Saturday, September 27, 2008

Random McCainness

- Approximatey 57 million viewers watched John McCain's eyeballs almost fall out of his head while trying to pronounce "Ahmedinejad."

- The McCain campaign's latest ad attacks Obama for agreeing with John McCain. And perhaps they should, considering he's wrong on most things.

- Where in the world is Sarah Palin? On the evening of and the day after the first presidential debate, Palin was nowhere to be found spinning or supporting McCain while Joe Biden took great pleasure at reaming him a new orafice.

And The First Debate Goes To...

...apparently Obama according to most of the analysis, which is surprising to me because I didn't see it as such a clear cut win. Here's my analysis for whatever it's worth:


With all the hoopla going on about the financial crisis we find ourselves in, a lot of the pre-debate talk was toned down. Then McCain pulled his one day "suspension" crap and the media ate it up, all the while not reporting that McCain probably didn't know what the word "suspension" means. The fact was that his ads were still running, he made three news appearances (getting lambasted by David Letterman in the process), attended the Clinton Global Initiative (drawing praise from Bill at the worst possible time for Democrats), made an attempt to postpone the debate and then decided to go to "Warshington" to throw a wrench in the bailout works.

Due to all the self-imposed scheduling wackiness, some including me, thought that McCain would be unprepared for this first debate, that he was an old white man running away from a black man asking for change, and that Barack Obama would wipe the floor with the doddering, old fool.


What we didn't think about, and by "we" I mean the logical thinking Democrats and liberals that live in the world of reality, was that McCain is a crafty, old codger who's been in debate situations before and knows that the truth doesn't matter, it's all about perception. He was on the attack and aggressive for most of the 90 minute debate and as we all know Obama's demeanor doesn't lend itself to angry outbursts, he seemed to be on the defensive most of the evening.

Ultimately, if you're looking at content alone and reading the transcript, Barack Obama did win the first debate. If you're looking at style points, I would have given the slight edge to McCain because of his aggressiveness but for the fact that while Obama came across as presidential and cool, calm and collected, McCain looked uncomfortable while listening to Obama's answers, seemed exasperated when Obama would zing him with the truth (did McCain say "horseshit" when Obama smacked him on the Spain gaffe?) and not once during the entire evening did McCain even look at Obama. He made no attempt at eye contact. That put me off because it was disrespectful of his opponent and came off as condescending, almost as if he seemed irritated that they had to go through this exercise. One thing's for sure, McCain is thin skinned (not just because he's old) and I have a feeling he's going to let his emotions get the better of him at the most inopportune time very soon. Maybe the next debate?

Round two will happen in two weeks. Next we get to see Joe Biden and Sarah Palin go at it on Thursday. That is must see TV.

Best Lines of the Night:

Obama: "... presidents have to be prudent in what they say. But, you know, coming from you, who, you know, in the past has threatened extinction for North Korea and, you know, sung songs about bombing Iran, I don't know, you know, how credible that is."

McCain: "Senator Obama has the most liberal voting record in the United States Senate. It's hard to reach across the aisle from that far to the left."

Worst Lines of the Night:

McCain: "I looked into Mr. Putin's eyes, and I saw three letters, a 'K,' a 'G,' and a 'B.'"

Obama: Anytime he said "John McCain's absolutely right."

What did you think?

UPDATE (4:30pm): Here's's fact checking on last night's debate.

Paul Newman Dies At 83

NY TIMES: Paul Newman, the Academy-Award winning superstar who personified cool as the anti-hero of such films as ''Hud,'' ''Cool Hand Luke'' and ''The Color of Money'' -- and as an activist, race car driver and popcorn impresario -- has died. He was 83.

Newman died Friday after a long battle with cancer at his farmhouse near Westport, publicist Jeff Sanderson said. He was surrounded by his family and close friends.

I don't know if this story is legend or not or if I have the facts straight, but a friend tells me of the time Paul Newman was in town for a Broadway show. It was in a land that time forget before cell phones and Newman, being the star that he was, needed national and international phone service.

He called the phone company and opened an account to be able to dial an access code from any phone to call anywhere in the world for a flat rate. It was something ridiculous at the time like $10,000 for 3 months.

Well, one thing led to another and the show he was in town for was cancelled a day or two after opening the phone account. He called the phone company and tried to cancel his account and get his money refunded. The phone company refused. No surprise there, huh? They had his money and that was that. So what did Newman do? He took an ad out in the Village Voice with the access number and directions telling everyone they could use this number for free phone service for the next three months.

I don't know if it's a true story, but it's a cool one, and I'd like to think it's real.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Music Break! Focus

Ah... Hocus Pocus. Awesome song. It makes me happy... just a little premature debate victory celebration.

Debate On!

The first of three McCain thrashings will take place after all as the McCain campaign zigged when it should have zagged and decided to avoid political suicide by actually showing up for the Mississippi debate. Someone should hide the hotline number next time.

In yet another ploy from Camp McCain the non-suspension suspension of John McCain's run for the White House backfired as he left Washington in worse shape then when he arrived... as if that's anything new.

Had Obama had fallen for the blatantly transparent move, it would've seemed McCain was playing leader and Obama follower. It would've also had the bonus of rescheduling the debates and cancelling the only VP debate and the destruction of Sarah Palin in order to use that date for the first POTUS debate.

When McCain's hapless managers saw Obama wasn't biting, they realized that it would be political suicide for them to blow off the debate. I'm also sure they weren't counting on the reports that McCain's presence was what put a wrench in the works in the first place, asking for fewer regulations and tax breaks for corporations. Real reformer that McCain. So now the debate that Maverick said he wouldn't attend so long as a bailout deal was not finalized and is even further away from getting done than when he arrived in D.C. is back on.

Not to be outdone by the "suspended campaign" embarrassment, the latest McCain camp debacle didn't stop the them from declaring victory in the debate before it's even occurred.

An advertisement prematurely declaring victory in something you didn't want to participate in before its happened... hmmm... I remember something seeing like that. Where have I seen that before?

Thursday, September 25, 2008


(H/T HuffPo)

Even Dave Letterman has had enough. David. Fucking. Letterman!

(H/T Cesca)

UPDATE I (7:05am):

Morning Joke - Mike and Joe are OUTRAGED! (especially Mika) that CBS would let the Letterman show air as it did, mocking our war hero. Grow. Up. Assholes.

ADDING - The McCain campaign is in fucking shambles. Either this was campaign advice to try and make political hay out of a supposedly dire situation and disguise it as all "mavericky," or it was McCain's own decision which make his managers look completely incompetent and worthless beyond how they've run the campaign to date. Either way, Letterman's right. This smells like shit.

Now he gets to strut into D.C. a week late and $700 billion short, after an agreement is 95% complete and take credit for something he didn't do.

UPDATE II (9:35pm): The insanity continues. It seems that the McCain camp DID NOT suspend the campaign, has been running adds all over the US and his presence in D.C. probably did more harm than good in getting a deal done... which is probably what he wanted to avoid tomorrow night's debate. What the hell is going on? I've never seen anything this crazy. Reminds me of a conservative version of Bulworth.

And CBS reported that McCain tossed out a proposal that offered "fewer regulations and corporate tax breaks." What a surprise.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

McCain Campaign Loses Its Collective Mind

Does anyone in the McCain campaign realize that there are less than six weeks remaining until Election Day? Does anyone in the McCain campaign care? Has the McCain campaign figured out that they are in serious trouble and decided to just throw in the towel and say, "Fuck it"?

Just two days before the first of three presidential debates, John McCain has decided that a delay is in order to deal with the current financial crisis. Mr. Ten Town Hall Meetings is now trying to back out of the first scheduled debate on Friday, September 26th. I say, "What are you fuckin' kidding me?!" This from the man who just yesterday said that his vote on the largest proposed bailout in the history of the world would be "irrelevant" in the grand scheme of things. And yet, he thinks that delaying the debates and suspending his campaign is the path to take to his irrelevant vote.

Thankfully, Barack Obama isn't having any of it.

“This is exactly the time when people need to hear from the candidates... Part of the president’s job is to deal with more than one thing at once. In my mind it’s more important than ever.”

"It's my belief that this is exactly the time when the American people need to hear from the person who, in approximately 40 days, will be responsible for dealing with this mess," Obama said at a news conference in Clearwater, Fla. "It's going to be part of the president's job to deal with more than one thing at once."

Exactly, Senator Obama. The clock doesn't stop ticking when there's a problem or crisis looming over you. A president needs to multitask, and if John McCain isn't able or ready to do so, then step off and let a real leader handle things.

For the McCain campaign to keep treating the American people like rubes and not think that we'd figure out a stunt like this is exactly that, a stunt designed to look as if he's putting "country first," when in fact it's an obvious political ploy, is outrageous.

When was the last time McCain suspended his campaign? Oh yeah, during the Hurricane Gustav crisis - because the Maverick had to be there in person, to stop the mighty hurricane himself and blow off the first day of the Republican National Convention. And how exactly did his presence help the citizens of Texas and the victims of Gustav? Keep searching for an answer, I'll wait...

I seriously believe that the McCain camp realizes that the only way they can even come close to pulling off a win in November (besides voter disenfranchisement and suppression and electronic voting machines) is to put out a daily distraction for the next six weeks and avoid any talk of issues, hopefully waiting out the clock until November 4th. The Palin nomination, Gustav, lipstick on a pig, sexism, the economy, you name it they'll use it to avert, avoid, distract and deceive.

And on a side note, the wingnut hacks who are calling for Republicans to vote against the bailout for all the wrong reasons have no right to use McCain's "Country First" as a slogan.

UPDATE I (10:35pm):

Camp McCain is trying to postpone the VP debate as well. We all know that they'd rather not have Palin say anything anyway, but here is the ruse.

CNN's Dana Bash reports that McCain officials are "trying to negotiate with the Obama campaign and the presidential debate commission" to change next Thursday's planned vice presidential debate into a McCain-Obama affair. The VP debate would be postponed to another date.

"That is what they are proposing," Bash reported. "[McCain officials] understand very well that both the Obama campaign and the debate commission have no intention of delaying Friday's debate, but...if there is no bailout deal by Friday, McCain has no plan to go to debate."

That's fine with me. McThuselah can stay home and pout. Obama will have 90 minutes to himself.

UPDATE II (9/25/08 12:55am):

A senior campaign official says that McCain will NOT debate -- no matter what -- if Congress hasn't reached an agreement on a bailout package.

Well of course he won't debate if there's no bailout package. Think about it. What are the chances that something would be agreed to in the next 36 hours? It's practically impossible for something this complex to be figured out by Friday afternoon. So now they can claim "Country First" and skip out on the first debate, thereby throwing the rest of the schedule in turmoil.

And seriously, did we really think McCain's false town hall debates proposal was honest? There was no way that Obama was going to acquiesce to that offer and the McCain camp knew it; and they also knew they could use it as a talking point against Obama, just as they know that a bailout plan won't be in place by debate time Friday and can use the "economic crisis" as an excuse as well.

Another pathetic attempt at distraction on the same day that we learn Rick Davis was on the lobbyist payroll for Freddie Mac until last month at $15,000 - $30,000 per month.

Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.

(H/T Bob Cesca)

The Fourth Branch of Government

I've been working a lot lately and haven't had much time to post, but this caught my eye a couple of days ago and I saved it until I could comment on it. Not that I have time now since I have to get up in five hours, but if I waited any longer it probably would no longer be relevant - hell, I don't know if this has already been discussed ad nauseam, but here it is.

Dick Cheney's back in the news... at least in the background behind Sarah Palin and the financial crisis and a gazillion dollar bailout and McThuselah's face falling off a bit more every time I see him. And the reason The Man Who Wouldn't Die™ is in the news? A federal judge ruled that Mr. Secret Fourth Branch of Government isn't so Fourth Branch and has to keep records from his time in office.

U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly found that the records are not excluded from preservation under Presidential Records Act, which gives the national archivist responsibility over the custody of and access to the records at the end of a president's final term.

The Bush administration had sought a narrow interpretation of the act to allow for fewer materials to be preserved by the National Archives.

"Defendants were only willing to agree to a preservation order that tracked their narrowed interpretation of the PRA's statutory language," Kollar-Kotelly said in her order. This position "heightens the Court's concern" that some records will not be preserved without an injunction.

Cheney chief of staff David Addington has told Congress that the vice president belongs to neither the executive nor legislative branch of government, AP reported. Instead, he said, the office is attached by the Constitution to Congress. The vice president presides over the Senate.

Of course, I doubt the paper shredders in the Vice President's office will cool down any time soon. And Addington's statement strikes me as odd - but I suppose contradictory legalese is his forte. How can you claim to be protected under executive privilege while denying that you are part of the executive branch?

And let's not forget to give a nice round of applause for the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) for filing the lawsuit in the first place. You can make a tax deductible donation at their site.

You can click on the Cheney cartoon above to view Mark Fiore's animation from July 1, 2007.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

T Minus 119 Days

"America better beware of a candidate who is willing to stretch reality in order to win points."

- Aboard the 2000 campaign plane, September 2000

Monday, September 22, 2008

Obama's Got It Covered; McCain & Palin? No Clue

How many times in one week can the Republican ticket show it has no idea what it's talking about?

Sarah Palin: "This week, when the economic crisis threatened the livelihoods of millions of Americans, John McCain took a clear stand and he offered his own recovery plan," Palin told an enthusiastic crowd of thousands. "Our opponent refused to even take a stand on the position..."
Well, what McCain "plan" should we go with, Sarah? The plan to fire the Chairman of the SEC which a president is not able to do, the plan to ask for the resignation of the chairman of the FEC who has nothing to do with the economy, or the plan to try to blame the Democrats and Barack Obama for the deregulation championed by McCain and devised by his economic advisor Phil Gramm that has caused this mess in the first place?

Meanwhile, Barack Obama spent the week speaking to advisers, economists and having meetings to actually devise a plan, not just "take a stand" and then change his stand multiple times.

Barack Obama: "As of now, the Bush administration has only offered a concept with a staggering price tag, not a plan," Obama said. "Even if the U.S. Treasury recovers some or most of its investment over time, this initial outlay of up to $700 billion is sobering. And in return for their support, the American people must be assured that the deal reflects the basic principles of transparency, and fairness, and reform. We can’t allow this to happen again. They have run this government, they have run this economy into the ground. We’ve got to make sure that we lift if back up, but we’ve got to have some rules in place to make sure it doesn’t happen again."

Obama set out seven principles (several of which he has regularly mentioned on the campaign trail) for what he would like to see included in the government's bailout plan.

You can read the outline here.

And to round out the week, McCain's 60 Minutes interview added a little bonus.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

How Stupid Is Bill O'Reilly?

Here's a clip of BillO's faux outrage of the hacking of Sarah Palin's private Yahoo e-mail account. I assume "faux"outrage because of the "shoe-on-the-other-foot" theory. If Obama's e-mail had been hacked, do you think BillO would come to his defense or inquire about the contents of the e-mail?

In this clip O'Reilly shows he knows practically nothing of the law, bitches about invasion of privacy when the Bush administration has been illegally wiretapping for years, and compares a website's posting of the illegally obtained information (which supposedly is protected by First Amendment rights if the story is newsworthy) as complicit in the crime and equating it to stealing a letter from a mailbox and sharing its monetary contents with a second party. In that hypotectical, he goes over the line and fudges the facts in trying to create a different scenario but claims it's the same thing.

Thankfully, Megyn Kelly sets him straight by asserting that if Fox News was the hypothetical recipient of the illegally obtained news, they would have no qualms about airing it. BillO disagrees and tries to dupe his viewers into believing what he wants to believe but knows is not true.

I wonder if he'll do a story if it comes to light that Palin used her private e-mail for governmental reasons to keep possible illegalities out of the public record... or would he just let others beat him to the scoop because that info was not leagally obtained?