Saturday, October 25, 2008

Palin Drops Puck Again,

Hurts Goalie for St. Louis Blues. Seriously. Hip Flexor.

Quote of the Day

"She is a diva. She takes no advice from anyone.... She does not have any relationships of trust with any of us, her family or anyone else.

"Also, she is playing for her own future and sees herself as the next leader of the party. Remember: Divas trust only unto themselves, as they see themselves as the beginning and end of all wisdom."

From CNN: A unnamed McCain spokesperson on Palin.

Harrogate's Assy McGee Award® Nominee for the Weekend: John Hawkins

Link. Christ on a Crumb Heap.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Fox News on the Hoax

A message from John Moody, the Executive Vice-President of Fox News.

And Moody stated this before the lady, from College Station, TX, revealed it as a hoax.

Friday Musical Tribute; or, Texas State Board of Education Races to the Bottom, Seeks to Institutionalize Creationism


Texas has earned a reputation as an innovation powerhouse in fields ranging from agriculture and life sciences to high technology and space exploration.

But in a report issued this summer, a panel of Texas business, education and government leaders warned that without "critical changes" in state schools — especially in science-related instruction — the state will lose its global competitive edge.

It appears, however, that some members of the State Board of Education are working on a different agenda. Last week, they appointed three anti-evolution activists, including a leader of the "intelligent design" religious campaign, to a six-member panel that will review proposed new science curriculum standards.

The new standards will shape how science education is taught in Texas for the next decade, and it would be a terrible mistake to water down the teaching of evolution in any way.

Given the concerns about the state's future work force, the appointments are a troubling signal. At a time when most educators are working to prepare students for 21st century jobs, the board members' action threatens to confuse students, divide communities and tarnish Texas' reputation as an international science and technology center.

This linked article does a good job laying out the pedagogical and Enlightenment-based arguments for why Texas' parents need to put a stop to what these people are trying to do.

Now, Harrogate humbly offers a Humanistic Argument against the Evolution Deniers:

They prosecuted some poor sucker in these United States
For teaching that man descended from the apes
They coulda settled that case without a fuss or fight
If they'd seen me chasin' you, sugar, through the jungle last night
They'da called in that jury and a one two three said
Part man, part monkey, definitely

This one is for you, Harrogate

Just imagine that Supadiscomama is singing it to you, as I well know how crazy she is for you

Tip of the Hat to Kathleen Parker; or, an Update on Harrogate's Father, a Nader Sympathizer and Ohio Voter

Harrogate has long resisted the urge to proffer a Tip of the Hat to Kathleen Parker, whose ideological leanings diverge so dramatically from Harrogate's own.

But really, you've got to hand it to her. She took an awful lot of flap for simply pointing out Palin's vacuousness. But she did not back down. Like George Will and Andrew Sullivan and "Christo" Buckley, Parker doesn't like it that the GOP as currently configured represents an almost total capitulation to the most vicious anti-intellectual impulses in this country. And so they are complaining about it. They want their Party back. And there is nothing wrong with this, indeed, this revolt might well lead to a more moderate, reasonable GOP in the future, should Obama win.

Parker's recent column, wonderfully entitled "Maverick's Tragic Flaw" and linked herein, is a doozy, a must-read for those following the GOP implosion.

Explaining McCain's choice of Palin, Parker actually writes this:

As Draper tells it, McCain took Palin to his favorite coffee-drinking spot down by a creek and a sycamore tree. They talked for more than an hour, and, as Napoleon whispered to Josephine, "Voila."

One does not have to be a psychoanalyst to reckon that McCain was smitten. By no means am I suggesting anything untoward between McCain and his running mate. Palin is a governor, after all. She does have an executive resume, if a thin one. And she's a natural politician who connects with people.

But there can be no denying that McCain's selection of her over others far more qualified -- and his mind-boggling lack of attention to details that matter -- suggests other factors at work. His judgment may have been clouded by ... what?

Science provides clues. A study in Canada, published in New Scientist in 2003, found that pretty women foil men's ability to assess the future. "Discounting the future," as the condition is called, means preferring immediate, lesser rewards to greater rewards in the future. (Harrogate's emphasis)

UPDATE: Parker's article is so awesome Harrogate now adds another snippet from it:

The Canadian psychologists showed pictures of attractive and not-so attractive men and women to students of the opposite sex. The students were offered a prize -- either a small check for the next day or a larger check at some later date.

The men made perfectly rational decisions, opting for the delayed larger amount after viewing the average-looking women. You know where this is going. (Women, by the way, were rational no matter what.)

That men are at a disadvantage when attractive women are present is a fact upon which women have banked for centuries. Ignoring it now profits only fools. McCain spokesmen have said that he was attracted to Palin's maverickness, that she reminded him of himself.

Recognizing oneself in a member of the opposite sex (or the same sex, as the case may be) is a powerful invitation to bonding. Narcissus fell in love with his own image reflected in the river, imagining it to be his deceased and beloved sister's. In McCain's case, it doesn't hurt that his reflection is spiked with feminine approval.

As my husband observed early on, McCain the mortal couldn't mind having an attractive woman all but singing arias to his greatness. Cameras frequently capture McCain beaming like a gold-starred schoolboy while Palin tells crowds that he is "exactly the kind of man I want as commander in chief." This, notes Draper, "seemed to confer not only valor but virility on a 72-year-old politician who only weeks ago barely registered with the party faithful." (Harrogate's emphasis)

Heh. But anyway. Last night Harrogate had a long talk with his father, who had called to announce his decision to vote for Barack Obama in the upcoming election.

"What finally swung it," asked Harrogate. "Was it the incontrovertible nature of my arguments, the beauty of my speech, the sheer magnetism of my political thought?"

"Pish! 'Twas none of that," stated old Dad from his residence in Ohio. "I just watched the McCain/Palin interveiw with Brian Williams. And it is important that Palin go back to the utter mediocrity from which she came, and to which she belongs. I just couldn't believe the words coming out of her mouth. No wonder even Colin Powell has endorsed Obama."

No wonder, indeed.

"Dress You Up" Now Counts as Political Music!!!

This was always one of Harrogate's favorite songs by Madge, anyway. Go ahead and make fun of him for it & see if he cares. It's a damned good song, and certainly merits consideration as the new GOP theme song.

You've got style, that's what all the girls say
Satin sheets and luxuries so fine
All your suits are custom made in London
But I've got something that you'll really like

Quote of the Day

"I will be voting for Barack Obama."

Scott McClellan, President Bush's former press secretary.

The McCain-Palin Division Widens...

Politico has a story that discusses the Republican "Circular Firing Squad."Marc Ambinder reports on the McCain aids who are beginning to whisper about Palin, especially for the way in which Palin has deliberately veered away from the McCain message and strategy on Michigan, Rev. Wright, "palling around with terrorists," as well as not providing enough information during the vetting process.

This is an interesting debate between the conservative "base" and moderates, as well as the fight between the Conservative intellectuals, those that defend Palin and those that lament that Palin represents Conservatism.

But this debate ought not occur 11 days before an election. Just as Senior McCain aids should not send out their resumes before the election.

Also, Palin is denying, incoherently, the $150,000 wardrobe. Her defenders say that it could not have added up to $150,000; it is an unfair gender bias to bring this up; the clothes were for the Convention only; she has not worn the clothes and they have not left the "belly of the plane;" they are for charity; the devil made her do it.

This seems to be an easy thing to check: either the receipts add up or they do not.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

By the Way

Testifying in front of Congress, Alan Greenspan admitted free market principles did not work the way in which he thought they would. According to TNR:
“I made a mistake in presuming that the self-interests of organizations, specifically banks and others, were such as that they were best capable of protecting their own shareholders and their equity in the firms,” Mr. Greenspan said.

Referring to his free-market ideology, Mr. Greenspan added: “I have found a flaw. I don’t know how significant or permanent it is. But I have been very distressed by that fact.”

Mr. Waxman pressed the former Fed chair to clarify his words. “In other words, you found that your view of the world, your ideology, was not right, it was not working,” Mr. Waxman said.

“Absolutely, precisely,” Mr. Greenspan replied. “You know, that’s precisely the reason I was shocked, because I have been going for 40 years or more with very considerable evidence that it was working exceptionally well.”
I am shocked! Just shocked! A corporation adopting a philosophy of self-interest over public virtue.

Maybe if someone were to "invent" an economic theory that researches how people actually behave economically rather than examine the normative aspects of economic behavior. Then, maybe someone could write a book or someone else could write another book about it.

And, on top of it all, maybe if one of the two presidential choices believed in this theory, maybe for health care or retirement. If that were to happen, then just maybe we would have a better economic policy on how people actually behave.

But, someone will probably object and say "It's not true; it's just a theory!"

Establishing Interpretive Dominance: The GOP in 2012

Earlier today, I referred to an article in The New York Times Weekend Magazine that attempts to save the honor of John McCain, while attacking his operatives and Sarah Palin. This is not the only article to preemptively establish blame for the Presidential race, if McCain were to lose.

In The New Yorker, Jane Mayer examines how McCain selected Palin. While this is not a definitive, or even an "insider" piece, it sets blame on the conservative "elite," I mean commoners that write serve thr Republican Party in Washington [and write for The Weekly Standard and The National Review]. This article ends on the idea that McCain and his campaign was betrayed by the Palin pick as it sunk his campaign. Consequently, McCain is uncomfortable with everyone, including himself. According to the article, a top Republican close to McCain [and hence, not Palin nor the Washington Insiders], stated:
“John’s personal comfort level is low with everyone right now. He’s angry. But it was his choice.”

Yet, with two articles seeking to protect McCain against Palin, it would not take long for a response. At Politico, a Senior GOP Adviser attacks McCain for attacking Bush instead of attacking Democrats:
One of the most senior Republican strategists in the land warns the McCain campaign after reading the WashTimes interview: “Lashing out at past Republican Congresses instead of Pelosi and Reid, and echoing your opponent's attacks on you instead of attacking your opponent, and spending 150,000 hard dollars on designer clothes when congressional Republicans are struggling for money, and when your senior campaign staff are blaming each other for the loss in The New York Times [Magazine] 10 days before the election, you’re not doing much to energize your supporters. The fact is, when you’re the party standard-bearer, you have an obligation to fight to the finish. I think they can still win. But if they don’t think that, they need to look at how Bob Dole finished out his campaign in 1996 and not try to take down as many Republicans with them as they can. Instead of campaigning in Electoral College states, Dole was campaigning in places he knew he didn’t have a chance to beat Clinton, but where he could energize key House and Senate races. I think you’ll find these sentiments shared by MANY of my fellow Republican strategists.”

Instead drawing from the Palin playbook and running the Rove style campaign, the McCain camp avoided the Wright issue.

The focus of this article suggests that McCain will not win because he did not follow the Rove style campaign. If the GOP is to win in 2012, then the eventual nominee will need to follow this playbook. And Sarah Palin will. Of course competence does not matter but we already knew that. See Bush, George W.

By privileging Palin, the "forces of Rove" seek to symbolically preserve the future with Palin and, more importantly, preserve a style of campaigning: Rev up the base and engage in forces of the Culture War.

Happy Thursday Music Tribute; Or, Don't Judge Me Because I Like This One Better

When Solon was in town a few weeks back, I rode with him and Harrogate to a local bar. A discussion of Beatles covers ensued. Generally speaking, we agreed that most fall short of their originals.

Here is one I prefer, though. It's a cover of "If I Fell," performed live by Adam Levine of Maroon 5. It's a beautiful song. For me, the cover works better than the original because the slightly slower tempo and stripped arrangement make it all the more intimate.

Infuriating Comments of the Day: The Virtues of the GOP

Instead of doing something productive, I am watching MSNBC. David Schuster is interviewing spokespersons from the Obama and McCain campaigns over the $150,000 wardrobe.

Schuster asks the McCain supporter about the clothes, especially since a number of RNC supporters are upset over the expenditures, especially when the money could help down-ticket races. Here is the spokesperson's response:

Schuster: Are you embarrassed [over the expenditures]?

McCain supporter: Not at all. First of all, she is worth every penny. And I think most of the people in the Republican party and those writing checks for this campaign and the RNC would agree that she is. Sarah Palin is a...

Schuster (interrupting): Do you think most independents and moderates in this country would agree?

McCain supporter: Yes I do, quite frankly, if they were given a fair shot to really looks at the facts at this, which I do not think they have. Palin has been taking this beating in the media.

Schuster: [I'm paraphrasing] Well, lay out the facts.

McCain supporter: Well, when you look at what type of family that the Palin's are, they are not a wealthy family. And I think when you are put on the national stage and running for the Vice-President you are expected to look good and it takes more for women and we all know that. I do not think anyone has a problem with that. Sarah Palin...

Obama supporter, interrupting: I do not think anyone is begrudging her new wardrobe.

McCain supporter (responding to the interruption): I'm making my point. The fact of the matter is Sarah Palin didn;t the cash in to make a lot of money on a book deal to become wealthy, like the Obama's did and the Clintons quite frankly. So she doesn't have the wealth behind her. Plus the women just gave birth in April and doesn't have a wardrope. She had to come up with this quickly.

I don't think there is any problem with this. I think that it is petty that people are looking at it like this. And I think that if she were not an attractive woman, that she didn't look good in those clothes, we wouldn't be talking about this.

Schuster: It was her choice, or the RNC's choice, to shop at high end stores.

Using this conversation as the representative anecdote of the McCain campaign and Palin supporters, we can see the virtues of the modern day GOP.

First, it does not matter what the facts of the candidate's personal life. Palin is an averaqge "Joe" or "Jane" "Six-pack" even though, according to the Anchorage Daily New, she lives in a $552,000 home, her family owns a small plane, as well as other recreational vehicles. I know a lot of "average" people with her level of income, personal net worth, and recreational vehicles.

Second, intellectual achievements, such as receiving a book deal or writing your own book, are virtues that need to be scoffed at and publicly ridiculed.

Third, what matters most is not how much money was spent but how the candidate looks and, does Palin looks good even as it diminishes her ethos.

Fourth, it's the media's fault. They just aren't fair. [They should be like Fox News.]

I will give credit to the McCain spokesperson for one thing: pointing out that it may be difficult to have clothes that fit after pregnancy. However, by connecting to the importance of appearances and diminishing intellectual capabilities of individuals, the modern day GOP appeals to those who care little about coherent arguments, especially in a reality-based community.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Remaking of John McCain

There is a very interesting article in this week's New York Times Weekend Magazine on the McCain campaign. It is odd in that it is a postmortem of sorts as it attempts to establish the presumption of blame while, at the same time, it is a last ditch attempt to show that McCain is a good, honorable man, which is exemplified through the campaign narratives. Further, it is an excellent example of the invention process, which observers rarely see, and the attempt to gain interpretive dominance for those choices.

The beginning of the article discusses the choices that McCain faced back in September, after the beginning of the economic meltdown but before the first debate. As McCain stiffed Letterman but spoke at Bill Clinton's Global Initiative, McCain's campaign guru, Steve Schmidt, reports that at the Global Initiative, former President Bill Clinton stated this to John McCain:
Schmidt evidently saw the financial crisis as a “true character” moment that would advance his candidate’s narrative. But the story line did not go as scripted. “This has to be solved by Monday,” Schmidt told reporters that Wednesday afternoon in late September, just after McCain concluded his lengthy meeting with his advisers and subsequently announced his decision to suspend his campaign and go to Washington. Belying a crisis situation, however, McCain didn’t leave New York immediately. He spent Thursday morning at an event for the Clinton Global Initiative, the nonprofit foundation run by former President Bill Clinton. As McCain headed for Washington later that morning, he was sufficiently concerned about the situation that Schmidt felt compelled to reassure him. “Remember what President Clinton told you,” Schmidt said, referring to advice Clinton had dispensed that morning: “If you do the right thing, it might be painful for a few days. But in the long run it will work out in your favor.”

Anyone want to interpret Clinton's remarks, especially as they relate to the Presidential campaign and who Clinton supports?

Yet, though this article makes former President Clinton look bad, it makes the Palin selection seem like an absolute farce and absurd political theater intended to appeal to the lowest set of political desires:
One tape in particular struck Davis as arresting: an interview with Palin and Gov. Janet Napolitano, the Arizona Democrat, on “The Charlie Rose Show” that was shown in October 2007. Reviewing the tape, it didn’t concern Davis that Palin seemed out of her depth on health-care issues or that, when asked to name her favorite candidate among the Republican field, she said, “I’m undecided.” What he liked was how she stuck to her pet issues — energy independence and ethics reform — and thereby refused to let Rose manage the interview. This was the case throughout all of the Palin footage. Consistency. Confidence. And . . . well, look at her. A friend had said to Davis: “The way you pick a vice president is, you get a frame of Time magazine, and you put the pictures of the people in that frame. You look at who fits that frame best — that’s your V. P.”

Country first?

The McCain campaign utilizes Palin to achieve certain rhetorical tropes. First, the campaign hopes people see her as a "conservative activist," hence, the heavy visual use of the family and, especially, the use of Trig. Second, the campaign employs her as a "reformer," which coincides with the "original mavericks" roll out. Further, there is the notion that McCain relies on Palin to fulfill the "Palin as woman" trope whereby people are to view Palin as a woman instead of her talents to appeal to Clinton voters. This trope is to cut ideological distinctions while appealing to identity politics that ripped through the Democratic primary.

The campaign relies on her appearances, i.e. "beauty queen" image to introduce her to the public because of the cultural premise that beauty is desirable or the longstanding notion that beauty reveals the essence of a person- the sign--person or sign--quality correlation. However, beauty for Palin, becomes the issue instead of political substance. When Palin interviewed with Couric and Gibson and these interviews revealed that this sign/person correlation was incorrect, this is where the McCain campaign ran in to some problems and people who supported her needed to argue their case on beauty as an end rather than a means. Hence the movement toward an unwanted "President Barbie" trope and the attacks against Tine Fey where commentators point out that Palin is more attractive than Fey, which is to replace the notion that Fey provides the substance to the relationship between Fey and Palin.

This is why Davis's comments about the cover of Time magazine and "And . . . well, look at her," reinforce the campaign's intent to have a President Barbie...even better is they can play the victim card, which worked well in the Democratic Primary. People like victims in society, so long as they can relate to them. In this regards, beauty helps.

After discussing Palin, the article discuss the contradictions and limitations of the campaign: the search for authenticity and honor; McCain 2008 running against McCain 2000; McCain v. Obama; the loss of political agency because of the media and Obama. While it attempts to recapture the honor of McCain, it reveals that he is a candidate "out of time" in both senses of the phrase: he may be unable to catch up in the presidential race and he was a man that never understood his political circumstance, i.e. he lacked a sense of kairos.

Guy Ritchie Rumors: Give Us Dirty Laundry

Consider the sources:
But the news of a new woman in his life is hardly shocking, as rumors of cruelty and infidelity in the former power-couple’s marriage run rampant.

Click here to see photos of Madonna.

Madonna would reportedly taunt Ritchie by telling him she should have married someone stronger, more intelligent and ambitious. According to Us, the singer would even physically abuse Ritchie by slapping him or poking him.

But Ritchie was hardly a pushover in the relationship and Us reports that he would often call her fat, old, ugly and wrinkled. Ritchie also reportedly told her she was stupid and a terrible singer.

UPDATE: At first Harrogate was going to make this about how FOX loves to smear people. But now he sees it's more than just the NY Post racing FOX to the bottom. Apparently Us Weekly won that race handily:

See photos of Madonna's biggest scandals.

For more on Madonna and Guy - including how they would go months without sex and how Ritchie may not have been faithful during their 7 1/2 year marriage - pick up the new issue of Us Weekly today!

Blech. For Harrogate's part, he's sorry it didn't work out for them, at least as sorry as one can be who didn't know either of them personally. But that's pretty boring headline material, admittedly.

Rep. Bachmann's Richly-Deserved Economic Freefall; or, A Follow-Up to Amanda Carpenter's Assy McGee Award® of 10/20

Amanda Carpenter is outraged:

The National Republican Congressional Committee, tasked with raising money for GOP congressional candidates, is blowing off Rep. Michele Bachmann after she came under fire for a recent appearance on Hardball.

In a brazen assertion that there are indeed entire parts of the country and entire voting demographics that deserve to be called anti-American, Carpenter adds this:

Here is her online contribution page if any Townhallers are inclined to step in and help where the NRCC won't. Bachmann is a reliable conservative vote in the House and you all know her from her blogs here at Townhall.

Meanwhile she adds plenty of ethos to her argument by pointing out that the bastion of truth known as Red State is also upset about Bachmann's obsene victimization. Writes Red State Poobah Erick Erickson:

Now, in the height of all douchebaggery, he has pulled all funding from Michelle Bachmann's very winnable race in Minnesota, in which she is presently leading, though not by a great deal.

Why? Because Bachmann had the nerve to point out Obama pals around with anti-American domestic terrorists and other unsavory characters, i.e. she's echoed Sarah Palin.

But that's okay. Apparently we have Republicans to spare.

Help Michelle Bachmann. This race is absolutely winnable. Hell, she's winning right now. But she needs our help.

Republican Big Wigs, Pundits, and Politicians--bereft of even the shred of an argument with which to persuade Real Americans (heh) of their "case" that Barack Obama is a terrorist/Radical Muslim/Pagan/Atheist/Communist--are now on their way to being reduced to identifying Douchebaggery in one another.

Geez. Surely the American people will not reward this party for its behavior on election day. Surely sanity will pevail this time.

I couldn't agree or disagree with you more...

I think we are officially past the point at which this election is no longer humane.

In this clip, Senator McCain cannot even slam an opponent. His best bet is to ask, "Where am I?" and go home.

However, megs and I have been laughing all night over this clip. This is karma for the recent robo-calls. Enjoy!!!

A Rambling, Sentimental, Political Response to M

In her most recent post on Separation of Spheres, m wonderfully discovers herself as a Bette Davis figure, and ruminates on what it all means.

What's serendipitous about this is that, while reading the Post, Harrogate was also listening to what he considers to be--STRONG STATEMENT COMING--the Kinks' Greatest Song: "Celluloid Heroes," which points out how very much we ask of our Movie Stars, the Grandiosity of the Mythos that surrounds them, and the often terrible toll this role takes on the much-envied Hollywood Class (here we might pause to reflect on megs' warning that in our hunger for gossip and glee at celebrity's expense, we too-often venture into Really Hurting Real People territory). [LEAVE BRITNEY ALONE!!!} {heh}

And, not to go too far into politics with this post, because Lord knows we've got enough of that going on in the Situation. But it does strike Harrogate as somewhat disturbing, how much zest the Right takes in pillorying "Hollywood." Don't get Harrogate wrong: nobody is a harsher--often to the point of intentional unfairness--critic of our most cherished stories than he.

But Rhetorics suggesting that Moviemakers count less, not only as thinkers but even as "Real Americans" (or for that matter even as human beings) is really ridiculous, considering how much, and on how many moral, practical, and imaginative levels the entire nation relies on them and what they do.

Hmmmm ... Leave it to a British Band to nail the American Pathos Harrogate is trying to get at, here. "Celluloid Heroes" includes the following verse:

You can see all the stars as you walk down hollywood boulevard,
Some that you recognise, some that youve hardly even heard of,
People who worked and suffered and struggled for fame,
Some who succeeded and some who suffered in vain.
Rudolph valentino, looks very much alive,
And he looks up ladies dresses as they sadly pass him by.
Avoid stepping on bela lugosi
cos hes liable to turn and bite,
But stand close by bette davis
Because hers was such a lonely life

Unfortunately. . .

there are still individuals who will not be voting for Obama because they are convinced he is a Muslim. Paperweight's mom is visiting us this week, and last night we had a lengthy conversation about how she doesn't like John McCain but can't vote for Barack Obama because she's not convinced he's a Christian. I asked her to clarify. She said "his middle name is Hussein, M, and his father was Muslim." Well, my father is a Republican, but I don't hold that against him. Seriously though, when PW and I pressed her for concrete evidence to support her argument, she admitted she had none. The conversation quickly devolved from there. She also told us that she is angered that so many African Americans in her hometown are going to vote for Obama simply because he is black. She argued that they should inform themselves about the candidates before choosing whom to vote for. When I pointed out that there are many, many whites in her hometown who will be voting against Obama simply because he is black, she said "That's different." And when I pressed her to explain, she refused, saying "we'll just have to agree to disagree." At that point, I decided it was time to give Wild Man a bath.

Happy Wednesday Musical Tribute

Here's a hit from one of Oxymoron's favorite musical years, 1989 (although, it is likely not the song that Oxy or anybody else would first associate with that year). Great song to take in with that morning cup of coffee, whilst contemplating where to go next on a forbidding Word Document.

Sarah P. Natural

I've been pondering two post topics for the last week. One--where I explain how a McCain America will force me to become a giant jackass-- will wait until after I early-vote later this week. The other is simple, sullen, and petty.

"Hey, Roof, who does Sarah Palin remind you of?" you ask, because that's the necessary set-up to the joke.

"What would you know about dignity?"

Part one is here for completists:Bad touch

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A Provocative Photo-Essay Response to a Possible Palin Presidency

A Palin Presidency would indeed be "A Frightening Prospect".

OMFG: Ed O'Neil Making a Little Rhetoric on Obama's Behalf

Harrogate has always liked Ed O'Neil. His performance in Blue Chips, for example, was astonishingly subtle, and contributed significantly to the movie's overall feel.

Nice to see him throwing back to the shoe salesman bit, here.

It also reminds us how old we are. Doesn't Married With Children seem like forever and a half ago?

Tuesday Night Musical Tribute

It might surprise some Readers (doubtful, but it might), but Harrogate has indeed been infinitely thankful for the existence of this song since the first time he heard it on the radio, many moons ago.

"Two Pina Coladas" proffers a sense of life that is, pun intended, top-shelf. And such is the wondrous Rhetoric of Song: tis hardly necessary to drink the drinks, to drink the drinks.

So tell me about yourself...

I just saw this commercial for the first time in like six months. I almost forgot about it. It must be posted here this evening, if only to keep it fresh in our minds for another week.

What Constitutional Authority Does the VP Possess?

Don't ask Sarah Palin. Seriously. Don't. It is not worth it. She doesn't know. Still. She still doesn't know.

You have better things to do. Paint the House. Walk the Dog. Sit on Pete's Couch. Do some laundry. Kiss your spouse. Take your child to the park. Join Big Brother or Big Sister. Build a fort in your living room. Go to an Art Museum. Talk a walk in a park or garden. Lose weight. Learn about behavioral economics. Read John Rawls, Richard Posner, Michael Sandel, Michael Walzer, or Michael Ignatieff. Write the next great American novel. Play 52 pickup, over and over and over. Clean out your sock drawer. Learn Trigonometry; or Alchemy. Get extra sleep. Write a Blog Post.

Just don't ask Sarah Palin.

Irony: Sarah Palin, Non-Elitist Populist

Politico reports that since McCain announced her as the VP Candidate, the RNC spent $150,000 on Palin's clothing and accessories.
According to financial disclosure records, the accessorizing began in early September and included bills from Saks Fifth Avenue in St. Louis and New York for a combined $49,425.74.

The records also document a couple of big-time shopping trips to Neiman Marcus in Minneapolis, including one $75,062.63 spree in early September.

The RNC also spent $4,716.49 on hair and makeup through September after reporting no such costs in August.

Politico asked the McCain campaign for comment, explicitly noting the $150,000 in expenses for department store shopping and makeup consultation that were incurred immediately after Palin’s announcement. Pre-September reports do not include similar costs.

That figure is roughly three times greater than the average for an American.

During a financial crisis, the RNC thought this would be a good idea to show how the McCain ticket understands the economy and, more importantly, the financial needs of Middle America.

Update: What's the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull? Lipstick and a $150,000 clothing allowance which ruins the identification with John and Jane six-pack.

Bewildered Customer: You see a set of keys around here?
Randall: No Time for Love Dr. Jones.
Bewildered Customer: Fucking Kids.

What It Means to Be an Elitist, Explained by Ben Shapiro; or, Assy McGee Award® for 10/21

For today's Assy McGee Award® Harrogate throws a link out to Ben Shapiro's probing analysis of what it means to be an elitist. Shapiro's Column, entitled "You Know You're An Elitist If....", lists off a wealth of markers whereby we can see if we are, indeed, elitists.

Verily, his rubric couldn't be more helpful in our current Rhetorical climate. Because you know, we haven't had nearly enough talk yet about Real Americans®, Real Virginians®, Real Patriots®, and the like.

Readers, what are YOUR favorites among the items Shapiro enumerates? There are so many to choose from, but Harrogate is gonna have to opt for the one that Paperweight will likely find most amusing:

You’re an elitist if you know what arugula is but don’t know who Jimmie Johnson is.

Proposition 8 Campaign: "Proposal"

While M. posted an ad opposing Proposition 8 earlier today, I though I would contribute to the debate.

I think the ad "Proposal" does a better job of highlighting that marriage is a fundamental and individual right that should not be subjected to a majority. Further, if Proposition 8 were to pass, it would constitutionalize discrimination and second-class citizenship.

A Little Tuesday Laugh

If you liked this:

And this:

You'll love this:

Prop 8

Thanks to Kate for reminding us that there is more at stake in the Nov. 4th election than just the presidency. If there are any Californians who read The Situation, vote no on Proposition 8.

State of the Race

With two weeks left in the Presidential Race, Senator John McCain is attempting to hold on to most of the Bush states from 2004 and win Pennsylvania or hold on to most of the 2004 Red States, win New Hampshire, and one electoral vote from Maine. These are the only scenarios available to McCain.

In 2004, Bush won the election with 286 electoral votes. The key in that race was either Ohio (20 electoral votes) and Florida (27 electoral votes).

Right now, polls show that McCain is behind in Virginia (13), Colorado (9), New Mexico (5), Nevada (5), and North Carolina (15).

According to TNR, The McCain campaign is withdrawing from Iowa (7), Colorado (9), and New Mexico (5) and will put all of his resources in Pennsylvania (20) though McCain is not polling well there (See 538 which suggests Obama has a 9 point advantage through the poll averages). Even if McCain does not win Pennsylvania, he has options in New Hampshire (4) and Maine (he could pick off one Congressional district since Maine splits its electoral votes), which would get him to 270.

Essentially, these are McCain's hopes:
(1) He must hold the Red States from 2004 = 286 Electoral votes. This will not happen.
(2) He must hold all of the Bush states except Colorado, Iowa, and New Mexico AND win Pennsylvania. This is unlikely.
(3) He must hold all of the Bush states except Colorado, Iowa, and New Mexico, AND win New Hampshire and 1 Congressional District from Maine. It is easier to campaign in one state than two, especially when your V.P. refers to New Hampshire as being in the Northwest.

If McCain loses Florida, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, or Virginia, McCain has no path to 270 since he will lose Iowa, Colorado, and New Mexico.

The polls in Virginia close at 7pm EST. Once these polls close, the country will possess a good idea of who will be the next president.

Let's not forget. . .

. . . in the midst of all our fervor about the upcoming election that George W. Bush, lame duck though he may be, is still in charge of the U.S. until mid-January. As this article at the NY Times on his adminstration's attempts to revoke policies against mountain top removal (policies that are tenuous at best and took years to put into place--I should know; my great-grandfather and grandfather were coal miners in the Applachian Mountains, and they both firmly believed in the necessity of such policies), Bush is still hard at work screwing things up.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Assy McGee Award® for 10/20--Amanda Carpenter, Both Currently and Retroactively

First: Carpenter this evening, blogging on and on about the sadness of Tina Fey's life, when juxtaposed against the one and only Sarah Palin.

And here's Carpenter from Sunday the 19th, vociferously defending Rep. Michele Bachmann's performance on Matthews' Hardball, which Solon recently committed to the eternal Memories of Situationers everywhere. Snippets just won't do it justice. Really, ye have to read. the. thing. to. believe. it.

Why women shouldn't vote for John McCain

I, unfortunately, didn't write the well-crafted post I'm linking to, but in it, the author of "Suburban Bliss" clearly articulates why I will will be voting for Barack Obama.

Happy Birthday, Wild Man!

Rolling with my Homies

Our friend, Sarah, has turned me on to a cultural movement known as "Rick Rolling"--here's Wikipedia's definition of the term.

So, did you hear that there's video of McCain making out with Sarah Palin? Look here! Psych.

Apparently, someone has taken this to a whole new level, called "Barack Rolling." Clearly, this person has too much time on his or her hands, but holy shit it's pretty damn funny :) Even if you don't want to watch the Rick Astley video, you should take a couple of minutes to what the Obama splice--just for funsies.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Invention by Colin Powell

Earlier in the day, Megs posted on Powell's statement about Religion and Politics. There is an interesting back story to his comment.

After Powell differentiated between the "correct" and "right" choice, he cited a photograph from The New Yorker that displayed a mother against the grave of her son. Here is Powell's quote from MTP and the photo.
I feel strongly about this particular point because of a picture I saw in a magazine. It was a photo essay about troops who are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. And one picture at the tail end of this photo essay was of a mother in Arlington Cemetery, and she had her head on the headstone of her son's grave. And as the picture focused in, you could see the writing on the headstone. And it gave his awards--Purple Heart, Bronze Star--showed that he died in Iraq, gave his date of birth, date of death. He was 20 years old. And then, at the very top of the headstone, it didn't have a Christian cross, it didn't have the Star of David, it had crescent and a star of the Islamic faith. And his name was Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan, and he was an American. He was born in New Jersey. He was 14 years old at the time of 9/11, and he waited until he can go serve his country, and he gave his life.

Well that didn't take too long

Rush Limbaugh and Pat Buchanan argued that race was the "predominant factor" in regards to Colin Powell's endorsement of Barack Obama.

Diminish it any way you can. Keep it in the news.

It may really be the end of times

The Eagle in Bryan/ College State endorsed Senator Obama. And Andrew Sullivan took the time to find it?

A Point That Needs To Be Addressed

File under things I did not know: Josh Brolin was Brand in The Goonies?


The logical consequence of anti-intellectualism

Well, some conservatives should be proud of this message. I think that the National Review should openly support the person who put this display on his front lawn since it is the logical consequence of most of their arguments.

After the endorsement

Even though we live in the largest media market in the country, we do not see Meet the Press until 10:30. Before I saw the actual endorsement, I saw a quasi-media event on MSNBC where reporters interviewed Powell about his endorsement.

After watching this interview and then the MTP segment, I thought the MSNBC was much better. Here is the clip.

Campaign Finance

This morning, David Plouffe, Obama's campaign manager, announced, via email, that the Obama campaign raised over $150,000,000 during the month of September. Yes, that is $150 MILLION in one month. The average contribution was $86.

This is an obscene and ungodly amount of money. Really.

In August, Obama raised $66 Million. At the end of August, Obama possessed $87 million in the bank. If you add $150 Million to this total you can understand why Senator Obama purchased a 30 minute time block on NBC, CBS, and Fox and possesses a 4 to 1 advantage in television advertising.

This morning on FOX News Sunday, John McCain argued that this money would lead to a political scandal. He stated the fundraising total completely broke:
“whatever idea we had after Watergate to keep the cost and spending on campaigns under control. First time, first time since the Watergate scandal. And I can tell you this: that has unleashed now in presidential campaigns a new flood of spending that will then cause a scandal and then we will fix it again. But Sen. Obama has broken it.”

McCain's comment is not pure of motive though as Obama's fundraising conflicts with McCain's sense of honor. McCain, as you remember, is half of McCain-Feingold, a law that, until the Supreme Court partially gutted, restricted the amount of money a person could contribute to a political campaign. By reducing the influence one person, read corporation, could have, you reduce the appearance of corruption as, cynically speaking, no one with or of money can be of good motive.

Some conservatives supported campaign finance because they thought it provided them with an advantage as they believed it would be harder for Democrats to raise money. Of course, they never heard of the internet, or even the internets, which has provided Democrats such as Howard Dean and Barack Obama with a great campaign advantage though only Obama has been able to take advantage of it. Money is not enough in politics. See Romney, Mitt.

For McCain money is not speech; it does not reflect a person's support of a campaign. Even though the zenith of our 18th century political institution, i.e. the electoral college, ensures that only a certain number of voters who reside in "Swing States" matter, McCain objects to the ability that some people could possess more influence than other voters. Instead, McCain believes that excessive money in political campaigns represents evil and corruption to the point that if we limit it, we will have a just political system that is more egalitarian in nature where people can contribute more equally and there will be a level playing field for candidates. No one person, again read corporation, can donate to a party and then seek a competitive edge in the market, or in Iraq (Halliburton), or on Wall Street (bail-out, er... rescue).

This has been the mantra of liberals for years and it clearly has hurt them and will hurt them in 2008. See Obama, Barack.

Back to McCain, corruption is the worst; the most unethical political sin. If corruption can be protected under the First Amendment, then what good is the First Amendment? Hence, McCain-Feingold. Who should care about lobbyists, most of whom work for the McCain campaign, when you could care about campaign finance regulation and its threat to democracy. Some person could gain special favor just because of a lack of ethics...

But, "my friends," my question to you is, why is campaign finance worse than other forms of unethical political sins that corrupt democracy, such as negative campaigning? Senator McCain? Why are political contributions worse than false political smears based on "religion," "socialism," or "terrorism"?

These outright lies corrupt the political process as do false accusations of voter fraud. At Slate, Dahlia Lithwick argues that complaints and investigations into ACORN and other problems with voter registration is an attempt to "undermine voter confidence in the elections system as a whole." And what of Republican "voter fraud" in California? Is this not a political sin?

Talk by Governor Palin of groups "stealing the election" undermines the electoral process before the elections. Isn't this the sin of that campaign finance reform is meant to protect us from?

I will wait for your denouncement of Sarah Palin and her corruption of the political process. As well as your apology for denouncing your own false accusations, which undermines the political process. And your denouncement of the Republican fraud in California. All of these threaten the "moral fabric of democracy" as your precious campaign finance does.

Update: This is a clip is McCain on Fox News today. Chris Wallace asks McCain about a Robo-Call is campaign is using. The call is based on a lie of omission as it suggest Obama worked with Ayers when Ayers was a part of the Weathermen. By removing the context of the relationship, it alters the meaning of the argument.

Why is this not unethical Mr. McCain? Is there is to be regulation, why would this not be regulated? Isn't this a threat to democracy?


Thank you, Colin Powell, for this statement on Meet the Press:
I'm also troubled by not what Senator McCain says but what members of the party say and it is permitted to be said. Such things as, 'Well you know Senator Obama is a Muslim.' Well the correct answer is he is not a Muslim. He is a Christian. He has always been a Christian. But the really right answer is what is he is. Is there something wrong with being Muslim in America? There answer is no, that is not America. Is there something wrong with some seven Muslim-American kid believing that he or she can be president? Yet I have heard senior members of my own party drop this suggestion that he is a Muslim and that he might be associated with terrorists. This is not the way we should be doing it in America.
While I'm thrilled that Powell has endorsed Obama, I'm even more excited about the fact that somebody has finally had the balls to say what needed to be said. In a previous post, I gave Obama a tip of my hat for touching upon this issue, but Powell has really done it justice here:

Politics from a Parallel Universe

On Friday, Minnesota Rep. Michelle Bachmann appeared on Hardball with Chris Matthews and stated, among other things, that there should be an investigation to examine the anti-American members of Congress.

Since she delivered these remarks, Bachmann raised, unintentionally, $488,127.30 for her opponent in Minnesota's Sixth District.

This is the consequence of being intellectually bankrupt.

I Still Really Hate Her.

But I LOVE Amy Poehler :)