Prosecute the torture.

September 30, 2008

Governor Palin, You're No Dan Quayle

Another Conservative non-Fan of Governor Palin:
“I think she has pretty thoroughly — and probably irretrievably — proven that she is not up to the job of being president of the United States,” David Frum, a former speechwriter for President Bush who is now a conservative columnist, said in an interview.
Uh-oh.  But wait, there's MORE:
Polling suggests that the number of Americans who think she is not fit to be president has increased since her introduction to the country last month. A number of conservative columnists and thinkers have publicly turned against her, or criticized Mr. McCain for choosing her, including George Will, David Brooks and Kathleen Parker, who wrote a column entitled “She’s Out of Her League” for the National Review Online.
But this last part should send a chill down everyone's spine:
Mr. Frum noted the difficulty that Dan Quayle, who was elected vice president in 1988, had in recovering from an early set of mistakes that led him to be ridiculed as an intellectual lightweight. “The story of Dan Quayle is he did probably 1,000 smart things as vice president, but his image was locked in and it was very difficult to turn around,” he said. “And Dan Quayle never in his life has performed as badly as Sarah Palin in the last month.” [Emphasis added.]
Some reminders.

Vice-President Potatoe on the environment:
It’s not pollution that is hurting the environment, it’s the impurities in our air and water that are doing it.
On 9/11:
There were no Palestinians riding on planes on September 9th.
And then the classic:
What a waste it is to lose one's mind. Or not to have a mind is being very wasteful. How true that is.
THAT Dan Quayle.  According to David Frum, he never (NEVER) performed as badly as Sarah Palin.

Bloggerific!

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Early Returns blog will not only live blog Thursday's VP nominee debate, they've also invited a galaxy of the Burghosphere's star political bloggers to join in on the fun. So far both Dayvoe and I and The Burgher and Bram and Schultz and whatever Conservatives they can scrounge up in this overwhelmingly Democratic town will be participating (full list of luminaries TBA at a later date).

And, the best thing about it is that we get to participate from the comfort of our own homes (or the undisclosed location of our choosing) so expect lots of Cheeto dust on our keyboards and malice towards all!

While McNulty is busy getting to know us a little better, he initially pictured us as the crew of the Love Boat:

Since I just can't see myself as any of those cast members, I have taken it upon myself to plumb the depths of the Love Boat Guest Star List to find someone to portray me. I've chosen four from that vast list and ask you to vote in Comments on who should win the role:

1) Eve Arden

2)
Julie Newmar

3)
Andy Warhol

4)
Jo Anne Worley
Cast your vote NOW!
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SNL goes too far!

While the opening skit was funny this Saturday, I thought SNL went too far later in the show when they did another Palin/Couric interview send-up that included John McCain. It seemed to suggest that Palin was incapable of being trusted to answer questions without help. Sexist!

Here's that skit:

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Mooseburger Vs. Cheesesteak

Cheesesteak wins!

From WGRZ:
A few hundred protesters lined the streets of downtown Philadelphia as Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin visited an Irish bar before Friday night's debate.

Video here.

Sorry!

It's my fault the bailout vote failed and the DOW cratered.

Yesterday was a travel day for me and when I was in DC I must have unconsciously looked funny at some Republicans and later when I was in lower Manhattan I said "boo" to some pigeons and some guys in suits heard me.


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Banned Books Week

This should please Governor Palin.

This is Banned Books Week, my friends.

And so on Thursday, October 2 there'll be a reading from some of them at the public library in Oakland.  I hosted the event last year and it was illuminating to see what had been banned.

Did you know that one of the "Where's Waldo?" books had been banned?

The Carnegie Library has more details:
The Greater Pittsburgh Chapter of the ACLU-PA, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and WYEP 91.3 FM will present the 13th annual Banned Books Reading on Thursday, October 2, 2008, at 7:00 pm in the Carnegie Library Lecture Hall in Oakland. Pittsburgh is one of many cities that will celebrate the freedom to read with special events during Banned Books Week (BBW), September 28-October 4, 2008. BBW is observed each year to remind Americans not to take this precious democratic freedom for granted. The “Banned Books Reading” is designed to celebrate the First Amendment and educate citizens about the dangers of censorship. The event features local personalities reading from their favorite banned or challenged books; reading selections will include both modern and classic works.
 Here are some quotations from some previously banned books:


I'm proud to be an American, where at least I know I'm free.

September 29, 2008

Your vote could mean $1.5 million for malnourished kids!










NOTE: This is for AMEX members only.
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Chad Hermann Says Buh-Bye

With an op-ed.

He signed off his own blog with this:
The rest is silence.
I do have to say, however, that it might be a teensy bit melodramatic signing off with Hamlet's dying words. Though symbolically, it's probably better than Iago's last words:
Demand me nothing. What you know, you know./From this time forth I never will speak word.
In any event, it's too bad. Chad's a cool guy (I'm still waiting for the lunch he promised Maria and I. Chad? Anytime there, buddy!) who wrote speeches for Mark DeSantis, another cool guy. Now he writes speeches for Tim Murphy. Not-so-cool. 

UPDATE:  My bad.  I should have dug deeper on this one.  Hermann was a consultant for three months for the Murphy campaign (the confirmation is here).  

Ed Heath comments:

Hermann’s piece on today’s PG’s “Next Page” was absolutely vintage Hermann. He titled it “The Out Post”. I suspect he might have titled it the “Last Post”, but apparently part of the reason he stopped blogging is because he seemed genuinely stung when his flippant criticism of Randy Pausch was so negatively received (he said he received three death threats). The page is laid out in the style of his blog page, complete with the virtual bric a brac on the right (including an “official soundtrack”, an “official muse” and praise from readers).

I think this “Out Post” gives us the quintessential Hermann experience. How he started before everyone else, but not in political blogging. By the time he started, blogging was already a wasteland (he says “Voices rose. Standards fell”). He was begged to ride to our rescue, to open a window to higher culture and thought. He would post to the level of major-paper, op-ed quality. He would not be self-indulgent, but would write every day, “make every word, subject and syllable count”.

Now, anyone who reads my blog knows I have criticized Hermann in the past, but I will confess I enjoyed reading his stuff when he was telling non-political anecdotes. But I have been told a story about how Hermann antagonized a particular political figure during a political event, making whispered comments at this persons back and then feigning innocence when the person turned around. That may neatly capture, for me, the “Hermann” experience.

That last part is correct. I was there. It was very funny. One of the questions posed to Hermann was during that "event" was "Hey, do you want to take this outside?" That's something I would have loved to have seen.

More later...


September 28, 2008

Jack Kelly Sunday

Now that his shining hope for the republican ticket, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, has become a national joke, P-G columnist Jack Kelly can no longer credibly tout her qualifications as Vice President (as he does here and here).

So what's a wingnut to do? you ask. Simple: beat the "William Ayers" drum. Again.

And that's what Jack Kelly does in this week's column. He begins:

It's hard to put out a fire by pouring gasoline on it, so many are amazed the Obama campaign is employing this technique.

The fire that Sen. Barack Obama wants to douse was small until his aides arrived with gas cans. For months, conservatives have been trying to direct attention to the relationship between Mr. Obama and William Ayers.

Not really sure, but I think those two sentences contradict each other. And of course he doesn't list any of the "many" who are amazed referenced in that first sentence. In any event, as always what Jack leaves out is more illuminating than what he leaves in. And it tells us more about Jack than ever. Let's fact check. First, here's Jack:
Mr. Ayers was a leader of the Weather Underground, which planted bombs in the U.S. Capitol and the Pentagon during the Vietnam War. He went on the lam after a nail bomb his group was building to kill soldiers and their wives at a dance at Fort Dix went off prematurely, killing three of the conspirators.

Mr. Ayers was never prosecuted because of FBI misconduct. He became a professor of education at the University of Illinois-Chicago.
Jack fails to note, of course, that Ayers went underground in 1970 and turned himself in in 1980 and the "FBI misconduct" was (and there's no surprise that Jack doesn't mention it) COINTELPRO, that great and illegal surveillance program instituted by the patriots at the FBI.

Then there's this from the now-infamous 9/11 article on Ayer:
In 1970 came the town house explosion in Greenwich Village. Ms. Dohrn failed to appear in court in the Days of Rage case, and she and Mr. Ayers went underground, though there were no charges against Mr. Ayers. Later that spring the couple were indicted along with others in Federal Court for crossing state lines to incite a riot during the Days of Rage, and following that for ''conspiracy to bomb police stations and government buildings.'' Those charges were dropped in 1974 because of prosecutorial misconduct, including illegal surveillance.
He went underground with no charges against him. Something Jack doesn't tell you. Nor does Jack mention this from the Chicago Tribune:
Except for three comrades killed when one of the group's own devices accidentally exploded in a New York City townhouse in 1970, no one was injured by a Weatherbomb.
And from the same article, we learn this from former SDS member Todd Gitlin:
OK, let's give them a medal for not killing anybody besides themselves. But they wanted to be terrorists. They planned on being terrorists. Then their bomb blew up and killed several of them and they thought better of it. They were failed terrorists.
Failed terrorists who only killed their own. This is not, of course, to condone any acts of violence committed by the Weather Underground or their followers. Just trying to put things in perspective.

According to his CV (found here), Ayers became a professor in 1987. But you'd never know it from Jack. In 1999 (29 years after going underground and 19 years after turning himself in), he was named a "Distinguished Professor of Education" at U of I-Chicago. To read Jack, you'd think that the intellectual elites in Chicago rewarded Ayers with a professorship because of his radical past.

But what does Senator Obama think of Ayers' radical past? Something else Jack won't tell you. In a statement, the campaign said:
Senator Obama strongly condemns the violent actions of the Weathermen group, as he does all acts of violence. But he was an eight-year-old child when Ayers and the Weathermen were active, and any attempt to connect Obama with events of almost forty years ago is ridiculous.
Something else Jack doesn't tell you. I'll write it again: Obama strongly condemns the violent actions of the Weather Underground.

Then there's this old war horse of an argument:
"I don't regret setting bombs," Mr. Ayers told the New York Times in an interview published on 9/11. "I feel we didn't do enough."
The context is intended for you to think that Ayers meant "we didn't bomb enough." But is that really what he meant?

Uh, no. Jake Tapper has the statement from Ayers (via his blog):
It's impossible to get to be my age and not have plenty of regrets. The one thing I don't regret is opposing the war in Vietnam with every ounce of my being.

During the Vietnam war, the Weather Underground took credit for bombing several government installations as a dramatic form of armed propaganda. Action was taken against symbolic targets in order to declare a state of emergency. But warnings were always called in, and by design no one was ever hurt.

When I say, 'We didn't do enough,' a lot of people rush to think, 'That must mean, "We didn't bomb enough s---."' But that's not the point at all. It's not a tactical statement, it's an obvious political and ethical statement. In this context, 'we' means 'everyone.'

The war in Vietnam was not only illegal, it was profoundly immoral, millions of people were needlessly killed. Even though I worked hard to end the war, I feel to this day that I didn't do enough because the war dragged on for years after the majority of the American people came to oppose it. I don't think violent resistance is necessarily the answer, but I do think opposition and refusal is imperative.
Again, something Jack doesn't tell you.

A few more things. Jack asks rhetorically after posting Obama's statement that he was "only eight" when Ayers was bombing stuff:
Would you excuse a friendship with a Nazi war criminal on the grounds his crimes were committed before you were born?
Normally, this would automatically spring Godwin's law (or some corollary of that law), but gee, I dunno:
George Bush's grandfather, the late US senator Prescott Bush, was a director and shareholder of companies that profited from their involvement with the financial backers of Nazi Germany.
See? I can do it too!

I think I'll end it here.

September 26, 2008

More On Sarah Palin

She's lost a fan at the National Review Online (surely a liberal rag if ever there was one).

Point one:
As we’ve seen and heard more from John McCain’s running mate, it is increasingly clear that Palin is a problem. Quick study or not, she doesn’t know enough about economics and foreign policy to make Americans comfortable with a President Palin should conditions warrant her promotion.
Point two:
Palin’s recent interviews with Charles Gibson, Sean Hannity, and now Katie Couric have all revealed an attractive, earnest, confident candidate. Who Is Clearly Out Of Her League.
Point three:
If BS were currency, Palin could bail out Wall Street herself.
Final point:

Only Palin can save McCain, her party, and the country she loves. She can bow out for personal reasons, perhaps because she wants to spend more time with her newborn. No one would criticize a mother who puts her family first.

Do it for your country.

Again, this is from the NATIONAL REVIEW ONLINE.

Amazing!

The time: This morning about a quarter to 11am on the East Coast.  

Chris Chillizza posts this:
Although the fate of tonight's presidential debate in Mississippi remains very much up in the air, John McCain has apparently already won it -- if you believe an Internet ad an astute reader spotted next to this piece in the online edition of the Wall Street Journal this morning.

"McCain Wins Debate!" declares the ad which features a headshot of a smiling McCain with an American flag background. 
It's an amazing thing, too. It was posted before he announced he would participate in the debate. 

If the man can't run his own campaign efficiently, how in the name of all that's good and holy can he run the country??

Says it all.

McCain Derailed The Agreement

Looking again to place "Country First" the formerly honorable John McCain reportedly derailed yesterday the negotiations at the White House meeting to fix the economy.

A meeting he called, did you know that? He was the one who called the meeting, so says Dana Perino:
Presidential spokesperson Dana Perino on this afternoon's among Bush, McCain and Obama: "Sen. McCain is the one who called for the meeting, and we thought it was a good idea."
From Huffington Post:

Inside an intense White House meeting over the financial crisis on Thursday, where nearly every key player came to an agreement on the outlines of the bailout package, Sen. John McCain stuck out. The Republican candidate, according to sources with direct knowledge, sat quiet through most of the meeting, never offered specifics, and spoke only at the end to raise doubts about the rough compromise that the White House and congressional leaders were nearing.

And:

Towards the end, McCain finally spoke up, mentioning a counter-proposal that had been offered by some conservative House Republicans, which would suspend the capital gains tax for two years and provide tax incentives to encourage firms that buy up bad debt. McCain did not discuss specifics of the plan, though, and was non-committal about supporting it.

Paulson, however, argued directly against the conservative proposal. "He said that he did not think it would work," according to the source. At another point in the meeting, President Bush chimed in, "If money isn't loosened, this sucker could go down" -- and by sucker he meant economy.

From this dishonest Senator who "suspended" his campaign (but not the ads and not the offices, just, presumably, the David Letterman interview) he shuts down the meeting to aid his floundering presidential campaign:
With 40 days left until the election, Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama leads GOP rival John McCain 47 percent to 42 percent among registered voters in a new CBS News/New York Times poll. The five-point difference mirrors the findings in a CBS/NYT poll last week. Likely voters also favor Obama by five points, 48 percent to 43 percent.
Country First? I think not.

September 25, 2008

Rove on Palin

From our friends up north:

Canada's esteemed think-tank, the Fraser Institute, hosted a gala dinner last night featuring as keynote speaker Republican Karl Rove. He is considered the "brains" behind the Bush election victories. He was also Bush's key advisor. Last night, he did party spin but said something significant.A Toronto businessman asked him if he thought Sarah Palin would make a good President."I don't know," said Rove.

If Rove doesn't know, we should all be worried. Rove is not running the McCain show, but is inside enough to know so how can he not know? How about others in the party, do they not know too? Shouldn't they know before they work for her? Does John McCain know?

As Andrew Sullivan wrote, I know.

Don't know about your TV, but...

...Comcast faded to black shortly after David Letterman finished his monologue, so here's Dave on McCain's missed appearance tonight:

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September 24, 2008

McCain now trying to delay VP debate too!

Read it and weep. Really, WTF? We know Palin is not ready, but do they really think they can just run out the clock?

More On McCain's Timeout:

Ben Smith's take:
But in terms of the timing of this move: The only thing that’s changed in the last 48 hours is the public polling.
And, from Crooks and Liars:
This must be a VERY important crisis if it requires the full, undivided attention of a Senator who has missed 230 out of 286 votes since Q4-2007. That’s 80% of those votes he’s missed.

Also, what the hell is up with McCain's left eye? See here:

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McCain Calls A Timeout

Some analysis from Joe Klein:

McCain suspends his campaign because of financial crisis? Oh please. Given today's poll numbers--even Fox has him dropping--it seems another Hail Mary (like the feckless selection of Palin) to try make McCain seem a statesman, which is difficult given the puerile tenor of his campaign's message operation.

Perhaps, if he's really interested in this financial stuff, McCain should propose that he and Obama change the topic from foreign policy to economics this Friday night--they could even stage the debate in Washington, so they wouldn't have to stray far from the bailout negotiations. I'm sure their fellow members of the Senate won't mind if McCain and Obama spend a few hours enlightening the public on this crucial subject.

But didn't McCain say that the economy was "fundamentally sound" only 9 days ago?

Yea, he's the guy for the job.

Chris Potter Fact-Checks The P-G

Go check out Chris Potter's blog.

Does a fair job at fact-checking this "fact" from the good folks on the Boulevard of the Allies. Yes, it's about the size of the drilling in ANWR.

Here's what Chris found:

But this picture is one-sided at best, utter bullshit as worse.

That tiny dot makes it look like all the drilling would take place on just one site. But it ain't so. Politifact, a fact-checking site operated by Congressional Quarterly, points out that "oil is not concentrated in a single area but is instead spread throughout the refuge. ... And, between those acres would have to be a network of roads and pipelines connecting them." Environmental groups note that on Alaska's North Slope, a 12,000 acre drilling site actually disrupts a space five times as large -- roughly 1,000 square miles -- when you account for airstrips, roads, and other supporting infrastructure. It's precisely because the impact of drilling is so large that it hasn't already taken place.

But it's no surprise the P-G graphic doesn't reflect any of that controversy.

Good going, Chris. So good I almost assumed a blogger did it.

September 23, 2008

McCain Losing ANOTHER??

Check out George Will's column today. He begins:
Channeling his inner Queen of Hearts, John McCain furiously, and apparently without even looking around at facts, said Chris Cox, chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, should be decapitated. [emphasis added.]
And then after linking to a piece in the Wall Street Journal that calls McCain "untethered," Will goes on and writes:
n any case, McCain's smear -- that Cox "betrayed the public's trust" -- is a harbinger of a McCain presidency.
See McCain unfairly smeared Chris Cox. The WSJ and George Will said so. Will ends this way:

Conservatives who insist that electing McCain is crucial usually start, and increasingly end, by saying he would make excellent judicial selections. But the more one sees of [McCain's] impulsive, intensely personal reactions to people and events, the less confidence one has that he would select judges by calm reflection and clear principles, having neither patience nor aptitude for either.

It is arguable that, because of his inexperience, Obama is not ready for the presidency. It is arguable that McCain, because of his boiling moralism and bottomless reservoir of certitudes, is not suited to the presidency. Unreadiness can be corrected, although perhaps at great cost, by experience. Can a dismaying temperament be fixed?

You got a problem with that? Take it up with George Will, conservative columnsist.

Palin's Jew-baiting Run for Mayor


According to an article in Salon today, when Sarah Palin ran for Mayor of Wasilla she ran a whisper campaign against her opponent worthy of Rove/Bush.

Her opponent was a three-term incumbent and fellow Republican, John Stein, who was her political mentor when she ran for City Council. The Palins and Steins were friends before she sought the mayor's office.

And, how did she treat her friend?
There was a knife-sharp, personal edge to Palin's campaign that many locals found disturbing, particularly because of the warm relationship between Palin and Stein before the race.

"I called Sarah's campaign for mayor the end of the age of innocence in Wasilla," said Carney.

Even though Palin knew that Stein is a Protestant Christian, from a Pennsylvania Dutch background, her campaign began circulating the word that she would be "Wasilla's first Christian mayor." Some of Stein's supporters interpreted this as an attempt to portray Stein as Jewish in the heavily evangelical community. Stein himself, an eminently reasonable and reflective man, thinks "they were redefining Christianity to mean born-agains."

The Palin campaign also started another vicious whisper campaign, spreading the word that Stein and his wife -- who had chosen to keep her own last name when they were married -- were not legally wed. Again, Palin knew the truth, Stein said, but chose to muddy the waters. "We actually had to produce our marriage certificate," recalled Stein, whose wife died of breast cancer in 2005 without ever reconciling with Palin.

"I had a hand in creating Sarah, but in the end she blew me out of the water," Stein said, sounding more wearily ironic than bitter. "Sarah's on a mission, she's an opportunist."
Apparently, the opportunism is a pattern for Ms. Palin:

According to some political observers in Alaska, this pattern -- exploiting "old-boy" mentors and then turning against them for her own advantage -- defines Sarah Palin's rise to power. Again and again, Palin has charmed powerful political patrons, and then rejected them when it suited her purposes. She has crafted a public image as a clean politics reformer, but in truth, she has only blown the whistle on political corruption when it was expedient for her to do so.

[snip]

"The idea that Sarah shook up the state's old-boy network is one big fantasy, it's complete bullshit," Halcro said. "She got all this public acclaim for throwing people who backed her under the bus -- but she only did it after they became expendable, when she no longer needed them.
Pssst, McCain: You've been warned (watch out for flying knives).
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Just Say No


Wall Street Bailout Act Text:
Sec. 8. Review.

Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.

Call:
Senator Bob Casey, 202-224-6324
Senator Arlen Specter, 202-224-4254

Sign the petition at Credo.
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September 22, 2008

Polled Again

According to the Rasmussen Reports website poll results will be released for Pennsylvania today at 6:00 PM.

I already know the answers given to the questions by Rasmussen.

OK, I already know the answers that I gave them yesterday. I'll be looking forward to seeing how my fellow Pennsylvanians responded.

I think it's time for Gallup to call me next.

UPDATE: From Rasmussen: "The race for Pennsylvania’s 21 Electoral College votes remains close, but Barack Obama is back on top.

The latest Fox News/Rasmussen Reports telephone survey in the state finds Barack Obama attracting 48% of the vote while John McCain earns 45%. A week ago, the two men were tied at 47%. Two weeks ago, Obama was up by two points."
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September 21, 2008

The Pundit Show

So far Sue's the only one who's commented on this past weekend's "Pittsburgh Pundits" show. She wrote:
Actually, the conversation was thoughtful and the lone Republican was a very good sport (and very, very smart). I could listen to Chris Potter and Tony Norman agree with each other all evening. It would be great if they added a woman for the November performance. I nominate Maria from 2 PJs.
Me, too.

Sue saves her best for the Gab-ster:
The most magnificent moment from the entire evening was Gab Bonesso's performance. I love her to pieces and think she's hysterical and edgy and brilliant.
This is Gab.

In this picture she was glaring at something Tony Norman (described by John Brabender as a "militant" African-American during the show) said. This is Tony:

"Militant" is not the word I'd use to describe my friend Tony. African-American, certainly. Militant? Not so much.

John McIntire hosted Tony and the above mentioned John Brabender. Alt-media wonk Chris Potter of the City Paper rounded out the panel. The comedy before the discussion was good (Sorry Gab, the set went better than you think it did) and the discussion itself was freewheeling.

Let's hope there's another one soon.

Jack Kelly Sunday

You know I used to play a little game when I read Jack Kelly's columns. As I read, I'd count how long it took him to blame it all (or at least part of it) on the Clinton Administration.

Like this column where he pointed the finger at the Clinton Administration regarding 9/11:
We were reminded of the weakness of the law enforcement approach by the release last week of the executive summary of the report of the CIA's inspector general on the CIA's performance before 9/11. The CIA was hamstrung in its efforts to fight al-Qaida by severe budget cuts imposed by the Clinton administration, but then CIA Director George Tenet did a poor job of managing the funds he had, and never developed an overall strategy to fight terror, the IG report said.
Or this column where he pointed the finger at the Clinton Administration regarding 9/11:

The [9/11] commission concluded, you'll recall, that the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon couldn't have been prevented, and that if there was negligence, it was as much the fault of the Bush administration (for moving slowly on the recommendations of Clinton counterterrorism chief Richard Clarke) as of the Clinton administration.

Able Danger has changed all of that.

Able Danger was a military intelligence unit set up by Special Operations Command in 1999. A year before the 9/11 attacks, Able Danger identified hijack leader Mohamed Atta and the other members of his cell. But Clinton administration officials stopped them -- three times -- from sharing this information with the FBI.

This week, he's gotten to the bottom of the current meltdown on Wall Street. And guess what? It's all Clinton's fault (with a little help from their friends in Congress). It's in the 6th paragraph:
Ostensibly to aid the poor and working class, the Clinton administration and Congress encouraged lenders to give mortgages to bad credit risks. The combination of easy money and the expansion of the number of borrowers unable to repay their loans sent housing prices through the roof, creating the bubble whose bursting has led to this crisis.
The next paragraph should be the kicker:
Congress in 1999 repealed the law that established a bright line between commercial and investment banks. This meant bad investments by banks could jeopardize depositors.
So this was 1999. History tells us that in 1999, the republicans held majorities in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. That means, my friends, that what passed through both houses was only what the republicans allowed to pass through both houses. Certainly in Hastert's House.

The law that Jack mentions here is the "Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act" of 1999. Introduced in the Senate with no cosponsors by then-Texas Senator Phil Gramm (more on him later), the final versions of the bill passed each chamber with veto proof majorities (90-8 in the Senate and 362-57 in the House). So whether President Clinton signed it, it was going to become a law no matter what.

Phil Gramm, as we all know by now, is an economic advisor to the presidential campaign of Senator John McCain. The guy who drafted the initial legislation and sponsored it all by his lonesome in the Senate was also once (until he called America a "nation of whiners") the co-chair of John McCain's campaign.

Curious as to why Jack Kelly omitted that part of the story.

Do I need to say any more?

September 20, 2008

McCain's Health Care "Solution"

From Paul Krugman's blog at the NYTimes. This is what the formerly honorable John McCain had to say about health care only last September:
Opening up the health insurance market to more vigorous nationwide competition, as we have done over the last decade in banking, would provide more choices of innovative products less burdened by the worst excesses of state-based regulation.
Or as Krugman notes:
So McCain, who now poses as the scourge of Wall Street, was praising financial deregulation like 10 seconds ago — and promising that if we marketize health care, it will perform as well as the financial industry!
Josh Marshall notes:
Remember, [McCain's] top economics advisor is former Sen. Phil Gramm, the legislative architect of the banking and financial services deregulation that led to the current crisis. And his health care proposals are all off-the-rack Heritage Foundation-style initiatives based on the premise that people have too much, not too little insurance. The only thing jarring about the statement is the degree to which it has been overtaken by events as McCain now tries -- a la Palin the Earmark-Killer -- to rebrand himself as a Mr. Wall Street oversight and transparency when he's been pushing deregulation for 25 years.
Yea, I want MCCAIN making decisions in the White House.

Another McCain Gaffe

This one involves the Armed Forces.

Isn't McCain's big-time can't-possibly-question-his-chops-on-this strength based on his military experience? Then how could he get this one wrong? From the Anchorage Daily News (by way of Editor and Publisher):
I also know, if I might remind you, that she is commander of the Alaska National Guard. In fact, you may know that on Sept. 11 a large contingent of the Alaska Guard deployed to Iraq and her son happened to be one of them. So I think she understands our national security challenges...
Of course in reality Palin's son is in the Army, not the National Guard. Does the formerly honorable John McCain understand how the armed forces are constituted? He seems to think that it was her command decision to send her son's unit to Iraq.

If you think this is no big deal imagine what would happen if, say, a presidential candidate from the Democratic Party were to make such a gaffe.

September 19, 2008

McCain Loses Another One

This time it's Elizabeth Drew, author of Citizen McCain.  This piece at The Polico begins like this:
I have been a longtime admirer of John McCain. During the 2000 Republican presidential primaries I publicly defended McCain against the pro-Bush Republicans’ whisper campaign that he was too unstable to be president (aware though I was that he had a temper). Two years later I published a positive book about him, “Citizen McCain.”

I admired John McCain as a man of principle and honor. He had become emblematic of someone who spoke his mind, voted his conscience, and demonstrated courage in bucking his own party and fighting for what he believed in. He gained a well-deserved reputation as a maverick. He was seen as taking principled positions on such issues as tax equity (opposing the newly elected Bush’s tax cut), fighting political corruption, and, later, taking on the Bush administration on torture. He came off as a man of decency. He took political risks.
And after McCain's political "adaptations" to his positions on campaign finance reform and torture and even a reference to McCain's flirtation with switching parties, she ends the piece with this:
McCain’s recent conduct of his campaign – his willingness to lie repeatedly (including in his acceptance speech) and to play Russian roulette with the vice-presidency, in order to fulfill his long-held ambition – has reinforced my earlier, and growing, sense that John McCain is not a principled man.

In fact, it’s not clear who he is.

And that's a former admirer!  Sad, really.

NO! (yes)

Bob Mayo's transcript of Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's Q&A with reporters about the payment to former URA Executive Director Pat Ford where he denies that hush money was paid here and the questions that Bram would like to have asked here.
.

Sign up for Pittsburgh Steps for Change Today!


This Saturday, September 20th, please join the Pennsylvania Campaign for Change for a Steps for Change canvass in your neighborhood. Canvasses will depart from each of Pittsburgh's 712 sets of historic stairways.

Please attend a canvass and help get out Barack's message of change.

Here are the details:
Pittsburgh Steps for Change
Throughout the city
Pittsburgh, PA

Saturday, September 20th
10:00 a.m.
Please sign up here. A Campaign for Change staffer will call you with information about where to meet on Saturday morning.

For more information, please call:
(412) 867-6673
.

Friday Musical Interlude

Corrido Style:




Reggaeton Style:



(Yes, this will drive the trolls crazy.)
.

September 18, 2008

EVENT ANNOUNCEMENT

From the webpage:

Pittsburgh Pundits presents...Sexism, Ageism, Racism, Politics & Comedy!

Pittsburgh Comedian and TV/Radio Political Pundit John McIntire leads a Pittsburgh cast of political and socially conscious comics and pundits in a combination comedy/political analysis show. Some would suggest there's a thin line between what's happening politically in the country these days and straight-up comedy. This show will perhaps prove that. We'll be examining the roles the "isms" played in this year's race so far, and which, if any, has been the dominant "ism." It will be interactive, which means we'll be taking questions. Among the pundits joining John for an at least semi-serious analysis of this year's crazy Presidential race and local political hot potatoes...Chris Potter of The City Paper and Tony Norman of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Among the comics joining John for the comedy portion fo the program Disgruntled Hillary Supporter Gab Bonesso. She was completely gruntled until Hillary lost. Additional comics and pundits will appear.

This is at the Cabaret Theatre dahn-tahn

Tickets are 5 bucks at the door.

Sarah Palin - STILL Unprepared

From CNN:

Sarah Palin likes to tell voters around the country about how she “put the government checkbook online” in Alaska. On Thursday, Palin suggested she would take that same proposal to Washington.

“We’re going to do a few new things also,” she said at a rally in Cedar Rapids. “For instance, as Alaska’s governor, I put the government’s checkbook online so that people can see where their money’s going. We’ll bring that kind of transparency, that responsibility, and accountability back. We’re going to bring that back to D.C.”

There’s just one problem with proposing to put the federal checkbook online – somebody’s already done it. His name is Barack Obama.

That's just too funny. But wait it gets better. John McCain (you know: her running mate) was cosponsor of the bill. I guess she didn't know that. Then there's a statement clarifying this gaffe:
A campaign spokesperson insisted that Palin was referring not to that specific proposal, but rather to "that kind of transparency in general."
Hahahahaha! Yea, that clarifies things.

"A Palin and McCain Administration"

Oh no she didn't!


Oh yes she did!

(h/t to Politico)
.

Oh snap!


"Yesterday, John McCain actually said that if he’s president that he’ll take on, and I quote, ‘the old boys network in Washington.’ Now I’m not making this up. This is somebody who’s been in Congress for twenty-six years, who put seven of the most powerful Washington lobbyists in charge of his campaign. And now he tells us that he’s the one who’s gonna’ to take on the old boys network. The old boys network? In the McCain campaign that’s called a staff meeting. Come, on!"

(Text courtesy of Crooks and Liars.)
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September 17, 2008

More On McCain's Spanish Gaffe

From Huffington Post:

Late Wednesday night, news made its way from the other side of the Atlantic that John McCain, in an interview with a Spanish outlet, had made a series of bizarre responses to a question regarding that country's prime minister.

"Would you be willing to meet with the head of our government, Mr. Zapatero?" the questioner asked, in an exchange now being reported by several Spanish outlets.

McCain proceeded to launch into what appeared to be a boilerplate declaration about Mexico and Latin America -- but not Spain -- pressing the need to stand up to world leaders who want to harm America.

Spain, Senator. Spain is in Europe.

From Americablog:

McCain had no idea what was going on in the interview. She specifically told him, twice, that she was talking about Spain and the Spanish president. She's a Spanish reporter with one of the largest, if not the largest, newspaper in Spain, El Pais. I know this paper, McCain certainly knows this paper (and it's not like McCain's staff didn't tell him who he had the exclusive interview with for ten minutes). She made it clear she was asking about her own country and her own president and Mccain had no clue what she was talking about.

Either McCain had no idea what the woman was talking about when she said "Spain," and then said "the President of Spain," repeatedly, or McCain intentionally snubbed the country of Spain tonight for no apparent reason, which is very hard to believe, especially given his earlier interview in which he said he was fine meeting Zapatero. The interview is absolutely bizarre, especially in that it sounds like McCain wasn't even lucid, it sounds like he simply doesn't have complete control over his faculties anymore. And judging by the fact that just a few months ago McCain was fine with Zapatero, it sounds like McCain simply wasn't quite all there any more during the interview. He got horribly confused and didn't know what was going on.

I should apologise for the flippancy of this post. Perhaps age is finally catching up to the GOP's nominee for president. If that's the case I shouldn't make fun of it.

This is just sad. A little scary, too.

Something Odd

In the Spanish Press. Via Talking Points Memo. Seems that the formerly honorable Senator McCain was asked about Spanish Prime Minister Zapatero.

Seems that McCain didn't know who he was:
In Spain, there seem to be two lines of thinking. The great majority appear to think the McCain was simply confused and didn't know who Zapatero was -- something you might bone up on if you were about to do an interview with the Spanish press. The assumption seems to be that since he'd already been asked about Castro and Chavez that McCain assumed Zapatero must be some other Latin American bad guy. A small minority though think that McCain is simply committed to an anti-Spanish foreign policy since he's still angry about Spain pulling it's troops out of Iraq. Finally, a few of those who lean toward the first view speculate that McCain may have confused Zapatero with the Zapatista rebel group in Mexico.
Yea, he's prepared.

McCain
On Spain
Is hazy
In the brain.

Update on the Altmire/Hart Race

Remember this?

In an interview with me, Melissa Hart said that while the Chinese were NOT, in fact, drilling for oil off the coast of Cuba, "they may already be now."

Well I have a response from the Altmire campaign:
Every independent expert now recognizes that the China drilling off the coast of Cuba myth is just that, a myth. Most of those who were using that Republican talking point, including Vice President Dick Cheney and House Republican Leader John Boehner, have apologized or at least admitted their error. That's the problem with simply recycling the National Republican Congressional Committee’s talking points without checking your facts.
Good to know.

"That's why he needs to be president"


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September 16, 2008

More On Cheney's Lies

This time a republican claims that Cheney lied. A conservative republican. A very conservative republican.

Dick Armey.

From the LA Times:

It is the central charge against the Bush White House, that the administration lied its way into a war in Iraq.

For years, left-wing pundits and groups like MoveOn.org beat the drums with this accusation. The White House response: We were just acting on the same intelligence everyone else had -- evidence, which turned out to be faulty, that Iraq's Saddam Hussein was harboring weapons of mass destruction.

Now comes Dick Armey, once House Majority Leader, who described a classified one-on-one briefing in the vice president's hideaway office in the U.S. Capitol where he says Vice President Dick Cheney went beyond that into outright deception.

And what Armey said Cheney said:
Iraq's "ability to miniaturize weapons of mass destruction, particularly nuclear," had been "substantially refined since the first Gulf War," and would soon result in "packages that could be moved even by ground personnel....We now know they have the ability to develop these weapons in a very portable fashion, and they have a delivery system in their relationship with organizations such as Al Qaeda."
Of course we all know that Dick Armey's a terrorist loving, committed to defeat, tax and spend democrat, don't we?

Progress Pittsburgh Happy Hour TODAY - Meet the P2pac

Who: YOU!
What: Cocktails and conversation
Where: Double Wide Grill (East Carson and 24th Streets)
When: TODAY! 09/16/08 @ 5:30* p.m.
Why: Because Pittsburgh deserves better

From Progress Pittsburgh:

Please join us for a happy hour TODAY Tuesday, September 16th to celebrate the creation of P2PAC.

P2PAC is a political action committee that supports candidates whose districts touch the City of Pittsburgh and whose agendas are consistent with its mission: good government, sustainable development, and social equity. P2PAC endorses candidates who meet these criteria and provides resources to advance their leadership. We see leadership as the primary vehicle for positive change in service of our mission.

We will be requesting a $5 donation at the door; all funds raised go straight to the PAC.

All are welcome to attend!

RSVP on Facebook - http://www.new.facebook.com/inbox/#/event.php?eid=46196939528

We are ready to see change in local government and hope that you are too! Please join us for some beverages and conversation!

$10, 100 people, $1000 in 10 days

If you are unable to attend please help us kick off the pac by contributing $10 to our kick-off challenge. visit our page at thepoint.com to pledge $10
http://www.thepoint.com/campaigns/p2pac-kick-off-challenge-100-people-10-10-days

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McCain Looses Another One

This time it's Richard Cohen of the Washington Post, who describes himself thusly:

I am one of the journalists accused over the years of being in the tank for McCain. Guilty. Those doing the accusing usually attributed my feelings to McCain being accessible. This is the journalist-as-puppy school of thought: Give us a treat, and we will leap into a politician's lap.

Not so. What impressed me most about McCain was the effect he had on his audiences, particularly young people. When he talked about service to a cause greater than oneself, he struck a chord. He expressed his message in words, but he packaged it in the McCain story -- that man, beaten to a pulp, who chose honor over freedom. This had nothing to do with access. It had to do with integrity.

But not any more:
McCain has turned ugly. His dishonesty would be unacceptable in any politician, but McCain has always set his own bar higher than most. He has contempt for most of his colleagues for that very reason: They lie. He tells the truth. He internalizes the code of the McCains -- his grandfather, his father: both admirals of the shining sea. He serves his country differently, that's all -- but just as honorably. No more, though.
And:
His opportunistic and irresponsible choice of Sarah Palin as his political heir -- the person in whose hands he would leave the country -- is a form of personal treason, a betrayal of all he once stood for. Palin, no matter what her other attributes, is shockingly unprepared to become president. McCain knows that. He means to win, which is all right; he means to win at all costs, which is not.
When you've lost your allies at the Washington Post, you're in deep doo-doo.

Candidate Profile: Meet John McCain!

John McCain is the Republican presidential candidate.
He is a senator from Arizona and a famous former POW
(but everyone knows that he doesn't like to talk about that).


Sen. McCain with his lovely beer heiress wife,
Cindy, outside one of their dozen lovely homes.


McCain gets a visit from his vice presidential pick
Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska and her family.
Aren't they all just the bee's knees!



McCain on the campaign trail.



First, he visits Lehman Brothers workers and lets them
know that the fundamentals of our economy are strong!
He promises them a chicken in every pot and a car
in every garage.



McCain next visits temporary housing set up for
Hurricane Ike victims. He also promises them a
chicken in every pot and a car in every garage.
UPDATE: It turns out that these are Hurricane Katrina
victims still waiting for permanent homes.



Finally at the end of a hard day of meeting the people,
John McCain bids his wife goodnight on the very latest
high-tech gadget proving that he is a real change
candidate for the new century!

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September 15, 2008

Birds Of A Feather

John McCain today:
You know, that there’s been tremendous turmoil in our financial markets and Wall Street and it is — people are frightened by these events. Our economy, I think, still the fundamentals of our economy are strong. But these are very, very difficult times.
Herbert Hoover in 1928:
With impressive proof on both sides of magnificent progress, no one can righly deny the fundamental correctness of our economic system.
Both were wrong.

Deception is all he has left

FINALLY.

New hard hitting ad from Obama:


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Obama on the Situation in Financial Markets

A statement from Senator Barack Obama on the Situation in Financial Markets:
"This morning we woke up to some very serious and troubling news from Wall Street.

"The situation with Lehman Brothers and other financial institutions is the latest in a wave of crises that are generating enormous uncertainty about the future of our financial markets. This turmoil is a major threat to our economy and its ability to create good-paying jobs and help working Americans pay their bills, save for their future, and make their mortgage payments.

"The challenges facing our financial system today are more evidence that too many folks in Washington and on Wall Street weren't minding the store. Eight years of policies that have shredded consumer protections, loosened oversight and regulation, and encouraged outsized bonuses to CEOs while ignoring middle-class Americans have brought us to the most serious financial crisis since the Great Depression.

"I certainly don't fault Senator McCain for these problems, but I do fault the economic philosophy he subscribes to. It's a philosophy we've had for the last eight years - one that says we should give more and more to those with the most and hope that prosperity trickles down to everyone else. It's a philosophy that says even common-sense regulations are unnecessary and unwise, and one that says we should just stick our heads in the sand and ignore economic problems until they spiral into crises.

"Well now, instead of prosperity trickling down, the pain has trickled up - from the struggles of hardworking Americans on Main Street to the largest firms of Wall Street.

"This country can't afford another four years of this failed philosophy. For years, I have consistently called for modernizing the rules of the road to suit a 21st century market - rules that would protect American investors and consumers. And I've called for policies that grow our economy and our middle-class together. That is the change I am calling for in this campaign, and that is the change I will bring as President," said Senator Barack Obama.

More On Sarah Palin's Iraq "Visit"

It seems she wasn't in Iraq after all.

From the Washington Post:

Aides to Gov. Sarah Palin spent Saturday scrambling to explain details of her only trip outside North America in the wake of a report that that trip did not include travel into Iraq, as the McCain-Palin campaign had initially claimed.

Palin made an official visit to see Alaskan troops in Kuwait in July of 2007. There, she made a stop at a border crossing with Iraq on July 25, according to the Boston Globe, but did not go further into the country. "Sarah Palin's visit to Iraq in 2007 consisted of a brief stop at a border crossing between Iraq and Kuwait, the vice presidential candidate's campaign said yesterday, in the second official revision of her only trip outside North America," the Globe's Bryan Bender wrote, adding, later in his story: "[C]ampaign aides and National Guard officials in Alaska said by telephone yesterday that she did not venture beyond the Kuwait-Iraq border."

Here's the story from the Boston Globe:

Sarah Palin's visit to Iraq in 2007 consisted of a brief stop at a border crossing between Iraq and Kuwait, the vice presidential candidate's campaign said yesterday, in the second official revision of her only trip outside North America.

Following her selection last month as John McCain's running mate, aides said Palin had traveled to Ireland, Germany, Kuwait, and Iraq to meet with members of the Alaska National Guard. During that trip she was said to have visited a "military outpost" inside Iraq. The campaign has since repeated that Palin's foreign travel included an excursion into the Iraq battle zone.

But in response to queries about the details of her trip, campaign aides and National Guard officials in Alaska said by telephone yesterday that she did not venture beyond the Kuwait-Iraq border when she visited Khabari Alawazem Crossing, also known as "K-Crossing," on July 25, 2007.

Is there anything the McCain canp won't lie about?

We already know they've been fudging the numbers of the rallies. Bloomberg has more. Seems that the so called "Straight talk express" is claiming confirmation of data from sources that don't confirm data. Here's one example:

Senator John McCain has drawn some of the biggest crowds of his presidential campaign since adding Alaska GovernorSarah Palin to his ticket on Aug. 29. Now officials say they can't substantiate the figures McCain's aides are claiming.

McCain aide Kimmie Lipscomb told reporters on Sept. 10 that an outdoor rally in Fairfax City, Virginia, drew 23,000 people, attributing the crowd estimate to a fire marshal.

Fairfax City Fire Marshal Andrew Wilson said his office did not supply that number to the campaign and could not confirm it. Wilson, in an interview, said the fire department does not monitor attendance at outdoor events.

And another:

The McCain campaign said 10,000 people showed up at the Consol Energy Arena in Washington, Pennsylvania, home of the Washington Wild Things baseball team.

The campaign attributed that estimate, and several that followed, to U.S. Secret Service figures, based on the number of people who passed through magnetometers.

"We didn't provide any numbers to the campaign,'' said Malcolm Wiley, a spokesman for the U.S. Secret Service. Wiley said he would not "confirm or dispute'' the numbers the McCain campaign has given to reporters.

I'll ask it again, is there anything these republicans won't lie about?

It's very sad to watch a guy who used to have some amount of integrity give it all up, shred it all, just for his own ambition.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the formerly honorable John McCain

September 14, 2008

Jim Quinn Read WHAT On The Air?

Red State, a real live conservative website posted this last February:
Sean Hannity has consistently said that he likes John McCain personally and respects his service to our country. I believe him. He disagrees with McCain on issues. That’s fine, so do I. But why is he promoting the Pittsburgh based “Quinn and Rose In The Morning” radio show? Is Sean unaware that Quinn used his show to spread rumors accusing McCain of being a traitor?
Reminder: This is NOT me writing - this is from "Samsara" at Red State.  It continues:
On Tuesday, February 5, 2008, Jim Quinn read on the air an unsubstantiated internet article alleging that POW John McCain "accommodated" his captors and was rewarded with an apartment in Hanoi. Quinn then directed his listeners to go online and read the part of the article he said was too "inflammatory" for the air. The article reported that McCain was provided prostitutes at this hotel room. Quinn then gave out the web address of this trash. He urged his listeners to read this article because the author was a source he respected.
Unfortunately, the article is behind a subscription wall.  Fortunately there are enough clues in the piece at Red State to find the article elsewhere.

Here it is.  Some juicy snippets:
The number of fellow senators who think John McCain is psychologically unstable is large. Some will admit it publicly, like Thad Cochran who says, "The thought of his being president sends a cold chill down my spine."

Others relate times when McCain screamed four-letter obscenities right in their faces in the Senate cloak room, like Dick Shelby, Rick Santorum or Jim Inhofe. "The man is unhinged," one senator told me. "He is frighteningly unfit to be commander-in-chief."

Jim Quinn read that on the air.  

Here's more:
McCain claims he refused [to be released early], because he demanded all American POWs captured before him be released as well. He thus remained a prisoner when he could have gone home, and was subjected to constant brutal beatings and torture for years: that is the source of the "war-hero" saga making McCain a greater war-hero than any other American POW.

Yet the offer of release would had to have been approved by the GRU overseers of the North Vietnamese – and T does not recall any such offer being made. T admits, however, that this took place before McCain was transferred to Hoa Loa prison, nicknamed the "Hanoi Hilton" by the POWs. T had only direct knowledge of what happened at Hoa Loa, and not the other prisons, where T's father was in charge.

McCain was kept at the Hanoi Hilton from December 1969 until his release, along with all the remaining POWs, in March 1973. During this time, T translated all the Vietnamese interrogators' notes and reports regarding John McCain.

According to T, they reveal that McCain had made an "accommodation" with his captors, and in exchange, T's father saw that he was provided with an apartment in Hanoi and the services of two prostitutes. Upon returning to his prison cell, he would say he had been held in solitary confinement. That may be why so many of his fellow prisoners said later they saw so little of him at Hoa Loa.
Again, Jim Quinn read this disgusting story on the air.  This is what the republicans were saying about John McCain only 7 months ago.  And Jim Quinn read that on the air.

Jim Quinn.

McCain Lies About Little Stuff, Too!

We all know the McCain campaign has been lying about Governor Sarah Palin's record in Alaska for some time now.

Now they're lying about how many people show up for events.

Take a look:
Nevada Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki said on stage that 10,000 people were in the crowd, but parks officials said the pavilion held only 3,500 people.
I know the Republicans are good at fudging numbers (votes in Florida, barrels of oil in ANWR, budgets everywhere) but how, exactly, do you fit 10,000 people into a space that holds only 3,500?

And how stupid do they think the rest of us are?  And how stupid are they to think that no one would notice?

In Case You Missed It



You can read the transcript here.

Special message to the media covering Governor Palin can be found at the end when "Senator Clinton" says:
So I invite the media to grow a pair. And if you can't, I will lend you mine.
Let's just hope someone in the media takes her up on her offer.

Jack Kelly Sunday

In this week's column, Jack Kelly dives into the whole (and increasingly important, doncha know) "lipstick on a pig" controversy.

The thing you have to remember, here, is that this is what Jack used his column space for: Lipstick on a pig. Not Governor Palin's ballooning of the Alaska budget ("fiscal conservative" anyone??) or her continued lying (yes, lying) about the so-called "Bridge to Nowhere." Or the jet that was sold ("for a profit" spake McCain) on ebay - except it wasn't.

No. We get the "lipstick on a pig" thing. And Jack isn't even spinning it very well. Take a look:

Speaking in Lebanon, Va., the day before, Mr. Obama said Sen. John McCain may claim he'll change Washington, but he's really just like President Bush.

"You can put lipstick on a pig," he said. "It's still a pig. You can wrap an old fish in a piece of paper called change. It's still going to stink after eight years."

The AP's Nedra Pickler said the remark drew "shouts and raucous applause" from his audience, whose members were "clearly drawing a connection" to the joke Sarah Palin told in her acceptance speech, that the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull is lipstick. The McCain campaign demanded he apologize for the remark and rushed out a television ad criticizing him for making it.

Mr. Obama said Wednesday he meant no such thing. His profession of innocence would have been more persuasive if he'd attempted to disabuse his audience Tuesday of the notion he was referring to Ms. Palin, and if an Obama surrogate hadn't used remarkably similar language that day in referring to her.

First off, part his reporting is based on what Nedra Pickler wrote. It should be noted that Ms Pickler is not the cleanest of disinterested observers. As Mediamatters wrote:
In a February 24 Associated Press article about conservative attacks on Sen. Barack Obama's patriotism, staff writer Nedra Pickler quoted Roger Stone's assertion that "[Sen.] Barack Obama is out of the McGovern wing of the party, and he is part of the blame America first crowd." But Pickler identified Stone only as a "Republican consultant." She did not mention that Stone established the anti-Hillary Clinton 527 group Citizens United Not Timid which emphasizes its acronym on its website and on T-shirts...
My friend Johnny Mac's got a whole lot to say about Ms Pickler.

But, eventually and curiously, Jack writes:
I'm inclined to take Mr. Obama at his word, mostly because it would be really stupid to say such a thing deliberately. But the remark comes on the heels of unprecedented personal invective directed at Ms. Palin and her family from Obama supporters, and it does sound like a campaign meme. The video of Mr. Obama's remarks is on YouTube. Watch it and judge for yourself.
Ok...what? So he doesn't think Senator Obama called Governor Palin a pig? After using half his column space to write about it?

In any event, so here are the remarks on youtube:

Transcript:
Let's just list this for a second. John McCain says he's about change, too. And so I guess his whole angle is, watch out George Bush. Except for economic policy, health care policy, tax policy, education policy, foreign policy, and Karl Rove style politics, we're really going to shake things up in Washington. That's not change. That's just calling something, the same thing something different. You know you can put lipstick on a pig, it's still a pig.
Where, again, is the reference to Governor Palin? The WATBs over at the McCain campaign demand an apology for the unfair smear of their VP candidate. But for what?

And anyway take a cloooose look at the text. IF (and this is a long stretch - a very long stretch) the metaphor does revolve around Governor Palin, she's the lipstick. The McCain claim that it's "different" is what's the pig.

Jack even continues the conservative whining by complaining about some mean things coming from an Obama surrogate regarding Governor Palin:
Mr. McCain chose as his running mate "someone with zero experience in national government, zero experience in foreign affairs," Rep. Russ Carnahan said in his introduction of Sen. Joe Biden at an event in Missouri. "There is no way you can dress up that record, even with a lot of lipstick."
But take a look at it again. This is from the St Louis Beacon:

Also speaking was U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan, a Democrat from Missouri's Third District, which includes the Mehlville area.

Carnahan ticked off a litany of what he described as Bush administration failures: the war in Iraq, the national debt, high gas prices, exporting jobs outside the U.S., record home foreclosures and record student loan debts.

"This the record John McCain bragged about," Carnahan said.

Carnahan called McCain's decision to name Palin to the ticket a mistake. "He buckled to the right wing," he said of McCain. "She has zero experience in national government, zero experience in foreign affairs. And there is no way you can dress up that record, even with a lot of lipstick." He was referring to Palin's joke at the Republican national convention in which she asked supporters whether they knew the difference between a "hockey mom and a pit pull.

The "record" (i.e. "the pig") being referred to is either the Bush administration's many failures (Carnahan even uses the same word) OR Palin's "zero experience in national government, zero experience in foreign affairs." If anything (and again this is a stretch), she's the lipstick.

Don't these folks understand metaphor?

I'll leave it here with something from Obama's response to this whole "controversy":

See it would be funny, it would be funny except -- of course the news media all decided that that was the lead story yesterday. They'd much rather have the story -- this is the McCain campaign -- would much rather have the story about phony and foolish diversions than about the future.

This happens every election cycle. Every four years. This is what we do. We've got an energy crisis. We have an education system that is not working for too many of our children and making us less competitive. We have an economy that is creating hardship for families all across America. We've got two wars going on, veterans coming home not being cared for -- and this is what they want to talk about! this is what they want to spend two of the last 55 days talking about.

This is what the whiners over at the GOP want to talk about.

More On Palin's Book Banning

This has gone back and forth.

Back in early September, the OPJ blogged about Sarah Palin's book banning proclivities. The by-now completely untrustworthy McCain campaign has denied everything, of course. Governor Palin herself regarded the story as "an old wives tale" This is from ABC:
In the remaining part of Charlie Gibson's interview with Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, to air later tonight on "20/20," she denies ever having tried to ban a book while mayor of Wasilla.
Of course. But when she was on the city council:

But in 1995, Ms. Palin, then a city councilwoman, told colleagues that she had noticed the book “Daddy’s Roommate” on the shelves and that it did not belong there, according to [Laura] Chase (the campaign manager during Ms. Palin’s first run for mayor in 1996)and [former Mayor John] Stein. Ms. Chase read the book, which helps children understand homosexuality, and said it was inoffensive; she suggested that Ms. Palin read it.

“Sarah said she didn’t need to read that stuff,” Ms. Chase said. “It was disturbing that someone would be willing to remove a book from the library and she didn’t even read it.”

Ahh, wiggle room. Republicans just love their wiggle room.

Note to Fred Honsberger: It's nice to hear you on KDKA, my friend. But Fred, recently I've heard you defend Governor Palin with this line of reasoning:
But no books were ever banned from the library.
You have to know that that's not really much of a defense. Here's why: It's pretty obvious that she tried to ban books she (and/or her church) found offensive. Isn't that bad enough? What defender of free thought would even want to ban a book?

Whether she succeeded is another matter altogether. But just trying to get a book banned is sin enough in a free society, don't you think?

September 13, 2008

More McCain Sleaze

The McCain campaign released more sleaze this week, including this ad (approved by the formerly honorable John McCain):

Factcheck.org has an analysis out that takes a look at each part of the ad ("Good-looking", "Marching orders" and "Disrespectful") and found each to be, well, "particularly egregious" and:
The McCain-Palin campaign has released a new TV ad that distorts quotes from the Obama campaign. It takes words out of context to make it sound as though the Democratic ticket is belittling Palin.
The "good looking" part is from this interview with Joe Biden, who's quoted by ABC News as saying this:

"From our perspective the whole deal is how does the government help you get back up without getting in the way?" Biden asked. "There's a gigantic - gigantic - difference between John McCain and Barack Obama, and between me and I suspect my vice presidential opponent. And that is that - "

The crowd laughed.

"Well there's obvious differences," Biden said, beginning to ham it up. "She's good looking," he said, laughing.

For the humor-challenged out there, Joe Biden was actually saying two things when he pointed out the one obvious difference between he and Palin: She's good looking and he isn't. Well THAT'S certainly disrespectful.

By the way, the same ABC piece has Rush Limbaugh himself call Palin "a babe."

The "Marching orders" part comes from this article at The Politico:

“Right down the line,” he said. “She tried to attack Obama by saying he had no significant legislative accomplishments — maybe that’s what she was told — but she should talk to Sen. Lugar, talk to Sen. Coburn, talk to people across the aisle in Illinois where he passed dozens of major laws to expand health care reform welfare, reduce taxes on working families. So I think she had an assignment and she went out and she discharged it.” [emphasis added]

Then there the charge that Obama is being disrespectful for calling Sarah Palin a liar.

But, she is. She supported the so-called "bridge to nowhere" (and campaigned on it) before Congress pulled the plug on the funding. Factcheck.org even says so:
Palin may have said “Thanks, but no thanks” on the Bridge to Nowhere, though not until Congress had pretty much killed it already. But that was a sharp turnaround from the position she took during her gubernatorial campaign, and the town where she was mayor received lots of earmarks during her tenure.
So what's disrespectful there?