslide or no, we’ve got a lot of work to do

In the last 48 hours, I have received a couple of interesting emails from a friend. My friend has been a supporter of Barack Obama since early on, and she has two siblings—one who stands outside McCain-Palin rallies with a sign that says “I AM a real American,” and then posts YouTubes of the experience:

And another who sends e-mails that say things like this (reproduced verbatim and unedited):

I can give you at least 5 reasons why working class people don't want Obama elected. Never once have I heard "secret Muslim" on that list, nor "black man" on that list. Not once. Here's what I have heard:

• Obama supports making union membrship mandatory vs. optional, taking away one's freedom to decide whether one wants to join the union - and making the $500 annual dues mandatory as well. Big deal for the working class.

• He further supports taking secret ballots away from unions, making all votes known - increasing the potential for manipulation and lobbying within unions.

• He voted against funding for the Iraq war when their friends, neighbors, and colleages were serving there - directly endangering their lives.

• His tax policies make the American dream of work-hard-become-successsful that much less attainable by making the marginal tax rate after $250K up to 70% by some projections (oh, and that $250 is per household - so it's $125K for a single person. Do you think that a single person living in Manhattan or LA is so filthy rich that they should give 70% of their taxes after $125K to the ineffective US Government?)

• When you live in a working class neighborhood, you know that the biggest problem with assistance for the needy is not the lack of it, but that it goes to the wrong places (like the family who lived across from us for 2 years when we first moved here. The stayed up partying with their friends- and their baby- every night until midnight or later, had cases of beer in their trash every trash day, had the smell of pot constantly wafting from their garage accross the street. And they were on food stamps. Nice.)

I don’t post either of these to make fun of these people or try to shame them. I feel I am better informed and perhaps less afraid than the folks that shout epithets or trade in absurd rumors, but I don’t feel superior. Instead, I post this for all the ‘sphere to see because I have question: Now what?

I have to admit that I pounced on the misperceptions and outright lies in the forwarded e-mail, and I sent a point-by-point refutation, replete with links, but I also thought, if this is what this voter believes this late in the election cycle, even a close relative will probably not succeed in winning the argument—or winning another vote for Obama. After writing my comprehensive reply, I had to add, if your sib doesn’t live in a swing state, you should probably save your breath.

At this stage of the race, that might or might not be good advice, but I am pretty sure that come November 5th, I should come up with a different answer.

I will need a different answer because, rest assured, an Obama victory, no matter how large, will not put an end to the arguments, will not silence all of the doubters, will not pacify all the haters, and will not convince all of the unconvinced.

Over time, I would hope that an Obama Administration could produce results that might ease some minds and even win some converts, but I am not a Pollyanna. Not only will there be people who, for whatever reason, will never accept Obama as president—not to mention, as a successful president—there will be political interests that will work overtime exploit those people and their beliefs, laying the groundwork for the next neoconservative and/or corporatist putsch.

So, what should we do? I can think of all kinds of small-bore things that might work here or there in a specific situation with a specific person, but I want to think in broader terms. We have to live with the people in that video—and I would even like to get some of them to help with tall task of undoing the disasters of the last decade—is there anything that can be said besides “let’s just agree to disagree”. . . or “stfu”. . . or “please stfu!”?

I don’t have a lot of good answers right now, do you?

(cross-posted to Daily Kos and The Seminal)

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Monday, October 27, 2008

nyt endorses Obama; makes a mistake

Easy, easy. . . there’s a semicolon up there. . . so, please, just read on.

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Friday, October 24, 2008

the wages of sin: your wages, their sin

Now that our great and glorious leader Michael Bloomberg and Council Speaker Christine Quinn Quisling have succeeded in their power play, here’s a little question to consider this fine fall weekend: at what cost?

I am not asking about the political cost, which is, in many ways, immeasurable—at least as yet—I am talking about the real cost in New York City tax dollars that have already gone or will have to go quite literally to pay homage to our new born king. For along with the millions upon millions that have already been spent out of the mayor’s publicly financed slush fund to buy the votes he needed on the City Council (an impeachable offense, as best I can tell), NYC will now have to spend more taxpayer dollars to defend itself against the lawsuits that naturally had to arise from this extralegal end run around the city charter (two have already been filed, with the promise of more on the way).

It will certainly be in the millions of dollars—how many millions, I can’t say. I doubt anyone in the city government would dare give an estimate.

But, millions and millions of city dollars have been spent, and millions and millions of city dollars will be spent. . . all so that we can keep Mike Bloomberg and his supposedly irreplaceable expertise in place to guide the city through the dire fiscal crisis to come.

* * *

By the way, Mike and Chris caught the eye and ire of the national media on Thursday, making Keith Olbermann’s list of Worst Persons in the World.

(cross-posted on capitoilette, The Seminal, and Daily Kos)

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

liar, liar

Sensing a groundswell of increasingly organized opposition to the Bloomberg-Quinn term limits override plan, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn has rush-scheduled a vote on the proposal for tomorrow, Thursday, 10/23.

A new Quinnipiac poll shows a “dramatic swing” away from support for billionaire Bloomberg’s power grab: 51% of NYC voters now oppose a third term for Mayor Mike, up from 42% just two weeks ago. The same poll revealed that city residents prefer changing the term limits law through referendum by a whopping 89% to 7%.

Bloomberg could probably buy himself another election, but has continued to push his cheaper plan. As detailed yesterday, the mayor has used both public dollars from a previously secret slush fund, and donations from his philanthropies to buy what he thinks is enough support inside the City Council to avoid a less predictable plebiscite.

Democracy is messy. Bloomberg is famously phobic of messy.

You know what else can be messy? The facts. So, naturally, Hizzoner (his dishonor?) doesn’t like them, either:

Asked about the public’s preference that term limits be decided through referendum, Mr. Bloomberg said it was too late and too legally problematic to call for a special election or referendum. He also dismissed suggestions that he chose to work through the Council since he could be more confident of the result.

“I’m not trying to manipulate the system for an outcome,” he said, during an event at the P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center. . . .

He then hightailed it back to City Hall. . . where he continued to meet in private with nominally wavering council members.

One of those who had been officially undecided, Peter Vallone Jr., decided—he’ll stay bought support the mayor.

“I’m doing what I think is right,” said Mr. Vallone, the son of a former City Council speaker who is also an avid supporter.

Vallone then said, “If you’ll excuse me, I have to go back to counting my money.”

Metaphorically, anyway. Vallone Jr. received $400,000 from Bloomberg’s slush fund (making him the third largest beneficiary), and has been granted a discretionary budget of $1.1 million—about twice the council average—for both 2008 and 2009.

I guess if you take the second-term councilman’s statement to mean that he is doing what he thinks is right for himself, then I guess that Vallone isn’t a liar. . . so I would still need a second liar to justify my headline. . . .

Well, there is billionaire Republican Ronald Lauder, who (as previously mentioned) bankrolled the previous two term limit referendums. Lauder has publicly decided that in Bloomberg’s case, his previous efforts shouldn’t count:

It was Mr. Lauder’s money and advocacy that originally paved the way for term limits, and it was only recently that Mr. Bloomberg convinced a reluctant Mr. Lauder that the economic crisis necessitated a third term for the mayor. In exchange for Mr. Lauder’s support, Mr. Bloomberg promised him a seat on a charter revision commission that would probably try to restore the two-term limit in a subsequent referendum, likely in 2010.

“I believe very strongly that the mayor should get the extra term and the City Council should get a third term,” Mr. Lauder said in an interview. “That is part of the deal. But I never spoke about the first-term council members.”

Well, actually, Lauder is being kind of honest there, isn’t he? He is publicly announcing to all the world that he cut a deal with Michael Bloomberg. Yes, that’s right, the laws can change because two billionaires made a deal.

But only for the mayor and some of the council members—not the first term-ers. Gosh, that’s not how the deal is being sold by Council Speaker Chris Quinn. As she sells tells it, the one time extension to three terms applies to the mayor, the whole council, and the city’s comptroller, public advocate, and five borough presidents. Could the City Council be voting Thursday on something other than what they’ve been told?

I think we’ve found our second liar.

(cross-posted on capitoilette and The Seminal)

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

impeach Bloomberg

And, while you’re at it, impeach Quinn, Markowitz, Felder, Recchia, Valone, Dilan, and Sears, too.

I know I should learn more about the rules and bylaws that govern New York City’s impeachment process—and maybe I’ll get to that later—but right now I don’t care. All I know is that there is already a stack of stories on how Mayor Michael Bloomberg has used both personal and public funds in a covertly choreographed attempt to buy the support he needs to override the city’s term limits law, and he can no longer be trusted as an honest steward of our interests.

He has also used our tax dollars for his master plan, so, beyond being forced from office, he probably belongs in jail.

Someday. . . I’ll call upon you to do a service for me. . . .

It has now been reported that Bloomberg and/or Deputy Mayors Linda Gibbs, Edward Skyler, and Kevin Sheekey (all New York City employees, paid with tax dollars, in case that’s not obvious) placed calls to at least five community, arts, and neighborhood groups that had received city contracts and/or large donations from Bloomberg’s private philanthropies. The mayor and his deputies asked if those organizations might testify before the City Council on behalf of Bloomberg, or lobby council members behind he scenes to vote for the mayor’s position postponing term limits.

One leader of a civic group made it clear that it was an offer they couldn’t refuse.

Yet, when representatives from these organizations testified before the council late last week, none revealed their financial ties to Bloomberg.

It has also been revealed that money from the mayor’s previously secret slush fund (it was discovered in June after a similar, City Council Speaker slush fund was exposed) was disproportionately ferried to City Council members who sit on the committee that must first approve Bloomberg’s third term scheme before it can come to a vote before the entire council.

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, a close ally of the mayor who made her support known last week, and Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, a vocal advocate for the Bloomberg plan, were also recipients of supersized amounts of Mayor Mike’s munificence.

And, just to reiterate, this largess is public money. It is from a kitty funded by New York City taxpayers.

Does not pass the smell test

Not surprisingly, two mayoral hopefuls are not pleased:

“It is an abuse of power, and it must stop,” said the city’s top financial watchdog, the New York City comptroller, William C. Thompson Jr., who may run for mayor next year.

Representative Anthony D. Weiner, another likely candidate for mayor, said that “if you rely on the mayor or the administration to fund your organization, saying no when the mayor calls is not an option.”

Mr. Bloomberg’s tactic, he said, “walks right up to the line of coercion, and it’s very corrosive.”

But there are plenty of others from many different sectors that find these abuses equally (or even more) untoward:

Kenneth Sherrill, a political science professor at Hunter College, said it was inappropriate for the mayor to be asking the groups that are so dependent on his good graces to take a position on his legislation.

“It’s distasteful. And what’s distasteful about it is leaning on weak people — people who are vulnerable,” Mr. Sherrill said. “The problem is in the implicit threat that if you don’t help, we’re going to remember.”


Fred Siegel, a professor of history at Cooper Union who has studied New York City politics for decades, said Mr. Bloomberg had cynically “reversed the flow of money” in politics to build the illusion, if not the reality, of widespread support.

“The traditional politicians are bought by special interest groups, but Bloomberg buys special interest groups,” he said.

But wait, there’s more:

Mr. Bloomberg’s critics argue that changing term limits will not expand choice because it will all but guarantee his re-election, given his willingness, in two previous campaigns, to spend $80 million to win the office.

Gene Russianoff, a senior lawyer for the New York Public Interest Research Group, said that asking groups who receive city money to support the term limits bill “looks like an administration desperately abusing its power to stay in office. It just does not pass the smell test.”

Betsy Gotbaum, New York City’s public advocate, called the tactic “wrong.” She added, “You have the right to give all the money you want, but because you give support, you shouldn’t have to get support.”

Well, “you”—meaning Billionaire Bloomberg—might have the right to give all you/he wants. . . of his money! But if public funds are allocated on a quid pro quo, that would be not just smelly, but almost certainly illegal.

And, though not yet illegal, perhaps we need a law that requires full disclosure of financial ties from those testifying before public bodies. There needs to be some counter balance, some disincentive for this and future mayors and their client organizations.

Mike Bloomberg’s obscene wealth and the way he used it to pollute the electoral process has always been problematic (to say the least), but this current power play has crossed a new and more dangerous line. The use of personal funds to create the illusion of widespread support and to, let’s face it, bribe public officials should probably be made illegal. The use of taxpayer dollars to do the same sorts of things almost certainly already is.

Forget a third term; Mayor Bloomberg should not be allowed to finish his second.

(h/t DM)

(cross-posted on capitoilette, The Seminal, and Daily Kos)

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Monday, October 20, 2008

counterpoint taken

I agree with Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter:

The question for the new president then becomes not whether he's moving too fast but too slow. The test becomes whether he can use the powers of government to act on behalf of the American people. That is a fundamentally liberal idea.

This was offered as a “counterpoint,” as the magazine calls it, to Jon Meacham’s cover story—to which I say, point not taken.

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Friday, October 17, 2008

what is the opposite of leadership?
vol. II: NYC edition

Just in case you were buying into this whole “continuity of government” argument:

Mr. Bloomberg, who usually delegates the details of the legislative process to aides, personally tried to corral the 26 votes needed in the 51-member Council to pass the measure. He has started calling wavering members to press his case, arguing that the economic trouble requires “continuity of government.” A person who was briefed on one of the conversations said the mayor told members fearful of a backlash that if they voted to allow themselves a third term, “people do forget about things like this.”

Councilman Peter F. Vallone, who said he had spoken with Mr. Bloomberg within the last 48 hours, said the mayor told him it would be too “distracting and time consuming” to hold a referendum on his plan.

Oh, you bet I have more to say. . . .

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Hank Paulson earns his nickname

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

how cute. . .

Hank is going to let Bush pretend he’s still in charge. . . .

The Treasury Department, in its boldest move yet, is expected to announce a plan on Tuesday to invest up to $250 billion in banks, according to officials. The United States is also expected to guarantee new debt issued by banks for three years — a measure meant to encourage the banks to resume lending to one another and to customers, officials said.

And the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation will offer an unlimited guarantee on bank deposits in accounts that do not bear interest — typically those of businesses — bringing the United States in line with several European countries, which have adopted such blanket guarantees.

. . . .

Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. outlined the plan to nine of the nation’s leading bankers at an afternoon meeting, officials said. He essentially told the participants that they would have to accept government investment for the good of the American financial system.

Of the $250 billion, which will come from the $700 billion bailout approved by Congress, half is to be injected into nine big banks, including Citigroup, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase, officials said. The other half is to go to smaller banks and thrifts. The investments will be structured so that the government can benefit from a rebound in the banks’ fortunes.

President Bush plans to announce the measures on Tuesday morning. . . .

Henry Paulson, who himself had to be dragged kicking and screaming to this equity injection plan, worked out the details in private with the biggest players on Monday. . . and then kept it on the QT so that Still President Bush could come out on Tuesday morning and make it seem like he had some role to play in all this.

He didn’t.

Truth is, Mr. Hanky didn’t much either. Democrats in Congress inserted the language (over Paulson’s objections) in the TARP bill that gave Treasury the authority to do this; Paulson then did nothing for ten days, until markets tanked, credit got tighter, and UK PM Gordon Brown got most of the Europe on board with a similar plan. Hank Paulson is just desperately trying to keep up.

Meanwhile, Hank’s old pals at Goldman Sachs have cut a deal with New York state to headquarter their newly configured full-service bank in New York City. So, they get more from the federal government, and a state tax break, too.

How cute.

(cross-posted on The Seminal and capitoilette. . . where you will also find something about a nasty "typo" on some New York ballots. . . .)

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Monday, October 13, 2008

take that, Hank!

Take that, Hank Paulson!

Take that, Alan Greenspan!

In fact, take that, whole freakin' conservative movement!

Paul Krugman wins Nobel prize.

UPDATE: a little more detail on the award.

(Of course, I just posted about Hank, and Paul, and me on Friday. . . and there is a follow-up today on cpaitoilette.)

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Friday, October 10, 2008

Hank, if you’re reading this. . .

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

But who do you really love?

Just a quick observation:

Number of times John McCain mentioned Senator Joe Lieberman in the two presidential debates: 4

Number of times McCain mentioned his vice presidential nominee, Governor Sarah Palin: 0

. . . .

Bonus observation regarding McCain’s affinities:

Number of times John McCain said “My friends” in the first debate: 2

Number of times McCain said “My friends” in the second debate: 19

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Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Olbermann puts the blame on Mame

On last night’s Countdown with Keith Olbermann, the MSNBC host delivered one of his patented “Special Comments,” this time raking Republican VP nominee Sarah Palin over the coals for yet again cheapening the quality of debate in the presidential race, this time by accusing Senator Barack Obama of “pallin’ around with terrorists.”

While I don't disagree by-and-large with the substance of the segment, Olbermann failed to do what I think is most important when attacking Palin.

Palin is, to my eye, a horrible person, certainly unqualified, overtly corrupt, viciously ambitious—a joke, really (and a bad one)—but at the end of the day, no one votes for the Veep. The biggest problem with Palin is that John McCain picked her. McCain showed in this, like in so much else, his complete lack of sound judgment, his fascination with the maverick-ie gamble to buttress his bogus brand, and his track record of putting his own ambition above any other consideration.

Any attack on Palin has to remind voters that she was put in this position by a cynical candidate McCain. Keith came close to that point when he explained that he forgives Palin—because she is in a situation “beyond her ability to cope”—but he needed to make it explicit: You can't forgive Palin without blaming McCain.

. . .

As for the title, I think I’ll let Rita explain:

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Monday, October 06, 2008

“ace” McCain

The LA Times goes somewhere I have resisted going for a very long time:

Mishaps mark John McCain's record as naval aviator

Three crashes early in his career led Navy officials to question or fault his judgment.

Yup. It’s not like many didn’t know this, it’s just that we weren’t supposed to talk smack about a “hero.” Well, the LAT has the goods: John McCain was a shitty pilot, a “flat-hatter” or show-off, who was reckless and negligent in the cockpit. McCain’s actions were found to be suspect in four of the five planes that he lost—including when he was shot down over North Vietnam in 1967—and in at least three of the incidents, McCain lied about the circumstances of his crash.

Hmmm. . . inattentive, reckless, an inability to learn from his mistakes, a cavalier attitude about the safety and property of others, and ready to lie to cover his ass. . . sounds pretty much like campaign ’08. More evidence that McCain is the same asshole he’s always been.

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bailout homework

Adam Davidson, who reports on matters financial for NPR’s Planet Money and PRI’s This American Life tends to describe the credit hysteria of recent months in more dire terms than I would use (again, it’s not that I don’t think there are big problems with our economy, it’s just that I just don’t think that the way the problem has been framed promotes solutions that benefit the majority). However, oddly enough (or maybe this isn’t odd at all), Davidson also sees reason for some hope based on language he believes made its way into the final bailout, er, um, excuse me, rescue bill that passed the House and was signed into law by President Bush on Friday.

Continued on capitoilette. . . .

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Friday, October 03, 2008

jeepers, veepers

Well, bygollygosh, Sarah—is it OK if I call you Sarah?—ya’ didn’t stare blankly into the camera like a moose in headlights, or make sick allover that pretty jacket yer wearin’, so I guess you can be vice president now fershure.

. . .

And let me use this opportunity to add a line I forgot to work into my other post:

Joe Biden: the attack dog you’d actually want as a pet.

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Thursday, October 02, 2008

I’ve already got a shoebox in the back of my closet with your name on it

Almost just in time for the debate:

Earlier this year, Topps issued a 12-card insert in its 2008 Topps Baseball product called “Campaign 2008” featuring Barack Obama, John McCain, Joe Biden and nine other presidential hopefuls.

On Oct. 1, Topps announced that it has added an additional subject to the set: Republican VP hopeful Sarah Palin.

Palin will have 2 cards: Pictured as you see her today and pictured on a “rookie card” as an Alaskan Beauty Queen.

Topps says the Palin cards will be available the second week of October. . . about three weeks before most of us will resolve to forget about Sarah Palin forever.

I don’t think these will quite get up to, say, Nolan Ryan rookie card value, but, what with her flash-in-the-pan celebrity, maybe it will be a fun addition to your collection. In fact, that gives me an idea for tonight’s debate. . .

If anybody reading this can get the attention of Joe Biden, please forward him this guaranteed, sure fire, can’t miss zinger:

I knew Nolan Ryan, I saw Nolan Ryan play, and Sarah, you’re no Nolan Ryan.

(h/t LZ)

(cross-posted on The Seminal)

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who you gonna call?

From today’s NYT:

In a hastily convened meeting in the conference room of the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, the two men presented, in the starkest terms imaginable, the outline of the $700 billion plan to Congressional leaders. “If we don’t do this,” Mr. Bernanke said, according to several participants, “we may not have an economy on Monday.”

I don’t know about you, but I find this paragraph outrageous. Ben Bernanke’s hysterical proclamation—or threat, depending on how you read it—is in quotes, and it seems to have multiple sources confirming it, so I have to believe the Chairman of the Federal Reserve actually said this—and that just blows me away!

This is the man we have entrusted with setting US monetary policy, with keeping a hand on the rudder, with backstopping our entire economy, and the best he can offer at a time of “crisis”—a crisis that any casual observer could have seen coming at least a year ago—is essentially a slightly more serious rendition of the "Dogs and Cats" speech from Ghost Busters.

Honestly, if I’m Pelosi, I consider throwing him out of my offices and telling to come back with his resignation. (I know, Pelosi can’t fire the Fed Chair—but you get my drift, right?) This is a shock doctrine holdup, plain and simple, and if you didn’t suspect it before, this scene makes it imminently obvious now.

That any competent person in Bernanke’s position wouldn’t have started conversations before it got to this point, and that he wouldn’t have come in with multiple options, well in advance of a drop-dead date, is completely unconscionable. That the Speaker, the Senate Majority Leader, the chairs of both houses’ Banking Committees, and, most of all, the President of the United States hasn’t come out and said as much is unacceptable.

And, worst of all, of course, is that the President, the Senate, and, soon, I expect, the House are all set to reward this pathetic performance.

I think all of America has been slimed.

(cross-posted on The Seminal)

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