Sunday, September 28, 2008

quote of the week (not even about politics!)

“Wow, wow, wow, wow. I think if I had to describe that one, I’d say that was gangsta. That’s gangsta. That’s serious gangsta right there.”

-Mets Manager Jerry Manuel, after pitcher Johan Santana pitched a three-hit shutout, only four days after pitching a 125-pitch game.

UPDATE: Not that it matters. The Mets once again squander the end of their season, do not make the playoffs, and break my heart.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

the joker?

Don't worry -- the Joker is suspending his campaign and canceling his debate to solve the problems of our economy. And this not yet another stunt by a candidate that is ethically, politically, and intellectually bankrupt. It's country first!

UPDATE: Sam Stein details McCain's disgustingly hypocritical opportunism at a time of national crisis.

UPDATE II: McCain arrives, everything goes to hell. Which explanation do we prefer: that he is a slave to the extreme right wing of his party, or that he's willing to let the country fall into depression to avoid a debate? What a turd.

Money quotes -- From a GOP lawmaker, on his own colleagues:
"For the sake of the altar of the free market system, do you accept a Great Depression?"

From a Democratic staffer:

"Bush is no diplomat, but he's Cardinal freaking Richelieu compared to McCain. McCain couldn't negotiate an agreement on dinner among a family of four without making a big drama with himself at the heroic center of it. And then they'd all just leave to make themselves a sandwich."

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

don't worry...

Rembrandt, Beggars at the Door.

"I think still -- the fundamentals of our economy are strong."
John McCain, "Black Monday," September 15, 2008.

"The fundamental business of the country, that is the production and distribution of commodities, is on a sound and prosperous basis."
Herbert Hoover, the day after "Black Thursday," October 25, 1929.

From The American Prospect via Think Progress via Bob Cesca.

Friday, September 12, 2008

McCain/Palin -- Lies, all lies!

via Andrew Sullivan.

And for something sillier, from the same source, "Les Misbarack":

Saturday, September 06, 2008

community organizing

St Vincent de Paul, community organizer.

Okay, I'm going to lay off politics soon. But since I'm still steaming about Giuliani and Palin's disrespect towards community organizers, I can't help passing on this Joe Klein article (hat tip to Kevin). Klein refers to this press release, from a group called Catholics Democrats:

Catholic Democrats is expressing surprise and shock that Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin's acceptance speech tonight mocked her opponent's work in the 1980s for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development. She belittled Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama's experience as a community organizer in Catholic parishes on the South Side of Chicago, work he undertook instead of pursuing a lucrative career on Wall Street. In her acceptance speech, Ms. Palin said, "I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a community organizer, except that you have actual responsibilities." Community organizing is at the heart of Catholic Social Teaching to end poverty and promote social justice.
Klein comments:

So here is what Giuliani and Palin didn't know: Obama was working for a group of churches that were concerned about their parishioners, many of whom had been laid off when the steel mills closed on the south side of Chicago. They hired Obama to help those stunned people recover and get the services they needed--job training, help with housing and so forth--from the local government. It was, dare I say it, the Lord's work--the sort of mission Jesus preached (as opposed to the war in Iraq, which Palin described as a "task from God.")

This is what Palin and Giuliani were mocking. They were making fun of a young man's decision "to serve a cause greater than himself," in the words of John McCain. They were, therefore, mocking one of their candidate's favorite messages. Obama served the poor for three years, then went to law school. To describe this service--the first thing he did out of college, the sort of service every college-educated American should perform, in some form or other--as anything other than noble is cheap and tawdry and cynical in the extreme.

Perhaps La Pasionaria of the Northern Slope didn't know this when she read the words they gave her. But Giuliani--a profoundly lapsed Catholic, who must have met more than a few religious folk toiling in the inner cities--should have known. ("I don't even know what that is," he sneered.") What a shameful performance.

Friday, September 05, 2008


Orlando Furioso -- now that's a narrative we can believe in!

Caught on mike:

Chuck Todd: Yeah, I mean is she [Palin] really the most qualified woman they could have turned to?

Uberrepublican Peggy Noonan: The most qualified? No! I think they went for this -- excuse me-- political bullshit about narratives --

I'm trying to just get work done, but unfortunately I'm on edge all day waiting to see how the media defines its simplistic and mistaken narrative.

Here's the truth: John McCain so desperately wants to be president that he gave up long ago in resisting the Bush GOP in any meaningful way. Even if he really were a "maverick" (whatever that means), he's still a poor choice for president. His approach to economics is stuck in the 80s. His approach to foreign policy is frightening. He seems impatient with any facts -- whether there's a difference between Shi'ites and Sunnis, what countries border Iraq, what countries even exist anymore. Everything is reduced to good vs evil, victory vs defeat. If possible, he is even more hawkish and simplistic than Bush. He makes jokes about bombing other countries. Granted, his personal story regarding Vietnam is compelling, but by all accounts he took the wrong lesson from that war: the disaster of Vietnam was for him not due to hubris and overreaching or the cynical policy of using our own troops and the civilians of another country as expendable pawns in a game of geopolitics, rather it was due to a loss of nerve -- we should have won, whatever winning in Vietnam could possibly have meant. McCain's "toughness" translates into a terrifying reality -- he will go to war with anyone from Iran to North Korea to even Russia because he believes there is no problem that doesn't have a military solution, and no matter how badly things go, he will never admit he was wrong and change policy.

Meanwhile, his lack of judgment is pretty much proven by his irresponsible vp pick. Un-vetted and with absolutely no experience or even display of interest in foreign policy (the McCain campaign keeps echoing the idiotic and desperate "Alaska is close to Russia" line as its only response to this question), Sarah Palin is an incredible gamble. She may turn out to be capable, but how would we know? McCain certainly doesn't, since he picked her after only having met her once. The more I learn about her the less I like her. Ideologically she is from the far right wing of the Republican party, and her extremely brief time in office is already marked by scandals and abuse of executive power. She has shown herself to be confident in reading a speech written by a Bush speechwriter (decrying Washington insiders!). She seemed to warm to the Rovian talking points in that speech -- I was especially struck by her cold-hearted mocking of community organizing, which at its best was typical Republican disdain for anyone who wants to empower and help the less fortunate and discriminated people in our society, and at its worse was encoded racism (urban community organizer = black; small town mayor = white).

The truth is that the GOP convention was pathetic -- delayed at first because of a storm that might remind the country of the Republican criminal negligence after Katrina, it was marked by the uncomfortable avoidance of the president they had so emotionally praised in the last two conventions. A series of speakers attacked the Democratic party using hateful divisiveness and unbridled hypocrisy (Mitt Romney, wealthy former governor of Massachusetts and d*******g, decried the dems as "eastern elites") and the rhetoric climaxed with Palin's speech full of outright lies about her own record (bridge to nowhere) and Obama's (just about everything she said about him was mendacious). Then after this red-meat hate-fest, McCain comes out and promises reform and bipartisanship. This is an insult to our intelligence.

So we shouldn't worry, right? The GOP has run this country into the ground and there's no way Americans would give them another four years, especially when any sane observer can tell they promise nothing new, right? Well, here comes the media. Palin is "a rising star" that "energized the base" and once again, McCain is "the maverick." This is the narrative they seem to have chosen and perhaps no amount of reality will prevail against it. I hope I'm wrong. I hope the cognitive dissonance it takes to support McCain can't hold up. I hope the debates will reveal how much more prepared to be president Obama is than his rival. I hope Palin's and McCain hypocrisy tumbles and falls open for all to see. Unfortunately, for now, I'm still waiting.

UPDATE: for a snarky, but sadly accurate, take on the obscene double standard the press narrative follows for the two parties, here's vol. 1 and vol. 2.