Sunday, August 31, 2008

Corrections and Addenda

Thanks to Madeline's Dad for aid in proving my point!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Attention Chick Voters: Sara Palin

A little more material about Sara Palin. 

My favorite YouTube comment so far:

"This is seriously insulting to American Women and not helping your case."

Chicks! Am I right?

Friday, August 29, 2008

Partisanship Aside

This short piece by Mike Murphy at Swampland is a good jumping off point.

The Sarah Palin balance sheet. Pros; most impressive young conservative Governor is the country. The base will love her, grass-roots side of convention floor will be happy. She has charisma and can give a great speech. Middle class Mom with family. Obama now not only contender who can make a 3 point shot. She has been an impressive Governor, with reform instincts. She can certainly deliver the vital swing state of... Alaska. Former full Colonel in Pat Buchanan brigades.

Cons: McCain's mighty and oft-swung Obama swatting hammer of experience has been instantly changed from steel to rubber. VP examination stakes are a little higher for McCain, will she pass the ready on Day One test with less than two years in a (small) statehouse? Former full Colonel in the Pat Buchanan brigades.

Bottom line: A base choice. Which hints at a base-centered election strategy. Got it Boy, good thing it is 1994. What? It's not? Hmmm.

My own feeling remains this: she's a better choice than I saw coming, but she's a moot point. James Dobson aside, will the far-right overcome their revulsion of McCain (whose name has unfortunate biblical resonances) enough to vote for the ticket? Or more importantly, are they hoping that someone with even less experience than Obama will get the office through misadventure?

Ultimately it's still a choice for Republicans between the man they hate and the man they despise.

Congratulations Sarah Palin

If there are any lefties who read this (it seems to be almost entirely derisive righties) you may find this link helpful. It's postings about the Republican candidate that Republicans don't hate, with headlines such as:

Palin: A Champion for Big Oil

Palin Has Never Been to Iraq (they amend it to note that she's been there once, but that's still once less than Obama)

Palin's War On Polar Bears

Doocy: Palin knows about foreign policy because Alaska is ‘right next door to Russia’

I hear she is popular in Alaska right now because she pushed for higher oil taxes and since the price went up, Alaska is running a budget surplus. So she's in favor of both higher taxes on business and bloating government coffers.

And she is both charming AND inexperienced, unlike the hated Democratic candidate.

Bill Kristol Makes Correct Prediction!

On June 30th he said McCain would pick Sara Palin!

Okay, he actually predicted this: When McCain picks Palin as VP, gas prices will plummet.

So, since I'm out of the business of predicting stuff, I'm going to sit back this weekend and watch the gas prices plummet. What a shame he didn't pick her in July, when the prices were at their peak. WHY DOES JOHN MCCAIN HATE AMERICA?

John McWho?

The following is from an email I received this morning from It was titled EMPEROR OBAMA HAS SPOKEN.

In a manner fit for an Emperor, Obama descended upon the more than 80,000 gathered in Denver to receive his message last night.

I couldn't help but notice the similarities between the spectacle and the man himself. While the Roman columns looked the part, Invesco field was no more a Roman Coliseum then Barack Obama is qualified to be President of the United States.

Even with Joe Biden by his side, Roman pillars surrounding him and Bill and Hillary behind him, the Barack Obama last night at Mile High was the same inexperienced, liberal radical we have always known him to be. No amount of rock concert lighting, Broadway stagecraft, lofty rhetoric -- or even fireworks -- will change that. The media networks in attendance may trust him to lead them to the Promised Land, but we certainly do not.

Americans need to stand up now and show our opposition to the radical left agenda that a President Obama would impose on us. Now is the time for us to stand up to the New York Times and their liberal media cronies and show our opposition to Obama. Join the NObama revolution.

Can you spot the fascinating omission? Hint: our ballots don't actually have a spot for a NO vote for President.

(PS - the talking points are nonsense, but for a change they're respectable nonsense. In other words, defensible arguments instead of crazy Muslim/terrorist/criminal accusations. So good on ya, Townhall.)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

McCain Wants Out

How do I know? I've looked into his eyes and seen his soul. You might want more proof than that. So I'll give you some.

The Dayton Daily News is reporting that the big rally McCain is holding on Friday in a 10,000 seat stadium is still not sold out, and helpfully gives the phone numbers of a few places where you can get free tickets. They add:

There has been speculation that McCain would use the Dayton visit to announce his running mate but McCain said he's not reached a decision yet, so he's not sure if there will be an announcement here.

Seeing as the 75000 seat auditorium that Obama is accepting the nomination at tonight has been "sold out" for weeks (not literally - despite some blog reports, he didn't charge a thousand a ticket; most of the seats are free) perhaps McCain could knuckle down and choose that running mate today, just to get a few more people to come to the rally. Free publicity tip, Johnnie!

(How popular are those Obama tickets anyway? This popular.)

The clearest indication that McCain is close to doing a Thompson here is from this Time Magazine interview.

There's a theme that recurs in your books and your speeches, both about putting country first but also about honor. I wonder if you could define honor for us?

Read it in my books.

I've read your books.

No, I'm not going to define it.

But honor in politics?

I defined it in five books. Read my books.

...In 2000, after the primaries, you went back to South Carolina to talk about what you felt was a mistake you had made on the Confederate flag. Is there anything so far about this campaign that you wish you could take back or you might revisit when it's over?

[Does not answer.]

Do I know you? [Says with a laugh.]

[Long pause.] I'm very happy with the way our campaign has been conducted, and I am very pleased and humbled to have the nomination of the Republican Party.

You do acknowledge there was a change in the campaign, in the way you had run the campaign?

[Shakes his head.]

...A lot of people know about your service from your books, but most people don't know that you have two sons currently in the military. Can you describe what it means to have Jack and Jimmy in uniform?

We don't discuss our sons.

Is it my imagination, or is McCain refusing to even answer the softballs here? I suppose they might have caught him on a bad day, and it's not like he didn't answer ANY questions, but geez!

By the way, please please please let it be Leiberman. He's an independant! Everybody LOVES Joe Lieberman! Pleeeeeeeeeease!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Pro-Monopoly Candidate

Hat tip Bedazzled.

A Response To That Video In The Last Post

Sure, Make It Easy For Me

The Democratic Convention has been on for three days now... and I haven't watched a SINGLE MINUTE OF IT!

That's a lie. I actually saw most of Ted Kennedy's speech but I didn't hear it. I was reading the CC titles while on a treadmill at the gym. It looked effective enough. But I'm getting all my info about the infomercial from blogs and news. It's quicker, more efficient and even more entertaining.

So far the convention has been kind of a disappointment - to Republicans. Sure Fox News was able to whip this up:

They'll say it proves that liberals are all angry and hate America, but if you listen closely they're not chanting "Fuck America!" Earlier this week ace cub reporter Griff Jenkins met with this chant while asking the protestors to explain themselves, and was reduced to shouting "Why do you hate free speech!" Apparently the Fox definition of the term is "talking to Fox News." It doesn't occur to them that not talking to Fox is a freedom all its own.

Then there are the PUMAs. Republicans were so looking forward to the Party Unity My Ass people disrupting the flow of the convention by refusing to accept Obama as the nominee and demanding Hillary instead. Unfortunately, Hillary put the Kibosh on that last night with her speech, and Bill Clinton didn't do the PUMAs any favors tonight. And it's becoming increasingly obvious that while there may have been some disenfranchised Democrat members, the organization is run by Republicans.

So tomorrow Obama will accept the nomination that was entered a few hours ago, and he'll make a speech that Republicans will insist proves that he hates America, and the Democratic National Convention will be over.

And then, the real fun begins.

The Republican National Convention starts Labor day. You want proof that Karl Rove isn't running things nowadays? They're starting on a holiday that was sponsored by UNIONS. Further proof? It's a few hours after the end of the Muscular Dystrophy telethon, another informercial, associated with a disease that causes gradual and irreversible weakness.

I'm not done. Opening night speakers include the President and Vice President. This isn't so bad, I mean, they had to put them somewhere and why not the furthest point from the night that McCain is speaking? But it also happens to be the anniversary of the President's biggest Achilles' heel, the LANDFALL OF HURRICANE KATRINA. They scheduled the Convention to run at exactly the time of year that we remember the worst footage of the disaster from.

Perhaps it's a strategy, distract people on the anniversary with an event. Oh yeah, they're holding the whole party in New Orleans. * If these parallels don't get play from the press every single night of the convention, I think we can finally write off the myth of a liberal media.

And weirdly, they could have held it a week later and had McCain accept the nomination on 9/11.

What the hell has happened to these people?

* I misread something. The whole party is in Minneapolis/St. Paul. Who can turn the world on with a smile? John McCain!

Addendum: From Wonkette:
Talking about the possibility of Hurricane Gustav making landfall during the Republican convention, Karl Rove tells Fox News, “The Republicans can’t seem to get a break when it comes to August and when it comes to the weather.” Right in the middle of the president’s vacation, frequently! Stupid asshole weather, poor Republicans.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Attention CruxLux Bot - 9a818edd0b022457aab5b1afb097bada04e96d54

All others please ignore.

Not Unlike Journalism

Over at Boxoffice Weekly, my podcast, I'm running with a story about the controversy about Richard Cheese and his appearance at the Coverville 500 concert, which I attended. I've been able to get find quotes by Cheese, the guy who ran the concert, and the guy whose cellphone Cheese snatched up while he was in the act of recording Cheese. I cannot make that last part any clearer and believe me, I just tried five times.

I almost feel, for a change, like a real reporter. Usually I simply regurgitate wire stories about celebrities... but then again, in showbiz news that's what the real reporters do too. Perhaps the only difference between me and a showbiz reporter in the Mainstream Media (TM) is I'm making no money at all, while the other guy is making less and less every year. We'll eventually meet for coffee, to interview each other. And afterwards we'll sneak out without paying.

Leave The Kid Alone

Okay, this has gone far enough. John McCain will pull out his POW experiences at the drop of a hat. Criticize him for not knowing how many houses he has?

I spent five-and-a-half years in a prison cell,” McCain said. “I didn’t have a house. I didn’t have a kitchen table. I didn’t have a table. I didn’t have a chair. And I didn’t spend those five-and-a-half years because, not because I wanted to get a house when I got out.”
Accuse him of knowing Obama's answers at the Saddleback conference, you get this from Nicole Wallace, his campaign aide:

“The insinuation from the Obama campaign that John McCain, a former prisoner of war, cheated is outrageous,” Ms. Wallace said.
You know something, there's something to this. Maybe we need to lay off McCain with these criticisms. After all, he spent over five years in a brutal POW camp.

He was tortured.

He was mentally traumatized.

He is just a human being, after all, and surely he bears the scars of this awful experience.

We need to lay off this man, to stop pressuring him, to stop doing the kinds of things that might hurt someone who is already so fragile.

We need, in short, to absolutely not make him the leader of the free world.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Conventional Wisdom

Though the opinion is as predictable as the conventions it decries, I still call your attention to this column in today's Los Angeles Times by Gregory Rodriguez, entitled Big Mac Politics.

Don't do it. Don't tune in to this year's political conventions.

For two decades, Americans have been wising up and increasingly tuning out those quadrennial made-for-television pageants that pass for participatory democracy. In 1976, roughly 22 million people watched Jimmy Carter receive his party's nomination. By contrast, four years ago, only 16 million viewers enjoyed the high jinks at the GOP convention. Over the years, declining interest has persuaded broadcast networks to scale back their coverage, and I think a lot of us suspect we didn't miss much.

But this year, thanks to heightened interest in the presidential campaign, both broadcast and cable news networks are bumping up their coverage. And starting today, it's going to be extra hard to resist the allure of all that elaborately conceived stagecraft.

My revulsion for the conventions doesn't stem simply from disdain for partisan politics. Nor am I suggesting that Americans ignore the substance of politics. But to my mind, conventions are emblematic of everything that's wrong with American culture. For all our belief in freedom, which by definition breeds unpredictability, and our pride in our cultural dynamism, U.S. culture is becoming ever more self-conscious and scripted.

I couldn't agree more, and I'm only grateful that I watch as little TV as I do lately so I don't have to be annoyed that it's going to be pre-empted by these informercials. Feel free to read the rest of it.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Oh, THAT Explains It

I have commented here in the past about the conflicting smears against Obama. I also recently commented about it at this blog and frequent reader "Ameridan" responded as follows.

Obama is a rich elitist who was too poor to buy a mansion in his earlier days until he became involved with a future convicted felon and a rascist preacher. Both of whom greased the skids for his slid into Chicago's cesspool of dirty politics.

It's safe to say that no one here has ever accused Obama of being a Christian... BUT, because he was a Muslim in his early years, he will always be considered a Muslim, no matter how absurd that sounds to you or me. Those are Muslim rules, not ours.

He is a substanceless celebrity. Satan would be the anti-christ and I don't recall anyone ever calling him that here.

Ameridan I'm tempted to just let this stand, because I'm dead certain that throwing facts back at you will not even slow you down. However:

Too poor to afford the house: Obama and his wife were worth $3 million at the time, he paid market value and the rates were normal for people of his credit standing - look 'em up. Or check this out. also points out how little Rezko benefitted from the laws passed while Obama was running that department. Factcheck sums it up this way, in fact: "Can support for a low-income housing project be a "favor" to the developer if the developer didn't ask for it? You decide."

No one ever accused him of being a Christian: I'm kind of inferring on this one. Obama was accused of buying everything he heard at the christian church he attended for 20 years, therefore you guys didn't believe he really followed the Rev. Wright or you don't believe he's Muslim. And since every single media outlet that checked it out has determined that the school he attended as a child was not a madrassa, the whole "once a Muslim" thing doesn't apply. It's true he grew up in Indonesia. 

Though if he is a Muslim and he managed to attend christian services for twenty years and keep his real faith a secret while in the public eye, I'd say that man has what it takes to be President. And can I take this opportunity once again to remind you that Muslim doesn't equal Terrorist? Much in the same way that Republican doesn't equal racist.

It's true that I haven't seen anyone dare to equate Obama to the Antichrist on WHERE ARE MY KEYS. Tell you where I have seen it though: here and here and here (obliquely and couched in humor) and here and here

Incidentally, researching that last one yielded a pretty interesting quote from INDIA DAILYTo tell you very honestly, since John F. Kennedy and Robert Kennedy, America has not seen presidential candidates as clean as Obama or McCain. After Clintons and Bushs, they are more like Christ himself.  I like this, and I think it's largely true. If we could could stop making up stuff about each other's candidates and focus on the issues, I think the country would be a lot better for it.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Biden? Ugh.

This is why I don't usually make predictions.

Not only was I wrong about the person, I was wrong about the day. For some reason the announcement was made in the dead of night (3am EDT), thus insuring that anyone who signed up for those crazy text messages and forgot to set their phones to vibrate would be annoyed by the news. AND the editors WERE out of the office by then.

And there's Biden. Generic handsome old white guy. I was pleased to see him eliminated so early in the primaries on aesthetic grounds. He doesn't LOOK like change. And it feels like he's been running for president for what, 30 years now? Still, the guy has good foreign policy credentials, and plenty of experience. And he has criticized Obama in the past, which I find heartening. It'll be nice to have a President who doesn't surround himself with people who agree with him. You know, for a change. And Biden has gotten in enough trouble for things he has said that he's almost McCain, so he's got that straight-talk thing going for him.

It just seems that he's a safer, blander choice than Hillary, but maybe that's the point. People who are scared of an African American AND a woman president won't stay away. It's all about electability after all. And this administration, like most (though not the current one) will not be run out of the Vice President's office. So I guess we could have done worse.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Attention RNC: Your Next America-Hating Terrorist

Susan Eisenhower. Descendant of Dwight D. Eisenhower, up until now relatively unknown. Soon she will will be linked to the white powder letter sent to McCain, her real estate holdings scrutinized, excoriated by Sean Hannity as angry and insane. Why?

I have decided I can no longer be a registered Republican... My decision came at the end of last week when it was demonstrated to the nation that McCain and this Bush White House have learned little in the last five years. They mishandled what became a crisis in the Caucusus, and this has undermined U.S. national security. At the same time, the McCain camp appears to be comfortable with running an unworthy Karl Rove–style political campaign. Will the McCain operation, and its sponsors, do anything to win?
She's registered independent, and is endorsing known Muslim terrorist/elitist/antichrist/seducer of our women Barack Obama. In a completely unrelated coincidence, a series of shady but unsubstatiated allegations will be leveled against her shortly.

A few minutes later: This is the best I could find so far, and it's pretty weak sauce. I'm not even going to quote, but there is a link if you enjoy crazy rantings.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Glacial Race to the VP Announcement

Here's an interesting bit of political theatre:

Aug. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said he has decided who his vice presidential running mate will be. He refused to reveal his choice.
What does this add to the national political discourse? Nothing, of course. However, it does encourage more people to sign up for the text message service that Obama will announce the decision on. I thought I read somewhere that the announcement is coming Saturday afternoon, which to me means Friday afternoon, while the press political editors are still at their desks. 

Might as well speculate while I'm at it... who? WHO? Given the statistical dead heat in the polls with McCain, and given this:
Yet perhaps the biggest factor keeping the presidential race close has been Obama’s inability to close the deal with some of Hillary Clinton’s supporters. According to the poll, 52 percent of them say they will vote for Obama, but 21 percent are backing McCain, with an additional 27 percent who are undecided or want to vote for someone else. this:

Obama, Reid Help Clinton Raise $2 Million and Shrink Her Debt 

... it seems inevitable that we got Clintons in the White House again! Not only will this solidify the Democratic base, increasing that poll lead to 70%, but they'll also pick up probably another 10% of Republicans... the FAR RIGHT ten percent!

Now you may ask, who is McCain picking? But after tomorrow afternoon, you might as well stop after "Who is McCain?"

One Of Us, One Of Us, Gibble Gabble One of Us

John McCain explains his remark that he would define "rich" as "making 5 million or more."

“I define rich in other ways besides income,” he said. “Some people are wealthy and rich in their lives and their children and their ability to educate them. Others are poor if they’re billionaires.”

Just like the rest of us. I too, when hanging with my 5-million-plus-making-friends, define their wealth by their ability to properly educate their children. If they can build and staff an appropriate school, I adjudge them wealthy. If they merely send their kids to a pre-existing prep school, I consider them poor.

Like John McCain, I have "at least four" houses (Newseek estimates seven) and one of my biggest problems, if I had kids, would be choosing the house to put them in when they're going to school. I'm thinking of buying a couple of kids, so this is on my mind. The only thing that's stopping me is this: how do you child-proof a Lear jet? Do you allow them in the cockpit or just confine them to a section near the tail, perhaps with their own rest room?

I'll say this though - I want a guy in the White House who shares the concerns of a common guy like me. I - oh damn, I just spilled Absinthe on my $500 shoes - demand that some elitist like Obama be prevented from running the country and just giving it to the hoi-polloi who are worth less than 5 million. Why should THAT minority have a say?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I'm No Economist

However, if common sense has anything to do with oil prices then there is something wrong with this argument, courtesy Madeline's Dad:

If you say you are going to drill, and then don't, prices go back up. The lower prices we are seeing now are reflective of what the Market hears and sees. If we don't do what we said we are going to do, things revert back to how they were.
He and I have been going back and forth about this for a while. He believes that the price of oil is chiefly controlled by futures speculators, and therefore the prices were high until Bush rescinded the executive order against offshore drilling, at which point they started falling precipitously.

I believe the price of oil rose until people started using less gas and more public transportation.
Less demand, lower prices.

Here's what's troubling about MD's argument. No speculator thinks that increased supply is going to kick in immediately. An offshore drilling rig takes at least ten years to produce, and they haven't even started building them. Yet we're supposed to believe that speculators, who are looking at prices six months from now, are willing to sell their interest at a loss today.  It's true some speculators may see the value in selling off, but MOST of them? Seems suspicious to me. 

Also, I recall the price of oil started dropping not on the day that Bush signed the order, but the day after when he made a speech about signing the order. Speculators weren't paying attention to the actual lawmaking but once he made the speech, THEN they knew he was serious?

And why would there be movement now, when congress isn't in session, and the prospect of drilling is anything but settled? Popular sentiment, MD would say, but if I had a piece of that market, I wouldn't trade yet.

Then again, I don't really know that much about economics. So convince me. 

Friday, August 15, 2008

A Word About the Suit

This is how I looked at the New Media Expo today. My strategy was twofold:

a. Distinguish myself from the typical podcaster in the t-shirt with the orange Cheetos stains: and

b. The women go crazy for a sharp-dressed man, if you follow me.

In fact I barely rated a notice. ESPECIALLY from the women. Just now, as I was wandering around Bally's waiting for the show, a guy asked if I worked here because he was looking for the bathroom.

Let's call this a failed social experiment.

Jonathan Coulton!

Just stumbled upon geek musical genius Coulton. The thing about internet fame is even though its limited, it has the same effect on you. I'm blown away.

Why the New Media Expo is in August

Slow news days.

Then Again...

Google sponsoring a slot machine wouldn't make sense... But PAYPAL would be a natural. Plus conceivably they could set it up that your winnings could be emailed to you.

Once they overcame the massive security problems of course.

I Don't Know What To Make of This

Its a slot machine at Bill's on the strip. Can GOOGLE! Be far behind?

They DO Think He's The AntiChrist!

And they've got the headline to prove it.

Badly typed on my iPod

Begin forwarded message:

From: Jonathan Garthwaite <>
Date: August 15, 2008 8:13:41 AM PDT
To: " Daniel Krause" <>
Subject: Headed for Obamageddon?
Reply-To: Jonathan Garthwaite <>

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Like I Said, Zune

I mean come ON.

Brian Ibbot

DARK MEAT is modeled after COVERVILLE, the best podcast ever. Here is Mr Ibbott, the guy behind that show, selling me tickets to the Coverville concert tomorrow night.


What is he talking about? Who knows.

I've only been on the New Media Expo floor for a half hour and I'm already exhausted. Dominant themes: video, leverage. Weirdest sub-theme: Zunes. Nice timing there Ballmer!

I love Goo

..a little goes a long way though.

Spent the evening in the gracious company of Karen F and her offspring Madeline. Madeline is just a little over 1 year old. I'm awkward around babies because they don't get my references, but neither do most adults. I'm just grateful the kid would play peekaboo with me.

A note about the previous three days - I was lucky enough to be hosted by Skot and Eileen. In addition to a bed and snappy conversation, they gave me coffee and cereal each morning and that is the reason I'm alive today.

Next: Vegas!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Welcome to Mountain View

..a city which apparently died 6 years ago. And yet the people here soldier on. O indominable human spirit!

Be Sure To Wear Some Flowers

Perhaps I didn't mention that I would be in San Francisco this week. Here I am outside a Starbucks in Embarcadero.

Friday, August 08, 2008

The Missing Link

Since last week I've been scratching my head over a blog post by my good friend and adversary Warner Todd Huston. Warner has been insisting that Barack Obama is a hypocrite because he hasn't denounced the ugly tactics in the 9th District Congressional race between Steve Cohen and Nikki Tinker. The point Huston made is that Obama has claimed they're playing the race card against him, yet doesn't speak up when Tinker runs an explicitly anti-semetic campaign against Cohen.

I was perplexed by this, because as I pointed out, Jewish is not a race but a religion. Therefore McCain is as obligated to condemn this ugliness as is Obama, and as far as I'm concerned neither candidate is obligated. There's too many districts out there.

But Huston insisted the difference is Obama was obligated because he's a Democrat. I countered that if it was an ugly enough campagin for Obama to condemn, it was ugly enough for us all to. Huston moved on.

But I just learned the magical secret to this whole thing - Tinker is an African American! A particularly nutty one too. As reported by the AP today (which Huston insists isn't covering the race because of that liberal bias) Tinker lost 19% to 79%, and the latest ad, which claimed that Cohen was somehow linked to the KKK, both cemented Cohen's win and drew the condemnation of Barack Obama. Darn Jews! I knew they were infiltrating the KKK!

The 9th District, by the way, is predominantly African American.

Anyway, back to Warner. Somehow the Tinker-is-black element of his argument escaped my notice. He obliquely mentions it ("a member of (Obama's) own race" is how he puts it, but that means Tinker is half-white? Hawaiian?) but then goes on to argue that it's racism to attack Jews, when I believe what he really means is "those black people should keep each other in line." Given Obama's bloodline, again, by extension he's obligated to speak out about racism from all sides. Of course, that's only if you believe bloodline matters. I'm part Polish, but I don't feel responsible for Lech Walensa. I'm part Native American, but I'm not asking for an apology for the Trail of Tears. And I sure as hell aren't apologizing for Little Big Horn.

I've seen a picture of Warner (if there really is such a person) and he looks a little French to me. So I'm willing to give him a pass; the French, they say, are a funny race.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

How Would A Bush Town Hall Meeting Have Handled This?

Photographer insists on Pledge of Allegiance before Obama rally

Hat tip to Wonkette for this - crazy dude gets into Obama Town Hall meeting, demands Obama lead the pledge of allegiance. Obama agrees and does so. Crazy dude is then NOT whisked away to airport for extraordinary rendition and then locked away without charges for the next ten years.

See, this is one more reason why I like Barry O - he tolerates dissent, considers it, and changes course if the dissent makes sense. Flexibility is useful when you're running the free world. Compromise is the whole point of Democracy. And he does all this here without losing control of the room, which any standup will tell you is death. Huzza, O!

It's NOT a Pattern! It's Not A Pattern At All!

JEFFERSON CITY -- Missouri state Rep. Scott Muschany, R-Frontenac, was indicted today in connection with a reported sexual assault of a 14-year-old girl on May 17, the day after this year’s Legislative session ended... In 2006, Muschany was a co-sponsor of legislation that toughened sex offender laws. 

Look, at least this one was a girl. 

Straight-Talk Outta Hell

John McCain got a lot of milage (haw haw) last week out of ridiculing the idea that routine auto maintenance might somehow help Americans save money on gasoline. He passed out tire gauges at a speech as a kind of punchline. Clearly the last thing Americans should do to cut their dependence on foreign oil is USE LESS OIL.

This week, however, McCain said this: “Obama said a couple of days ago says we all should inflate our tires. I don’t disagree with that... (but) I don’t think that that (inflating tires) is a way to become energy independent." Which is fine, because Obama didn't say that either. He laid out a bunch of items on an energy plan. To pick out one and say it won't do the job is pretty lazy arguing.

But in April, McCain said this: "...And I'm sorry to tell you that the price of oil -- as far as I can tell -- is not gonna go down anytime soon until we eliminate our dependency on it.
We can do that as a nation -- we can turn out the lights five minutes earlier, we don't have to drive the extra block." So between April and now, he decided that we need to PROLONG our "dependency" on oil to bring down the price. Plus, like Jimmy Carter, he apparently feels the best way to solve the crisis (I don't think it's a crisis myself) is to wear sweaters, walk to the store, burn candles, stuff like that. I'm assuming that's still his position because he hasn't contradicted it this afternoon.

I'm guessing that most people want the country to go in a different direction than it is now, and I'm also guessing that the man who will steer it that way didn't vote along with the current President 95% 88.3% of the time.

(Latest figure courtesy of Ana Marie Cox at Swampland)

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Republicans Are Uri Geller

(click chart to enlarge)

The price of a gallon of Gasoline has fallen in the past three weeks about 15 cents nationally. What's causing this? My theory is the same one oil companies use to explain why it rises in the summer - supply and demand. More people want to drive, therefore they raise the prices. Or a refinery is down for maintenance, therefore the price goes up. However, this last month the price of gas got high enough that people started driving less, looking into public transportation, riding bikes (well, I've been riding one anyway) and carpooling. As a result demand for the product went down and the oil companies dropped prices again.

I know, that's crazy talk. the real truth is Republicans willed the price to go down by talking about it.

“I think the market is responding to the fact that we are here talking,” said Rep. John Shadegg (R-Ariz.) at a joint press conference with other GOP lawmakers. “I think the market realizes this kind of pressure from Congress may, in fact, lead to a change in policy.”

The market has reacted to thinner stuff than this, but come on! Congress isn't even in session and there's little indication that there will be any action on this before the fall. And the futures speculators usually think six months ahead, not 20 years. Why start underbidding yourself now? And what role is S&D supposed to be playing in this scenario, Shadegg?

And if you guys are sure that just bringing the subject up is enough to affect the price, why the hell didn't you start talking in January of 2007, when gas was at a 14 month low? What are you, in the pockets of Exxon? Ha ha, just kidding. I mean, obviously you are. What I'm kidding about is having to ask the question in the first place.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

One Less Thing To Worry About

According to Damn Interesting, a human being exposed to the vaccum of space without protection will not instantly swell up and explode. I know, you saw OUTLANDER and TOTAL RECALL and that's always the way it goes down, but in fact, it'd be more like this:

For about ten full seconds– a long time to be loitering in space without protection– an average human would be rather uncomfortable, but they would still have their wits about them. Depending on the nature of the decompression, this may give a victim sufficient time to take measures to save their own life. But this period of "useful consciousness" would wane as the effects of brain asphyxiation begin to set in. In the absence of air pressure the gas exchange of the lungs works in reverse, dumping oxygen out of the blood and accelerating the oxygen-starved state known as hypoxia. After about ten seconds a victim will experience loss of vision and impaired judgement, and the cooling effect of evaporation will lower the temperature in the victim's mouth and nose to near-freezing. Unconsciousness and convulsions would follow several seconds later, and a blue discoloration of the skin called cyanosis would become evident.

So you gotta admit, that's good news. Kubrick got it right again. The article goes on to point out that after you lose conciousness and turn blue, you'd still be good for about a minute and a half before they had to get you into the airlock and administer oxygen, and then you'd probably suffer no permanent damage. Of course, past that your blood would boil and that's a hard condition to treat. But hell, you at least have time to wave frantically to the folks inside, maybe tap your keys on the window and mouth the words "let me back in" which is more than we've been told to expect. Small favors!

(hat tip to Mental Floss)

Monday, August 04, 2008

But Terrorists ARE Like the Joker, a Little

Finally got into an IMAX theatre this weekend to catch THE DARK KNIGHT. Ledger does walk away with the movie handily, which means I guess he has already taken it to his grave. But the whole enterprise is seriously thought-provoking, which is why I don't mind that it's as talky and cheerless as it is. By the way, between the talking, stuff blows up. Frequently.

SPOILERS AHEAD! If you haven't seen the movie, stop reading this and instead, read this. Lithwick makes the same point using a TV show. More elequently too, I suppose.

Okay, you've seen it. Good. Little long, wasn't it? How 'bout that Harvey Dent! Am I right? Whew!

A week or so ago, the WSJ published an editorial attempting to draw a parallel between Batman and G.W. Bush. I laughed my head off when I read it then, but now that I've seen the movie I can see what he's talking about. Like the Batman, Bush isn't afraid to use a few extra-legal techniques in the service of a larger good. In fact, among others things he tortures suspects to get information and taps the cell phones of the entire population of Gotham. And these things do indeed wind up saving the city from a terrorist, albeit a terrorist who wears clown makeup.

So the parallel is drawn, very obviously. I can see a conservative watching this movie, finding comfort in it and concluding that the filmmakers are rooting for the current administration, calling them heroes. And it's true, right up to the ending.

Where Batman and Bush part ways is here - Bush will do everything to avoid the consequences of his transgressions. Where Batman accepts the resignation of his technology guru and exiles himself, even taking the rap for murders he did not commit, Bush continually blames others for his policies and lobbies to change laws that we've respected for centuries.

Since we're using movies to define the moral high ground, let's make it clear - Batman isn't a hero because he tortures and spies. He's a hero because he knows how truly wrong these things are and he's willing to accept the consequences. A movie character who behaves like Bush and doesn't include that second part is Darth Vader.


Update 8/07/08 - Patrick Leahy, who is IN the THE DARK KNIGHT, laughs off the Bush comparison but says this: "I do grant the parallels between Superman’s nemesis Lex Luthor and the Vice President." 

Friday, August 01, 2008

Leap Of Lack Of Faith

Conspiracy theories are troublesome, because their very implausibility feeds their believability. Of course it seems unlikely... they're COUNTING on you to think that! So I'm relaying this one with a whole shaker of salt for ya. Don't spill any or it's bad luck.

So a guy named Bruce Ivins died Tuesday night, an apparent suicide. He was at the center of an Justice Department investigation into the mysterious Anthrax attacks that happened just after 9/11. You remember, a few congressmen and the Florida offices of the National Enquirer received envelopes containing weapons-grade Anthrax? Ivins was an Anthrax researcher, according to Glenn Greenwald, "where he was one of the most elite government anthrax scientists on the research team at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Disease (USAMRIID). "

My left-wing blogosphere pals are running amok with the implications of this - Ivins obviously took a bullet for Dick Cheney to avoid implicating him in the attacks! I don't take the whole thing that far, because we don't know Ivins was the culprit to begin with, and even is he was there's nothing, nowhere, that indicates he needed any help to put Anthrax in an envelope and mail it to people. Along with a note that implied he was a Muslim terrorist.

The scenario I subscribe to is that Ivins acted alone, and the administration hopped on the attacks and rushed to blame them on Saddam Hussein, like they did with the World Trade Center attacks. Still, the only thing that slows down the Cheney-ordered-anthrax-terror scenario is the idea that Cheney has respect for human life and the law. So you can see how one would make the leap. Plus, unlike the WTC conspiracy theory, only two people had to be involved in this for it to work. And one was an employee of the other.

Read the Greenwald piece, because he's pretty evenhanded about it and doesn't draw weird conclusions, unlike the commenters. Just don't get all goofy on me. We have to stay frosty, people.


Look at this comment!

It sure looks as if the camp of the BO is playing a lot of defense; not good so early on.
The guy didn't give a name (he's ashamed! Or, he simply forgot) but this infuriates me. A man surrounded by mosquitoes is going to be on defense too, and the attacks on Obama have a distinctly small, annoying quality to them. My own criticism of Obama, and the left in general, and even myself, is that we're not going as negative on McCain. The great thing about him is that all we have to do is throw his quotes around. We can prove any negative about McCain - we either use something he said yesterday, or if it's not unpopular enough we can just use something he said in 2000 or 2004.

Because the straight-talk express goes in whatever direction the votes are, don't ya know. McCain was both against the war, then for it; he was against the way the war was being fought, then for it, then he was against it and for it again.

When the Obama/McCain debates happen, I hope Obama has the good sense to demand access to Google during them. McCain can have it to; he's not good with the internets. Maybe he can demand access to a stack of newspapers instead. Anyway, when McCain says "I've always been for the Bush tax cuts" it would be handy to have access to the video of him saying otherwise.

Plus, do we want to go to the trouble of electing a guy who'll die of old age while in office? And what's with the trophy wife? Even Bush Sr. had the sense to be married to a women as unsexy as he was. It was far less unseemly.

And why do we want to put the position of Commander In Chief into the hands of a man who had the bad sense to be captured and imprisoned by the enemy? How is that better than no experience?

And isn't it a little presumptuous of him to keep calling us "his friends?" How does he assume that we're all his friends? Doesn't he have to EARN that first?

I saw footage of him at a prayer meeting and he clearly wasn't into it - I'm pretty sure the man is an Atheist. And someone I know said he would happily perform an abortion if he only had the time. And let me remind you, he destroyed the chances of Mike Huckabee, the guy the far right would have preferred, to be president. He is trying to sink the Republican party.

Okay, that should get the ball rolling.