Thursday, September 25

Katie Couric interview

If you haven't seen the interview, well, you might want to save the time. It was so painfully awkward that I couldn't even finish watching it. I did, however, manage to pay attention long enough to hear this:
Couric: You’ve said, quote, “John McCain will reform the way Wall Street does business.” Other than supporting stricter regulations of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac two years ago, can you give us any more example of his leading the charge for more oversight?

Palin: I think that the example that you just cited, with his warnings two years ago about Fannie and Freddie - that, that’s paramount. That’s more than a heck of a lot of other senators and representatives did for us.

Couric: But he’s been in Congress for 26 years. He’s been chairman of the powerful Commerce Committee. And he has almost always sided with less regulation, not more.

Palin: He’s also known as the maverick though, taking shots from his own party, and certainly taking shots from the other party. Trying to get people to understand what he’s been talking about - the need to reform government.

Couric: But can you give me any other concrete examples? Because I know you’ve said Barack Obama is a lot of talk and no action. Can you give me any other examples in his 26 years of John McCain truly taking a stand on this?

Palin: I can give you examples of things that John McCain has done, that has shown his foresight, his pragmatism, and his leadership abilities. And that is what America needs today.

Couric: I’m just going to ask you one more time - not to belabor the point. Specific examples in his 26 years of pushing for more regulation.

Palin: I’ll try to find you some and I’ll bring them to you.

The transcript doesn't show the Governor's awkward pauses nor does it portray either person's tone of voice, but you get the gist of the interview. I've never been a fan of Katie Couric, but I'm pleased she didn't let Gov. Palin get away with her non-answers. I'm appalled at how badly Gov. Palin handled it.

What planet are these people on? Sen. McCain pulling some wild stunt with tomorrow's debate (I'm kind of hoping Sen. Obama ends up on national TV alone with Jim Lehrer, wouldn't that be bizarre?) and dashing back to Washington to try and blow up whatever agreement Sen. Dodd and Rep. Frank had worked out with their minority counterparts on their committees. Gov. Palin looking like some sort of political robot being asked questions outside its parameters (why the hell didn't her campaign staff prepare her for such an obvious question?) It's all rather surreal. Is this the proverbial "October Surprise" a week early? Or are even greater levels of insanity yet to come?

Wait .. don't answer that. Silly question. Of course there are greater levels of insanity on the way. The question should be, how far from reality can this campaign possibly go?

Friday, September 19

Open mouth, insert foot

CNN: Palin's transparency proposal already exists in 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.

Schadenfreude aside, this does bother me on a couple of levels:
  1. "Checkbook"? Trivializing something as astoundingly-complex as federal spending by calling it a "checkbook" worries me. The executive Office of Budget and Management alone has 500 employees, the Congresional Government Accountability Office has 3,100 staff, never mind the countless smaller offices and commissions tasked with tracking federal spending. Trivializing something so massively complex that it requires thousands of people to track as a "checkbook" strikes me as astoundingly naive at best, and more likely disingenuous attempt to claim "transparency" as her own.
  2. How could the campaign not have known what Gov. Palin was talking about had already passed into law? Sen. Obama and Sen. McCain were co-sponsors of the bill! Again, I have to wonder if this is just shocking ignorance, or failed attempt at seizing someone else's idea for her own?

Wednesday, September 17


This story is a prime example of why I have such a hard time trusting most Christian churches. I know there are millions of churches in the world that are flawlessly ethical and beneficial - I've been to services at a few - but the minuscule minority whose brainwashing and zealotry are cranking out so-called "Christian soldiers" as bad as any so-called "jihadist" scare the living crap out of me.

The fundamental business of the country ...

The fundamental business of the country, that is the production and distribution of commodities, is on a sound and prosperous basis.

A McCain campaign speech? No, it was said almost exactly 69 years ago by President Herbert Hoover on October 25, 1929

George Santayana's wisdom shows its power once more - Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

Tuesday, September 16

Bridge to Nowhere^H^H^H^H^H Wasilla

Palin supports $600 million 'other' bridge project
ANCHORAGE, Alaska - Gov. Sarah Palin may eventually have said "no thanks" to a federally funded Bridge to Nowhere.

But a bridge to her hometown of Wasilla, that's a different story.

A $600 million bridge and highway project to link Alaska's largest city to Palin's town of 7,000 residents is moving full speed ahead, despite concerns the bridge could worsen some commuting and threaten a population of beluga whales.

Just what is the FDA's recommended daily allowance of hypocrisy?

If this is strong ....

So, Sen. McCain, do you read the New York Times? What about the Wall Street Journal? Or watch or listen to just about any broadcast news source? Apparently not, since just this morning you were on the stump claiming the "foundations of the economy are strong".


Then you were claiming we need to end the "greed" of the financial markets. Umm, Senator? Just what do you think the incentive is in capitalism? I'll give you two guesses. And the first one doesn't count.

I won't even try to properly address the hypocrisy of a nominee from the party whose policies have proven time and time again sided with corporate interests and maximizing profit over healthy and sustainable business practices.

Sen. Obama, thank you for introducing a new term to this debate: "trickle-up". Instead of profits trickling down from the boardrooms to the rest of us, the economic disaster down here is trickling up and hurting the corporate giants.

Monday, September 15

Psychology of the Republican right

This is from a fascinating post attributed to Deepak Chopra:
[Gov. Palin] is the reverse of Barack Obama, in essence his shadow, deriding his idealism and exhorting people to obey their worst impulses. In psychological terms the shadow is that part of the psyche that hides out of sight, countering our aspirations, virtue, and vision with qualities we are ashamed to face: anger, fear, revenge, violence, selfishness, and suspicion of “the other.” For millions of Americans, Obama triggers those feelings, but they don’t want to express them. He is calling for us to reach for our higher selves, and frankly, that stirs up hidden reactions of an unsavory kind.
He goes on to outline the psychology of the Republican platform in a way I'd never considered before:
–Small town values — a denial of America’s global role, a return to petty, small-minded parochialism.
–Ignorance of world affairs — a repudiation of the need to repair America’s image abroad.
–Family values — a code for walling out anybody who makes a claim for social justice. Such strangers, being outside the family, don’t need to be heeded.
–Rigid stands on guns and abortion — a scornful repudiation that these issues can be negotiated with those who disagree.
–Patriotism — the usual fallback in a failed war.
–”Reform” — an italicized term, since in addition to cleaning out corruption and excessive spending, one also throws out anyone who doesn’t fit your ideology.
I hadn't thought of it quite in these terms before, but his words do ring very strongly true. Is this my admittedly-liberal own bias tinging it with what I want to hear? Or is Dr. Chopra's thesis accurate?

Thanks to Aunt L in Reno for the link!

Drill, baby, drill!

Thomas Friedman's op-ed in the NYT makes so much sense:
[...] it reminds me of someone who, on the eve of the I.T. revolution — on the eve of PCs and the Internet — is pounding the table for America to make more I.B.M. typewriters and carbon paper. “Typewriters, baby, typewriters.”
Is anyone out there in what the media call "Middle America" reading any of this stuff? It makes so much sense, but all we're hearing is noise about Gov. Palin (which convinces me even more she's nothing but an intentional distraction, but that's for another blog post). It's even short and catchy enough to be a sound bite, but it's in an "old" medium - print - that is apparently being read by fewer and fewer people each year. Consequently, it is not going to get the attention it deserves.

How do we change that? How do we educate those ignorant voters who vote based on what "the teevee told us to" so they can make an informed decision instead of an emotional one? Or is this a goal of Quixotic proportions?

Sunday, September 14

New York Times

It's too bad all the really critical journalism is relegated to the print media and, sadly, "The Daily Show". If you haven't read this yet, read it now:

NYT: Once Elected, Palin Hired Friends and Lashed Foes

Vendettas, hiding e-mail conversations in private accounts, cronyism, demanding resignations as a test of loyalty ... hmm, sounds an awful lot like someone else we know.

Saturday, September 13

Gloria Steinem op-ed

I know, I know ... the people who are willing to listen to someone like Gloria Steinem are not the voters we need to worry about. But her op-ed - "Palin: wrong woman, wrong message" - is rather interesting.
Selecting Sarah Palin, who was touted all summer by Rush Limbaugh, is no way to attract most women, including die-hard Clinton supporters. Palin shares nothing but a chromosome with Clinton. Her down-home, divisive and deceptive speech did nothing to cosmeticize a Republican convention that has more than twice as many male delegates as female, a presidential candidate who is owned and operated by the right wing and a platform that opposes pretty much everything Clinton's candidacy stood for -- and that Barack Obama's still does. To vote in protest for McCain/Palin would be like saying, "Somebody stole my shoes, so I'll amputate my legs."

I find her words hopeful, but worry that it's just the desperation of a drowning man clinging to a forlorn hope.

Thursday, September 4

How low can they go?

I don't think I can say anything that hasn't already beaten to death on Twitter and in the rest of the blogosphere, but I'd like to highlight something:

Until tonight, no candidate has used graphic images from 9/11 for partisan benefit.

Yes, the fearmongers - especially Giuliani - love to trot out 9/11 as often as they take a breath. But not until tonight was anyone so crass as to use such a vivid portrayal of the awful events of that morning.

That's a new low for American politics - co-opting mass murder to get elected.

BlahBlahBlah ... are you getting enough ketchup?

I tried to listen to Gov. Palin's speech. I really did. But when she started trotting out all the tired old right wing rhetoric, all I could hear was:
Blah blah blah death tax blah blah big government blah blah I think you're not getting enough ketchup, Jim blah blah forfeit blah blah ya know, ketchup has natural mellowing agents blah blah.
Her sing-song, nasal delivery reminds me so much of Sue Scott's performances in the Prairie Home Companion "Ketchup Advisory Board" skits that I had a hard time actually hearing what she said. On the other hand, looking at the transcript of her speech the Republicans posted I can see there's nothing in her speech we haven't heard time and time again from all those right wing "Washington insiders" she derides.

Tuesday, September 2

Meet Sumi!

SumiSumi has decided we are worthy of gracing our household with her presence. She's about 2 years old, loves chasing toy mice and batting at fingers, and has already claimed the foot of our bed as her territory. Her name means "disappear" in Portuguese. She earned that name from her former people because she's so good at hiding (as we've already discovered).