Sunday, September 30, 2012

Two Minutes With Friends = Memories for Life


Saturday, September 29, 2012

4 Years Ago Today: Dow Drops 777; Largest Drop Ever




Four years ago, this was the point in John McCain's campaign that the writing was on the wall. Given his comments on the economy, the massive nosedive of the stock market just didn't fit with his narrative, and he kept making it worse. But on the day this happened, I wasn't really putting it in that context. I was just blown away by the spectacle. So much so that I used a fairly bad graphic--but then, it was from the source, so I guess they did too? It should have been a jagged stab downward. . .

ORIGINAL POST: September 29, 2008

It's admittedly hard to write this blog, when the biggest stories of the day are in an area I simply cannot speak authoritatively about. I've written a few times already, that I just don't get Wall Street, and all that it entails. And I'd be a bad broker if I did understand it, because the roller coaster ride of the Dow Jones Industrial Average gives me heartburn anyway.
Image from source, AOL News

Today's stock market ride was kind of like watching someone spike your bid on eBay. After seemingly being headed back up after a dive, at about one minute until closing bell, the bottom dropped out. I have a stock ticker on my desktop, and when refreshing it every 20 or 30 seconds, it went down each time. And after 1:00 pm Pacific time, it still kept dropping, from the six hundreds to the low seven hundreds, all the way down to minus 777. That's a lot, right? And how does it keep dropping after the market has supposedly closed? Maybe I don't want to know how all of this works.

Oh, and the headline below is rounding to the nearest fraction, but 777 is the number being used most.

[Excerpt]

Bailout Vote Sacks Dow by Record 778
The failure of the bailout package in Congress triggered a historic selloff on Wall Street - including a terrifying decline of nearly 500 points in mere minutes as the vote took place, the closest thing to panic the stock market has seen in years. . .

Read more at: AOL News


Friday, September 28, 2012

In Case You Missed It: SNL's "FOX & Friends" Romney Skit

Still on vacation, so I'm rerunning one of the best SNL clips so far this short season. If I have the opportunity, I will recap this week's SNL Weekend Update Thursday edition. For now, enjoy this one (and try pausing the crawl of "error corrections" toward the end, they're hilarious!).

Travelogue, Part the First

video
As I sit here typing this post, it is just past midnight, and our second day of vacation has wrapped. And--since I'm typing this--it is evident that I did not over-imbibe, regardless of what you may have heard. Our first day was spent flying to the San Francisco bay area, followed by immediately securing a car, for our drive to Yachats, Oregon. Everything went according to plan, except for the abysmal seating comfort (or rather, discomfort) afforded by the 2012 Chevrolet Impala. Simply dreadful. I can only hope that General Motors has improved things in the new model.

We made excellent time on our nearly 600 mile drive, and other than butt-hurt from the Chevy, we arrived tired, but in good spirits. Our wonderful hosts--dear friends transplanted from Las Vegas last spring--have entertained us since we arrived. We've walked several miles along the coast, took a drive to nearby towns, were treated to a fabulous meal at the Drift Inn (seriously, go there), and enjoyed some libations and conversation here at our incredible rental home. All-in-all, it has been a top-tier vacation, and we have days yet to go!

If you've never been to the Pacific Northwest, pencil it in. You'll have a great time, and see a lot of nature's beauty that you won't find elsewhere. But it helps to have friends to show you the way. 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Rocky Mountain Mike Replay: The Richdouchean Candidate

Since I'm still on vacation, and don't know if I'm going to get much blogging done today, here's one of Rocky Mountain Mike's (of The Stephanie Miller Show) best bits, based on The Manchurian Candidate.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

4 Years Ago Today: Obama & McCain's 1st Debate



Can you believe it's already time for this again? Of course you can, this campaign has been waging for over a year, and we're ready for it to be over! But I didn't remember that the first debate was a week earlier last time.


ORIGINAL POST: Sept. 26, 2008

Not surprisingly, MSNBC (or at least Keith Olbermann) thinks that Barack Obama won the debate. And even less surprisingly, FOX "News" has called it for John McCain. I honestly have to call it a draw. I of course agreed more with Obama, and much less so with McCain. But both came off strong, in command of their understanding of the facts. No major gaffes were made, at least not what I'd consider major. And no very notable soundbite moments jumped out.

 Photo from source, MSNBC
I seriously doubt, unless the media picks up on a point that catches fire, that either candidate gets much of a boost out of this debate. Neither Obama nor McCain supporters are likely to have changed their minds watching this. In fact, I believe that McCain supporters might gain some grudging support for Obama's ability to lead, and Obama supporters might have more confidence in McCain's lack of--what--dodderingness?

[Excerpt]

Bank crisis overshadows defense in first debate

Wall Street hijacked the first presidential debate Friday night between Democratic Sen. Barack Obama and Republican Sen. John McCain, who clashed over tax cuts, congressional spending and President Bush's proposed $700 billion bank bailout in a forum that was supposed to be about foreign policy. . .

Read more at: MSNBC


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Gone Fishin' - Blogger Break (Kinda)

The ocean, she calls me. . .
I'm getting ready to depart on a vacation of sorts. I'm not gone yet, but preparations and whatnot will absorb a bit of my time. There will still be daily posts, as I'll be sprinkling in some time-released goodness to pop open on schedule. And we'll have internet access most of the time, so I'll stick my head in and say "hi" when I have the opportunity. But it's going to kind of look like a long holiday weekend does on most of the rest of the internet, that is to say, not much new and reruns!

So, if you don't like Greenlee Gazette Lite­™, please come back when I'm at full strength, probably October 2 or 3. Which--as luck would have it--is right in time for the first Obama/Romney debate!

Mitt Romney and Plane Windows

When is a gaffe serious, and when is it silly? When is it a trifle, and when does it reveal something about the candidate? If Mitt Romney really wonders why you can't open the windows on an airplane he's either an idiot, or he doesn't think very deeply about things. Which is troubling for a presidential candidate. The other option, is that he was trying to be funny. But, joking around would be a very strange thing to do, when your wife has just suffered a harrowing emergency landing.

So which is it? Here's my go-to gal, Rachel Maddow to posit her theories. Don't worry, it's only two and a half minutes long. . .


Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Monday, September 24, 2012

Mitt Romney's Turd Campaign (Rocky Mountain Mike)

Another gem from Rocky Mountain Mike (of The Stephanie Miller Show), this time to the tune of Prince's Purple Rain. Well done, Mike!

What Happens in Vegas: Meet Sheldon Adelson, Buyer of Democracy

Okay, a couple of things here. First, the man's name is pronounced ADDLE-son, and as a denizen of Las Vegas, it bugs me every time I hear it pronounced AID-elson. Secondly, Sheldon Adelson has done good things in this town, not always using his virtually infinite fundage for evil. Thirdly, the comparison to George Soros (benefactor of many previous Democratic campaigns) fails for more than one reason, chiefly that Soros wasn't helping people get elected for his own personal financial interest.

Adelson is in the game because he can afford to be, because after the Citizens United ruling, he can be, and because he's kind of a bastard. This goes beyond a guy with deep pockets, funding his favorites, and looking for a little quid pro quo. This has--fairly quickly, if you think about it--turned into a many tentacled beast, with Adelson as the head, and Karl Rove as the brain. It's a frighteningly coordinated, full-throttle, take-no-prisoners attempt to purchase political offices from little to the biggest in the land.

The biggest failure of the Supreme Court's decision is in saying that money equals speech. Because by doing that, they've assured that more money equals more speech. Who on earth, short of Bill Gates, could compete with the kind of speech Adelson and the Koch Brothers (who coordinate with Adelson and Rove) can purchase? How could this possibly be what the founders intended?

By all reason, our democracy should be helpless against this assault. You'd think, with no real competing entity like it on the left, that this kind of money would just win now, forever. So far though, it's not working out that way. Things could change in the weeks until the election of course, but even with evil genius Rove pulling the levers, this machine is having trouble driving the polls. And I wonder, can all the money in the world sell a faulty product?

Sheldon Adelson really looks like that. Image from Politico.
[Excerpt]

Sheldon Adelson: Inside the mind of the mega-donor 

. . .Worth just over $21 billion, and now in the crosshairs of the Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission, Adelson has made history: He is the first person to spend $70 million to sway a presidential election, and he plans to spend more – perhaps as much as $100 million – by Election Day. An estimated $20 million to $30 million of the giving was to groups that do not disclose their donors, and had not been reported before. . .

Read more: Politico

Sarah Silverman on Voter Suppression (NSFW)

This video is Not Safe For Work, unless you have a very forgiving boss or a pair of headphones. But who cares, it's everyone's favorite vulgar comedienne, Sarah Silverman! And she's got a very important message: just about the only actual voter fraud going on is  voter suppression, and it is a Republican-sponsored activity.

Blast from the Past: ABC-TV in the 70s

This week's edition of Blast from the Past is going to be a little bit rushed. We're preparing for a trip, and I don't have the focus, nor the energy to put in a text-heavy edition this week. So, here's a trip down memory lane, if you happen to have spent a significant time in front of a television between--oh--1975 to 1979. In no particular order. This, is what I mean by the whole concept of Blast from the past, when I distill it down. The era of That's 70s Show is the sweet spot of my pop culture brain.



For the record, that's Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley, Three's Company, Soap, Charlie's Angels, Wonder Woman, The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman. These are the primary shows I really glommed onto as a kid, though thee were lots of others. And with that, you have a window into my childhood. And that will do it for now!

Happy Monday, everybody.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

SNL: The Undecided Voter

Bill Maher had a point about people who are still "undecided" being somewhat slow. The differences between the two candidates for president are very, very stark. Being "torn between" them is bizarre. I discussed this with my brother the other day, and we basically decided that some people have no "politics" section of their brains to speak of, similar to how my brother and I don't have "religion" or "sports" sections of ours.


SNL Ann Romney Expands on her "Stop It!" Comment

Very funny stuff from this weekend's Saturday Night Live.


Homer Simpson Votes

Over Time with Bill Maher, September 21, 2012

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Mitt Romney, Out of Context

Mitt Romney has turned his campaign into Out of Context Theater, going so far as basing his RNC slogan "We Built That!" on an out-of-context quote. Two can play at that game, and though President Obama hasn't yet gone there explicitly, he surely could.Take a look.

In Case You Missed It: The Political Ad by The West Wing Cast

Bridget Mary McCormack is running for Supreme Court Justice in the state of Michigan. We wouldn't know about that, except that her sister was an actress on The West Wing, who got together with much of that cast (including Martin Sheen!), and filmed an ad for her. Such a thing could come off cheap, tacky and embarrassingly. . .except for the fact that it is brilliant! I now am sad that I bailed on TWW after season five or so. Maybe I need to go watch them on Netflix. If you ever liked the show, watch the ad. And maybe you should also look into the non-partisan part of the ballot. . .

Ann Romney: This is Hard

Willard and Ann Romney have taken a lot of jabs for being seemingly elitist and out-of-touch. Other than Mitt's odd inability to act like a normal person, we've got his wife, who is prone to phrasings like, "you people," and "it's our turn" that kind of thing. She's a very pretty version of Lovey Howell without the charm, or at least that's the side of her we're seeing. Romney himself was caught on tape saying that they use Ann sparingly, so that we don't get tired of her.

Ann didn't help her husband's nor her own case in this clip (starts about 40 seconds in), defending Mitt and his campaign on the radio.



"Stop it. This is Hard. . ."  The clip sounds like she's talking to America as though we're the help. But thanks to my addiction to The Stephanie Miller Show, where they played, "Stop it." over and over on Friday morning, it makes me laugh. And it makes me think of this clip from Will & Grace, .

Friday, September 21, 2012

SNL Weekend Update Thursday: Convention Cutaways Ad

SNL Weekend Update Thursday is always fun, and the condensed format allows for a lot better laughs-to-jokes ratio. The choice of "Drunk Uncle" toward the end was an odd one. Funny, but kind of out of place in the political stuff, but whatever. I've posted the very funny FOX and Friends skit below, and here is the fake commercial, for "Convention Cutaways," an allegedly for sale video collection of cutaway shots of the audiences of the Republican and Democratic National Conventions. If you were looking for a hit on the Democrats, look toward the end of this clip. (For some reason, the freeze frame is from the FOX and Friends bit).


SNL Thursday Skewers "Fox & Friends"

I love it when the Saturday Night Live crew gets its paws on the (oddly named, I keep saying) FOX & Friends. People try to say that the program itself is separate and apart from the "news" portion of their programming, but it is a very thin distinction. SNL kicks them repeatedly, and F&F keeps providing them with more material.


Don't Fall for "Gas Was Cheap" When Bush Was Prez

See where it craters? January 2009: Obama's Inauguration. Source: MotherJones.com.
Dishonesty bugs me. I try never to be dishonest, because frankly, lying requires too much remembering. If you tell the truth, you don't need to try very hard to remember things. Plus, you know, being honest is just the right thing to do.

So, it really pisses me off that there are a bunch of Republicans running around talking about how cheap gasoline was when George W. Bush was president. Man, things were sweet in the waning days of 2008, weren't they? The economy was rosy, the world was shiny and new, and then that [black] fellow took over, and everything went all to hell! Of course this is a fiction. The economy was tanking, the financial world was reeling, the stock market was crashing and. . .gas prices cratered.

Yes, it is true--but highly misleading--to say that when President Obama was inaugurated, gasoline was $1.78 per gallon. Misleading, why? Because the price hadn't been holding steady there, it had crashed there. Recently. Prior to that--in the summer of 2008--gas prices were at an all time high, a price that hasn't been topped (or if it has, only barely). So, this is just one more example of missing context and deliberate misdirection on the part of conservatives. I love the smell of desperation in the morning!

Ted Koppel Takes Partisan Cable News to Task

"Is it me? It's him, right? It's him."

Am I Nathan Thurm?
That's a quote from Martin Short's old Saturday Night Live character, Nathan Thurm, the perpetually nervous and stressed attorney, who was always defending the indefensible.  But, that's how I felt watching Ted Koppel's report on Rock Center on Thursday night. Ted Koppel is of course from the old school of journalism, not quite Walter Cronkite, but close. And his topic was the hyper-partisan nature of discourse in the "news." All the while, I'm thinking, "False equivalence!" "But, FOX has 'news' in its name!" "But, FOX lies!!!"

And yeah, I get it. We are a deeply divided country, on seemingly every topic. One could argue that it began with Newt Gingrich back in the nineties. Oh, sure, there was partisanship before that, but Newt (and Lee Atwater and others) took it to a Whole. 'Nother. Level.  The political division grew, and flourished into the political coverage. And nowhere did it flower more brightly than at Rupert Murdoch's (and Roger Ailes') FOX "News," the first attempt at news with a point of view. 

As you know--though it lost millions for years--FOX was eventually very successful. And though it has taken rival MSNBC many years, they are finally nipping at FOX's heels, at least in recent weeks. And while MSNBC is demonstrably and admittedly from a liberal perspective (at least in prime time), there are numerous differences in their approach. You could maybe align Chris Matthews with Bill O'Reilly and Ed Schultz with Sean Hannity for bombast. But you won't find MSNBC running with debunked "some say" garbage for days on end. You won't find MSNBC claiming themselves to be an island of sanity in a sea of biased media (as FOX and its fans seem to believe every other outlet is liberally biased). You won't find a moron of Hannity's scale on MSNBC, and you won't find an intellect on Rachel Maddow's scale on FOX. FOX will never run a three-hours-per-day program headed by a former Democratic Congressman as MSNBC does with Joe Scarborough.

In short (I know, too late), there are differences. As reported here a couple of days ago, FOX "News" hires Romney campaign surrogates and SuperPAC people as commentators, and doesn't usually disclose this when they appear, commenting on the very races they are a part of. You don't see that anywhere else. As Bill Maher says in Koppel's piece, while both sides are guilty of sometimes being in a bubble, the left's is nowhere near the scope of that on the right. There is an extreme right, but there is no mirror extreme left. The extremity of the right has dragged the left toward the center.

But Koppel presented this as a he-said-she-said, pitting Maher against Ann Coulter's clearly (to me) alternate reality view. And I kept saying to myself, regarding Koppel's false equivalence. . . "It's not me. It's him, right? It's him."

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

In Case You Missed It: National Review Alters Obama Photo "Abortion" Signs

Yeah, their signs didn't really say, "ABORTION."
Image from source, JimRomensko.com.
While right-wingers complain that every single media outlet except for FOX "News" and right-wing talk radio is horribly, liberally biased, we keep finding evidence that their side is the guilty one when it comes to skewing the truth. We've had selective Obama quotes in Romney ads. We've had very dodgy "quotes" and "facts" in Karl Rove's (and others') SuperPAC ads. We've had out-of-context quotes turned into the overriding slogan of the Republican National Convention: "You didn't build that!" And, we basically have an entire right-wing bubble running against a cartoonish, exaggerated, alternate-reality version of President Obama.

That alternate version is far more literal when it is presented as the real version, as it was in this National Review cover.

[Excerpt]

National Review: By the way, our Obama cover was altered

Todd Sumlin writes: “I am a photographer at The Charlotte Observer. I was on the photo platform directly behind the President at the Democratic National Convention. Attached is a photo from that same angle. As you can see, the posters the North Carolina delegates are holding were changed from ‘Forward’ to ‘Abortion.’. . .” 

Read more at: JimRomensko.com

Did Mitt Romney "Endarken" Himself for Meeting with Latinos?

Maybe he's just borrowing bronzer from John Boner
Boehner. Read more at Upworthy
I wondered about this before I heard anything about it. A darkened Mittster appeared on my screen, and I actually started fiddling with my TV settings, unsure about whether it was my TV's fault! Ah, Mittens. You're a real pander bear.

[Excerpt]

SERIOUSLY? Did Mitt Romney Get A Bad Spray Tan To Appeal To Latino Voters?

Mitt Romney went on Univision. He then called undocumented immigrants "illegal aliens" as though they were an invading horde determined to destroy America. And then... well, we'd like to preface this by saying we would really like to actually cover important issues, but then Mitt keeps doing interesting things like, I dunno, intentionally darkening his skin to grub for Latino votes. Free campaign advice, Mitt. DON'T DO THAT. Also, don't call HUMAN BEINGS "illegal aliens."  . . .

Read more at: Upworthy

Mitt Romney, The Richdouchean Candidate (Rocky Mountain Mike)

Blogging didn't come quickly to me this night, so  thank you to Rocky Mountain Mike (famous from The Stephanie Miller Show) for some fresh, steaming snark aimed at everyone's favorite rich douche nozzle.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Obama "Redistribution" Video Clip Edited

Well, this is kind of hilarious. When the infamous "47%" Mitt Romney secret video was found to be missing two minutes between part 1 and part 2, the right seized upon it as a disqualification of the videos' contents. Which is a) stupid, and b) not gonna happen. If it were a 45-second clip edited out of context, maybe it would matter. But it was a surreptitiously recorded lengthy pair of videos. There may have been a few missing sentences, but the context is clear. Nothing Romney might have said in those minutes could substantially change what he said, and Romney himself didn't refute anything in the clips.

What Romney did was retort that there was an Obama video out there, where he talked about "redistribution." From 1998, fully 14 years ago. But guess what kids? It was selectively edited, and in this case to remove the context. Surprise!!!

[Excerpt]

The 'Redistribution' Clip Was Edited


Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


NBC did a little homework and found the clip of Barack Obama talking about 'redistribution.' The clip was edited by republicans and omitted the parts about competition and marketplace. I'm sure it was an honest mistake, republicans wouldn't knowingly deceive the public. <----SNARK. . .

Read more at: DailyKos

Jon Stewart: FOX "News" Chaos on Bullshit Mountain!

The FOX "News" reaction to the secret Mitt Romney "47%" tapes was a bit choppy and self-contradictory. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart nails it again. Hilarious and spot on.

Blogging Takes a Backseat (Technology Woes)

I'm late getting to blogging, because of a bit of crossover between my day job and my weekend job. A couple of months ago, I got a cloud drive, to make file management between work and home easier. But you know what? No matter how "intuitive" the technology is supposed to be, it's just. . .not. Ever. I'm a tech head, and I have to strain my brain. What do ordinary people do?

So while I work, enjoy this video about why cats are better than dogs.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Gap in Romney Tape Doesn't Mitigate What He Said

So, apparently there is a gap in the recording of Mitt Romney that Mother Jones' David Corn released. The video is in two parts, and apparently there is a lapse of one or two minutes between the parts. This is being jumped on by the right as a disqualifier of the entire video, and James O'Keefe/Andrew Breitbart comparisons are being levied. Which is hilarious, when you consider how fervently O'Keefe and Breitbart have been defended on the right.

Question, though: what difference does it make? First, there is absolutely no evidence that this is in an effort to mask anything, and no evidence that Corn lied when he said he'd release the whole video. If indeed the camera stopped for a couple of minutes, this is the whole video. Nobody anywhere has said that the entire Romney fundraiser was captured by video. I'm frankly surprised that so much was recorded. [Story continues below]



Now, before you say I'm making excuses, I have no allegiance to Corn or Mother Jones. I have seen one issue of the magazine, ever, and have been to their website maybe four or five times in all the years I've been blogging. But I'm having difficulty seeing what in the world could have occured in the two missing minutes that changes a thing about this video. Even being generous, and allowing for the wildest of speculation, what could Romney have said that would mitigate the rest of the video?

Regardless, it doesn't change a) what he said that was captured, and b) the fact that Romney called an impromptu press conference to explain himself. If indeed he said something between part 1 and part 2 that changes the tone and context to something different, wouldn't he have said it then?

This is a desperate attempt by the right to erase the impact of what Romney had to say, but it doesn't wash. Surely, Sean Hannity will wave the "missing two minutes" around for time immemorial, but so what. Romney denounced nothing from the video. Unless he does, this is just pointless.

[Excerpt]
 
#missing2min: The Romney tapes' two missing minutes

The secretly recorded tapes of Mitt Romney speaking at a fund-raiser in May were released first in clips on Monday, and later in their full form on Tuesday.
At least what appeared to be their full form: David Corn, the Washington bureau chief for Mother Jones, the magazine that first posted the tapes, says "one to two minutes" of the fund-raiser were never captured, according to the person who recorded it. . .

Read more at: CNN

4 Years Ago Today: Sarah Palin's Pastor Problem

Over the next few weeks until the election, I'm going to highlight items from exactly four years ago. The point is multi-fold: to remind us about big things, little things, parallel things and disparate things. You'll see stories that you forgot about, stories that still stand out, and puzzlements that never did pan out.

This one has to do with double standards, and the fact that while Barack Obama's religion and religious experience was a huge campaign issue, Sarah Palin's wacky Christian offshoot religion never sparked a WTF moment from the right (or even much from the left).

ORIGINAL POST - SEPTEMBER 19, 2008:
Sarah Palin's Pastor Problem




Photo from LiveJournal


There are many things I'm sick and tired of in politics. One of them used to be candidates that promised "change." It is an often used phrase, but this time, I'm hoping that my candidate (guess who) delivers.

Another thing I'm tired of is IOKIYAR. To the uninitiated, that means it's OK if you're a Republican. Now, don't get me wrong, there are some parallels on the other side of the aisle, and I'm sure right-wingers probably have their own IOKIYAD laments. But that is not what seems to be as strongly in play right now.

Here are just a few examples:

- Barack Obama, not well known, gave a good speech, celebrity. Bad.
- Sarah Palin, not well known, gave a good speech, celebrity. Good.

- John Edwards cheated on his wife, and that somehow reflects badly on Barack Obama.
- John McCain cheated on his wife, and we're not supposed to comment on it.

- John McCain's history as a POW 40 years ago tells us about his character.
- John McCain's behavior 30 years ago (adultery), and 20 years ago (Keating 5) are irrelevant.

- Barack Obama attended a radical (black) Christian church for 20 years. Bad.
- Sarah Palin attended a radical (crazy) Christian church for 20 years. So?

[Excerpt]

And If She Weighs The Same As A Duck...

. . .The pastor whose prayer Sarah Palin says helped her to become governor of Alaska founded his ministry with a witchhunt against a Kenyan woman who he accused of causing car accidents through demonic spells. . .

Read more at: DailyKos


President Obama on The Late Show with David Letterman

Here's one of the biggest differences I notice between President Barack Obama and former Governor Mitt Romney. . . While President Obama is measured and generous in his language, even to his opponent, Romney is more apt to pounce like a dog on a bone. Or, maybe like a robotic dog. Or an alien trying to assume the form of a dog? I don't know, but Obama comes off ten times classier, and much more human.

Meanwhile, on Twitter: Mitt Romney's New Hashtag: #MoneyBooBoo

Brilliant.


Pennsylvania Voter ID Law Halted (For Now)

Image from source, Addicting Info
Republicans have enacted laws all over the country that make it harder to vote. Though it is done under the guise of "protecting" the vote by weeding out voter fraud (and I will admit, their storyline sounds good), it is increasingly clear that this is not the main reason they're doing it. First and foremost, actual in-person voter fraud is a vanishingly small problem. It almost never happens. And secondly, more and more conservatives have copped to the fact that it is in fact an effort at voter suppression.

This is not surprising, when you realize that all of the new laws had the side-effect of making it more difficult than it has ever been for groups of Democratic voters to cast their ballots. We've all seen the news stories of 92-year-old ladies who voted for FDR, and this year would be ineligible without significant effort. In Pennsylvania, there were an estimated 750,000 voters who would not be able to vote in November with each of them taking the initiative to meet the new standard. All in the name of preventing a handful of theoretical fraudulent voters. Of course this has nothing to do with Pennsylvania being a swing state. . . Ahem.

Fortunately, these laws are being squashed by sane courts and legislatures in most of the places they've been enacted (if they weren't shot down before). And finally, Pennsylvania has seen the light. It's not a done deal, but it's a really good chance that it's gone, at least for this election cycle. Here's hoping what has really been going on here gets a little more widespread before they try again.

[Excerpt]

BREAKING: Pennsylvania Supreme Court Remands Voter Photo ID Law

. . .The Supreme Court has ordered that the state’s controversial new voter ID law be returned to a lower court for a speedy hearing on how the state is implementing it to ensure all voters have access to appropriate state-issued photo identification. . .

Read more at: Addicting Info 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Romney's 47% Are NOT All Obama Voters

Just for your edification, should you be sympathizing with Mitt Romney's pickle over insulting almost half the country: the 47% of citizens who do not pay federal income tax is not necessarily a monolithic Obama bloc. Take a look at the map below. Tell me how many of the states in red voted for Obama in the last election. I'll wait. . .

Image from Tax Foundation

If you're wondering, the answer is two, New Mexico and Florida, the latter being a perpetual swing-state. The rest of them were McCain/Palin country. And let's not forget that the 47% that Romney spoke of included retirees, disabled veterans and many others who are not just slackers on the government dole. To say that they are is insulting and over-simplistic to say the very least.

Why Are So Many Romney Operatives Part of FOX "News"

I almost didn't run this piece, because I tend to over-rely on Rachel Maddow Show clips. But I can't think of another time when a prominent newsy-type person mentioned this subject, and it's one that has ground my gears so hard they're more like washers.

That is: Why does FOX "News" employ operatives of a campaign and/or SuperPACs who are supporting one of the two major candidates, and then seemingly pretend that they're just commenting as a pundit? I'll actually give Rachel half a demerit here, picking a clip of Karl Rove when he was specifically pointed to as the man-behind-the-ad being discussed. Usually, Rove is merely a paid pundit, singly or on a panel, and his connection to the actual campaign is unacknowledged or glossed over.

But it ain't just Turd Blossom. The FOX roster is filled to the gills with Romney people. I mean, did you even know that Sen. Mitch McConnell's wife was a Romney operative, and FOX contributor (or that turtle boy had a wife at all)? This is not entirely new, of course. When the roster of GOP presidential contenders was still shaking out, FOX was employing, Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Mike Huckabee, and Rick Santorum, all of whom were possible players, two of whom actually ran. But I'm not sure they've ever had this level of weddedness to a particular campaign. Isn't this a conflict of interest, at least?

Remember this, next time somebody says that MSNBC is just the liberal version of FOX.


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In Case You Missed It: Mitt Romney's Black Monday Started with a Campaign Post Mortem

Image from source, Politico
Did you see this? I know that yesterday's new cycle was taken over by a discovered Mitt Romney video, in which he insulted almost half of America. But Mittens' day didn't start out much better. He was greeted by a multi-page, in-depth post mortem of his campaign. Now, obviously, it can't be a literal autopsy of a campaign that still figuratively draws breath. But this sort of deconstruction of the weaknesses of a presidential campaign typically only appears after the patient has died. So, its appearance in the September before the election is kind of peculiar, and makes you think that Politico sees the Romney campaign as the walking dead.

[Excerpt]

Inside the campaign: How Mitt Romney stumbled

Stuart Stevens, Mitt Romney’s top strategist, knew his candidate’s convention speech needed a memorable mix of loft and grace if he was going to bound out of Tampa with an authentic chance to win the presidency. So Stevens, bypassing the speechwriting staff at the campaign’s Boston headquarters, assigned the sensitive task of drafting it to Peter Wehner, a veteran of the last three Republican White Houses and one of the party’s smarter wordsmiths.  Not a word Wehner wrote was ever spoken. . .

Read more at: Politico

Monday, September 17, 2012

Posted Without Comment: Mitt Romney's Press Conference

OK, Mitt, What About That 47% of America?

UPDATED: Just to mention. . .is this what Willard wants to be talking about right now? How much taxes people pay? We don't even know what he paid himself. . .

I get irritated when I hear that 47% figure batted around, that same 47% that Mitt Romney has insulted by saying they are people "who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it." Usually, the figure is used by people who follow the number by saying those people "don't pay taxes."
[Story continues below]




Of course, virtually everyone pays taxes. Not everyone ends up paying federal income tax, but that is often glossed over. But it is even more dishonest than that, when you break down that 47%. Just who are we talking about there? Does anyone really believe that nearly fully half of Americans are lazy layabouts, just waiting for their gubment check? I know that Republicans do not do nuance, but it really isn't that difficult. And if you'll read through the excerpted article below, you will see that this is one more place where Mitt is on both sides of the issue.

[Excerpt]

Mitt Romney versus the 47 percent

. . .Let’s set aside the question of whether this is what Mitt Romney really believes deep down in his heart. Maybe this is what he thinks. Or maybe he just thought it was a good line to buck up jittery donors. What we can say is that the last part is wrong. There is no fair accounting in which 47 percent of Americans take no “personal responsibility and care for their lives.” Take this simple breakdown from the Tax Policy Center of what households paid in taxes in 2011. . .

Read more at: Washington Post

Romney Tape Reveals Contempt for 47% of Americans

Mittens in distress. Image from Raw Story
Whoa. At first, as I got the first dribs and drabs of this, I thought this was maybe not so bad. Then, a Facebook friend of mine said, basically, "Well, Romney doesn't care about my mother who is retired, or any veteran." Which would be included in those who receive benefits from the government. Good point, right? Then, as more of the context of the quote--and the promise of more to come--makes this sound really, really bad.

Don't believe me? Moments ago, in fact as I started typing this, Mitt Romney was on television giving a nervous, blustery, stammering press conference. As a reporter tried to clarify, he walked away, stage right, in a beeline, with a rictus grin plastered on his face. RomBot is not programmed for this! Was this the implosion of the Romney campaign, just now?

[Excerpt]


Romney: Obama supporters believe they are victims and pay no income tax

At a private fundraiser earlier this year, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney claimed that most supporters of President Barack Obama — and nearly half of Americans — believed they were entitled to government handouts and didn’t take responsibility for their lives. . .


Read more at: Raw Story

Rick Santorum Says Smart People Won't Vote Republican

Image from Plunderbund
I can't tell you how many things I find wrong with the "Values Voters Summit," because there are too many to list. So, I'll just start with the awkwardness of the double plural in the title that seems to want an apostrophe somewhere. And finish by saying that in 1992 when Pat Buchanan and Pat Robertson were very prominent, and moralizing without being denounced by George H. W. Bush, I went from a Republican to a Democrat, and voted for Bill Clinton. I can't be the only one swayed by over-the-top religiosity and prudishness.

Rick (don't Google me) Santorum then, is obviously not my kind of candidate. He constantly works himself into a frothy mixture over gay sex (which he equates to "man-on-dog sex"), or abortion or something, but usually goes so far that he alienates more people than he attracts. Occasionally though, Ricky makes news. And he's never been more honest than he was at the badly named summit.

[Excerpt]

Rick Santorum: 'Smart People' Will Never Be On Our Side

Rick Santorum, the former presidential candidate, had a message for attendees of the Values Voter Summit on Saturday. . .


Read more at: Huffington Post

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Blast from the Past: The Best of Gilda Radner on SNL

For this week's Blast from the Past, I really need an easy one. I have had a very busy weekend, and don't have a text-heavy episode in me. The best thing for this sort of butt-dragging, is to put up highly entertaining clips to make up for the lack of wordsmithery.

So, here's what I'm going to do. I'm raiding NBC's Saturday Night Live vaults for my favorite bits from my favorite SNL cast member of all thirty-eight seasons, Gilda Radner! I still get sad about her early passing, and I just don't do that. Here's to you Gilda! Enjoy.


Happy Monday!

In Case You Missed It: Rachel Maddow on Birther Claim that Obama is Secretly Gay

Rachel Maddow is ten times more generous than I could ever be to World Nut Net Daily, viewing them as a sort of entertainment. I find them hilarious too, but terribly sad in that otherwise rational people may believe the garbage they push. As Birther-central, WND starts out with a huge credibility problem, since Birtherism is wholly and completely without merit. So, I guess the whole site is sort of like the Weekly World News of right-wing politics, and saying outrageous things about President Obama is their "bat boy."

Their latest schtick--aided by alleged Hillary Clinton supporter, HillBuzz's ridiculous Kevin DuJan--is to claim that Obama is secretly gay. Before Michelle, he was married to a dude, who he bumped off. The evidence for this offshoot of birtherism is scant, to be generous. And it was handled with precisely the right level of snark and humor by Rachel Maddow this past Friday. If you want to know more about this crackpot theory, and be entertained at the same time, watch.


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Friday, September 14, 2012

USA Today Destroys its Brand

Meh. Click to embiggen. Image from LA Times.

Redesigns of familiar brands are often very dicey. We're not just judging new versus old, we have an emotional attachment to the established design, whether we are conscious of it or not. Sometimes it goes smoothly, as when Burger King updated its image subtly, or when rival Jack in the Box changed theirs significantly. Neither was decried as a step too far.

But often, if the change isn't seen as an improvement, it can be derided, maybe even damage the brand. When Pepsi changed its familiar red and blue yin/yang globe to one that looks more abstract, designers and fans almost universally panned it. The jury is still out on Microsoft's and eBay's new, minimalist logos, but many find them quite boring. And the most disastrous redo was by GAP, which met such hostility with its logo change, that it decided to throw it out, and keep the old one.

The "before" here wasn't a winner either. But the
red and blue globe was a mainstay. Image from LogoTalk.
USAToday should do the same. I realize that in a changing media world, a newspaper must change with the times. And USAToday has been derided for a long time as "McPaper." But tell me, how did their long-time, established design differ from how a typical web page is set up? It already was laid out with news nuggets and charts, and brightly colored eye-grabbers. USAToday was a web page before we knew what they were!

The logo that never was. Image from LogoTalk.
Now? It just doesn't hold together. As a designer, I'd have a hard time ever liking the new design. The logo is NOT an improvement, and its juxtaposition with a Futura Bold decimalized, six-digit date does not read well. It looks like an unfinished pie chart, a placeholder, or part of an ad. Besides just floating there, looking incomplete, the date does not work in this format. First, the decimals are a cutesy, trendy way to write phone numbers these days, I do not know why, but it's true. Also, in the USA, we put the month first, and in other parts of the world they put the day first, so the date will be unclear to many who read it.

Looks like a web page to me. 
On the whole, I declare it a disaster. They've taken away the brand identity, and produced an ugly product that looks like it was rushed out before it was finished. I can't imagine that this tests particularly well, or how they decided it was "better." Different sure, not better. There was room for improvement, and for streamlining, but they took it too far.

[Excerpt]

USA Today launches redesign

The newspaper that introduced the world to the infographic is getting a makeover. Thirty years after the launch of the new national newspaper, USA Today unveiled a new logo, a more colorful look and bulked-up coverage of technology and travel. It also unveiled a digital redesign that gives the news operation a consistent look on its relaunched website and on mobile devices. . .

Read more at: Los Angeles Times

What's the Matter With Kansas?: Birthers Want Obama Removed from Ballot

He's not embarrassed. He should be, but he's not.
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach. Image from TPM.
There's a lot of ridiculousness in politics these days, but nothing tops the "Birthers." These people have concocted a convoluted set of (sometimes self-contradictory) conspiracy theories about President Barack Obama and his eligibility for the office of president. Some of what they believe is based on very sketchy, old case law about the meaning of "natural born citizen." Some of it is a wholly concocted fantasy, in which Obama's mother traveled to Kenya whilst very pregnant, gave birth there (or elsewhere on the way home or something), and then smuggled little Barry into the country, all the while orchestrating false evidence that he was born in Hawaii. Using the expensive and complicated travel and communications technology available in 1961. All in anticipation that her half-black, half white child with "Hussein" as a middle name would one day run for president and need to have citizenship to do so.

ZOMG! It has layers! I debunked the amateur
analysis of the allegedly "fake" Obama long-form
birth certificate HERE.
Believing such (utterly without evidence) nonsense isn't so hard to understand when you consider the significant overlap of young-earth creationists in this crowd, who believe that all evidence of an old earth is put there by God to test our faith, or the Devil to lead us astray. They're not deep thinkers, and are seemingly eager to believe anything that supports their story, and able to ignore evidence to the contrary. For the record, every single aspect of Birtherism has been debunked, in a very detailed and organized way at ObamaConspiracy.org. If you even have an ounce of doubt, go there, poke around, you'll see what I mean.

The fact that a conspiracy theory has become almost mainstream in Republican politics is a frightening thing. It's something you tolerate in your weird Uncle Rick. It's not something you expect in an elected official. Kansas is not alone in having a prominent birther in office, but they are a state with a lot of embarrassing politics, including creationism in science class. What is it going to take to get these people to see Barack Obama as an ordinary person, and not a statist, Maoist, Marxist, socialist, fascist, communist, Kenyan, Muslim, Black-Identity-Christian, Godless, far-left radical Alinskyite? And do you really still want to tell me this has nothing to do with the fact that he's. . . black?

[Excerpt]

Kansas Goes Birther: State Board Considers Removing Obama From Ballot

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, an informal advisor to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, said on Thursday he and his fellow members of a state board were considering removing President Barack Obama from the Kansas ballot this November. . .

Read more at: Talking Points Memo

Romney Defenders: Here is Why the Rest of Us Are Upset With Mitt

If you are a conservative who is thus far on Mitt Romney's side, regarding the politicization of the attacks in Libya and Egypt, I have an answer for you. Short answer: Mitt says there was an "apology" when there wasn't, and waded into the fray while the attacks were ongoing. For the longer, more nuanced answer, check out this clip from The Rachel Maddow Show. I'm serious, watch it. If nothing else, you may gain a little perspective on why so many people are so upset with Romney.


Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Karl Rove Resurrects Obama's Alleged "Vegas" Slam

Image from source, CNN
As I've reported before, former Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman has made a major stink on a couple of occasions, when he thinks that President Obama has dissed Las Vegas and/or Nevada. The first time, Obama was saying that bailed out banks shouldn't be sponsoring lavish junkets on the taxpayer's dime. Reasonable, you might even say conservative. The second time, Obama was talking about financial priorities. He wasn't saying not to go to Las Vegas--or anywhere else. He was saying you don't gamble away money that you can't afford. But Goodman was always an attention seeker, and he milked both statements for all they were worth. [Story continues below]

The quotes in question. Click to embiggen.

Karl Rove is now beating that dead horse. And true to form, his ad makes it seem that Obama's comment is devoid of context: the Prez apparently just hates Vegas, don'tcha know? Worse, it is also implied that this statement is more recent than it is (2010). If you didn't know the context, you'd think that when Las Vegas was in its deepest despair, President Obama gleefully twisted the knife. I want "Crossroads" to become more widely known to equal "Karl Rove," and I want people to picture his face every time his group puts their name on an ad. To me, when I hear, "this ad paid for by American Crossroads/Crossroads GPS", what I hear is, "The previous political ad is utter bullshit, or at best, some cherry-picked facts stirred with bullshit, and served with bullshit gravy."

[Excerpt]

Crossroads GPS bets against Obama in Nevada ad

Ahead of President Barack Obama's campaign trip to Las Vegas Wednesday, the private arm of the Karl Rove-backed super PAC American Crossroads released a new ad in Nevada targeting the president over the economy."

After gambling your money on his failed stimulus, President Obama says, 'Don't blow a bunch of cash on Vegas'," the ad's narrator says. "He doesn't get it. In Nevada, tourism means jobs. Under Obama, nearly 62,000 fewer Nevada jobs. . ."


Read more at: CNN

What Happens in Vegas: President Obama Visits

I'm getting a late start on blogging, having had an unexpected work night on Wednesday, so that's why my blogging is going to be light.

Following the deaths of a US Ambassador and three other officials in Libya, the news and commentary on the subject has been odd. First, though this seems to have been a coordinated terrorist attack on September 11, the weight of the news doesn't feel very impactful. It's a topic of discussion, everybody is sad about it, but it's just. . .oddly detached or something.

Secondly, we had Mitt Romney weighing in as though he were President, but if this was a preview, it's not a very strong selling point. He jumped the gun, got the facts wrong, jumped on the actual President in the middle of national crisis, and then doubled down on his error when he could have possibly dialed it back. Right-wing World doesn't know what to do with this, wanting instinctively to kick Obama at any opportunity, but also wanting to appear patriotic. Some of them have chastised Romney, others have bizarrely doubled down with him, still using flawed story lines and reasoning (I'm looking at you, Kevin Wall of KXNT).

President Obama had been scheduled to stop in Las Vegas on Wednesday since at least last weekend. There was a scramble for tickets when they were made available. There was talk of whether or not he'd keep the engagement, and he did. Right-wing world is squawking about that--campaigning during a national crisis!--though I'm sure we could find a dozen times Bush campaigned during one crisis or other (Katrina comes to mind). They'd complain if he cancelled too, disappointing all of those people and dissing Las Vegas yet again!!!1!!11!!!  There is literally nothing the man could do that the right wouldn't complain about. If he cured cancer, they'd complain he cut jobs at cancer clinics.

[Excerpt]

Obama's Las Vegas stop waxes somber in wake of consulate attack in Libya


Appearing somber, President Barack Obama on Wednesday opened a campaign visit to Las Vegas by remembering four Americans who died in an attack on a U.S. consulate in Libya, saying they gave their lives to uphold American values of freedom in a dangerous land. . .


Read more at: LVRJ

 
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