Yes We Can Defeat McBush!

Who is Sarah Palin? Here's some basic background:
* She was elected Alaska's governor a little over a year and a half ago. Her previous office was mayor of Wasilla, a small town outside Anchorage. She has no foreign policy experience.
* Palin is strongly anti-choice, opposing abortion even in the case of rape or incest.
* She supported right-wing extremist Pat Buchanan for president in 2000.
* Palin thinks creationism should be taught in public schools.
* She's doesn't think humans are the cause of climate change.
* She's solidly in line with John McCain's 'Big Oil first' energy policy. She's pushed hard for more oil drilling and says renewables won't be ready for years. She also sued the Bush administration for listing polar bears as an endangered species--she was worried it would interfere with more oil drilling in Alaska.
* How closely did John McCain vet this choice? He met Sarah Palin once at a meeting. They spoke a second time, last Sunday, when he called her about being vice-president. Then he offered her the position.
(handy summary from MoveOn)

Not only that, but according to Politico, "Palin Electrifies Conservative Base".

Normally, I would find the revelation that we have yet another fundie presidential candidate a little distressing--possibly even disheartening. But after watching the convention and realizing how deep the Democratic bench is. And once again seeing how prepared Obama was to take on whatever lay before him. Bizarrely, I'm unbelievably psyched to have a substantive clone of George W Bush on the McCain ticket. I'm "electrified". I think back to when Obama gave a speech in my city and said something about the fact that George W Bush would not be running for office this year, and we all cheered uproariously. But now that Bush is, in effect, on the ticket, I'm more than ready to take him on. My enthusiasm toward Obama has wavered in the past and may sometime again. But with another Bush staring me in the face, my resolve to defeat John McCain is more steadfast than ever.

To put it simply, I can't wait to hand McBush and all of his Islamo Evangelico-Fascist nutjob supporters their collective asses. Bring it on! Yes, we can!

(FYI-GOTVing today...was planning on going for only a couple of hours. But now, I might just do this every hour until the election.)

Nothing New byslag at 9:48 AM 3 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)

McCain Chooses South Carolinan Teen USA George W Bush as Running Mate

When you listen to this:

It might remind you of this:

Like, such as, it's when you're given sovereignty...and they are seeking resolution.

Nothing New byslag at 9:16 AM 0 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)

Because Fox "News" Watchers are Morons...

Or at least Karl Rove thinks Fox "News" watchers are morons (via The Impolitic):

She's a mayor, I think, of the second largest city in Alaska...
Quick! Think of all the cities in Alaska you've ever heard of. Was Wasilla on the list? I didn't think so:


C E 2007-07-01












Watchers of Faux News have their intelligence insulted like this on a regular basis. Have they no shame?

See also:

She does know about international relations because she's right up there in Alaska right next door to Russia.

Allow me to say that living next to Canada does indeed make me feel qualified to be Vice President. Not only that, but I've also been known to eat a taco from time to time. Felipe Calderon better watch himself!

Nothing New byslag at 11:11 PM 0 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)

"Maverick": You keep using that word...

First, there's the headline of Dan Balz's analysis in the Washington Post:

With Pick, McCain Reclaims His Maverick Image
Then, there's the final point in Politico's discussion of what the Palin pick says about McCain:
6. At the end of the day, McCain is still McCain. People may find him a refreshing maverick, or an erratic egotist.
Both statements beg the question: Has the Republic of Media abandoned all use of dictionary definitions for words? My dictionary defines a maverick as: "an unorthodox or independent-minded person". So, by this definition, McCain picking Sarah Palin as his VP would indicate that he didn't care what anyone thought--he really wants Sarah Palin to be his VP; this person is the best person for this job and John McCain was going to have her...By gum!

But is that what McCain's choice of Palin actually indicates?

According to that same Washington Post "analysis", the choice of Sarah Palin indicates:
McCain's campaign has exuded confidence of late after a month in which it pounded Obama as an elitist and a lightweight celebrity. But the choice of Palin hints at the underlying anxiety within its inner circle that the fundamentals of this election year still favor Obama and the Democrats. McCain was looking for ways to counter the Democrats' argument that he is merely an extension of President Bush and concluded that he needed a game-changing decision, with all the risks that entailed.

He had safer and more conventional options, although those perhaps became less attractive as he watched the Democrats celebrate Obama's historic nomination in Denver.

Wow! Making decisions out of anxiety and fear. How very Mavericky!

And then, there's the previous five (5) of Politico's six points about what this choice means:
1. He’s desperate. Let’s stop pretending this race is as close as national polling suggests. The truth is McCain is essentially tied or trailing in every swing state that matters — and too close for comfort in several states like Indiana and Montana the GOP usually wins pretty easily in presidential races. On top of that, voters seem very inclined to elect Democrats in general this election — and very sick of the Bush years.
2. He’s willing to gamble — bigtime. Let’s face it: This is not the pick of a self-confident candidate. It is the political equivalent of a trick play or, as some Democrats called it, a Hail Mary pass in football.
3. He’s worried about the political implications of his age. Like a driver overcorrecting out of a swerve, he chooses someone who is two years younger than the youthful Obama, and 28 years younger than he is. (He turned 72 Friday.) The father-daughter comparison was inevitable when they appeared next to each other.
4. He’s not worried about the actuarial implications of his age. He thinks he’s in fine fettle, and Palin wouldn’t be performing the only constitutional duty of a vice president, which is standing by in case a president dies or becomes incapacitated. If he was really concerned about an inexperienced person sitting in the Oval Office we would be writing about vice presidential nominee Mitt Romney or Tom Ridge or Condoleezza Rice.
5. He’s worried about his conservative base. If he had room to maneuver, there were lots of people McCain could have selected who would have represented a break from Washington politics as usual. Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman comes to mind (and it certainly came to McCain’s throughout the process). He had no such room. GOP stalwarts were furious over trial balloons about the possibility of choosing a supporter of abortion rights, including the possibility that he would reach out to his friend...
So, let's sum up. McCain makes a desperate, politically-motivated Vice-Presidential choice (someone who he's met once) dictated to him by the Rapture Right and his extreme desire to sleep in the White House at night, and that all adds up to McCain being a Maverick?

If being a maverick means making irrational decisions based on fear, putting politics above governing, having a deep disregard for the intelligence of the average voter, and pandering to the most acrimonious elements of his base, then it seems that George W Bush is quite the Maverick.

Or, in the words of the venerable Inigo Montoya, Maverick:

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

I don't know about you, but I'm headed for the Cliffs of Insanity as we speak.

UPDATE: Samantha Bee is in the hizzouse:

It's hard to tell if Jon Stewart's sexist jokes are intended to make fun of sexist men or not, but Samantha Bee is hilarious!

UPDATE 2: Nate Silver notes that, apparently, the ladies are none too fond of the Rapture Right agenda: Women View Palin More Skeptically than Men. Who'da thunk it? As someone who has never understood why a woman would choose to be voted into third-class status behind the man and the fetus, I'm going to have to agree.

Nothing New byslag at 10:49 AM 0 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)

Projectile Dysfunction

Silent Patriot offers this beautiful quote from the very serious Karl Rove:

SCHIEFFER: You have said yourself in the past that Obama probably should pick a red state governor, somebody just like Tim Kaine that we just heard just a minute ago from Virginia. Governor Kaine seems to think that Democrats really can carry Virginia this time. Do you think that state’s going to be in play?

Mr. ROVE: Yeah. I think it’s going to be in play, but let me clarify. I didn’t say that I thought he ought to, I said that I thought he probably would pick a red state Democrat, because I think he’s going to make an intensely political choice, not a governing choice. He’s going to view this through the prism of a candidate, not through the prism of president; that is to say, he’s going to pick somebody that he thinks will on the margin help him in a state like Indiana or Missouri or Virginia. He’s not going to be thinking big and broad about the responsibilities of president...
Methinks Rove doth project too much. Luckily, everybody loves Rove or else someone might notice he was wrong a lot. Very. Very. Wrong.

Nothing New byslag at 9:56 PM 0 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)

McCain Follows the Leader

In trying to cling to Obama's Change coattails, McCain picks female Sarah Palin to be the second female Vice Presidential nominee of a major party. Whereas people complained about the fact that Obama's choice of Joe Biden as VP didn't result in a bounce in the polls, most understood the pick to be a governing choice and not necessarily a politically expedient one. In the case of Sarah Palin, John McCain is proving himself to be overtly political. After all of this "Obama is dangerously unprepared" to lead talk, McCain chooses a VP with "No issue stance yet recorded by" on foreign policy (for the record, here's Obama's Issues page). McCain has just intentionally undermined the entire supposed rationale for his campaign. Because he realized it was a political loser. In the way that Democrats often complain of Democratic candidates trying to be "Republican light", McCain has just shown himself to be Democrat light. Which only demonstrates who the real leader is in this election.

Also, you'd think the McCain could have found at least one Republican who's not involved in an abuse of power scandal.

Embarassing. And unapologetically trivializing the importance of leadership. How very Bush-like.

UPDATE: Howard Wolfson kindly reminds us why we didn't choose Hillary as the nominee (because she surrounded herself with buffoonish asshats like Howard Wolfson).

UPDATE 2: More about the newest rider of the Straight Talk Express from TPM:

As mentioned earlier, Gov. Palin is embroiled in her own trooper-gate scandal up in Alaska. In short, she's accused of using her pull as governor to get her ex-brother-in-law fired as a state trooper. The brother-in-law is embroiled in an ugly divorce and custody with Palin's sister. And after his boss wouldn't fire the brother-in-law, she fired the boss. Palin originally insisted there was nothing to the story. More recently, she was forced to admit the one of her top deputies had pushed to get the guy fired.
Cronyism in a Republican administration? How Mavericky!

Nothing New byslag at 8:26 AM 0 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)

Because My Public Demands it

Nothing says unity like the name Barney Smith on a yuppie American Apparel organic t-shirt.

Obama rocks!

Nothing New byslag at 12:30 AM 0 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)

Going After McCain's Strength

I regularly hear people talking about how Obama needs to use the Republican/Machiavellian tactic of going after his opponent's strength to win this election. Most often, that is meant to say that Obama needs to remind people that being a POW won't necessarily make John McCain a good President, as if his POW experience is John McCain's strength. However, it wasn't until tonight's speech that I fully understood that Obama has been going after McCain's strength throughout this whole campaign. But that strength isn't McCain's POW experience. That strength is McCain's mean, petty, manipulative style of politics. The destructive kind of politics that McCain turned to the moment he realized that just being John McCain wasn't going to win this election. And Obama tore himself off a huge chunk of that strength tonight:

But what I will not do is suggest that the senator takes his positions for political purposes, because one of the things that we have to change in our politics is the idea that people cannot disagree without challenging each other's character and each other's patriotism.

The times are too serious, the stakes are too high for this same partisan playbook. So let us agree that patriotism has no party. I love this country, and so do you, and so does John McCain.

The men and women who serve in our battlefields may be Democrats and Republicans and independents, but they have fought together, and bled together, and some died together under the same proud flag. They have not served a red America or a blue America; they have served the United States of America.

By out-Roving Rove, Obama makes McCain look small and weak every time he and his GOP friends use those base and dishonorable campaign tactics. I know that's why McCain chose not to use them in his "response ad" tonight. But the best part about Obama's strategy isn't necessarily that it will send him to the White House (which it will). It's that it will put him in the driver's seat from which he can direct this campaign back up to the high road, where the presidential election will be decided on who's got the best ideas and the best plan to implement them instead of who's got the best one-liners. And for the first time in eight years (eight is enough :), we will choose our President based on our hopes and not our fears. Because we cannot turn back.

(More on this crazy week later)

UPDATE: If I were the GOP, I wouldn't want to have to follow that convention either. But by all means, blame the delay on Gustav, if you insist. It's better than eating cake:

UPDATE 2 (an afterthought): If anyone ever doubted that Obama was holding back quite a bit during the Democratic primaries, those doubts should be eliminated now.

UPDATE 3: I keep meaning to hit the sack, but there's just too much. By popular demand, here's Barney Smith:

Nothing New byslag at 9:50 PM 0 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)

Things That Have Made Me Giddy

* Democrats have consistently brought the issue of energy independence into the convention. It's one of the three major goals Obama has laid out for his first term, so making it a constant refrain now is a good way to lay the groundwork. But what makes me giddy is the fact that it shows Democrats taking it to the Republicans. Right now, Republicans are winning on energy. They've got the oil industry billionaires on their side. And the polls on this issue certainly aren't helping. Plus, there's Harry Reid's speech-giving impediment. Nonetheless, I'm giddy. Rather than lying low and focusing on their strengths, Democrats are working hard to reclaim this issue for themselves. That's change I can believe in.

* John Kerry kicked fear's ass last night:

He even used the 'T' word--Torture. I've heard people whining that no one's talked about torture until now in the convention. But there are two exceptions I take to that particular whine. First, torture is a downer, and this convention can't be all downer. Second, just like talking about being a POW, the more you talk about torture, the more you minimize it. So, putting that word into Kerry's mouth late into the convention makes it noteworthy and important. It's not all screech and clamor throughout (like politics). It's real and serious (like policy). Not a distraction but a focus.

* I actually partially agree with Andrew Sullivan:

Readers know my personal disdain for Bill Clinton. But longtime readers will also know I have always defended his solid centrist, smart record in office and defended him against his most over-reaching enemies. Tonight, I think, was one of the best speeches he has ever given. It was a direct, personal and powerful endorsement of Obama. But much, much more than that: it was a statesman-like assessment of where this country is and how desperately it needs a real change toward reform and retrenchment at home and restoration of diplomacy, wisdom and prudence abroad. Yes, he nailed it with this line:

"People around the world have always been more impressed by the power of our example than by the example of our power."

While I prefer Clinton's person to the centrist (not always smart) parts of his record, I agree with most of Sullivan's assessment of Clinton's speech last night. Both Bill and Hillary have exhibited their best qualities during this convention, and I hope we see those qualities more often. When Obama can unite someone like Bill Clinton with someone like Andrew Sullivan, I start to believe.

* During all this convention clamor, Obama has been taking it to the newfangled Swiftboaters directly:
Barack Obama's campaign hasn't advertised this a great deal this week, but the campaign's "Action Wire" has been waging large-scale campaigns against critics. That includes tens of thousands of e-mails to television stations running Harold Simmons' Bill Ayers ad, and to their advertisers — including a list of major automobile and telecommunications companies.

And tonight, the campaign launched a more specific campaign: an effort to disrupt the appearance by a writer for National Review, Stanley Kurtz, on a Chicago radio program...
This effort is thrilling for those of us who have been urging mainstream Democrats to finally dispense some karmic justice on the right wing noise machine. We will not sacrifice another president to phony guilt-by-association and symbolic issues!

* Finally. John McSame starts to lose it.

Giddy...just giddy.

UPDATE: I agree with Digby that Wes Clark is a Class Act. He'll be at Obama's speech tonight, which also makes me a little giddy.

Nothing New byslag at 8:37 AM 0 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)

Jon Stewart For The Win

from Crooks and Liars:

[Michelle Obama's] got to [prove her patriotism]! She’s a Democrat. She must prove she loves America, as opposed to Republicans who everyone knooows love America. They just hate half the people living in it.
The whole show was simply amazing. Go watch! (just don't try to multitask while you're doing it)

Nothing New byslag at 10:43 AM 0 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)

Dear Democrats, With All Due Respect, STFU

After two days of trying to be nice, I have simply gone over the edge after reading this LGM post:

The only way I can watch the Democratic Conventions without freaking out is to repeat over and over again that I'm not the target audience for this and someone somewhere surely knows what they're doing. I guess this "ordinary people as political props" thing must actually work, but I find it really annoying myself.

One thought: everyone's talking way too much about energy policy. It's too defensive. Instead, hammer away at pocketbook issues here you have an edge.
After having listened to Democrats whining about the convention for the last 48 hours, I'm officially pissed off. You don't like the fact that every sentence uttered at the event isn't a condemnation of McCain? Too bad. Finding yourself bored/listless/dissatisfied? Change the damn channel. This isn't policy. This is politics. The more you complain, the more excuse you give the Republic of Media to complain. And they don't need any more excuse. So, suck it up, sleep it off, and get in line. If there's a time for a Democratic presidential election love-fest, this is it. Is it too much to ask that for one week, if you don't have anything nice to say, you don't say anything at all?

For cryin' out loud.

PS This post isn't meant to pick on LGM, which is normally a decent blog. But there are so very many things wrong with this particular post that I couldn't contain myself.

Nothing New byslag at 11:01 PM 0 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)

Salutations to Hillary

She kicked ass tonight.

ALSO: I never thought I would say this, but...What Newsweek said.

Nothing New byslag at 8:56 PM 0 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)

When Hyperbole Isn't Enough

Back in April, I mocked Republicans' ridiculous reliance on "symbolic issues" by saying this:

First, did you know Jeremiah Wright is an anagram for "harm rightie jew"? Why has Obama been keeping this anagram of his pastor's name from the American people? Exactly what is he hiding? Whether or not this means Obama is out to destroy Israel is still not entirely clear. But the sequence of these letters certainly raises questions. It's about time that our liberal media starts asking about these sorts of symbolic issues...
But, once again, we find that sometimes hyperbole--no matter how absurd--doesn't do justice to reality (h/t Political Irony):
Obama/Biden + Osama Bin Laden + Coincidence? = Stay classy Faux News.
Was Charlie wrong? Is everyone actually stupid in an election year?

Nothing New byslag at 3:39 PM 3 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)


Because of Michelle Obama:

Nothing New byslag at 10:36 AM 0 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)

Things I've Been Thinking Today

Will Colorado survive the Democratic Convention with its statehood intact? Recently, Obama spent a week in our nation's 50th state, and consequently, the Republic of Media all but put the entire region on the terrorist watch list. With Colorado hosting Obama, Clinton, and a plethora of other UnAmericans, it begs the question...Are we going to suddenly find out that Coloradans have been trying to obtain WMD from New Mexico?

Can't find an appropriate "Sorry you got invaded" Hallmark card? Send a US presidential candidate's wife instead (but be sure not to be presumptuous about it).

Will Sam Seder ever get his technical issues resolved to the point at which he'll finally be able to deliver his acerbic content to the breathless masses?

The Hillary specter is dominating coverage of the convention already. Has anyone tried saying her name to her three times in a row yet? On a related note, here's some rare video of our elite establishment press corps hard at work:

If only the Obama campaign could influence the media this well.

Nothing New byslag at 3:24 PM 4 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)

Obama + Biden = Farewell ABTWG!

So, now that Obama has chosen that old whippersnapper, Joe Biden, for VP, I guess it's time to bid farewell to our beloved AnyoneButTheWhiteGuy '08 slogan. Biden's pretty white and pretty guyish. And that's ok with us. Marc Ambinder actually earns his keep for a minute by providing a nice summary:

Put aside the obvious: Biden has foreign policy meat on his bones...He's a great debater... he has a working-class Scranton-bred Irish-Catholic heritage...he knows Washington very well...he has known tragedy in his life...

He was elected to the Senate as a change agent at the age of 29. He is comfortable but not wealthy -- he has not used the prerogatives of office to enrich his personal wealth, although his family has benefited from his stature.
Biden's far from perfect. He voted for the Iraq War resolution (after a fight); he voted for the bankruptcy bill (no surprise there from Mr. Delaware). But as Steve Clemons notes, he's got a great wife. And he's pretty good on most domestic issues. And he's got foreign policy cache.

So, as disappointed as we are to see yet another white guy movin on up, there are worse white guys to promote:

Plus, Biden shows that you don't have to be McCain-style old (read: doddering and grimly fatuous) when you're old. That's nice to see.

UPDATE: I forgot to mention Yglesias' important point about Biden's support for the US's railway system. On a personal note, when MFP and I visited our place of origin a couple of weeks ago, we chatted it up with a train engineer about the need for more investment in our railways. Predictably, hauling goods by rail is much more energy efficient than hauling them by truck. You'd think energy efficiency would be something the US would care about and invest in.

Nothing New byslag at 8:29 AM 2 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)


Just sayin.

Nothing New byslag at 9:13 AM 2 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)

Award Season

It's official. Some of Nothing is now so arrogant presumptuous uppity that we've developed our own award. This award was created specially for those who think, act, and blog karmic justice. That is, honorees see things wrong in the world, and they actively try to find ways to make them right. Rather than just waiting around for karmic justice to happen, they go out and dispense it themselves. And, as we all know, there ain't no justice like well-dispensed karmic justice.

So, without further ado, the very first Karmic Justice Award goes to...

A Whole New G!

That's right, G is the blogger who actually inspired this award with her action-oriented, meaningfully positive, genuinely engaging attitude and writing. She's out to do good in the world, and as a consequence, she makes good do her...or something like that. In the process, she's honest, thoughtful, smart, and witty. And she motivates people (me, especially) to work harder and be better. Which is exactly what well-dispensed karmic justice does.

Here's to you G! Do with this award what you will. Except letting it go to your head. Because arrogance presumptuousness uppity-ness is really our job. And it won't get you elected President either.

Don't forget you'll probably need a battle cry to go with your karmic justice dispensing. Might I recommend:

Not in the face! Not in the face!

Nothing New byslag at 7:08 AM 8 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)

Lessig on McCain's Tech Policy

Lawrence Lessig evaluates McCain's belated tech policy. Needless to say, he's nonplussed:

Nothing New byslag at 12:02 PM 3 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)

C'mon Kiddie, Kiddie, Kiddie

via Where the Hell is Matt?:

Nothing New byslag at 9:46 AM 2 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)

Funniest Line Yet of the Presidential Campaign

Barack Obama:

My vice president also, by the way, will be a member of the executive branch, he won't be one of these fourth branches of the government where he thinks he's above the law.

What a travesty the leadership of this country has been. Why do we put up with it?

Nothing New byslag at 7:43 AM 3 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)

Galileo is My Homeboy

G made me do it:

1. Pick up the nearest book.
2. Open to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people, and acknowledge the one who tagged you.
Now…who to tag, who to tag…hmm…Yeah, ALL OF YOU. If you have read this far you have been tagged. I love hearing about what other people are reading, so indulge me minions (which you should be more than happy to do, as minions) and open up your bookshelves for my perusal…
So, here are three sentences from the top of the small stack of books I've been reading lately (or re-reading, in this case), Galileo's Daughter:
Over the past few days, she had sought the advice of the mother abbess and other trusted sisters, finally relying on her own observations to reach a decision as to what would serve the community best.

She had rejected the notion of a gift of alms. Of course the convent was indigent, and as a result the nuns often went hungry, but Poor Clares consciously chose to live in continual abstinence.
Not extraordinarily poetic, but surprisingly, these few sentences seem to say a lot about Dava Sobel's portrait of Galileo's daughter. She was subservient, conscientious, smart, and was somewhat contradictory in her strengths and weaknesses. Because Galileo hadn't married the mother of his children, he stuck his two daughters in a nunnery (pretty much the only respectable thing he could have done with them back then), where they would have the unparalleled honor of begging for their livelihood and living a life of total servitude. For his errant bastard son, Galileo paid his way through college and got him a decent gig with the monarchy of the time. But Suor Maria Celeste, Galileo's Daughter, was the child he doted and relied on the most. She was the dependable, thoughtful, supportive one who, as a nun, would also eventually help him crash the heavenly gates, as he saw it.

While Maria was complex, still one of the most compelling paradoxes in the book was within Galileo himself. The dude was big with the science, of course, but he was also big with the religiosity. He invented a useful telescope. And then, he decided to keep quiet about some of the observations he made with it. Failing to convince the Catholic Church that Copernicus' sun-centric universe was where it was at, Galileo acquiesced to the Inquisition and worked hard to soften certain findings so that he could remain in good faith with all the Pope's men. In the process, he didn't moderate his belief in the Catholic religion at all but, instead, attempted to exploit a vast array of biblical loopholes to reconcile his empirical findings with his ideological persuasion. Personally, I look at Galileo's attitude toward life as being far too much work--requiring a lot of, what I perceive to be unnecessary, intellectual gyrations. But it seems that the majority of people on this planet employ this same attitude, so whatever...Occam's Razor is probably overrated.

However, some people look at Galileo's trouble with church law as being an indictment of religion itself. Its propensity toward dogmatic rejection of empirical evidence, its expropriation of authority, and its pernicious treatment of sexuality are all vividly on display in Galileo's life. Consequently, on a visceral level, I can't help but agree with those crazy secular humanists whose rampant sense of egalitarianism puts The Bible on par with Jack Kerouac's On the Road and who reject the notion that one human can have a more direct path to the mythical promised land than any other human. But I also can't ignore the fact that Galileo was extremely religious. Not by force but by choice. He may have, at times, been either a reluctant empiricist or a reluctant believer, but religion didn't strip him of his capacity for abstract thought or his interest in using it. He was still a pioneer. And while some people used religion to try to keep Galileo down, Galileo tried to use it--with the help of his daughter--to lift himself up. Action meets equal and opposite reaction. Sounds somewhat scientific to me.

In the end, I guess every time I hear some moron, such as GW Bush, wax on about his religious bona fides or some religious jerkface, such as Rick Warren, talk about women exerting their reproductive rights as being akin to the Holocaust, I may just have to be brave and possibly turn the other cheek. Rather than pouncing on their hypocrisies or pronouncing that--if they have such a problem with abortion--they should be sure to practice safe sex when they go f#ck themselves, it sometimes makes more sense, politically, to try to be tolerant. Galileo was actually imprisoned for being right about something, and he didn't hold a grudge. He may have been wiser in many ways than his contemporaries, but they were the ones with the political power. And he never forgot that fact. Sounds a little like somebody I've heard of who had supposedly been nailed to a cross for a goodly length of time. Which, I suppose, means that Galileo is my homeboy.

UPDATE: Oh yeah...and if you're sucker enough to have read this far, consider yourself tagged.

Nothing New byslag at 9:21 AM 5 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)

More Checking of Facts

First, I'm going to help CNN out by answering a question they asked:
No. Obama is not the antichrist. I know this for a fact. How do I know? There can't be two antichrists here on earth, can there?

Plus, honoring your mother's death at the place you spread her ashes really isn't equivalent to catching a wave "while you're sittin' on top of the world":

I know that for a fact as well. (Stay classy, you family values Republicans.)

Finally, here's more facts being checked:

No one could have predicted that John McCain would be ignorant about the economy.

file under: why hell won't be so bad

UPDATE: A WaPo Op-Ed says this about Clinton's campaign during the primary:

Clinton did make much of her Middle American birth into the middle class, and she did pretend to be as one with the white working class, as Penn instructed in his strategy memo.

But she did not launch a frontal attack on Obama's life in Hawaii or on his diverse background or charge -- as Penn had urged -- that Obama is not "at his center fundamentally American."
But I know for a fact that I didn't imagine this:

(Stay classy, you liberal Democrats.)

Nothing New byslag at 8:11 PM 0 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)

Take Three

So much to say. So little interest in saying it. So, here's yet another nifty video just because:

(h/t Mike Cuffe)

Nothing New byslag at 11:01 PM 0 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)

Another Video

Because I'm busy/lazy:

Nothing New byslag at 3:56 PM 0 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)

Checking Facts

Novel concept:

I've been waiting for a video like this. Truth be told, I want one for every McCain ad.

FYI-MFP and I took a trip to our place of origin this weekend. Busy, busy. Also, MFP has the week off, so the blog will probably continue to be neglected until Monday. So, talk amongst yourselves.

Nothing New byslag at 10:39 AM 2 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)

It's the Anti-Intellectualism, Stupid

Yes, yes, it is:

The Colbert Report is hilarious because Stephen Colbert’s caricature of right-wing blowhards is so eerily accurate. Colbert doesn’t believe in “reading books,” he believes in his “gut.” He listens to his “rage.” He admires the “Alpha Dog of the Week.”

And why does Colbert sound like so many of today’s Republican Party leaders? Because, as Paul Krugman explained extremely well today, the GOP has “become the party of stupid.”

What I mean … is that know-nothingism — the insistence that there are simple, brute-force, instant-gratification answers to every problem, and that there’s something effeminate and weak about anyone who suggests otherwise — has become the core of Republican policy and political strategy. The party’s de facto slogan has become: “Real men don’t think things through.”

In the case of oil, this takes the form of pretending that more drilling would produce fast relief at the gas pump. In fact, earlier this week Republicans in Congress actually claimed credit for the recent fall in oil prices: “The market is responding to the fact that we are here talking,” said Representative John Shadegg.
Or, as Big Man put it:
The reason why this drilling flip-flop bothers me, even with all of Obama's caveats, is because Obama did the exact opposite during the primary when he was confronted with a similar choice. When Clinton and McCain jumped on the gas tax holiday like it was a cheap whore, Obama demurely refused to take the bait. He gambled on the intelligence of the voters in Indiana. He assumed that once the facts were laid out, people would see that the gas tax holiday would not help them at the pump.

This time, it's Obama whose asking for a half and half.

What I've liked about Obama from the beginning, even when it pissed me off, was that he seemed to be following his own drummer in many ways. I don't mean he didn't understand polls and focus groups, but I felt like he ultimately made strategic decisions based on an overarching plan, not some piecemeal strategy built on public opinion....

...[M]aybe he's starting to lose confidence in the American people because he's watched them cling to lies and stupidity instead of truly giving his campaign a chance...
Here's the deal. We need to free ourselves from "foreign oil". I'm talking the expression; not the "foreign oil" itself. That's because we know that the United States of America really doesn't own any oil that's pumped out of our soil. We, as a country, sold that oil to Exxon and Shell. And when they're not busy dumping it into Prince William Sound or the Mississippi River, they're busy selling that oil on the global market. At which time, all oil becomes "foreign oil". So, rather than pretending there's "American oil" and "foreign oil", we need to face the reality that we just need to free ourselves from oil. Period. Full stop.

In the process, we need to distinguish between boutique oil and oil. Boutique oil (the name is made up, but the attributes are real) is the stuff that takes much more energy and many more resources to extract. And because it takes more energy and resources, it costs more. And when we have to add high-priced oil into the global oil market, what are the chances that the overall price of oil is going to significantly drop? And if oil prices aren't lowered by adding in boutique oil, is this energy struggle actually a tradeoff between the environment and the economy? Or is it a struggle between people who want oil prices high and those who don't? Really. Is any of this that difficult to figure out? Are the American people too stupid to be able to make these distinctions? Are Republicans?

I know that this case is riddled with ins and outs and what-have-yous and that there is no silver bullet solution right not, but it would be really great if we, as a country, could at least get our facts straight on it. Stop kicking the oil drum down the road as it were and actually stop to think about how these silly slogans and fallacious arguments do nothing more than undermine our search for answers in a world of complexity. I'm with Obama when he says that words matter. So, rather than continuously sabotaging our own search for solutions by adopting the inaccurate verbiage and false dichotomies created by the Republicans--the enemies of intelligence--why don't we create our own language and explanations grounded in fact and reason? Because there's nothing elitist about being factual.

Nothing New byslag at 2:11 PM 2 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)

My Sharona

Walking to 826 today, I was listening to My Sharona on my ipod when a signature collector waved me over to stop and chat about signing her petition. Rather than stopping, I gestured toward my earbuds, shrugged, and kept walking. This is My Sharona we're talking about after all. Nonetheless, it didn't take long before I started feeling a twinge of guilt. Here this girl was out in the world trying to dispense some karmic justice, and I totally blew her off in favor of my own little inner world. And it wouldn't be the last time I would do that today.

When I got to 826, I realized that this evening was the dinner they were sponsoring for volunteers who had logged 100 hours or more. Since I had logged a little over 400 hours with them this year, I was invited. But I declined, muttering some non-specific excuse akin to having to wash my hair. From my point of view, I go to 826, I put in my time, and I go home. No need to get all extracurricular about it. But after the fourth person asked me why I wasn't going to the dinner, I realized that my perspective was a I mean this is a volunteer gig, so I don't need to do it, right? And if I'm not in it for the extracurricular-ness, what am I there for?

After thinking about it on the walk home, I came to a realization. At some unknown point in time, I've determined that I have an obligation to the social world. But I often have no desire whatsoever to participate in that world. Right now, I'm thinking this attitude is completely irrational. Nonsensical even. In fact, it's so nonsensical that I'm not even going to try to figure it out. I'm just going to blog about it, and let it go. Not everything has to have a purpose, right? I mean, things can sometimes just be. Like when I'm walking down the street and someone tries to get me to help dispense some karmic justice. Maybe--occasionally--it's actually ok to just listen to my silly song and keep on going...

What does this song even mean, anyway?

Nothing New byslag at 9:22 PM 1 dispenses karmic justice! (or just comments here)

Specialized Warfare

Part of me doesn't mind Hillary Clinton's nigh Orwellian usurpation of feminist iconography if she uses her power to dispense karmic justice like this:

There appears to be no crisis, tragedy or disaster immune from exploitation under the Bush administration. The examples of the waste, fraud and abuse are legion -- from KBR performing shoddy electrical work in Iraq that has resulted in the electrocution of our military personnel according to Pentagon and Congressional investigators, to the firing of an Army official who dared to refuse a $1 billion payout for questionable charges to the same company. In another scam, the Pentagon awarded a $300 million contract to AEY, Inc., a company run by a 22-year-old who fulfilled an ammunition deal in Afghanistan by supplying rotting Chinese-made munitions to our allies.

But the fraud and waste are not limited to the war. In the weeks after Hurricane Katrina, for example, FEMA awarded a contract worth more than $500 million for trailers to serve as temporary housing. The contractor, Gulf Stream, collected all of its money even though they knew at the time that its trailers were contaminated with formaldehyde.

While touting fiscal responsibility, President Bush and his administration have lined the pockets of political cronies like Halliburton and Blackwater. While calling for earmark reform, the president has allowed no-bid and questionable contracting throughout the federal government to dwarf earmark spending by a 10-to-1 ratio.

If we're going to get serious about putting our nation's fiscal house in order, let's talk about putting an end to billions in no-bid contract awards to unaccountable contractors. Let's talk about the number of lucrative contracts and bonuses being paid for duties never performed, promises never fulfilled, and contracts falsely described as complete. And let's talk about reforming the federal contracting system so that we can take on the real waste, fraud and abuse in our federal government.
Hillary channels Naomi Klein. The only thing that would have made this editorial better would have been the inclusion of the current Republican exploitation of our high gas prices to gin up support for extended offshore drilling. But then, I'm admittedly overly critical. Of her. Of everything. So, really, this was a good editorial. Nonetheless, since we're on the subject of government contractors, please allow me to criticize...

First, I've never been in the military, so I can't speak to any experience with that. However, I have, in a variety of capacities, worked with contractors. And I have to say that it's been my impression that--on the whole--contracting work out is, itself, an improvident enterprise. While it's true that there are probably some great contract teams out in the world somewhere, it seems to me that, on a purely structural level, contracting is set up for failure. This is because, on a structural level, contractors are often not full-fledged members of the organization they're working with. They're not members of "the team". So, not surprisingly, contractors are generally less concerned with your business than you are.

Consequently, if a contractor develops a hinky product for you, most likely, you're going to be the one to deal with the aftermath--not them. For instance, if you're an electrician, how much more careful will you be with the wiring in your own home than you will be with someone else's? Or...If you're an electrician in the Army, how much more careful are you going to be about not electrocuting yourself and your comrades than you would be if you worked for KBR working for the Army? Also, often times, an organization is contracting out work that they don't know how to do themselves. So, they don't always know where the pitfalls might be. And, how likely is it that, in the process of selling you a contract job, the contractor is going to be thorough and tell you where all of the pitfalls might be? Heck. Sometimes, they don't even think far enough ahead to know it themselves. Beyond these challenges, there's the matter of communication between organizations, the task of setting up boundaries and expectations, and even, the potential sense of helplessness one might feel being forced to rely on a group of people whose allegiances and obligations to your business are very circumscribed.

While you might argue that many of these challenges can be worked out in the legal contract between contractor and contractee, I would argue that, if an organization is that good at developing and analyzing contracts, then they should be that good at hiring people who can do most of the work they need done--now, and in the future--internally. Now, I know it's unlikely that we're all going to suddenly become Renaissance people and start to learn how to fix our own cars, build our own homes, and forge our own military-grade ammunitions, but it seems to me that we, as a society, may have started to move much too far into isolating ourselves into specialty fields under the auspices of maximizing "efficiency". However, as we've seen in our government lately, sometimes "efficiency" really isn't all that efficient. Something I plan on keeping in mind next time I hire an electrician or a plumber or a...

UPDATE: It occurs to me to ask the question: Does anyone know of any instance of KBR electrocuting KBR? I assume that they're doing the electrical work for themselves in Iraq as well. I just haven't found any stories of their own employees getting electrocuted, so maybe they really do know how to do electrical work. Just not how to do the Army's electrical work.

Nothing New byslag at 8:04 AM 6 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)

Anyone Who Doesn't Think...

Anyone who doesn't think Republicans take pride in being ignorant needs to re-watch Stephen Colbert's White House Press dinner video. It's like all Bush years condensed into under an hour.

This Obama statement makes me very happy.

Nothing New byslag at 8:45 PM 5 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)


Here we are...Day 3 of Tire Gauge Gate, and the great energy debate moves forward to the past.

How to respond, we ask?

Well...we could say this stuff.

Or, we could show this stuff.

To which do you think the press would pay more attention?

Also, kudos to Pelosi. Kudos to Obama. Go team!

UPDATE: Kudos to Greg Sargent, Eric Kleefeld, and Josh Marshall. Keep going team!

Nothing New byslag at 12:16 PM 3 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)

Dana Milbank's Honorific

So, Dana Milbank writes a column about how Obama's all uppity presumptuous and stuff. In the process, he gets things wrong. And when people try to confront him on it, rather than admitting his complete and utter wrongness, he calls them whiners. Would someone please define presumptuous for Dana?

Atrios kindly honors Dana's work.

This one's for you, Dana:

Nothing New byslag at 2:17 PM 0 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)

Obama's Next Leadership Test: Energy

In our breathless rush to label Obama the singular dilettante of this presidential campaign, we seem to have forgotten a few minor details that might interfere with our storyline. Nonetheless, having felt abandoned recently by Obama's decision to not match the spirit of his words with his actions on FISA, I understand that this storyline was a risk he was willing to take. It's true that this storyline has always been a will-o'-the-wisp floating around in the Republic of Media's psyche and didn't really need Obama's betrayal of me to nudge it out into the open (clearly...since that was like a month ago), but still, whenever I hear about how Obama's "all talk" or "a lightweight", I think back to that FISA decision and find myself saying "I know he is, but what is John McCain?". The problem with that response, however, is that Obama has essentially agreed to the rules that say that this election is all about him and not McCain. Under those rules, however badly McCain screws up (and it has been pretty badly), the onus will always be on Obama to prove himself. So, unless Obama shows real, meaningful, show-me-the-money leadership on a single tangible issue sometime soon, this storyline is almost bound to become a matter of fact.

The good news is that Republicans have hand-delivered the tangible issue to him: our energy problem. The bad news is that the opposition already has an edge on that issue:

As gas prices remain above $4 a gallon in most of the Bay Area, Californians are more open to the idea of offshore drilling for oil than they have been in the past.
Now, since Obama has opposed additional offshore drilling during his campaign, this test is fraught with danger. First, Republicans suck:
The U.S. Interior Department ratcheted up the pressure on Congress Wednesday to open more of the country's coastline to offshore oil drilling, a move petroleum companies have sought for decades.
Second, Democrats suck:
A growing number of Democrats are banding with Republicans to push proposals that would relax the current federal moratorium on offshore exploration and production of oil and natural gas.
Third, the oil industrial complex sucks:
Campaign contributions from oil industry executives to Sen. John McCain rose dramatically in the last half of June, after the senator from Arizona made a high-profile split with environmentalists and reversed his opposition to the federal ban on offshore drilling.
Finally, this issue doesn't have anything to do with playing cards, and the media sucks.

Nonetheless, Obama does have some advantages as well:
First, he and Al Gore are on the same side. Second, he's on the opposite side of John McCain. Third, he's on the opposite side of GW Bush. Finally, he's right.

So, if Obama can communicate the reality of our energy problems in terms that are accessible to voters, get the media to actually pay attention to him in the process, get the Democratic party in line to fight off the oil industry pitbulls, and offer a comprehensive, digestible solution to the problem in the process, he will have passed his next leadership test with flying colors. That said, even if he is the Messiah and can actually do all this within the next month or so, there will still be another test waiting for him on the other side. He can just think of this election as a trip through the Fire Swamp. Quicksand included:

UPDATE: Oh yeah. I should have mentioned that this whole challenge is predicated on the idea that Obama will maintain his ground on off-shore drilling and the rest of his energy policy. If not, consider the "all talk" meme engraved in stone.

Nothing New byslag at 9:52 AM 3 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)

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