Obama Infomercial Garners Votes from the Left?

After all the talk of Obama's infomercial being geared toward the famed "Middle America", I was a little surprised when a lefty hipster 826er told me yesterday that the very same infomercial made him re-think his intentions toward Nader and decide to vote for Obama instead. Not wanting to probe his reasoning for this change of heart out of fear that he might change again, I simply expressed my admiration, saying that I knew all along he was "a man of taste and judgment." Nonetheless, I'm left to wonder...exactly which aspects of a message appeal to both a thirty-something artist who lives with his boyfriend in a tiny urban apartment and a middle-aged minivan-driving mother of three who lives with her family in a sprawling suburban home?

Culture War be gone!

Nothing New byslag at 9:37 AM 0 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)

Barack My Teevee

Definitely not unconventional, but also not bad:

I think it's a good video by teevee standards but pretty generic by internet standards. That said, it's clearly geared toward television, so I call it a win.

UPDATE: Ben Smith makes the point:

It's a cliche of politics, and of Obama's campaign is that "it's about you, not about me."

Obama's ad puts that on TV: Obama isn't the protagonist, he's the narrator.
I've grown so used to the Obama narrator that it's something I don't even notice anymore. Or, more accurately, while watching the video, I kept thinking that Obama would actually make a decent documentary voice-over if this whole presidency thing doesn't work out. In other words, it's no longer noteworthy that he is a narrator; what's noteworthy is that he's a pretty good one. Nonetheless, it's important to point out that, in any given genre, the narrator has quite a lot of power.

Nothing New byslag at 9:31 PM 0 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)

More Geeks for Obama

Tim O'Reilly (O'Reilly Books head honcho) explains why he supports Obama:

...The final argument for the presidency of Barack Obama is the enormous competence he has shown in running his campaign. He has demonstrated unprecedented ability to motivate people, to gather support for his vision and his programs, and to surround himself with people who can execute on that vision. For the past two years, he's managed what you could easily think of as the fastest growing and best-funded startup in America, and as CEO of that startup, he's come through with flying colors.

If Barack Obama were a company, I'd say he was ready for the IPO. And I for one intend to buy shares on November 4. I hope you will too.
A funny aside: MFP is a major computer geek and pretty much a genius in every way (and he supports Obama too!). One day, he was driving a co-worker home and, in the process, explaining some networking thing to him while I was in the backseat of the car. At one point in the explanation, MFP's co-worker called him a "freakin' O'Reilly book!". I was watching the exchange in the rear-view mirror, and suddenly, MFP's face looked terribly sad--like a wounded puppy. It was no more than a few seconds, but it was a drastic change of expression. Eventually he relaxed and said, "Oh...you mean O'Reilly Books...not a Bill O'Reilly book!". Apparently, MFP was horrified that his co-worker might be thinking of him as an egotistical and condescending windbag. Not so.

Joss Whedon briefly mentions that he supports Obama:
5) Obama. Seriously. I know this isn’t a political forum, but this isn’t a political issue. This is an issue of making Rob Kutner’s book not come true.
A not terribly funny aside: Joss Whedon was Some of Nothing's inaugural Sexy Brain award winner. Well-deserved because he's completely made of awesome. Nonetheless, award season is upon us once again, and a different style of geek brain is catching our eye this year. Stay tuned...

Nothing New byslag at 2:48 PM 1 dispenses karmic justice! (or just comments here)

Advertisements I Can Believe In

Using Reagan against McCain:

Using Palin against McCain:

And special bonus, the Weepies song that underlays the Palin against McCain ad:

(Can I just add how hilarious it is that Obama gets to use the fact of Sarah Palin as a weapon against McCain? Not any specific words she's said or even any specific actions she's engaged in--just her existence on the ticket. Love it!)

Nothing New byslag at 2:11 PM 0 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)

Peanut Butter Jelly Socialism

One evening last winter, MFP and I trekked downtown to enjoy some holiday festivities. After checking out the miniature train set and plethora of holiday displays, we stopped for a while to survey the action on the ice skating rink. While we were sitting there watching kids and adults fall on their butts, I noticed something. After every single tumble, there were those heroes who skated over to help the inelegant waifs pick themselves up again. Not once were they left to flail or stand up on their own. Adults picked up kids, kids picked up kids, adults picked up adults, and even some kids picked up some adults. Eventually, I leaned over to MFP and joked that, just once, I'd like to see these people pick themselves up by their skate straps. He laughed and we started talking about how some conservatives often forget the lessons that Sesame Street tried to teach them.

Glad to see that Barack Obama remembers:

Nothing New byslag at 11:28 AM 1 dispenses karmic justice! (or just comments here)

Yo Mama Loves Palestine

Just sayin':

The latest guilt-by-association target that the McCain campaign is using to hit Barack Obama could carry some collateral damage for its own candidate.
Specifically, National Review writers want much more attention paid to the association, given that the LA Times has reported that Khalidi lavished praise on Obama at a farewell party in Chicago at which Bill Ayers was also present. (Other writers have accused Khalidi of being an aide to Yasser Arafat, a claim which Marc Ambinder and Ari Berman have suggested is not credible.)

In regards to Khalidi, however, the guilt-by-association game burns John McCain as well.

During the 1990s, while he served as chairman of the International Republican Institute (IRI), McCain distributed several grants to the Palestinian research center co-founded by Khalidi, including one worth half a million dollars...

Nothing New byslag at 10:24 AM 0 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)

Iran is So Tiny...

From Matthew Yglesias:

Steve Benen says that John McCain is once again breaking out his “Tiny” ad which complains about Barack Obama’s accurate observation that the scale of the threat posed by Iran is much smaller than the threat posed by the Soviet Union.
Matt goes on to illustrate Iran's comparative tininess with a lovely map:
Which is all fine and good. But because I'm a uniter not a divider, I think Iran's relative size might provide the perfect resolution to the Yo Mama Joke Controversy. As I had mentioned previously, I'm not a big fan of the yo mama joke genre, which has comprised much of this election. Honestly, any joke that starts with "Yo mama so fat..." really turns me off, because I don't think that mocking mothers really adds much to a discussion. However, during this Iran v. Russia debate, I realized that I have no similar compunction about Iran. So, why not?

Iran is so tiny...John McCain once called it the border between Iraq and Pakistan.

Iran is so tiny John McCain thinks it has only one governmental leader.

Iran is so tiny it can't even sponsor both Sunni and Shiite (sorry, John McCain)....

[insert laugh here]

Nothing New byslag at 6:47 AM 0 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)

The Republican Party: It's Alive!

Stephen Colbert FTW:

He totally nails the right wing media in the process of skillfully excoriating the Republican Party. Absolutely brilliantly spot on.

Consider this a companion piece to the Obama campaign's brilliant effort to take on the unsavory McCain-Drudge-Faux News alliance:

This is a fake news controversy drummed up by the all too common alliance of Fox News, the Drudge Report and John McCain, who apparently decided to close out his campaign with the same false, desperate attacks that have failed for months.
Right now, Obama spokesman Bill Burton is my new hero.

Nothing New byslag at 2:10 PM 0 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)

Another Example of Why Racism is Stupid

In the hopes of parlaying potential Jewish distrust of African-Americans into votes for John McCain, Republicans have spent a good portion of this election comparing Barack Obama to Adolf Hitler. At the same time, Hitler-loving neo-nazis have spent at least some portion of this election developing a plan to assassinate Barack Obama. This is yet another example of why racism is stupid.

ALSO: Crooks and Liars provides this great cut of Obama's inspiring Ohio speech:

Nothing New byslag at 9:34 PM 0 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)

In Honor of Ted Stevens

For Senator (Down the) Tubes, here's still the best net neutrality summary I've seen to-date:

Nothing New byslag at 8:54 PM 0 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)

The Yo Mama Joke Controversy

Recently, I expressed my contempt for the yo mama joke genre:

Of course, the yo mama joke is only a metaphor for a banal and trivial guilt-by-association tactic that you offer up only when you don't have anything better to say. A last refuge for the thoroughly overwhelmed and unimaginative, if you will.
Coincidentally that very same day, Anil Dash revealed his admiration for the yo mama joke genre after making a few of them himself:
But as these jokes from last night are already making their way around online as email forwards and apparently getting quoted in offices across the country, it seems to me like the playfulness of the language and the absurdity of the medium may have masked something timely and fitting. This obviously and instrinsically black tradition has been adopted by a community like Twitter that is, frankly, disproportionately not black. You could see it as the deracination of the tradition, or even worse as a deliberate omission of cultural context in its appropriation. But I actually see it as something positive.

A running joke on Twitter is all in good fun, but I find the unselfconsciousness of this little political gag to be a comforting reflection of the way that the larger trend around this election is moving as well. Like Barack Obama, playing the dozens is obviously black but we're able to just include that implicitly in our participation without having denying or diminish it. That feels like progress...
There's something to be said for tradition. I guess.

Nothing New byslag at 8:05 PM 0 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)

One Week, One Day: Annals of a Pro-Anti-American

Annal #1:
MFP and I were almost "pro-America" this weekend. First, we cast our votes via absentee ballot, and then, we patriotically went to a shopping mall. Sadly, however, we were simultaneously "anti-America" because we voted for Obama and didn't buy anything at the mall (except lunch...is eating still American? I forget.). I would say that makes us "America-neutral", but then on Sunday, we canvassed for Obama, which clearly puts us on the anti-America side of the scale. Oh well...maybe next weekend.

My favorite aspect of canvassing is the fact that it compels me to wander around neighborhoods I usually just pass right through. It's interesting and educational to see how different people live, and there's a lot of diversity among front doorsteps. My least favorite aspect of canvassing is talking to people, which is why, the weekend before, MFP and I were happy just being campaign data entry monkeys for a day. Although we discussed whether there weren't more efficient ways of recording canvassing responses, we were quite happy to avoid the pressure of face-to-face contact that can be a little draining for the introvertedly-inclined. Either way, the Obama campaign makes getting involved (aka doing your civic duty) convenient and easy. If you haven't tried it yet, you should. It's free!

Annal #2:
Last week, I was chatting it up with some work-study students at 826, and we started talking politics. Because I'm always wearing an Obama t-shirt these days (can we say "mission-oriented"?), one of my compatriots asked me how many shirts I had. I replied that part of my business is selling political t-shirts, so I had a few. At that time, one of the work-studies mentioned that his girlfriend had bought him a cool Obama button that he wears every day. I asked what it looked like and he showed me...it was an "Obama 08: Hope Kicks Fear's Ass" button that I had designed! He said that he gets a lot of comments on that button.

This experience made me reflect on what I like about starting a business. The things that I envision, create, and distribute go out into the world and have lives of their own. And with any luck, these items will serve some useful purpose. However, this experience also made me reflect on what I don't like about my business. I design consumer goods that use up resources and will probably make their way into a landfill some day. I'm not sure where all this puts me on the pro-anti-American scale, but it definitely gives me mixed feelings. Feelings I've been unable to resolve for a while now.

I'm cautiously optimistic about this upcoming election. But I'm increasingly ambivalent about the future of the Some of Nothing empire. In spite of a few successes, it's getting harder and harder to reconcile the costs and benefits. And while the mission will continue to be all about dispensing karmic justice, I can't say for sure how that mission will be achieved. Volunteering is good (and bad) and making stuff is good (and bad), but there needs to be more. More money and more impact. I've got lots of ideas but no real sense of how they might play out. Lots of skills but no real sense of how to put them together. Lots of requirements but no real way to fold them in. To be continued...

Nothing New byslag at 5:04 PM 2 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)

More Niche Groups for Obama

There's no one as Irish as Barack O'Bama:

Bassets for Obama:

Students for Obama:

Nothing New byslag at 11:08 AM 0 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)

Concern Troll Redux: It Burns!

If Greg Sargent is correct, it appears that the McCain campaign is counting on us to not be ready to put our better selves forward this election:

John McCain's Pennsylvania communications director told reporters in the state an incendiary version of the hoax story about the attack on a McCain volunteer well before the facts of the case were known or established -- and even told reporters outright that the "B" carved into the victim's cheek stood for "Barack," according to multiple sources familiar with the discussions.

John Verrilli, the news director for KDKA in Pittsburgh, told TPM Election Central that McCain's Pennsylvania campaign communications director gave one of his reporters a detailed version of the attack that included a claim that the alleged attacker said, "You're with the McCain campaign? I'm going to teach you a lesson."
Don't get me wrong. I'm not surprised by the McCain campaign's complete lack of respect for the American people (it's not like they haven't been demonstrating it this entire campaign). And I also can't be too hard on them since I recently expressed my own concerns about our lack of collective intelligence in my original concern troll confession. Nonetheless, if the McCain campaign was involved in trumping up this story, I'm going to have to agree with upyernoz, who said:
pushing a racially inflammatory story like this, even if true, would be irresponsible and would display a shocking lack of judgment. but beyond that, the only reason they pushed this story is because they're desperate and thought that there are enough stupid people out there to blame obama for the actions of a disturbed individual. or maybe they just thought they'd be racist enough to be too afraid to vote for a black man because a completely different black man attacked someone somewhere.
And after reading some comments from the neocon site, Free Republic, on this issue, my own faith in America was dealt an even more significant blow (you can probably guess where this is going). In fact, I'd be remiss if I didn't share my very favoritest comment, which comes from Mittfan08:
Drudge is the one who should have known better- he dragged us into this with his blood red headline about the “mutiliation” of a “20 year old woman.” Of course that will get our outrage going. Anyone who purports to be part of the media should at least make the basic inquiries into the facts before blaring a headline. Without Drudge this is just a minor story.

Having said that, McCain and Palin handled this just right, so I don’t see this damaging them. Drudge is another matter, though- now it will be harder for us to run Rev. Wright ads because everyone will scream “oh look, the nasty Republicans are appealing to racism again.” Thanks for nothing, Drudge. [emphasis mine]
Honestly, losing faith in the future of democracy has never been so entertaining. I laughed until I cried when I read this. Reading out loud to MFP, I couldn't get through it without breaking--multiple times. If I didn't know otherwise, I would have sworn that this comment was faked by someone with a much better sense of humor than I have. But tragically (or comically, depending on your perspective)...it's for real. Which compels the question: Can these people see themselves in mirrors? It's quite possible we're dealing with an underworld-type situation here requiring some wooden stakes and holy water. Where's Joss Whedon when we need him?

Nothing New byslag at 5:37 PM 1 dispenses karmic justice! (or just comments here)

Confessions of a Concern Troll: Why I'm not Counting the Votes Before they're Cast

I feel Larry David's pain when he says:

I can't take much more of this. Two weeks to go, and I'm at the end of my rope. I can't work. I can eat, but mostly standing up. I'm anxious all the time...
This election has me on edge, to say the least. I know that some polls say my concern is unjustified and that the momentum is going our way, but I can't help it. I'm worried. Are we, as a country, truly ready to put our better selves forward for a change?

The state of California may not be:
While California voters remain closely divided on the question of gay marriage, a majority oppose a measure to ban it, according to a poll released Wednesday by the Public Policy Institute of California.

But the poll also found that support for Proposition 8, which would amend the state Constitution to disallow same-sex marriage, has gained somewhat since a similar survey was taken in late August. The latest results show 44% in favor and 52% opposed, with a margin of sampling error of 3 percentage points.
It's easy to imagine what a tragedy it might be for us to elect the first clearly mixed-raced President in our nation's history on the very same day one of our 50 states chooses to burn inequality directly into its constitution. But, weirdly enough, that's not what bothers me the most. I see my concern over Proposition 8 as being on par with my concern over what the general reaction would be to that crazy backward "B" woman's story. I mean, any rational person would see this woman's "mugging" as an isolated incident and not at all an indictment of Barack Obama or his campaign, right? Obviously, attributing the actions of one crazy supposed black man to another not crazy half-black man would amount to letting ourselves be consumed by the worst of our tired cultural stereotypes and prejudices. And in this election, we're supposed to be above that.

But if that's true, and we really were above being consumed by our worst stereotypes and prejudices, why is Proposition 8 even on the ballot in California, let alone close in the polls? I'm worried we're not above that, afterall.

UPDATE: Apple stands for equality:
Apple is publicly opposing Proposition 8 and making a donation of $100,000 to the No on 8 campaign...
Good to see a corporation with a conscience.

Nothing New byslag at 11:30 AM 2 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)

A Vote for John McCain is a Vote for George W Bush

But then we knew that already.

Nothing New byslag at 9:39 PM 0 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)

Obama's Shoes

In my view, photos like this one of Obama's holey shoes (via Andrew Sullivan) will be emblematic after this election is over. Whether they will be seen as emblems of tragedy or of comedy will depend on whether or not Obama wins. Personally, I'm voting for comedy. Tragedy is getting old.

Nothing New byslag at 12:14 PM 3 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)

Mmmmm...Socialist Piiiiiie....

When I first created this Yo Mama is a Marxist image, it was in response to those trying to ridicule Barack Obama because of his mother's political leanings. At the time, I predicted this election would devolve into one long yo mama joke. Of course, the yo mama joke is only a metaphor for a banal and trivial guilt-by-association tactic that you offer up only when you don't have anything better to say. A last refuge for the thoroughly overwhelmed and unimaginative, if you will. And in that respect, I wasn't exactly going very far out on a limb with that prediction.

Throughout this campaign, John McCain's attacks on Obama, for the most part, have been little more than yo mama jokes. For instance, when McCain brings up Obama's tangential association with Bill Ayers, the Capital-Bomber, he's not trying to say that a President Obama would actually bomb the capital--that would be stupid. He's just trying to attack his opponent without having any credible direct criticism of him. So, rather than hearing "a President Obama would try to blow up the capital", we are subjected to "yo crazy friend tried to blow up the capital", which is still stupid but not AS stupid as saying Obama would do it himself.

The flip-side of this is when Obama connects McCain to George W Bush. From Obama, we hear "George W Bush got us into this stupid war with the help of John McCain", which isn't exactly guilt-by-association because it's...well...actually about John McCain. And based on past and current performance, it's entirely rational for one to assume that, as President, John McCain would do his share of getting us into stupid wars. Same for creating the economic disaster. Same for eating cake during Hurricane Katrina. Etc, etc. Needless to say, I view Obama's strategy not as a stupid yo mama joke but as a smart explication of John McCain's approach toward policy.

So, with my abhorrence of yo mama jokes explained, I must now express some amount of pleasure that the "Yo Mama is a Marxist" meme about Obama has finally--with two weeks left in this election--fully evolved into to a "You are a socialist" argument. And while it's absurd to think that giving a tax break to the middle class is now socialism, I'm just happy that McCain's attacks on Obama are, at long last, involving some form of actual policy critique. And with that policy critique, the neocons are once again revealing themselves for who they really are--a bunch of rich people who think that the majority of America should pay more taxes. Finally, we're getting somewhere!

Of course, now that we've moved beyond the realm of yo mama jokes, we are thrust headlong into the ongoing joke that is the neocon philosophy-cum-policy. And the inevitable outcome of that transition? No less than jokes about.....pie!:

Pie--a classic internet tradition (much better than the yo mama joke):

UPDATE: WTH happened to this John McCain (the one who would offer real straight talk to simplistic, spoiled, snotty girls)?:

Nothing New byslag at 10:35 AM 3 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)

More Video: Why Obama?

Must. Win.


Nothing New byslag at 7:25 PM 0 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)

John McCain Agrees to Disagree...with somebody...

Truth be told, I'm just trying to enjoy the funny today. And this fits the bill nicely.

Nothing New byslag at 7:20 PM 0 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)

Jon Stewart Amends Palin Comments

Jon Stewart stirred a little bit of controversy at his appearance at NorthEAstern University in which he responded to Sarah Palin's latest bloviations about "pro-America areas" of the country:

Jon Stewart to Sarah Palin: F--- you!
However, yesterday on the Daily Show, he chose to amend those words, feeling that his original remark was a little too narrow-minded:

Jon Stewart to the "Real America" crowd: F--- all y'all.
Works for me.

A few people have asked me why I haven't bothered to post much on the Palin-Pfotewhatzhername-Bachmann troika of pro-American insipidity. Really, the only answer I can offer is...their whole schtick is just too hackneyed to interest me anymore. Besides, the Daily Show does a much better job at eviscerating them than I would be able to do. You should watch them!

Nothing New byslag at 2:04 PM 2 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)

Dick Palin v. US Constitution

I love the latest Palin drama:

Q: Brandon Garcia [third-grader] wants to know, "What does the Vice President do?"

PALIN: Aw, that’s something that Piper would ask me, as a second grader, also. That's a great question, Brandon, and a Vice President has a really great job, because no only are they there to support the President agenda, they're like a team member, the team mate to that President. But also, they're in charge of the United States Senate, so if they want to they can really get in there with the Senators and make a lot of good policy changes that will make life better for Brandon and his family and his classroom. And it's a great job and I look forward to having that job. [emphasis mine]
I love it mostly because it reminds me of what I still consider to be the funniest line of the election so far:
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.
Can we get a Constitutional Lawyer up in this hizzouse???

Nothing New byslag at 1:25 PM 1 dispenses karmic justice! (or just comments here)

Obama's Geek Appeal Redux

Back in March, I wrote a post about technology geeks going for Obama. At that time, I highlighted Marc Andreesen, Lawrence Lessig, and the geeks at Tech Crunch as examples of Obama's geek appeal. Now, Google CEO Eric Schmidt is hitting the campaign trail for Obama:

Mr. Schmidt said his planned endorsement of the Illinois senator is a "natural evolution" from his role as an informal adviser to the Obama campaign.

The Google chief plans to join executives from other technology companies to announce their support for Sen. Obama. Sunday, Sen. Obama received an endorsement from Colin Powell, who was President George W. Bush's first secretary of state.
Given the new Republican rules regarding endorsements of Barack Obama, it's time for Eric Schmidt to come out of the closet and let us know that he's secretly black.

Truth be told, this post was just an excuse to bring back this video (because it makes me laugh every time):

Nothing New byslag at 1:19 PM 0 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)

Colin Powell Sees America Like You and I See America

Like many liberals, I flipped the Bozo bit on Colin Powell the day he went in front of the UN--armed only with a few artist renderings and Saddam Hussein's long lost shaker of salt--to persuade us that it was time to invade Iraq. My disdain for Powell was (and still is in many ways) so great that I told MFP I'd bet him $5 that Powell would not, in fact, endorse Obama but, instead, stay on the sidelines like the Bozo I had expected him to be. Apparently, MFP had flipped the Bozo bit on Powell as well because he refused to take the bet and agreed that Powell wouldn't endorse. Obviously, we were wrong.

When I first heard that Powell had endorsed Obama, I immediately thought back to when Powell indirectly criticized John McCain's response to the Russia-Georgia conflict:

In doing so, Powell made the case for rationality rather than emotionality when dealing with foreign policy. From what we'd seen of McCain before and since that time, in my mind, being pro-rational had meant being pro-Obama.

So, when Powell endorsed Obama, I was surprised to find that this recent international event didn't come up in his rationale. Instead, Colin Powell talked about Obama's careful response to the economic situation, his oratorical prowess, and his ability to rally people to his cause. But most interestingly, Powell made the case against Republican-style politics in a way that few individuals could:

Specifically, he called the Republican party out for their hyper-infatuation with stereotyping and dividing people by race and creed:

I'm also troubled by, not what Senator McCain says, but what members of the party say. And it is permitted to be said such things as, "Well, you know that Mr. Obama is a Muslim." Well, the correct answer is, he is not a Muslim, he's a Christian. He's always been a Christian. But the really right answer is, what if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer's no, that's not America. Is there something wrong with some seven-year-old Muslim-American kid believing that he or she could be president? Yet, I have heard senior members of my own party drop the suggestion, "He's a Muslim and he might be associated terrorists." This is not the way we should be doing it in America.

I feel strongly about this particular point because of a picture I saw in a magazine. It was a photo essay about troops who are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. And one picture at the tail end of this photo essay was of a mother in Arlington Cemetery, and she had her head on the headstone of her son's grave. And as the picture focused in, you could see the writing on the headstone. And it gave his awards--Purple Heart, Bronze Star--showed that he died in Iraq, gave his date of birth, date of death. He was 20 years old. And then, at the very top of the headstone, it didn't have a Christian cross, it didn't have the Star of David, it had crescent and a star of the Islamic faith. And his name was Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan, and he was an American. He was born in New Jersey. He was 14 years old at the time of 9/11, and he waited until he can go serve his country, and he gave his life. Now, we have got to stop polarizing ourself in this way. And John McCain is as nondiscriminatory as anyone I know. But I'm troubled about the fact that, within the party, we have these kinds of expressions. [emphasis mine]
The sentiments expressed by Colin Powell then reignited an ongoing conversation MFP and I have about the asymmetry in our political discourse. When those who have specialized in divisive language--people such as Glenn Beck, Lou Dobbs, and Pat Buchanan--enjoy a mainstream status in our society (thank you, CNN and MSNBC!), we're bound to see more and more of the kinds of expressions that Powell is lamenting. And as a consequence of being more prolific, those expressions are bound to get more and more extreme in nature on the fringes.

But aside from these egregious expressions, there's the (possibly more insidious) problem of a complete lack of even a modicum of self-awareness on the part of the supposedly more rational Republicans that have infested our discourse. That lack of self-awareness problem became even more apparent to us after we watched George Will respond to a question about the overall effect of the Powell endorsement on the election. As Blue Texan explains, Will replied with something about:
Black, black, blackety-black black black blackety-black.
It was truly bizarre. In fact, Will's response was so jarring that MFP and I really couldn't determine whether it was a bad edit job or whether Will was actually responding to a different question that we had missed. We figured that maybe, because we were watching the clip on the interwebs and hadn't seen the entire show, what we were watching wasn't an accurate representation of his real response. But after playing the question and response a couple of times along with other clips from the show, we were forced to conclude that this was the most absurd case of latent racism and lack of self-awareness that we had seen in quite some time.

George Will had completely disregarded Powell's expressed motivations for his endorsement--his perfectly justified reasons, from the viewpoint of any rational observer--and talked only about race. According to Will, because Powell is black and Obama is black, Obama somehow "gets two votes because he's black for every one he loses because he's black". And how does Powell's endorsement of Obama illustrate this exactly? Do black people suddenly multiply by two if one black guy endorses another? In George Will's mind, it seems that anything is possible.

But the fact is that Will and others like him comprise the mainstream of our political discourse. Nobody on that panel was as confused by his response as MFP and I were. They all just went with it as if it were a perfectly obvious and ordinary reaction to a straightforward question. The fact that MFP and I had to do double and triple takes just to verify that we heard what we thought we heard only further proves that we see America very differently from the way they do. And while one might be tempted to chalk the difference up to being a result of age, the reality is that Colin Powell, who is much, much older than we are, sees America like we do. Which tells me that the difference isn't a result of age or race but rather is a result of representation--lack thereof.

It's no secret that viewpoints from "average" Americans aren't really represented in our political discourse. But what we aren't fully appreciating is how that lack of representation manifests itself in our society. It's a cycle in which the George Wills of the world enable the Pat Buchanans of the world who enable the John McCains of the world who enable the Muslim-haters of the world. And the cycle is supported institutionally by the CNNs, MSNBCs, and ABCs of the world. Which are all supported by viewers like us. We have a problem.

Nothing New byslag at 8:58 AM 2 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)

It Survives!

When I was wee (very, very wee), my favorite song in the universe was Eye of the Tiger by a band called Survivor. It was the first and only record I had for some time, and whether it was because of the rhythm or the words (although I don't think I was old enough to even understand them), I was enthralled. And while my infatuation with the song didn't last indefinitely, when I recently learned that the Palin-McCain campaign had usurped it for their very own, I figured the song would never be the same to me again. But happily, like the Foo Fighters, Heart, Jackson Browne, Bon Jovi, Van Halen, etc did before them, Survivor has now asked McPalin to cease and desist from their song/childhood stealing:

Survivor has no affiliation with John McCain or Sarah Palin. They have no right to use "Eye Of The Tiger" in any way as part of their campaign. Using our music without our permission can give people the impression that we are supporters - this is not the case.
In other words, Eye of the Tiger is now "risin' up, back on the street" and back in my heart. Hooray!

(Yes, I know there are much more important things to discuss today, but I'm tired.)

Nothing New byslag at 10:25 PM 1 dispenses karmic justice! (or just comments here)

Missouri Rally is More Proof that Obama is a Nazi

Obama drew a huge crowd in St. Louis, MO, today:

Barack Obama attracted 100,000 people at a Saturday rally here, his biggest crowd ever at a U.S. event.

The crowd assembled under the Gateway Arch on a sunny Saturday afternoon to hear Obama speak about taxes and slam the Republicans on economic issues.
Sound familiar? That's right, the last Obama crowd that reached into the hundreds of thousands was held in...wait for it...Germany! And we all know what that means:
Referring to Obama’s Berlin speech that was reportedly in front of more than 200,000 people, neo-conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer said he did not get a bounce because apparently, Americans don’t like it when politicians emulate Adolf Hitler at a Nazi rally...
Of course, since the editors of the paper that hosts Neo-conservative Krauthammer's column, the Washington Post, recently endorsed Obama for President, that clearly makes Krauthammer a Nazi appeaser. But I digress.

Now, I know what you're thinking. This latest Obama rally was held in St. Louis, Missouri, and NOT in Germany, so therefore, it is immune to the Nazi rally comparison. Au contraire, according to neo-conservative Ben Stein, who says of Obama's big speech in Denver, Colorado (read: not Germany):
Seventy-five-thousand people at an outdoor sports palace, well, that's something the Fuehrer would have done.
As Sarah Palin can attest, being able to attract a lot of people is a sure sign of Nazism.

Beyond ginormous crowd sizes, this Obama rally was similar to Hitler's in other ways. First, it was held in Missouri. And although Missouri went for Bush in 2000 and 2004, it's a little known fact (to people who failed out of grade school) that Missouri once belonged to France. And we all know what happened between France and Germany during World War II. Now, don't get me wrong; I'm not calling Missourians a bunch of cheese-eating surrender monkeys or anything like that. I'm just saying that it can hardly be a coincidence that an Obama rally of this magnitude was held in an area of the country that may not be exactly "pro-American".

Also, here are some other ominous interesting facts about Missouri:
  • Missouri was called Deutschheim ("German home"!) by early German writers.
  • Missouri boasts a city named Hermann, which is described as "a slice of German culture in America's heartland".
  • Missouri's motto is (in non-English, of course), "Salus populi suprema lex esto", which means "The welfare of the people shall be the supreme law". Since when do pro-American areas of the country concern themselves with the "welfare" of the people?
Beyond holding his speech in an area of the country that may or may not be composed entirely of Nazi sympathizers, Obama had this to say near the end of it:
We can do this. Americans have done this before. Some of us had grandparents or parents who said maybe I can't go to college but my child can; maybe I can't have my own business but my child can. I may have to rent, but maybe my children will have a home they can call their own. I may not have a lot of money but maybe my child will run for Senate. I might live in a small village but maybe someday my son can be president of the United States of America.

Now it falls to us. Together, we cannot fail. And I need you to make it happen. If you want the next four years looking like the last eight, then I am not your candidate. But if you want real change, if you want an economy that rewards work, and that works for Main Street and Wall Street; if you want tax relief for the middle class and millions of new jobs; if you want health care you can afford and education that helps your kids compete; then I ask you to knock on some doors, make some calls, talk to your neighbors, and give me your vote on November 4th. And if you do, I promise you we will win Missouri, we will win this election, and then you and I together will change this country and change this world. Thank you, God bless you, and may God bless America. [emphasis mine]
That's right. Obama said the word "village". Do you know any American who lives in a "village"? I don't. I believe the word Obama was looking for was "town". As in, small town, where real Americans don't go buy locally grown organic arugula but, instead, head down to the nearest Wal-Mart for some good old-fashioned Chinese-made plastic lawn furniture. Apparently, either Obama got his countries confused during this speech or he was intentionally speaking his anti-American agenda in code to his supporters. Nonetheless, John McCain, the President of choice for real Virginians Southerners Americans is going to have a lot of work to do to unseat the Celebrity-Atheist-Christo-Muslim-Marxo-Fascist-Nazi-Terrorist Obama.

Nothing New byslag at 1:10 PM 1 dispenses karmic justice! (or just comments here)

A Battleground for Your Heart

Apparently, you'll know you're middle-aged when boy bands start sounding good to you again. That's incredibly useful information!

Nothing New byslag at 10:04 AM 0 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)

One Person, One Vote, Happy Purple Inky Fingers

Voter turnout is everything. Over the next two weeks, MFP and I will be making phone calls and knocking on doors to help insure that every vote gets cast. But that effort won't be worth much unless the votes count for something. So, I'm pleased to see that the Obama campaign is helping me help them by fighting back against voter-suppression:

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Obama campaign announced Friday that it is asking Attorney General Michael Mukasey to turn over any investigations of voter fraud or voter suppression to Special Prosecutor Nora Dannehy.

Dannehy is also the special prosecutor recently appointed to investigate the U.S. attorney firing scandal.
"What they're actually about is the unprecedented effort to essentially sap the American people of confidence in the voting process," Bob Bauer, the Obama campaign's general counsel, said Friday on a conference call.
What Bob Bauer is saying, correctly, is that the "country first" crowd is trying to undermine the legitimacy of an Obama presidency even before it begins. Old news, it's true (hardly "unprecedented", Bob). But the new news is that the Obama campaign is doing what John Kerry and Al Gore failed to do in their bids for the presidency. And that is, the Obama campaign is standing up for themselves. Novel concept: Eventually, people grow weary of standing up for those who won't stand up for themselves. Democrats understand this reality better than most. Finally, we have a candidate who will actually fight for our vote. Democracy begins at home.

New SoN Pledge Drive Announcement: If you enjoy reading this blog (for some reason), please give back by donating time or money to the Obama campaign!

Nothing New byslag at 9:03 AM 1 dispenses karmic justice! (or just comments here)


Last night, MFP and I discovered that we have some undesirable residents in our happy home: carpet beetles. The good news about this discovery is that it may help finally convince MFP that what little carpet we have needs to go (I have always thought of carpet as a pretty disgusting flooring material and this is another reason why). The bad news about this discovery is that I'll be spending the entire day scrubbing this place from top to bottom--overturning every bookshelf, sofa, and appliance (not to mention a cat or two)--in the hopes of leaving no room for these suckers to hide. And if you happen to have any great suggestions for enviro-friendly (and clean!!!) flooring, let me know.

But in the meantime, here's a (non-)Beatle for you to watch:

Nothing New byslag at 7:55 AM 3 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)

Creative Commons Video

From Lessig:

Nothing New byslag at 12:14 PM 0 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)

Sing us a Song, Joe Six-Pack Plumber Man

Marc Ambinder reclaims some respect from me by saying this:


We've all been reduced to mining the blood relations and voting history of Joe the Plumber?

Is the election really that boring again?

In reference to this:
Turns out that Joe Wurzelbacher from the Toledo event is a close relative of Robert Wurzelbacher of Milford, Ohio. Who’s Robert Wurzelbacher? Only Charles Keating’s son-in-law and the former senior vice president of American Continental, the parent company of the infamous Lincoln Savings and Loan. The now retired elder Wurzelbacher is also a major contributor to Republican causes giving well over $10,000 in the last few years.
And the reason for that is exactly the same reason I don't have teevee anymore:
Joe Wurzelbacher – immortalized during tonight's presidential debate as "Joe The Plumber" – spoke with CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric shortly after the conclusion of the final debate between Barack Obama and John McCain.
The Republic of Media is now hysterically trying to reclaim this election for Morans everywhere.

Nobody could have predicted...

Nothing New byslag at 11:27 AM 0 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)

Debate Redux

(via Sullivan)

OK. Now, I've had time to sleep it off. (Not alcohol--just crankiness from the suffocatingly constrained spectrum of issues presented in these debates.) Matthew Yglesias addresses the question that many pundits are asking about why Obama keeps winning these things. In my mind, the answer could be summed up in what I had originally intended to be my post debate clarity (before I got all irritated and rebellious):

John McCain: "Good evening, Fox News-lovers everywhere."
Barack Obama: "Good evening, American people."
The whole night, I couldn't get over feeling that McCain had no idea that he was talking only to the small minority of people who continue to lie awake at night fretting over the invasion of the Red Menace. It's almost as if John McCain had absolutely no knowledge of the fact that the US Treasury Secretary had just partially nationalized several US banks. And that he'd voted for it! On every issue, from the economy, to health care, to abortion, I got the impression that we were re-living the late 80s, early 90s whenever John McCain spoke. In other words, it felt like he was constantly doing this. Which, for me, was pretty jarring. And based on the poll numbers, it seems I was not alone.

Also, did anyone else wonder why McCain kept insinuating that Sarah Palin had autism? Was that supposed to be some sort of selling point?

Nothing New byslag at 7:54 AM 3 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)

Last Call Television

Post debate clarity
I think Ambinder's video was pretty accurate:

I'm too tired to care about anything right now except for one issue: In none of these debates were civil liberties or limits on executive power discussed in any meaningful detail. Abortion is a start, but it's not good enough. Do we, as a country, not think about our Constitution anymore? I don't want to live in a McCain world in which my freedom is limited to being able to shop around for insurance. I hate shopping (is that anti-American?). I want to live in a world where I know that my rights are protected and that my privacy is guaranteed. And that there are laws that even the President can't break with immunity. Maybe that's anachronistic. Maybe we're all too tired.

Oh yeah. And some discussion of the candidates' thoughts on media consolidation, teh interwebs, and telecoms, in general, would have been nice too.

Whatevs. At least Obama scored well with people I don't really understand (undecideds). That must mean we have some thoughts in common...I'm almost sure of it.

Nothing New byslag at 10:34 PM 0 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)

I Approve these Messages

Busy, busy day today. So, here's some audio-visual explanation of what today, tomorrow, and every day through November 4th must be all about.

It's all about making hope happen (via Silenced Majority):

It's all about promoting equality and fairness (via Andrew Sullivan):

It's all about building a sound economy (via JedReport):

It's all about explaining the facts of life to your parents (via MoveOn):

It's all about not taking anything for granted!

Nothing New byslag at 8:35 AM 0 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)

McCain Campaign Pals Around with Enemies of US

Who is Maverick John Hussein McCain? (from HuffPo):

William Timmons, the Washington lobbyist who John McCain has named to head his presidential transition team, aided an influence effort on behalf of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein to ease international sanctions against his regime.
Needless to say, Obama gives good oppo. Looking forward to the debate!

Nothing New byslag at 4:10 PM 0 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)

McCain=Puppet; Obama=Puppet Master

John McCain talks about how Obama is forcing him to bring up Bill Ayers at the debate tomorrow night (via TPM):

Oh, yeah. Y'know, I was astonished to hear him say that he was surprised for me to have the guts to do that, because the fact is that the question didn't come up in that fashion. So, y'know, and I think he's probably ensured that it will come up this time. And, look Mark, it's not that I give a damn about some old washed-up terrorist...
Is there any aspect of John McCain's behavior that John McCain will take responsibility for? Obama should totally mock him for this today and tomorrow before the debate. (I wonder what behavior Vladimir Putin might force McCain to engage in.)

Nothing New byslag at 11:26 AM 3 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)

More on False Equivalencies

Marc Ambinder asks a stupid, but important, question:

So crazy liberals at Obama-Biden events occasionally make fun of Sarah Palin in crude terms, and at times, a more than a few folks have yelled that McCain is a warmonger and a liar. Obama-Biden campaign rallies can be quite toxic to the POV that McCain's a decent guy.

And yet the media, complains the McCain campaign, doesn't cover this....it only covers Republicans -- isolated occasional "nut jobs" -- who call Obama an "Arab" ... and a "terrorist." The media never reports that Obama or Biden encourage their crowd to believe that McCain is a liar, or that Sarah Palin is a dilettante.
Is this an example of a double standard?
My response in comments:
The McCain campaign has been calling Obama a dilettante celebrity from day one (irony). Nobody said he was engaging in the politics of fear at that time. Today, he's calling Obama a terrorist. Now, we are saying he's engaging in the politics of fear. The constant in these scenarios is McCain. The variable in these scenarios is the type of politics. McCain is not the issue--his politics are. Any questions?
Also, when Bible Spice claimed that Obama would "raise the white flag of surrender" was there an outrage? So, why should we be outraged by someone calling McCain "Bomb Iran" a warmonger? Call Obama a wussy peacenik...we don't care. But don't call him a traitor or a terrorist. There are laws against those things.
No matter how many times we try to explain complex issues like these to Republicans, I feel something always gets lost in the translation. Therefore, I think it's time to call in reinforcements. Cookie Monster, take it away:

You see, all those things on Cookie Monster's plates are cookies. So, in that sense, they're the same. But on one of the plates, there is one extra cookie. So, in that sense, they're different. The same, but distinctly different. Got it now?

Nothing New byslag at 10:39 AM 0 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)

David Frum to Rachel Maddow: You Should Be Like Me--Boring and Morose

Rachel Maddow back to David Frum: Good luck selling that one, you slimy little man.

After the last eight years, nobody could have predicted how quickly the Republicans would assume their defensive phony outrage stance (note to Frum: that was sarcasm--get used to it). Good on Rachel for not having any of it!

UPDATE: Anyone else find it hilarious that a man declaring he'll vote for John McCain and Sarah ("perhaps so" to war with Russia) Palin has the nerve to lecture the rest of us about getting serious on political issues? Maybe next, Palin will start offering seminars on teen pregnancy prevention and McCain will once again explain to us the differences between a strategy and a tactic. A lot of problems in this world would go away if more people understood the concept of irony as well as Rachel Maddow does.

UPDATE 2: Rachel is pretty much the only person I know of who gets at least marginally intelligent comments on her YouTube clips:

corkbender: Wow, finally a takedown that doesn't become a yelling match. She handled that beautifully. I might have to start watching her program.
heartsleeve: To go on one of the most policy heavy cable news shows and accuse the host of failing to elevate the debate, talk about the issues, and failing to be a "grown up" was downright condescending and rather hypocritical. I'm glad she took him to task over the snide barb he obviously thought he was going to get to drop and walk away from.
icu812a: Frumpy thought he was dealing with a neophyte and a lightweight here. Rachel is way too smart, and way too poised, to allow such a thinly-realized (and hypocritical) visceral talking point to win that argument. Frum had no idea how to respond - probably because didn't expect that he'd need to back his nonsense up.
That's sayin' something.

Nothing New byslag at 11:17 PM 0 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)

Out of Touch

I just got back from failing to mail something at the post office. Since when have people actually been getting Columbus Day off? I mean, what do they do with that time? And does it involve some form of celebratory aboriginal genocide*?

*=Yes, I know it's anti-American to actually refer to unwashed American history. Blame Howard Zinn--that atrocities-noting bastard.

Nothing New byslag at 6:53 PM 1 dispenses karmic justice! (or just comments here)

Rocky's Back!

I wish Hillary had copyrighted her campaign strategy. At least then, we'd be spared the return of some of her campaign cliches:

John McCain and Sarah Palin took the stage in Virginia Beach this morning to the theme song from the movie Rocky, a 1977 Billboard #1 hit called "Gonna Fly Now." The song's opening stanza seems especially apt for McCain's current situation: "Trying hard now/ It's so hard now/ Trying hard now"--sung in a funky disco groove.
Looking forward to seeing the gloves come back...on?Too...many...metaphors!

Nothing New byslag at 2:37 PM 2 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)

Terrorist: I do not think that word means what McCain thinks it means

My dictionary defines a terrorist as:

1.a person, usually a member of a group, who uses or advocates terrorism.
My dictionary defines terrorism as:
1.the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, esp. for political purposes.
Barack Obama hasn't once used violence or threats to intimidate or coerce me for political purposes. John McCain, on the other hand:
Time's Karen Tumulty offered this on-the-ground report on Republican efforts in Virginia.
With so much at stake, and time running short, [Virginia Republican Party Chairman Jeffrey M. Frederick] did not feel he had the luxury of subtlety. He climbed atop a folding chair to give 30 campaign volunteers who were about to go canvassing door to door their talking points -- for instance, the connection between Barack Obama and Osama bin Laden: "Both have friends that bombed the Pentagon," he said. "That is scary." [emphasis mine]
So, let's sum up...the terrorist Obama is offering us hope and change while the maverick McCain is offering us fear and...fear. I guess some terrorists are less terroristy than others. Nonetheless, hope still kicks fear's ass. Or, as Donna Brazile said:
I'm not going to be afraid anymore.
Works for me.

UPDATE: I like Digby's name for them: The Terror Party.

Nothing New byslag at 9:29 AM 2 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)

Lunacy v. Obama

Back in May, I wrote about the anti-Obama smears running wild throughout the web, and stated the obvious:

Seems to me that the Obama campaign, the DNC, MoveOn.org, etc, should put as many resources into finding the origins of these smears as they possibly can. If they can get at least one or two sources loudly and publicly discredited, that may help with others. That said, people generally believe what they want to believe, so Obama's real goal probably needs to be getting people to like him.
Finally, the NYT has profiled one of the prominent smear sources, a lunatic named Andy Martin:
An examination of legal documents and election filings, along with interviews with his acquaintances, revealed Mr. Martin, 62, to be a man with a history of scintillating if not always factual claims. He has left a trail of animosity — some of it provoked by anti-Jewish comments — among political leaders, lawyers and judges in three states over more than 30 years.

He is a law school graduate, but his admission to the Illinois bar was blocked in the 1970s after a psychiatric finding of “moderately severe character defect manifested by well-documented ideation with a paranoid flavor and a grandiose character.”...

Mr. Martin sounds like the perfect "expert" for a Faux News faux-umentary. But unfortunately, according to my anecdotal sample of one undecided voter, he and smear-monger McCain seem to be having some effect on public opinion.

When MFP and I went on a field trip to one of those discount stores looking for clothes hangers, the cashier mentioned to us that he didn't know who he would be voting for this election. We asked him why not, and he proceeded to tell us that he didn't like McCain's propensity for war or his positions on the economy, but he was worried about Obama's "background". Unfortunately, we didn't have much time to discuss this issue with him, but MFP and I did our best in the time allowed to alleviate his concerns. Not sure if our arguments were persuasive, but once again, I found myself fascinated by how much emphasis people put on the squishy gossip offered up by folks like Martin and McCain. Are people honestly thinking that Obama only wants to be President so that he can blow up the capitol?

Nonetheless, the point still stands that the best way for Obama to combat these stories is to get people to like him. He's done a pretty good job so far, but there's always more to do. Which is why I'm glad to see that the campaign has purchased thirty minutes of air time as a way to keep putting his personable self in front of the average American. More Barack is good Barack. Although, if he keeps doing stuff like this, I may end up having to get teevee reception again just to watch him. That'd be a bummer.

Nothing New byslag at 11:48 PM 0 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)

Pure Small-Town Mavericky Goodness

Sarah Palin tells a lie, gets caught, and responds with more lies:

Today’s report shows that the Governor acted within her proper and lawful authority in the reassignment of Walt Monegan. The report also illustrates what we’ve known all along: this was a partisan led inquiry run by Obama supporters and the Palins were completely justified in their concern regarding Trooper Wooten given his violent and rogue behavior. Lacking evidence to support the original Monegan allegation, the Legislative Council seriously overreached, making a tortured argument to find fault without basis in law or fact. The Governor is looking forward to cooperating with the Personnel Board and continuing her conversation with the American people regarding the important issues facing the country. [emphasis mine]
As John Cole explains, the abuse of power finding released by the legislative council is "the result of a unanimous vote of 12-0, with the group composed of eight Republicans and four Democrats. Two Republicans were absent, or it would have been 14-0 with ten Republicans." Not a "partisan led inquiry run by Obama supporters."

Also, those "important issues facing the country" to which she's anxious to return? Character assassination:
Palin's comments were entirely general. There were few specifics on the economy besides freezing spending and a pledge to balance the budget. Despite brief allusions to economic worries, there was no discussion of how America finds itself in this mess. To do so, she explicitly argued, was to dwell on the past rather than look to the future.

She spoke for longer than her brief Carson City rally we saw September 13 -- just under 30 minutes -- and her crowd was larger and louder here. She spent about 10% of the time talking about Bill Ayers. "Ambition explains launching your political career in the living room of an unrepentant terrorist," Palin said, punctuated by four or five loud shouts of "Terrorist!' from the crowd.
The maverick...it burns!

Truly, small-town abuse-of-power scandals are kind of tiresome and not really worth much attention. But these people have been running the self-righteousness meter all the way to eleven for the last week or so, and somebody's got to put a stop to it. The Yo Mama joke portion of this election is getting old fast.

UPDATE: For a more in-depth assessment of this Springer Showdown, we now turn to Time Magazine (surprisingly):
But the Branchflower report still makes for good reading, if only because it convincingly answers a question nobody had even thought to ask: Is the Palin administration shockingly amateurish? Yes, it is. Disturbingly so.
Not only did people at almost every level of the Palin administration engage in repeated inappropriate contact with Walt Monegan and other high-ranking officials at the Department of Public Safety, but Monegan and his peers constantly warned these Palin disciples that the contact was inappropriate and probably unlawful. Still, the emails and calls continued — in at least one instance on recorded state trooper phone lines.
Monegan consistently emerges as the adult in these conversations, while the Palin camp displays a childish impetuousness and sense of entitlement. [emphasis mine]
Childish? Impetuous? Entitled? I thought those words were reserved for community organizers...you know, the ones without the real responsibilities that a small-town mayor has.

Nothing New byslag at 12:03 AM 2 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)

NYT, You're Doin' a Heckuva Job!

Is this news?:

...Times editor Bill Keller offers a curious explanation for why they decided to go with the story.
He told Politico that the paper was motivated to report out the Ayers link because the McCain campaign has been pushing it — not the other way around.

Maybe the McCain campaign had been pushing it behind the scenes with the Times, but Keller's timeline is off here. Sarah Palin didn't begin hitting Ayers until Saturday, the day of publication, and when she did, she used the Times piece as the peg for her attack. And the campaign didn't go up with an actual TV ad on Ayers until today.

And Dick Cheney read in the New York Times that Saddam had WMD. New boss looks a lot like the old boss.

Nothing New byslag at 4:27 PM 0 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)


And somewhere, Bill O'Reilly is wondering where his M-F'in iced tea has gone:

Methinks Obama needs to move revamping education up in his list of priorities.

Nothing New byslag at 12:25 PM 0 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)


So, I get an email in my inbox from the Obama campaign with the subject line: "Who is Barack Obama?‏". Opening it, I see a link to a video. Because I'm too lazy to read these days, I click straight to the video expecting to see a cornball, slightly over-produced video detailing some minor aspect of Obama's mid-western background. Instead, I see this:

I remember political pundit Howard Fineman complaining in one of his lesser articles that Obama has been too "meta" throughout this election. That he's been too much of a narrator and not enough of a participant (as if those two roles are inherently contradictory). Fineman's argument annoyed me at the time because it seemed, for reasons I couldn't quite articulate, utterly wrong. But it wasn't until I saw this video that I realized just how incredibly ridiculous Fineman's statement was.

This video strips away much of the pretense that inspires cynicism in politics. It demonstrates how we all--the politicians, their families, their "Joe Sixpack" supporters--are willing participants in the theatre. And by logical extension, as participants, we have the power to transform the show. Throughout his entire campaign, Obama has urged us to rid ourselves of the illusion that we're just spectators in the political process. By giving us these tiny glimpses into how the process really works, he's helping us along. We need more "meta" in our lives.

We've heard a lot about how Obama's campaign has leveraged the internet for fundraising, but this kind of video is exactly what the internet is all about (notice the mention of "new media" at the end of it). It's all about participation and narration. What would it cost a candidate to air this video on television? If Obama's manner of governance ever becomes as innovative as his manner of campaigning, it truly will be a new day in America.

Nothing New byslag at 10:42 AM 0 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)

Been Schooled by McCain

The economy goes crazy:

And at the opening of trading, Wall Street had seemed in a free-fall. The Dow Jones industrial average fell almost 700 points or about 8 percent in the first 10 minutes, dipping briefly below 8,000. The broader Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index, declined almost 8 percent.
So does John McCain:
Instead of acknowledging the real differences that exist in this election, Barack Obama is using America’s economic crisis to deflect legitimate criticisms of himself and his record...[emphasis added]
It's true. And we, the American people, should be ashamed of ourselves for being more concerned about our collective economic present and future, our ability to keep our homes and feed our children/cats, and our country's long-term competitiveness in the world than we are about this.

Consider me schooled, McCain.

Nothing New byslag at 9:41 AM 0 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)

More McSame Chickenery

Barack Obama makes an entirely reasonable point:

I am surprised that, you know, we've been seeing some pretty over-the-top attacks coming out of the McCain campaign over the last several days, that he wasn't willing to say it to my face. But I guess we've got one last debate. So presumably, if he ends up feeling that he needs to, he will raise it during the debate.
Obama goes on to talk about how his campaign, his self-authored books, [not to mention his breakfast choices] have been on display for at least the last two years now, and he's not really much of a mystery anymore. I would add that the fact that McCain's gone from characterizing Obama as being an egg-head elitist to being a know-nothing celebrity to being a true-blue terrorist-lover really says a lot more about McCain's character than it does about Obama's. And what's more is that McCain talks tough behind his back but seems unwilling to confront Obama face-to-face:
John McCain is not man enough to own his shit. John McCain will not openly confront Obama with his smears and lies and innuendo. John McCain will not come out and talk about Ayers, he has to be asked. That is why he goes to places like Fox News, so he can be asked. What a coincidence.

John McCain is a coward.

John McCain would rather hide behind his wife and Sarah Palin than say it himself.

He would rather produce 2 minute ads that his campaign will never pay to air anywhere, and hope that the tire-swinging media will bring up the topic so he doesn’t have to do it himself.
John McCain is a coward.

This element of McCain's character (or lack thereof) fits in quite nicely with the overall Republican foreign policy strategery of passive aggression toward our adversaries. In fact, I remember quite well when Obama called John McCoward out once before for his and Bush's unwillingness to talk to tin pot dictators:
For all their tough talk, one of the things you have to ask yourself is, "What are George Bush and John McCain afraid of?".
Or in other words:

Kokokaw, kokokaw, kokokaw...chickens don't clap!
In all seriousness, though, it's exactly McCain's kind of irresponsible, nearly unhinged rhetoric that this country needs to get away from.

Nothing New byslag at 11:57 AM 0 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)

GOTV: Not as Easy as 1-2-3

Having spent a little bit of time registering voters this election has taught me something about the process itself: it ain't easy. A lot of people who aren't fully engaged in electoral affairs (read: most Americans) often don't know when/if they voted last, whether or not they're already registered, or if their voting address is up-to-date. Throw in a host of bizarre (and I say truly reprehensible) laws regarding felons voting along with an abominably designed voter registration form, and it becomes quite a challenge to ensure that you're getting high quality data as you go. So, when I hear the Republicans drumming up stories about voter registration fraud, my inclination is to pretty much disregard it, because it's quite possible that I have made some of the same mistakes when registering voters. And according to Ben, at Politico, I'm not totally crazy to think these stories are overblown:

The key distinction here is between voter fraud and voter registration fraud, one of which is truly dangerous, the other a petty crime.

The former would be, say, voting the cemeteries or stuffing the ballot boxes. This has happened occasionally in American history, though I can think of recent instances only in rare local races. Practically speaking, this can most easily be done by whoever is actually administering the election, which is why partisan observers carefully oversee the vote-counting process.

The latter is putting the names of fake voters on the rolls, something that happens primarily when organizations, like Acorn, pay contractors for new voter registrations. That can be a crime, and it messes up the voter files, but there's virtually no evidence these imaginary people then vote in November. The current stories about Acorn don't even allege a plan to affect the November vote.

Now, it's true that I have not been paid to register voters, and even if I were, I would never intentionally double-register people. But honestly, when you're out there talking to people, it's pretty easy to get your wires crossed. I got a lot of "I don't know"/"Not sure" responses when I asked people whether or not they were registered to vote. And then there were the "I think I'm registered" or "I'm pretty sure...maybe" answers I got, which placed me in kind of an awkward position. Do I suggest that they re-register? Do I tell them to go online and check and then, if not, to re-register? But time is running out and they may not remember until it's too late...So, it becomes a judgment call. I mostly tried to trust the system and hope that the officials processing the voter registration forms will catch any errors. But having had to register to vote multiple times myself before it finally took, I know first-hand that the system is more than a little flawed.

As Big Think Tank Matt says about a story regarding purged voters:
Every fall you see these kind of stories, plus stories about registration drives, plus stories about allegations of fraud, etc. It’s worth recalling that it’s nowhere written in the heavens that a country must use such a hodge-podge system of conducting elections. It would make a lot more sense to have a uniform national system for these procedural issues, complete with some kind of national database of who’s registered where. Under the existing system I was, at one point, simultaneously registered to vote in two states and one “District” completely by mistake.
Honestly, I'm much more concerned about stories of mass voter purges than I am stories about a couple of pizza joint employees double-registering or people like Yglesias being triple-registered. For instance, I consider the fact that thousands of people might not get to vote this year simply due to a wonky system to be completely undemocratic:
Tens of thousands of eligible voters in at least six swing states have been removed from the rolls or have been blocked from registering in ways that appear to violate federal law, according to a review of state records and Social Security data by The New York Times.

The actions do not seem to be coordinated by one party or the other, nor do they appear to be the result of election officials intentionally breaking rules, but are apparently the result of mistakes in the handling of the registrations and voter files as the states tried to comply with a 2002 federal law, intended to overhaul the way elections are run.
To me, these kinds of issues are central to the American system of government. We claim to put such a high premium on democracy that we're willing to export it around the world, but in my mind, we should work on preserving it here as well. For my own part, I've been truly surprised at my own level of non-partisanship in my concern about voter registration. When out gathering registrations, I never thought twice about registering McCain voters. If they asked me my thoughts, I would certainly try to get them to see the error of their ways. But to me, the larger goal is always fairly straightforward: get as many people involved in the political process as possible. That's my preferred method of generating change. Because a full-scale revolution takes a lot more work.

(ed: more snark covered in 2nd update)

UDPATE: Just to be clear, I am not endorsing Matt's (casual/not necessarily serious) proposal of a national database. National databases make me nervous, which is one of the reasons why I'm anti-REAL ID. Nonetheless, at least a little more coordination between states and at the national level might be helpful.

UPDATE 2: Sappy video of underage kids trying to get people involved:

John McCain should tell these kids that they need to get over themselves and start putting their country first for a change.

Nothing New byslag at 7:36 AM 1 dispenses karmic justice! (or just comments here)

Partial Sean Hannity's Friends List

Hal Turner (neo-nazi):

Andy Martin (anti-semite):

According to Sean Hannity, if Obama didn't want to be President (and was only a "journalist"), then his associations would be no problem. Which means that we should all be vetting our associations before we associate with them on the off chance we'll want to run for office some day. Once again, Hannity proves that he's just a typical moran with a high-paying gig. And that there is no justice in the world.

UPDATE: I hate to admit it, but David Frum (neo-con) is actually showing some sense:

Those who press this Ayers line of attack are whipping Republicans and conservatives into a fury that is going to be very hard to calm after November. Is it really wise to send conservatives into opposition in a mood of disdain and fury for the next president, incidentally the first African-American president? Anger is a very bad political adviser. It can isolate us and push us to the extremes at exactly the moment when we ought to be rebuilding, rethinking, regrouping and recruiting.
The noxious fumes coming from this campaign are reminiscent of those that emanated from Hillary's last stand and will probably inspire just as many divisive sentiments along the way (if not more). If McCain-Palin care about their country as they claim, they will clean up their campaign and stop inciting hatred toward their fellow Americans. We just can't afford a civil war.

Nothing New byslag at 9:27 PM 1 dispenses karmic justice! (or just comments here)

Michelle Obama Talks Voting

His impact on voter turnout is actually the thing that eventually helped me overcome my Obama skepticism. And after he screwed me and everyone else on FISA, registering voters was the only campaign participation I allowed myself for several months. I completely agree with Michelle on this one. If we do nothing else this election, we need to get people engaged in our government. No taxation without representation.

Nothing New byslag at 7:44 PM 0 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)

Missed Monkey Opportunities

When I was a kid, I wanted a monkey for a pet (who didn't?), but my parents never let me have one. Too bad for them because it probably would have saved them a lot of work:

Nothing New byslag at 2:58 PM 3 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)

Who's Afraid of Sarah Palin?


Nothing New byslag at 1:40 PM 0 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)

Take that, Fear-mongering McSame!

Donna Brazile: I'm not going to be afraid anymore.

UPDATE: Link to the New Yorker, the video's place of origin.

Nothing New byslag at 1:35 PM 0 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)

Real Television

Post-debate clarity
John McCain: Almost normal
Barack Obama: Almost presidential

In all, I would say the clear winners of this debate were Tom Brokaw and the people asking the questions. After this week's descent into absurdity, my expectations for this debate were pretty low. So, the fact that the questions stayed on target, focusing on the real (albeit repetitive) issues, was a major plus. John McCain's antics were limited to: trying to invent his own reality, pacing around the stage at inappropriate times, referring to Obama as "that one", and blithely dismissing the challenges of dealing with nuclear waste. So, in that sense, I was kind of proud of him. I liked how Obama talked about the "opportunity" of developing alternative energy, stood his ground when McCain tried to dismiss him, and was eager to call McCain out on his multitude of sins (the straight talk express lost a wheel). Obviously, I think Obama's vision is better for the country, so I think he won. But McCain didn't do anything new to make me dislike him more, which is no small feat for him. In the end, I was just happy to see a more substantive, less antagonistic exchange between everybody.



Forty percent of the 516 uncommitted voters surveyed identified Barack Obama as tonight's winner; 26 percent said John McCain won, while 34 percent saw the debate as a draw.
It appears I must start reconciling myself to the fact that my thoughts and opinions are suddenly with the majority. Either that or I'm going to have to re-think. Dilemma.

Nothing New byslag at 9:06 PM 0 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)

Elect Obama!

To our military heroes:
You wanna trust your life
with someone who don't know
the difference between Sunni and Shiite?
So let's get someone who acts
based on facts.
One of the most inspiring aspects of much of the pro-Obama art and music I'm seeing is how refreshingly nuanced and upbeat it tends to be. Instead of noisy screeds raging against fascism or "the man" or whatever, I'm seeing fairly cogent, well-developed arguments in conjunction with some quality artistry. In contrast with Eminem's pure anti-Bush anthem from 2004, this Big Hit Buda video combines a small bit of anti-McCain rhetoric with quite a lot of pro-Obama rhetoric.Obviously, this is the result of having someone to vote for rather than just having someone to vote against. And social concern tinged with real hope can be a beautiful thing.

Nothing New byslag at 1:25 PM 0 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)

We're All Terrorists Now

Even lowly booksellers:

It occurred to me, reading the news today, that if Barack Obama is a terrorist by association with Bill Ayers, then I, too, am a terrorist, or at least a terrorist by association. I took money from him, money which later paid my paycheck -- I profited from this connection! I smiled at him, and treated him like any other customer -- and much more respectfully than some of the Nobel Prize winners (to be fair to me, there are so many). Besides just working there, I was -- and remain -- a member of that co-op bookstore; we are members and shareholders together, and the profits from the store (if ever there are any) are distributed among each shareholder. I've certainly spoken to him more frequently in the last year than Barack Obama did; the senator was barely in Hyde Park this year. And I had that Tolerance class in high school, the mandatory Holocaust education in my public middle school: to be a bystander to evil is the same, morally speaking, as the evil itself. By selling a known domestic terrorist books, I became a known associate. Forget that it was forty years ago, over ten years before my parents had ever met; there's no expiration date on acts like that. They stay with you 'til G-d judges you.

This is, of course, a fun sort of sophistry, a joke I told my father (who didn't find it funny), something I told earnest Republicans worried about Obama's character and connections: I'd met the man, both men. Barack Obama's a good guy, really, he bought an extra copy of Harry Potter 7 because of a promise, and he laughed at my joke. Bill Ayers is nothing to be worried about today, just another guy who's grown older and more capitalist.
Clearly, McCain's McCarthyism knows no bounds.

Oh...and speaking of Nobel Prize winners...tis the season:

All worlds collide in a bookstore.

Nothing New byslag at 12:31 PM 0 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)

In Case there was any Doubt

(just sayin')

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

The Motor Scooter Menace

I've noticed a healthy increase in the number of motor scooters roaming the streets these days. Unfortunately, that may not necessarily be good news:

“The cleanest scooter is still dirtier than a car," said John Swanton, air pollution specialist with the California Air Resources Board.
. . .
Some motorcycles emit as much hydrocarbon in 10 miles as a car driven 850 miles, according to Environmental Protection Agency studies.

Car engines use much more fuel and create more pollution than motorcycle engines, but sophisticated emission-control devices prevent much of a car's emissions from getting into the air, said Wayne Elson, environmental protection specialist with the EPA's Seattle office.

When it comes to reducing fuel consumption and improving global climate conditions, a motorcycle or scooter is still the better choice, Swanton said.

But when it comes to reducing smog and improving local air quality, "the Hummer is better than a small scooter because it has more sophisticated emission controls," he said. "Its emissions are pretty low relative to a motorcycle."
Honestly, I have no end of disdain for Hummer drivers, the reasons for which go beyond local air quality concerns. Nonetheless, it appears that I'm now going to have to direct some of that ire toward motor scooter drivers as well. Breathing...it does a body good.

Nothing New byslag at 8:21 PM 0 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)


But all my words come back to me in shades of mediocrity
-Simon and Garfunkel
To friends and readers (and friendly readers): I have been negligent in my duties as blogmaster in not responding to comments and emails in a timely fashion. My excuses are vast and varied and...irrelevant. So, I just want to take a minute to apologize and let you know that, though neglected, you are not unappreciated or forgotten.

Nothing New byslag at 11:45 AM 2 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)

Sharing is Caring: John McCain, Keating 5 Edition

Registering voters on Friday night, MFP and I were a little surprised to find that, for some voters, Obama's middle name continues to be an election issue. Economic justice, social justice, and war were apparently no big deterrent when it came to electing Johnny McSame. Nope. These voters had fixated on the far more pressing and serious issue of middle names, and they weren't going to be tricked into voting on any of those other frivolously namby pamby concerns. While I tried to convince them that Obama's middle name was actually the best part about him and that I, for one, was tired of electing guys with boring names like George, John, and Richard and always getting the same results, it was hard to tell if they were buying it. So, for the sake of all you tribalist voters out there, I am sharing this heartwarming look into the public/private life of your friend, John McCain:
UPDATED with complete version of video.

(video courtesy of the Obama campaign)

We hope you enjoy this glimpse into the political behavior of your Safe Old White Man President.

Nothing New byslag at 11:04 AM 0 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)

Raising the White Flag of Surrender

McCain flees Michigan:

John McCain is pulling out of Michigan, according to two Republicans, a stunning move a month away from Election Day that indicates the difficulty Republicans are having in finding blue states to put in play.

McCain will go off TV in Michigan, stop dropping mail there and send most of his staff to more competitive states, including Wisconsin, Ohio and Florida. Wisconsin went for Kerry in 2004, Ohio and Florida for Bush.
What? No Mission Accomplished speech?

And here I was thinking that John McCain knew how to win wars. Did I mention that McCain knows how to win wars? Because John McCain knows how to win wars. That's what I hear anyway. John McCain knows how to win wars. And he knows how to win wars in a mavericky way. Because he's a maverick. Just like his running mate is a maverick. Sarah Palin's a maverick just like John McCain's a maverick. So many mavericks on the McCain-Palin ticket who all know how to win wars. And lower taxes. Did you know that mavericks John McCain and Sarah Palin both know how to win wars and lower taxes? It's true. They're maverick war-winning tax-lowerers. And they love America.**

**This message brought to you by Veep Index Cards--the note card of choice for Republican vice-presidential candidates everywhere.

Nothing New byslag at 7:56 AM 2 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)

Sur-Reality Television

Post-debate clarity:
Palin: "Straight talker"
Biden: Straight talker

I was watching with a room full of 826ers and the biggest laugh line of the night came at the end when Palin said how happy she was to be up there answering all those difficult questions. Apparently, nobody could remember a question she actually answered. Also, who was that McClellan dude Palin kept talking about? Did they end up sending Scotty to Afghanistan?

CBS Instapol via Yglesias:

Biden 46%
Palin: 21%
Tie: 33%
MFP just gave Obama some more cash. No way, no how, no McPalin.

Nothing New byslag at 10:14 PM 0 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)

Biden v. Palin on Roe v. Wade

The good news about Palin: She believes there's an inherent right to privacy in the Constitution.
The bad news about Palin: She has no idea what an inherent right to privacy in the Constitution might actually entail.

Just out of curiosity, what does Palin think happens when states write laws that conflict with the US Constitution? And does she think it involves ponies or kittens? Maybe unicorns?

I'm with Ta-Nehisi Coates on this one:

...Joe Biden answers the same questions right before her, and the difference is, frankly, enraging. I hear a lot about disrespect of Palin by the liberal media. But Palin's entire participation in this process has been an exercise in disrespect for government and the presidency....
This election has now entered the realm of tragicomedy, courtesy of John McCain.

UPDATE: You too can interview Sarah Palin (via the interwebs).

Nothing New byslag at 7:47 PM 2 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)

Sarah Silverman Takes Her Bra Off

Made you look...

(via Lessig)

Nothing New byslag at 5:46 PM 0 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)

Greed and Recklessness are Uniquely American

Andrew Sullivan writes:

Much if this crisis stems from rank greed and irresponsibility from ordinary Americans on a massive scale, who bought homes they couldn't afford on credit they couldn't repay, or who leveraged their property with loans they had no reason to take out.[...]And the real, long term fix requires weaning Americans off credit - and giving enough of them a taste of what their greed and recklessness can do.
Digby writes:
I've been writing quite a bit about the building rightwing "explanation" for the economic crisis: the blacks and the Mexicans stole your tax money to buy perfectly good houses they couldn't afford and the[n] wreck them.
Both of these explanations of this economic crisis have reminded me of something...somebody I know of who got a brand new gig and went on a massive spending spree only to leave nothing but wreckage behind him as he was on his way out...who could it be...? Oh yeah:
National Debt Exceeds $10 Trillion
I don't know how ordinary, or black, or Mexican he is. But he does try hard:

Black (well, African anyway):

Mexican (well, Hispanic, at least):

Good thing we've provided him with housing for the last 8 years, because otherwise, he'd just be part of the problem.

Nothing New byslag at 5:00 PM 0 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here)

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