Tuesday, September 30, 2008

John McCain: Economic Disaster

Uh oh. . .

Hours of Fun: The Sarah Palin Quote Generator

Or, you could do like Tina Fey on Saturday Night Live, and just quote her directly. . .

Who Will Screw Up Worse, Palin or Biden?

Image from source, Asylum

As I've said again and again, the bar for Sarah Palin has been set very low for her performance in Thursday's Vice Presidential debate. She is widely predicted to fail, and fail spectacularly. But we liberals shouldn't get ready to point and laugh just yet. For one thing, with the bar so low, if Palin only manages minor gaffes, she'll be considered a success.

And then there is the Joe Biden factor. I like the guy, though I haven't always agreed with his decisions. And his gaffes are legendary. Remember the "clean and articulate" assessment of Barack Obama? That's just one of many. So who is going to do worse?


On Thursday, Sarah Palin and Joe Biden will square off in what is surely the most anticipated vice-presidential debate in our nation's history. (A far less impressive distinction than it sounds.)

Far be it from us to make light of the electoral process, but this showdown's appeal seems directly related to the good chance that one or both candidates will make a complete fool of themselves. Let's face it: The dominance of the reality television genre proves Americans enjoy, if not demand, embarrassment in their entertainment. . .

Read more (and take the poll) at: Asylum

Bush's Disapproval Rating a Staggering 70%

Photo from parent source, Huffington Post

I know that conservatives would sneer at this headline and say, "George W. Bush isn't running for anything. His approval ratings don't matter!" Well, I respectfully disagree. When is the last time a party's President has suffered approval ratings so low, and seen their next candidate get elected?

Now, this has been an atypical campaign, and the electorate is strangely committed to their parties regardless of "the facts on the ground." But still. . .


Historic Disapproval: Bush Hits All-Time Low Amid Economic Meltdown

Barack Obama maintains an advantage on the economy, especially economic empathy, and he's cracked majority acceptance on his key challenge, experience. But the political center remains unrooted, keeping John McCain in the race, albeit against headwinds. . .

FOX "News" Calls a Clear Win a "Split"

MSNBC has gotten a tremendous amount of heat of late from conservatives who lambaste them for their bias. They're supposedly "in the tank" for Barack Obama, because they have two--count 'em, two--left-leaning hosts. They might have a point were it not for a couple of things.

First of all, conservatives have long claimed that NPR, CNN, PBS, ABC, NBC, CBS and many other media outlets are "liberally biased." Assuming that's true (not that I believe it is), how does that make MSNBC different then? And then there is the criticism of giving Rachel Maddow her own show, when she is a progressive radio host, and therefore biased. Horrors! Let me rattle off a few conservative radio hosts who have (or used to have) their own shows on cable news: Tony Snow, Brian and the Judge, Glenn Beck, Michael Savage, Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity. So much for reason two.

But the biggest and most egregious reasoning is actually a counter-claim--by the same people--that FOX "News" is fair and balanced, and not in the tank for John McCain. This despite just about every program on the channel showing blatant bias in many, many ways. NewsHounds is a website dedicated to "watching FOX so you don't have to," and there I found just the latest example. Watch as the reporter calls an almost unanimous vote for Barack Obama as a "split vote." Priceless.

Sarah Palin Thinks Being Gay is a Choice

Here's a head's up to Sarah Palin from someone who knows: Being gay is not a choice. Remind me again why the Log Cabin Republicans are endorsing John McCain and Palin?

RNC Releases Ad Critical of Passage of Bailout

This campaign just gets weirder and weirder. John McCain declared himself the winner of the debate before it happened--in fact, before he eve agreed to participate. Then, McCain claimed responsibility for passage of the Wall Street bailout, right before it failed to pass.

Now, the Republican National Committee has released an ad attacking Barack Obama for his role in passing the bailout bill--something that hasn't even happened yet. What's more, McCain actually supports the bill. The mind wobbles. . .


Does new RNC ad undercut McCain message?

A new advertisement released by the Republican National Committee may undercut GOP presidential candidate John McCain’s message. . .

Read more at: Raw Story

Rachel Maddow on the GOP's Palin Problem

I'm double-dipping into The Rachel Maddow Show clips, because this one is too good to pass up. Sarah Palin is turning into a problem for the GOP, according to Maddow (and ye editor), and conservatives are starting to grumble about it. Good!

Rachel Maddow: Palin & Her Tina Fey Problem ('Campaign Imploding')

Monday, September 29, 2008

Rachel Maddow on John McCain's Absurdities

Because sometimes, images from the tee-vee machine are better than the written word. . .

Mainstream Press Catches on to McCain Absurdities

Photo from source, TIME

I'm relieved to see that the mainstream press has finally started cluing in to the ridiculous antics and spin of John McCain and his campaign. It's been so strange, and so stupid for so long, I guess they were bound to notice.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story was apparently written before the stock exchange sorta did crash.


Oh, the Drama! McCain in the Theater of the Absurd

If you missed the news this week, you didn't miss all that much. The stock market threatened to crash, but didn't. John McCain threatened to skip the presidential debate unless members of Congress approved a huge financial bailout, but they didn't, so he didn't. The debate went on; the candidates stayed on message; the pundits all agreed that it wasn't a "game-changer. . ."

Read more at: TIME

John McCain Declares Victory! He's Wrong, Of Course

Last week, the John McCain campaign produced a web ad that declared McCain the winner of Friday's debate. The problem? It was released before the debate ever occurred. And of course, the general consensus is that Barack Obama won.

McCain's temporal displacement problem continued today, when he declared victory in the government bailout plan, which ultimately failed. His next trick will likely be to claim he killed the bill. Anyway, when you throw in the suspending of his campaign, and then his not suspending it; his claim that he would cancel the debate unless a plan was approved, and then debating anyway. . .well, how can we trust this guy?

To deflect attention from all of this, McCain came out and tried to take control of the failed bailout message. He first claims the old line from Katrina: Now is not the time for blame. Then he proceeds to blame Barack Obama. Can you get any more Bush than that? At least he didn't try to blame Mayor Nagin and Governor Blanco.

Sarah Palin, To Debate or Quit?

Photo from source, New York Times

George W. Bush has--with the help of Karl Rove--perfected the art of setting a very low bar. Selling a "low expectations" story to the public before a debate or important speech has a way of working to the advantage of a candidate, if they just show up with their shoes on the right feet, and their clothes buttoned properly.

I think we can safely say that the bar has never been lower for a candidate on a Presidential ticket, ever. If Sarah Palin can limbo under the bar being set for her and do worse than we expect, she wouldn't be asked to leave, she'd be "disappeared." But if she makes it that far--and there are rumblings that she might be forced out before the debate--she's very likely to do better than we expect.

If she manages to muddle through without a major gaffe (a toughie, but maybe she is the quick study they say she is), and Joe Biden launches into one of his long winded stories, or puts his legendary foot in his mouth, it may be just enough to make the next Saturday Night Live Tina Fey skit more about Biden than it is about Palin.


Concerns About Palin’s Readiness as a Big Test Nears

A month after Gov. Sarah Palin joined Senator John McCain’s ticket to a burst of excitement and anticipation among Republicans, she heads into a critical debate facing challenges from conservatives about her credentials, signs that her popularity is slipping and evidence that Republicans are worried about how much help she will be for Mr. McCain in November. . .

Read more at: New York Times

Sarah Palin Chaperoned by McCain to Couric Interview

I guess someone from John McCain's campaign finally watched the Katie Couric/Sarah Palin interview, and decided that she should not go there alone again. So they sent McCain to help deflect Couric's questions. Sad.

Wall Street Bailout Plan Fails on Capitol Hill

They said they had a plan that would pass. They didn't. While many reasons are bandied about, from the intrusion of Presidential Politics, to Nancy Pelosi hurting the GOP's feelings, I think I have the answer. The bill is very unpopular, and lots of Congressmen and Senators are up for re-election. They think they'll get voted out if they support the bill. My theory, but here's another one. . .


Why the bailout bill went down

A sweeping rescue plan for US financial markets foundered in the US House Monday on a combination of doubts about the plan, reelection concerns, disdain for bailing out Wall Street bankers, and a deep philosophical distaste for massive government intervention in the private sector among conservatives.

The Dow Jones stock index plunged a record 777.68 points on the day ­a reaction that Democrats say could pave the way for a new vote, as early as Thursday. . .

Dow Drops 777 Points; Largest Point Drop in History

Image from source, AOL News

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.

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.


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

Top 10 Conservative Idiots, September 29, 2008

Happy Monday, everybody! Can you even believe the stuff that has happened in the past week? And can you believe that most of it was due to Conservative Idiots? Yeah, I know it stretches credulity (sarcasm intended), but there it is. Enjoy the list. . .


The Top 10 Conservative Idiots, No. 353
September 29, 2008Amateur Dramatics Edition

This week John McCain (1,2,8) acts up, Lindsay Graham (3) plays the fool, and Sarah Palin (4,5,6) loses the plot. . .

Read the list at: Democratic Underground

CNN's Jack Cafferty on Sarah Palin's Cluelessness

I know that this video has been making the rounds, but I didn't take a look at it until The Other Half encouraged me to do so. Wow. We cast a lot of dispersions on the mainstream media for their lack of having a clue, but Jack Cafferty has absolutely taken a ride on the clue bus.

This video is all the more relevent after Saturday Night Live's take on the Sarah Palin experience. I knew, based on my last post, that they used quite a bit of Palin's actual words in the opening skit. I didn't realize, they used the whole thing. And it played as a comedy skit. VERY scary.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Tina Fey's Sarah Palin Written by Palin?

Tina Fey did a great job on Saturday Night Live this weekend, channeling Sarah Palin. She had the rambling "sentence to nowhere" patter down perfectly. What I didn't realize the first time I saw it, was that--at least at first--Fey was quoting Palin, almost word for word. . .and getting laughs! It is funny, until you realize how scary it is. Study hard, Sarah. . .

Found at: AmericaBlog

Sarah Palin Cramming for Final Exams Debate

Photo from source, CNN

What do you do if your running mate in a Presidential election is absolutely clueless about world affairs, and very likely, to anything outside of her small town and state? Why, you cloister her away. Away from prying eyes. Away from reporters. And you put her through "debate boot camp!"

I completely understand why they're doing this of course, for what else can they do? But I'm reminded of a friend (hey out there, Dallas!) who had to take the Ohio State Bar exam. He's a very smart guy, having been salutatorian in high school, great marks in college, and the same in law school. And he had to go through his own rigorous "bar exam boot camp." He spent--at the very least--a week cramming for the thing, every spare minute. And he passed.

But--and this is a big but--he had years of prior knowledge stored up before the cramming began. I haven't asked him personally, but I don't think he'd put money on passing the thing if he'd come into it cold. They can't possibly cover everything. Oh sure, she'll have more words and phrases to cram into her answers, making it less obvious that she didn't know this stuff two weeks ago. But unless the moderator and Joe Biden are ridiculously easy on her, she's bound to traipse into one of her long, excruciating sentences to nowhere.


Palin in 'debate camp' until Thursday

Gov. Sarah Palin will now spend two and a half days near Sedona, Arizona, to prepare for Thursday's debate, instead of prepping in St Louis, as originally planned. . .

Read more at: CNN

Barack Obama Widens Lead Over McCain

Photo from source, AOL News

Well this is good news, though I wasn't so sure by the AOL splash page: "New poll shows election shift: Who's up, who's down?" I thought to myself, "Well, Barack Obama was up, so is he down now? How in the bloody hell did that happen?" I mean, John McCain has had a pretty lousy couple of weeks, culminating in the bizarre idea to suspend his campaign. His debate performance was perfunctory, but Obama held his own, despite the material supposedly being in McCain's "wheel house."

So, I was relieved to find out that AOL just has a snappy headline writer. According to this poll, Obama has hit the magic 50% mark, an area that pollsters have been saying is a number that dramatically improve his odds for winning. Here's hoping he stays there, and registers similarly in other polls.

Never forget Karl Rove though, and his ability to pull off an "October Surprise." And also never forget that even though the bag of tricks has been seemingly emptied, that Rove is more than eager to use something that isn't true to smear his opponents with.


Obama Moves Up, McCain Down in Poll

Barack Obama leads John McCain, 50% to 42% among registered voters in the latest Gallup Poll Daily tracking update for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday -- just one point shy of his strongest showing of the year. . .

Read more at: AOL News

DirecTV Revives Poltergeist's Heather O'Rourke

Image from source, Defamer
Inset from source, Wikipedia

"They're He-ee-eere!" That phrase, spoken by little Heather O'Rourke in the movie Poltergeist, is right up there with "Where's the Beef?" for famous 80s phrases. In fact, O'Rourke's line, "They're Ba-aa-ack!" from Poltergeist II: The Other Side, is probably almost as well known.

Poltergeist was an extremely fun and memorable movie. I remember sitting through it twice in the theater. The cast was great, with Craig T. Nelson (before the insufferable Coach), JoBeth Williams, Beatrice Straight, and little person, Zelda Rubenstein. And the effects--for their day--were pretty cool. The movie was so popular, it spawned two (vastly inferior) sequels, and a (unrelated except for the title) television series. It also spawned a legend about a Poltergeist Curse. Several people involved with the film, including Dominique Dunne, and O'Rourke herself, died very soon after their installment of the series came out, or at least in unusual or untimely ways.

O'Rourke's death in particular was very well known, being only 12 years old, and dying of something that should have been easily treatable. It was a sucker-punch to the gut for fans of the movie, and of O'Rourke. She just seemed like a very sweet girl, and had no small amount of talent, considering that she was basically scooped up by Steven Spielberg from a studio commissary and put into the movies.

That's a long way to go to get to the point of this post, but not everybody is the pop-culture buff I am, so the exposition was necessary. This morning, while watching the Sunday morning politics shows, I saw an ad for DirecTV. It's one in a series of ads that takes famous scenes from movies, and turns them into ads using movie magic. The Aliens ad was brilliant, with Ripley fighting the Queen Alien so that she can just go home and watch DirecTV. They also did an amazing job of de-aging Sigourney Weaver to look exactly as she did in 1986.

But today's ad gave me a wiggins. It featured Craig T. Nelson and Heather O'Rourke from the famous "they're here" scene. Nelson was de-aged too, much less realistically, but it was the image of little Heather that creeped me out. It just didn't seem right somehow. The poor girl died while filming Poltergeist III. . . Maybe her parents approved the ad, as it keeps her image alive, or maybe the creepiness factor works because of the dead/alive nature of the whole Poltergeist series? I don't know. I certainly noticed the ad, so maybe it does work.

On a related note, they are supposedly remaking the original film right now. While researching this piece, I found a humorous article--but maybe just as creepy as the ad to some--from O'Rourke to God, asking him to smite the makers of the new film! Why I liked this piece, and not the ad, I have no idea. . .


Dear God,

Hi, God, it's me, Heather O'Rourke — the little girl from Poltergeist. How's tricks? I know how busy you must be dealing with the whole Isaac Hayes thing right now (my vote: let him in!), but when you get a second, I was hoping I might ask you for just one tiny little favor. . .

Read more at: Defamer

Sunday Talk Shows, Take 2: Do We Know Obama Yet?

My take on the rest of the Sunday morning political chat-fests (excepting This Week with George Stephanopoulos, which is pre-empted by NASCAR--of all things--in Las Vegas):

Meet the Press: I've already covered the interview with the campaign surrogates, which blew. Following that, we got a contentious debate between two hopeful Senators who I don't remember from a state I don't remember. The meat of the show was an interview by Tom Brokaw of Bill Clinton. I've previously thought that Clinton's alleged tepidness of support for Barack Obama was overblown. Until this morning. Jesus, Bill, could you at least fake a little enthusiasm? And for God's sake (and this applies to all Democrats), enough of the laudatory, effusive "war hero" praise for John McCain, right before criticizing him for something. Nobody did that for John Kerry, a significant double standard.

FOX "News" Sunday: Always the most cringe-worthy of all the Sunday shows, today was really more of the same. Chris Wallace asks leading questions, and politicians to varying degrees, answer the way they wanted to anyway. And as always, the ludicrously named "Power Panel" takes up half the show--the only show that can be counted on to allot half their airtime to pure (and often wrong) speculation. Not a single thing from this morning's show stands out in memory.

Face the Nation: Barack Obama was the sole guest for the half hour show, and is the reason for the headline of this piece. The most frequent criticisms of Obama are variations on a theme: we don't know him; who is this guy?; he's scary; he's an unknown quantity we can't risk. . .etc., etc. OK, look. This guy has written two autobiographies (by the age of 47!). He's been campaigning in the public eye for over a year and a half. He's been picked apart by right-wing talk radio, wing-nut blogs, Hillary Clinton and FOX "News". He's performed well in debates and interviews. And he was clear, direct and thoughtful on Face the Nation this morning. Can we lay to rest the fiction that we don't know who he is?

Saturday Night Live on the First Debate

Saturday Night Live was pretty good, I have to say.  One of the criticisms often lobbed at the show, is that they've got a great opening bit, Weekend Update, musical guest, and that the rest sucks. Often, this isn't far from the truth.  I'd throw in there, that usually the musical act sucks too.  But for some reason, I've been watching for 34 years.

When politics is big in the news, SNL usually does better, having more to work with that is topical. Last night, the opening bit featured the Tina Fey in a Katie Couric/Sarah Palin interview, which was great. Weekend Update had lots of political stuff, and a prescient bit about Bill Clinton's barely there support for Barack Obama--which was borne out on this morning's Meet the Press.  And then there was this skit about the debate between John McCain and Barack Obama, with ex-cast member Chris Parnell pulled out of mothballs to play the moderator.  Good stuff.

McCain's Health: What's Going On?

Image from source, AmericaBlog

This past Friday, one of the more surprising aspects of the first debate was that John McCain seemed fully awake, upright, engaged and less doddering than usual. In this event, and in his speech at the Republican National Convention, McCain seemed very different than he often has on the campaign trail. I'd really like to know how they get him pumped up for the big events,

when he seems like a slowly deflating balloon at the smaller ones.

The issue of McCain's general health has become--for some reason--an almost taboo subject in the mainstream press, or from the Barack Obama campaign. Almost nobody seems willing to touch it. I'd really like to know why.

McCain was allowed--in a now more familiar "stunt"--to release his medical records on his own terms, by letting a select number of reporters view his voluminous records for a limited amount of time. Then they pulled the records from view. MoveOn.org recently ran an ad regarding the importance of knowing the status of McCain's health, and were slammed for it, with FOX "News" even somehow shaming a skittish MSNBC into dropping the ad. But these are valid points.

John McCain is our oldest candidate for a first-term President. People don't say much about it, but the previous record holder, and the oldest candidate for a second term, was very likely experiencing the beginning stages of Alzheimer's Disease while he was President. Well, as a blogger, I have very little to risk by doing my little part to bring some of this to light. I particularly have no fear of FOX "News!"

John Aravosis and the other bloggers at AmericaBlog, have been paying close attention to McCain and his health, and they've noticed that McCain had an odd appearance on this morning's This Week with George Stephanopoulos. They quite rightly are asking, what is up?

TW has not yet aired out here, so I may revisit this topic later in the day.


Remember, the reason we are forced to speculate about John McCain's health is because John McCain refuses to release his medical records. McCain let a few journalists review his records for 3 hours, that's it. They couldn't make copies, they had to leave everything behind. They got about 5 seconds to review each of other 1000 pages, then they had to move on to the next page. It's patently absurd. But that's where we are, due to John McCain's own choice in hiding his medical records. Thus, we are forced to speculate whether our potential next president is sick or dying. . .

Read more at: AmericaBlog

Sunday Talk Shows, Take 1: Shut Up!!!

Why do I do this to myself? I get up every Sunday morning, turn on Meet the Press, and grumble and grouse. The two main guests on MTP this morning are surrogates for Barack Obama and John McCain, David Axelrod and Steve Schmidt respectively. They're both tools.

Schmidt, for his part, actually defined "victory" in Iraq. He said something about an Iraqi government that is able to defend its own boundaries. Umm, OK. But that is "winning the war?" That's not winning the war, that's letting us off the hook for the occupation. Still, he's one of the first I've heard who even couched his words in those terms. Of course, Schmidt also kept repeating the lie about Obama raising taxes on the middle class, so he gains no points anyway.

But the main thing I kept thinking when hearing the back-and-forth is, for an election that is about change, this is exactly politics as usual. Spin artists on the tee-vee, pretending their guy is perfect, and the other guy is some boob that would wreck the country inside a week. Neither side acknowledged that their candidate would likely have to scrap their entire economic plan to fit the new government bailout program. Schmidt strongly implied that McCain Mighty Moused his way to DC and saved the country by steering the Congress the right way. Pure B.S.

Where do they find these guys?

Tina Fey Back as Sarah Palin on SNL

Tina Fey turned in another great performance as Sarah Palin last night on Saturday Night Live. It wasn't quite as funny as the Palin-Hillary Clinton skit, mostly because Amy Poehler was playing Katie Couric, which didn't offer her a very meaty role. Still, pretty funny stuff.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

John McCain as Grandpa Simpson: The Onion Belt Story

I ran this clip some time ago, and just checked to see if it was still available (YouTube videos notoriously go missing, right when you want to watch one). It's still there. And it's still ten kinds of funny.

This author of this clip has taken footage of John McCain, and replaced the soundtrack with one of The Simpsons' best "rambling Grandpa Simpson" stories. Throw in the Matlock theme song, and you've got comedy gold! Although, to be fair, Sarah Palin is much more guilty of the wandering sentence. Anyway, enjoy. Even if it's for the second (or third, or fourth) time!

New Barack Obama Ad: A Stronger Economy

Leave aside the policy issues in this ad (ie., the important stuff), and just focus for a bit on the more superficial. After all, that's what Republicans are doing with Sarah Palin. It's what they did with George W. Bush. For whatever reason, they like these people, and their personal foibles, cluttered pasts, and lack of gravitas don't matter a whit. The want to have a beer with W. (ironically an alcoholic), and to skin a moose or watch a hockey match with Palin.

So, let's take a look at what's on the surface here. We have a plain-spoken, articulate man, speaking directly to us. In identifiable English. It's even in complete, properly structured sentences. Bush and Palin are incapable of that, though each in their own ways. Obama seems calm, smart, upright, decent. . . Would it be so bad to vote for a person with these reasons at least #2 or #3 in your mind when you cast that vote?

I for one am tired of being embarrassed when our President visits a foreign country. I'm tired of the crazy dances, the inappropriate smirks, the groping of foreign leaders. I'm tired of the Bushisms. Most of all, I'm tired of having a President that speaks in colloquial Tex-English no matter where he is, or what he's saying: Nuttin. Iddn't. Wuddn't. Sick of it!

McCain may not have that problem, though he does wander off into Grandpa Simpson "onion belt" stories. And there's that creepy laugh of his, along with smirking. And Palin? Her heavily accented, flinty voice saying phrases like, "I’ll try to find ya some and I’ll bring 'em to ya." Oh ya, oofta, oofta! It would be like hearing St. Olaf stories for four or eight years!

So, please America. Vote for the guy who will at least sound nice, look presentable, know when to put his serious face on, and know when it is appropriate to have a little more levity. Please?

Proof of Obama's Critique of McCain on Iraq

Quick and easy access to video on the internet sure makes fact checking easier, doesn't it? In last night's debate, John McCain went after Barack Obama for being "wrong" on the surge. That one is impossible to check out, because there are many and varied opinions as to what the surge was, and to whether or not it "worked."

Obama then fired back at McCain at McCain's own history on Iraq. He quite rightly pointed out that the surge occurred in 2007, and that the invasion of Iraq started in 2003, long before the surge was even conceived. He then rattled off a list of things that McCain was wrong on. Great stuff, and this video bears him out.

Julie Brown Takes on Sarah Palin: New Song!

Photo from HX

I've loved Julie Brown (the funny one, not the untalented one) since I was shortly out of high school, which was way-y-y-y back in 1984. Video stores had just started popping up, and they had very little backlog--rentable video tape having just been invented and all. So after I got through every horror and sci-fi movie, I was down to the comedy section.

I found a "Comedy Videos" tape, and discovered The Hitler Rap by Mel Brooks, Where's the Beef? by Ruth Buzzi (a lame attempt to cash in on Wendy's Clara Peller), and The Homecoming Queen's Got a Gun by Julie Brown. The last song was the best, and still is very funny (if you remember that school shootings were much more rare in those days, and when they did occur, they weren't rampages). The song is lampooning 50s and 60s "tragedy" songs much more than school shootings.

After that song, Julie had a series of other funny tracks like, Trapped in the Body of a White Girl, I Like 'Em Big and Stupid, Girl Fight Tonight! and my favorite, 'Cause I'm a Blonde. She Incorporated some of these songs into her movie, Earth Girls are Easy, also starring Geena Davis, Jeff Goldblum, Damon Wayons and Jim Carrey. She's been in several (usually short-lived) shows that belong in the category, Brilliant but Cancelled. And she's made me laugh all the way.

Most recently, Julie has taken to making fun of Vice Presidential candidate, Sarah Palin. A worthy endeavor by any measure, made better by the fact that she can impersonate Palin's voice and appearance very well. Not bad, considering she's a full decade older than Palin. Below is an audio-only YouTube video (I know, that sounds weird), of Julie's appearance on a recent airing of The Stephanie Miller Show, where she released the premiere of "The Ex-Beauty Queen's Got a Gun/The Girl V.P.'s Got a Gun."

It's very, very funny stuff, but feels a bit like a work in progress. The backing track is from the original song, with some words still audible. And the title needs work. But it's still Julie Brown, and I'll take her any way I can get her!

And here's the original, just for fun. . .

Bill Maher's New Rules September 26, 2008

Each season of HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher only runs 13 weeks or so, and then the show goes on a hiatus that is just about that length. Every time, while Maher is off the air, some really crazy stuff happens, and I think that he must be going nuts, not being able to cover it.

Amazingly enough, when he comes back on, the craziness keeps coming, and he has absolutely no shortage of political idiots to cover. Still, I wish his show was structured more like The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, with a week or two off every few weeks, and on the rest of the time.

Paul Newman Dead at 83

Photo from source, CNN

You don't want to believe those "So-and-so's Final Days" stories you see on The National Enquirer, but they usually turn out to be true. Such is the case with legendary actor, Paul Newman, about whose health the tabloids have been buzzing for weeks.

Paul Newman was frankly not in many of my favorite movies. I guess I took less of a fancy to Butch Cassidy, and paid more attention to The Sundance Kid. But Newman sure did make up the background of my early pop culture knowledge. And he was one of a small group of actors (another being Gene Hackman) who was excellent in every part, even if the movie wasn't so good. RIP, Mr. Newman, and condolances to the (also legendary) Joanne Woodward.


Paul Newman dies at 83

Paul Newman, the legendary actor whose steely blue eyes, good-humored charm and advocacy of worthy causes made him one of the most renowned figures in American arts, has died of cancer at his home in Westport, Connecticut. He was 83. . .

Read more at: CNN

Friday, September 26, 2008

The First Presidential Debate: Who Won?

Photo from source, MSNBC

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.

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?


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

Whoa! Conservative Writer Wants Palin Off the Ticket

I just found this at AmericaBlog, and it's pretty amazing. It's one thing for liberals to dismiss Sarah Palin as vastly unqualified for the job of Vice President or President. But when a respected conservative writer at a respected conservative website says so? Stop the presses--er, the broadband? We need a new expression there, but this is one of those moments!


Townhall writer calls on Palin to step down and leave race

This is a conservative writer at the lead conservative Web site. This is a woman who was a fan of Sarah Palin, and now thinks Palin is wholly unqualified to be president of the United States. There is so much import to this article. . .

First off, the writer is a real conservative, not some liberal. (She's been called "an Ann Coulter wannabe," and Media Matters even recently sent out an alert about her.") Second, she's a woman. Third, she was a Palin fan. . .

Read more at: AmericaBlog and National Review Online

McCain Declares Self the Winner Ahead of Debate

Image from source, Reuters

Ooops! John McCain has declared himself the winner of tonight's debate, as though it has already happened. Who's running this campaign?


Ah the Internet world, a place where things move very quickly — maybe too quickly in the political world.

Before Republican presidential hopeful John McCain announced he would attend the debate on Friday night in Mississippi, apparently an Internet advertisement slipped out onto the Wall Street Journal’s opinion page with it declaring he won the contest. . .

Read more at: Reuters

David Letterman vs. John McCain Follow-up

Last night's Late Show with David Letterman featured quite a bit of follow-up talk by the host, of how he was stood-up by John McCain the night before. Letterman goes far out of his way to declare McCain a "real American hero," before criticizing him. It's a preamble that I believe should ought to be considered implied from now on. . .it's been endlessly rehashed, and does McCain critics to favors.

Nobody starts criticisms of Barack Obama by saying, "He's got a tremendous presence, has worked hard, and has made a name for himself after coming from humble beginnings. He's the embodiment of the American Dream. . ." So why the fawning over McCain? Every. Single. Time?

Anyway, on with the video clip. I doubt that Letterman is actually peeved, but his faux outrage is always good for a laugh.

John McCain Un-suspends Non-suspended Campaign

As The Other Half said to me this morning, "John McCain fumbled the 'Hail Mary' Pass?" It certainly does look that way, doesn't it? I'm quite sure that after eight years of rationalizing, making excuses and cognitive dissonance, the right-wing has some kind of spin for this that doesn't equal epic fail, but I'm not sure it's going to play.

So, tonight's debate should be interesting. If my suspicions are correct, McCain pulled this whole stunt after performing poorly in pre-debate practice sessions. So with all the other stuff going on between then and now, he must really be having to cram now. Maybe he thrives on pressure? Maybe expectations will be low, and he will easily meet them, I don't know. But, unless Barack Obama really steps in it tonight, I think he's got a good chance of doing well.


The Debate Is On; McCain Will Attend

Republican John McCain agreed to attend the first presidential debate Friday night even though Congress doesn't have a bailout deal, reversing an earlier decision to delay the forum until Washington had addressed the financial crisis. . .

Read more at: AOL News

Pepsi Donates $500K to PFLAG

I saw this item, and thought, "How long until the American Family Association, and all those other 'family' groups boycott PepsiCo?" I mean, lots of people maintain that they prefer Coke to Pepsi. Diet Coke to Diet Pepsi. Mello Yello to Mountain Dew. Sprite to Sierra Mist. I've never understood the distinction myself (I buy whatever is on sale), but some people are loyal Coke buyers, and refuse Pepsi products anyway.

Then I remembered, Pepsi owns FritoLay. Frito-frickin'-Lay! Go ahead, 'phobes, boycott Doritos, Fritos, Lays, Cheetos, Tostitos, Sun Chips. . .just try! Something tells me, the target audience for a boycott is the very group that couldn't make it through a weekend without the tasty, salty snacks of FritoLay. And don't forget that Pepsi also has a stake in Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and KFC. Yeah, I think a boycott would be an epic fail. A hearty Neslson Muntz Ha-ha! to you!


PepsiCo Foundation grants $500,000 to PFLAG

In a move that may upset conservative organizations and leaders, the PepsiCo Foundation has given a grant of $500,000 to Parents, Family and Friends of Lesbians and Gays to support Straight for Equality, a national education campaign, and to fund training and chapter support. . .

Read more at: PageOneQ

WaMu Collapses After McCain Wrecks Bailout?

Photo from source, Wonkette

I'm writing this on Thursday night, so there is no way to know yet how this is going to play out tomorrow. It's anybody's guess how the happenings of Thursday will affect Friday. But, wow, what a tangle we've got. . .

- On Wednesday, John McCain claims (but doesn't quite follow through) that he will suspend his campaign, in order to go to Washington D.C. to save the country.

- On Thursday, while McCain is belatedly en route to D.C., it is announced that the House and Senate are about to approve a government bailout, to save the country.

- McCain and Barack Obama meet with (still) President Bush and others to hammer out the details at the White House.

- Republicans revolt, and claim they have a better plan to save the country.

- Nothing can be agreed upon, so the tired Senators and Representatives go home to bed.

- Washington Mutual collapses. Country un-saved.

So, if McCain hadn't swooped in to "save the day," would any of this have happened? Would both houses of Congress agreed upon a plan, bailing out WaMu in the 11th hour? And what will Wall Street--which rallied impressively, if not spectacularly on Thursday--do on Friday? I don't know enough about stocks and bonds to pretend to know. But I have a hunch that we're in for a bad closing bell.


Washington Mutual Collapses; McCain Destroys Bailout Deal

There are no more nights in politics or business — only the endless horrible grind of collapse and f**kery, 24 hours a day, including this newest chapter in our latest, greatest depression: Washington Mutual has collapsed, and was closed by the Federal Government late Thursday night. It’s the biggest bank failure in U.S. history. . .

Read more at: Wonkette

Religious Test: Does Sarah Palin's Religion Pose a Risk?

I've been wondering if I should take the advice of several other bloggers, and stop focusing on Sarah Palin on my blog. I'm told that saying anything against her will be viewed as an attack by her disciples, and actually embolden their allegiance to her.

This is a most puzzling development in politics. Usually, no matter who a candidate is, he or she is subjected to a high level of scrutiny, and must endure many slings and arrows on their journey through a campaign. Hillary Clinton endured--as I see it--no more or less than any other candidate, but her followers magnified any negative statement, and re-framed it. They honestly believe that she endured an unprecedented onslaught of sexism run amok. Any negative remark made them more fervent in their defense of Clinton, and now that she's lost her bid, many of those followers are almost pathologically bitter about it. Clinton is almost deified in this realm, and her opponent--Barack Obama--is vilified to ridiculous extremes.

This is the same situation we are witnessing with Sarah Palin, though I'm not convinced there are as many Clinton supporters in this group as others have stated. Any negative attack on Palin brings outrage, and cries of sexism. Any gaffe is excused or ignored. Some gaffes are even turned around and touted as positives. And the one area that is the most dicey to touch is her religion.

Religion is Palin's calling card. It's the root of her conservative philosophy, and frankly the only explainable reason for her popularity (excepting her alleged "hotness"). So, when you go after Palin's rather odd religious history, her followers transpose the attack to all religion, particularly Christianity. This is most odd when you consider the constant stream of attacks on Obama's religious past. He most certainly didn't--and doesn't--get a pass does he? And they attack him for being a "crazy Christian" and a "radical Muslim."

As an agnostic-bordering-on-atheist, I get a wiggins whenever religion rears its head in politics. I flat-out don't like it, and don't think it reflects well on our country. It certainly isn't what the founding fathers tried to lay out. You'd think all of these right-wing "strict constructionists" would get that.

The following is a piece on Sarah Palin's religion, written by a much more eloquent non-believer than I. If you made it this far, it is well worth a few more minutes of your time.


When Atheists Attack: A noted provocateur rips Sarah Palin—and defends elitism.
By Sam Harris

Let me confess that I was genuinely unnerved by Sarah Palin's performance at the Republican convention. Given her audience and the needs of the moment, I believe Governor Palin's speech was the most effective political communication I have ever witnessed. Here, finally, was a performer who—being maternal, wounded, righteous and sexy—could stride past the frontal cortex of every American and plant a three-inch heel directly on that limbic circuit that ceaselessly intones "God and country." If anyone could make Christian theocracy smell like apple pie, Sarah Palin could. . .

Read more at: Newsweek

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Breaking News: Washington Mutual (WaMu) Seized

Image from source, MSNBC

And the big banks keep on failing. I think Washington Mutual is the very definition of "too big to fail." Amazing. . .


Government seizes WaMu, sells some assets

Largest bank failure in U.S. history; JPMorgan buys $1.9B in WaMu assets

JPMorgan Chase & Co. Inc. came to the rescue of Washington Mutual Inc. Thursday, buying the thrift's banking assets after WaMu was seized by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. in the largest failure ever of a U.S. bank. This is the second time in six months that JPMorgan Chase has taken over a major financial institution crippled by bad bets in the mortgage market. . .

Read more at: MSNBC

Sarah Palin Has a Bad Couple of Days

It's truly humorous to head over to right-wing world to see what they're saying about Sarah Palin these days. FreeRepublic is the wingnut outpost I'm most familiar with, but I suspect the reaction is similar at other venues.

I'll start out by saying that in the month or so we (and they) have known who the heck Sarah Palin is, the FReepers have been head over heels, rapturously, nuttily in love with her. Things that make liberals cringe. And that sort of stands to reason. But as the cracks have started to show, and more negative information about Palin comes to light, they seem to be straining mightily to keep the love alive.

To make my point, let me first show you a clip from Countdown with Keith Olbermann from this evening, outlining the relatively bad couple of days Palin has had on the campaign trail.

Now, a selection of comments from FreeRepublic, on how they're responding to the series of gaffes. . .

On the Couric interviews:
"I just watched both segments. I think she handled herself well in both of them."

On her visit to New York (site of the 9/11-Iraq conflation):
"She has great taste in clothing. I’m hoping she causes a renaissance. Slut chic is so slutty."

"She was Fabulous!!!"

On the pastor who went on real-life witch hunts:
"The truth is that most Americans believe in the supernatural. This could help Sarah more than hurt her."


Source: FreeRepublic

Government Bailout? Not so Fast

Photo from source, MSNBC

Economics was not a favorite subject for me in college, and I'm not much better at it now. But how many Americans really understand what's going on with this financial bailout plan? (Still) President George W. Bush contends that we are on the brink of financial collapse, and that Congress must pass a bailout bill immediately.

But nobody really cares what the President thinks these days, it would seem. He's cried wolf a few too many times, perhaps. But, John McCain seems to think it was urgent enough that he pretended to suspend his campaign to do something about it. Exactly what McCain is qualified to do on the subject is debatable.

Earlier today, there seemed to be an imminent agreement afoot. But after the dog-and-pony show put together by Bush in the White House, with both Barack Obama and McCain in attendence, everything seems to have fallen apart.

So what's going on here? Is McCain being assisted by Republicans, having staked his viability as President on this one issue? Are the Republicans throwing a wrench into the works to show--I don't know--strength? Hard to tell. The only thing that is certain is that Congress doesn't get to adjourn to go home and campaign in their own states.


Tentative agreement on bailout falls apart

Urgent efforts to lash together a $700 billion rescue plan for the national economy appeared to be stalling Thursday night, hours after key lawmakers had declared they had reached a deal. . .

After six days of intensive talks on the unprecedented package proposed by the Bush administration, with Wall Street tottering and presidential politics intruding six weeks before the election, there was more confusion than clarity. . .

Read more at: MSNBC

Sarah Palin Conflates Iraq and 9/11

Photo from source, Politico

While John McCain continues his non-supsension suspension of his campaign, Sarah Palin was still out there, and for a change she was talking to reporters. Bad idea. In one of the few answers she's given to a reporter outside a structured interview, Palin managed to conflate 9/11 with the Iraq War. Brilliant.


In a first, Palin takes press questions

Sarah Palin fielded four questions from a small group of reporters Thursday after touring several Sept. 11-related sites, articulating a forceful approach to the war on terror but offering mostly evasive answers to specific questions. . .

Read more at: Politico

FOX "News" Host Doocey Doesn't Like the Truth

Image from source, Raw Story

Steve Doocey, the host of the oddly named FOX & Friends morning FOX "News" show is very easy to make fun of. He regularly betrays the network's "fair and balanced" label by being anything but. But how can he expect his guests to play along?

Especially when that guest is Mik Papantonio, a radio host on Air America Radio. But this wasn't just a simple case of Republican vs. Democrat, with some opinions being flung. This was a case of Papantonio relating facts, and Doocey trying to shut him up.


Fox host tells guest mentioning McCain role in Keating Five scandal to 'pipe down'

The Keating Five scandal, and John McCain's role in it, has received relatively little mention in presidential campaign coverage, and at least one Fox News host seems dedicated to keeping it that way. . .

Read more at: Raw Story

AmericaBlog Notices Something About McCain's Left Eye

I found this story fascinating, because I too have thought there was something odd going on with John McCain's face, but I couldn't put my finger on it exactly. It reminds of the strange, intermittent jaw-wiggling George W. Bush sometimes does when finishing a sentence.

I've already noticed for some time that John McCain blinks a lot. And he has these little button eyes that make it extra noticeable. So it isn't surprising that a change in the way his eyes look was setting off alarms. It will be interesting to see if anything comes of this, or if it has anything to do with yesterday's bizarre behavior.


Anybody else notice anything weird with McCain's left eye recently?

Joe and
Rob both mentioned this to me in the past week, and now several readers have brought it up. I also just noticed that Atrios picked up on this too today. Something wrong, changed, droopy or puffy with McCain's left eye. Anybody else notice anything? I just searched Google a bit more and found references to his eye being droopy in April and May of this year as well. But whatever it is, it seems to be intermittent. (McCain has had 4 bouts of melanoma, and did in 2002 have a benign growth removed from under his left eye.). . .

Read more at: AmericaBlog

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Barack Obama's Press Conference on the Economy

After John McCain's erratic behavior today, and President Bush's we're all gonna die! deer-in-the-headlights speech tonight, this video is particularly refreshing.

I think America is hungry, starving for a head of state that is intelligent, well spoken, thoughtful, presentable. One that doesn't chuckle like a loon, or tap dance, or smile after saying dire things. It's like that exchange between Michael J. Fox and Michael Douglas in The American President:

Lewis Rothschild: People want leadership, Mr. President, and in the absence of genuine leadership, they'll listen to anyone who steps up to the microphone. They want leadership. They're so thirsty for it they'll crawl through the desert toward a mirage, and when they discover there's no water, they'll drink the sand.

President Andrew Shepherd: Lewis, we've had presidents who were beloved, who couldn't find a coherent sentence with two hands and a flashlight. People don't drink the sand because they're thirsty. They drink the sand because they don't know the difference. (Source: IMDB.com)
I'm tired of drinking sand.

Sarah Palin's Second Major Interview: Katie Couric

No, I didn't watch the thing. And, no, I do not count Sean Hannity's infomercial as an interview. But it looks like I didn't miss much, based on this writeup. Sarah Palin is still answering questions like a beauty pageant contestant, meandering around, acting like she knows what she's talking about.


Palin unable to name any examples of McCain ‘pushing for more regulation’ in the past 26 years.

In her interview with Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) tonight, CBS’s Katie Couric noted that the governor has said, “John McCain will reform the way Wall Street does business.” “Can you give us any more examples of his leading the charge for more oversight?” Couric asked. Palin, however, refused to answer the question directly, instead going on about how McCain is seen as a “maverick.” When pressed further by Couric, Palin was unable to name any examples of McCain pushing for more regulation. . .

Source: Think Progress

John McCain's Apolitical Act Actually Political

Image from source, Raw Story

When John McCain made the bizarre announcement that he was suspending his campaign, he couched it in terms of being apolitical. He claimed--as do his apologists--to be putting country first, ahead of politics, and ahead of the Presidential campaign.

Funny thing.

In actuality, his campaign prepared political talking points for how to handle this phase of his (un) campaign. And somebody mistakenly sent it out to a reporter. Scratch the funny, that's hilarious.


As McCain suspends campaigning, aide accidentally e-mails bailout talking points to media

Sen. McCain's campaign accidentally e-mailed a list of talking points to several media outlets today amidst his announcement this afternoon that he was suspending his campaign to "focus" on the ongoing Wall Street bailout discussions. . .

Read more at: Raw Story

What About John McCain's Health Records?

Several issues seem to be mostly "off the table" in this Presidential campaign, at least as they pertain to John McCain. His philandering in the 70s. His involvement with the Keating Five in the 80s. His age.

But the one that gets far too little attention may be the most important. His health. McCain released his medical records in only the most cursory way. He let a limited number of reporters comb through his voluminous health records for a very limited amount of time. Then, he withdrew them.

Many people, including some doctors, are very worried about this. McCain has had cancer four times, and he's no spring chicken. When you add in his selection of Sarah Palin--a supremely inexperienced politician--for his number two spot, the matter of his health is extremely relevant. So why don't we know more?

McCain is 72. He's had cancer 4 times.

David Letterman Rips into John McCain for No Show

CBS's Late Show with David Letterman hasn't even aired here yet, but it's making big news for tonight's episode. John McCain was scheduled to appear, but due to his bizarre decision to suspend his campaign, he told Letterman personally that he was off to DC to save the country.
Or something.

But Letterman caught McCain in (yet another) lie. He wasn't on his way to DC, he was at the same network, giving an interview to Katie Couric. In fact he doesn't go back to DC until tomorrow.

Letterman--bless him--lets McCain have it. Take a look. . .

Sarah Palin to Suspend Campaign Too?

Photo from source, Politico

This just gets weirder and weirder. For what purpose would Sarah Palin, Governor of Alaska--not a Senator or Congresswoman--need to suspend her campaign? She can't go help out on the economic crisis, so what's her deal? Could it be that she's got a wiggins about being cornered by a big bad reporter or something, while John McCain is off "saving America?"


Palin may also suspend campaign

John McCain's campaign has floated the possibility that Sarah Palin may also suspend her campaign, matching McCain’s announcement that he would cease campaigning for president to return to Washington to try to hammer out a fix for the nation’s financial meltdown.

As the governor of Alaska, Palin cannot participate in the high-level federal government deliberations on the economy that McCain gave as his reason for suspending his campaign. . .

Read more at: Politico

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