29 October 2008

- Communist Manipesto -

"It works for everything."

28 October 2008

- Up, because... -

Just because. Don't you love it when the market moves up by 10% and no one has much explanation except lame reasons such as "bargain hunting" and "expectations of a rate cute." As if that could account for a jump of this magnitude. Personally, I found Huffpo's SCREAMING HEADLINE the most honest:

- Unpaid Blogging -

I'm with Andrew on this one. Lots of angry people with time on their hands--I don't see a deep recession cutting at all into the free blogging economy.

24 October 2008

- Circular Firing Squad -

Mark McKinnon, former McCain ad-man and advisor, who wisely sat out the campaign:
If you really want to see what ‘going negative’ is in politics, just watch the back-stabbing and blame game that we’re starting to see. And there’s one common theme: Everyone who wasn’t part of the campaign could have done better.

- Wild Ride -

Looks like another wild ride on Wall Street today. Futures market hit its floor, foreign markets down around 8%. It's going to be ugly at the opening bell.

22 October 2008

- Dream Team -

Palin/Bachman 2012

I see that the GOP pulled their funding from Bachman and that her opponent has managed to raise over $1 million since the Outburst. I would so dearly love to see her lose.

- Spinning the Wardrobe -

This one is good.
I saw the RNC statement on Gov. Palin’s $150,000 clothing bender on the RNC's tab. . . . some other possible spin lines for the RNC.

  1. What you sneering critics in the liberal MSM fail to see here is… a Jobs Program! Saks floorwalkers, cashiers, a team of sweating porters to haul the merchandise from the store to the motorcade… chiropractors to treat those porters. Sarah Palin knows how to create jobs!

  2. What’s the difference between a Pit Bull and a Hockey Mom? You can feed a pit-bull for 483 years with 150 grand.

  3. Still cheaper than Mitt Romney’s hair products. We’re saving money here…

  4. William Ayres is a terrorist!

  5. New ad slogan: “Clothes for Gov. Palin? $150,000. Time machine to go back two months to late August and ask what the Hell were Schmidt and Davis thinking when they cooked up this idea and sold it to McCain? Priceless.”

Did we mention that William Ayres is a terrorist!

Oddly, given that Murphy is a GOP strategist, it doesn't have the feel of gallows humor. I don't sense that he is feeling at all sorry for his old boss.

21 October 2008

- Rx vs. OTC -

Thomas Edsell ends with this curious comparison:
The net effect will be that Obama's average on RCP will, in just a day, shoot up from a 5.7 point lead to an 8.1 point lead. Obama supporters will be able to put away, at least for now, their Rolaids, while McCainiacs will have to double their dosage of Wellbutrin, Paxil and Zoloft.

- Grover Norquist Is an Idiot -

I'm just saying:
McCain's choice of Palin brought his polling numbers above Obama's--until McCain endorsed the Bush bailout. Palin draws large crowds and has energized Reagan Republicans, gun owners, women and people of faith. Obama knows this and has his surrogates trashing Palin with a "sack the quarterback" strategy most recently joined in by Colin Powell. She is an asset and the most consequential VP candidate in a generation.

- Polling Issues -

Marc Ambinder asks:
If white men are moving significantly to Sen. McCain, as seen in a lot of the IVR polls and a few phone polls (PPP in FL, Rasmussen Nat'l Tracking, Morning Call Tracking in PA, FoxNews/Rasmussen Tracking in FL), why have most of the national tracking polls failed to pick up the movement?

Maybe because white men are not in fact moving significantly to McCain? Vice versa, movement in the other demographic categories is more than counteracting any movement by white men.

- Sullivan on Lowry on Powell -

Sullivan sees it:
Let me see if I've got this right: Powell is wrong because McCain was "desperately trying to find something that worked as his poll numbers tanked." That's Lowry's idea of leadership? Suddenly you realize why Bush went so awry. They all think like Lowry. All they care about is politics, not policy.

One is tempted to say: "duh"—except that would be to disregard the policy that drives the politics: cut taxes and hire your own.

- Crazy Polls -

Crazy result in both Zogby (O 50, M 42) and GWU/Battleground (O 48, M 47) this morning. Fortunately, they are moving in opposite directions, which makes it relatively easy to discount both as outliers. Actually, the composite tracking has been fairly stable over the past 10 days, with Obama hovering about a point off his high and McCain slightly more than a point above his low.

I would say Obama has about a 6% lead, on the order of 52% O, 46% M, 2% other. If we correct for the Diebold Effect, the final poll results would look something like 50.5% O, 47.5 % M, 2% Other.

- Early Voting -

So I voted today. The polling station was busy, though they had enough machines on hand that I didn't have to wait in line.

20 October 2008

- Campaign Music -

Michael Cohen uses McCain's selection of campaign music as his opening gambit to his discussion of McCain's latest stump speech:
You can tell a lot about a presidential campaign and its supporters by the songs played at their campaign rallies. From Bill Clinton’s “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow” by Fleetwood Mac to George Bush’s “Only in America” by Brooks and Dunn, the most effective campaign songs offer listeners a clear sense of a campaign’s key messages.

For John McCain, the selections at his first rally after the final presidential debate spoke volumes about both the state of the campaign and the predisposition of the candidate: Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” and, as Mr. McCain entered the gymnasium in Downingtown, Pa., the theme from “Rocky.” Mr. McCain may be down in the polls, but if his soundtrack yesterday was any indication, he is not going down without a fight.

19 October 2008

- Sticking Out Your Neck -

Andrew Sullivan summarizing his discussion with Chris Matthews:
As I said on Chris Matthews this morning, this race has tightened a bit already and will probably tighten again. But it is also possible that the race could widen, and defy the final polls - in Obama's direction.

Well, yes, I think we can surely agree that the race will tighten or widen—or perhaps stay just right where it is. Very gutsy call there, Andrew, very gutsy.

- Voting Problems in West Virginia -

The Sunday Charleston Gazette-Mail reports that a number of voters are experiencing trouble with the electronic voting machines.

I fear the so-called Bradley Effect will be used to cover up fraud on electronic voting.

17 October 2008

- Smith Dinner -

McCain should be using this as the basis of his stump speech. Seriously, he is so much more appealing. Even a kind word for Obama at the end.

- Laugh of the Day -

There is an idea circulating out there that the killer combo of Joe the Plumber and “spread the wealth” may save the election for McCain. Now you might say that this just whistling past the graveyard, but that doesn’t do it credit. This is really more like four-part harmony singing in a freshly-dug grave as the dirt is being piled on.

16 October 2008

- Flag Pin -

So where is Santorum's flag pin if he thinks it's such a big deal?

McCain doesn't wear one either.

- Joe, the Plumber Guy -

ttujoe offers the following fact check on the father of Joe the Plumber:
Robert M. Wurzelbacher, son-in-law of Keating, was 37 years old in 1991 when federal charges were filed against Keating. It appears that he has addresses in Phoenix and Coronado, CA.

The Robert M. Wurzelbacher of Milford, OH, a heavy donor to GOP candidates, is 83 years old and retired. They're not the same person.

Digging to see if this guy is a plant or a hypocrite is a good idea. But I think it's equally important to know the link before idle speculation.

I'm actually rather relieved. This was starting to sound like another bad sitcom episode.

- Obama's Decision -

Obama has a decision to make: does he bank the win or go for a mandate? Of course, going for a mandate would mean that he actually has a clear idea of what he wants to do when he's elected, which I'm not sure he does.

I'm guessing he just banks the win.

- Where Did This Come From? -

This is one weird prediction map for the election.

- Staying Afloat -

Robert Reich makes this excellent point:
But this story leaves out one very important fact. Since the year 2000, median family income has been dropping, adjusted for inflation. One of the main reasons the typical family has taken on more debt has been to maintain its living standards in the face of these declining real incomes.

It's not as if the typical family suddenly went on a spending binge --- buying yachts and fancy cars and taking ocean cruises. No, the typical family just tried to keep going as it had before. But with real incomes dropping, and the costs of necessities like gas, heating oil, food, health insurance, and even college tuitions all soaring, the only way to keep going as before was to borrow more. You might see this as a moral failure, but I think it's more accurate to view it as an ongoing struggle to stay afloat when the boat's sinking.

- Obama Ad -

The use of reaction shots in this one is particularly well done. It manages to transfer McCain's disdain for Obama to the middle class, so that attacks on Obama become attacks on the middle class.

- Reality Check -

Glenn Greenwald is correct to warn of the coming Democratic tsuanami:

Nonetheless, it's worth underscoring -- in fact, it's vital to keep in mind -- that the option of politically empowering Democrats is the opposite of a panacea. The Democratic Party structure in Washington, and particularly its leadership in Congress, is more corrupted and destructive than anything else there is -- with the exception of the right-wing faction that has been running the country for the last eight years. Contrary to the inane conventional Beltway wisdom that bipartisanship is oh-so-tragically scarce, Democrats as an entity have, over and over, passively acquiesced to, and frequently actively enabled and participated in, many of the worst abuses of the last eight years. Their leadership in Congress is corrupt and craven to the bone in many of the same ways the GOP leadership has been -- and they're about to be far more entrenched and their power far less checked.

Obama, who is basically a consensus centrist, will be vulnerable in such a situation, especially since he hasn't really articulated any broad principles of policy to which the rest of the Democratic leadership will need to conform.

15 October 2008

- Debate Verdict -

For whatever reason, I didn't think either of Obama or McCain were particularly sharp tonight. Not that it matters. Obama didn't make a major mistake, so it's not a game changer. McCain didn't explode, so the race is not over. The pundits will probably give this one to McCain, simply to keep things interesting, though I think the instapolls will once again go to Obama.

Update Best snarky debate summary

- Are We Having Fun Yet? -

14 October 2008

- Wrong Track -

In the face of economic upheaval in the United States, a record 89 percent of Americans now say the country has pretty seriously gotten off on the wrong track while just 7 percent of Americans say the country is going in the right direction, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News Poll.

Gotta wonder about those 7%.

- You're Out! -

Does this mean Buckley gets to avoid the circular firing squad? Or is he a casualty?

I must say that I'm rather enjoying watching the Right act like the Left for a change.

- Down, Down, Down, Down, Down -

Will the excitement never end?

- In a Subjunctive Mood -

From the NY Times style book:

If the bill were passed, taxes could go down (not was passed, because it is still just a hope).

I think this is incorrect reasoning. True, the bill has not yet passed; but it might. In that sense, it is not contrary to fact in the strong sense of "If I were you..."—always an impossibility. Thus, the subjunctive here should (I think) be reserved only for a bill whose passage seems reasonably unlikely. Note: this is a confusing example because the relationship between the bill and taxes is also conditional.

12 October 2008

- It's Latin To Me -

When's the last time that we had an op-ed column in a major newspaper printed in Latin?

Bellum Gallium

Manes Julii Caesaris paucis diebus aderant — “O, most bloody sight!” — cum Ioannes McCainus, mavericus et veteranus captivusque Belli Francoindosinini, et Sara Palina, barracuda borealis, qui sneerare amant Baracum Obamam causa oratorii, pillorant ut demagogi veri, Africanum-Americanum senatorem Terrae Lincolni, ad Republicanas rallias.

Rabidi subcanes candidati, pretendant “no orator as Brutis is,” ut “stir men’s blood” et disturbant mentes populi ad “a sudden flood of mutiny,” ut Wilhelmus Shakespearus scripsit.

Cum Quirites Americani ad rallias Republicanas audiunt nomen Baraci Husseini Obamae, clamant “Mortem!” “Amator terroris!” “Socialiste!” “Bomba Obamam!” “Obama est Arabus!” “Caput excidi!” tempus sit rabble-rouseribus desistere “Smear Talk Express,” ut Stephanus Colbertus dixit. Obama demonatus est tamquam Musulmanus-Manchurianus candidatus — civis “collo-cerviciliaris” ad ralliam Floridianam Palinae exhabet mascum Obamae ut Luciferis.

Obama non queretur high-tech lynching. Sed secreto-serventes agentes nervosissmi sunt.

Vix quisque audivit nomen “Palinae” ante lunibus paucis. Surgivit ex suo tanning bed ad silvas in Terram Eskimorum, rogans quis sit traitorosus, ominosus, scurrilosus, periculosus amator LXs terroris criminalisque Chicagoani? Tu betchus!

“Caeca ambitio Obamana,” novum rumorem Palina McCainusque dixit. “Cum utilis, Obama laborat cum amatore terroris Wilhelmo Ayro. Cum putatus, perjuravit.” McCainianus bossus maximus Francus Keatinx vocat Obamam, “plebeium,” et ut iuvenum snifferendum cocaini minimi (“a little blow.”)

Cum Primus Dudus, spousus Palinanus, culpari attemptaret “Centurionem-Gate,” judices Terrae Santae Elvorumque castigat gubernatricem Palinam de abusu auctoritatis per familiam revengendum.

Tamen Sara et Ioannes bury Obama, not praise him. Maverici, ut capiunt auxilium de friga-domina, hench-femina, Cynthia McCaina Birrabaronessa, (quae culpat Obamam periculandi suum filum in Babylonia), brazen-iter distractant mentes populares de minimissimis IV 0 I K.ibus, deminutione “Motorum Omnium,” et Depressione Magna II.0. Omnes de Georgio Busio Secundo colossale goofballo. “V” (because there’s no W. in Latin) etiam duxit per disastrum ad gymnasium.

Gubernatrix (prope Russia) Palina, spectans candidaciam MMXII, post multam educationem cum Kissingro et post multam parodiam de Sabbatis Nocte Vivo atque de Tina Feia, ferociter vituperat Obamam, ut supralupocidit (aerial shooting of wolves) in Hyperborea.

Vilmingtoni, in Ohionem, McCain’s Mean Girl (Ferox Puella) defendit se gladiatricem politicam esse: “Pauci dicant, O Jupiter, te negativam esse. Non, negativa non sum, sed verissima.” Talk about lipsticka in porcam! Quasi Leeus Atwater de oppugnatione Busii Primi ad Dukakem: “non negativus, sed comparativus.”

And the beginning of a translation (by David M. Johnson):


Shades of Julius Caesar--“O most bloody sight!” John McCain, maverick, veteran, and Indochine prisoner of war, together with Sara Palin, the boreal barricuda, love to sneer at Barack Obama for his oratory. But at Republican rallies they attacked the African-American senator from the Land of Lincoln like true demagogues.

The candidates, raving attack-dogs (with apologies to our canine readers) pretend that they are “no orator as Brutus is”, as they “stir men’s blood” and rouse the minds of the people to “a sudden flood of mutiny,” as Shakespeare wrote.

When American citizens at Republican rallies hear the name of Barack Hussein Obama, and shout out “Death!” “Terrorist-lover!” “Communist!” [surely no one in the mob would be so moderate as to yell “Socialist”, especially in French--ed.] “Bomba Obama!” “Obama is an Arab!” and “Off with his head!”, it’s time for the rabble-rousers to stop the “Smear Talk Express”, as Stephen Colbert has called it. Obama is demonized as an Islamo-Manchurian candidate--at a Florida Palin rally a citizen in a cervical collar (really? But what the hell else would collo-cerviciliaris mean?--ed.] held up a mask of Obama as the devil.

Obama does not complain about this high-tech lynching. But the secret service agents are rather nervous.

Hardly anyone had heard the name “Palin” a few months ago. She arose from her tanning bed deep in the forests of Eskimo Land, and asked who this traitorous, ominous, scurrilous, dangerous lover of the 60’s, terror, and the Chicago mob was. You betcha!

“The blind ambition of Obama,” runs the new story by Palin and McCain. “When it’s useful, Obama works with the terrorist William Ayers. When he’s asked about it, he lies.” McCain party boss Frank Keating calls Obama a guy from the hood and notes that as a young man he sniffed a little blow.

When the First Dude, Palin’s spouse, tried to attack Trooper-Gate, the judges of the Land of Santa and the Elves castigated Governor Palin for her abuse of power in pursuit of revenge for her family.

But Sara and John come to bury Obama, not to praise him. The mavericks, with the help of their ice-maiden henchwoman, Cynthia McCain, Baroness de Beer (who blames Obama for endangering her son in Iraq), brazenly distract the minds of....

Another translation here.

11 October 2008

- Hockey Mom Gets Booed -

Sarah Palin makes the ceremonial puck drop at a Flyers game and the fans let her have it. (Note the Obama-Biden signs in the crowd behind her.) The whole thing is rather surreal.

08 October 2008

- Larison on McCain's Ethics -

Daniel Larison disembowels McCain:
According to this odd view, if someone is not very proficient at lying and smearing his opponents and gives the impression that even he knows what he’s saying is nonsense, that somehow proves that he is honest and decent at heart. The correct view is exactly the opposite–if McCain knows the truth, doesn’t really believe what he’s saying and tells lies unconvincingly, that is evidence of the far deeper corruption of the man. Instead of being badly misguided or misinformed, he willfully says things that he knows have no merit or that he knows are unworthy of anyone in his position. In short, being a bad smear artist does not make someone ethical or honorable; it makes him unethical and incompetent.

I'm going to hate it when Larison returns to the principled conservative opposition and starts directing his very impressive, very incisive analytical skills against the Obama administration and Democratic congress.

On the other hand, I much prefer smart opponents to stupid opponents, even if they make it more difficult to get things done, because smart opponents force you to be smarter, whereas stupid opponents almost force you to act stupidly. And if it is to succeed, the next administration is going to have to act very smart indeed.

- The final 10% -

You have to wonder about those who are satisfied.

07 October 2008

- Brokaw—Debate's Big Loser -

Did Brokaw suck tonight or what?

- Having Faith in We, the People -

Andrew Sullivan writes:
I have faith in the American people. They'll see through this to what we need, and make the best choice available. They made the right choice in the 1930s, unlike many other nations. They will make the right choice again. If I didn't have that faith, I wouldn't have the hope I feel.

I wish I had that faith. Personally, I have rarely experienced anything but disappointment in We, the People, who always seem to fall to the power of distraction. So far, this election campaign has been different, whether that is because of Obama's skill, McCain's incompetence, or a combination of both is yet to be decided. In any case, distraction does seem to have lost some of its usual power.

Of course, there is nothing like a major financial meltdown to fix one's attention.

04 October 2008

- Minnesota Senate Race -

Ok, trying to make sense of this poll, which came out today versus this one, which came out yesterday. They are almost mirror opposites, with Franken up by 9 in one, Coleman up by 10 in the other; about all they agree on is that the third party candidate, Barkley, is picking up substantial support (18 vs. 19 percent). This really makes you wonder how their methodologies could be so different as to be well outside the margin of error on either end. Clearly, someone had a poor sample or poor correction algorithm!

03 October 2008

- Now, Just Disappear -

Let's hope that Palin did just well enough in the debate last night that we won't have to hear anything more about her for the rest of the campaign. That would be a victory for everyone. Because, really, she's just one huge distraction from the important issues. The more Palin is the focus of attention, the less these issues get covered.

02 October 2008

- The Debate -

She wins, because she didn't come off as completely uncredible. But Biden had a very good second half of a debate, and Palin really started falling apart at the end. But the bar was set SOOOOOOOOO low....

- The Right Learns from the Left -

How to eat your own... I wouldn't be overly upset except that cogent criticism from the Right is just as important to a well-functioning government as cogent criticism from the Left.

- Mail That One In -

Anyone want to take a stab at writing Bill Kristol's post-debate assessment of the debate, the one where Palin's adequate performance tonight will be spun into brilliance and ratifies McCain's sound judgment?

Really, I don't know why anyone takes that man seriously.