Monday, March 31, 2008

They Shot The Wad On Clinton

Before I start let me both apologize for and elicit applause for the abominable headline. Hey, I'm a blogger - you've seen worse. If I don't sicken and offend you at least once in a while, I might as well be writing for CNN.

Barack Obama is in a fascinating position right now, because it seems that everything is conspiring to get him elected President of the United States. Let's look at historical trending first. With the president's approval rating at constant lows, with the economy doing not so well, the usual drumbeat for "change" is louder than it's been in a long time. Visually, Barack Obama represents change more than the other candidates. (You know what I mean. Don't pretend you don't.) Plus, he neither is promising to extend an unpopular war for the next hundred years, nor is he the wife of someone who held the office for the sleaziest eight years in recent memory.

Next, his opponents. There has been an historical blunder committed by the usually skilled Republicans, and it is gonna cost 'em. For a long time now, they have assumed that Hillary Clinton was going to be the Democratic nominee. I mean a long time, like a couple of months after they pretended George Bush was elected. *rimshot* So for seven years now, they've been demonizing Hillary Clinton. She swindled her Whitewater investors, she killed Vince Foster, she's the antichrist, she has an annoying laugh. They can produce volumes of rumors at the drop of a hat proving that Hillary Clinton flew the planes that hit the World Trade Center towers. Really. Ask a Republican some time.

It's a well-oiled machine, it's been running like a juggernaut for a long time, and it's worked! Unhappily, too soon. It's supposed to be kicking into high gear now that Hillary is the presumptive Democratic nominee, but she isn't. They made her such a monster that America turned to the good-lookin' tabula rasa instead. Hillary! as she's known among the wingnuts for reasons I've never had fully explained, is taking on water fast.

So now, the Republicans are scrambling to find ways to demonize Obama, and they just don't have the research. They've tried insinuating that he's Saddam Hussein, they've tried claiming that people who vote for him are hypnotized (oh, that's an effective way to swing voters - tell them they're stupid) and lately they're demonizing his pastor, because everyone knows you blindly believe everything your pastor tells you.  Not everyone does; just the black folk. Uh oh.

The race thing is a real minefield for Republicans, who have to avoid the one easy arrow in the quiver: If you elect Obama, he'll give the country to the darkies! So they're stumbling. And because their attacks have been so week, Obama looks even better than Hillary by comparison. 

Meanwhile, Hillary has been spoiling for a fight for eight years herself. She's armed herself to the rhetorical teeth. The only way she knows how to campaign is to fight dirty, which would have been great if she were against McCain, but she's using it against our own guy. Instead, as a result, she looks strident and overambitious and prepared to bring down the party to feed her lust for power. Thus Obama is the only un-scary candidate, and after a constant desert of orange alerts and shoe-bombers, the country badly wants to feel un-scared right now. Obama is our national oasis.

A change in strategy from either Clinton or the entire right-wing machine could put Obama in a worse position, but I don't think anyone is capable of correcting their course at this stage. Obama has been criticized for being vague and for saying little. Can you blame him? Every time someone else opens their mouth, he looks better and better. He is the jujitsu candidate, using the force of his opponent's blows to topple them.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

NRG - Norquist Regales GOP

I was at a dinner party last night, and a friend of mine said she was taken with this story about right-leaning politicians fighting for our right to choose - light bulbs. How odd that this would become an issue to tear our congress people away from the war on terror, or the struggle to prevent gay marriage, abortion, and Arabs! 

Indeed, energy issues are a fascinating extremist litmus test for the Republicans. Their argument against CFC bulbs, for example, is that they contain mercury and therefore are bad for the environment. When have you ever heard a Republican passionately defending the environment against a manufacturer such as General Electric?  By the way, a typical thermometer has ten times the mercury, so where's the horror at their use?

Almost all scientists agree that there is a global warming problem caused by man's use of fossil fuels, but the wingnuts (term of endearment, boys) believe the handful of contrarians who happen to work for the fossil fuel companies. Dick Cheney takes office, has a mysterious summit with, oh, no one that you'd be interested in, and emerges with our nations energy policy: quit wasting so much money on R&D and use more coal and oil. 

The right wing's position, as I read it, is "We must waste as much energy as possible to stay competitive." Which is arguably a valid position. 


For the rest of us, it means taking money we'd be saving by using wind power and solar power, and giving it to Big Energy instead. They'll remain competitive, we'll all suffer. Already one of the chief causes of inflation is the price of transporting everything, because the cost of gas keeps crawling up. Sometimes it leaps.

And once in a while when I'm venturing onto right wing blogs, I'll complain about how these tax cuts are hurting the country, and they'll respond "we need to cut social programs." When I suggest that maybe we could also stand to eliminate some tax breaks to Exxon and company because they're achieving record profits, my right wing friends turn strangely silent. Perhaps they don't have the energy to speak.

So here's my theory. Grover Norquist, the creepy old guy in that smoke filled room in New York where the X-Files old men used to hang out, is getting his money from the Oil Companies. In turn, he's encouraging pro-big-energy opinion around the offices of Fox and NewsMax, which filters down to my favorite right wing blogs. They write their pro-coal-industry editorials, then set down a piece about how the unions and the trial lawyers control the left. What do you think?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Please, PLEASE Don't Think Different

News that strikes at the very core of my being - Karl Rove loves his iPhone. Burbles the K-man:

I mean it is just shocking how much better, how much more productive I am. I no longer carry around a giant address book, if I don’t have my calendar close at hand, I can quickly check it out of my– I don’t have to carry, I used to carry several notecards, now it’s just as easy to scribble on my little notepad, I can take photographs and forward them on immediately, it’s just remarkable.

You understand, he could use a Blackberry for all that stuff, or a Palm Centro, but the weasel insists on shouldering into my turf. Come to think of it, even I don't have a damn iPhone!

Look Republicans, superior technology, like science itself, is the provence of Democrats and Libertarians. You have to use Windows-based gadgets. Its just how the divide falls. Did you know that Steve Jobs is a vegan AND a buddhist? You know what was featured prominently in the early ads for the iPhone?

A front page of THE NEW YORK TIMES.

Rove might as well be puttin' Cindy Sheehan up in his guest room.

Tell you what, if that guy tries to link to my MySpace page, I am NOT approving.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Bring Back the Steam-Bulb!

These are scary times. Once in a while you long for something familiar and old-time, even if its ridiculous and senseless. I was thus comforted to learn today that Congresswoman Michelle Bachman has introduced a bill to Counteract a provision in last winter's energy bill. The provision mandated the phasing out of wastful incandescent bulbs over the next 25 years; Bachman is fighting for our right to choose the crummy old bulb.

It fills me with nostalgia. Not incandescent bulbs; they suck. But to see Republicans rallying around some crazy-ass technology and screaming against progress, that's a welcome return to form. These are the people who fought shoe laces because it would put button-hook factories out of business, and it's great to have 'em back.

I think, however, that bringing back torture and the Crusades may be taking a good thing too far.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Clear As Kristol

William Kristol, one of the far-left fringe communists writing for the New York Times, was forced to issue a retraction today. Apparently Kristol has claimed that Barack Obama was attending a sermon by Jeremiah Wright on a certain day, which would have proved that Obama agreed with everything the Reverend said; in fact, Obama was enroute to a campaign stop in Miami that day, which still proves that he agrees with everything the Reverend says. Whatever.

This puts me in an interesting position, because I was whining atop my high horse (it sounds like a mixed metaphor but it's not!) about the burden of columnists to provide facts just a few weeks ago. And you may recall that I concluded that since they aren't writing straight reportage, they have no such burden. I'm sticking to that opinion.

Kristol is a columnist. He was quoting what he believed is a legitimate news source, in this case Newsmax. As far as he has a source, he can write whatever crazy shit he wants. In fact, as long as he admits he hasn't got a source he could do the same thing. The burden is on you, the reader. If he's proved wrong often enough, stop reading. Or keep reading, but stop believing.

In other news, struggling fringe network FOX NEWS admitted their New York offices are infested with bed bugs (don't let 'em bite!) AND they just recently hired Karl Rove as a commentator to provide some much needed conservative-biased commentary for their coverage of our glorious successes on the battlefront and elsewhere. The bugs came in at the same time as Karl did. Just sayin'. I do not have a source, but it's painfully obvious.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Bad News For Lazy Screenwriters

Futronic, a gadget company, is marketing a fingerprint reader that can tell a dead finger from a living one. You can still cut off that executive's hand if you want, but it won't get you in the vault. Maybe you can have it made into an ashtray instead.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Too Much Internet At My Fingertips

Hi! Me Again!

Hey, it's a busy life lately. Among other things this weekend, I biked up to a scenic overlook to take pictures; I participated in a disaster simulation where helpful volunteers wrongly pronounced me dead twice; and I upgraded my Sprint phone from a tiny l'il handset to a smart phone, specifically the Palm Centro.

The Centro, essentially, is the Sprint equivilent of the iPhone. And you may remember I was lusting after one of those things so badly that I bought an iPod touch, which is an iPhone only without the phone parts. I'd have had to cancel my service contract, and them iPhones are expensive enough as is. So now I have both, and I'm in a position to kind of compare the two of 'em.

First things first - if you have a Mac, get an iPhone. Syncing up your contacts and Calendar with the Centro is a painful multistep process that required 8 reboots, purchase of additional software, and great intuitive leaps that probably saved me days of even more heartache.

The iTouch is much much better for music and video. That sumptuous widescreen is irresistable. On the other hand, the Centro has years of software development behind it. There's a whole section in Fry's devoted to Palm software. The iTouch may catch up with 'em, but they just released the SDK for it this last week and I don't even think it goes out of beta before June.

The Centro has a tiny keyboard, but at least there are raised buttons for tactile feedback. The iPhone's keyboard is virtual, and it appears when it thinks you'll need it, devouring screen real estate.

Web browsing - iPhone. No contest, except... see below. Email? Same thing. However, I'll be using the Centro more because I can only get email on the iTouch if I'm near a wi-fi hotspot, and those things are harder to come by than you'd think. And that's an intersting point. Wi-Fi is the best way to get data right now, if you can find it. If not, you're at the mercy of your wireless carrier as far as data rates go, and Sprint is faster than the notoriously slow AT&T EDGE network, the only network which iPhone officially supports. So with iPhone, gorgeous pages that take forever to load, unless you're at Starbucks. But you're always at Starbucks, right?

At home, I have Wi-Fi, so if anything crashes and I need to check my email, I am covered.

For all these reasons, I'd going to keep 'em both.