Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Vetting Begins


Barry Blitt obviously really loves controversy! As though his first Obama terrorist fist-jab New Yorker cover didn't generate enough brouhaha during the election, he really does it this time. It was bad enough with the Muslim, Flag-burning, Osama loving, fist bumping Osama cover. But this time in the most recent New Yorker -- he mocks dogs!

As FishbowlNY says, Covering Barack: The New Yorker Vets the President-Elect:

Barry Blitt, the cartoonist responsible for the New Yorker's controversial terrorist fist-jabbing cover, among others, returns this week to "vet" Barack Obama. Of course this time around "Vetting" refers to the all important decision of picking a "first" puppy — thus far we know they want a mutt, but that it needs to be hypoallergenic and won't be a girly dog. The cover may not be all that far off the mark, actually, turns out the original meaning of the word "vetting" was to to "submit an animal to examination by a veterinarian."
Well, at least it looks like Barack is putting the First Pet through the same vetting process as the rest of his Cabinet and advisors. And he is clearly is spending more time vetting the First Pet than McCain did his VP choice.

Of course, this is just an excuse to continue my series on the (in)famous New Yorker cover. See, e.g., Cover of the Day.

Life is a Campaign

As an update to my earlier post on Chris Matthews' plans to run for Senate in Pennsylvania, Playing Hardball?, FiveThirtyEight.com also published an update, noting that Matthews Denies Report. Then what to make of his visit to Pennsylvania last week, as reported by the Harrisburg Patriot-News, Chris Matthews ponders Senate run, but remains undecided:

Matthews met with state Democratic party officials this week to talk about challenging U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., in 2010. He met with Democratic State Committee Chairman T.J. Rooney and executive director Mary Isenhour in Washington, D.C., to discuss the logistics involved in a Senate run.

* * * *
For about a year, there have been numerous reports that Matthews wants to run. He spoke with The Patriot-News in July about the speculation. Matthews wouldn't confirm that he was interested in running, but he did not deny it. Family members told The Patriot-News he's considering it.
Before you start shaking your head in confusion, remember that Matthews authored a book called "Life is a Campaign." With this in mind, Matthews' denial must be carefully considered. As TPM Election Central explains:
Chris Matthews is denying reports that he's recruiting staffers from the Obama campaign for a possible race for Senator from Pennsylvania in 2010.

'It is absolutely not true,' Matthews said in a statement posted on FiveThirtyEight.com. Matthews appears to be denying that he's staffing up -- but not necessarily denying that he's in some way planning a campaign. (Emphasis added).
John Morgan of The Pennsylvania Progressive, The Tweety Factor, provides some background on the race and Philly native Matthews:
Mary Isenhour, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party says Chris Matthews is serious, though undecided, about running against Arlen Specter in 2010. According to sources Matthews would run on the Democratic ticket. His brother Jim is a long time Republican and Montgomery County Commissioners Chair. Jim Matthews also ran for Lt. Governor on the Lynn Swann ticket.

Chris Matthews has been a resident of Washington, D.C. for some now where he hosts his popular MSNBC show 'Hardball.' Long considered to be partisanly Republican his presence on a Democratic ticket could lead to interesting Thanksgiving conversations at the Matthews clan. Pennsylvanians don't take kindly to carpetbagger candidates (look up what happened to Rick Santorum) and Democrats don't lack a list of strong candidates for this seat. In fact there might well be a primary if Matthews wants to run because many Dems don't like him, don't see a carpetbagger having a serious chance of winning, and already are backing a Schwartz, Murphy or Sestak candidacy.
See also, CQ Politics, Eye on the Senate: Chris Matthews Running in Pa.? Bad Omens for Reid? (with video clip of Matthews on The Colbert Report saying, "I want to be a Senator.")

My all time favorite Chris Matthews interview is of him being interviewed by Jon Stewart, on Matthews' book, Life is a Campaign. Stewart's comment, "I'm not trashing your book, I'm trashing your philosophy on life," is a classic. Of the interview, Matthews says "This is a book interview from hell. This is the worst interview I've had in my life."




And finally, reacting to Matthews' 5 word denial, 236.c0m created a longer, more detailed "I'm not running for Senate" o-tron. Help him choose his words! Chris Matthews interrupts Black Friday to announce that he won't be interrupting the Senate in 2010.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Cartoon of the Day


Jim Morin, Miami Herald

The Brotherly Love Train

Our new PIW (President in Waiting), Barack Obama, is planning a visit to the City of Brotherly Love next week to address the state of the economy at a session of the National Governors Association. Obama Plans to Meet With Governors. At this point, it looks like 40 governors plan to attend the meeting, hosted by Pennsylvania's own Gov. Ed Rendell, along with Republican Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas.

Of course, to hear Sarah Palin tell it, you might have thought the meeting in Philly was arranged for a meet and greet between her and the PIW. Palin sets trip to Philadelphia next week to meet Obama:

Palin spokesman Bill McAllister said she'll make the Georgia campaign swing on her way to Philadelphia to meet with her old political foe, president-elect Barack Obama.

Obama is meeting with governors from both parties to talk about the ailing economy. It's not confirmed how many governors will attend the event, which the National Governors Association helped to put together, or if Palin will personally speak to Obama, whom she accused during the campaign of "palling around with terrorists."

"I don't know if she has a one-on-one with (Obama)," McAllister said. "It may be, given that they were both involved in the national campaign."

It may be that they have a tete-a-tete -- or it may not. I realize that the election has gone down the memory hole for many, but as Geoffrey Dunn, Georgia on Her Mind....But Sarah Palin Has Trouble Lurking Around the Corner, reminds:

No sooner had she committed to hunkering down in Alaska to "get back to work," the Last Frontier's rogue governor, Sarah Palin, is headed back to the campaign trail again, first to Georgia, where she will stump for the Great White Hope of the GOP, Saxby Chambliss, in a last ditch effort to stave off a filibuster-proof U.S. Senate. Then she's off to Pennsylvania, where her press flunkies are claiming she's meeting with President-elect Barack Obama, but it's hardly a one-on-one; Palin will be in Philadelphia amongst a horde of other governors from both parties gathered by the National Governors Association.

That of course would be the same Barack Obama whose character Palin ruthlessly assassinated throughout the presidential campaign and at whom she directed inflammatory rhetoric to the point that chants of violence were directed against him. The same Obama whom Palin called a socialist and a pal of terrorists and who-knows-what other lies from the kitchen sink she and her hack Republican speechwriters fabricated along the way. The same Obama who Palin said "is not a man who sees America as you and I do."

The very same Obama who will now have to pull Palin's ass (along with the rest of her faith-based faithful) out from the economic cataclysm wrought by the evangelical George Bush and his faith-based plunderers in Washington, all of whom should be doing hard time for the crimes they've committed against the American people in the name of God and Country.

Yes, the very same Barack Obama. Or, as her long-forgotten running mate put it, "That one."

Palin will be in Georgia spewing out the same lies and preying on the same fears, only with the added caveat that Chambliss represents the last best hope against a Communist Congress and a Communist Administration. We're talking a Comintern, folks. You can bet that Palin will be snarling those notorious fangs of hers as she cavorts through the red clay hills and into the backwoods of Augusta and Savannah--and that Hannity and O'Reilly will be watching the raw footage well into the wee hours. With their doors locked.

After her little detour through Georgia, where she'll be reprising her Nobama routine to assist the run-off campaign of Saxby Chambliss, she head to the City of Brotherly Love where she hopes to meet with her nemesis and make nice. From there, she no doubts hopes to parlay the meeting (however it's structured) into more media attention.

And, in the end, that's what it's all about. It's all Sarah, all the time. Politco reports, Sarah Palin: A digital superstar:

Palin has been the subject of intense online fascination since her introduction as the Republican nominee on Aug. 29. In September, the Anchorage Daily News reported a 928 percent spike in traffic, according to Nielsen Online. Her mid-October “Saturday Night Live” appearance drove the show’s highest rating in 14 years, and her Oct. 2 debate with Joe Biden was the most watched vice presidential debate ever — drawing more viewers than any of the three presidential debates between McCain and Obama.

The scope of the GOP ticket’s loss — and the role her critics assigned to her in that defeat — hasn't cooled interest in Palin. She ranked as the No. 2 top news search at Ask.com this week and No. 2 (after Obama) among newsmakers on the AOL 2008 year-end hottest searches list, and she occupied two slots on Politico’s list of the site's 10 most searched terms. Palin also ranked fourth among Yahoo searches, behind “Black Friday,” a Czech model and a contestant on the hit television show “Dancing with the Stars.” She was the only politician on the Yahoo top 20 list.

* * * *

“It’s astounding that someone who should have faded into the background after the election is not only making headlines but being searched for in record numbers online,” said O’Reilly. “People still have a fixation with her, for whatever the reason.”

Palin's continuous presence in the news has played a role in the unabated levels of search activity. First she was buffeted by anonymous criticism from the McCain camp after the ticket's defeat, then she cut a high profile at the National Governors Association meeting one week later. In between, she sat for an interview with Greta Van Susteren of Fox News and delivered the show's largest audience of the year.

* * * *

“As long as she’s still in the mainstream media, it will continue to fuel her presence online. She’s sort of fanning the flames just by showing up,” said Phil Noble, president of PoliticsOnline and a pioneering consultant in online politics. “The other issue is that at some point people become permanent celebrities. She may have just reached that status.”

Permanent celebrity status? Could it be so? Of course, Politico doesn't note the fact that much of the attention is derived from those seeking to mock and make fun of her as those who idolize her. On the other hand, one of my on/off-line buddies agrees and tells me that I'm going to lose this one, saying "the problem is, [I'm] not paying enough attention to the Star mags in the office bathroom or the talk radio crazies. SP has the kind of Q score with some people that -- now that she has found the open door, so to speak -- will keep her up-front for years."

I must admit, things are looking mighty dim for me in the "Sarah-Be-Gone" wager department, but I'm not giving up yet. For our fickle fans and media, March is a lifetime away (or so I keep telling myself).

Friday, November 28, 2008

Cartoon of the Day


Steve Kelley, Times-Picayune

Happy Black Friday



Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz
Born this day in 1962

I celebrated Thanksgiving in an old-fashioned way.
I invited everyone in my neighborhood to my house,
we had an enormous feast,
and then I killed them and took their land.

Poor Jon. It's Black Friday. Another birthday and everyone asking if The Daily Show will survive life after Bush. See Comedy World Devastated by Obama Victory and Can ‘The Daily Show’ Survive the Barack Obama Presidency?

I have faith in Jon to find the funny in Barack. Of course, he really does need comedy, because he certainly doesn't have a career in singing, as is clear from this clip from A Colbert Christmas. Jon tries to enlighten Stephen about Chanukah, with no success.


And as the video reminds, while I'm still aboard the Jew, Not a Jew Machine, Jon Stewart tops the list, of course. As the guys at JNJ put it:
He's funny, influential, apparently a real mensch, and even if he quit tomorrow he'd have made a huge mark on entertainment and the world it entertains.
___________
For last year's Quote, see And 45 Just Makes You Droop.

Playing Hardball?

Via Booman Tribune (who says Do.not.try.it), the Los Angeles Times -- of all places -- has an in-depth piece on Chris Matthews' possible run for Senate in PA, Democrats may play hardball in Pennsylvania, vying for Arlen Specter's seat:

Reporting from Washington -- The Northeast's dwindling cast of Senate Republicans has Democrats circling Arlen Specter's seat in Pennsylvania, convinced the party is well-positioned to make a competitive race out of the 2010 election.

Leading the pack of prospects -- at least in celebrity -- is Chris Matthews, the MSNBC "Hardball" host and a former Capitol Hill Democratic staffer. The Philadelphia native has been toying with a run for months, and this week he sat down with state Democrats to discuss the prospect of taking on the five-term GOP senator.

Others considered in the mix include Rep. Joe Sestak, who is sitting on $3 million in campaign funds; state Rep. Josh Shapiro; and U.S. Rep. Allyson Y. Schwartz, a two-term Philadelphia area lawmaker who has moved up quickly on the Hill and has a Rolodex full of prospective donors from her unsuccessful 2000 Senate run. "We'll see," she said about a repeat bid.

"There are a lot of compelling reasons why serious Democrats would aspire to run in 2010," said Pennsylvania Democratic Party Chairman T.J. Rooney, who said Matthews had been in Pennsylvania Monday meeting with other Democratic leaders.
According to FiveThirtyEight.com, Chris Matthews Staffing Up for Probable Senate Run in 2010:
According to multiple sources, who confirmed the Tip O'Neill staffer-cum-MSNBC host has negotiated with veteran Obama staffers to enlist in his campaign, Chris Matthews is likely to run for United States Senate in Pennsylvania in 2010. Matthews, 62, would run as a Democrat. Arlen Specter, the aging Republican incumbent, will be 80 if he chooses to run for re-election.

Preliminary public polling suggests Matthews would start at a deficit, in part because Matthews' name recognition is lower than Specter's.
See also, Pa. poll: Economy hitting hard; Specter leads Matthews. Political Wire adds: "One other factor suggesting Matthews will run: He doesn't appear to be on the short list to take over hosting of Meet the Press."

Of course, you just had to watch Matthews on the Colbert Report back in April, when he coyly said to Stephen: "Some people growing up, some kids want to be a fireman. I want to be a senator," to know. Or, watch him on Hardball during the campaign, as he fawned over all things Pennsylvania. I remarked to DavePhilly (my husband) on election night that Matthews had all but declared his candidacy that night.

Now, I'm of the Booman Tribune persuasion. Chris Matthews is not my favorite by any means. Progressive he's not. Then there's that sneering, smirky face -- with that laugh! Or, as Wonkette says:
However, Matthews is destined to lose because he is always running off at the mouth, plus he is insane, and nobody wants a spit-speckled maniac for a senator unless they are from Alaska. But that won’t stop Chris Matthews!
On the other hand, there's Arlen. Still wearing, after all these years, a faux moderate label.

Once part of that Dynamic Duo -- Frick & Frack. Otherwise known as Mutt & Jeff. Of course, I'm speaking of PA's finest -- Santorum and Specter. However, as I noted last year upon the defeat of Rick Santorum, One Down, One to Go:
As for the other Pennsylvania Senator -- Arlen Specter -- it is only because Santorum was such a reactionary that Specter was not considered the worst of the two. Well, with Santorum gone, he now holds the #1 spot. He hasn't been called Chameleon, The Manchurian Senator, A Gutless Republican Worm and Wafflin' Arlen for nothing.

When he was reelected in 2004, he promised to maintain his "moderate, independent" position. See Did Arlen Specter lie in 2004 or is he just weak?. Right.
I'm sure, now that the conservative faction of the GOP is in disarray that Arlen will try to move closer to the middle. After all, he blows with the winds. He's a windbag, after all.

Joe's the Man

BuzzFlash has a weekly feature, GOP Hypocrite of the Week, and this week's winner is that sanctimonious sad sack, Joe Lieberman. Now, Lieberman may win the prize as the ugliest human in the world, but that doesn't stop him from competing for other awards. I'm certain he wins the Traitor of the Year Award for his recent election antics. And now he lands yet another honor that he justly deserves. After all, he worked hard to get there:

The Senate Democratic caucus may have given Joe Lieberman a reprieve, but we can't.

Since we began publishing BuzzFlash.com in May of 2000, the gold standard for Republicans in high places has been brazen hypocrisy. That's why we created this special BuzzFlash site to "honor" those who practice the opposite of what they preach.

* * * *

Of course, every once in awhile comes along a Democrat who comes out of the closet as a Republican, and such is the case with Joe Lieberman.

Lieberman could be a Jewish James Dobson in that he oozes with such self-righteousness, while practicing the politics of fear and hysteria.

* * * *

After the Democratic caucus refused to punish Lieberman for his scathing attacks on not only Obama but also the idea that a 60-member Democratic Senate might be dangerous to the national security of America, Lieberman claimed that his lacerating comments about the President-elect and the Democrats had been misunderstood.

* * * *

Lieberman keeps telling himself and us that he is a man of integrity.

But he's not. He's a hypocritical opportunist with notions of empire and ambition that far exceed his grasp.

Once I stopped laughing, the comparison of Lieberman as a Jewish James Dobson made me think it was time for another episode of Jew, Not a Jew. Last up on the Jew, Not a Jew Machine was Eliot Spitzer, following his tryst with a shiksa prostitute.

Oh, I know, the name's a give-a-way. However, for the definitive answer on Lieberman, I consulted that oracle of Jew or Not Jew, who had this to say, in pronouncing him a Jew:

Say it ain't so Joe!

The first prominent American Jewish politician since... well, ever and he's an unlikeable dope?

Why?!?!?!?!

This was it, y'know? He was on the ticket! I mean, come on, if someone told you there was a Jew on the ballot, you'd vote for him blindly right? Who cares about his platform, we're davening down Pennsylvania Ave! Except... ugh...

Joe... you're killing us here!

OK, so he didn't lie about his background, get a blowjob in the oval office or decide to make his own didactic personal beliefs into nation-wide policy like so many other ham-on-white politicians of late.

But, boy it's hard to like him. And we really feel we ought to make ourselves like him.

But we can't.

Of course, Lieberman's Profile hasn't been updated since he came out of the closet as a Republican during the 2008 election, by campaigning for McCain and other GOP candidates. The Democrats may yet live to regret making nice and let Lieberman keep his post as Chair of Homeland Security. By doing so, he now has another opportunity to pull a Judas Iscariot, by instigating meritless investigations of the Obama Administration. However, if he does do the Judas thing, he risks lowering his Jew Score into the realm of Borderline Jew. And, he surely doesn't want that -- since no other religion wants him either.

For another worthy contestant, although he may have banished from the scene, there's George Allen: Jew, Not a Jew?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Day of Thanks

Thanksgiving, as it's name suggests, is the day we set aside to give Thanks. No religious affiliated holiday associated with the day. Just a day to say thanks for the good in our lives.

For us, Thanksgiving is truly a day of thanks. A secular day of thanks, sans family. Our daughter is home from college, where she is adjusting well and maturing nicely (other than she hasn't quite gotten the curfew when home routine quite down yet). We spend the day with a group of good friends, and our chef for the day is the best. A day of thanks for not having to cook or clean. Good food, good company, who could ask for anything more?

On the other hand, if you are stuck dining with family members who still have that conservative bend, keep these in minds as they whine about the state of affairs with a soon to be Democratic President in the White House, Ten things to know if you're having Thanksgiving with Republicans:

President-elect Obama won by 8 million votes.

President Bush is probably drinking again.

Many media conservatives are furious with President Bush.

Experts say that Al Qaeda's recent video shows that the terrorists are afraid of President-elect Obama.

President-elect Obama is cocky enough to think he can pull this "economic miracle" shit off.

The "socialist" takeover of America's banks happened on Bush's watch.

The "Democratic" Senate has been working with a one vote majority, and that vote is Joe Lieberman. If they get to the "Magic 60," that sixtieth vote is still Joe Lieberman.

The majority of rich Americans voted to have their wealth spread.

President Obama will probably only get to replace liberal judges on the Supreme Court.

Cheer up, the GOP still owns the "racist belt!"
And before you gather with your right wing relatives, you might want to brush up on a few handy facts, Talking Turkey: Ten Myths Conservatives Believe About Progressives.

And finally, I'd like to give Thanks to Sarah Palin. A conservative group, Our Country.PAC, put together a video of thanks to her. But I have my own thanks to offer. Win or lose my bet, she has provided untold mirth (and no doubt will continue to do so for some time). Here's another video of thanks:

Get the latest news satire and funny videos at 236.com.


For some Thanksgiving memories, there's William S. Burroughs Thanksgiving tribute, the treats at Love to Eat Turkey, and last year's Thanksgiving Quote of the Day.

Cartoon of the Day


Drew Sheneman, New Jersey Voices

Change From Within

As a follow up to my post on Obama and the direction of his Administration based upon his appointments, Everything Must Change, during his Presidency-in-Waiting press conference, he was asked if the picks he had made for his cabinet and advisory positions conflicted with his campaign message of Change. He responded:

Understand where the vision for change comes from, first and foremost," he said. "It comes from me. That's my job, to provide a vision in terms of where we are going and to make sure then that my team is implementing [that vision].



He also noted:
"The last Democratic administration we had was the Clinton administration," said Obama. "So it would be surprising if I selected a Treasury Secretary who had had no connection with the last Democratic administration, because that would mean that the person had no experience in Washington whatsoever. And I suspect that you would be troubled and the American people would be troubled if I selected a Treasury Secretary or a chairman of the National Economic Council, at one of the most critical economic times in our history, who had no experience in government whatsoever. What we are going to do is combine experience with fresh thinking."
See Obama Defends Cabinet: The Change Will Come From Me

See also, It's Not About People, It's About Policy.

What a Turkey



In honor of Thanksgiving:

Top Ten Sarah Palin Excuses from David Letterman, justifying the turkey pardon/slaughter.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Cartoon of the Day


David Fitzsimmons, The Arizona Daily Star

Everything Must Change

I haven't written too much about the transitional period before Obama assumes power in January. As he selects his team for his new Administration, I have generally withheld judgment until I see how he fares once he is actually in office. And, although it doesn't seem like it, he hasn't officially done so yet.

I sort of consider this interim period to be the dog days of politics, so I've mostly entertained myself with somewhat less serious stuff like Sarah Palin's antics to try to remain relevant.

However, the truth is that Obama's ascension is certainly sui generis because of the serious economic situation that has developed in the last few months, coupled with Bush's bailout from even any pretense of being involved in the process of governing in the waning days of his failed Administration.

In fact, it is precisely because of the dire state of affairs that I would suggest that all bets are off as to prior campaign promises -- at least for the foreseeable future. It was not that long ago that pundits were arguing over whether we were in a recession. Now, I see the word depression being used with depressing frequency. This is certainly not the position that Obama bargained for when he began his campaign 2 years ago. In fact, it wasn't the situation anyone expected to this degree even 6 months ago.

However, like the unforeseen events of September 11, 2001, catastrophic events do happen and our leaders have to react and adjust. The good news, from my perspective, is that Obama has seamlessly adapted to economic crisis mode without missing a beat (unlike the stunned, confused reaction by his soon-to-be predecessor when 9/11 hit). In fact, he has handled it so well, you would have thought that this was part of his platform all along. But a quick note to the forgetful public -- it wasn't. At least nowhere near this disturbing level.

In light of the change in circumstances, I believe that it calls for a whole different emphasis and focus than he might otherwise have adopted. Not to say that he should give up on his other priorities, but nothing will happen if the economy tumbles into a deep, prolonged depression. And frankly, I fear we are at the precipice. Obama and his advisers need to tackle that first and then turn to the other significant items on his agenda.

Although many of his picks so far have been moderates, I'm not concerned because they are all exceedingly qualified, competent, experienced and intelligent. Just what the country ordered!

Based upon what I've read and know, picking Hillary Clinton at State, Rahm Emanuel as Chief of Staff, Bob Gates at Defense, Tom Daschle at Health and Human Services, Eric Holder at Justice and Timothy Geithner as Treasury Secretary all meet that criteria.

I realize that some people that I respect, such as Quaker Dave, are concerned about the direction that Obama is headed, based upon the political leanings of some of his choices, such as being Clinton lite. See Watching the defectives. To me, that doesn't matter so much.

The reality is, despite the meme by the GOP during the election that he was a flaming liberal, that Obama was always a centrist. It was one of the reasons why he wasn't my first choice. See The Reason Why. He never promised a sharp swing from right to left on the political spectrum. That was never how he defined change. Rather, his moderate picks for his cabinet demonstrate that he is acting as promised, so I'm not sure why there is such great surprise on the left.

I tend to agree with John Amato of Crooks & Liars, who observes, 'Obama' is the Change Agent:

I'm not sure what everyone has been thinking. Obama said he'd be bipartisan, weed us off dependence on foreign oil, negotiate with the world at large instead of attacking them and never, ever torture people. He also promised to cut taxes for that plumber guy and implement a sweeping change in our health care system and also inject a much-needed stimulus package into the economy. One would hope it would be called universal health care. Bush has left Obama with a complete disaster and I'm going to at least wait until he takes office and begins trying to dig us out of the ditch before I get too upset over his picks.
As Glenn Greenwald notes: "Geithner and National Economic Counsel chief Larry Summers, are being hailed as exactly the type of serious, deeply intelligent, pragmatic experts needed in this financial crisis." Whatever their previous positions and views, they are what is needed at this precarious moment in time.

And anyway, Obama is the one who will set the policy that his Administration will follow. John Amato's correct in stating that "He's the change agent -- it's his vision and policy choices that will define him, not who he chooses for the Chief of Staff or any other position." Perhaps because of my legal background I don't worry so much about the prior philosophic tilts of his cabinet. That is, I'm used to changing positions, depending upon who I am representing at any given time and then vigorously arguing that position to the best of my ability. Obviously, if the policy or position is something that would be too diametrically opposed to my beliefs, I wouldn't accept the role in the first place. As I see it, Obama is the client and they are representing him, to one degree or another. The individuals he selected strick me as strong, ethical and intelligent people who want this venture to succeed.

For all our sakes, I hope they do. That's the hope and change that's needed right now.

The Memo

It seems as though we are deluged daily with news of bailouts for the big Banks and Wall Street firms, who ascribed to the "bigger is better" and "greed is god" theories of corporate governance.  However, every day, there are the less told stories of small businesses, struggling to survive in this dire economic environment.

The following Memo from the Chief Operating Officer of a small business tells the tale:

SUBJECT: The Financial Crisis

With the recent news on Wall Street, I have been hearing many concerns about our organization’s situation and wanted to take this opportunity to detail what we are doing from the top.

First, there will be no layoffs.

* * * *

In terms of recurring revenue, our employers have indicated that they are committed to continuing at present levels on a monthly basis. However, they are also facing pressure, and, based on our discussions with them, we are budgeting for a significantly smaller increase in revenue compared to what we have seen in recent years.

* * * *
However, in light of the global financial situation, there are some measures we are taking to cut back expenses. We feel these measures are prudent to preserve cash flow in the face of uncertain growth and unfavorable credit prospects.

* * * *
In the Travel and Entertainment category, you will find that fewer requests to eat in restaurants will be approved, and requests for desserts in restaurants, particularly, will not be approved (unless they are included in the cost of a kid’s meal). In the case of Cabot’s or The Cheesecake Factory, where ice cream or cheesecake, respectively, is kind of the point, sharing is strongly encouraged. An additional benefit of this will be improved health. Netflix has been put on hold for 90 days, and we will reconsider that offering then; unopened red envelopes left on top of the TV indicate a lack of demand at present. Newspaper and magazine subscriptions are subject to elimination as well. Executives, including myself, are being asked to purchase regular coffee in place of more expensive coffee drinks while traveling, and to utilize meals from our on-site food service provider whenever possible.

Charitable giving will continue, primarily to organizations to which we have supported on a regular annual basis, and new requests will be considered individually.

All major vacations, home improvements, and furniture purchases are temporarily put on hold, unless essential. Pre-approved food and clothing purchases can continue as needed and may be subject to increased budget scrutiny.
Lastly, note that we have no plans to add human resources. Requests for non-human resources (i.e., pets) may be considered in a future fiscal year.
For the rest, see Family Financial Memo.

At least he hasn't eliminated the Christmas tree -- yet. 

(Via The Daily Dish)

Monday, November 24, 2008

A Toss of the Gauntlet


Monday morning. Start of the week. I arrived at my office, a bit rushed & harried because I had to finish preparing for an early morning client conference call.

To my surprise, what did I discover displayed on my desk, but a gauntlet tossed down, so to speak, in the form of a handmade Palin Poster (pictured) -- including a menu to the Old Forge Pizza place that the loser has to buy pizza for the office. See More Cake Please. The LLWL* member with whom I have the wager about the future prospects of Sarah Palin put together the Poster, as she gleefully gloated about the latest Palin news article. She claims Sarah is going to have a future in politics -- or at least a TV deal on Fox or some other right wing cable channel. I say she's history as soon as the next nut arrives on the scene for the media to fawn over.

As the Poster notes, over the week-end the Philadelphia Inky reported, and seemingly sided with my cohort, in Palin, back in Alaska, weighs her options:

Sarah Palin is juggling offers to write books, appear in films, and sit on dozens of interview couches at a rate astonishing for most Hollywood stars, let alone a first-term governor.

Oprah Winfrey wants her. So do David Letterman and Jay Leno.

The failed Republican vice presidential candidate crunched state budget numbers last week in her 17th-floor office as tumbling oil prices hit Alaska's revenues. Her staff, meanwhile, fielded television requests seeking Palin, 44, for late-night banter and Sunday morning Washington policy talks.

Agents from the William Morris Agency and elsewhere have come knocking. There even has been an offer to host a TV show.

"Tomorrow, Gov. Palin could do an interview with any news media on the planet," said her spokesman, Bill McAllister. "Tomorrow, she could probably sign any one of a dozen book deals. She could start talking to people about a documentary or a movie on her life. That's the level we are at here."

Of course, I had seen the piece already and cursed it mightily.

And then there's the "Thank You, Sarah" Thanksgiving video that some conservative group, Our Country PAC, is planning to run on TV over the week-end. They can say what they want, but the real thanks, as Wonkette says, is a Thank You, Moose Clown, For Helping the Republicans Have Such An Epic Loss.

All I have to say is: Oh sure, she may be "Little Miss Popular" Palin today, but she's gonna be "Sad Sack" Sarah tomorrow, when the glow is off that rose & she's sitting there all alone, saying "you betcha" to an empty room.

Lest we forget who we're talking about, here's The Daily Show's Best Sarah moments:



Do I sound bitter? Oh no. I may be from Scranton, but I don't cling to guns, faith or my bitters (I leave the bitters for Bush). I know I will prevail. It may take some time, but I just know that my pal, the LLWL Loser, will be buying the office pizza. Finally, these Philly people will know what real pizza tastes like! After all, as the Inky piece notes:
"She has to pace herself," suggested veteran Hollywood publicist Howard Bragman. "She wants a career made in a Crock-Pot, not a microwave."
He's a little bit off on that analogy. Crock-Pot, microwave, it doesn't make a difference. Either way -- she's a crack-pot.



_____
LLWL = Lady Lawyers Who Lunch, a/k/a my officemates.

Cartoon of the Day


Mike Keefe, The Denver Post

One For the Road

US President George W. Bush drinks a traditional pisco sour. A source of national pride among party-loving Peruvians, the tart, frothy beverage that packs a punch has repeatedly taken center-stage at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum's gathering in the capital Lima.
See also, "Screw it. Ah'm off the wagon an' lovin' it.".

As the LLWL gang will attest, I've speculated many times before that George Bush has been off the wagon for some time. See, e.g., Playing Games and Cheers! After all, he doesn't have the internal fortitude to deal with the stresses of the serious issues that have confronted our country during his 8 years in office. The fact that he has so failed as a president -- and that he is so universally disliked at this point in time -- has to have taken a toll on a person with such little depth. The only way for someone like Bush to deal with his insecurities is to either act like a bully or to go sit in a corner & pout. He tried bully of the world & that didn't work too well. Now, as his term winds down, I'm sure he's drowning his sorrows with some bitters -- in the form of Pisco Sours.

As Down With Tyranny observes, Is Bush A Stinking Drunk Again?:
It speaks volumes about the character of George W. Bush that he's been hitting the bottle again. A few years ago Dr. Justin Frank, a Washington D.C. psychiatrist and author of Bush On The Couch: Inside The Mind Of The President warned everyone: 'I do think that Bush is drinking again. Alcoholics who are not in any program, like the President, have a hard time when stress gets to be great... I think it's a concern that Bush disappears during times of stress. He spends so much time on his ranch. It's very frightening.'
Down With Tyranny notes the dangers of Bush's irresponsible behavior and the dangers of a power vacuum with the myriad problems confronting the country. However, George Bush has been consistent in one thing throughout his life. He has failed at every venture he has ever attempted. His Presidency is just the most recent, with the most serious consequences of any of his endeavors. He's not capable of doing anything else. To expect otherwise is just to be disappointed and angered once again.

Luckily, Barack Obama & others are trying to get things in place, so that they could move forward on day one. It's the only chance we have to save the disaster that's facing us.

(Photo via AFP/Martin Bernetti, Yahoo! News Photos)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Message of Hope & Change

In case you blinked last night during SNL, I wanted to be sure you didn't miss Andy Samberg playing Obama's Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, delivering a message for the American people:



A man after my own heart. I'm making my list of people I'd like to say that to. And you know who you are!!


(OK, it really wasn't played on the show. But it's a definite don't miss.)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Cartoon of the Day


Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal Constitution

The Birth of a Citizen

Every once in a while, a lawyer has to do something totally outrageous -- just to remind everyone why they hate lawyers. And, of course, to make things worse, it would have to be a Philadelphia lawyer who does it, so we could maintain our bad rep.

The latest effort to give lawyers a bad name is courtesy of Philip Berg, an attorney in the Philly suburbs. Obviously, he must be looking for something to do to keep himself busy during the economic downturn that has impacted many in the legal community.

During the primary, Berg filed a lawsuit challenging Barack Obama's citizenship, claiming that Obama was born in Kenya rather than Hawaii, which would disqualify him from becoming President. Shortly before the election, U.S. District Court Judge R. Barclay Surrick in Philly threw the case out. As the Daily News reported, Judge rejects Montco lawyer's bid to have Obama removed from ballot:

In a 34-page memorandum and opinion, the judge said Berg's allegations of harm were "too vague and too attenuated" to confer standing on him or any other voters.

Surrick ruled that Berg's attempts to use certain laws to gain standing to pursue his claim that Obama was not a natural-born citizen were "frivolous and not worthy of discussion."

The judge also said the harm Berg alleged did "not constitute an injury in fact" and Berg's arguments to the contrary "ventured into the unreasonable."

That little setback didn't stop Berg. Nor did the fact that the director of Hawaii's department of health confirmed that she had personally seen and verified that Hawaii's state department of health has Obama's original birth certificate on record. Or, that there was a birth announcement for baby Barack Obama published in a 1961 Honolulu newspaper. What's facts got to do with it? As Yes To Democracy says, there is nothing that would ever be sufficent to establish the facts these looney tunes don't want to believe. Whatever is proven is never enough.

As Forbes reports, Obama’s Birth Certificate Challenger Keeps Going:

You've got to hand it to Philip J. Berg: he doesn't give up easily. You might recall that Philadelphia attorney Berg tried, and failed, to halt the presidential election of Barack Obama on the grounds that he is not a native-born citizen. Game over, right? Wrong.

Berg filed a writ of certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court in late October, asking that the highest court review the decision of the U.S. District Court in Pennsylvania. The latter court dismissed Berg's claims because he lacked standing to bring them. Standing requires plaintiffs to prove they are directly affected by the issue at hand, with evidence of injury that is concrete and particular. In its decision the district court said Berg "does not, and we believe cannot, establish injury in fact." It also dismissed his claims as frivolous.

Berg takes this in stride. His writ, he says, requires Obama and the Democratic National Council to respond by December 1. Also, he has another arrow in his quiver. He's filed in the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., under the False Claims Act, which is often used in Medicaid fraud. "I am basing this on the fact that as a U.S. senator [Obama] is collecting money illegally because he is not a citizen of this country," he says.

Berg has also enlisted similarly wacky Alan Keyes to likewise institute a complaint on the same basis. See Deez Nutz: Philip Berg, Barack Obama Birth Certificate Challenger and 9/11 Nutjob. See also, Alan Keyes Sues Barack Obama.

Raising the specter that the Supreme Court could potentially be dragged in to another election case, Steven Reynolds of All Spin Zone, Whack Job Scenario: SCOTUS to Decide Election, provides the latest update on the status of the case before the Supreme Court:
[T]he Supreme Court has accepted the Philip Berg challenge to Barack Obama’s citizenship for conference on December 5th. It appears the case was first submitted to Justice Souter, who denied the request. When resubmitted to Justice Thomas, one of the Justices who helped decide the 2000 election, the petition was accepted. The hearing will be December 5th, 10 days before the Electoral College meets on Decemeber 15th.
Even with Uncle Thomas on the bench, after the debacle that resulted from their last foray into election tampering, there is no way the Supreme Court is going to ever get involved in another Presidential contest.

For more on the history of this silly litigation, see Wingnuts away! Phillip J. Berg- a crackpot and his lawsuit!.

God & Country


Today is the 45th Anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the 35th President of these United States.

In light of the increased tendency to commingle religion and politics in these times, it struck me that were Kennedy elected today, the religious issues facing his presidency would be extremely different than what he in fact confronted during his campaign for the presidency in 1960.

Kennedy was the first (and only) Catholic President. At that time, the fact that JFK was Catholic was a major issue. Anti-Catholic sentiment was prevalent. The concern was that the Pope would try to exert control over the decision-making by Kennedy in office. Like Obama, who didn't want to run as the black candidate, JFK certainly didn't want to be the Catholic candidate. Yet like Obama's speech on race at the National Constitution Center earlier this year here in Philly, JFK was forced to confront his faith. As noted at NPR (transcript & audio available):

On Sept. 12, 1960, presidential candidate John F. Kennedy gave a major speech to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association, a group of Protestant ministers, on the issue of his religion. At the time, many Protestants questioned whether Kennedy's Roman Catholic faith would allow him to make important national decisions as president independent of the church.
Interestingly, like those who couldn't overcome the fact of Obama's race, The New Republic observed that, "as a Catholic, Kennedy still faced formidable obstacles. A 1958 Gallup Poll found that 25 percent of Americans said they wouldn't vote for a Catholic." However, despite this, again echoing Obama's path, as TNR notes, Is Obama Al Smith or John F. Kennedy?:
In 1960, John Kennedy succeeded where [Al] Smith had failed, winning an extremely narrow victory against Richard Nixon. Kennedy's success is often attributed to his political skill, and to the way he addressed the Catholic question. And that was certainly a factor. Unlike Smith, Kennedy successfully reaffirmed his independence from Catholic dictates. He won the nomination by showing that he could win overwhelmingly Protestant West Virginia against Hubert Humphrey. He chose a Protestant as a running mate and as the head of the Democratic National Committee.
Had JFK been elected today, he may have instead faced a hostile Catholic Church, rather than a leery Protestant America. Abortion has been legal since Roe vs. Wade in 1973. Kennedy would have had to confront the Church's stance on abortion in light of his professed position that he would uphold the laws of the country, notwithstanding the Church's views to the contrary.

Had he held true to his campaign promises, no doubt, like Obama, JFK would have been subjected to the wrath of the Church, as was delivered during a speech at Catholic University, "We Will Know Gethsemane":
James Francis Cardinal Stafford criticized President-elect Barack Obama as “aggressive, disruptive and apocalyptic,“ and said he campaigned on an “extremist anti-life platform,” Thursday night in Keane Auditorium during his lecture “Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II: Being True in Body and Soul.“

“Because man is a sacred element of secular life,” Stafford remarked, “man should not be held to a supreme power of state, and a person’s life cannot ultimately be controlled by government.”

'For the next few years, Gethsemane will not be marginal. We will know that garden,” Stafford said, comparing America’s future with Obama as president to Jesus’ agony in the garden. “On November 4, 2008, America suffered a cultural earthquake.”
Catholics such as Joe Biden and Tom Daschle have been renounced -- if not excommunicated -- from the Church for not towing the Catholic line. See, e.g., Daschle: Half Full or Half Empty? and Bishops vs. Catholic Politicians.

Kennedy would certainly have suffered the same fate for expressing what should be the place of God and country -- separate.

~~~

I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute--where no Catholic prelate would tell the President (should he be Catholic) how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote--where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference--and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the President who might appoint him or the people who might elect him.

"It is my firm belief that there should be separation of church and state as we understand it in the United States -- that is, that both church and state should be free to operate, without interference from each other in their respective areas of jurisdiction. We live in a liberal, democratic society which embraces wide varieties of belief and disbelief. There is no doubt in my mind that the pluralism which has developed under our Constitution, providing as it does a framework within which diverse opinions can exist side by side and by their interaction enrich the whole, is the most ideal system yet devised by man. I cannot conceive of a set of circumstances which would lead me to a different conclusion." -- letter to Glenn L. Archer, 23 February 1959

See The religion of John F. Kennedy, 35th U.S. President

Friday, November 21, 2008

Wish You Were Here


This morning as I left the house, I snapped a shot & emailed it to my daughter in Miami. I said, Look what greeted me this morning. Bet you wish you were here!

She called me later to tell me that people were in the pool down there. Drats, I say. Drats!

Of course, it could be worse. This is what we've got to look forward to. I may have to schedule my annual South Florida visit in February.

I guess it's also about time to put the lawn furniture away.

It's OK




It's time for the Friday Night Funnies.

I realize that the election is over, but I couldn't resist this bit by David Alan Grier of Chocolate News on why it's OK to vote for Barack Obama.

(Thanks to Bluegal at Crooks and Liars)

Cartoon of the Day


Tom Toles, NYTimes

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

More Cake Please

Sometimes you can in fact have your cake and eat it too. Such is the case with the word that Ted Stevens has lost his re-election bid late yesterday, on his 85th birthday. Begich topples Stevens in Senate race.

As Ken Layne expressed it so well, With Ted Stevens' Tragic Loss, the Good Old America Is Gone Forever:

It's official, and it's a national tragedy: Ted Stevens has lost his Senate seat to some Democrat, in Alaska.

* * * *
Today, on his 85th birthday, the convicted felon and old white Republican Ted Stevens has been voted out of the office -- voted out of office by Alaskans.

In the good old days, there were three Americas: rich white people, poor white people who hopelessly identified with rich white people, and everybody else such as minorities and native peoples or whatever. The "everybody else" part of this country has been restless and troublesome from the beginning.

Back in Thomas Jefferson's day, people who didn't own land wanted to vote. Next thing you know, women wanted to vote. Then slaves wanted to be free -- that may have been before the women-wanting-to-vote thing, history is unclear -- and then minorities wanted to vote! Native Americans and even native Alaskans wanted "rights." At some point, Germans and Irishmen wanted something, although it was never clear what.
And now that "Ted is Dead" (figuratively speaking, of course), what is to become of that lovely lass from Alaska -- Sarah Palin?

As Peter Brown wrote in the Wall Street Journal, Why Palin in 2012 Needs Sen. Stevens to Win:
As bizarre as it may seem, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s presidential ambitions for 2012 hang to a considerable degree on her state’s U.S. Senate race, a contest that could be decided this week.

* * * *
Of course she could remain Alaska governor and still run for president. But, the logistics of getting to Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, the three states with the first primary contests where the 2012 GOP nomination could be decided, are more than formidable.

* * * *
[I]f she wants to run for president in 2012, she would be much better off if Sen. Stevens is re-elected. If not, the road from Juneau to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue could be considerably more difficult.
Oh, I can almost taste the Old Forge pizza that I'll be getting upon winning my bet that it's Sayonara Sarah.

In the meantime, I can have my cake & eat it too -- with icing on it no less! It is just yummy!!

And here's Uncle Ted's reaction upon hearing the news of his loss:


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Drinking the Kool-aid


It seems that cults have long been with us. I recall when I was younger that Hare Krishnas were fairly prevalent. The chants at the airport by people with shaved-heads wearing long, flowing garments. Yet, the most infamous cult of all was Jim Jones and the Jonestown mission. In the Valley of the Shadow of Death.

It was also 30 years ago today that Jim Jones of the Peoples Temple, who had moved to Guyana with his flock, committed mass murder and suicide, massacring men, women and children. It was shocking when the details were revealed in the aftermath of the Jonestown tragedy. Almost 1000 people were killed. 30 years later, the legacy of Jonestown. See also, 30 YEARS AGO: The Jonestown Massacre.

As Rev. David Garrett said, along with events such as the assassination of Kennedy and King, it was one of those Events That Define a Generation. It was probably one of the worst single tragedies to befall this country in the last century before 9/11. However, you would hardly know:

But a largely-overlooked watershed event in the modern era is the tragedy in Jonestown, Guyana, that took place 30 years ago today, when religious leader Jim Jones ordered 900 of his devotees to drink cyanide-laced Flavor Aid in a mass suicide.

Some who resisted were shot to death; and Jones himself apparently shot himself in the head.
Yet, except for milestone anniversaries, the events that occurred in Jonestown are not often remembered. In fact, the memories of the events of that day have been reduced to a cliche. "Drinking the Kool-aid" is an expression that I often use, when referring to those who exhibit cult-like behavior. Likewise, I often call some of the crazy evangelical ministers that I observe -- think End Times adherents, for example -- Jim Jones reincarnated. As was noted by Somervell County Salon, I can also say that that phrase has become so much a part of our venacular that I had almost forgotten what it referred to.

Or, as View to the Mountains aptly observed, the 28% of the people who still believe that George Bush is doing a heck of a job are suffering from the "Jonestown Syndrome." Ditto the fans of Sarah Palin!

For more on the Jim Jones cult, see PBS' Jonestown.

(Poster via zoecarnate)

It's Your Birthday

Today is Senator Ted Stevens 85th birthday and perhaps his birthday present will be the loss of his senate seat, which is looking more likely, Begich now 2,300 votes ahead of Stevens — and counting. After all, if he loses, it will save him the embarrassment of getting re-elected & then kicked out of the senate for his conviction.

"It's my birthday & I'll cry if I want to" may never have had more meaning than for Uncle Ted, as he's known in Alaska.

And we all win, since it would mean that Sarah Palin loses too -- she can't try to run for Stevens' seat after he was evicted, if he had in fact prevailed.

Finally, in honor of his birthday, here's a little clip "Who the F**k is Ted Stevens"

Cartoon of the Day


Jerry Holbert, Boston Herald

Monday, November 17, 2008

Ding Dong the Witch is Dead

Today's Philadelphia Inquirer carries an editorial that may have been written to the tune of "Ding, dong the witch is dead" while proclaiming the end of racism in America. Written by Tom Atkins, publisher of something called commonconservative.com (emphasis on the word common), White guilt? Done; over; history, who shrilly declares:

The Era of White Guilt is over.

This seemingly impossible event occurred because the vast majority of white Americans didn't give a fluff about skin color and enthusiastically pulled the voting lever for a black man. Not just any black man. A very liberal black man who spent his early career race-hustling banks, praying in a racist church for 20 years, and actively working with America-hating domestic terrorists. Yet white Americans made Barack Obama their leader. Therefore, as of Nov. 4, 2008, white guilt is dead.

So today, I'm feeling a little "uppity," if you will. For more than a century, the millstone of white guilt hung around our necks, retribution for slave-owning predecessors. In the 1960s, American liberals began yanking that millstone while sticking a fork in the eye of black Americans, exacerbating the racial divide to extort a socialist solution to the country's problems. But if a black man can become president, exactly what significant barrier is left? The election of Barack Obama destroys the validation of liberal white guilt. The dragon is hereby slain.

So today, I'm feeling a little "uppity," if you will. From this day forward, my tolerance level for having my skin color hustled is exactly ZERO. No more Rev. Jeremiah Wright's "God Damn America," Al Sharpton's Church of Perpetual Victimization, or Jesse Jackson's rainbow racism. Cornel West? You're a fraud. All those "black studies" programs must now teach kids to thank Whitey. And I want that on the final.

* * * *
No more quotas. No more handouts. No more complaining that "the man" is keeping you down. "The man" is now black.
Gee, this man definitely has serious issues, as they say. He sure sounds like some sarcastic sad sack, with a few anger issues thrown in. He may believe that white guilt is over, but he proves that extreme ugly is not. Perhaps he might be someone down on his luck -- a realtor in a bad market, perhaps?

Of course, while he was busily penning his rant, I don't suppose that Atkins happened to read the rest of the Inky lately -- such as the parts describing the racist acts that recently occurred recently at St. Joseph's University and La Salle University here in Philly? At La Salle, several black students said they were assaulted and subjected to racial slurs that after the presidential election. There was also a drawing of a stick figure in a noose that was found in a classroom at St. Joe's. See 2 universities probe racial incidents. See also, Hate crimes up on campuses, group says. But hey, maybe those guys just didn't get the message yet.

Of course, I guess he also missed those articles reporting that the election has caused a significant increase in race-related incidents? Obama election spurs race threats, crimes. As the Christian Science Monitor reports, After Obama's win, white backlash festers in US:

The election of America's first black president has triggered more than 200 hate-related incidents, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center – a record in modern presidential elections. Moreover, the white nationalist movement, bemoaning an election that confirmed voters' comfort with a multiracial demography, expects Mr. Obama's election to be a potent recruiting tool – one that watchdog groups warn could give new impetus to a mostly defanged fringe element.

Most election-related threats have so far been little more than juvenile pranks. But the political marginalization of certain Southern whites, economic distress in rural areas, and a White House occupant who symbolizes a multiethnic United States could combine to produce a backlash against what some have heralded as the dawn of a postracial America. In some parts of the South, there's even talk of secession.

"Most of this movement is not violent, but there is a substantive underbelly that is violent and does try to make a bridge to people who feel disenfranchised," says Brian Levin of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino. "The question is: Will this swirl become a tornado or just an ill wind? We're not there yet, but there's dust on the horizon, a swirling of wind, and the atmospherics are getting put together for [conflict]."

And that newly constructed black church that burned down on election eve? A Time of Hope, Marred by an Act of Horror. I suppose that's one way to eliminate those segregated churches.

Thankfully racism is a thing of the past. If that's the case, the only thing we need to rid ourselves of are conservative haters, like Atkins. Without the vile, angry, hate-filled whining of conservatives, life would be good.

(Via Crooks and Liars, since I no longer read the opinion page of the Inquirer).

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Cartoon of the Day


John Cole, The Times Tribune

The Sarah Swoon

My excuse for indulging in my own version of the Sarah Swoon, of course, is my wager with one of the LLWL members* on whither goes Sarah.

Despite the fact that I have a vested interest in her (hopefully) imminent demise (figuratively, not literally, of course), I have to admit that she has provided me with oodles of giggles, especially in the aftermath of the election.

With such an emphasis on the historical nature of the election and a corresponding outpouring of goodwill, a sarcastic smartass girl needs to get her fix somewhere. And, I have to get it while the gettin' is good, since it looks like Sarah may not be long for hearts, minds (and snickers) of the lower 48.

After all, Senator Ted Stevens may well lose his reelection bid, Begich lead over Stevens grows. This would mean that he won't be kicked out of his seat in the Senate, allowing Palin a chance to run to fill his seat. Likewise, Steve Benen of the Washington Monthly reports that Palin's name was absent from the list of the new leadership team of the Republican Governors Association, PALIN LEFT OUT OF RGA LEADERSHIP.

In the meantime, I can get my dose of Sarah Schadenfreude from such luminaries as Dick Cavett and James Wolcott.

Dick Cavett may have penned the ultimate Sarah simile with The Wild Wordsmith of Wasilla. As he notes:

Electronic devices dislike me. There is never a day when something isn’t ailing. Three out of these five implements — answering machine, fax machine, printer, phone and electric can-opener — all dropped dead on me in the past few days.

Now something has gone wrong with all three television sets. They will only get Sarah Palin.

I can play a kind of Alaskan roulette. Any random channel clicked on by the remote brings up that eager face, with its continuing assaults on the English Lang.

There she is with Larry and Matt and just about everyone else but Dr. Phil (so far). If she is not yet on “Judge Judy,” I suspect it can’t be for lack of trying.

* * * *

I feel a little sorry for John. He aimed low and missed.

What will ambitious politicos learn from this? That frayed syntax, bungled grammar and run-on sentences that ramble on long after thought has given out completely are a candidate’s valuable traits?

* * * *

At the risk of offending, well, you, for example, I worry about just what it is her hollering fans see in her that makes her the ideal choice to deal with the world’s problems: collapsed economies, global warming, hostile enemies and our current and far-flung twin battlefronts, either of which may prove to be the world’s second “30 Years’ War.”

Has there been a poll to see if the Sarah-ites are numbered among that baffling 26 percent of our population who, despite everything, still maintain that President George has done a heckuva job?
His piece is a must read in its entirety, as is Que Sera, Sarah, James Wolcott's precis on Palin:
I've been making a valiant effort to avoid Sarah Palin's nickel-coated charm offensive on cable news, subjecting myself all day on TCM to some of the most cardboard anti-Nazi Hollywood films ever perpetrated . . . . It isn't that I loathe or fear Sarah Palin. It's that she grates. If she were any more grating, she could cut cheddar. Palin as an entertainment phenomenon might be tolerable and even amusing . . . [but] Sarah Palin isn't pursuing mere transient fame but actual power, a pursuit driven by a brassy assurance shielding an apparent lack of knowledge about nearly everything and a breathtaking complacency about that voluminous lack. She doesn't seem to care about what she doesn't know, it doesn't seem to register that what she doesn't know might matter and might be worth knowing even if it didn't. Her sentences seem to be missing vital ligaments when she speaks, yielding a concrete poetry similar to Rumsfeld's musings but with nil intellectual content (Rumsfeld's known unknowns and unknown unknowns at least had an ontological coherence). Now we're stuck with her twangy shtick and her family soap opera, which makes the former Clinton saga look like Les Sylphides. Just as Al Gore must live with the shame of elevating Joe Lieberman to the national stage, no act of contrition John McCain can perform will be penance enough for foisting Sarah Palin on us, subjecting us to her supreme sense of entitlement.
Although she has been entertaining, I can't say I'll miss her when she's gone (and you betcha I won't be amused if she stays & I'm on the losing side of my bet). However, as SNL suggests, we still will have Joe Biden around:



LLWL = Lady Lawyers Who Lunch, a/k/a my officemates.