Saturday, September 27, 2008

Who Won Last Night's Debate???

Ralph Nader's views were pretty clear.

That's right. Ye hear Bill Maher right. It was in reference to Ralph Nader that he said "This should be the voice of the Democratic Party."

Hmmmm. But not today.

But One Day. Hopefully during our Children's Lifetime. There will be a Party with real stroke, with real representation in Congress and with a real shot at the White House, that takes our Republic with the seriousness that it deserves.

Because we are not there yet, sad fact 2008. Is the only reason Harrogate can think of, not to vote for Ralph Nader.

In the end what we have, those of us worried about the corporate lockdown and who would rather not raise our children to die young, for reasons nobody can even articulate, let alone credibly defend, is the same ole lesser of two evils reasoning.

Yes, the Dems are a lesser evil, Obama is a lesser evil. And MUCH lesser. This is the argument to make against Ralph Nader's candidacy.

Friday, September 26, 2008

"Look, it's Capital Barbie!"

Judith Warner's piece in the NYT offers a bit of sympathy to "Poor Sarah," who is clearly in over her head. I'm not inclined to feel sorry for Palin, but I did enjoy the comparison to Elle Woods. And I do think that McCain and Palin should put "Country First" and find a new VP candidate. Unless, of course, Americans are realizing what a disaster they represent and her name (or really, both names) on the ticket insures an Obama/Biden victory. In that case, keep her.

A Salute

Four men made some heroic rescues when a Marion County school bus was engulfed in flames after being hit by a big rig on Tuesday.


"Keep Talking": In Honor of Pink Floyd, Barack Obama, and a Media That Never Fell for McCain's Effort to Shut Up

Well, as ye all know by now, McCain will debate tonight in Mississippi. The link provided shows you how to spin these developments as evidence of McCain's heroism and leadership virtuosity. It seems McCain, whose level of expertise and gravitas on matters pertinent to this bailout, and to the economy generally, is clear to all Americans, was willing to "put politics aside" and "solve problems in a bipartisan manner," but Obama selfishly put his Presidential ambitions above eveything. That is the Spin you're going to see from the Right all day.

Still, it is a wonderful thing that the debate is on, regardless of how they spin it, and regardless of the outcomes. Harrogate therefore posts this song in honor both of Debate in Principle. And in Honor of Barack Obama. Because as Obama demonstrated in his strong response to McCain's FASCISTIC SUGGESTION that discourse be put off in the name of crisis management.

Yes, as he demonstrated in that response, one of Obama's best features is that he understands the life and death stakes of Talk.

Here are the lyrics to Pink Floyd's "Keep Talking"

For millions of years mankind lived just like the animals
Then something happened which unleashed the power of our imagination
We learned to talk

There's a silence surrounding me
I can't seem to think straight
I'll sit in the corner
No one can bother me
I think I should speak now
I can't seem to speak now
My words won't come out right
I feel like I'm drowning
I'm feeling weak now
But I can't show my weakness
I sometimes wonder
Where do we go from here

It doesn't have to be like this
All we need to do is make sure we keep talking

Why won't you talk to me
You never talk to me
What are you thinking
What are you feeling
Why won't you talk to me
You never talk to me
What are you thinking
Where do we go from here

It doesn't have to be like this
All we need to do is make sure we keep talking

Why won't you talk to me
You never talk to me
What are you thinking
What are you feeling
Why won't you talk to me
You never talk to me
What are you thinking
What are you feeling

I feel like I'm drowning
You know I can't breathe now
We're going nowhere
We're going nowhere

The Transcript of Bush's September 24th Bailout Pitch

Wednesday night George W. Bush made his bailout pitch on a prime time, 15 minute address to the nation. Rhetorically it was necessary to try it, as every public opinion poll seems to be reflecting this sensibility: "Fuck no you can't have 700 Billion Dollars!!" The real problem now of course is that the GOP has "bailed out" on George W. Bush. Pelosi and others Dems have said that they will not let a Bailout Bill be branded as Bush+Congressioanl Democrats. If we are going to do this, it will have to get at least 100 Republican Congressmen to sign on.

And so part of the fascination is that for the second time ever (the first time being Bush's attempt at an Immigration Bill), we have the poster child for partisan polarization, George W. Bush, basically putting himself at the mercy of the Democrats, asking them to help him get something done at cross purposes with GOP sensibility.

Oh well. But enough parsing what is being parsed to death already. Here is the full transcript of the speech Bush gave.

Somewhere the ghost of Herman Melville laughed when W. said this:

Under normal circumstances, I would have followed this course. But these are not normal circumstances. The market is not functioning properly. There has been a widespread loss of confidence, and major sectors of America's financial system are at risk of shutting down.

Take that, free market ideologues!!!!! Perhaps now some of ye will be intellectualy honest enough to follow (GASP!) the President's lead, and admit that ye are ideologues who put every marble in the world into a doctrine that depends wholly on the good faith and CONFIDENCE of the people in the society.

That's right, Andrew Sullivan. Your smug little dismissal of Naomi Klein was the last straw for Harrogate, as far as you are concerned.

Sully, while Harrogate will be happy if your blog generates some votes for Obama, that is really where anything other than truly ill will ends. One of the most distasteful aspects of this whole election. for Harrogate, has been getting acquainted with the thought processes of a Randian zealot who is mad at the Republicans for not liking gay people and for neocon adventurism. In truth, ye do not see that all is interconnected. That the forces that allowed the corporate lockdown (which you want to roll around with naked) are interwed with the forces that encourage homophobia at home and push for imperialism abroad (which you denounce).

Ahhh!!! Human frailty. Such is betrayal of our Rhinestone Desires. Suffice it to say, on the level of public policy and social thought, and not to mention on the level of ART, it is people like you, Sully, who have been most exposed this week. Verily, ye forfeit your claim to three-dimensional human staus when your response to a problem like this is to quote Adam Smith.

For God's sake, Sully!!!! Be like (Gasp!!!!) George W. Bush and grow a third dimension into your thinking.

Orwell Rolls Over in His Grave

Bush just changed his terminology on the Wall Street bailout.

It's no longer a bailout plan; it's a "rescue package."

And who wouldn't want to rescue something? I mean, a rescue is a heroic deed, where one saves an innocent victim from a dangerous situation.

Yeah, forget bailout. To many associations with poor decisions and criminal behavior. Who wants that?

Friday Musical Tribute; Or, John Pulls His Head Out (Well...Partially)

In Honor of the Paperweight and M Contingent's Impending Visit To the Solon and Megs Contingent

Harrogate is jealous.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Is It Already A Saying???

"If you actually believe X, then there's a bridge in Alaska I'd like to sell you"


If not, Harrogate calls dibs on it.

Song of the Day

Financial Crisis. Failing Democracy. Forfeiting the Debate?

Who watches the Watchmen?

And the song of the night? "It's the end of the world as i know it (I Fell fine)." It is a song about a debate, one of the only ways in which a person can feel fine when the world ends...

Don't Fuck with David Letterman

McCain really pissed Letterman off by "bailing out" on his show--only to do an interview with Katie Couric instead.

My favorite quote:

Noting that McCain wanted to postpone Friday’s first debate with Barack Obama, Letterman said running mate Sarah Palin wanted to put off her debate with Democrat Joe Biden until after Election Day. Letterman said McCain taking Palin to meet world leaders at the United Nations was like “take-your-daughter-to-work day.”

Nader Wants Oxymoron and Mrs. Oxymoron to Write Him In

Some Non-Sarah Palin Hunor of the Day

Unfortunately, Palin humor is more dark comedy than anything else. It is no longer funny "Ha-Ha" but funny, "I MY F@CKING G-D THIS CANNOT BE HAPPENING."

However, to understand how we got ourselves in this financial mess, consider this letter to the editor from The Washington Post:
While witnessing, but not participating in, the home real estate frenzy in 2005 and 2006, I kept asking: Who is the idiot buying up all these mortgages issued on inflated home prices to all these people who have neither the capacity nor the intention to repay the loans?

Now I learn it was me.


Ann Arbor, Mich.

Hat Tip Volokh Conspiracy

Please John McCain, respect Sarah Palin

Free her from your ticket. Respect the Republican. Respect the American people.

This is worse than the previous "Russia" segment. McCain suspended his campaign because of Sarah Palin not the economy.

The short version:
COURIC: Why isn’t it better, Governor Palin, to spend $700 billion helping middle-class families struggling with health care, housing, gas and groceries? ... Instead of helping these big financial institutions that played a role in creating this mess?

PALIN: Ultimately, what the bailout does is help those who are concerned about the health care reform that is needed to help shore up the economy– Oh, it’s got to be about job creation too. So health care reform and reducing taxes and reining in spending has got to accompany tax reductions.

And I quote: "reducing taxes...has got to accompany tax reductions."

As Oxymoron suggests, just watch the eyes of Katie Couric.

Also, if this interview reveals the depth of her knowledge, and her depth is best represented by an evaporated puddle in the desert, there will not be a debate tomorrow night as there cannot be a debate with Palin on Thursday. There may not be a debate at all.

I could make some $ in Switzerland

Just a little food (and drink) for thought:

A Swiss gastronomist has stirred a controversy in the tranquil Alpine republic after announcing that he will serve meals cooked with human breast milk.

Women will receive just over £3 (US$5.4) for 14 ounces of their milk. The owner of the Storchen restaurant in the exclusive Winterthur resort will improve his menu with local specialities such as meat stew and various soups and sauces containing at least 75 per cent of mother's milk.
"We have all been raised on it. Why should we not include it into our diet?" Hans Locher, who has become Switzerland most controversial restaurant owner, said.
Mr Locher attracted the attention of the leading media of the German-speaking world this week after he posted ads looking for women donors, who will receive just over three pounds for 14 ounces of their milk.
He said: "I first experimented with breast milk when my daughter was born.
"One can cook really delicious things with it. However, it always needs to be mixed with a bit of whipped cream, in order to keep the consistency."
The food control authority in Switzerland was initially confused by the apparent loophole in local legislation regulating the use of human milk and it was not clear whether Mr Locher could actually be banned from serving his specialities.
"Humans as producers of milk are simply not envisaged in the legislation.
"They are not on the list of approved species such as cows and sheep, but they are also not on the list of the banned species such as apes and primates," Rolf Etter of the Zurich food control laboratory said.

"Well, it certainly does..."

Watch CBS Videos Online

My office is next to people in the English Department and the Art Department. Therefore, I have PhDs in English and Art. I just have sooooo much experience in those fields because of our proximity to one another.

If you need me, I will be at the bar. I would look on the floor.

Update: In a bizarre and uncharacteristic moment of humanity, at this point in time, I do hope that someone cancels the Vice Presidential Debate next Thursday. It would be tragic for her to step on stage and discuss almost anything, Moose hunting is the exception. Her stupidity is moving me toward pity.

John McCain, you have made one of the worst choices in the history of politics. Senator McCain please respect Sarah Palin by replacing her as your VP choice. Senator McCain, please respect the American people enough by no longer lying to them and by follwing your campaign slogan, i.e. put your country first, for once during this campaign.

If you show enough kindness by allowing her to return to Alaska I will promise you that I will not attack her replacement, Mitt Romney. Is it a deal?

Palin's Meet and Greet

According to The New York Times, here are a few "conversations" Palin had with foreign leaders.
Ever since Senator John McCain made Ms. Palin the first woman to serve on a Republican presidential ticket, pundits and politicians have been walking on eggshells for fear of saying anything about her that might come off as sexist. But in an exchange captured by television cameras, Ms. Palin was greeted by Asif Ali Zardari, the new president of Pakistan, and a delegation of Pakistani officials.

“I am honored to meet you,” Ms. Palin said.

“You are even more gorgeous than you are on the (inaudible),” Mr. Zardari said.

“You are so nice,” Ms. Palin replied. “Thank you.”

“Now I know why the whole of America is crazy about you,” Mr. Zardari continued. At which point an aide told the two to shake hands.

“I’m supposed to pose again,” Ms. Palin said.

“If he’s insisting,” Mr. Zardari said, “I might hug.”

Earlier, Sherry Rehman, the Pakistani information minister, had welcomed Ms. Palin. “Busy on the campaign trail?” she asked the governor.

“Yes, yes,” Ms. Palin replied.

“How does one keep looking that good?” Ms. Rehman asked.

“Oh, oh, thank you,” the governor replied.

Ms. Palin has not held a news conference, and has given only a handful of interviews — including the one with Ms. Couric — in the four weeks since Mr. McCain named her as his running mate. But on Wednesday, reporters asked her how her day was going. “It’s going great,” she said. “The meetings are very helpful and informative. A lot of good people share an appreciation for America.”

There is a financial crisis going on right now, you cannot expect Palin to have meaningful conversations with real leaders.

About that suspension

Yesterday, McCain announced that he was suspending his campaign until Monday because of the economic crisis. This meant no debate, no ads, and, presumably, no campaign spokespersons.

So, this morning, Nicole Wallace appeared on Morning Joe, making the case for McCain's suspension. McCain himself appeared at Clinton's Global Initiative and campaigned, er, not campaigned. And, according to Politico, McCain's ads are still appearing in swing states. A McCain spokesperson, Brian Rogers, stated the campaign "started pulling them down yesterday afternoon. This takes time."

So, what exactly did McCain suspend?

Why did he suspend it? To rush back to Washington (Thursday afternoon) and pressure Congress (even though he is not on the committee and has little economic knowledge) to pass a bill. To prevent the debate? To show that he is in charge?

And Bill Clinton, how is this a "good-faith effort?"

Update: MSNBC reports an agreement is in place. I guess there will be a debate tomorrow night, right Grandpa Simpson?

A Fun Fact

What *is* $700,000,000? It's approx. $2300 per every person in the United States. I could use $2300. Our family could definitely use $6900.

Edited to add: I know that this is not money that we could really get back. But I do think that the money should return to the citizens in some way. I admit that I don't understand exactly what happened, nor do I understand exactly how this $700 billion is going to help. I just hope that if it's spent, that the money helps more than the already rich.

With Friends Like Bill

According to ABC News, former President Clinton defended McCain's actions to delay the debate, stating McCain suspended his campaign in "good faith." Right.

This is on top of Clinton's appearance on The View, where he discussed how Senator Clinton would handle the crisis, praised McCain, and could not be bothered to mention Obama but asked candidates to vote the "other" way.

Again, it took a comedian to notice the actions of a "statesman." On Letterman, Chris Rock fought for a Democrat. Maybe you should try that Bill.

BTW, McCain praised Clinton at Clinton's Global Initiative this morning. No quid pro quo here.

Canadians on the U.S. economic bailout

Last night, as C and I watched the Canadian news, amidst Wild Man's cries to "stop talking," I was struck by the newscaster's very astute point (sorry, I can't remember the newscaster's name or the channel on which it aired; if I could, I'd link it): Americans generally hate socialism. Republicans especially hate socialism. And yet the Republicans are largely backing President Bush's proposed 700 billion dollar economic bailout. The Canadian newscaster found it as intriguing as I do.

Here are a few things I don't get, however.
  1. Where is this 700 billion dollars coming from?
  2. How is this going to help the economy, given that the U.S. already has a huge economic deficit?
  3. How are we going to raise this money without raising taxes? (oops, wait Obama does want to raise taxes, but only on the richest Americans. He, if fact, has proposed tax cuts for Americans making less than $90,000 a year, while McCain will stick with the same policy that got us in this damn mess.)
  4. Why aren't we modeling this bailout, as Hillary Clinton herself suggested yesterday on the Today Show, on ones enacted during the Great Depression--a historical model that was overwhelmingly successful?
Oh, wait, that's right. I forgot; Americans tend to not learn any lessons from history.

McCain at Global Initiative

McCain just finished speaking at the Clinton Global initiative. He began his speech by reminding everyone that he suspended his campaign yesterday. That's right, no more politics--country first. After that, he went on to talk about some of the economic and health problems that threaten the wellness of the world. Then he told everyone what he would do, as President, to address these problems. In other words, I'm not campaigning but vote for me.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Because Someone Had To Lighten The Mood

And also, because Harrogate will guarantee it. There are Board Members afoot, perhaps several--YEA, perhaps all!!!--who like this song.

Letterman v. McCain

John McCain was scheduled to appear on Letterman tonight. Because of the economic crisis, McCain canceled his appearance and headed back to Washington to help pass the bill being discussed [on a committee McCain is not on-- try to figure that out].

However, it appears that McCain did not head to Washington and, according to Keith Olbermann, is not in Washington tonight. Instead, after he canceled Letterman, he visited Katie Couric over at CBS. And guess who found out and has live footage?

The health of our democracy is not good when our comedians offer a better analysis of politics than our media.

How many times must McCain lie in one day. Palin?

Campaigning on not campaigning

A regional spokesman for the McCain campaign accidentally sent a "talking points" memo to member of the media. The internal email addresses the suspension of McCain's campaign. This is, of course, a political move--and the memo makes this clear.

The recipients were asked not to be proactive in discussing the issue with the media. When said spokesman realized that he had sent this document to the press, he purportedly responded, "Fuck!"

Fuck, indeed.

Assy McGee Award®, 9/23/08: Hugh Hewitt

It's pretty ridiculous to name anyone for this Award, given the scope of possibilities. So Harrogate invites others to throw in their own choices. But Harrogate selects Hewitt, a GOP Think-Tanker pushing hard for the Congress to follow Bush's "lead" on the Economic problems, and whose recent blog entry just took the word "Spin" to a whole 'nother level. It is important that Situationers acquaint themselves with this Spin, however, because Bank On It (pun intended): What ye see on going to the link, WILL be the GOP Talking Points about the Debate or No Debate Controversy, tomorrow and Friday.

'Money' Snippet (Pun Intended). With a few Pieces of Commentary by Harrogate inserted in brackets:

These events should impact the presidential election in a profound way.

Today was Obama's Katrina moment [yes. Readers, ye read that correctly] and an example of great leadership by John McCain [that too]. This contrast was telling and will matter.

Obama's complaint about the debate postponement made him look exceptionally petty given his refusal to debate all summer long [because it was McCain's right to dictate terms and schedule]. Obama's reversal suggests he did not understand the seriousness of the moment and was pursuing a purely political approach to the crisis.

John McCain, by contrast, acted with speed and resolution [heh]. McCain did not wait to see which way the polls were trending and he did what he has often done over the years --demanding what he saw was necessary action and appealing for bipartisan support. I have opposed some of these calls in the past, but today's call was clearly the right thing to do.

What an extraordinary demonstration of the differences between these two nominees.

Gesh. Gesh. Gesh.

A Theory of Public Pouting; or, Why McCain's Suspension is really about Sarah Palin

According to CNN, McCain's friend and spokesperson, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-Land That Time & Modernity Forgot, er. S.C.-- I kid friends from the Great White North) announced that the McCain campaign will lobby the Presidential Debate Commission to cancel Friday's debate, reschedule it for Tuesday, and then cancel the Vice Presidential Debate. The VP Debate will be "rescheduled."

The McCain campaign announced that McCain will not debate if a deal is not announced. Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), someone who is working on the bailout and knows something about economic policy, stated on Race to the White House that a deal will happen but it will not happen by Friday.

I am beginning to think that there may not be any debates. Or press conferences by Palin/ McCain. Or interviews. Or any public gathering in front of a non-partisan audience.

Essentially, the McCain campaign is rejecting any form of information exchanges that occurs in a democracy where the people, sometimes through the press, can challenge and question their rulers.

This is terrible. Absurd, really. If this is their campaign, I cannot imagine what their presidency would look like.

No, I can imagine. It would be worse than the one we have now: the absolute rejection of accountability.

Palin, Couric Interview

It is available here.

While there is more political substance in The Cat in the Hat, here is another excerpt.
Couric: You've said, quote, "John McCain will reform the way Wall Street does business." Other than supporting stricter regulations of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac two years ago, can you give us any more example of his leading the charge for more oversight?

Palin: I think that the example that you just cited, with his warnings two years ago about Fannie and Freddie - that, that's paramount. That's more than a heck of a lot of other senators and representatives did for us.

Couric: But he's been in Congress for 26 years. He's been chairman of the powerful Commerce Committee. And he has almost always sided with less regulation, not more.

Palin: He's also known as the maverick though, taking shots from his own party, and certainly taking shots from the other party. Trying to get people to understand what he's been talking about - the need to reform government.

Couric: But can you give me any other concrete examples? Because I know you've said Barack Obama is a lot of talk and no action. Can you give me any other examples in his 26 years of John McCain truly taking a stand on this?

Palin: I can give you examples of things that John McCain has done, that has shown his foresight, his pragmatism, and his leadership abilities. And that is what America needs today.

Couric: I'm just going to ask you one more time - not to belabor the point. Specific examples in his 26 years of pushing for more regulation.

Palin: I'll try to find you some and I'll bring them to you.
She has been the VP choice for 27 or 28 days now. She still knows nothing, even after all of her "studying."

Palin is the type of student who comes to class, sometimes. She refuses to take notes. She does not read. She barely passes an exam. She does not turn in assignments. Then, she stops by your office to ask for more time and extra credit because she did not "understand" the material.

Debate of the Day

Resolution One: This House believes that John McCain's campaign relies on the presumption that the American people are stupid, irrational voters.

Resolution Two: This House believes that since McCain's strategy relies on the stupidity of the American people, he will win the election.


I think that the election rests on these two propositions.

Quote of the Day

"It's the longest Hail Mary pass in the history of either football or Marys."

Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) concerning the suspension of John McCain's campaign in order to held out Congress. From First Read.

Before the suspension....And Obama's response

This morning Obama calls McCain to discuss the idea that the two candidates should release a joint statement that reveals the principles by which the relevant parties should discuss the bailout. According to TNR:
At 8:30 this morning, Senator Obama called Senator McCain to ask him if he would join in issuing a joint statement outlining their shared principles and conditions for the Treasury proposal and urging Congress and the White House to act in a bipartisan manner to pass such a proposal. At 2:30 this afternoon, Senator McCain returned Senator Obama’s call and agreed to join him in issuing such a statement. The two campaigns are currently working together on the details.

The question remains: If this situation were so dire, dire enough to cancel the debate, why didn't McCain act earlier in the day. According to the McCain camp, the Senator, "was meeting with economic advisers and talking to leaders in Congress throughout the day prior to calling Senator Obama."
Yet, according to Politico:
My colleague Amie Parnes reports that he made it to his scheduled morning meeting with Lady Lynn de Rothschild, a Clinton backer who recently came out in support of him.
If de Rothchild an economic adviser or a Congressional leader?

Country first. Or, country after fundraising with the de Rothchilds. Or, just politics first, right John.

Obama's response to this political stunt.
“It’s my belief that this is exactly the time the American people need to hear from the person who in approximately 40 days will be responsible with dealing with this mess," he said. "In my mind, actually, it's more important than ever that we present ourselves to the American people and try to describe where we want to take the country and where we wnt to take the economy as well as dealing with some of the issues of foreign policy that were initially the subject of the debate."

"What I think is important is that we don’t suddenly infuse Capitol Hill with presidential politics,"

"Presidents are going to have to deal with more than one thing at a time," he says. "It’s not necessary for us to think that we can do only one thing, and suspend everything else."

Holy &$#@!!!!!: "McCain Suspends Campaign To Help With Bailout"

Linky link.

Here's an Interesting Snippet:
He urged his opponent Barack Obama to do the same.

Here's another:
The Arizona senator also asked the Presidential Debate Commission to postpone Friday’s scheduled debate with Obama so that he can work on the financial crisis bailout plan now on Capitol Hill.

And one more:
McCain has fallen in recent polls as a result of the economic crisis. The latest FOX News/Opinion Dynamics poll shows Obama has taken a 45-39 percent lead over McCain, in large part because of independent voters. A Washington Post poll also showed that most voters think Obama has a better approach to dealing with the economy than McCain.

Okay. Like most Americans, Harrogate doesn't pretend to know what to do about this economic shitstorm. Most people would prefer no Bailout, it seems. But most people would prefer a Bailout to a full-scale Depression. So, most of us don't know what to think. The issue of CEO Compensation will not go away though, and neither will the Issue of Accountability in terms of how this money is spent, if we pony it up. That much these politicos need to remember, and remember well.

But meanwhile, Harrogate humbly makes the following assertion: There is No Way in Hell Obama should Agree to a Formal "Postponement" of this Campaign. There are so many fallacies built into what McCain is asking Obama to do, and what he is asking the Debate Commission to do, Harrogate doesn't even know where to begin. If Obama agrees to this Harrogate will be a Sad Panda.

But, Here let Harrogate add what he WOULD be supportive of. Let the Presidential Debate Commission switch the order of the topics. So that the economy is Friday's subject. Yes, we're all riled up about Im-A-Dinner-Jacket's visit to the UN. And we're worried about what is taking place in North Korea. And the two Wars we are in are really, really big deals. But the Rhetorical Situation we are in nevertheless dictates that the economy is what people are going to want to hear these candidates talk about, on this coming Friday night.

Hmmm. We'll see what they do.

PETA Adds A New Wrinkle to Breastfeeding Discourses

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
sent a letter to Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, cofounders of Ben & Jerry's Homemade Inc., urging them to replace cow's milk they use in their ice cream products with human breast milk, according to a statement recently released by a PETA spokeswoman. "PETA's request comes in the wake of news reports that a Swiss restaurant owner will begin purchasing breast milk from nursing mothers and substituting breast milk for 75 percent of the cow's milk in the food he serves," the statement says.

Wednesday Musical Tribute

Tom Waits. "Take Care of All My Children."

Somewhere, on a metaphorical street corner where it is always night and the fog is always thick, lamentation and hope cross ways.


I just saw a clip from Katie Couric's interview with Gov. Palin.

Here's a link to the video.

Here's the transcript:

Katie Couric: If this doesn't pass, do you think there's a risk of another Great Depression?

Sarah Palin: Unfortunately, that is the road that America may find itself on. Not necessarily this, as it's been proposed, has to pass or we're gonna find ourselves in another Great Depression. But there has to be action taken, bipartisan effort – Congress not pointing fingers at this point at … one another, but finding the solution to this, taking action and being serious about the reforms on Wall Street that are needed.

The New Nader Ad Part Deux (Harrogate and Oxymoron Got A's in a Graduate Level French Course)

Jeralyn at TalkLeft continues to build on her her heroic creds. Unhappy with both Clinton and Obama in the Primary, she sided with Clinton, not as a feminist statement but because she believed Clinton was to Obama's left on criminal justice issues.

Then when Obama won she found her way strongly into his camp, despite her strong difficulties with his criminal justice record. And even with the selection of Biden for VP, who Jeralyn has been skewering for years as a Drug Warrior and a Draconian advocate for all things Prosecution. Even then, Jeralyn did what Democrats ask us to do: understand that the dangers the GOP poses are so much more severe than the Dem Standard Bearers, that the first order of business has got to be to get the GOP out of Power.

All of which brings us to the beauty of this post, which responds to the Nader Ad that no less prestigious a personality than Harrogate celebrated only moments ago. Here is a piece of blog-writing from that post that is fit to bring a smile to the face:

I would like to see Nader's VP candidate, former public defender Matt Gonzales, in the Biden/Palin debate, just so the public could get a sense of what a progressive agenda is about on criminal justice issues. Between Biden, who's never met a crime bill he didn't like and Palin, who probably can't even understand one, it would be refreshing and enlightening in the way Dennis Kucinich, whose position on issues most closely match mine, was during the debates he participated in.


18% of U.S. Voters are undecided

This scares me. How will these people make their decisions, or will they just decide to stay home? Of course, those who are undecided don't scare me as much as people who declare, "I don't follow politics much. I'll just decide when I enter the ballot booth." Yes, that is a direct quote from my mother.

Tip of the Hat to the New Nader Ad; Or, First and Foremost, Harrogate is "In the Tank" for Progressive Politics

He damned sure aint talking to a parrot in this one. Great use of music, too. And nothing in this Ad is untrue. Indeed, the truth may be hard to take for Progressive Democrats (those that are left) to take.

Ouch. Is it any wonder that The Nader is now polling at a Staggering 10% among Ohioans????? 10% of Independents in the State of Ohio. Just think about that for a moment.

Keep ignoring these issue at thy peril, Obama. Actually. Unfortunately. It is at all our Peril.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

How you attack sexism

Cleansing our language will not be as effective as attacking social institutions. This is a new ad from the Obama campaign that exposes McCain's sexist and paternalistic attitudes against women, as well as explicitly attacking McCain on equal pay and implicitly attacking him on Supreme Court Justices.

Better yet: rather than attack the mythological beast known as "the media" the ad targets what hinders women from receiving equal pay in this case, the law. It features Lilly Ledbetter from the Supreme Court case, Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire Co.

The First Rule of Wall Street Bailout is....

you do not talk about the bailout. Wait, wrong list.

Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) on the bailout. The class struggle in the U.S. is awake, finally.

Update: Here is a little humor about the bailout.

From: Ethan Ackerman

Date: Tue, Sep 23, 2008 at 1:18 PM









I <3 Google Books

I just had to proclaim this.

I've been able to find so much good information for my chapter on 18th-century pedagogy that otherwise would have gone unnoticed if not for Google Books. It amazes me how many old books have been scanned and are available for PDF download. And they're searchable, no less.

Palin PBS Poll

Here's something else of interest that my students have led me to. PBS is sponsoring an on-line poll about Sarah Palin's qualifications for the job of VP. So far, 54% of those responding thinks she is, in fact, qualified. Check it out, Situationers.

Update on Texas Ballot; And New News on PA's

Bob Barr's emergency legal stay to prevent Texas's Secretary of State from mailing Texas ballots until his suit is resolved has been rejected. The reason: the protection of our troops who are stationed or fighting overseas.

From the Texas Attorney General's opposition brief:
Undeniably the Constitution of the United States protects the right of all qualified citizens to vote. In that spirit, the State of Texas opposes any threat to the rights of military service members to receive, case, and return ballots from abroad. The Motion for Emergency Stay filed by Relators Bob Barr, Wayne Allyn Root, and the Libertarian Party of Texas presents precisely this threat, in asking this Court to stop the mailing of ballots to our men and women in uniform around the globe. This Court should deny the Motion and protect the constitutional rights of military voters.

Barr is accusing the state of politicizing the issue when they should be addressing its legal merits. He says they are exploiting the troops.

And in other Barr-related news, the John McCain camp has filed an appeal (after losing their first case) to have Barr thrown off the Pennsylvania ballot.

Ode to Maverick(s)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Naomi Klein's Shock Doctrine, Distilled: A Response to Roof Almighty

Naomi Klein has for some time had the GOP's number in a way that few public figures have been able to boast. Her ability, moreover, to break down a thesis cleanly for people to understand is something all of us on this Blog should appreciate.

So here is Klein in distilled form, in case anybody has been hearing about this "Shock Doctrine" stuff for a while, but never had time to read the book. The first couple of minutes is the money part, then she and Sullivan start arguing and at some point or another Sullivan begins to confuse himself with Patrick Henry. Sullivan got a couple of good points in, but overall this clip illustrates his incredibly callow side.

Ahh, the temporary alliance is almost over......

Internal Polling

For fellow Situationers.

1)Do you believe that an Obama Administration would ultimately fulfill McCain and Palin's stated wish that the door be opened for Georgia and Ukraine's entrance into NATO?

2)Do you believe that an Obama Administration would wind up fulfilling McCain's stated intention of putting the United State at war (undeclared, of course) with Iran?

3)If you have answered YES to either of the above. Would you stand by a President Obama, and the Dem Party in general, in such an event?

Why Some People Like Ron Paul. Number 700 Billion. Oh. Also, Nader Predicted This Would Happen

Harrogate posted this You Tube Video long ago, roundabout March or so. At the time he stated that Paul was the only candidate in either party who was getting You Tube videos made with captions such as "Ron Paul Courageously Speaks the Truth."

Some Die-Hard Reaganomicons, like Andrew Sullivan, are voting for Obama but really, really love Ron Paul. On Friday's Real Time, Sully stated that the current Wall Street crisis vindicates not Noam Chomsky, but Ron Paul. Hmmmm. As though there are only those two choices.

Harrogate, be it remembered, thinks Ron Paul is only slightly undeserving of nutball status, and wouldn't vote for Ron Paul for the proverbial office of dog-catcher. Because Harrogate is not a Concrete Jungle Greenblood Economic Conservative. But still, Harrogate is human, and he was once young and a little Green Blooded Himself. Yea, he once thought Ayn Rand an important thinker. And now looking back on those innocent days of yore, Harrogate cannot help but appreciate it that of all the Political Figures that made a play for the Presidency this time around, it is Ron Paul who rests his platform almost completely on the Altar of Liberty. That, friends, is why this video exists, because somebody was inspired by the idea of freedom, and Ron Paul was their spokesman. And it is why Harrogate now embeds it, for the second time.

Also, what an appropriate song for the United States' Rhetorical Situation, at this moment in time!!!!

Oh BTW. Nader warned us that this K Street shit was gonna happen

Letters from an Angry Congressman

As posted by Matt Stoller on Open Left

Paulsen and congressional Republicans, or the few that will actually vote for this (most will be unwilling to take responsibility for the consequences of their policies), have said that there can't be any "add ons," or addition provisions. Fuck that. I don't really want to trigger a world wide depression (that's not hyperbole, that's a distinct possibility), but I'm not voting for a blank check for $700 billion for those mother fuckers.

Nancy said she wanted to include the second "stimulus" package that the Bush Administration and congressional Republicans have blocked. I don't want to trade a $700 billion dollar giveaway to the most unsympathetic human beings on the planet for a few fucking bridges. I want reforms of the industry, and I want it to be as punitive as possible.

Henry Waxman has suggested corporate government reforms, including CEO compensation, as the price for this. Some members have publicly suggested allowing modification of mortgages in bankruptcy, and the House Judiciary Committee staff is also very interested in that. That's a real possibility.

We may strip out all the gives to industry in the predatory mortgage lending bill that the House passed last November, which hasn't budged in the Senate, and include that in the bill. There are other ideas on the table but they are going to be tough to work out before next week.

I also find myself drawn to provisions that would serve no useful purpose except to insult the industry, like requiring the CEOs, CFOs and the chair of the board of any entity that sells mortgage related securities to the Treasury Department to certify that they have completed an approved course in credit counseling. That is now required of consumers filing bankruptcy to make sure they feel properly humiliated for being head over heels in debt, although most lost control of their finances because of a serious illness in the family. That would just be petty and childish, and completely in character for me.

I'm open to other ideas, and I am looking for volunteers who want to hold the sons of bitches so I can beat the crap out of them.

My favorite parts in bold. This is participatory democracy at its best! Whoever you are: I'll get the ankles if you get the wrists. Metaphorically, of course, since my mama taught me not to play with shit.


Here's the industry's play: progressives will approach Nancy with ideas for reform, and she'll agree to push for their proposals, and she'll really mean it. Then industry lobbyists will go to Dennis Moore, Melissa Bean and a few other Democrats, and tell them how dire the consequences of the proposals would be, and that the members who understand how the economy works need to step up to stop Nancy and the crazy liberals from doing something rash. Then those Democrats will go to Steny and tell him how terrible Nancy's crazy ideas would be, and how we can't rush into something like that without much, much more thought. Maybe Barney will try to talk to Dennis or Melissa, but it will become apparent quickly that they have no idea what they're talking about; they're just repeating by rote what the lobbyists told them to say. Melissa may actually be dumber than Sarah Palin. Barney will realize he might as well talk to the lobbyists directly and save a step. The lobbyists will agree to something inconsequential, but certainly nothing that would really affect the industry's conduct. Then the leadership will do the math and conclude that because the vast majority of Republicans will vote against any bill, we can't get enough votes without the Dennis and Melissa crowd. The only way, our leadership will conclude, to get anything at all passed is to include nothing more than the inconsequential proposals that the lobbyists agreed to. Then we'll all go along because it would be wildly irresponsible not to act when we're staring over the brink of a complete collapse of world financial markets.

I'd diagram it for you if I had a chalkboard. I've seen the play again and again, and it always goes for long yardage.

The only defense for the play is for a significant group of Democrats to say they won't vote for any proposal that isn't unpalatable to industry, and mean it. It's a pretty high stakes game of chicken, but otherwise we come out of this with nothing but a $700 billion giveaway to a crooked industry.

So is this it? The left finally has something solid and of real world value that they can fight for that 99% of the world can get behind ("don't let the thieves pocket the money they stole after they've been caught" is pretty fucking universal) and even their angriest voice can't help but phrase it as the lever with which the Republicans can still win this election.


Real Cracks in Real Ceilings: Identity Politics Versus the Economy

Fruits of Eco-Conservatism. McCain and GOP=Dead End Street

There's a crack up in the ceiling,
And the kitchen sink is leaking.
Out of work and got no money,
A sunday joint of bread and honey.

What are we living for?
Two-roomed apartment on the second floor.
No money coming in,
The rent collectors knocking, trying to get in.

We are strictly second class,
We don't understand,
(dead end!)
Why we should be on dead end street.
(dead end!)
People are living on dead end street.
(dead end!)
Gonna die on dead end street.

Oh, the Irony....

Last week, John McCain ran ads that argued Obama possessed ties to the mortgage crisis as the McCain camp argued Franklyn Raines, the former Chief Executive of Fannie May, advised the Obama campaign.

Well, it turns out that Rick Davis, the campaign manager and longtime adviser for McCain, is the real problem here. According The New York Times, Davis, helped "Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac beat back regulatory challenges when he served as president of their advocacy group, the Homeownership Alliance, formed in the summer of 2000." Further,
“The value that he brought to the relationship was the closeness to Senator McCain and the possibility that Senator McCain was going to run for president again,” said Robert McCarson, a former spokesman for Fannie Mae, who said that while he worked there from 2000 to 2002, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac together paid Mr. Davis’s firm $35,000 a month. Mr. Davis “didn’t really do anything,” Mr. McCarson, a Democrat, said.

There is guilt by association and then there is guilt by association. Why does John McCain have any credibility left?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Happy Birthday, Supadiscomama!

Here's a little Gwen for you on your birthday, my friend! What are you waiting for? Go celebrate!

Another one for the "Heh" Category

With the UN Gathering Fast Approaching, McCain Seizes the Opportunity to Roll Out Palin as At Least Mildly Credible on Foreign Affairs.

Heh, indeed. But ye know what bothers Harrogate even more than the bizarro notion of Sarah Palin meeting with Heads of State and negotiating on our behalf? What bothers Harrogate more is that, consistently in the Polls, McCain is cleaning Obama's clock on the question Who Is Best Suited to Be Commander-In-Chief.

The whole, "National Security is McCain's Strong Suit" meme. How stupid are Americans anyway. After eight years of NeoCon Adventurism wreaking havoc with our security at home and soling our reputation abroad. While also creating corpses by the tonnage. Is the truth of the matter really that difficult to see?

In the event of a McCain victory. Those who vote GOP this time around will have no right to complain or cry if they lose loved ones in the guaranteed next round of ill-begotten wars. They will have brought it on themselves and may even be said to deserve what they get. The truth is a cold dish and there it is.

Those who saw what was coming and got shouted down at the polls, however. And then lost loved ones. Will have but to look around, everywhere they go. To see where the death warrants came from.