Saturday, January 12, 2008

Prius Kicks Explorer Ass

Financial Times: Americans bought more Toyota Prius hybrid gas-electric hatchbacks last year than Ford Explorer sport-utility vehicles, the top-selling SUV for more than a decade.

...While Americans' love for powerful gas guzzlers remains strong, a slowing economy and high gasoline prices are forcing buyers to lower their sights.

When are US car manufacturers going to figure out that they need more R & D and make hybrids for the US market? Looking at Chevrolet for example, they have one hybrid on the market. The fucking Tahoe! It's their second largest truck which can now average up to 21 mpg. We're supposed to get excited about that? ...woo-friggin'-hoo...

Ford comes out with a Focus averaging 35 mpg, the current CAFE standard goal for 2020 thanks to the new energy bill. Make it a hybrid averaging 50 mpg and now we're talkin'. You'd see Ford sales shoot through the roof along with Ford stock and we wouldn't have to bail them out year after year.

At least the consumer is finally starting to get it.

Weekend In Hell's Kitchen

Corpse Wheeled to Check-Cashing Store
Leads to 2 Arrests

Two men were arrested on Tuesday after pushing a corpse, seated in an office chair, along the sidewalk to a check-cashing store to cash the dead man’s Social Security check, the police said.

When Virgilio Cintron, 66, died at his apartment at 436 West 52nd Street recently, his roommate and a friend saw an opportunity to cash his $355 check, the police said.

...There was no sign of foul play in Mr. Cintron’s death.

The roommate, James P. O’Hare, and his friend, David J. Dalaia, both 65 and unemployed, placed Mr. Cintron’s body in the chair and wheeled it around the corner, south along Ninth Avenue on Tuesday afternoon, the police said. The men parked the chair with the corpse in front of Pay-O-Matic at 763 Ninth Avenue, a check-cashing business that Mr. Cintron had patronized.

They went inside to present the check, but a clerk said Mr. Cintron would have to cash it himself, and asked where he was, the police said.

“He is outside,” Mr. O’Hare said, indicating the body in the chair, according to Mr. Browne.
The two men started to bring the chair inside, but it was too late.

Their sidewalk procession had already attracted the stares of passers-by who were startled by the sight of the body flopping from side to side as the two men tried to prop it up, the police said.

I love this town!

T Minus 374/373 Days

"We thought long and hard about what to propose. We proposed a bold initiative that takes equities out of the system, so people are treated fairly."

-Lee's Summit, Missouri, January 2007

Bush: US Should've Bombed Auschwitz

AP reporter Aron Heller described a teary eyed George W. Bush visiting Israel's Holocaust Museum. Bush said the U.S. should have sent bombers to prevent the extermination of the Jews.

That's not the funny part. This is the funny part.

[Yad Vashem's chairman, Avner] Shalev quoted Bush as asking Rice, "Why didn't Roosevelt bomb it?" He said Rice and Bush discussed the matter further and then the president delivered his verdict.

"We should have bombed it," Shalev, speaking in Hebrew, quoted Bush as saying.
Briefing reporters later on Air Force One, Rice said Bush was talking about the rail lines to the camp.

Maybe someone should give li'l George a History 101 lesson and tell him that FDR was DEAD in 1945. Truman might have bombed it, but he was too busy exterminating the Japanese.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Giuliani Uses Olbermann In Commercial...

... and Countdown re-edits it. Just watch and enjoy.

Lawrence O'Donnell Is An Idiot

I just read a post by Lawrence O'Donnell (at Huffington Post no less!) calling John Edwards a loser and that he should get out of the way for the "black man."

Read these words of pundit wisdom:

If John Edwards stays in the race, he might, in the end, become nothing other than the Southern white man who stood in the way of the black man. And for that, he would deserve a lifetime of liberal condemnation.
Maybe Edwards is already not a factor in the campaign because Edwards voters would split evenly between Senators Obama and Clinton if Edwards dropped out. But we'll never know unless Edwards does the right thing and gets out of the way of the only two candidates who have a chance to get the nomination.
I'm wondering if Lawrence O'Donnell was asking Hillary Clinton to make way for the Obama train after Iowa. What a schmuck.

It looks like the readers are fighting back in the comment section.

"best thing to happen is more and more establishment commenters and pundits telling americans that can't handle having a choice, ordaining the frontrunners. inciting backlash.this is a brilliant reverse psychology ploy to catapult edwards to the nomination. well played o'donnell"

"I think it's worth examining Mr. O'Donnell's personal motivations in writing this piece, as his conclusions do not follow from the current facts."

Jane Smiley, also writing for HuffPo has a bit of a rebuttal: Shut Up, Larry

(H/T to Bob Cesca for bringing attention to the O'Donnell post.)

The Surge Protectors

If I hear one more politician or pundit or wingnut talk show host say the words, "The surge worked," my head is going to explode. It doesn't matter who says it or how many times it is repeated. THE SURGE DID. NOT. WORK. The surge is not working. The surge will never work.

Yesterday was the one year anniversary of President Bush's "surge" speech in which he laid out the ground work for troop escalation in Iraq , thinly disguising it by calling it a surge. Do you remember that fateful night? I certainly do. I was sitting on my living room couch, wondering what Raisinbrain was going to say. After all, the Democrats had just taken over in Congress after a stirring election in November of 2006, and it looked like we were turning the tide.

There was President Bush, looking all presidential in his purple polka dot tie, standing in front of a library of books he'd never read, that vacant stare in his eye. And then he said this: "The situation in Iraq is unacceptable to the American people -- and it is unacceptable to me. Our troops in Iraq have fought bravely. They have done everything we have asked them to do. Where mistakes have been made, the responsibility rests with me."

Whaaaa?! Holy shit! For the first time in six years, the man actually took responsibility for something. On national television. Did some left-wing operative secretly change the script on the teleprompter? Was this a speech, not calling for more of the same, not asking for the American people to continue to trust him, but actually admitting accountability? Could this be the turning point of a bad administration gone mediocre?

Wait, he wasn't finished: "So America will change our strategy to help the Iraqis carry out their campaign to put down sectarian violence and bring security to the people of Baghdad. This will require increasing American force levels. So I've committed more than 20,000 additional American troops to Iraq."

What happened next remains a fuzzy mystery. I think I knocked myself out for a few seconds because my jaw hit the floor. Literally. I can still see the indentation of my chin on the living room floor. Ah, memories.

I did wake up just in time to hear this: "I've made it clear to the Prime Minister and Iraq's other leaders that America's commitment is not open-ended. If the Iraqi government does not follow through on its promises, it will lose the support of the American people..."

Well at least he got something right. Not the "open-ended" thing, the "support" thing. And there was Bush listing the conditions for the Iraqi government to adhere to if they wanted our continued support:

- Iraqi government must establish authority by taking responsibility for security in all of Iraq's provinces by November

- pass legislation to share oil revenues among all Iraqis

- spend $10 billion of its own money on reconstruction and infrastructure projects that will create new jobs

- empower local leaders by holding provincial elections later this year

- reform de-Baathification laws and establish a fair process for considering amendments to Iraq's constitution

-deploy Iraqi Army and National Police brigades across Baghdad's nine districts for a total of 18 Iraqi Army and National Police brigades

That was one year ago yesterday. Let's see, check, check, check, check, check and... check. In one year, the Iraqi government has accomplished NONE of those benchmarks.

President Bush was basically giving cover to Iraq with our troops. We needed to give them more time to secure Iraq and lead them towards the path of political reconciliation. That has not happened. Therefore, the surge has NOT worked. The surge has FAILED.

And now John "100 Years in Iraq" McCain and Holy Joe "Bomb Iran" LIEberman write an op-ed piece in the Murdoch Street Journal titled... wait for it... "The Surge Worked." (Boom!)

Here are a couple of tidbits from that stellar article:

"...conditions in that country have been utterly transformed from those of a year ago, as a consequence of the surge."
Well, how the hell can you argue with that?

"...Sunni Arabs who once constituted the insurgency's core of support in Iraq have been empowered to rise up against the suicide bombers and fanatics in their midst..."
Could that be because we're paying them?

"...violence across the country has dropped dramatically..."
Well, when there's no one left to kill due to ethnic cleansing and with over 4 million Iraqi refugees since the war started, it's not a surprise that violence has dropped. And let's not get carried away with that drop. As Thomas Ricks stated on Countdown with Keith Olbermann last night, "I think Iraqis recognize that large parts of Baghdad are more peaceful than they were, but violence is basically back to 2005 levels. And that was no picnic, 2005; it's just that 2006 was pure hell."

"As the surge should have taught us by now, troop numbers matter in Iraq."
We knew that from the beginning. So did Generals Shinseki and Zinni. Remember General Shinseki? He was forced to resign after disagreements with the greatest defense secretary ever, Donald Rumsfeld.

So the next time someone tells you "the surge worked," maybe you could explain to them that the whole point of the ESCALATION was to give the Iraqi puppet government time to get its shit together, which hasn't happened, and will never happen while we are still there. Use the list of unattained benchmarks above as talking points. Help them understand that a falsehood repeated over an over doesn't make it true.

Or better yet, just punch them in the mouth and walk away. You'll probably feel better.

Oh, and by the way Wall Street Fucking Journal: stop calling LIEberman and "Independent Democrat." There's no such thing. Either you are a Democrat, a Republican, an Independent, a Libertarian, a Constitutionalist, a Green, a Socialist, a Communist, etc. There is no "Independent Democrat" Party. It doesn't fucking exist! And if it did, LIEberman would be kicked out of that one too!

John Kerry Backs Obama; Attacks Clinton

2004 Democratic Presidential nominee Senator John Kerry endorsed Barack Obama today in Charleston, South Carolina in front of 1000 Obama supporters at an outdoor rally at the College of Charleston.

It didn't take long before the arrows flew at Senator Hillary Clinton.

Asked about Clinton’s argument that talking change is different than producing change, Kerry said,“[Obama] produced one of the most significant ethics reform bills we passed. He has been a legislator longer than Hillary Clinton.” And then this zinger: “Health care didn’t pass in 1994 if I recall.”

T Minus 375 Days

"Rarely is the question asked: 'Is our children learning?' "
- Florence, South Carolina, January 11th, 2000

Sir Edmund Hillary Dies at 88

“People do not decide to become extraordinary. They decide to accomplish extraordinary things.”

NY TIMES: Sir Edmund Hillary, the lanky New Zealand mountaineer and explorer who with Tenzing Norgay, his Sherpa guide, won worldwide acclaim in 1953 by becoming the first to scale the 29,035-foot summit of Mount Everest, the world’s tallest peak, died Friday in Auckland, New Zealand. He was 88.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Music Break! Mel Tormé

Piss and a Crapper, Two Bits!

Pay toilets in New York are back, hopefully permanently. When visiting Italy this past year, I was surprised to see so many public toilets and then it dawned on me that New York City had tried to do this repeatedly and failed.

I'm so happy, I could shit!

... city officials reveled in the toilet paper roll-cutting ceremony (which, fittingly, they did with their hands) on Madison Avenue, between 23rd and 24th Streets. But they couldn’t resist the temptation of scatological humor: “No. 1!” (Janette Sadik-Khan, transportation commissioner), “in loo of” (Adrian Benepe, parks commissioner), “doesn’t block pedestrian movement” (Daniel L. Doctoroff, outgoing deputy mayor for economic development).
One wonders where the rest of these toilets will be installed (no specific loactions are mentioned in the article).

Mike Malloy on Strait of Hormuz Incident

On January 8th, Mike Malloy received an email regarding the Iranian boat incident. Mike cranks it up and responds to it. Here's the transcript (including the email):

MALLOY: I received an email from "Guy." He writes, "Hi Mike, I've spent time in the Persian Gulf on various US Navy vessels and I wanted to remind you that the USS Cole was damaged using a small boat. Size does not define threat. Even a small boat needs to be taken seriously. I wasn't in the Persian Gulf last weekend and do not claim to know the details of what happened, however, that there was not at least an exchange of small arms fire illustrates great restraint, especially compared to the (inaudible).

I am not a big fan of violence but I would not have the slightest problem sinking any small vessel acting provocatively. If the Iranians come out looking for trouble, it is a shame to disappoint them."

Um, okay, but like I mentioned earlier in the program, you know, we are the ones who have gone into their front yard and decided to pee all over their roses. So if they come out waving a broomstick saying, "Get off my property!" then what, we have the right to machine gun them on the spot? What the hell is wrong with this mindset?!

Where does this come from? I guess it come from 110 years of just absolute violent US imperialism. I'm sorry, you pick a different term. If you don't like to hear your American talk show host use the term "US imperialism", then by God, give me a new one.

That's exactly what it's been, since the Spanish American War. UNITED. STATES. IMPERIALISM. Now we have placed our big, white ass in the middle of the Middle East. And we have made claims against other peoples' natural resources. And we have overthrown governments and we have invaded nations to make certain everybody in the Middle East knows we are by God serious about taking their natural resources. And because one country steps out and says, "Uh, we're gonna send little boats after you," after we have threatened to NUKE THEM?!


I mean, good God in heaven, WE ARE THE PROVOCATEUR in this situation, not these dumb ass little Iranian boats! Bzzz, bzzzz "I am coming to you." Bzzz, bzz. If the Iranians come out looking for trouble?! Oh my God!

I'll tell you what, Guy, I would prefer that you not email again because I think you're a little bit twisted, I really do. I wrote back to you and said if I come to your backyard and threaten to kill your family and you come out and wave a handgun at me and tell me to get off your property, or get out of the alley behind your house that's neutral property but I stand out there and say "NO, I'M GONNA KILL YOUR FAMILY!", and you're waving the handgun at me, which one of us is being provocative, Guy?

We're Number 19! And Yet, Cheney Lives

Of 19 Industrialized Countries, U.S. Has Highest Rate Of Preventable Deaths Before Age 75, Researchers Report

CBS News: The U.S. today finds itself last on a new list of countries seeking to curb preventable deaths in people younger than 75.

...From 1997 to 1998, the U.S. had a high rate of preventable deaths, but it wasn't the worst-ranked country on the list. By 2002-2003, preventable death rates dropped in all 19 countries, including the U.S.

But the U.S. had had the mildest rate of decline -- 4% -- compared with a 16% average decline among the other countries. That's how the U.S. wound up with the highest preventable death rate in 2002-2003.

...the slow decline in U.S. preventable deaths "has coincided with an increase in the uninsured population," write the researchers.

Here's the stellar list in which we come in NINETEENTH!

1. France
2. Japan
3. Australia
4. Spain
5. Italy
6. Canada
7. Norway
8. The Netherlands
9. Sweden
10. Greece
11. Austria
12. Germany
13. Finland
14. New Zealand
15. Denmark
16. U.K.
17. Ireland
18. Portugal
19. The U.S. of Fuckin' A

"If he were anyone else, he'd probably be dead by now."

In a related story that I don't remember the MSM picking up, the California Nurses Association placed in ad 10 Iowa newspapers during the first week of December suggesting that Dick Cheney would probably be dead by now had it not been for his federally funded health care. Sweet!

The ad states:

The patient’s history and prognosis were grim: four heart attacks, quadruple bypass surgery, angioplasty, an implanted defibrillator andnow an emergency procedure to treat an irregular heartbeat.

For millions of Americans, this might be a death sentence. For the vice president, it was just another medical treatment. And it cost him very little.

Unlike the average American, the president, vice president and members of Congress all enjoy government-financed health care with few restrictions or prohibitive fees. They are never turned away for pre-existing conditions or denied care for what an insurance company labels “experimental treatments.”

The rest of us deserve no less.
The ad then calls on the presidential candidates to support HR676, the National Health Insurance Act. Of all the candidates running for in the primaries, only Dennis Kucinich has co-sponsored this bill introduced by Rep. John Conyers. It currently has 88 co-sponsors... out of FOUR HUNDRED AND THIRTY FIVE FUCKING MEMBERS. And what are the chances that it'll pass even if it gets to the Senate?
Rose Ann DeMoro, executive director of CNA, refutes suggestions that the shock-value of the $55,000 ad could prompt more discussions on it rather than the underlying health care proposal. “The ad is about the substance of the debate. The ad says Democrats are bad, and Republicans are worse,” she said. “Dick Cheney is just the exemplar of what it means to have a double standard.”

The vice president’s office said the ad isn’t worth more than a no comment. “Something this outrageous does not warrant a response,” said Megan Mitchell, a spokeswoman for Cheney.
Fuck you, Megan Mitchell. You're right, it is outrageous that douchebags like Cheney get A1 health care that they don't pay for while his crony insurance friends bilk billions out of the rest of us.

Of course Cheney's office isn't going to comment. What are they going to do, deny the fact that this walking lab experiment wouldn't be six feet under by now if he'd been Joe Average? Give me a fucking break.

Ru-9/11-dy 9/11 Giu-9/11-li-9/11-a-9/11-ni

Giuliani's response to Clinton's emotional display in New Hampshire:

“This is not something I would judge anyone on... The reality is, if you look at me, September 11 — the funerals, the memorial services — there were times in which it was impossible not to feel the emotion."


T Minus 376 Days

"Who could have possibly envisioned an erection - an election - in Iraq at this point in history?"

- Washington DC, January 10th, 2005

El Vampiro,Seňor Nueve Once

As an hispanic, there's something disturbing about this:

...Mr. Giuliani was asked at an Elks Lodge here about what he would do to end illegal immigration, he ended with a familiar applause line: “The final end result about becoming a citizen – you should be able to have to read English, write English, and speak English if you want to become a citizen,’’ he said.

Now watch this Giuliani ad, one of three currently running in Miami, Florida.

Way to go, Rudy. Que hombre imbécil. ¡Sinvergüenza!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

"Provocative" Iranian Boats: "We Are Coming To You"

With all the primary commotion the last couple of days, I didn't learn about this incident until this morning.

WASHINGTONFive Iranian Revolutionary Guard boats harassed and provoked three U.S. Navy ships in the Strait of Hormuz, a major oil shipping route off the Iranian coast, over the weekend, CNN reported on Monday.

Citing unidentified U.S. officials, CNN said the Iranian vessels came within 200 yards (meters) of the U.S. ships in international waters in the strait on Saturday, and U.S. sailors came close to opening fire.

...U.S. military officials told CNN the boats were “attack craft” that they believed were operated by Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard.

The Iranian boats made threatening maneuvers against the U.S. warships and threatening radio transmissions, the officials told CNN.

The captain of one U.S. vessel was in the process of giving the order to shoot when the Iranian ships began turning away, CNN said.

A radio transmission from one of the Iranian ships said, “I am coming at you. You will explode in a couple of minutes,” CNN reported, citing a U.S. official.

After the threatening radio communication, U.S. sailors manned their ships’ guns and were very close to opening fire, it said.

Strait of Hormuz... Gulf of Tonkin... Strait of Hormuz... Gulf of Tonkin...

Sounds eerily familiar. To top it off, the Pentagon has released video of the incident. In it, small speedboats do come close to the US ships, and at the very end of the video, there is added audio of the supposed radio communications. "I am coming to you..." Is this supposed to be an Iranian? Sounds like a cheap imitation.

Bush called it a provocation today in Israel and warned Iran that all options were on the table to "protect our assets... our ships were moving along very peacefully off the Iranian border in territorial water -- international waters, and Iranian boats came out and were very provocative. And it was a dangerous gesture on their part. We have made it clear publicly, and they know our position, and that is, there will be serious consequences if they attack our ships, pure and simple. And my advice to them is, don't do it."

Iran has stated that the video and audio is a fabrication.

Iran's Revolutionary Guards has said that its high-speed boats never threatened the U.S. vessels during the encounter, insisting it only asked them to identify themselves, then let them continue into the Gulf.
Defense Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar called Western news reports that the boats threatened to blow up the U.S. warships "mischief."
...He said the encounter was normal.
"The identification of vessels passing through the Strait of Hormuz by Iranian navy units is a natural occurrence," IRNA quoted Najjar as saying. "Islamic Republic of Iran navy units always put questions to passing vessels and warships at the Strait of Hormuz and they need to identify themselves. This is in accordance with the normal procedures."

Call me cynical, but it all sounds fake to me. And you can blame my cynicism on the jokers in the White House. Another thing to think about is what would we do if foreign navy war ships were in international waters just outside, oh I don't know... lets say the Gulf of Fucking Mexico?! How would we react?

Bill Richardson Drops Out Of Race

AP: New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson ended his campaign for the presidency Wednesday after twin fourth-place finishes that showed his impressive credentials could not compete with his rivals' star power.

UPDATE: Katie Roberts, deputy communication director for Richardson's campaign, denied the report to MSNBC.
However, analysts said after the two key contests in Iowa and New Hampshire, it is only a matter of when to quit for candidates who did poorly in the two contests like Richardson.

T Minus 377 Days

"I want to thank the astronauts who are with us, the courageous spacial entreprenuers who set such a wonderful example for the young of our country."

- Washington DC, January, 2004

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Clinton Wins New Hampshire

(Updated below)

Just a couple of quick observations before I hit the sack.

- Calling the state for Clinton with a 5000ish vote lead and 30% of the precincts still not in is a little close for my taste.

- I'm a little tired of the dramatics from all the pundits. "Incredible comeback" some were calling it. They were shocked when Obama won Iowa and now they're shocked when Clinton wins in NH? Calm down, people. It's a long haul. I get the excitement, but they were acting as if Dennis Kucinich had won the freakin' thing.

- While on MSNBC, Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post hinted that race might have been a minor issue in NH. He compared the polls/outcome to that of Tom Bradley running for Governor of California in 1982.

- Now I'm going to sound sexist, misogynistic, and every other term you can use for men-hating women (...and I don't. I love women. I have all their albums) but I believe the difference in the polls on Monday and the outcome on Tuesday was the non-stop coverage of Hillary Clinton's emotional display. As Rachel Maddow noted on her radio show tonight, Hillary's emotional display was the lead story on all three networks. Even I felt empathy for Clinton. Again, I'm not saying it was a bad thing (for Jeebus' sake Mitt Romney choked up on Meet the Press while listening to his own rhetoric, and where was the coverage?), but I believe that seeing Clinton's "vulnerability" and seeing her human side tugged at the heartstrings of women voters, most of whom voted for Hillary.

- One thing's for sure: this is going to be a very exciting few months politically.

UPDATE (1/9 6:45am): Maureen Dowd goes where no male columnist dare... and echos a couple of points I've made in previous posts.

Dowd: Can Hillary Cry Her Way Back to the White House?

Obama Supporters Diss Clinton...

...with chants of "Hey-Hey! Ho-Ho! Status quo has got to go!" and refuse to shake her hand.

Giuliani's Monster Turnout In NH

Sam Seder is great. Why won't they give him a daily spot on Air America?

Here's The Bounce

How stupid is Mark Penn? Less than two days after Obama's Iowa win and predictions that the results would catapult him in New Hampshire, the Clinton campaign senior advisor and strategist issued a memo on Clinton's own website and picked up by Time Magazine's blog asking "Where's the Bounce?" This is after only two polls had been published at the time.

In it he says, "New Hampshire voters are fiercely independent. They will make their own decisions about who to support."

Well here is Penn's answer:

Looks like the "fiercely independent" voters of New Hampshire have chosen. And it ain't Clinton. It may be already too late, but my prediction is that the only bounce the Clinton campaign will see is Mark Penn getting bounced on his ass out the door.

Michael Ryan's blog on the Obama website has more.

Fox News Plants Actors In Focus Groups

News Media Tube has put together some footage showing the same person (or paid actor) four months apart in different states as part of a Frank Luntz focus group of "undecided" voters.

(H/T to Crooks & Liars for the link)

Just another "fair and balanced" day at Fox Noise. Obama has done the right thing by shutting out Fox and I hope that he renegs on his offer to go on O'Reilly's show after the primaries. I also think Fox News shouldn't be allowed press credentials to the Democratic National Convention. All they would do is trash the speakers and nominee anway. Let them do it from outside the building.

Recession - Schmecession!

All We Need Is More Tax Cuts

NY Times: President Bush, in a marked shift from his usual upbeat economic assessments, conceded here on Monday that the nation faces “economic challenges” due to rising oil prices, the home mortgage crisis and a weakening job market.

...After months of insisting that the economy’s fundamentals are strong — a theme he reiterated on Monday — Mr. Bush did not mince words. He acknowledged that “many Americans are anxious about the economy,” and he noted that “jobs are growing at a slower pace.” He said core inflation was low — “except when you’re going to the gas pump, it doesn’t seem that low.”

...If the past is any guide, Mr. Bush is likely to favor broad-based tax cuts of the sort he pushed through early in his presidency. Democrats are discussing more targeted relief — tax cuts, spending programs or a combination of the two — to help lower- and middle-income Americans who would be hurt the most if the economy falters.

...Still, the White House is not convinced it must act. The deliberations are tightly held, and aides to Mr. Bush say he will not make a decision about whether to offer a stimulus package, or what it should contain, until later this month, in time for his State of the Union address scheduled for Jan. 28.
That last time he had an announcement during the State of the Union, it was about the surge. He just loves spreading the good news during his State of the Union address, doesn't he? I can tell you in two words how the state of union is: it sucks.

T Minus 378 Days

"It's about past seven in the evening here so we're actually on different time lines."

- Washington, DC, January 2001

Emotional Hillary

Sincerity Or Playing the Pity Card? (Updated below)

Hillary Clinton made an emotional entreaty today in explaining the rigors of the campaign trail and how people in her position do it for love of country. Then she attacked Obama again.

"'s not just political, it's not just public. I see what's happening, we have to reverse it. And some people think it's a game... some of us are right and some of us are wrong, some of us are ready and some of us are not, some of us know what we're going to do on day one, and some of us haven't really thought that through enough..."

Now I'm not going to make fun of Clinton for showing emotion. In fact, it's refreshing to see her human side. And it isn't like some druken crying jag by John Boehner on the Senate floor. But it seems to me that you can't say you are the person to bring in change with an empassioned speech like this one, and then use the Republican fearmonger playbook and invoke Al-Qaeda.
Keith Olbermann does a fine job, as usual, of concise oratory and video.

Early on, I was under the impression that had Edwards or Obama not pulled out the nomination, I didn't think it would be so horrible to have Clinton as our representative.

After today, I'm officially done with Hillary Clinton.

UPDATE: Portrait in Cynicism: Hillary Attacks Obama from Every Angle

Arianna Huffington on Clinton's attacks on Obama:

Obama is a dreamer. That's right, Clinton is actually trying to convince voters that Obama is too positive, too optimistic, too inspirational. In a speech she called him "an untested man who offers false hope," and in Saturday's debate she said, "We don't need to be raising the false hopes of our country about what can be delivered."

...This is who Hillary Clinton is, through and through. "I have always tried to strike a balance," she said in 2004. "I think you have to view the world as it is, not as you would wish it to be." That's a long, dispiriting way from Bobby Kennedy's "Some men see things as they are and ask, 'Why?' I dream of things that never were and ask, 'Why not?'"

Monday, January 7, 2008

Duncan Hunter Conference: I'm Not Quitting

Republican Presidential primary nominee Duncan Hunter calls a press conference carried live by CNN to announce... he's not quitting the campaign!

Hunter: "...some knucklehead, arrogant executive in the corporate media world of ABC and Fox News... decided that my campaign was over and the lights were gonna be shut out on my campaign. So against that backdrop, ABC and Fox have been asking us when I'm going to quit. So here's my answer: I'm not going to quit."

There were some very surpised looks over at CNN. Good for Hunter. He'll run til he's done, not when the media says he's done. There's an inherent problem with the equal time laws for candidates when the networks decide who can and cannot participate in these debates.

Clinton's Anger Factor

Why Clinton Will Not Win The Nomination

I still haven't had a chance to watch the debates from last Saturday night, except for the few video clips being posted here and there. Most of them seem to focus on Clinton's "attack" on Obama. And again, while I haven't seen the full clip in context of the debate, it's interesting to note the varied comments on the blogs and different articles.

Armadillo Joe over at Expatriate Thoughts brought to my attention an article in the Guardian by Niall Stanage who opines that the anger shown by Clinton could be her undoing.

The former First Lady, never likely to be mistaken for a shrinking violet, mounted the most aggressive assault yet by one credible Democratic candidate on another...

...Obama won Iowa in large part because of an astonishing turnout - almost double the previous record number of caucus-goers showed up, and a disproportionate number of them were young people. If he can inspire anything like similar numbers to go to the polls in New Hampshire and in later primaries, the Democratic nomination is his for the taking.

So maybe it's no surprise that Clinton seeks to dampen hopes, deride vision and mock idealism. Who knows: the scorched earth approach might even work for her, enabling her to grind her way to the nomination.

But what a dismal victory it would be.

I find this analysis extremely interesting and telling, considering it's coming from an Irish journalist working in the US.

So here's my limited take on the situation after reading several comments on different blogs. Clinton supporters defend her by playing the gender card. "Clinton isn't half as angry as Edwards has been all year. We should have the same rules for both men and women candidates..." Or this quote: "Edward's ENTIRE campaign has been angry and it's not working. Hillary gets angry once and everyone jumps on her." But gender isn't the issue.

Clinton's anger and attacks are seemingly coming from a position of desperation. If she is trying to switch her message from the candidate of "experience" to the candidate of "change" (sorry, Hillary, too late on that one) because it's worked for Obama and Edwards in Iowa, then attacking voting records and "likeability", and insinuating skeletons in Obama's closet aren't the way to go.
At a more subtle level, Clinton and her aides have begun referring with mantra-like repetitiveness to the need for candidates to be properly "vetted". The term, used so frequently, seems calculated to suggest that there is some awful secret in Obama's past that would incinerate Democrats' hopes of taking back the White House if he were to become the party's nominee.
Clinton's anger is not the reason for the maelstrom she's in after Iowa with little chance of recovery due to the short time period between Iowa and New Hampshire. It's why she is angry that is the telling factor.

As another commenter describes it, "There's a difference between the bitter, mean-spirited personal anger of Hillary Clinton and John Edwards displaying contempt for the rigged political system, and that difference has absolutely nothing to do with gender. It has everything to do with Hillary (and her DLC surrogates) being a petty, nasty, triangulating neocon. "

I don't necessarily agree with the "neocon" portion of the comment. Here's another: "Edwards is personally angry that the richest nation on earth has millions of people living in poverty, and is destroying its middle class and potential for upward mobility. Hillary was angry that people weren't giving her experience the respect she thought it deserved. See how these two kinds of anger are not the same? One, I believe, is called "moral outrage" and the other one simply isn't."

I agree with that wholeheartedly as I do with Chris Rock:

"I think America's ready for a woman president . . . just not that woman. Being married to somebody doesn't make you good at their job. I've been with my wife 10 years now. If she got up here right now, y'all wouldn't laugh. At all. You get on a plane tomorrow, you want the pilot's wife flying you?"
It's simplistic, but you get the point. I'm sure the time Clinton served as First Lady was a learning experience. But did she have access to top secret documents? Was she privy to matters of national security? If Hillary wants to run on experience, fine. Your experience in the Senate will do quite nicely. But for all intents and purposes, Bill Clinton was President of the United States, not Hillary Clinton.

As far as "not that woman," I don't want Hillary as the nominee because, in my opinion, she is too much of a centrist. We need to reverse course and go in the exact opposite direction just to get back on track. A centrist view is only going to bring us to the center of "neocon" and "right-wing."

Another Clinton phrase that I find irritating is the "I've been through the wringer against the Republican smear machine and know how to handle it" line. That is just a sorry reason to vote for anyone. And how exactly did she handle the vast right-wing conspiracy (which I do believe existed and still exists)? If she handles it so well, why does Hillary Clinton invoke so much vitriol and disdain from not only Republicans, but some Democrats as well? She is a polarizing figure, much more than Obama or Edwards, and one that the right-wing base can use as a rallying cry. In my opinion, the only thing that's going to make the 2008 Presidential election a close one (besides voter disenfranchisement) is a Hillary Clinton candidacy that will help galvanize the currently beaten down Republican voters.

I'll take a look at the debates and perhaps update as I see fit. But for now, I see Clinton's ship sinking. Two days after Iowa, I thought if Obama wins New Hampshire, the momentum will kill Clinton's campaign.

And if you think about it, you have to admit that a strong one-two punch like Obama/Edwards (or vice versa) is something the Democratic Party has not seen in a very long time, if ever.

T Minus 379 Days

"The best way to defeat the totalitarian of hate is with an ideology of hope - an ideology of hate - excuse me - with an ideology of hope."
- Benning , GA, January 2007

George McGovern Calls For Impeachment

In Sunday's Washington Post, former US Representative, Senator, WWII veteran, and 1972 Democratic nominee for President George McGovern wrote an op-ed calling for the impeachment of Bush and Cheney.

Excerpts from:
Why I Believe George Must Go
Nixon Was Bad. These Guys Are Worse.

As we enter the eighth year of the Bush-Cheney administration, I have belatedly and painfully concluded that the only honorable course for me is to urge the impeachment of the president and the vice president.

...American democracy has been derailed throughout the Bush-Cheney regime. The dominant commitment of the administration has been a murderous, illegal, nonsensical war against Iraq. That irresponsible venture has killed almost 4,000 Americans, left many times that number mentally or physically crippled, claimed the lives of an estimated 600,000 Iraqis (according to a careful October 2006 study from the
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health) and laid waste their country. The financial cost to the United States is now $250 million a day and is expected to exceed a total of $1 trillion, most of which we have borrowed from the Chinese and others as our national debt has now climbed above $9 trillion -- by far the highest in our national history.

All of this has been done without the declaration of war from Congress that the Constitution clearly requires, in defiance of the U.N. Charter and in violation of international law...

...Any impeachment proceeding must include a careful and critical look at the collapse of presidential leadership in response to perhaps the worst natural disaster [New Orleans/Hurricane Katrina] in U.S. history.

...Impeachment is unlikely, of course. But we must still urge Congress to act. Impeachment, quite simply, is the procedure written into the Constitution to deal with presidents who violate the Constitution and the laws of the land. It is also a way to signal to the American people and the world that some of us feel strongly enough about the present drift of our country to support the impeachment of the false prophets who have led us astray. This, I believe, is the rightful course for an American patriot.

As former representative Elizabeth Holtzman, who played a key role in the Nixon impeachment proceedings, wrote two years ago, "it wasn't until the most recent revelations that President Bush directed the wiretapping of hundreds, possibly thousands, of Americans, in violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) -- and argued that, as Commander in Chief, he had the right in the interests of national security to override our country's laws -- that I felt the same sinking feeling in my stomach as I did during Watergate. . . . A President, any President, who maintains that he is above the law -- and repeatedly violates the law -- thereby commits high crimes and misdemeanors."

This case has been made before (not by those in the Democratic leadership, unfortunately) but it's nice to hear it from someone who lived through and was very close to Watergate.

Of course McGovern was swiftboated in 1972 as well. The ghoul that never dies wrote during the 1972 campaign that an unnamed democratic senator told him, "The people don’t know McGovern is for amnesty, abortion, and legalization of pot," the Senator said. "Once middle America - Catholic middle America, in particular - finds this out, he’s dead."

McGovern never shook the label of candidate of "amnesty, abortion, and acid" and lost in a landslide. The intrepid reporter who wrote the story? Bob "Nosferatu" Novak.