Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Is Paul Davis a Lion Past his Prime?

I scolded Paul Davis about six weeks ago for his lashing out against politicians, in that case Lowell Barron, while accepting that we ought to be frustrated. Yesterday, he ranted over our electing these same old same old and darned if much of what he wrote didn't resonate. I'm sure he's smart. I would hope he's relatively well informed. But here's what he got wrong:

1. "Congress made it a federal offense to buy anything made in America." WTF he's writing about is a mystery to me. Maybe he's just been sloppy or perhaps I've misread something but I have no idea of what he writes.

2. "The two men who would-be president spent last week talking about lipstick on a pig and whether John McCain could operate a computer." I know they talked about plenty more that this. And Mr. Davis does as well. There are tons of difference between these candidates even if both are trying to attract the middle ground, low information voters that still remain undecided. Still, if these themes got coverage blame the corporate media for covering the horse race and insults rather than doing the complicated, expensive work that would be be required for covering issues, providing context, or otherwise practicing the craft of journalism.

3. "And don't forget, Ford, General Motors and Chrysler, who have steadfastly refused to build small, fuel-efficient cars and trucks, want some government billions soon." The markets spoke didn't they? Hell, the GOP passed tax incentives back early in the years of Bu$hCo to encourage Americans to buy heavy trucks. Also, I recall Progressives trying to get CAFE standards, alternative energy incentives, etc. passed only to have them fail thanks to the power of the well connected corporations.

4. "Now you see why we had to stop building American products and send our money to China, Japan and the oil-rich nations. We have no other place to borrow money to keep our economy afloat." "We" hell! The vast majority of Americans have had no say in any of this mess.

5. "Former Sen. Phil Gramm said it best, but America didn’t want to hear it. His comment got him dismissed as a key adviser for the McCain campaign. His words: 'The United States is only in a mental recession ... it has become a nation of whiners.'" Phil Gramm is "Mr. Free Market" Mr. Davis. He's all about crony capitalism and no discussion of Phil Gramm is complete without recalling his ties to Enron. You blame Americans for Phil being sent to the shadows? And you really think he's gone? That you accept the idea that many folks which are hurting are simply whining is perfectly offensive Mr. Davis. Tax policies, busting of unions, swelling health care costs, offshoring of jobs, "tort reform", rising tuition costs, fuel expenses, plummeting home values, rising productivity and stagnant wages, ... aren't real?

6. "Want someone to blame? Let’s start with ourselves. We always re-elect the bulk of the politicians on Capitol Hill. In addition to a chicken in every pot and a car in ever garage, we also want ..."

~While I hardly want to cut the average American any slack for their votes I can also accept that many get minimal information from the corporate media. The media has left assertive journalism for "balance". The right wing has built a message machine ranging from bought and paid for research delivered via seemingly legitimate policy shops to a network of talk radio outlets that reach well into the heartland.

~Many Americans have been marginally educated with a fair number of young folks taught mostly test taking to show they've learned one damn fact after another.

~ We have a long tradition of anti-intellectualism in this nation. "We" elected C-Plus Augustus after all.

~A large population, especially in the South, are Christ-haunted, Bible thumping rubes.

~I also agree than consumerism and infotainment has made things all the worse. "Bread and games?" Wouldn't the corporations that sell us all this stuff through sophisticated marketing have some responsibility? And didn't Dubyah tell us to go shopping after 9-11?

~Truly I seldom if ever vote for a winner. I'm surely in the minority. I refuse to accept any of your blame Mr. Davis.

~ Hasn't conservatism dominated government for the last three decades? With a few limited exceptions, the power has been with the right ever since FDR yet surely you'll accept that Clinton was centrist at best and regardless of his beliefs working with a conservative Congress. DLC Centrist Weenies are plentiful and true Progressivea a rarity.

I for one think Paul Davis is right to lament where we stand. But I think he's wrong in deciding how we got here. Until he understands the past he's not ready to suggest solutions for the future. John Gunn

Monday, September 29, 2008

Even more cognitive dissonance for Bama Baptists!

Muttering "horseshit", on the TeeVee no less, ought to suffice, especially when the allegation by Senator Obama is perfectly true. Gambling, married to a pusher of the devil's drink, and now he's cussing in front of the children! John Gunn

Billy Sumday's Church Lunch with Republicans in Indiana = McCain is Toast

I tend to think much of the Midwest, and perhaps especially Indiana, is rather like the Deep South. Perhaps not as Christ haunted or battered as was the South after the War of Northern Aggression but the similarities remain. Via Daily Kos, billysumday claims Church Lunch with Republicans in Indiana = McCain is Toast. His books from the parents angle makes me a little sad as I wish mine were still about to beg books from. John Gunn

Sarah Silverman and The Great Schlep

The Great Schlep might not compute for some Bamers yet we'll work with what we have. Shalom. Wa Assalam Alakum! John Gunn

Mc$ame-Palin ~ "Gotcha journalism" from a voter?

Barney Frank takes on the manly men of the GOP

Here's the text of the mean terrible things Nancy Pelosi said to so offend the tough guys in the GOP House. For the record, I'm not so sure the failure to pass this legislation is a bad result. When in doubt I'll generally listen to Bernie Sanders and Russ Feingold and ... John Gunn

Will Prince Troy King cause a galactic meltdown?

On October 14th I'll turn 43 yet I'm worried that for my birthday I'll see the end of days. This is rather Spaghetti Monsteresque yet I just share the predictions of Australia's Blossom Goodchild in claiming the following:
"messages channelled to her by the Cosmic Beings known as The Federation of Light ... have announced that one of their craft will appear in our skies on October 14th 2008 for a period of three days in such a way as to prove to us the existence of other life forms in the Universe. The Federation of Light stress that they come in LOVE to help us and our planet move to a new Higher Vibration of Love."
This Federation of Light says, "We give to you the name of Alabama." So they are coming to freaking Alabama? Troy King will simply have a fit over this "Higher Vibration of Love." It gets worse! Prince Troy got all fired up when the United Nations scolded Alabama for her flawed death penalty system. There's no telling what he'll do to a "craft of great size" full of new age, peace loving aliens. We better hope trusted Executive Assistant John Godwin can soothe Prince Troy before he causes Armageddon. John Gunn

UPDATE ~ I cross-posted over at Daily Kos to use the Great Orange Satan's polling feature. And I'm also blog whoring. To do this work and only merit fifty or so visits a day is admittedly a touch troubling at times.

Heck of a job Johnny!

Bob Martin of the Montgomery Independent reports "John W. Stevenson, publisher and editor of The Randolph Leader based in Roanoke, is the new president of the National Newspaper Association and he is bringing the association's annual convention to Mobile next year." I've known Johnny I suppose most of my life. He and his first bride lost a son in a tragic automobile accident several years ago whom I understand was a truly exceptional young man. He recently married a superb catch per Earl Manning. And if there's anything Mr. Earl knows, it is what a classy and lovely wife looks like as he's had a gem by his side for years. The Randolph Leader, like so many small home town papers, has a rich history. President Bush might not care to bother with reading newspapers but the National Newspaper Association is lucky to have such talented leadership. John Gunn

How might Al.com cover DOJ's Special Prosecutor

The BBC (among pretty much every other paper) reports New probe into US attorney affair. In the WaPo, Dan Froomkin shares further damning details. The White House claiming Executive Privilege in response to a Department of Justice, part of the Executive Branch I'll remind you, internal probe strikes plenty of folks (like looseheadprop) as rather odd. The exodus of DOJ underlings wrapped up in this mess was per FDL's Christy Hardin Smith not only fear of Hatch Act perils but also a way to get them the hell out of DC. These minions wouldn't even testify Karl Rove style! So far I'm not seeing much if anything in Alabama papers on the DOJ report yet given the treatment Don Siegelman's case has gotten from the Newhouse Triad I'll not expect them to give the story a whole lot of coverage. "Nothing to see here folks. Move along." John Gunn

USA Today covers Bright & Love race in AL-02

With a tip of the tam for the graphic to that great political theorist SpongeBob, I'll up front take some exception to the U of A's Emeritus Professor of Political Science William Stewart's claim that "It's a matter of survival for Democrats in Alabama to present themselves as conservatives." I'll also add that I think "The Blue Dog Democrats are a group of 49 fiscally conservative House members ..." hardly goes far enough in describing their views yet that one goes on the journalist rather than the Professor. Both are pulled from Sebastian Kitchen's Rivals in Alabama race both claim conservative tag appearing in today's USA Today.

Although I'll circle back to covering this later, I'd submit there are few if any in the folds of the Alabama Democratic Party that have tried another path to success. Racial politics of course matters in Alabama. That Big Mules run Goat Hill is another reality. Fundamentalism, or at least evangelicalism, is another certainly here in the belt of the Bible Belt.

I supported Cheryl Sabel rather than Bobby Bright yet like the idea of having even a Blue Dog take this seat. Or the 5th up in North Alabama for that matter. I've bragged on the "Bright Republican" effort. However, if Bobby Bright wants to follow the Blue Dog approach to governing or merely politicking ... well that dog won't hunt! Corporatist Canines might suffice? Or Phone Privacy Puppies? That Blue Dogs are overwhelmingly white Southerners that are rather seasoned is I hope well known. Thomas F. Schaller can tell you more in his recent American Prospect piece.

I'm not so sure I'd boot all of them out of the Democratic Party as might Glenn Greenwald yet I'll admit I often am frustrated with centrist weenies. I admittedly go after the DLC rather often yet Chris Bowers some time back suggested I ought to just go straight after the Blue Dogs. In fact he shows Bud Cramer was the most problematic of the Democratic Party's problem children at that point in the 109th Congress. I have little patience with Bu$h Dogs yet soon he'll be gone.

I also can accept that at times party discipline requires some discipline. A "whip" to enforce party loyalty doesn't have to be a Tom "The Hammer" DeLay rogue yet can still allow consequences to those not playing team ball. If we have an Obama administration with gains in Congress and the chance to change the Courts then I'd be prepared to put the Blue Dogs on a very short leash.

Left in Alabama has a nice thread following RedEye's The Lessor of Two Evils or The Enemy Within? I personally like the idea of working past labels. I hope Progressives can align with even the most "conservative" to craft decent if not good policy. "Movement conservatives" aren't interested in compromise of course. Fusion/coalition politics also seems to be a way forward on the national, state, and local stages yet there's no point in wasting time with the true believers.

Despite all of the above, I feel some empathy with RedEye's frustrations. I also don't always feel like the Democratic Party, in DC or up on Goat Hill, is looking out for regular folks. But I want to flip "conservatives" to our side of the mix, at least on some issues. And here's a stream of consciousness type look at how that might occur ...

Following the money from think tanks to actual candidates to ... helps. The right has truly bought a movement and to peel back the layers is hard work but it must be done.

Trying to expose how values voters get used by the Big Mules seems a worthy effort. You've got to be careful in doing this yet it is long overdue. To offend a few Christianists for the sake of our future is worth the harm.

Challenging journalists and media outlets for sloppy or downright sorry reporting is a good use of time. In Alabama, from al.com to talk radio options, there's a long row to hoe yet the work must be done.

Populism is another winner, despite what Thomas Schaller suggests. Civil liberties seems another. Opportunity seems foundational. Shared prosperity resonates with I think many voters. As does environmentalism (labeling it "stewardship" for instance) I'd argue. Protecting people from harm is attractive to all but the most reactionary. Is tolerance and respect really all the difficult to have voters embrace? Rebuilding our deteriorated infrastructure can be attractive to all but the most strident "conservative".

Reasonable regulation might seem even more reasonable given the Wall Street meltdown. After Enron and ... we let the GOP off the hook way too easily but surely this time our "leadership" can get this one right. Honesty and transparency seems so simple yet we've left this one out of the mix all too often.

Taking on "conservative" foolishness is another way to gain back the high ground. When the Mobile Press-Register or Alabama Policy Institute or ... go off on some twisted effort to advance a conservative agenda Progressives ought to push back.

We can't count on the leadership here to always do this pushing back yet as we try to change the party that might change. Working on the outside is required yet to gradually gain influence within the Democratic Party here and in DC makes sense.

Governor Dean's Fifty State Strategy and ActBlue and ... efforts are helping Progressives gain some ground in Red States. Networking is becoming all too easy via technology yet having actual races to work is priceless.

We'll need to identify and develop young talent. The care and feeding of young activists is certainly one area where we've been outflanked.

Blog, read, learn, write, advocate, talk, share, collaborate, compare, refine, regroup, ... Progressives have lots to offer our world. Stand up straight and show the backbone required to win anywhere but especially in Alabama. No weenies allowed! John Gunn

Starting the day frustrated with old folks yet ...

I'll admit a near total meltdown over Professor Stanley Fish writing George Bush: The Comeback Kid in his Think Again column in the Gray Lady. He predicts that "within a year of the day he leaves office, and no matter who succeeds him, George W. Bush will be a popular public figure, regarded with affection and a little nostalgia even by those who voted against him and thought he was the worst president in our history." Those writing a response to his prophecy seem to universally think Dr. Fish does need to think again.

Krissah Williams Thompson of the WaPo files Brothers in arms hit road for McCain: GOP candidate enjoys backing of veterans and their families and I'm a touch bothered by her reporting. I'm mostly frustrated with the one demographic that does seem to reliably lean McCain's way. Ms. Thompson's writing that Mc$ame has "the fervent backing of a fraternity of veterans and their families" early on is finally contrasted with the fact that Senator Obama has outraised Huggy in overseas donations from the troops plus the fact taht only Obama actually supported the new and improved GI Bill. I'm pleased that the Obama/Biden effort is more than capable of pushing back on this piece.

I've mentioned that St. John doesn't always walk the talk when it comes down to supporting the military yet one supporter, a Col. Moe who was a fellow POW with McCain, offered the following:
When a question about McCain's votes on such bills came up at the breakfast, Col. Moe said, "Now, ask yourself, does it make sense that John McCain, who has served and sacrificed so much for this country, would not support veterans? Is it logical to you for a man who has served his country as a war hero? Most of these bills had a lot of pork in them."
The legislation is expensive, yet a fraction of bailing out Wall Street, but I'm hardly aware of it having much "pork". Conservatism will of course mandate, via Bu$hCo's executive action rather than by the actual legislation, some profits for business yet I doubt that troubles Col. Moe? Also, I'd think the increased revenues gained from educating veterans more completely would offset or perhaps even eclipse the costs.

Jim Webb and Chuck Hagel certainly also qualify as a "war hero" don't they and they were out front on this issue. John McCain is now claiming credit for improving the legislation and perhaps that's legitimate. Col. Moe and his friend can't have it both ways however. Huggy is also crossways with the VFW over his “Veterans’ Care Access Card" that is a backdoor way to start breaking down a relatively solid gov't run health care effort.

I bragged on Ms. Thompson just yesterday for compassionately covering disaffected poor people in Mississippi yet this reporting troubled me. Perhaps she was simply examining the generational divide? Maybe it was about the fact that a few votes in a few places may decide this election? I do like how she digs out quotes from regular people and generally tries to provide some factual context to their opinions and claims.

Finally, there's also a some writing about and a quote from Karen McTague, 54, treasurer of the Ottawa County (PA) Republicans, which troubles me.

It is what she doesn't know about Obama that worries her. The Democratic nominee has spoken frequently about his Christian faith, his commitment to national security and his love of country, but McTague said she still harbors fears about his background because Obama's father, whom the candidate hardly knew, was raised as a Muslim.

"If it looks like he appeals to Muslims, those countries may think they have opportunity," she said.

You mean the opportunity to have leaders from the House of Saud come here and hold hands with the President? The opportunity to buy up many our assets due to the GOP once again running the country into the ground? I suppose they've had to fall fall back on the "if he looks like he appeals" angle as all the false flag efforts have pretty much faded to all but the most loopy.

I've mentioned Dr. Malcom Cutchins' columns here and here yet all of his work may be found here. Perhaps he, Dr. Fish, and Col. Moe should meet? John Gunn

UPDATE ~ I've got another more seasoned soul for the Cutchins crew and she's right there in Auburn. Sis Burleson might enjoying traveling but I fear she's ventured way off into crazy base land with the following:

Why won’t Obama give back to charity from all of his riches?

Barack Obama, the American Red Cross needs your help!

The American Red Cross had made an urgent plea for funds to assist people who have experienced natural disasters this year (fires, storms, floods and hurricanes).

Maybe you and your Hollywood friends who collected all that money from your fundraiser on the West Coast want to give to the people of the Texas coast that have no water, electricity or a home. It surely would give them hope!

All your friends that hate America have no problem making all those millions in this country.

Why not give back — it’s the patriotic thing to do.

By the way, have you added up how much money you’ve spent on fuel these past two years flying everywhere, any time and several times? Bet you could clothe and house, pay off mortgages, pay health care premiums, gasoline this year for most of the U.S. population. Think how many less carbon footprints you could have saved.

Will you tell the Red Cross you are going to divert these funds to this volunteer organization?

Sis Burleson, Auburn

UPDATE - 03 November 2009 - I made a slight change to the above as suggesting Dr. Cutchins thinks the way he does even partly due to his being somewhat more "seasoned" than some isn't very nice.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Vladimir Putin sez Sarah Palin's Curtains Suck

Katie, I'd like to use one of my lifelines

This Scot likes Dutch Proverbs

I could have done without the Reagan reference, and the Fletcher Rowley Chao Riddle (nice work they did for my own favorite Congresscritter Jerry McNerney!) lead that didn't get edited out on the YouTube version. I much prefer the Sue Bell Cobbesque video (her "This Little Light of Mine" ad was perhaps the best evah!) you'll find at the splash page for Judge Deborah Bell Paseur. I really appreciated Robert Leslie Palmer, a smelly hippy tree hugging trouble making lawyer perhaps to some Big Mules and the simpletons they so often use, pointing out in The Anniston Star that her opponent is bought and paid for by Big Business and especially Big Automobile Dealer. Indeed "promises make debt, and debt makes promises." John Gunn

UPDATE ~ Just a few hours later ... I think mooncat's $treetwalker label works nicely for Greg Shaw. LIA rocks!

The invisible hand of free enterprise solves ...

Anna Velasco reports in the B'ham News What will Obama, McCain mean for your health care? Well done for the most part, I appreciated the coverage of issues relating to rural folks. I liked the explanation of the issue and respective plans. There are tons of differences in these candidates yet health insurance is a perfect place to start.

John Mc$ame relies on the fantasy that "market solutions" solve all ailments. Thankfully Ms. Velasco points out the radicalism of Huggy's health care approach in that "McCain proposes ... ending the tax-exclusion for employer-sponsored health coverage. ... In exchange, everyone - those who get coverage through work or on their own - would be eligible for a flat tax credit toward the purchase of health insurance. An individual would get $2,500 and families would get $5,000." Good luck out there getting coverage for those amounts Bubba and Bubbette!

Of course the grown ups in Congress wouldn't let Mc$ame's foolishness pass yet I'm not sure Obama's plan goes far enough. It will certainly be a step in the right direction however. Again, a tip of the tam on this reporting. John Gunn

UPDATE ~ September 29, 2008 - From South Florida's Biz Journal, a favorite read of Bama Bubbas and Bubbettes I'm sure, we can see figures of around $15K for family coverage. Huggy wants us to party like its 1999!

Populism please!

I was hardly a Hillary fan or, for that matter, an Obama supporter. My default candidate failed to keep it in his pants so I'm glad he never got traction even if I think private sexual matters are none of our damn business. I wanted Senator Feingold to run and still hope he'll give it a go one of these days. He'd surely climb on a pickup and reach out to regular folks as Backbone is what he consistently demonstrates. The WaPo's Krissah Williams Thompson files a solid piece with her In Mississippi, Deep-Rooted Doubt: Some Believe That No Matter Who Wins Election, Little in Their Lives Will Change. The photo gallery from Linda Davidson accompanying the writing is equally rewarding. Reaching folks like those covered in Mississippi requires a dose of populism that unfortunately Centrist candidates don't always deliver. Hillary found it way too late (Heck of a job Mark Penn!) and at this stage Obama/Biden might find stumping like this a little unrealistic. Alabama's Big Jim Folsom, even when drunk as a bicycle, was a master of politicking from a pickup. A blend of entertainment and outrage, with a dose of fusion politics, can still work wonders. We're leaving too many votes unrealized down here. And there in the fast growing exurbs for that matter too. John Gunn

A day in the life of another well paid GOP operative

I learned of Susan Dudley from my ongoing reading of Thomas Frank's The Wrecking Crew" How Conservatives Rule. It is a gem of a book! According to Mr. Frank, he found, while deep behind the lines at The Mercatus Center, a pamphlet titled "A Day in the Life of a Regulated American Family" that was seemingly designed for kids. This might be as close an example I can provide. This somewhat reminds me of Alabama Policy Institute's "Facts Not Fear: Teaching our Children about the Environment" effort. Truly Susan Dudley represents perfectly how conservatives "govern". She's obviously smart as a whip but she's wrapped around "the marvelous markets solve all" theories that the GOP (and "Centrist Weenies" as well) use to regularly run this great nation into the ground. That Mercatus and George Mason University and ... are at least in part, and I'd argue significantly so, funded by Koch money, mentioned yesterday as relates to Nancy Pfotenhauer, is undeniable. She and her husband can both drive hybrids but she's nevertheless totally in the tank. John Gunn

UPDATE ~ Just a few minutes after posting the above I found the NYT's Don’t Blame the New Deal. Rightly they lament much of this trouble going back to "antiregulation disciples of the Reagan Revolution: yet they also point out, "Indeed, it was in the Bush years that antiregulation and deregulation found full expression, fueled by an ideology that markets know best, government hampers markets, and problems will magically fix themselves." Amen!

Any more cognitive dissonance for Bama Baptists?

I'd previously posted on John McCain's ties to the devil's drink, wondering if that might not trouble some of the Baptists I'm expecting will pull the lever for St. John Mc$ame. In fact, a "Wet-Dry" vote is coming up for Randolph County where I still vote. Bobby Kirby claims to know the Christian stance. E. Clayton Scott calls alcohol poison and a drug "just as much as meth, crack and heroine (sic)."

Perhaps they'll cut Huggy some slack on marrying a beer heiress as that helped get him to DC so he could do the Lord's work, as only Republicans can do of course? Then again, IOKIYAR may suffice? A fellow can only go so far on a 100% disability pension after all. And if he can rake in some extra change at the gambling tables, even those under the jurisdiction of his own Senate Indian Affairs Committee, that's cool I'm sure.

And by the way, Sarah Palin was in a bar on Friday evening! She at least had a chaperon in the form of Philly gazilionaire Ed Snider. There was no dancing!

I'd like to think that today's NYT's piece from Jo Becker and Don van Natta titled McCain and Team Have Many Ties to Gambling Industry surely will trouble at least some of the Bible Thumpers. Details include forty plus lobbyist and heavy hitters tied to his campaign, monthly trips to Vegas for "weekend betting marathons", and seizing the Abramoff scandals for opportunities (while still protecting his friends) as delivered by The Gray Lady. Reminding us of the role that nasty wingnutter and well-connected Grover Norquist played in the Abramoff scandal is a bonus. John Gunn

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Another example of markets working for wingers

Is there some kind of conservative eugenics effort? On the left Kurt and Nancy Pfotenhauer are an attractive pair. Her first hubby (there on the right), Heritage Foundation economist Daniel Mitchell isn't an ogre either. Kurt is neck deep in the mortgage industry and Miss Nancy is a professional indeed. Via Daily Kos, joesgarage wrote, "Pfotenhauer's career is a blueprint for advancement through the interconnected world of private equity, right-wing think tanks, and the Republican power elite." I've never seen as muckety a Muckety map as hers. She's frequently the McCain spokesperson on the economy and I'd surely like some host to rip the bark off her given her reliance on wingnut welfare. Following the money to and from the funding fathers like the Koch family is a rewarding process and an endeavor that continues to amaze me. John Gunn

UPDATE ~ Afternoon of September 29, 2008 - Nancy demonstrates pre-emptive working of the refs on the upcoming Biden-Palin debate.

Would Mc$ame Pimp Palin to Pakistani President?

Maybe this is part of Huggy's secret plan to find bin Laden? Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari is of course recently widowed and he's apparently rather smitten by Governor Palin. Poor form at best but at least he didn't feel her up like Dubyah did German Chancellor Angela Merkel a couple of years ago. Poor Sarah seems rather stressed and I even felt a little sorry for her. Perhaps Palin ought to be sent to Pakistan to tame tensions over our recent exchange of gunfire? John Gunn

The Mobile Press-Register ~ On offense again!

The Mobile Press-Register reliably demonstrates how "movement conservatism" works. With all the troubles on Wall Street, last night's debate, ... I'd have thought perhaps other themes might have been addressed. I noted just recently that the Mobile P-R routinely circles around to cover "school choice" yet they do the same on "lawsuit abuse" and the like. And who can forget how they've treated Don Siegelman?

However, today's Election will decide the future of drilling is a masterpiece of attack-minded distortion that represents the foundations of the modern GOP. I noted the Mobile P-R's willingness to engage in big lies on drilling back in July yet today's piece is exponentially worse in how they attack Democrats. I'd expect not much worse if listening to the many talk radio hacks working for the Republican Party. They are even more bent than Eagle Forum types. Did Alabama Policy Institute's Gary Palmer help draft this Editorial? Did Ann "Crazy as a Run Over Dog" Coulter? I love this:
Liberal Democrats view their retreat on the drilling ban as a tactical political move that will buy them time to push an environmental agenda based on conservation and alternative energy.
Mike "We are all environmentalists" Rogers better gird his loins! Also, would only Democrats engage in politicking? I'll cover more later on the meat of the matter. This is also a classic:
Oil company officials, wary of the Democrats' long-term intentions, aren't likely to immediately begin investing in offshore exploration.
As an aside, would the alleged "credit crunch" not slow them down more? And how much exploration were they doing on the many existing leases they already held during this Reign of Error? Hell, didn't Dick "Dead Eye" Cheney hold secret energy meeting with these same guys early in Bu$hCo? You'd think with the GOP in charge on the Executive and Legislative (and Judicial for that matter!) they'd have not been so wary for those years? And of course "oil company officials" are beyond questioning on their morality and wisdom.

It gets better:
... most Democrats remain committed to abandoning carbon-based fuels.
First, the complexities of determining peak oil are reality. That we're tapped out is another reality. Another Inconvenient Truth! Step back to 1977 for Jimmy Carter trying to lead us, only to have the ground floor wingnuts that soon gave us Reaganomics label his efforts M.E.O.W. Reality of course is well known to have a liberal bias. Despite all this, the Mobile P-R takes a reality driven position, such as the energy policies from Obama-Biden, and attacks in the most clearly partisan fashion.

A colleague of mine and I have been talking rather frequently about politics. He's rather to the right and often rails against the lack of responsibility demonstrated by Americans. I agree that it is hard to fathom the thinking of the average American. Low information voters wrapped up in consumerism and entertainment and pleasure and ... dominate. The toon above applies I think.

I also recall the majority of Republican Party Congresscritters (and Democrat Dick Durbin and few outliers) consistently voting down increased CAFE standards. Senator Obama tried to remedy this in a bipartisan manner! Then again, John McCain sees this one similarly. Dick Cheney claimed conservation was merely a virtue after all. There's more ... The GOP also handed out big subsidies to Big Oil and have reliably blocked Democratic efforts to invest in new energy. Is this demonstrating grown up, responsible leadership? Is it responsible journalism to close with the following?
And if Barack Obama wins the White House and has a Democratic Congress to support his agenda, the new drilling rigs will be shut down and gas prices will rise to new heights,
What new drilling rigs? None have been built yet you tools! It will take a decade or thereabouts to get any of this oil into the supply. Fear-mongering isn't necessary in Alabama and Mississippi so maybe the Mobile P-R is trying to influence that little piece of Florida in their readership?

The P-R might as well stand for Public Relations. They are so often in lock step with the GOP, Inc. and thus Selling Public Policy as a Commodity. John Gunn

UPDATE ~ Sunday, September 28, 2008 - Dr. David C. Kopaska-Merkel, an honest to God geologist, delivers a far more educated opinion on the issue than the shills at the Mobile P-R deserve. His opinion appears in the P-R's sister publication up in High Jefferson. I so would like the Mobile hacks to be required to respond yet they aren't likely interested in stubborn facts from some pointy headed intellectual.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Spencer "Sushi" Bachus Making The Coin

Ben Evans of The Associated Press appears in The Montgomery Advertiser with Lawmaker defends stock trading relating to Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Alabama) supplementing his $165,200 annual congressional salary with up to $160,000 for the year." Good work if you can get it I suppose, Representative Bachus, like Senators it would appear, is doing rather well. Spencer might not like sushi but he sure seems to like short sells on securities. John Gunn

Big Ag's Boy Saxby Chambliss Likes Bu$h Math

Georgia's Jim Martin delivers an instant classic. "Sugar" was likely more frat boy than scholar while partying at UGA while real men like Jim Martin and Max Cleland were serving during the Vietnam War. If in fact the GOP is manning the barricades with Saxby I'd think this ad ought to at least give them some sleepless night. John Gunn

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

From "The Onion" plus Bill Maher's "Religulous"

McCain’s Economic Plan For Nation: "Everyone Marry A Beer Heiress"

Rural American is still leaning right!

Reuters reports McCain leads Obama 51-41 in rural contests: poll and while I'm glad John Mc$ame is down some compared to Bu$hCo in 2004 the fact is that my team is still losing. I'll need to ponder on this one for a while yet expect it comes down to tribalism, a poor message from the Democratic Party, domination of the talk radio scene in more rural areas by the right wingers, religion, lack of education, ... Any other ideas? As for the map, I can't vouch for it yet I do note how the Godless Liberals on the coast and in more urban areas are making bank compared to the Bubbas and Bubbettes that so often vote for the GOP. John Gunn

Monday, September 22, 2008

Plural as to "reactionaries"? Mainstream? Or BS?

Quoting Democrat State Board of Education member Mary Jane Caylor offering that Charter schools aren't a "panacea", the Mobile Press-Register, doing their obligatory assault on public education at least once per month, opines Reactionaries ruling education in Alabama. Since only Dr. Paul Hubbert of AEA, who is hardly a favorite of Captain Plaid, is mentioned beyond Ms. Caylor, I'll suppose her claim makes her a "reactionary".

The Mobile P-R truly works hard at their efforts to shill right wing talking points on the failures of public education yet to suggest there is "a rough consensus on some reform proposals, including charter schools and merit pay for teachers" is perfectly flawed. To now seem to sympathize with Senator Obama's idea of floating some sort of merit pay that is based on peer reviews, achievement beyond test scores, etc. is equally frustrating. There's a ton of difference between Huggy Bear's ideas and that of Senator Obama.

The Mobile P-R asks "(Dr Paul Hubbert) views merit pay as a threat — to what? Mediocrity and incompetence in the classroom?" Actually, he might be worried that merit pay based merely on test results don't measure effectiveness. Y'all actually wrote an Editorial recently that lamented our impoverished schools! Like John McCain with health care, y'all also recently argues higher education would be healed with "competition". I'm so confused!

As to charter schools, I'm sorry to tell the Mobile P-R they remain "public". Charter schools do get excused from NCLB foolishness and other top down requirements that are often flowing from the serious business model oriented ideas that have dominated education these last few decades but they are hardly private. The research on charter schools' effectiveness is still not clear. Here and here and ... tell the story.

I know the right wing has spent tons to try to convince people that "markets" and "choice" will cure all that ails our society. The "school choice" lies are certainly very important to many right wing funders and thus foundations. But they've not yet pushed their flawed ideas to the point that this thinking is mainstream. Y'all can pretend and write accordingly of course. But I'll stick with Dr. Caylor in that charter schools aren't a panacea. That's enough. And hardly reactionary. John Gunn

Professor Stephen Balch is earning his keep

Heck of a job Stevie? The NYT's Patricia Cohen reports Conservatives Try New Tack on Campuses. It is nice to see it admitted that the right wingers have been spending millions in their efforts. And this is just on the college campuses! Since their war against the nasty liberals is largely a paranoid fantasy, they are naturally not making a dent. Their new strategy ... "They are finding like-minded tenured professors and helping them establish academic beachheads for their ideas." Stephen Balch of The National Association of Scholars is pictured above getting his National Humanities Medals for 2007. Having Victor Davis Hanson and Richard Pipes on the same list of recipients shows how right this administration leans. 1-20-09 can't come too soon. John Gunn

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Alabama's own Lilly Ledbetter in Obama Ad

Here's some liberal values for you Alabama. A tip of the tam to ReddHedd for the link. Restoring the Supreme Court to a less radical bent is of course at stake in this election and Miss Lilly helps prove that point rather nicely. Perhaps Lilly should have filed her EEOC complaint earlier yet the manner in which her case was decided still strikes me as perfectly poor form. John Gunn

If I were buying into "Big Shitpile" I'd want ...

Robert Reich is right to suggest What Wall Street Should Do To Get Its Blank Check. Of course Duncan Black first labeled this mess "Big Shitpile" and I'm afraid he's nailed the trouble. Professor Reich is right, as always, or at least damn close to "always", to say that saying "Yes" is of course required. Still, to put some conditions on this deal is more than reasonable. If the Democratic Party leadership can't handle this one then I say we need some new leaders. John Gunn

Not that many Red Staters watch SNL but ...

"Godless liberals from NYC show their determination to help the Anti-Christ win in 2008" might read the titles on various right wing sites but it has to help the Obama effort to have your campaign reduced to parody. John Gunn

Echoes of Rick Bragg from Sandy Williams

I'm a huge Rick Bragg fan. That he got his start at The Anniston Star and came from the hill country of East Alabama makes him all the more appreciated. A short story from Sandy Williams from up at Crossville appears in the B'ham News titled American farmer's scars run deep. This was a short but incredibly haunting piece that had me immediately thinking of Rick Bragg's works that I've read.I thought of how so many challenges have faced the people of the poor rural South through the years and yet also how reliably Republicans carry these areas. The contradictions are frustrating. I also thought of Edwin Markham's "The Man with a Hoe" which follows:
Bowed by the weight of centuries he leans Upon his hoe and gazes on the ground, The emptiness of ages in his face, And on his back the burden of the world. Who made him dead to rapture and despair, A thing that grieves not and that never hopes, Stolid and stunned, a brother to the ox? Who loosened and let down this brutal jaw? Whose was the hand that slanted back this brow? Whose breath blew out the light within this brain?
I'll hope to read more from Sandy Williams in the future. John Gunn

UPDATE ~ And Rick Foster's writing 'aint bad either. A philosophy professor from AU features in the Gray Lady and good writing in the B'ham News makes me wonder if the stars have aligned oddly for Alabama today.

NYT's coverage of Auburn University's Kelly Jolley

Coming after Auburn's loss to LSU last night (The call to not try to get that first down in the second half and instead try to throw deep will haunt me for days!) it is nice to see some positive coverage of AU. It has been twenty years since I took a philosophy course at Auburn and I'm admittedly weak in that field. Perhaps I ought to take a survey course from Professor Kelly Jolley to remedy that deficiency? Jonathan Mahler's NYT Magazine piece titled The Thinker was a good read and to have him describe Haley Center as "a dreary-looking, 10-story building that would have been right at home in Communist East Berlin" was clever and all too correct. War Eagle! John Gunn

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Goldman Sachs Tower or The White House?

I mentioned Robert Rubin earlier today. He came out of Goldman Sachs. As did current Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. I'll admit some affinity for Hank's eccentric brand of environmentalism yet that matters not for the nation. He's barking up the wrong tree however for wanting $2300 from this soldier, Baby Plaid, the bride, etc. to hand over to other Wall Street swells. This is especially so with absolutely no oversight! They can't be serious can they? Then again, Bu$hCo let Big Pharma and Big Insurance write the new prescription drug legislation so why should I be shocked that Big Banking writes their own bailout. John Gunn

Another reason I'll seldom if ever darken the door

Jill posts XXXtian Babes: Behind the counter at an Evangelical bookstore near you at Feministe. Richard Land provides BAPTISTS, THE BIBLE & WOMEN: There is no "Palin predicament" for Southern Baptists or Evangelicals that shows the "reasoning" at work here. This rascal wanted Sarah Palin and St. John gave in to him and other Dobsonites. That he was "ecstatic" over her pick confirms much for this recovering Southern Baptist. John Gunn

It's Robert Rubin's fault! And also ...

I always get tickled when I hear or read claims that Bill Clinton was a "liberal" as he was a DLC Centrist at best. I've posted on my own preference for Reich over Rubin in "The Battle of the Roberts" in the first Clinton administration. And let s not forget how Uncle Alan Greenspan influenced The Clenis. To read Paul Barrett's What brought down Wall Street?: Financial crisis arose from bad choices, greed, failure to learn from mistakes makes me feel even more confident I have it right with my choice of Roberts. This Steve Weissman TruthOut piece titled How Much Change Does Robert Rubin Believe In? likewise makes me feel more certain. The question remains as to how a President Obama might govern. Perhaps this time the Reich approach will finally get a chance? With the further budget constraints of bailing out the fat cats who privatize profits yet socialize risks I'm not so certain he will have a whole lot of tools at his disposal yet hope springs eternal. John Gunn

John Mc$ame & Sarah Palin ~ The Defiant Ones?

Contrary to Robert Barnes' excuse filled piece titled Republicans Compose a New Way of Campaigning in the WaPo I'll go with the accuracy of Gail Collins' opinion labeled The Alpha Dogs Bark. She writes, "The Republicans have discovered that McCain can’t draw a crowd without Palin, and the dangers of letting her float off by herself are apparent. So the two are manacled together these days like Tony Curtis and Sidney Poitier in that old escape-from-a-chain-gang movie."

Ms. Collins, in writing of the financial collapses that I'd submit must be placed squarely on Conservatives' love of "the market" and "free enterprise", leaves off the fact that Senator Obama certainly has much criticism for Conservatism, Bu$hCo's crony capitalism, and St. John, yet she also provides the following:
Down in Florida, Barack Obama was also endorsing a bipartisan approach to the rescue. For good measure, he also tacked on a call on both parties to join together in backing “an emergency economic plan” crafted out of a whole bunch of things that the Republicans are never going to support in a million years.
"Fixes are for Libs Silly Democrat!" Is Senator Obama wrong to try to lead them from their foolish beliefs? That the vast majority of Republican are wrapped around their flawed philosophy is no secret yet what other options do we have but to call on them to abandon their doctrine?

As for Huggy Bear, Ms. Collins right to show he's fully in angry mode as he, or at least his handlers, know outrage and defiance if nothing else. I think that style comes somewhat naturally for St. John to boot. That he lashes out with blame while also calling for bipartisan solutions is nothing new.

Certainly Fannie and Freddie have been doling out dollars, with Senators Dodd and Obama at the top of the list, yet I notices they've generally been bipartisan in their donations. I see Alabama's Spencer Bachus and Richard Shelby for instance near the top yet given their committee assignments wouldn't expect anything different. And I'm certainly not defending any fat cats that have pocketed big bucks from their role as one of the insiders. Pointing out any connections they might have with the Obama campaign is fair game as long as Team McCain gets the same attention. Between the two, I'd trade this sort of stuff all day long.

However, my bottom line is Obama/Biden are the only two candidates remotely ready to provide the leadership necessary to craft solutions to the trouble. John Mc$ame, as demonstrated by his Bad Week, doesn't know squat about the basics, much less the complexities, of the modern economy. SnowJob SquareGlasses is perhaps ready for a right wing talk show host role yet hardly ready to be The Veep. Yup, he should have gone with The Mittster! John Gunn

Monday, September 15, 2008

John Mc$ame is against "the old boys' network''?

Given the debacle at Lehman Brothers that is hitting high notes today, perhaps Huggy could have chosen his words and setting more carefully? The Miami Herald's Mary Ellen Klas and Beth Reinhard report, "Sitting behind McCain was former Gov. Jeb Bush, who was hired a year ago by Lehman Brothers as a financial consultant. As governor, Bush served on the three-member State Board of Administration that agreed to let the state's retirement fund buy a series of mortgage-backed securities from Lehman Brothers that turned out to be troubled." Then again, St. John's relationship with Phill Gramm would cause anyone paying attention to ponder his hubris. I've been paying attention. Finally, Team Mc$ame is finally backing off lies that Governor Palin is anti-earmark and is now forced to campaign, although botching the facts and figures, on merely a "she's reduced them" theme. Team Obama and a marginally effective press forced their retreat from those lies. Additionally, for Obama/Biden to directly take on the flaws of conservatism is another postive sign. Score on for the good guys! John Gunn

UPDATE ~ Sarah Palin and her surrogates haven't stopped lying or at least stretching however.

Why stop with churches on 501(c)(3) abuse?

It turns out that I can get wireless out here in Yakima for a reasonable fee. I can't promise I'll blog and yet if I can carve out some time I just might. I think I've mentioned The Strategic Philanthropy of Conservative Foundations before yet today's Montgomery Advertiser "'Pulpit Initiative' distorts reality" set me to thinking on the subject once again. Also, I found an older piece from Time that I'd previously missed. The Advertiser correctly tells us the following:
The federal tax code is quite clear on this; a tax-exempt entity may not "participate in, or intervene in ... any political campaign on behalf of any candidate for public office."
Amen! Yet what about the tax exempt status of outfits like the Alabama Policy Institute? They, like some churches on various sides of the political divide, certainly have an agenda. And theirs is even more explicitly political! They not only provide "wingnut welfare" for young folks like Tiffany Bradley (a George Mason Mercatus alumni) plus more seasoned soldiers like Dr. Lawrence Lovik. He's actually willing to list "Wal-Mart Fellow" on his CV? He is associated with the Association of Private Enterprise Education (I can't resist sharing this link to Texas A&M's Private Enterprise Research Center as an example of how the "free enterprise" set has managed to at least get a foothold at a fair number of campuses as well) also. Dr. Lovik has also done some studying with Hillsdale College to boot.

I'm all for a fair debate and yet those supporting the "free enterprise" set that often rail against taxation are getting a write off to support "research" and "advocacy" that advance their interests! The poor and simple regular folks have a natural disadvantage here. I'm not necessarily suggesting we modify the Infernal Revenue Code but I'd at least like to think the average Bubba and Bubbette in Alabama and beyond understand the irony in how the wealthy talk one game and then walk another. John Gunn

Sunday, September 14, 2008

I'll soon be crossing Snoqualmie Pass to Yakima

Tina Fey provides a perfect Palin! She'll have lots of material this cycle and God forbid if Mc$ame pulls this one off.

Finally, I'll be out of pocket until this next weekend as we'll be in Yakima. Instead of hanging out a Stryker I'll be driving a HMMWV back and forth this time. And I'll not be doing much if any training this time as "I'm a Chairborne Ranger." At least I'll likely not have to sleep in the field. Then again, I doubt I'll get any good pictures of those big vistas with my hands on the wheel.

I'll be news deprived this next week yet perhaps that will let me get a grip. These last week or ten days of seeing the GOP work their magic has shaken this Scot. John Gunn

Saturday, September 13, 2008

WaPo's great graph on respective revenue plans

The WaPo, using work from the Tax Policy Center, a joint project of the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution, examines the Obama and McCain Tax Proposals. The McCain plan either is fantasy or disaster. Neither of what drives McCain's "policies" are in the best interest of this nation or the vast, vast majority of its citizenry. Nuff said? John Gunn

The Anniston Star ~ Calls BS on API's Ed "study"

John Hill is pictured to the left. Scripted answers: Twisted look at state's schools is a gem from The Anniston Star. The Huntsville Times pretty much fell for the Alabama Policy Institute's foolishness and even claimed "Hill and the Alabama Policy Institute have done the public a major service by bringing up issues others haven't been discussing." Although they are the least right of the "East Cost elites" Newhouse Triad the HT is surely right wing in orientation. After taking on the many flaws and admittedly "skewed" results, The Star however asks "So, why would the API use a model for its study that it knows will produce "skewed" results? Could it be because the results are "skewed" in the direction that the API wanted the results to go?

Yup! The Alabama Policy Institute is "in the tank". They are on Wingnut Welfare! Their Michael Ciamarra is. Bob McKee does his part. Gary Palmer surely is. And John Hill Ph. D. is as well. I can't find his qualifications yet The Google has this "John Hill is Director of Research for the Alabama Policy Institute, which he joined in 1995. He holds bachelors' degrees in Broadcasting and Bible from ..." before sending me to API's Newsletter page on their site.

Follow the money and you'll see these rascals are bought and paid for. Dobsonites that are tied to Regenry Publishing, API is openly hostile to real science yet will bend and twist statistics to suit their Corporatist and/or Christianist agendas. They have no shame. That they apparently make a living doing this on donations that are likely tax write offs makes it all the worse. John Gunn

Working hard has me Sleepless South of Seattle

I can recall my Old Daddy waking up really early as he aged even though he worked hard and was surely tired. I surely hope that's not my lot in life. I'm beat! I've been putting in twelve to fifteen hour days regularly these last few weeks trying to get our "Training Room" squared away. As one of The Chairborne, a Keyboard Commando of sorts, I'm surely stressed and yet I'm also worried about the future. Surely we need changes in the direction of this country and our world.

While I'm rather certain Obama/Biden would govern as a centrist set at best as they face a long hard slog in trying to salvage all the Bu$hCo and the last thirty years of increasingly conservative governing has wrought, I am perfectly terrified of what McCain/Palin might bring us. I'm also concerned that adding Palin to the ticket might help reduce gains in Congress although I'm still confident we'll pick up some seats. Those down ticket races are critical in running up some numbers that would make it easier to govern in the face of oppositional politics that the Republicans are masters of and the fact that Democrats are hardly as disciplined as those from the right.

Yet I'm mostly worried about how the McCain/Plain team might govern. Certainly Huggy Bear has gone right and picked up "talent" from Bu$hCo for some time. Palin's prep team is built on bedrock Bu$hies! St. John's temper, age, capacity, .. have been noted multiple times here. Yet choosing Governor Palin for his running mate says pretty much all that needs to be said. Bob Herbert is right that She's Not Ready. He writes
Ms. Palin’s problem is not that she was mayor of a small town or has only been in the Alaska governor’s office a short while. Her problem (and now ours) is that she is not well versed on the critical matters confronting the country at one of the most crucial turning points in its history.
The NYT's Editorial Pages also share Gov. Palin’s Worldview where I'll share much of what they opined.

It was bad enough that Ms. Palin’s performance in the first televised interviews she has done since she joined the Republican ticket was so visibly scripted and lacking in awareness.

What made it so much worse is the strategy for which the Republicans have made Ms. Palin the frontwoman: win the White House not on ideas, but by denigrating experience, judgment and qualifications. ...

But that is not what troubled us most about her remarks — and, remember, if they were scripted, that just means that they reflect Mr. McCain’s views all the more closely. Rather, it was the sense that thoughtfulness, knowledge and experience are handicaps for a president in a world populated by Al Qaeda terrorists, a rising China, epidemics of AIDS, poverty and fratricidal war in the developing world and deep economic distress at home.

Ms. Palin talked repeatedly about never blinking. When Mr. McCain asked her to run for vice president? “You have to be wired in a way of being so committed to the mission,” she said, that “you can’t blink.”

Fighting terrorism? “We must do whatever it takes, and we must not blink, Charlie, in making those tough decisions of where we go and even who we target.”

Her answers about why she had told her church that President Bush’s failed policy in Iraq was “God’s plan” did nothing to dispel our concerns about her confusion between faith and policy. Her claim that she was quoting a completely unrelated comment by Lincoln was absurd.

This nation has suffered through eight years of an ill-prepared and unblinkingly obstinate president. One who didn’t pause to think before he started a disastrous war of choice in Iraq. One who blithely looked the other way as the Taliban and Al Qaeda regrouped in Afghanistan. One who obstinately cut taxes and undercut all efforts at regulation, unleashing today’s profound economic crisis.

In a dangerous world, Americans need a president who knows that real strength requires serious thought and preparation.

Via FireDogLake, Ian Welsh shares The United States Can’t Afford 4 More Years of Ignorance and here's just a portion:

Now the standard response to this is to scream "elitist". Screw that. When did it become fashionable in the United States to be incompetent, unable to speak in a complete sentences and not just ignorant of how the world works but proud of it? This isn't an "education" issue in the sense of credentials. Heck, I personally don't even have a bachelors degree. I don't hold lack of formal education against anyone.

But I do hold not being willing to learn how to do their damn job against them. This isn't mostly about Bush (he's running out of time to bungle the job further). It isn't mostly about Palin (though she's only a very old heartbeat away from the Presidency). It's about John McCain. This is a man who touts his foreign policy expertise as his strongest point. He says he knows how to win wars. But the number one requirement for winning wars is understanding the enemy and, as noted, John McCain doesn't even understand the difference between a Sunni and Shia. Just doesn't know. Can't learn even after being publicly humiliated by not knowing. The US has been at war in a country where there is a huge amount of violence between religious groups, and he doesn't know anything about it? How can he credibly get up on stage and say he's the better candidate on foreign policy?

Can anyone imagine Barack Obama making this mistake? Not knowing? Of course they can't. Say what you will about Obama, but he's curious, he's knowledgeable and if he needs to learn something so he can do his bloody job, he goes out and learns it.

And that's what it's about, being able to do the job. Being responsible for the economy (which McCain admits he doesn't understand) as well as foreign affairs, in which McCain is also clearly out of his depth.

He's ignorant. And if he wanted to learn, if he was willing to learn, well in the five bloody years the US has been at war in Iraq, he'd have managed to pick up the difference between a Shia and a Sunni.

Bill Clinton was famous for staying up all night reading not just the entire report (ie. not only the "executive summary", which should be labelled "for lazy idiots who don't care enough to do their job right") but also the appendices. Strangely enough, the US economy did well under him, the US was mostly at peace, and the one war he chose to fight he won with zero losses.

Can you imagine McCain or Palin doing all that work to understand exactly what was going on? Not just handing things off to advisers, but actually learning about what is happening? Actually taking the time to understand then making their own decisions? Playing different advisers with different opinions off against each other, then making the final call, not just on their gut, but because they actually understands the situation well enough that they could write the report now if they had to?

What makes this all the worse is that Team McCain/Palin will continue the Bu$hCo tradition of making shit up. Michael Cooper and Jim Rutenberg of the NYTs file McCain Barbs Stirring Outcry as Distortions that sums up the latest coverage of the fact that Huggy's handlers are lying liars.

As Ian hinted above, cries of "elitist" are a standards response from today's Republican Party. Add in "liberal media" allegations pushed back by the message machine of the right, willing to bend, twist, distract even via the pages of the allegedly liberal press such as demonstrated by this morning's WaPo puff piece from Michael Abramowitz titled Many Versions of 'Bush Doctrine': Palin's Confusion in Interview Understandable, Experts Say. Relying on Condi's buddy Philip Zelikow and other conservatives to bolster his claims the closest Abramowitz came to finding a Lefty was Zbigniew Brzezinski and he's hardly a DFH. And what did Big Zig have to say? Here's the exact writing from the WaPo:
... he thought there was no "single piece of paper" that represents the Bush doctrine, but said several ideas collectively make up the doctrine, including the endorsement of preventive war and the idea that there is such a thing as a "war on terror."
It seems rather clear that pre-emptive war is the foundation doesn't it? The right can count on Charles Krauthammer coming to the rescue but it isn't like Michael Abramowitz hasn't "erred" on the side of the neo-conservatives before. Returning to Charlie K, a "psychiatrist-turned-award-winning-pundit" that is himself a neoconservative intellectual, he writes
In doing so, he (Charlie Gibson) captured perfectly the establishment snobbery and intellectual condescension that has characterized the chattering classes' reaction to the mother of five who presumes to play on their stage.
While the right often gets away with having the establishment attack the establishment, I do tire of the claims. I've covered the so called liberal media angle before, for instance how conservative columnists dominate the field, yet I'd missed Guardians of Power: The Myth of the Liberal Media. It's on my wish list now however. "Corporate media" is I'd argue more accurate. Or "lapdogs" perhaps?

I'm still cautiously optimistic for Obama/Biden yet some swing states are tightening and while the GOP can't govern worth a damn they surely can campaign. If in fact Obama/Biden will push back, fight when attacked wrongly, take the initiative rather than play defense, ... but mostly embrace Progressivism/Populism then they can close the deal. Otherwise, I fear I'll have many more sleepness nights. John Gunn

UPDATE ~ Late evening of the 13th - Reading this NYT's piece on Sarah Palin will likely have me sleepless again this evening. I'm almost thinking she's Bu$h 2.0 given the reports of her governing style up in Alaska.

UPDATE ~ Early morning of the 14th - MoDo's fretting too. She closes with, "Like W., Sarah has the power of positive unthinking. But now we may want to think about where ignorance and pride and no self-doubt has gotten us. Being quick on the trigger might be good in moose hunting, but in dealing with Putin, a little knowledge might come in handy."