Friday, October 31, 2008

Predator-O-Lantern Is Bad-Ass

These are some major gourd carving skills:

Congratulations to Ray Villafane, a sculptor for DC Comics on his win Sunday night on the Food Network’s Pumpkin Carving Challenge. The six and half hour event pitted four pumpkin carvers against each other in a three part competition. Part one involved a traditional Jack o Lantern. Part two: 3D sculpture. The final part, which was worth half of the points was the freestyle competition. Ray won every section and blew away the competition. Not only did he get bragging rights and a neat little medal, but he also got a check for $10,000 dollars.

Michael Goldfarb Is A Lying Douchebag

Michael Goldfarb is a McCain campaign spokesman and political pundit; in this clip he makes some accusations about Barack Obama, saying that he hangs around with anti-Semites and as example cites Rashid Khalidi, a professor of Arab studies at Columbia University and a leading Palestinian scholar and advocate for Palestinian rights. This accusation smacks of late-hour desperation and is tenuous at best but when pressed by CNN's Rick Sanchez to name one other person after he says "anti-Semites" Goldfarb clumsily tries to parry the question and then just sits there like a smug, dumb shit:

This campaign will truly say or do anything to win this election; have I mentioned lately that Michael Goldfarb is a lying douchebag? Well, he is.

Yes We Carve

Make sure you take the razor blades out of the apples before you eat them, and Happy Halloween.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Daughter Of Slave Votes For Obama

Some slightly more inspirational news out of my home state:

Amanda Jones, 109, the daughter of a man born into slavery, has lived a life long enough to touch three centuries. And after voting consistently as a Democrat for 70 years, she has voted early for the country's first black presidential nominee.

The middle child of 13, Jones, who is African American, is part of a family that has lived in Bastrop County for five generations. The family has remained a fixture in Cedar Creek and other parts of the county, even when its members had to eat at segregated barbecue dives and walk through the back door while white customers walked through the front, said Amanda Jones' 68-year-old daughter, Joyce Jones...

Amanda Jones' father urged her to exercise her right to vote, despite discriminatory practices at the polls and poll taxes meant to keep black and poor people from voting. Those practices were outlawed for federal elections with the 24th Amendment in 1964, but not for state and local races in Texas until 1966.

Amanda Jones says she cast her first presidential vote for Franklin Roosevelt, but she doesn't recall which of his four terms that was. When she did vote, she paid a poll tax, her daughters said. That she is able, for the first time, to vote for a black presidential nominee for free fills her with joy, Jones said.
I never really feel like an adult anyway but it really floors me that this lady and fellow Obama supporter is still over three times my age; I could not even imagine seeing the changes the world has undergone over her lifetime. My buddy PK posted a similar story about a 110 year old gentleman from Oakland earlier this month over at Intrepid Californio.

Don't Mess With Texas

I don't actually know if the sign above is from Texas or another Southern state but regardless I assume that Texas has its share of Rednecks supporting Barack Obama as well; the real reason for this post is to share this nugget:

Barack Obama's religion has been the subject of much discussion in the media. Though Obama is a practicing Protestant, well-publicized emails and word of mouth campaigns inaccurately identifying him as a Muslim have been circulated since the early days of his candidacy. In order to gauge public awareness of Obama's religion, we asked respondents, "What do you believe Barack Obama's religion to be?" A plurality, 45.5%, chose the "Protestant" option, and 28 % couldn't say. Twenty percent, however, said that Obama is a Muslim.
As I've said before, I wish there was less focus on Obama's religion and on religion in politics in general but having said that: twenty percent? What the fuck? I know Texas is a big state and that a lot of people aren't concentrated in the big media centers so I can understand that they might not be that informed about some things but if that's the case: how are they being polled? The only other conclusion I can come to is that 1 in 5 Texans is keeping themselves either blithely or willfully ignorant on this topic, which doesn't really surprise me but I'm still disappointed; Texas, it's a good thing your food tastes so good or else I'd have a hard time speaking well of you sometimes.

Generation We

I wrote about the importance of the youth vote when I endorsed Barack Obama back in March before I had even heard of the term "Millenials" and about the decline of the crumbling American empire they will inherit here; with the election of Barack Obama my parents' generation will finally be moving out of power and will hopefully take the old, tired Boomer culture wars with them. These kids are the ones who will be running the world when I reach that age; I think and hope they can do better:

No Lawn Sign? No Problem

Someone in Austin doesn't know how to play well with others:

After the Barack Obama sign was stolen from her front yard, Shannon Bennett painted a more permanent one with 12 cans of spray-paint and her front lawn as the canvas. "I just wanted to be able to say who I support, without being censored, which is how I felt when my sign was taken," said Bennett. She painted a large, red, white, and blue symbol in the front yard, using her old Obama sign as an inspiration.

...Bennett said the Obama signs have been stolen from the yards of her neighbors, as well. "They might think it's extreme, but I think it's extreme to come into my yard and take something that belongs to me, so I wanted to express myself."
We had the same problem when I was working on the McNerney campaign: we'd deliver signs to people's yards and they would call later to say that they had been taken and it happened over and over again; it's petty and immature and unfortunately a reality in modern politics.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Hate Continues

Do yourself a favor and stop this video when the song at the end starts because it's lame:

"I don't want to sound racist here but I do not want a black man to run my country." That's funny, because you sound really, really racist there. After posting several videos showing enraged McCain/Palin supporters saying some horrible things about Barack Obama I've had people say to me, "Yeah, but I'll bet there are just as many people saying bad things at Obama and Biden rallies." Now I won't deny that there are a lot of people who don't want to see John McCain and Sarah Palin get elected but where are the videos of folks screaming that they don't belong in the White House because she's merely a woman or that he's un-American and a terrorist?

Ultimate Lambo Garage

I don't think I've ever seen anything so equally beautiful and disgusting at the same time:

Hey, Obama Supporter...

Food Poisoning's A Bitch

Either I've eaten something that no human should have or someone sucker punched me in the gut while I was sleeping; either way the posts may be a bit light for the next day or so but don't worry: I have top men working on it. Top. Men.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Something Someone Else Said

"This is what the Republican Party has done to us this year: It has placed within reach of the Oval Office a woman who is a religious fanatic and a proud, boastful ignoramus. Those who despise science and learning are not anti-elitist. They are morally and intellectually slothful people who are secretly envious of the educated and the cultured. And those who prate of spiritual warfare and demons are not just "people of faith" but theocratic bullies. On Nov. 4, anyone who cares for the Constitution has a clear duty to repudiate this wickedness and stupidity." -Christopher Hitchens, Slate.com

Senator Ted Stevens Found Guilty

You always knew that politicians are dirty but when a jury confirms what you already know it just makes it that much sweeter:

Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens was convicted of seven corruption charges Monday in a trial that tainted the 40-year Senate career of Alaska's political patriarch.

...Stevens, 84, was convicted of all seven charges he faced of lying about free home renovations and other gifts he received from a wealthy oil contractor. Jurors began deliberating Wednesday at noon.

Stevens faces up to five years in prison on each count when he is sentenced Jan. 26, but under federal sentencing guidelines, he is likely to receive much less prison time, if any.

The monthlong trial revealed that employees for oil services company VECO Corp. transformed the senator's modest mountain cabin into a modern, two-story home with wraparound porches, a sauna and a wine cellar. Stevens never paid for VECO's work.
But wait, this is my favorite part of the whole story, despite how disgusting it makes America look:
Despite being a convicted felon, he is not required to drop out of the race or resign from the Senate. If he wins re-election, he can continue to hold his seat because there is no rule barring felons from serving in Congress. The Senate could vote to expel Stevens on a two-thirds vote.
That's right: he can still run for the office of United States senator despite being a convicted felon but here's the part that should make you all want to puke all over our constitution: as far as I can tell, he's not allowed to vote for himself. That's right America, in the land of the free and home of the brave you can still run for office if you're a dirty, lying criminal but voting is off limits; we certainly know how to punish the wicked in this country, do we not?

I used to date/sleep with a girl who worked for Senator Stevens in Washington and I can tell you after hearing about him firsthand that he's a despicable son of a bitch that doesn't give a damn about the American people or fiscal responsibility. To illustrate the latter point: one of my trips up to AK to see her was paid for entirely with frequent flier points she garnered flying back and forth from Alaska to DC.

And this is the dirty little secret that most Republicans don't want you to know: the federal government's big failing isn't that it and all of it's programs don't work, it's just that the people that make a living out of screaming that it doesn't work make sure that it doesn't by sabotaging it to the nth degree. Translation: the same people who decry the wastefulness of "big government" are the same asswipes who exploit and take advantage of that system.

Why make the American government work when you can privatize and outsource all of the lucrative contracts to your friends and cronies and make a mint for yourself in campaign contributions and kickbacks while demonizing the only real source of justice for the everyday American? Ted Stevens is only the latest casualty but make no mistake: there will be more and they will all pay for their transgressions when their lies and deals eventually make the headlines.

Quiz: Are You A Real American?

Jon Stewart and the Daily Show lay out the new rules as defined by the McCain/Palin campaign and the American right in general:

The Death Of Unpaid Blogging?

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Monday, October 27, 2008

A Quick Skirmish

As per my earlier post today, we're now commencing the Brain Rage/American Power blog war; I don't have a lot of time to go into a great deal of detail but I just wanted to call attention to a small but obvious faux pas by my opponent. Marc Ambinder posted this at the Atlantic today:

Conservatives find it absurd that Americans are about to elect the most liberal president of the modern era and aren't terribly upset by it; but in capitalizing on this particular argument of Obama's, the Republicans are rearguing whether some form of economic redistributions from white people to black people was necessary -- even though Obama never really made the point.
After posting the same quote above, Don had this arguably erudite rejoinder:
Who among the conservative establishment isn't "terribly upset" that Barack Obama's the most far-left Democratic nominee in American history?

Rush Limbaugh? Nope,
couldn't be him. How about GOP Senator George Voinovich? Nope, he must have lost the memo. Couldn't be John McCain, either, right?

It's not only disingenuous to argue that conservatives aren't worried about Obama's socialism, it's outright journalistic malpractice to assert that there's no economic class analysis in Obama's 2001 public radio statement.
Do you see the obvious disconnect here? Leaving the points about black/white relations and Obama's economic class analysis aside, Ambinder's point wasn't that the conservative establishment wasn't "terribly upset" that America is about to elect "the most liberal president of the modern era" (and isn't it a convenient talking point that whoever is running on the left is always demonized as "the most liberal" something or other of any era); his point was that conservatives "find it absurd" that Americans are about to elect this guy and that AMERICANS don't seem terribly upset by his liberalism.

As I've written before, I've visited Don's site and from the things I've read in the comment sections I can assure you that his readers do indeed find it absurd that America is about to elect Barack Obama as our next president and they are also terribly upset by that fact, in addition to a myriad of other things which do not even remotely resemble facts. I more than anyone understand the need to go off on a rant Don, and I don't begrudge you that inclination; just make sure you know of that which you speak.

Attacked By A McCain Supporter!

The obvious transparency of the original story is great fodder for parody; I've warned about the dangers of the elderly before so this testimonial is a bit of vindication for me:

Under The Clouds Of War

So it seems that I am the subject, at least in part, of a post at a right-wing political blog called American Power:

I've got a new regular visitor from the leftosphere, James at Brain Rage, who apparently applauds the politics of gutter video-attacks like the one found in "Red, White and MILF."

With all due respect, that's not parody but demonization.
Apparently he's very upset about my post of a harmless song making fun of Sarah Palin's staggering lack of political competence while also celebrating her obvious physical assets; I think he's one of those "sensitive" serious guys, with all due respect.

I've stopped by his site a few times to light-heartedly spar intellectually and philosophically with some of the regulars although I don't know if they would classify our exchanges as "light-hearted"; I've already been called "sick", "lost", "sexist", "a self-described 'intellectual elitist' who is actually just a secular pseudo-intellectual who uses his thesaurus to show how smart he is", "dumb as a box of rocks", and "Jim" (that's the only one that really bugged me but to be fair that guy was agreeing with me; oh, and I don't own a thesaurus: this is just how I speak).

The site is run by a guy named Donald Douglas who posts under the name Americaneocon, an associate professor of political science at a community college in Southern California who has been dropping by my site and making the occasional comment; Don strikes me as a typical righty in the blogosphere: pretty much sold on his side's particular narrative and talking points but not an altogether despicable fellow to debate with.

So I guess he deemed my reply to his reply to my reply to his etc. to my comment on one of his posts too long to address outside of a blog post and then basically challenged me to a blog war if I so chose; I've never participated in a blog war before but they look like fun on some of the sites I read so I was considering taking him up on it when I saw that he had invoked my name in his latest post. As I said, I'm a neophyte to this type of engagement but I assume that I can consider that action his opening salvo, or at least a rhetorical declaration of war on his part.

So let this be my unequivocal reply: have at you, sir! I don't plan to focus a great deal of energy on this endeavour but hopefully it will prove to be an interesting exercise, or at least an entertaining one. I'm a street walking cheetah with a heart full of napalm, Don; prepare yourself.

The Truth About ACORN

This is one of the lies about Barack Obama that the right has really latched onto during this election; the short story is this: some people who were working for ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, a community-based organization that advocates for low- and moderate-income families) registering voters wrote in some fake names to pad their roles, the organization flagged these suspect cards and turned them in to the voter registrar as per the law, so now the rabid right is screaming "voter fraud!" at the top of their lungs when nothing of the kind has occurred. This whole situation is truly sound and fury, signifying nothing but I'll let Robert Greenwald's short film speak for itself:

Sunday, October 26, 2008

McCain vs. Obama Dance-off

It's on:

[Update: It appears that the original video I embedded has been removed so I replaced it with the more reliable YouTube format. Enjoy.]

Red, White and MILF

Some soft-core porn for the right-wingers; think Warrant's "Cherry Pie" with a healthy dose of political parody:

My favorite line: "She might not know about foreign stuff, she might not know about knowing stuff..."

Robocop On A Unicorn

Perhaps the strangest, most specialized Flickr group ever; there truly is a niche for everything and everyone on the Internet.

Change: That's Whassup


Saturday, October 25, 2008

Apple Opposes Prop 8

The rainbow logo was apparently more prescient than we all thought:

Apple is publicly opposing Proposition 8 and making a donation of $100,000 to the No on 8 campaign. Apple was among the first California companies to offer equal rights and benefits to our employees’ same-sex partners, and we strongly believe that a person’s fundamental rights — including the right to marry — should not be affected by their sexual orientation. Apple views this as a civil rights issue, rather than just a political issue, and is therefore speaking out publicly against Proposition 8.
I own a PC, I'm not gay and I'm not even sure if I'll ever get married but I still agree with every sentiment expressed above; it's going to take the support of more open-minded, progressive companies like this one to counter the massive influx of cash that's been pumped into this state by the Utah-based Mormon church. And just to stick with the dual theme, here's a great marriage equality ad:

Maybe it's just because I'm a politics junkie but the California constitution does look pretty good; is it admitting too much to say that justice turns me on too? You can read my previous takes on the right's movement to deny gay people the right to marry here and here.

Picture Of The Day

Barack Obama purchases ad space on the side of John McCain's campaign bus (courtesy of The Onion); I suppose it was only a matter of time.

The Vet Who Did Not Vet

This homemade Obama campaign ad breaks down Sarah Palin in a way most appropiate for her: so that a third grader could understand it; truly the best thing that can be said about a McCain/Palin administration is that it hasn't happened yet:

Friday, October 24, 2008

Ron Howard's Call To Action

I didn't really watch these shows regularly as a kid so the nostalgia factor is low for me but what I find so striking is how weird an adult Ron Howard looks with hair:

The Hot Lady And The Tiger Woods Guy

After Sarah Palin announced that she believes the vice-president is in charge of the Senate she drops by the White House to get the truth (and a sweet endorsement) from W:

[Update: Welcome to all of my fellow Pharyngula readers! Please feel free to have a look around Brain Rage; and thanks, PZ.]

Something Someone Else Said

This doesn't instill any level of confidence on my part:

BROWN: Do you think [Palin is] qualified to be president?

SCHWARZENEGGER: I think that she will get to be qualified.

BROWN: She will get there? What do you mean? She's not ready yet?

SCHWARZENEGGER: By the time that she is sworn in I think she will be ready.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Hollywood Director Attack Ads

McCain/Palin attack ads if they were directed by John Woo, Kevin Smith and Wes Anderson; if you're a hard-core movie fan you'll love these:

McCain Left On Campaign Bus Overnight

I make a lot of jokes about old people on this blog and I plan to die before an incident like this can befall me (I haven't decided if it will be a death by martinis or BASE jumping yet) but regardless, it's just sad when this sort of thing happens:

At least cracking the windows was a sign of humanity.

Something Someone Else Said

"I think she's the most qualified of anyone recently who has run for vice president to tell you the truth." -John McCain, who's first choice for his vice-presidential nominee was Joe Lieberman, who ran as the Democratic nominee eight years ago

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

McCain Cursed By Witches

Again, shit like this would merely make me laugh if only these people didn't have the right to vote in this election; from a site of nutball Christianists called inJesus:

Dear friends:


Minutes ago I spoke with friend Dr. Norman G. Marvin, M.D. and he is so concerned at what he has learned about Barack Obama's family in Kenya that he is calling a special prayer meeting in his home to pray against the witchcraft curses attempted by them against John McCain and Sarah Palin.

Dr. Marvin sent me the below e-mail from Flo Ellers. Flo is credentialed with the International Fellowship of Ministries which is based in Washington State. She is also a member of EndTime Handmaidens and Servants of Jasper, Arkansas.

I'm not fully trained in the black arts but I'll give it a try: I hereby curse John McCain to have aching in his joints when he gets tired and decreasing eyesight as he ages and oh, Sarah Palin shall have an unquenchable, moist burning in her loins for bloggers with the initials JBW; as it was written on Brain Rage, so let it be done (I smeared a little eye of newt on my laptop screen just to seal the deal). So, I don't see any other impediments to Obama's supernaturally insured win now, do you?

Understanding Real America In Wasilla

As I've said before I love Alaska but this portrayal of the town of Wasilla does nothing positive for their image with the Lower 48:

Our Beautiful, Beautiful Sun

I've never seen pictures this detailed of our closest star:

The Sun is now in the quietest phase of its 11-year activity cycle, the solar minimum - in fact, it has been unusually quiet this year - with over 200 days so far with no observed sunspots. The solar wind has also dropped to its lowest levels in 50 years. Scientists are unsure of the significance of this unusual calm, but are continually monitoring our closest star with an array of telescopes and satellites.
You can click on the image above to see it in more detail or click on the link above to see the other 20 photos.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Zima, I Hardly Knew Ye

Apparently today was a dark one in the annals of malt beverage history:

MILWAUKEE - MillerCoors LLC says goodbye to Zima.

The joint venture between SABMiller's U.S. unit and Molson Coors Brewing Co. told distributors in a letter Monday that production of the malt liquor beverage was discontinued as of Oct. 10.

Chief Marketing Officer Andy England says the decision was due to weakness in the "malternative" segment and declining consumer interest.
Being a beer/wine/vodka man myself and having never imbibed a malt beverage I can't relate to the sentiments being expressed by my dear family member one l bill in bringing this to my attention, but I do sympathize:
In 6th or 7th grade I was at my friend Eddie's house. His folks were both smokers and always had Blue Ribbon in the fridge. Eddie's mom looked like a potsmoking hippie who managed to elevate herself from trailer to brick & mortar home. His dad was skinny as a rail and probably worked at a steel mill. Anyway, Eddie wasn't a particularly bad kid or anything. He was actually pretty good compared to a lot of the kids at my school. However, that didn't prevent Eddie from being the kid who introduced me to my first Red Shoe Diaries, first Playboy and first beer. One day when his folks were gone and I was spending the night we decided to try one of the Blue Ribbons. As I recall, we each took one sip, thought it was disgusting, spit it out, threw the evidence in the gutter, brushed our teeth and chewed about 6 pieces of Spearmint gum. From that day on, I could care less about beer. It tasted disgusting!

I'll have you know that I've tried plenty of other beers since that day. In all honesty, probably not very many (if any) before age 21. I have done my part to seek out an understanding for this adult male's beverage though. To this day, I still haven't found one I like. Closest I ever got was a Keystone Light. So when my college roommates and I started a Friday afternoon/night tradition called "Power Hour", I was determined to find something to drink along with them. (Power Hour started around 2pm every week. We'd crank up Dr. Dre, grab some chips, salsa, beer and play PS2 until we couldn't take it anymore. The crowd was always a minimum of 5 guys, often up to 10. Guys came from all around to join the camaraderie.) After ruling out a dozen different beers, one of the guys suggested I try a Zima. Low and behold, this was the magic nectar that was able to break my alcohol seal. I don't mean to imply that I'd get wasted off the stuff - I've never been one for excess in this area. But finally, I found a drink that I could have 2, maybe 3 and enjoy them.

Since that day, many other drinks have come and gone in my life. Maragaritas are right up there on the list now. Zima's always been my #1 girl though. Have I been mocked beyond belief? Yes. Do I care? No. I love Zima and Zima gets along fine with me. Our relationship made such an impression on one of my old roommate's new roommates that he's the one who actually found this article and made sure it got forwarded to me. This is a tragic day for one L bill.

I loved you Zima. I gave you many of my most fun nights in college. (Yeah, yeah, lame to most, but you had to be there.) Whenever I think of you, Zima, you will be forever linked to those great college friends and our numerous wasted hours on Timesplitters and NHL Hitz. Thanks for the memories.
I specifically remember the first time my old man gave me a whole beer just for myself at the National Skydiving Championships in Muskogee, Oklahoma in the mid-1980's as well as when I took my girl at the time out to a nice Argentinian restaurant she chose on Valentine's Day, 1998 where I tried my first vodka martini: in both cases I hated each of them, respectively; I chalk the first up to the fact that I was not yet even a teenager at the time and the second to the fact that a martini is basically just straight up 80 proof alcohol in a fancy glass.

Regardless, I've since come to love both of these libations (the martini especially) as I would a good friend or lover, so I understand what my boy here is going through. As a show of brotherly (in-law) solidarity, I promise to tip the last sip of my next dry martini onto the bar just for you, amigo.

Sarah Palin's 2012 Presidential Campaign Ads

I've already heard many Republicans floating the idea of her running for the big chair in 2012 if she and John McCain lose this one but I just don't see it as realistic; the more we learn about this woman the more obvious it becomes that she's not qualified to hold higher office. Fortunately her current duties in Alaska seem to merely consist mostly of passing out checks to the citizens, pretending to reform things and killing the occasional large animal. Just the same, it's good to start getting a few ads in the can just in case:

Obama's Grandma

Barack Obama is taking the next few days off from the campaign trail:

"Senator Obama's grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, has always been one of the most important people in his life. Along with his mother and his grandfather, she raised him in Hawaii from the time he was born until the moment he left for college. As he said at the Democratic Convention, she poured everything she had into him. Recently, his Grandmother has become ill, and in the last few weeks, her health has deteriorated to the point where her situation is very serious. It is for that reason that Senator Obama has decided to change his schedule on Thursday and Friday so that he can see her and spend some time with her. He will be returning the the campaign trail on Saturday."
My own grandma passed away last month but I assume that Obama's relationship with his is a bit different than mine was. I don't believe in praying or even sending positive energy anymore so I'm not going to ask that of anyone but please do whatever you feel is right; here's hoping that your own families are doing well today.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Robot Chicken: We Own Tiger

This has nothing to do with Eric Cartman recently trying to prevent an attack from the Chinese, I just wanted to remind everyone of how good it must feel to be Tiger Woods (and yes, the endorsements help):

Picture Of The Day

Barack Obama shakes hands with the crowd after a speech at the Crown Coliseum in Fayetteville, North Carolina yesterday.

Obama Supporter Sells Cookies To Buy Attack Ad

I'd heard about how popular Barack Obama is with the elementary school crowd but I had no idea there was such visceral dislike of John McCain as well. I also very much doubt that Obama would approve of her tactics:

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Palin Song

A short clip of one of Sarah Palin's interviews with Katie Couric set to music; you've seen the interview before but it takes on a whole new life with a musical accompaniment:

Powell Endorses Obama

Remember when people were trying to get this guy to run as Dole's VP? He was smart to say no then and is smart to endorse now:

[Update: Powell is stopped outside the studio and asked if the negative tone of John McCain's campaign was a factor in his decision to endorse Barack Obama; listening to the man talk I can't imagine how he survived as long as he did in the Bush administration:

Picture Of The Day

Barack Obama drew more than 100,000 people to a rally beneath the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri yesterday.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

10,000 Hits

Thanks to everyone who has read my stuff thus far and here's hoping you stick around for the next 10,000 as well; the visitor from La Jolla, California has 1 hour to collect their prize.

Something Someone Else Said

"Don't underestimate the capacity of Democrats to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Don't underestimate our ability to screw it up." -Barack Obama

Final Countdown On The KazooKeylele

Something for all of you Europe fans out there who just won't stop bugging me for this. There! Are you happy now?

Friday, October 17, 2008

Bush Chest Bump

As much as I'm looking forward to this idiot being out of office I'm definitely going to miss him doing shit like this.

McCain's Brand New Stump Speech

Finally, something for his supporters to get excited about:

Something Someone Else Said

"I was not born in a manger. I was actually born on Krypton. I was sent here by my father Jorel to save the planet Earth... Many of you know that I got my name from my father. "Barack" is Swahili for "That one." I got my middle name from somebody who obviously didn't realize I would run for president."

"My greatest strength would be my humility. My greatest weakness is that it's possible I am too awesome." -Barack Obama, lampooning John McCain, himself and the messiah complex some of his supporters have built around his candidacy at the traditional Al Smith dinner in New York City

The HBO Presidential Debate

After Wednesday nights rather boring affair I look forward to the time when debates have devolved to the point where profanity, symbolism and strange plot twists are all the rage:

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Stewart/Colbert Fist Bump

The newest edition of Entertainment Weekly features Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert in a recreation of the now infamous Barack and Michelle Obama "terrorist" fist bump cover of the New Yorker from last July but it sounds like the article has some choice tidbits from Stewart as well:

The article itself features some blistering quotes from Stewart on the media’s fascination with McCain’s running mate, Sarah Palin: "Everyone likes new and shiny," says Jon Stewart. "We’re bored. What’s great about that is [Democratic VP candidate Joe] Biden is an absolutely eccentric character. That’s how powerful Palin’s story is—it has cast the first African-American presidential nominee, the oldest [non-incumbent] presidential nominee, and a really wild cork vice presidential candidate completely out of the picture. The press is 6-year-olds playing soccer; nobody has a position, it’s just "Where’s the ball? Where’s the ball? Sarah Palin has the ball!" [Mimes a mob running after her.] Because they can only cover one thing."

"I keep hearing that she’s 'like us.' There’s this idea that people who hunt and have 'good' values are somehow this mythological American; I don’t know who 'this' person is, I’ve never met them," Stewart continues. "She is no more typical 'us' than I am, than Obama is, than McCain is, than Mr. T is. If there is something quintessentially or authentically American about her, I sort of feel like, you know what? You 'good values people' have had the country for eight years, and done an unbelievably sh*tty job.”

As I've said before, Stewart and Colbert are doing the job of the mainstream media better than the mainstream media and nobody seems too upset by this fact. The Bush Administration's cowing of the investigative press during the run up to the Iraq war was stupefying but the press's abdication of their duties during this election cycle has been truly stunning; thank the gods that we can still expect honest, intelligent, biting sarcasm and parody from these two no matter what happens after the election. If Obama wins this one I'd expect them to give him exactly as much heat as he deserves but to be honest, it's going to be pretty hard to top the crew we've had for the last eight years.

How Republicans See Obama

We've seen the specter of racism rear its ugly head again and again in this election (take your pick: #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6...) but this one is so bad that it's teetering on the brink of self-parody:

The latest newsletter by an Inland Republican women's group depicts Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama surrounded by a watermelon, ribs and a bucket of fried chicken, prompting outrage in political circles.

The October newsletter by the Chaffey Community Republican Women, Federated says if Obama is elected his image will appear on food stamps -- instead of dollar bills like other presidents. The statement is followed by an illustration of "Obama Bucks" -- a phony $10 bill featuring Obama's face on a donkey's body, labeled "United States Food Stamps."

...The group's president, Diane Fedele, said she plans to send an apology letter to her members and to apologize at the club's meeting next week. She said she simply wanted to deride a comment Obama made over the summer about how as an African-American he "doesn't look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills."
Wait, it gets better; this is my favorite part:
She said she doesn't think in racist terms, pointing out she once supported Republican Alan Keyes, an African-American who previously ran for president.

"I didn't see it the way that it's being taken. I never connected," she said. "It was just food to me. It didn't mean anything else."

Now it is here that I again must come to one of two conclusions: either this woman is actually, at least somewhat, a racist or else she is one of the most sheltered, uninquisitive people on the planet. This means that she's never overheard any kind of racist remarks pertaining to the dietary habits of black people ever in her life and also that she must have just ignored the laughter of her white and black friends and colleagues alike whenever these topics of conversation have come up. Racist or stupid, either way: we don't need you; America has plenty of both, thanks. Just on a personal note: every item on that fake food stamp looks absolutely delicious; I'm going to get some chicken right now.

Something Someone Else Said

"Joe the Plumber has now had more press conferences than Sarah Palin." -Andrew Sullivan, The Daily Dish

Presidential Debate #3

So this was the last and final debate of this presidential election and I have to say that I'm relieved: relieved that we're that much closer to ending what has been a constant source of amusement/stress for me and relieved that I don't have to watch any more presidential debates for four more years. This review is going to be a cursory one as I assume that I'm as tired of writing about these things as you all are of reading about them.

First the moderator: I thought that Bob Schieffer of CBS's Face The Nation did a fine job moderating the event; he stuck to his promise of at least attempting to hold the candidates' feet to the fire without looking like too much of a jerk and I thought that his practice of letting the candidates pose follow-up questions to each other made for a lot more substantive (a relative word in a presidential debate, I know) give and take between the two of them. He was well balanced and brought up several topics that have not been addressed thus far in this type of forum.

Overall I'd say that this was John McCain's best performance so far; he came out of the gate strong and energized, looking to take the fight to Barack Obama the way his base and the right wing talk radio and blogosphere crowds have been cajoling him to for weeks now. Unfortunately for him and all of them I still don't think that it was nearly enough to stem the tide that has been steadily rising against him for the past several weeks. As in past appearances he seemed cranky, irritable and impatient, looking and playing the part of an agitated, petulant teenager with a face full of wrinkles and jowls; in short, he did not come off as looking presidential.

Obama played this one exactly as I would have advised him to if he was ever foolish enough to ask me for advise on how to play a debate: he seemed cool, calm, intelligent and engaged; he consistently looked at Schieffer and McCain when addressing them but I thought he really connected when he addressed the camera directly, seeming as if he were speaking right to the American voting public. He didn't dodge questions or parse language nearly as much as he has in past debates and I think that his willingness to engage on hard questions and allegations really helped him to radiate a sense of confidence and leadership; again in short, he portrayed the strength and gravitas of an American president.

I'm not going to spend a lot of time here breaking down the issues because frankly, despite my compliment to Schieffer on bringing up things not discussed in past debates, this exchange had about as much relevance as the other three debates in this election (read: very little). Some highlights:

- Joe the Plumber, a real citizen whom Obama spoke to at a past rally or town hall meeting, became the impromptu star of this evening by being the stand-in for every average, working-class, small business owner in the country; expect to hear his name being bandied about for the next few days or so (blatant link to my buddy PK's blog here).

- McCain had what was perhaps the line of the night: "I am not president Bush. If you want to run against president Bush, you should have done that four years ago." Of course his voting record and policy proposals directly contradict that but we do live in a society obsessed with the soundbite fueled, 24-hour news cycle, so that line should have life for a little while.

- When both candidates spoke about their vice-presidential picks I almost drifted off hearing about Joe Biden (who I still think was a great choice) while I was waiting to hear what McCain came up with about Sarah Palin. Big disappointment: it was the same boiler plate bullshit about her bringing fresh life and reform to Washington; been there, heard that, still don't buy that she's anything more than incompetent.

- When asked whether they would require a litmus test on Roe vs. Wade for their Supreme Court justices, McCain declared outright that he would not but that he would require that every justice he nominated to the court would have to be "qualified" to serve on the court; his definition of being qualified: "No" on Roe vs. Wade. I seem to remember similar rhetoric being used when Bush vehemently opposed a "timeline" for our withdrawal from Iraq while speaking in the same breath about a "time horizon"; Orwell was really good at this stuff but these guys are the masters.
So to wrap up, I predict that Obama will be declared the winner of this debate just as he and Biden were of the other three, making these contests pretty much a clean sweep. By all accounts McCain had to knock one out of the park in this one and it obviously did not happen; his restless energy, constant interruptions and almost inhuman amount of blinking made him appear uncomfortable and anxious. Obama did exactly what he needed to do here: not make any major gaffes or mistakes and maintain his solid lead while increasing that lead amongst undecideds.

My take on the election at this point is that it's Barack Obama's to lose and from what I've seen over the last 20 months I don't give that scenario much probability of happening. Truthfully, I think that there is very little McCain can do at this point; he's tried the Hail Mary passes of nominating a complete disaster of a vice-presidential candidate, directing all the energy of his campaign towards unfounded, ad hominem attacks and selling out the last vestiges of honor and dignity he had left, and he's come up short every time. I'm not going so far as to definitively call this thing for Obama but I do see one of two scenarios playing out: either things get close and Obama barely squeaks out a win or things go the other way and Obama enters landslide country; either way, I wouldn't waste my money on McCain if I were a millionaire (which he is).

[Update: As I reread this post in the light of day and minus the Corona's I drank while watching the debate it appears that it was in fact nowhere near cursory as I promised it would be; my apologies. To make up for it here's a video compiling all of McCain's ticks, blinks, twitches and eye rolls from last night; this is the agitated, petulant teenager I referred to above:
Again, which of these two men looks like a president to you?]

Penguin McCain

I'd say that the candidates' inner superheroes post was fairly prescient if it hadn't been created about forty years after this video but still the rantings of the Penguin are definitely McCainesque as far as the tone and veracity of the accusations he levels against Batman/Obama:

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Palin As President

An interactive look at a potential Sarah Palin White House in which you can roll over or click on over a dozen objects to get her folksy take on the issues; you betcha!

"He Thinks Us White People Are Trash"

Some chilling yet not exactly surprising admissions from the heartland:

This is what happens when misinformation and prejudice are encouraged to run rampant amongst supporters by a presidential campaign; John McCain needs to decide very soon if he's going to try to ride this ugly wave all the way to the White House (which is looking less and less likely if you follow the polls) or if he's going to remember that he was once an honorable man and try to salvage some aspect of that persona for the remainder of his career. I suppose that explaining that Obama is half white would be a little too much for these people to wrap their prejudices around; 20 days until election day.

Obama's Virtual Billboards

Next time you're driving through a video game-based world, look up at the ads:

Last week we noted unconfirmed sightings of an “Obama for President” billboard in the Xbox 360 racing game Burnout Paradise. Today we’re able to report that it is, in fact, an official advertisement placed by the senator’s campaign team.

“I can confirm that the Obama campaign has paid for in-game advertising in Burnout,” Holly Rockwood, director of corporate communications at Electronic Arts, the game’s publisher, told me via email, noting that EA regularly allows ad placements in their online games. “Like most television, radio and print outlets, we accept advertising from credible political candidates,” she continued. “Like political spots on the television networks, these ads do not reflect the political policies of EA or the opinions of its development teams.”
Just like his notifying his supporters of his vice-presidential pick by text message, Barack Obama has been using technology in unique and creative ways to reach the ever-increasing youth vote in this country; these innovative tactics may just be what puts him over the top in November.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Something Someone Else Said II

"The ultimate irony: a pin-up girl for people who don't believe in masturbating." -Dana Gould, comedian, on Sarah Palin's popularity amongst social conservatives

Mark Wahlberg Talks To Animals

I've never seen anyone do an impression of Mark Wahlberg but I have to say that Andy Samberg nails this one:

[Update: Wahlberg visits the show to have a talk with Samberg:

Something Someone Else Said

“I have a scheme for stopping war. It's this -- no nation is allowed to enter a war till they have paid for the last one.” -Will Rogers

The Candidates' Inner Superheroes

Green Lantern may be a little favorable to Joe Biden but Palin feels just about right as Bizarro, huh? This guy Oliver Willis has some good stuff; I linked to him in my Barack to the Future post here.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Something Someone Else Said

"Fear is, I believe, a most effective tool in destroying the soul of an individual -- and the soul of a people." -Anwar Sadat

McFast And McFurious

John McCain and his newfound homie JC go after the youth vote: