Friday, October 31, 2008

The Only Poll That Matters

There it was, a headline on the Huffington Post that promised to answer the one burning question that's on everyone's mind these days: "Who will win the election?" The title of the piece: "Bill Kristol Knocks the New York Times, Predicts McCain Will Win the Election." Now as anyone who has followed Kristol's recent career knows, Bill Kristol has not been wrong about anything recently (and by that, of course, I mean that Bill Kristol has been wrong about everything recently.) From the extent to which American troops would be greeted as liberators, to the ease with which we would create a Democratic government in Iraq, to the swiftness with which the vast majority of our troops would come home, Bill Kristol has been, not just wrong, but spectacularly wrong both on the symbolism as well as the substance of the matter. Indeed, you might say that wrongness is a quality that permeates his writings, that allows them to soar on fictional wings to the land of make-believe, it is a quailty that has become very much a hallmark of his work. So when the Huffington Post promised its readership a prediction of a McCain victory by Kristol, you might as well have just handed me a pair of tickets to the Obama innaugural ball. I was giddy.

But then I watched the video:

And now I'm of mixed emotions. You see, yes, it is true that Kristol predicts a McCain victory in this clip, but what's not clear is that he actually believes what he is saying. Indeed, there's a certain "I'm saying this because I have to" quality to the prediction that would seem to derive from the fact that he is, after all William Kristol, and can't possibly be expected to say anything other. What his demeanor seems to say, on the other hand, is that McCain and the GOP are headed toward a crushing blow and a staggering defeat, a cataclysm of a magnitude unseen since Krakatoa. And so to gauge the probability that this prediction is on the money (and by that I mean that it is spectacularly wrong, like all his other predictions) we would have to know whether Kristol was lying to us all those other times, or whether he knew all along that he was full of crap. Because in this clip, it's pretty obvious that he knows full well that he's spewing nonsense.

And so I'm back where I started. Spinning in my office chair, tossing darts at a big map of the world on the wall, and wondering whether the American people are going to hand victory to the man who most deserves it, or go with their baser instincts and vote their prejudices and fears.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Could McCain lose AZ?

A new poll has Obama running neck and neck with John McCain in Arizona, senator McCain's home state. If this is true then it seems to be one more sign that support for McCain is collapsing across the board. It may also be a sign of weakening support for the GOP throughout the Southwest. Makes you wonder: how long before Texas re-aligns? And at that point the GOP is lost, game over unless the party can radically rebrand itself.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Fox drops all pretense.

Fox News runs a front page story titled "Obama Affinity to Marxists Dates Back to College Days." It reads like a McCain campaign press release, including guilt by association, out-of context quotes from Barack Obama's biography, and deliberate mischaracterizations of Obama's positions. Take this gem, for instance:

But the debate intensified Monday with the surfacing of a 2001 radio interview in which Obama lamented the Supreme Court's inability to enact "redistribution of wealth" -- a key tenet of socialism. On Tuesday, McCain said Obama aspires to become "Redistributionist-in-Chief."
This, of course, is a deliberate misrepresentation of what Obama actually said which was that:
...the supreme court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth and sort of basic issues of political and economic justice in this society and to that extent as radical as people try to characterize the warren court it wasnt that radical 40;30 it didnt break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the founding fathers in the constituion at least as it has been interpreted and the warren court interpreted it generally in the same way that the constitution is a document of negative liberties 40:43 says what the states cant do to you says what the federal govt cant do to you but it doesnt say what the federal govt or state govt mst do on your behalf and that hasnt shifted and i think one of the tragedies of the civil rights movement was that 41:01 the civil rights movement becaem so court focused i think there was a tendency to lose track of the political and organizing activities 41:12 on the ground that are able to bring about the coalitions of power through which you bring about redistributive change 41:20 and in some ways we still suffer from that
In other words, Obama does not lament that the court never pursued redistribution or was unable to pursue redistribution of wealth. Rather he laments that the Civil Rights movement focused too many of its energies on a court that was not designed to advance the goals of social justice and redistribution of wealth. This distinction is essential, given that Conservatives love to push the notion of un-elected courts pursuing left wing agendas. Yet here, Obama is siding with those who deny such power was ever invested in the courts by the nation's founders.

The rest of the piece is just as ridiculous, featuring a picture of Karl Marx as well as "expert opinions" that are attributed to unnamed "analysts", as in this absurdity:
Obama has been widely criticized for choosing the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, an anti-American firebrand, as his pastor. Wright is a purveyor of black liberation theology, which analysts say is based in part on Marxist ideas.
Ultimately, the absurdity of the piece, mirrors the absurdity of this whole line of attack generally. Barack Obama is guilty of nothing more than espousing a progressive tax policy of startified tax brackets. If that is evidence of Marxist leanings, then the U.S. is already a Maxist country and one must accept the unavoidable conclusion that Marxism is the most effective political and economic system known to man and the one that grants him the most freedom.

Somehow I doubt that's what Obama's critics mean to say.

But the piece does prove one thing: the McCain campaign and its allies at Fox are getting desperate.

Your crazy neighbor endorses McCain

That bald dude who just a few weeks ago was an unlicensed plumber, a tax cheat, and an aficionado of right-wing talk radio has officially endorsed John McCain. And in a carefully argued assessment that sounds like it was probably arrived at over a couple of beers and a $20.00 stakes game of pool, proclaimed that Obama would be the "death of Israel." No, strike that. He didn't really proclaim it so, but rather, agreed with some random McCain supporter that it woud likely be so.

And this event, makes news, for some reason, while your insane neighbor with the broken down truck in his yard, impressive collection of semi-automatic weapons, and penchant for cookouts that involve a fire in a 55 gallon drum and does not merit a story when he makes the very same proclamation... hmmm, curious that.

Who wants it more?

How to slay a Fox

This is how you do an interview with Fox News. You make Fox the story, hammer them on their bias, and rile-up whichever one of the clone-army of blonde, Laura Ingraham wannabe newscasters, happens to be running the interview, so she gets all defensive and talking-pointy on you:

The cult of McCain?

And critics accuse the left of messianism in our enthusiasm for Barack Obama?

...the difference in moral stature between presidential candidates has rarely been as enormous as it is today--not (or not only) because Obama's is so small but because McCain's is so large. There is no single English word for McCain the hero, the moral entity. But in Hebrew he would be called a tsaddik--a man of such nobility and moral substance that he approaches holiness. If this assertion sounds crazy, that only shows how little we have thought about the issue.


"Who shall ascend the mountain of the Lord? Or who shall stand in His holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart" (Psalm 24:3-4). Whether you like or dislike his politics, that is John McCain all over.

-David Gelernter, "Clean Hands and a Pure Heart" The Weekly Standard, 11/03/2008

(Hat tip: Andrew Sullivan)

Vote fraud? Not so fast.

National Review Online columnist Jim Geraghty has finally found that elusive proof that Democratic voters are voting illegally:

Now, unless A. Serwer thinks that there is actually a registered voter named "Duran Duran" in New Mexico, he ought to refrain from sputtering that those who disagree with him are 'racist' and 'paranoid.'

The person who is "Duran Duran" almost certainly voted under their real name, and thus got two votes in the primary.
Open and shut case, right? Except that a short time later Geraghty posts the following update:

UPDATE: I am floored by the fact that the white pages for Albuquereque, New Mexico has a listing for "Duran Duran." Mea culpa.

(Hat tip: Crooks and Liars)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Can it get any more ridiculous?

It's hard to imagine how the whole Sarah "Evita" Palin thing could get any more ridiculous than it already has, but... well it has. As anyone who's not just returned from a month long Arctic expedition knows by now, that ordinary hockey mom Sarah Palin who's just like you and me was recently the beneficiary of a $1,500.00 $150,000.00 shopping spree at Sacks 5th ave., Neiman Marcus and several other super fancy shopping outlets that mere mortals only dream of. And this proved to be a bit of an embarrassment to the Palin campaign because... well, after all, deep down inside she's just an ordinary hockey mom who shoots moose and whose kids are all in trouble and getting pregnant and stuff and who's always getting nabbed using her gubernatorial office to pursue her personal vendettas... you know, every day blue collar working class hero stuff. Which is why she'd make the world's most awesoe president, dontcha know? So what the Hell is she doing at Neiman Marcus?

Well now a chastened Sarah Palin has shed her haute couture acoutrements and in a move that's not at all patronizing to her base of poor, illiterate, angry, white evangelicals, she's going about in clothes that were purchased in a consignment shop... and not just any consignment shop, mind you, but Sarah Palin's very own favorite consignemnt shop, a shop so blue collar and ordinary working class that it doesn't even bother calling itself a "shoppe." See, people? She's one of us!

Little white liars.

Apparently, to some conservatives it doesn't really matter whether or not a story is true. What matters is that it "rings true.":

But here’s my big picture take: It doesn’t matter whether Ashley was genuinely attacked for her political beliefs. What counts is that the story seems entirely plausible, and that’s scary. It’s entirely believable that an Obama supporter would viciously maim a McCain volunteer because we expect that behavior from people who delight in smearing the minor children of politicians.

Even if Ashley’s story proves to be completely false, ask yourself whether you believe it could happen. Do you want to vote with people you expect to physically attack their political opposites, or against them?

Update: Michelle Malkin also calls b.s. I still say the veracity of Ashley Todd’s story is neither here nor there. It’s the notion that vicious behavior from one of Obama’s enraged followers isn’t at all shocking that should give you pause.

It would be difficult to find a better example of the moral bankruptcy of the contemporary Right than the ruminations I have quoted above. I especially love the last bit, where blogger Jenn Q. Public notes that the "believability" of the story is, in and of itself, a valid condemnation the Obama campaign, as if that very "believability" weren't simply a sign of just how out of touch and deeply lost in the hysterical, dishonest, right-wing echo chamber some people can become. And yes, I'm speaking of you, Jen.

(Hat tip to blogger uggabugga.)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Republican Racism Watch Part LXXVI

So yesterday the blogs (and Drudge and Fox News) were abuzz with the story of Ashley Todd, a McCain campaign volunteer who claims to have been mugged and then mutilated by a scary African American fellow (Willie Horton, maybe?) who was enraged by the McCain bumper stickers on her car and proceeded to beat her and carve the letter "B" on her cheek with a knife. As you might expect, the mouth-breathers on the Right just couldn't help themselves. Here are a few choice comments posted by Fox News readers shortly after the original story ran (and before it was updated to appear more skeptical than when it first saw print):


Rodney King-- why can't we just get along...

Surprise! Surprise!...Obamabots are insane and aggresive. Tell me something I didn't already know. Will someone please save America from these people!!

The REAL Obama World! The Obama Media, Obama, Obama's Associations, Obama's Campaign are all to blame for this Hate Crime. I am confident that Ayers just loves this story. This is what Obama and Ayers, and the rest of their Terrorist Family is all about. They love this type of stuff - it's like a drug high for them! The rest of the country better start clinging to their guns and religion! If Obama wins they will need to move the oval office to Federal Prison!

Obama doesn't pull his starving brother out from under the bus because he is afraid that his brother may slip and tell people that Barack was born in Kenya and therefore doesn't meet the requirements to run for President. There's a reason why there are 3 lawsuits against him.

his is not the first sort that happened. and there'll be more if Obama won. he's a thorough terrorist that wants to control America. no wonder why people dare to speak the truth. Osama campaign would just challenge good people with: how dare you. Osama just out of America!!

This is what we have to look forward to when Obama loses. Rodney King Idiots will come out of the woodworks.

yep this is what we have to look foward to plus his gun control cant even protect yourself anymore thats just the beginning what next we all got to get the B carved in our faces not i will fight it with my life. jesus is comming i have god on my side i am safe nothing they can do to hurt me.

The Obama campaign released the statement and it was written by the attacker..

Problem is, just as soon as the story was published, skeptical eyes across the internet (and, it should be noted, across the ideological spectrum) started spotting odd inconsistencies. Perhaps the most obvious was that the letter "B" on the young lady's cheek was carved backwards, as if done in front of a mirror. Also odd was the fact that the wound appeared to be very, very superficial, so much so that the woman refused medical treatment after reporting the supposed assault to the police. Another peculiar aspect of the story is that the woman logged the event in her online diary as it was happening. No, she didn't log the "actual" mugging, but did log her supposed search for an ATM that led her to winding up on the "wrong side" of Pittsburgh.

Now it appears that even the police are skeptical of the young woman's story, for the reasons cited above as well as the lack of video evidence to corroborate her story from the ATMs video camera. The thinking is that Todd concocted this story as a way of inflaming racial animus in the hope of aiding the McCain campaign. Indeed, the evidence so strongly points in this direction that Todd is becoming radioactive to the Right.

Of course, not all conservative bloggers are convinced that Todd is lying. As Right-Wing propaganda "media watchdog" organization Newsbusters helpfully points out, there's actually nothing suspicious about Todd's wound if we simply assume that the mugger carved it into her face while she was hanging upside-down from a tree branch like a bat:

Let it go, guys... seriously.

(UPDATE: She made the whole story up. It's official. Now we can expect Newsbusters to write a piece on how the liberal media hyped this obviously fake story to set the McCain campaign up for a fall. Coming in five, four, three...)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

"Punitive" taxation

An e-mail I sent to Andrew Sullivan, as a response to this blog post.

Andrew, I can understand your desire to put the word "progressive" in scare quotes when speaking of our system of scaled income tax brackets. The word "progressive" can be read to imply movement toward the "better" as opposed to a simple quantitative increase. However, it seems to me that there is something fundamentally dishonest in putting the word "progressive" in scare quotes while at the same time using the unquoted word "punitive" approvingly, as you do. I know of no one who favors taxation as a form of punishment, and those who oppose it for that reason seem to me as the child who views being forced to clean his room as a form of punishment. A more honest, neutral description of the "progressive" tax schedule (if you dislike the term "progressive") would be something along the lines of "graduated taxation" or perhaps "accelerated taxation." You may well think the system unfair, which is a value judgment that one could easily set out to defend (though I personally disagree with that assessment). You may well think the system unwise, which again, is a claim that could easily be defended without imputing sinister motives to your opponents. But when you claim that the progressive tax system is a structure that was implemented for the purpose of punishing the wealthy, then you are imputing motives to your opponents that are simply not borne out by any facts of which I am aware. If you know of a current legislator who describes taxation approvingly as punishment I'd surely like to know who he is (and I'm speaking of current legislators, not long dead Bolsheviks or obscure parliamentarians from the pre-history of the UK Labor Party who no one on this side of the pond has ever head of). Or alternatively, if you have reason to believe that there are legislators who approve of taxation precisely because they view is as a fitting punishment for the monied classes, then I'd like to know what evidence led you to you arrive at that conclusion.
One of the things that puzzles me about people like Andrew Sullivan is how muddled their thinking can be when they approach certain topics. It's one thing to disagree with your opponent's. It's quite another to impute bizarre motives to his belief system.

Ayn Rand is Dead

Ayn Rand is dead, and Wall Street killed her:

Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan called today for imposing some of the same sorts of regulations on mortgage securities he resisted when he was in office, acknowledging that the current financial crisis had exposed "a flaw" in his view of how the world and markets function.
Sounds like maybe Greenspan feels a little guilty about the upheaval and financial devastation that his laissez-faire fundamentalism (of the Objectivist variety) has unleashed upon ordinary working folk throughout the globe.

Also, this excellent article says much of what I was mulling over for a possible blog post a couple of weeks ago. After reading the article I didn't feel the need to say anything more, really. Recommended reading.


Glenn Beck, CNN's most dishonest, sleazy and annoying show hosts is leaving the network for Fox News, the place where he clearly belonged since the beginning. Maybe CNN will take the opportunity to revamp and remake itself as the serious news organization it aspired to be in its early years, before the cult of newscaster celebrities with pretty faces took hold. No network has the global reach and reputation of CNN and it's been sad to witness the network's degeneration and slow slide into the stagnant pool of lowbrow mediocrity it now inhabits.

What's the difference?

Q: What's the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull?

A: $150,000.00 of 5th Avenue couture.*

*Oh yeah: and lipstick... can't forget the lipstick.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Obama's Kenyan Voodoo

Now, a message from the lunatic fringe of the Republican Party (AKA the base):

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.
That's right, according to some of Sarah Palin's most fervent nutty supporters, the reason John McCain is behind in the national polls right now has mostly to do with Obama's African voodoo witchcraft than a genuine desire on the part of the American people to start a fresh after the disaster of the Bush presidency.

(Tanks to wonkette commenter wagthegod for the sip)

Just a kid and his granddad

Here's a picture of a kid and his granddad enjoying a day at the beach. The Kid is Barak Obama.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Republican Racism Watch

Syndicated Cartoonist Gordon Campbell depicts Colin Powell as a black Benedict Arnold and declares the four star general's endorsement of Barack Obama as a sign of devotion to race as opposed to country. He joins such right-wing luminaries as Pat Buchannan and Rush Limbaugh in that assessment.

In America many, if not most whites view a black man exclusively through the miopic prism of race, and assume that his every decision, his every opinion, his every like and dislike, from the food eats, the music he listens to, the books he reads and the company he keeps, is dictated and pre-ordained by his race. Barack Obama has been endorsed by numerous Admirals, Brigadier Generals, Major Generals, and Four Star Generals, but should Colin Powell join their ranks and profess his preference for the Senator from Illinois, it can only be due to one fact: his race.

Guess who else is in the tank for Obama?

Did you know Karl Rove runs some some sort of polling outfit?

(click to enlarge)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Republican racist watch

This one is just so over the top racist I'm not even going to summarize it. Just read the article.

Zogby: loses all credibility

For years the Zogby poll has been a favorite of Republicans because it has been known to skew to the right in its results. There was a brief period there just after 9/11 when things changed a bit, given that John Zoby is of Arabic origin, and he became an outspoken critic of anti-Arab sentiment in the U.S. for a time. But now it looks like Zogby is back to his old tricks. A blogger on Daily Kos discovered recently that Zogby was engaging in the most illegitimate form of polling there is: push polling.

Today, I got my first survey, and the questions are a bit peculiar:

If you knew Barack Obama supported a plan to give driver's licenses to illegal immigrants would you be
Much more likely to vote for him
Somewhat more likely to vote for him
Somewhat less likely to vote for him
Much less likely to vote for him
It doesn't change my vote
Not sure

If you knew Barack Obama supported a plan to provide Social Security benefits to illegal immigrants, would you be
Much more likely to vote for him
Somewhat more likely to vote for him
Somewhat less likely to vote for him
Much less likely to vote for him
It doesn't change my vote
Not sure

If you knew Barack Obama supported a plan to give government health care coverage to illegal immigrants, would you be
Much more likely to vote for him
Somewhat more likely to vote for him
Somewhat less likely to vote for him
Much less likely to vote for him
It doesn't change my vote
Not sure

So Zogby is now officially a hack, and not apollster at all. Let's hope the msm picks up on this and stops quiting his polls as if they were anything other than propaganda (don't hold your breath, though).

Obama tax cut for Joe the plumber?

Guess what? It appears that, not only would Joe the plumber not pay much in taxes under the Obama plan, but that it's far more likely he would see a nice fat tax cut under Obama's plan:

ABC News' Chris Bury is outside Toledo, near the home of Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher, aka "Joe the Plumber," and reports that Wurzelbacher -- such a key part of Sen. John McCain's critique of Sen. Barack Obama's economic proposals -- acknowledged that he wants to purchase the plumbing business for $250-280,000, not that he would net that much in profits.

He would make much less, he said.

Which would seem to indicate that he would be eligible for an Obama tax cut, not that he would be subject to the tax increase from 36% to 39% Obama would impose on those making more than $200,000 per person, or $250,000 per family.


Wurzelbacher this morning told ABC News' Diane Sawyer that he was talking about, in Diane's words, the prospect, the hope that someday he would make $250,000.

So, in other words, Joe was just fantasizing about paying more under Obama, and that got hiim all hot under the collar, even though in the real world he would, in fact, pay less taxes than under McCain.

It's looking more and more like this guy's just a shill.

Oh yeah, guess what else: Joe the plumber doesn't even have a plumbing license.

More on Joe the Plumber

There's a lot being discussed and revealed about Joe the Plumber on the left-wing blogosphere (including questions about his possible connections to some of the major players in the Charles Keating scandal). Here's an interesting tidbit from ABC news that adds some inportant nuggets of information on Wurzelbacher:

Regardless of how Wurzelbacher would personally fare under the candidates' plans, he suggested to ABC News' Nightline that he is against all forms of progressive taxation.

During his telephone interview with ABC News, the Ohio plumber argued that the government should not tax some Americans at a higher percentage than others and argued that this principle should extend not only to taxpayers at his income-level but also to the world's richest man.

"I don't like it," said Wurzelbacher. "You know, me or -- you know, Bill Gates, I don't care who you are. If you worked for it, if it was your idea, and you implemented it, it's not right for someone to decide you made too much."

So, Wurzelbacher, as it turns out, isn't just some random schmoe who wants to buy a plumbing business but is worried about how his tax bill might change. Instead, he's a right-wing ideologue and anti-tax zealot. No wonder he's so angry at Obama, he's basically a bald, skinny version of Rush Limbaugh.

Poor, poor Joe the Plumber!

You've heard it all over the mainstream media and in the blogospohere: Barack Obama wants to impose ruinous new taxes on poor Joe the plumber, taxes so onerous that they would make it very difficult for the guy to make ends meet.

But how close to the truth are these claims? Let's examine the facts for a minute, as realayed by this BBC news article:

Joe Wurzelbacher is an Ohio man thinking of buying a plumbing business who has briefly come to prominence in the US presidential debate.

Last week, when Democratic candidate Barack Obama came to his hometown of Holland, Ohio, Mr Wurzelbacher told the presidential hopeful that the Democrat's tax plans would prevent him from buying the business where he has worked for years.

Mr Wurzelbacher said the company earned $250,000-$280,000 (£144,800-£162,250) a year, and he challenged Mr Obama: "Your new tax plan is going to tax me more, isn't it?"

Mr Obama said that under his proposals, taxes on any revenue below $250,000 would remain the same, but that earnings above that level would be subject to a 39% tax, instead of the current 36% rate.

So, according to the facts as spelled out above, were Joe the plumber to buy the business in question (keep in mind that he doesn't even own this business yet, so at this point the argument is purely speculative) he would fall into that roughly 2% of small businesses that would pay additional taxes under the Obama plan. OK, but how much more would Joe end up paying? Well, do the math:

1) All income below $250,000 remains taxed at the current rate.

2) according to Joe's own estimates, that leaves between $0 to $30,000 that would be taxed under the new rate.

3) Let's assume a "worst" case scenario and use $30,000 as our baseline.

4) Obama's plan represents an increase of 3% over the current tax rate (39% vs. 36%)

5) Doing the math, we get $900

So under the Obama plan, Joe, whose business brings in $280,000 profit every year, would pay an additional, back breaking $900

And that's going to keep him from buying the business? Not exactly Joe the pauper, is it? Something just doesn't add up.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A Curious Complaint

Here's an interesting nugget from the Daily Kos: One of the complaints that Sarah Palin filed against her ex-brother in law, while hoping to get him fired from the State Police force as part of her irrational vendetta, alleged that he had participated in an illegal wolf hunt. What Palin fails to mention is that his hunting partner and co-conspirator on that particular trip was her own father.

Meanwhile, in the land of real reporters...

There are still a few countries in this world that boast of real reporters doing honest to God reporting in the service of truth and justice. In Vietnam, for instance, two reporters have been convicted and one sentenced to prison for exposing government corruption.

BANGKOK, Oct. 15 -- A court in Vietnam on Wednesday sentenced a journalist to two years in prison after he exposed a scandal involving Transportation Ministry officials siphoning off aid money, in part to bet on European soccer matches.

Nguyen Viet Chien, who worked for the Thanh Nien daily newspaper, was convicted of "abusing democratic freedoms to infringe upon the interests of the state." One of his sources, Lt. Col. Dinh Van Huynh, 50, was given a one-year sentence for "deliberately revealing state secrets."

Chien was unrepentant during the trial.

"With my journalist conscience, I can say I never have any other purpose in mind when writing my reports but exposing wrongdoing and fighting corruption," he told the court.

You just woke up in 2004

If you feel like you bumped your head last night and woke up back in 2004 maybe it's this headline:

No. 2 Leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq Killed.

Yes, for the 150th time in 8 years, the Bush administration has succeeded in killing the #2 leader of Al Qaeda. In a statement from his Pakistani hideout Osama bin Laden reacted to the news thussly:
Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!
It's been 2591 days since Osama bin Laden masterminded the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon that left nearly 3000 innocent Americans dead, and this administration has not managed to bring him to justice in all that time. They did manage to capture Saddam Hussein, however, who had nothing to do with the attacks, but who controlled vast oil reserevs as president of Iraq. 4181 U.S. servicemen have died in Iraq since the invasion.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

(Not so) subtle GOP racism watch.

The National Review's Stanley Kurtz warns us: President Barack Obama is in league with America hating radical Afrocentrists.

John Cleese nails Sarah Palin:

Found on Andrew Sullivan's site:

Monday, October 13, 2008

Almost Right... Not Quite.

Inspired by this Wonkette story, I've put together this wonderful illustration:

The original New York Post articles: here and here.

Did Obama Cause the Stock Market Crash?

I have a theory that Barack Obama may have caused the Stock Market crash when investors withdrew trillions of dollar from their portfolios to donate to his campaign.

Nobel Prize For Dumb Headlines

And the prize for dumbest headline about Paul Krugman winning the Nobel prize goes to... CNN for this doozie! (click to enlarge):

Sean Hannity's BFF

The New York Times delivers the goods on Andrew Martin, a longtime favorite of right-wing blogs, who was deemed mentally unstable by the Illinois Bar in the 1970s, and the man who was given a forum, by Fox News and Sean Hannity, to spin absurd conspiracy theories about Barack Obama's religious and racial background: various court papers, Mr. Martin had impugned Jews.

A motion he filed in a 1983 bankruptcy case called the judge “a crooked, slimy Jew who has a history of lying and thieving common to members of his race.”

In another motion, filed in 1983, Mr. Martin wrote, “I am able to understand how the Holocaust took place, and with every passing day feel less and less sorry that it did.”

In an interview, Mr. Martin denied some statements against Jews attributed to him in court papers, blaming malicious judges for inserting them.

But in his “48 Hours” interview in 1993, he affirmed a different anti-Semitic part of the affidavit that included the line about the Holocaust, saying, “The record speaks for itself.”

When asked Friday about an assertion in his court papers that “Jews, historically and in daily living, act through clans and in wolf pack syndrome,” he said, “That one sort of rings a bell.”

He said he was not anti-Semitic. “I was trying to show that everybody in the bankruptcy court was Jewish and I was not Jewish,” he said, “and I was being victimized by religious bias.”

That's the man that Sean Hannity, who laughably, has referred to himself as a "journalist," relied upon for much of his televised attack on Barack Obama a few days ago.


Wow, what more can you ask for on a Monday morning than a despondent editorial by William Kristol (which reads like it was written over a half bottle of gin) side-by-side with the news that Paul Krugman has been awarded the Nobel prize in economics!

Friday, October 10, 2008

The wisdom of Larry Kudlow (and Paul Krugman)

Here's something Larry Kudlow is probably wishing he hadn't said right about now (click image to enlarge):

Thanks to Paul Kruman who first noted this on his blog.

Have the GOP & George W. Bush killed the US auto Industry?

An article in the Washington Post examines just how dire the economic situation has become for the U.S. Auto industry:

GM's market capitalization now stands at $2.69 billion. The day after the 1929 stock market crash, the company was worth seven times as much in inflation-adjusted dollars, according to market historian Bryan Taylor of Global Financial Data.
And consider this: Ford Motor Company, whose stock symbol is "F," (yes, just "F"... gives you an idea of the company's centrality to U.S. manufacturing history) is trading at about $2.25 a share right now.

There are many reasons for the decline of the U.S. auto sector. As usual conservatives seek to lay all the blame on the Unions, as if the U.S. auto industry is the only one in the world that has to take into account the wage and benefits demands of a trade union. But, of course, the reality is not nearly as simple as that. One of the major hindrances to the industry is the cost of providing health benefits to workers and retirees. This is a cost that is borne by the government and paid through taxes in Europe and through the government and individuals in Japan's highly regulated, cost-controlled quasi-private health insurance model. As a result, the cost of producing a car in America rises by several thousand dollars due to these obligations. Imagine what an extra $1000 could do in terms of livening up and improving the interior of you average American car. It's almost embarrassing to compare the space-aged, curvy interior of a late model Honda Civic with the rather pedestrian interior of a Chevy Cobalt or Ford Focus, for instance.

Another problem, of course, is that the U.S. auto industry has been slow to respond to the realities of the petroleum market and rising prices. For years Detroit has fought fuel economy standards that might have forced the auto makers to produce vehicles that would fare better in the current reality of $4.00 a gallon gasoline. Instead, U.S. auto makers kept churning out fuel hungry (but very profitable) SUVs. You can blame the system of legalized bribery known as lobbying as well as the short-sightedness of auto executives for this one.

So tack on a collapsing economy and decades of neglect when it comes to our non-existent industrial policy and you've got a recipe for the annihiliation of the U.S. auto industry.

Ha, ha, ha,ha!

You've got to be an occasional reader of Mikey Kaus to get Andrew Sullvian's sarcastic reference, but just in case you are, here it is:

You ever wonder why Mickey never mentions the National Enquirer any more?

Touché, Andrew. Touché.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Has Bush Doomed America?

Remember back in 2000 when Republicans were celebrating the election of America's newest CEO President and the "liberal, America-haters" among us were ridiculed for pointing out that every company George W. Bush had run, he'd run into the ground?

But don't worry, right now Bill O'Reilly is on the case trying to blame it all on Barney Frank.

My Latest YouTube Video

Here's my latest YouTube video:

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Not there quite yet...

An update on an earlier post of mine, reflecting the latest market activity:

Obama won.

Q: What's the surest way to know that Obama won last night's debate?

A: The wingnuts start complaining about the format and crafting conspiracy theories that he was wearing a secret, invisible, spy-gear, in-ear headset receiver and being fed answers (by white men?).

In the picture below I use the latest in computer modeling and digital enhancement technologies to evaluate Ann Althouse's evidence.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Palin: Ladies, vote for me or you'll go to Hell.

Sarah Palin plays the "lady card" in a spectacularly clumsy fashion. If Barack Obama asked African American's to vote for him because he's African American, the GOP and the press would be all over that statement, calling it divisive and shallow. It would also be a stupid thing to say. Nor do I believe Hillary Clinton would say anything so craven. Say what you want about Hillary, but she understood that she had to speak to everyone if she stood a chance of attaining her party's nomination and the presidency. She wasn't brought on board a foundering campaign at the last minute by a desperate candidate hoping to rein in a particular demographic. Sure the Clinton campaign had its share of "girl power" moments, but never anything even approaching a this vulgar "vote for me because I have a womb" proposition.

How low will they go?

Fox News airs a one hour special on Barack Obama that focuses on his alleged violent radicalism, and serves as a platform for the conspiracy theories and demonstrable falsehoods of anti-Semite Andy Martin (in 1986 Martin ran for congress promising to "exterminate Jew power in America.") The program is hosted by Sean Hannity, and offers no opposing viewpoints.

Monday, October 6, 2008

McCain can still win this thing...

Weekly Standard editor William Kristol (who has never been wrong about anything) explains how John McCain can still win the elections:

The odds are against John McCain and Sarah Palin winning this election. It's not easy to make up a 6-point deficit in the last four weeks. But it can be done.

Look at history. The Gore-Lieberman ticket gained about 6 points in the final two weeks of the 2000 campaign. Ford-Dole came back more than 20 points in less than two months in the fall of 1976. Both tickets were from the party holding the White House, and both were running against inexperienced, and arguably risky, opponents.

So Kristol's perfectly reasonable analysis: McCain can still win this contest, just as Ford did in 1976 and Gore did in 2000.

I think I'm liking this guy William Kristol.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The New Yorker Endorses...

In an impeccably written 4,201 word treatise, the New Yorker magazine endorses Barack Obama for president. But don't worry, Patriot's Quill supplies you with the New Yorker cartoon version (click to enlarge):

All Obama, all the time.

Q: Just how much money has the Obama campaign managed to raise this elections season?

A: This much.

Stay classy Wm. F. Buckley

Before he died, conservative icon William F. Buckley Junior amended his last will and testament to specifically exclude his 8 year-old, illegitimate grandson from any share in his $30 million fortune, stipulating that:

"I intentionally make no provision herein for said Jonathan, who for all purposes . . . shall be deemed to have predeceased me,"
Boy, it must be a great feeling to grow up knowing that your own flesh and blood burned you in effigy when you were a mere 8 years of age. Hopefully the kid has another grandfather who isn't an asshole; will maybe even take him fishing instead of wishing him dead.

Au revoir!

The New York Times editorial board graciously dances on the New York Sun's grave.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Least credible claim...

What's the least credible claim John McCain has ever made? I'd vote for this exchange with NPR's Steve Inskeep:

MR. INSKEEP: Given what you’ve said, Senator, is there an occasion where you could imagine turning to Governor Palin for advice in a foreign policy crisis?

SEN. MCCAIN: I’ve turned to her advice many times in the past. I can’t imagine turning to Senator Obama or Senator Biden because they’ve been wrong. They were wrong about Iraq, they were wrong about Russia. Senator Biden wanted to divide Iraq into three different countries. He voted against the first Gulf War. Senator Obama has no experience whatsoever and has been wrong in the issues that he’s been involved in –

As Andrew Sullivan rightly notes: McCain's only known Palin for a couple of weeks. What foreign policy advice could he possibly have sought from her "many times"?