Saturday, October 18, 2008

Saturday Musical Tribute

Happy Saturday, Readers!

To quote the same Ben Stiller line for the second time in two weeks, this here is "really a wonderful song." Yes, the triumphant jam at the end has been a source of joy for Harrogate, for as long as he can remember.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Assy McGee Award® for 10/17: The Right Blogosphere

Sure, you can call out all the usual suspects on the internet, those who scaffold people like the horrid woman featured in Solon's video, posted below. You know, the Little Green Footballs, the Urgent Agendas, the Red States, the Michelle Malkins, the Ann Althouses, the Powerlines, the Captains Quarters. Yes, they are all participating in the "he's an anti-American terrorist" meme, because that is all they have, and all they have had in this election. Four years ago they had homophobia, now they don't even have that.

But it's also the many little sites like this that do the groundwork of perpetuating lies, smears, scare tactics. Take a good look at this guy's site, Readers. Verily he deserves a shout out for participating in the great project of hate-filled political discourse.

If only Supa-T could vote...

Yesterday, I was at the mall with Supa-T and Harrogate's dad, and we passed by a kiosk at which t-shirts were sold. One of the displayed shirts had a picture of Obama's face on it. Supa-T pointed and said, "Bahk Omama."

Later, watching The Colbert Report (Supa-T goes nuts over Stephen Colbert), we saw a split screen image of Obama and McCain. Again, Supa-T pointed and said "Bahk Omama." Then, he said, "Who's that?"


Intellectually Bankrupt

This clip is from Hardball with Chris Matthews. It represents the end of a certain type of conservatism that is beyond intellectual bankrupt.

It just over two weeks, this type of politician will no longer be in position to greatly influence our political institutions.

"You Betcha": The Many Faces of Sarah Palin

Round about a week ago, there was flap over Newsweek's close-up cover shot of Governor Palin. FOX News Personae apparently have been squawking about this "unflattering" shot of Palin all week.

Critics have said the current affairs weekly was cruel to use the picture, which shows blemishes on the face of Mrs Palin, the Republican vice-presidential candidate, in sharp detail, with some accusing it of acting maliciously.

Interestingly, if ye go just a little further back to Newsweek Online, ye encounter this horizontal collage of Palins.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A little bit of humor, a little bit of politics

Tonight in Manhattan, Senator McCain and Senator Obama appeared at the Alfred E. Smith Dinner, which is a charity event that honors Smith, the first Catholic Nominee (Democrat) for President who lost to Herbert Hoover in 1928.

McCain delivered his speech first. It is a very good speech though it is odd. If this McCain were running for president, the election may look different. In this speech, you can see the ethos of McCain from 2000. But the questions remains, who is John McCain: is the real McCain the one from 2000, a man who possessed honor, or is the real McCain the McCain of 2008, the one who lost his honor when he won enough delegates to become the nominee. He delivers a very good tribute to Senator Obama at the end of his speech, even if that it sounds like a concession speech and he knows he cannot win the election.

But this leads to the following questions: how can he attack Obama after this speech? Is that just tired political theater: the empty repetition of political attacks to keep ratings high for the networks?

Obama's speech was also odd; subtle but odd. While McCain's speech may have been funnier throughout the speech, Obama's good lines were better. There is also an odd point where it seems that he may have gotten booed as he discussed the excesses of the dinner celebration, especially in reference to the corporate retreats of AIG. It is a very poignant remark though it was not well received by the audience, who seems to hate discussions of their excesses. At the end of the speech, he delivers a very important message about helping others, which fits in nicely with the current financial mess.

One interesting point: there are a few points in the speech when Obama seems to show that he does not like delivering this speech. Maybe because it is for "play." Maybe because of "history." But there is some tension, which develops in the AIG discussion.

Here are the clips. For Sanity's sake, they are worth watching, especially as they show how McCain can be a human being---- even if it is a human being who knows he will lose the election in 18 days.

These are both good epideictic speeches, even if they just remind you that democracy is just a game for elites.

A final note: this is another interesting point of non-verbal communication. Obama enjoys McCain's speech; McCain has trouble enjoying Obama's.

McCain, Part I

McCain, Part II

Obama, Part I

Obama, Part II

I was a Teenage Lipstick Vegan

Apparently, I spent a much of my undergraduate years as an accidental vegan.

Who knew?

PETA knew.

Cereal with no milk? Check.
Cheap Bac'n'Pieces? Check.
Sandwich cookies? Oh, check.
Brach's candy? Yep.
The list goes on.
(Please find your own favorite ostensibly meat-themed item which made the list).
They call it veganism, I called it "stoned" or "lazy" or "poor."

It seems only fit that, if McCain can call himself a renegade, if Palin can redefine herself as innocent, and a sometimes dismayingly Mo'R Obama can credulously be called a radical Arab, then it is time that I rebrand as well.

Ladies and gentlemen, based on the most authoritative and unbiased sources: I am a reformed vegan.

And you can't deny it, because what is "health" anyway?

Headline from CNN this morning

The Gloves Come Off: Candidates Butt Heads in Debates

Did they butt heads, or were they butt heads? Heh, heh.

The morning after....

This picture, from Reuters, best represents the McCain campaign with 19 days to go. Senator Obama will broaden his attacks in North Carolina, Indiana, and Missouri; Politico reports he will also go after West Virginia, Georgia, Kentucky, and North Dakota.

Of course, this means that states such as Pennsylvania, Florida, and Michigan are no longer contestable for McCain and states such as Ohio, Virginia, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, and Iowa are moving away from being toss ups.

These states are not only important for the electoral college but for the down-ticket races as well. I am not sure if the democrats can handle winning sixty seats in the Senate.

Update: a Photographer from Reuters took this photo of McCain. The description of the context: "US Republican presidential nominee Senator John McCain (R-AZ) reacts to almost heading the wrong way off the stage after shaking hands with Democratic presidential nominee Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) at the conclusion of the final presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, October 15, 2008. REUTERS/Jim Bourg (UNITED STATES) US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION CAMPAIGN 2008

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Tone and demeanor

Here is one thing to note: Obama's tone and demeanor rarely changes. This works to his advantage. He seems unflappable, but McCain easily loses his cool and gets irritated with Obama. Will he lose his cool in the White House?

Last 8 years

It is interesting how we need to change the direction the country's been going in for the last 8 years, considering the individual who makes those claims voted with the current administration for the past 8 years the majority of the time. How does that suggest that this individual is a "maverick" or a "reformer?"

Specifics, please

Here's the thing that McCain forgets--we want specifics. How do we reform head-start programs? Sure, I agree these programs need to be reformed, as does the D.C. school system. But how do we reform these programs? It's like reading an introductory composition paper. Here is my thesis: reform, reform, reform. But don't offer any evidence as to how you complete the reform. And then wrap up with a sarcastic comment.

Oh, we have?

I didn't know that. I didn't know we had achieved equal access to education. Thanks for telling me that, John McCain.


Can you really be a proponent of the rights of the unborn and mothers if you support cutting programs like those McCain supported cutting in Africa, which I blogged about last week?

Litmus Tests

How is summarily excluding a qualified candidate for the Supreme Court because of his or her Constitutional interpretation on Roe v. Wade not a litmus test?

Holy Crap...

They are discussing the Supreme Court. Wow, this is new.

McCain: No limit test. I'll call Bullshit. Or, does he know that he will face a Democratic Senate and will not be able to get a Justice in the line of Scalia and Alito (hey, a litmus test) on the Court.

Wait, he just contradicted himself. You need certain qualifications to be nominated. If you support Roe v. Wade, you are not qualified. But that is not a litmus test.

WTF is it?

Obama: No strict litmus tests. Roe v. Wade is hanging in the balance (i.e. women, vote for me). Women, it is your choice, but if the old one gets in, it will not be. Rights are not subject to popular votes and there is a tradition of the right to privacy.

Oh wait: Ledbetter. Women: who will you support? I support Justices that focus on the experiences of the common people; Abe Simpson wants his best friend John Jay, er. I mean friend Antonin Scalia.

McCain: Brings up an abortion related topic that has nothing to do with judges. Can you see that you are completely incoherent. Are you just trying to rev up the base with this comment?

Obama: Let's have a truce on the Culture War- let's prevent unintended pregnancies. McCain's head exploded.

State decisions

Um, historically, leaving decisions up to individual states has been such a good idea. Remember slavery, voting reform, and Civil Rights?


the size of government has grown 40% in the past 8 years because the current REPUBLICAN administration has involved us in 2 wars that have not, in fact, made our country any safer.

Who cares about Joe?

What about Jill? Barry? Sam? Sara? Parker?

I am Jack's complete and total sense of disappointment over this debate.


I do not know who or what is less coherent: John McCain or the student paper I am reading?

I could say the same about straw arguments: who uses more?

$5,000 health care tax credit is . . .

total crap, and here's why. To purchase healthcare costs an individual upwards of $350 a month per person. My mother-in-law, who has had to pay out of pocket since my father-in-law died, pays this much. So an average family of 4 would pay $1,400 a month for health insurance. The yearly cost is then well over $15,000. A $5,000 tax credit only covers a third of that cost. Not helpful. And, frankly, it's about time Obama articulated this.

Hugo Chavez

Um, didn't we help put him in power?

And with Colombia: what does that say about the types of governments we ally ourselves with? Governments whot condone or turn their backs on routine kidnappings and murders of innocent people in an effort to get American dollars into their country? That's not taking place in Peru, is it?

**This last comment was added by Paperweight.

Split Screen

This split screen isn't really helping McCain much. Seeing him right next to Obama only highlights his age. I don't imagine his campaign is too happy about that.

Oh, and about Joe Biden: why is it a bad thing to want to use diplomacy rather than violence to correct problems?

When, when, when?

Other than parading her child with Down Syndrome around, how, how, how has Sarah Palin been an advocate for special needs children?

Oh, and Obama's right: we can't help special needs children if we put a spending freeze into effect.

About damn time!

Thank you, Senator Obama for clearly outlining a response to the idiotic claims that you associate with radical terrorists--radical terrorists who are now, by the way, respected professors in Chicago.

As Paperweight just said, "He just bitch-slapped, McCain with that explanation."

Who cares about advertising?

There are major issues during this campaign. And we are talking about the process of campaigning through the use of negative campaign ads...Boo Hoo!!!

This is a country you need to run. I hope your feelings are not too hurt you and you are not too bitter. How can you deal with Russia if you cannot stand up to negative ads.

Maybe you need a Happy Meal John McCain.

We Will Run A Truthful Campaign

****From this point forward.

3 Million Dollar Projector

That would be a projector for one of the largest planetarium and science center's in the country, which serves the greater Chicago area. Here is an excerpt from a press release put out by the Adler Planetarium after the last debate: "To clarify, the Adler Planetarium requested federal support – which was not funded – to replace the projector in its historic Sky Theater, the first planetarium theater in the Western Hemisphere. The Adler’s Zeiss Mark VI projector – not an overhead projector – is the instrument that re-creates the night sky in a dome theater, the quintessential
planetarium experience. The Adler’s projector is nearly 40 years old and is no longer supported with parts or service by the manufacturer. It is only the second planetarium projector in the Adler’s 78 years of operation. Science literacy is an urgent issue in the United States. To remain competitive and ensure national security, it is vital that we educate and inspire the next generation of explorers to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math." For more on the overhead projector, visit the Daily Kos.

He said tell us things you haven't yet said. . .

McCain has already failed on that mark.

Yes, that's right; I'm live-blogging the debate. Frankly, it is the only way I can make it through another one of these.

Harper and Fellow Conservatives Reelected

In yesterday's Canadian elections, Conservative Prime Minister Steven Harper was reelected, as were many of his fellow conservatives. Based on conversations I've had with my students and some of our neighbors, this wasn't a huge surprise. Many Canadians, young people in particular, are following the state of American politics more closely than Canadian politics. Thus, voter turnout was at an all time low for this election. I also know that many Canadians were unhappy about this election, which Harper moved before the U.S. elections hoping that no one would be paying attention.

I hope this isn't a warning of things to come for the U.S. in a few weeks. . .

Political Junkie Gossip

Christopher Buckley, son of the Conservative Icon and recently departed William F. Buckley, has been fired (officially, he "resigned") by the National Review, an Iconic Conservative Magazine which his father founded. The reason for all the hullabaloo? He endorsed Barack Obama for President on his blog.

See Buckley's explanation for what happened here, where he compares his experience to that of his colleague, "the lovely Kathleen Parker," who as Readers well know, has been rendered a pariah by the Right for pointing out Palin's ridiculousness. Entitled "Sorry Dad I Was Fired," the online article is a must read for those interested in the currently caustic state of the GOP.

Opines Buckley:

So, I have been effectively fatwahed (is that how you spell it?) by the conservative movement, and the magazine that my father founded must now distance itself from me. But then, conservatives have always had a bit of trouble with the concept of diversity. The GOP likes to say it’s a big-tent. Looks more like a yurt to me.

While I regret this development, I am not in mourning, for I no longer have any clear idea what, exactly, the modern conservative movement stands for. Eight years of “conservative” government has brought us a doubled national debt, ruinous expansion of entitlement programs, bridges to nowhere, poster boy Jack Abramoff and an ill-premised, ill-waged war conducted by politicians of breathtaking arrogance. As a sideshow, it brought us a truly obscene attempt at federal intervention in the Terry Schiavo case.

So, to paraphrase a real conservative, Ronald Reagan: I haven’t left the Republican Party. It left me.

Meanwhile, on his Townhall blog, Matt Lewis quips:

Buckley's farewell column also (intentionally, in my estimation) confuses George W. Bush Republicanism with conservatism.

His father was a truly great man, so this one stings. All I can say is this is unfortunate, but I think NR is justified in their decision.

Now they should oust Parker, as well ...

Fighting over the meaning of Reagan's Legacy, fighting over the meaning of Conservatism. Struggles of Epic proportions, over the concepts of dissent and even independent thinking.

Heh. Folowing the GOP dynamic at this moment is like watching a Cockroach War, folks.


Matt Lewis just posted a follow-up to Buckley's resignation.

Read this line, Chums, and read it well:
Christopher Buckley's departure from National Review serves to highlight the emerging chasm between traditional mainstream conservatives (my definition would include men like Ronald Reagan and Rush Limbaugh as well-known examples of this) -- and the conservative intelligentsia.

Yay. It is nice to see the phrase "men like Ronald Reagan and Rush Limbaugh."

And then there's this gem:

If Buckley believes John McCain isn't conservative enough, that is a legitimate and honorable position to take. However, there are many options available to him, short of endorsing a socialist.

Oh. But you've got to read the whole thing because really the possibilites are endless. You wouldn't, for example, want to go on with your day without this rattling around in your brain:

I would prefer a dumb conservative to a smart liberal (in fact, I would prefer a stupid liberal to a smart liberal).

Welcome to Crazytown. The problems with the Bush Admin are that it was too liberal. Obama is a socialist. "Intelligentsia" is the most horrid pejorative of them all.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

It's So Over...

Here's a little tidbit for ya--I'd kill him.

Blah, Blah

Blah...Blah, Blah, Blah... Blah, Blah.

Updated: Blah!!!

Big O' Jesus Fish

Beginning at 4:05, Palin talks about her son's first tattoo.

And let's not forget that God wants a natural gas pipeline running through Alaska.

Monday, October 13, 2008

On the Political Gossip Front: The Washington Times clears the air on Levi Johnston

Readers and Board Members will find this piece interesting. Johnston and the Times pooh-pooh coastal elites who claim that he is a political prisoner. Indeed, his decision to drop out of high school only more brightly illuminates our own coastal elitism. So listen up, haters. The "Wasilla heartthrob" has set the record straight.

Morning Vile

On Morning Joe the cast and crew debated the extent to which the McCain campaigned should disavow the words of their supporters. Morning Joe himself, the man who believes torture is acceptable (4 minute mark of the effectiveness of torture), focused more on how there is an imbalance of attacks. From the clips this morning, it seemed that Joe worries more about the columns of Frank Rich than the actions of campaign supporter.

I would like to see if Joe can find the column that expresses the moral equivalent of this clip.

The best part of this video is watching all of the McCain supporters denouncing the man with the Curious George doll. Just wait for it....

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving...

to our north-of-the-border friends, Paperweight, M, and Wildman.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

A cool use of technology . . .

This article, on efforts to keep elephants alive in Kenya and protect the crops they like to raid, offers a really cool use of mobile phone technology.