Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Now is the time for any progressive-minded citizen to strap on their helmet and fortify.

There is no way in hell that one old asshole looking for a bigger pulpit is going to keep Barack Obama from getting the Democratic nomination. Unless you see a crazy poll dive that sustains through the weekend (okay -- a big if!), Obama's forceful repudiation of Rev. Wright today, perhaps the first huge salvo he's fired so far, was timed to provide successful counterpoint to the endless cable over-hashing of the Wright footage.

It will age like anything else in the media, and while he has promised to maintain a truthful campaign, he has to go in for the policy issue kill with America's Chief White Woman. She's left him a huge opening -- the supposedly populist, pandering, horrific, Republican "gas tax holiday" with which she's trying to win the next round of low-information voters.

Meanwhile, it turns out one of her supporters invited Rev. Wright to speak.

Meanwhile, Sen. John McCain is trying to hide his wealth from all of us. I don't mean he's not giving any of it away to us, although sure, but he doesn't want you to know that he is wealthy, so it's all in his wife's name, which is where the "beer company" money came from. Meanwhile he's actively sought the endorsement of white racist Pastor John Hagee, a comparison made today by The New York Times with Rev. Wright.

Meanwhile, Dick Cheney's lawyer is claiming Congress has no right investigate him.

Okay, it's settled, I won't vote for Rev. Wright, I'll vote for the former church member outraged by him. The fact is that by nature of who he is -- ethnically, generationally, intellectually -- Obama is being forced to forcefully confront issues that have been festering in America for a long time ago, forced to show the courage he's risen to, forced to stake us forward to new benchmarks every single time.

Democrats only lose when they try to nominate the person they fear will be most "electable". There is only one way for the Democrats to lose this year, and it's by not nominating the one man who inspires across the board, and globally. The only synthesizer, the only one who truly understands in his bones how things work today and into the next eight years, the Google candidate.

Get hard, people, and get hard Obama, get even sharper. Beanbag is over, as tough as it may have been. Hit her hard on policy. And the trick for you is to get hard but still be the good guy at heart, even if you have to unleash your mortars now to win.

Support your candidate of choice.

Monday, April 28, 2008


Jeffrey Wright at Hollywood Elsewhere captures the spirit of the week:
My political-junkie hunger suddenly faded last week. The get-Obama ugliness being generated by the Clinton campaign, the Republican attack dogs, the Reagan Democrats and the media chattering class has begun to act on my soul like Zyklon B. I'm finding myself starting to just tune it all out. For the time being, at least. After following this damn race for God knows how many months I'm starting to feel physically sick at some of things being kicked around. MSNNC's Chris Matthews began one of his shows last week by asking "is race a factor?" He actually said this in so many words.
With this guy and this guy, two respected men revealed to be total narcissistic, self-aggrandizing political performers to worry about, I've just about had it.

Keep me sane, Iceberg Slim.

Stay the course, Obama:

Sunday, April 27, 2008

No Bullshit

I watch this selection of moments from Barack Obama's interview by Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday this morning and I just think he did fine. He's smart, he's flawed like any human, but he's steady and he's got a plan:

The only thing missing is the bullshit. Refreshing, isn't it? Now, I know Obama and his campaign have to calculate or calibrate some of the things he says, that's fine, that's called organization.

What's missing is that whole layer of lying, as in modus operandi. As in the clip from Jon Stewart last week chronicling so effectively Hillary Clinton's perfidious swerves in what constitutes true legitimacy in the nomination process. Plain and simple, with her there's always going to be the bullshit, that element of kabuki in her classical media campaigns.

I'm not 100% certain what's going on with John McCain and his campaign, but my guess is that if it isn't bullshit, it's batshit as in batshit crazy, although I expect it's hearty dollops of both.

If we end up with more daily platter bullshit to slog through for four more years, as opposed to freeing ourselves from such an overwhelming percentage of it, we'll only have ourselves to blame for our misery.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Book Fair

The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books is held one weekend in April every year on the UCLA campus, and it's terrific. If you live in L.A. and have any hankering for books, you should get there as early as you can tomorrow and enjoy panels, author sightings and signings, huge variety of titles to purchase, two children activity areas and half a dozen stages constantly serving all kinds of entertainment.

I was able to go this afternoon and had two big highlights. One was Leonard Stern, co-creator of Mad Libs, on the Storytelling Stage. He opened with a big Mad Lib, of course, and my son was selected to contribute an adjective, with a little help from Stern's daughter, sitting next to us.

Some interesting points included that Stern came up with the idea while writing episodes of The Honeymooners, and that after being rejected by every publisher in New York, his partner suggested self-publishing, which went from 14,000 copies of the first Mad Lib book sitting in his partner's kitchen to literal overnight success after playing it on The Steve Allen Show. Although their publishing label appears to be under Penguin now, one can only assume that being forced into self-publishing led to countless riches that would have otherwise been lost to a publishing corporation.

The other highlight was meeting one of my all-time favorite authors, James Ellroy. I was introduced by my friend, author Erika Schickel, who wasn't sure if he would remember her from meeting last year. But as we approached him his rose from his seat and greeted her by name, absolutely charming as well as self-deprecating and profanely funny throughout our conversation.

I did say I was a fan and asked if I could ask him the big question. I'm certainly not the only one, as he jumped right in with the publication date of the final book in his American Underworld Trilogy, June 2009, with a huge excerpt to run in Playboy (I think I got the magazine right) prior. I told him I had actually read the first two volumes out of order (American Tabloid precedes The Cold Six Thousand, although I'd argue that the latter is the greater and more devastating book) and he asked if it still made sense (it did).

The final volume is entitled, Blood's a Rover, and when I told about reading his tragic/horrific memoir, My Dark Places, during a golden stay with my in-laws in Boca Raton several years back, he revealed that his following book with be another memoir, covering his romantic life in the years since that book, with names and key characteristics changed to protect the bedded.

This may have been a special case with special access, but it still highlights one of the key joys of the Festival, getting close to the creators, being able to witness them in the flesh and maybe even end up having a conversation together.

And the weather this weekend is beautiful.

Friday, April 25, 2008


Obama looking ahead, starting in on helping the Democratic Party, not just his own campaign:
Pivoting to general election mode, Sen. Barack Obama's campaign announced a 50-state voter registration drive that will kick off four days after the May 6 primaries in North Carolina and Indiana.

"Vote for Change" will summon the volunteer army that Obama has amassed in the 47 states and territories that have already held primaries or caucuses this year, along with the nine yet to come. Deputy campaign manager Steve Hildebrand described the effort as a "sustained 6-month campaign" aimed at driving up turnout for all Democratic candidates in November.

I'm a huge fan of Chairman Howard Dean's 50 State Strategy. How can Dems hope to lead a nation if they only concentrate on some formula of big electoral vote states and ignore the rest of America? The precepts:
  1. The Democratic Party is hiring organizers chosen by the state parties in every state -- experienced local activists who know their communities.

  2. We bring those organizers together for summits where they can learn from each other the best practices for getting organized to win elections.

  3. Armed with the knowledge they've shared with each other, Democratic organizers return to the states and recruit and train leaders at the local level.

  4. Those local leaders recruit more leaders and volunteers until every single precinct in their area has a trained, effective organization of Democrats dedicated to winning votes for Democrats.

It's much of why I'm for Obama -- expand the map, redraw the map, don't just sink back into complacency, Dems. Otherwise there is no future for the Democratic Party.

And the superdelegates know it.

Thursday, April 24, 2008


Bravo to HBO for the just-completed seven-part John Adams mini-series. While perhaps imperfect, it succeeds completely in renewing interest in the formation of our great nation and, in the final episode chronicling the 25 years of his early 17th Century post-Presidency, a passage into pastoral irrelevancy sans Presidential pension let alone multi-million dollar lecture fees or donation-magnet libraries, it achieves a movingly elegiac sweep of this crucial man's life.

After Laura Linney's Abigail passes into the great beyond and an all-but-certain Emmy, Adams begins his famous correspondence with former revolutionary collaborator and political rival Thomas Jefferson, which ended when they both died, unbeknownst to each other on the very same day, the 50th Anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence they co-authored (with help from Franklin, Sherman and Livingston). This is the redemption point of the series, where Adams finally becomes a whole human being capable of both forgiveness and self-forgiveness, and the American tradition of friendship and respect beyond political differences makes us, as an audience, whole.

Once again, I guess, America is on the edge of its seat.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Unthinkable

So now I'm back to seeing a clear path for Sen. Hillary Clinton...to the Vice Presidential nomination.

Sure, there's some psycho twist that might flip things her way, but for the sake of argument (as Clinton has been, from Day One, unable to close the deal), if Sen. Barack Obama secures the Democratic Presidential nomination, there are four (4) fairly obvious choices for running mate. I'm discounting John Edwards because he ran for VP last time and lost, and good guys like Sen. Joe Biden in states Obama is expected to carry anyway (or are just too small to rank).

In no particular order:

Sen. Jim Webb: Military background stacks up right against McCain's, including Secretary of the Navy service under President Ronald Reagan. Ex-Republican, son in Iraq, from the big Southern state of Virginia, caught trying to walk right into work at the Capitol strapped with his sidearm. Rockin' choice.

Gov. Kathleen Sebelius: Extremely popular red state Democratic governor, might win Obama her state of Kansas (home state of his mother) and maybe spillover to a Midwest neighbor, strong executive skills and, as a woman, maybe able to secure the Hillary supporters as a consolation prize.

Gov. Bill Richardson: Massive diplomatic credibility, secure the Hispanic vote, get New Mexico and maybe spillover Western "New Democratic" states.


Sen. Hillary Clinton: Second most popular politician (by votes cast this year) in America, huge female voting block including white and older, huge seniors block, think JFK/LBJ pattern of bitterly contested primary with young upstart winning and having their Veep provide Congressional cover and execution, unites the Party much like Reagan and Bush I (the Gipper didn't want to have to take him, did it to win).

Would Clinton take it?

I'd argue that the fallback position for Hillary right now is, "I'm still relevant, dammit," or, "You don't put Rodham in the corner!" She gets to be the first female Vice President in U.S. history, can run in 8 years (will still be 4 years younger than McCain today) with the full power of the by-then matured Obama money machine, looks like a uniter, can still cover for Bill's upcoming financial shenanigans. With Pelosi will run both Houses of Congress, the most politically powerful women in our nation's history.

And (this is the clincher) her campaign is carrying a whole lot of debt. Imagine all those sins getting wiped away -- Mark Penn's firm getting the $4.? million owed to them and her personal debt made whole -- by melding with Obama's campaign and receiving the dowry for it.

Would Obama do it?

There's a lot to be said for the Clintons as liabilities, investigations waiting to happen, and contradictory to the thrust of his campaign, but she has hung tough and her toughness could shore him up. He makes the Party whole (there will be massive Party establishment pressure to do this), just has to maintain the spotlight over her (he dwarfs her physically), and if they really are friends before and after the campaign as he reiterates in every other debate, it would prove it. And, although I hate to say it, she becomes his best insurance policy.

If, on the other hand, Clinton does want the second banana spot but Obama spurns her entirely, he sure as hell better have an unequivocally elegant way out of it.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Thank Goodness

Thank goodness Pennsylvania is over. I'll bet the Obama campaign is saying the same thing. This roadblock state is fading into the rearview mirror.

Unless Hillary and her tribe's delusions somehow shake Barack's so far unshakable foundations all the ten point big state/low information voter "blow-outs" (if 10 points, a 50% Obama cutdown from her 20 point PA polling start a month or so ago, can be called a blow-out compared to his 25-35% wins all throughout this Primary Season) are over. His strategy of tightening the gap and forcing her to spend her campaign dry has succeeded.

She's net maybe 11 pledged delegates. After all that. And in North Carolina, he'll more than erase the gain.

So that's the good news, and if you're an Obama supporter you just have to stand the suspense. He will always be the underdog, until he runs for his second term, because as a 1/2 black American of 47 years old he will always trail Hillary Clinton and John McCain in name recognition and media familiarity. It takes awhile for most folks to like something new, especially with as critical civic decision as who will be the next leader of the free world, to be comfortable enough to choose it.

The New York Times
, which endorsed Clinton back when New York state had it's Primary, is finished with her in an editorial entitled, "The Low Road to Victory":

On the eve of this crucial primary, Mrs. Clinton became the first Democratic candidate to wave the bloody shirt of 9/11. A Clinton television ad — torn right from Karl Rove’s playbook — evoked the 1929 stock market crash, Pearl Harbor, the Cuban missile crisis, the cold war and the 9/11 attacks, complete with video of Osama bin Laden. “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen,” the narrator intoned.

If that was supposed to bolster Mrs. Clinton’s argument that she is the better prepared to be president in a dangerous world, she sent the opposite message on Tuesday morning by declaring in an interview on ABC News that if Iran attacked Israel while she were president: “We would be able to totally obliterate them.”

By staying on the attack and not engaging Mr. Obama on the substance of issues like terrorism, the economy and how to organize an orderly exit from Iraq, Mrs. Clinton does more than just turn off voters who don’t like negative campaigning. She undercuts the rationale for her candidacy that led this page and others to support her: that she is more qualified, right now, to be president than Mr. Obama.

It goes on to call on the superdelegates to end it. As Andrew Sullivan says in "The Worst Of All Worlds For The Dems", the fault isn't just Hillary, it's the "Clinton Democrats" as an organization or possibly even a voting bloc:
If Obama thinks he has a right to actually be nominated by the Clinton Democrats because he has won more votes, more states and more delegates, he is sadly mistaken. They will never let such a person win without a death struggle. And that is where the Democrats are now headed.

I hope Andrew is wrong. I hope it won't be racist Democrats sinking Obama's nomination or, worse, his election in the Fall. I think Obama didn't break 9 points partially because he was so honest, not doling out that customary urban bribery in Philly called "walking around money." He didn't twist her words or seize the opening provided by the since ridiculed hosts of the last debate. It's always harder to win fair.

Here's part of the word from the Obama campaign, "A fundamentally unchanged race":

Tonight, Hillary Clinton lost her last, best chance to make significant inroads in the pledged delegate count.

The only surprising result from Pennsylvania is that in a state considered tailor-made for Hillary Clinton that she was expected to win, Barack Obama was able to improve his standing among key voter groups since the Ohio primary. For example, among white voters, Obama narrowed the gap with Clinton by six points. Among voters over 60, he nearly cut the gap in half, from 41 points to 24 points. And Independent voters – the group that will decide the general election and a group Obama is particularly strong with – were not able to vote in Not surprisingly, she led by as much as 25 points in the weeks leading up to the election.

I'll close with his speech, already looking ahead, from Evansville, Indiana. The guy is undiminished -- if anything, re-energized to have put PA behind him, behind us all. I'd show you Hillary's victory speech, but I have difficulty watching her now, with her markedly different emphasis on herself and, most tellingly, her appropriation of his campaign slogans, her semiotic thievery, something you never hear Barack do.

It tells me something about her, about her lack of originality. When I think of her in the last debate, with the evil answers ready, waiting to be deployed as rehearsed, the Rovian buzzwords and bold fearmongering, and compare it to his thoughtfulness, his taking the questioners to task for perpetuating their conspiratorial fraud, I wonder if they really are of equal minds.

Obama is the original. He's got a rock-solid Constitutional Law mind. He knows who he is, and he's better at finding the crux of a problem and moving the ball in the right direction.

She's even learned Internet fundraising from him. Her motto tonight may be that she gets knocked down but she picks herself back up, but I'm wondering why I would want a President dependent on second chances.

There are few mulligans as leader of the United States of America.

I want this guy teeing off for our team.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Scary Lady

Fear is all she's got:

When a Democratic candidate invokes the specter of Osama Bin Laden to make their case, does that make them a Republican?

Well, speaking of hope vs. fear, I don't have high hopes for Pennsylvania tomorrow and fear for the worst.

Surprise me, PA.

Sunday, April 20, 2008


The most reliable polling outfit this whole Primary season, SUSA, has come out with their final numbers for Tuesday in Pennsylvania: Clinton 53%, Obama 41%.

If Obama does any better than this (12 point spread) it's a huge victory. Any worse and he's basically where he was in the state before he started campaigning.

So don't expect him to win the state outright by any means!

If it's any consolation to Obama supporters, as this video makes clear, Hillary is a part of...history:

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Friday, April 18, 2008

Top Three

There's an old conversation topic I've always enjoyed that when it comes to relationships, in picking a mate, nobody's perfect so what are the three top qualities you just have to have in making that choice?  Is it looks?  Sense of humor?  Trustworthiness?  Mechanical ability?

You only get three.  Just three.  That's the game.

So in conversation with my nephew tonight regarding Presidential candidates, I asked the same question.  His picks:

1. Selflessness
2. Open-mindedness
3. Leadership

I went for:

1. Vision
2. Judgement
3. Leadership

He convinced me to go with leadership over honesty, as we both ended up agreeing that there are times when a President can't be 100% honest with everyone about everything, i.e. with state secrets or unpleasant but necessary diplomatic maneuvers.

We also discussed whether honesty and dishonesty are binary -- an interesting debate.  For purposes of Presidential choices we agreed that while a President can't be honest 100% of the time, they should never be dishonest, if that makes any sense.  Maybe we're talking about sins of omission rather than outright deceitfulness or perfidy.

Maybe this is the line where guys like me accepted Bill Clinton's governance over George Bush's.  Or over Sen. Clinton's campaign.

Your three?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Entertainment News

Some good things did come out of last night's debate.

There's this:

And this:

And, best of all, this:

By which I mean, the best thing to come out of last night's debate could be...a President.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


I didn't watch the Obama/Clinton debate tonight. From what I'm reading, that was a wise move. It turns out ABC News isn't interested in quizzing the candidates on any of the following policy issues:
The financial crisis
The collapse of housing values in the US and around the world
Health care
The declining value of the US Dollar
The decline of American manufacturing
The Supreme Court
The burgeoning world food crisis.
Global warming
The attacks on organized labor and the working class
Terrorism and al Qaeda
Civil liberties and constraints on government surveillance

Evidently the first hour was mainly "gotcha" questions about old news like Rev. Wright, flag pins and Tuzla, with the majority of viewers feeling that Gibson and Stephanopoulos were gunning for Obama. Here's how Atrios scored it:
29 minutes in, not one policy question.

...32 minutes in...

...35 minutes in...

...38 minutes in...

...41 minutes in...

Charlie Gibson got booed by the audience right after the debate ended. ABC seems to have had to shut down the comments section of their website due to nothing but flame after flame.

By the way, Hillary on the Southern working class whites in 1995:
"Screw 'em," she told her husband. "You don't owe them a thing, Bill. They're doing nothing for you; you don't have to do anything for them."


And tonight, on whether Obama can win the White House this fall:

Hillary Rodham Clinton said emphatically Wednesday night that Barack Obama can win the White House this fall, undercutting her efforts to deny him the Democratic presidential nomination by suggesting he would lead the party to defeat.

"Yes, yes, yes," she said when pressed about Obama's electability during a campaign debate six days before the Pennsylvania primary.

So much for that leg of her campaign stool.

Yep, at times like these, you gotta check with the Boss.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Here's Why

Here's ten reasons why John McCain should not be elected President. My personal favorites:

3. His reputation is built on his opposition to torture, but McCain voted against a bill to ban waterboarding, and then applauded President Bush for vetoing that ban.

4. McCain opposes a woman's right to choose. He said, "I do not support Roe versus Wade. It should be overturned."

6. He's one of the richest people in a Senate filled with millionaires. The Associated Press reports he and his wife own at least eight homes! Yet McCain says the solution to the housing crisis is for people facing foreclosure to get a "second job" and skip their vacations.

7. Many of McCain's fellow Republican senators say he's too reckless to be commander in chief. One Republican senator said: "The thought of his being president sends a cold chill down my spine. He's erratic. He's hotheaded. He loses his temper and he worries me."

8. McCain talks a lot about taking on special interests, but his campaign manager and top advisers are actually lobbyists. The government watchdog group Public Citizen says McCain has 59 lobbyists raising money for his campaign, more than any of the other presidential candidates.
Here's why, according to this DKos Diarist, "Hillary Clinton will never be President". The core argument: which Democrats are going to be enthusiastic for her should she somehow secure the nomination:
Hillary's campaign has been disorganized. Her fundraising anemic. Taking the nomination from the candidate with the money and organization needed to defeat the opposition and to do so by employing GOP tactics is not how you win friends and influence people. Certifying your Republican opponent as Commander In Chief material and making "experience" the chief reason for choosing a President pretty much insures your defeat when the Republican's credentials in that area surpass your own. By doing so, Hillary has left little reason for Democrats to support her. And by the way she has conducted her campaign in the primaries, she has given them even less reason to work for her in the GE.
More good stuff in the piece.

Here's more of how Barack Obama demonstrates in his response to attacks that he's Presidential material:

"I am amused about this notion of elitist, given that when you're raised by a single mom, when you were on food stamps for a while when you were growing up, you went to school on scholarship," he told a town hall meeting of U.S. military veterans in western Pennsylvania...

...Neither of his wife Michelle's parents attended college, and both he and his wife financed their educations with student loans, Obama said.

"We lived for the first 13 years of our marriage up until three years ago in a three-bedroom condo without a garage so if you live in Chicago that means you're scraping ice every morning," he said in rejecting the elitist label.

"When somebody makes that argument, particularly given that I've spent my entire life working with workers in low-income communities to try to make people's lives a little bit better, that's when you know you're in political silly season," said Obama..."This is what we do politically when we start getting behind in races, and we start going on the attack," he said.

But the best is their dueling TV ads. Per Todd Beaton:
On message alone, it seems to me Obama wins since calling Obama out of touch doesn't track with a larger narrative, while accusing Clinton of being the poster child for "politics as usual" does, one that she reinforces time and time again.
You decide. You want to vote for someone who's campaign produced this:

Or this:

Watch who's advancing the semiotics.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Many Kitchens to Cross

If Barack Obama makes it through what he's going through now he's going to be unfuckingstoppable in November. Everyone is throwing their kitchen sink at him now -- not only is he elitist-ly belittling the saccharine lies the likes of Clinton and McCain seem eager to thrust upon a populace rube-ified by twenty-eight years of Republican rule, he's a godless Commie (per the always-wrong smear-artist William Kristol and red-baiting Joe Lieberman) and, worst of all, per Rep. Geoff Davis (R-KY) he's not a man.

Oh, and he's uppity-I-mean-arrogant:

Oh now I get it.

Arrogance and elitists are fashionable code words. Growing up in the segregated South the word they used was Uppity which was usually followed by the N....word and applied to any black man who had the temerity to speak from authority. MLK, for instance, was uppity. MLK spoke truth with authority and power. Truth, power, and authority are dangerous notions especially in the head of an uppity black man.

Barack Obama is being uppity anytime he speaks an inconvenient truth. He stepped into a hornets nest when he reminded us that racism still exists and declined to renounce that piece of his soul. Now he’s being uppity when he reminds us that people are mad as hell about the government.

Here's an election watching hint. You'll always be able to tell just how uppity he is depending on how hysterical the counter attack is.

So what is this trial-by-fire revealing about the man who may be President?

He's a fighter:

The response was signature Obama: Attack first, sort out the details later, if at all. No apology, no immediate regret, just a sharp counterattack. For a candidate sometimes mocked for being too soft to win a political fistfight, he has shown an uncanny ability to take a punch and then rear back and deliver one in return.

When Obama responds this way, it leaves him open to charges that he's undermining his so-called politics of hope. But, showing remarkable dexterity, he has a knack for using these flare-ups to pivot back to the central theme of his candidacy: that politics is broken, and he knows how to change it.

Obama, it turns out, has been a devout observer of a philosophy future President Bill Clinton laid out in 1981.

"When someone is beating you over the head with a hammer, don't sit there and take it,” then-Gov. Clinton told Time magazine. “Take out a meat cleaver and cut off their hand.”

He can fight Hillary and John at the same time.

And they don't knock him off his fundamental game, which is that he keeps on telling the truth:

As a native-born, small-town Pennsylvanian, a son of native-born, small-town Pennsylvania parents - one from the coal region, one from Lancaster County - let me assure you that the so-called offensive, condescending things Barack Obama said about the people I come from are basically right on target.

"Bitter" perhaps best describes my late mother, an angry Irish Catholic who absolutely clung to her religion.

Dad, also a journalist, wasn't really bitter as far as I know, but he sure liked to hunt.

So, despite carping from Hillary Clinton and annoying yapping from her surrogates (really, it's like turning on the lights at night in a puppy farm), I take no offense.

What's offensive to me is suggesting that small-town, working-class, gun-toting and/or religious Pennsylvanians are somehow injured by a politician's words...

...So the question is whether Obama effectively defuses this, as he did the controversy surrounding his former minister. And that remains to be seen.

Just don't tell me that he insulted a state or, given his background, that he's an out-of-touch elitist.

And I especially don't want to hear such arguments from a candidate who spent decades in the bubble of a governor's mansion, the White House and the U.S. Senate, and under the blanket of $109 million income during the last eight years.

Pennsylvanians might cling to religion and guns. I hope they don't cling to stupidity.

From a reader blog at TPM Cafe, the core flaw in the Clinton campaign:

Truly, what I have seen, is that Hillary's campaign has been run, almost completely, on the basis of "Barack Obama is worse than I am, thus, I should be President", rather than "I am better than Barack, thus, I should be President". Please take a moment to think about this distinction, because I think it is a crucial one. I have realized that, instead of playing into her own merits, and why they are better than her rival, she has played into his shortcomings, and why they make him worse. This is a fatal issue, I believe, because Barack Obama has done the exact opposite. He has almost entirely, and very consistently, focused on what makes him better than her.

This entire issue over the word "bitter" has, for me, brought this into the open. Whereas Hillary could have left his statement for what it is, and left it after Barack explained what he meant, she instead decided to focus on why such a word is detrimental to him. Why, I ask, is it not possible for Hillary to win on her own merits? Why is it that she must clutch at straws in order to win? Why doesn't her own personality, her own policies and abilities, speak for themselves?

According to Bill Richardson, Hillary Clinton thinks that that Barack Obama can't beat John McCain in November?

Think again.

It all depends how he makes it through this thicket and I, for one, can't wait to see how he does it.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Job Hunt

As one who has had some job searches of his own over time, I hate to criticize an unemployed person looking for work, or to point out their difficulty getting hired.

However, in the case of former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, I'll make an exception:
Mr. Gonzales, the former attorney general, who was forced to resign last year, has been unable to interest law firms in adding his name to their roster, Washington lawyers and his associates said in recent interviews.

He has, through friends, put out inquiries, they said, and has not found any takers. What makes Mr. Gonzales’s case extraordinary is that former attorneys general, the government’s chief lawyer, are typically highly sought.

Odd, that! Is it gross incompetence, cronyism, toadyism and lying before Congress that is hurting his employability? Could one say, perhaps, his "laughingstockishness" would be an impediment to any serious law firm hiring Alberto?

“Maybe the passage of time will provide some opportunity for him,” said one Washington lawyer who was aware of an inquiry to his firm from a Gonzales associate. “I wouldn’t say ‘rebuffed,’ ” said the lawyer, who asked his name not be used because the situation being described was uncomfortable for Mr. Gonzales. “I would say ‘not taken up.’ ”

Wow. Nice burn. Can we all start using the euphemism, "Not taken up?"

Even after all this, it's a little surprising. Gonzales is connected with certain people currently in power and likely to be big in their (oil and private defense) industries afterwards. And I'm guessing that these big money law firms aren't exactly virgins when it comes to some of the more twisted machinations of power.

But maybe there's a real deal-killer at the heart of it all:
His conduct is being investigated by the Office of the Inspector General of the Justice Department, which could recommend actions from exonerating him to recommending criminal charges. Friends set up a fund to help pay his legal bills.
That's right. What law firm in its right mind would risk hiring someone who could blemish their practice and possibly be disbarred within the first year at work? Unfortunately for Alberto, the high-powered law firm of O'Moron & Imbecilirig doesn't exist.

Ah, well. Let none ever say that the Cheney(/Bush) Administration hasn't hired the brightest, say, for National Security Advisor.

Saturday, April 12, 2008


Jane Smiley, author (13 Ways of Looking at the Novel, A Thousand Acres, a really good episode of Homicide), sums up my feelings towards the Clintons and especially Hillary Rodham Clinton now that she's popped the lid off her narcissistic socio-psychosis for all to see and bathe in its spew:
I cannot believe how angry this makes me. I cannot believe that after the last seven and a half years, I can even get this angry. Yes, I know she is pandering to her audience. Yes, I know she will do anything to get elected. Yes, I know that she and Bill Clinton are corrupt to the core, and that I should have never expected anything better of her. But, please, any of you angry white women who still support this craven shill, don't mention it to me. Do me the following favor -- apologize to your children for not stopping the war that HIllary voted for, the war that is going to impoverish them. Then apologize to them for the effects of global warming that are going to make their lives hell. Then apologize to them for the school shooting they may someday see, the one where the kid gets the guns out of his father's gun case, or buys at a gunshow. Apologize to them for the meaningless wars they are going to fight and pay for. Then tell them that "American values" killed their hopes and maybe killed them. And ask them if they think it's going to be worth it.
Even if she has Obama assassinated, I won't vote for her in the fall. I'll find a Third Party candidate I agree with (not Ralph Nader), a party I'd rather spend my vote on to up its ballot placement for the next election (where your Third Party vote will really count). It's not that I'd want John McCain or (should he not live to November) Mitt Huckabee to run our country, it's just that I can no longer trust her to do it.

Who wants to spend four years with her fucking up over and over again, clinging to loyalty, secrecy and victimization, and then spinning like crazy in a cynical attempt to bully the media in hopes it will scare the electorate enough to camouflage her disaster-prone shortcomings.

I'm sorry.

One Nixon in my lifetime was enough.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Out of Touch

Hillary Clinton seized on something Barack Obama said last weekend at a Bay Area fundraiser, took it out of context, twisted it like she did he quote about Reagan three months ago, and is trying to brand him as an elitist for basically repeating the What's the Matter with Kansas? wisdom. The McCain campaign picked up on her take immediately, back for some more tag-team, trying to create some sort of echo chamber consensus that her characterization is true.

How did Obama fight back, tonight?

Here's how her attack is shaking out for Hillary (includes her attack):

Out of touch -- like her bizarre attempt at deflecting a question regarding the $800,000+ her husband has received in connection with Colombia and his support of the Free Trade Agreement loathed by actual blue collar men and women in Pennsylvania?

What is with that maniacal laugh???

"And how many angels dance on the head of a pin?" Is this what she's feeling her whole campaign is like these days?

Must have dug hard for the thing to pounce on Obama for today, try to get the real issue of her $800,000 nightmare husband off of the front page. Because if he isn't on for that, he's on for this:

It appears that Hillary Clinton hasn't taken kindly to her husband's decision to revive the embarrassing details of her Bosnian sniper dodging tale. Bill told the press today, "Hillary called me and said 'You don't remember this. You weren't there, let me handle it.' I said, 'Yes ma'am." NBC's First Read has the entire story below.

Read about how Bill Clinton not only revived the sniper controversy but made it worse by adding a couple more untruths.
Out of touch much? Or can we finally take seriously the notion raised that he's intentionally (consciously or unconsciously) trying to sink his wife's campaign, the better to preserve his own legacy. After all, even he can see she can't even manage her own campaign finances.

And that John McCain -- out of touch with the spirit of "Idol Gives Back"?

Ho ho ho Michigan and Florida. Even the studio audience starts booing him. The politically tone-deaf traditionally get voted off the show in November.

Maybe Obama needs to be "in touch" like Bush and Cheney -- if by that you mean in touch with millions and millions of dollars:
The federal tax bill for President Bush and his wife: $221,635. That's how much the Bushes owed on their adjusted gross income of $923,807 for the year 2007, according to a joint return released Friday. The Bushes have paid $203,894 so far, which means they'll need to break out the checkbook _ they owe the government $17,741...

...The White House also reported that Vice President Dick Cheney and his wife, Lynne, had an adjusted gross income of $3.04 million in 2007.

The Cheneys owed $602,651 in federal taxes on that income. They have paid $466,165 through withholdings and estimated tax payments, and will pay the remaining $136,486 upon filing their tax return.

And we're talking down years. Just think of how much they'll be able to make once they're out of office and freed of any restrictions.

Think of how much they'll make starting right on January 21st of next year.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

War Criminals

From ABC News, a Hague-worthy line-up:

Highly placed sources said a handful of top advisers signed off on how the CIA would interrogate top al Qaeda suspects -- whether they would be slapped, pushed, deprived of sleep or subjected to simulated drowning, called waterboarding.

The high-level discussions about these "enhanced interrogation techniques" were so detailed, these sources said, some of the interrogation sessions were almost choreographed -- down to the number of times CIA agents could use a specific tactic.

The advisers were members of the National Security Council's Principals Committee, a select group of senior officials who met frequently to advise President Bush on issues of national security policy.

At the time, the Principals Committee included Vice President Cheney, former National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Colin Powell, as well as CIA Director George Tenet and Attorney General John Ashcroft.

How long before they are all in the docket? Perhaps the early quitters get off easy or turn state's evidence -- Powell, Ashcroft, that wily Tenet. But this is all inner circle shit, Bush getting signals from Cheney and Rice but remaining insulated (isolated, as he seemed so much at the time) as Cheney led the plot, Rumsfeld his closest symbiote making torture Defense Department policy.

Why are the Lynndie England's getting punished for executing the fatcats' orders?

Ted Kennedy gets it right:
"Who would have thought that in the United States of America in the 21st century, the top officials of the executive branch would routinely gather in the White House to approve torture?" Kennedy said in a statement. "Long after President Bush has left office, our country will continue to pay the price for his administration's renegade repudiation of the rule of law and fundamental human rights."

The American Civil Liberties Union called on Congress to investigate.

"With each new revelation, it is beginning to look like the torture operation was managed and directed out of the White House," ACLU legislative director Caroline Fredrickson said. "This is what we suspected all along."

The former intelligence official described Cheney and the top national security officials as deeply immersed in developing the CIA's interrogation program during months of discussions over which methods should be used and when.

So all that strong-arming, stonewalling and obfuscating from Bush has been, right from the start, just about protecting his gang members. He's the front man, Bush family members always are, and his job is to be the stonewall.

Cheney and Rumsfeld learned well from their years with Nixon in the White House. You avoid disaster by having your firewall we out of the loop, as often as possible.

Just a dumbfuck with a hard ass.

America, the first eight years of this 21st Century.

Please don't let it continue for another four.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Stones Again

They're the ranking white blues band of all time. They have arguably the #1 or #2 song catalog of any band or artist, and they're still minting them. They may age but they don't get fat. They are the longest continuously running rock and roll band in history.

Ladies and gentlemen, if you've ever fallen in love with the Rolling Stones for any stretch of time, you owe it to yourself to run out to your nearest IMAX theater playing Shine a Light:

Scorsese with a load of the best Cinematographers in the business, eye opening names like Robert Elswit who just won the Oscar for There Will Be Blood and John Toll who's won two -- and these are just the camera operators.

Here's the set list. Lots of other snippets of Stones tunes in some of the interstitial flashbacks to earlier in the Stones' long careers. Opening with "Jumpin' Jack Flash" is brilliant, the moment when Mick and Keith took the band away from Brian Jones (not really seen in doc) and forged their signature ragged blues-meets-hard-rock sound. Second song is "Shattered" which is their gift to NYC. "All Down the Line" a highlight, along with guest appearances by Jack White, Buddy Guy (great, great version of Muddy Waters' "Champagne and Reefer") and Christina Aguilera.

Besides being in unparalleled shape for a 63 year-old (when the movie was shot), Jagger seduces everyone in sight, with equally unparalleled expertise and command. He gets Buddy Guy to twangs a call-and-response to his harmonica playing. He dirty dances convincingly with Aguilera. The front of the audience is clearly programmed with young women, all of whom are reaching out to him for the entire show, except when snapping mobile pix. Jack White comes on already horny for Mick, glowing and pumped to be sharing a mic. Mick even seems to seduce Keith -- brilliant guitar and vocal duo on "As Tears Go By".

Nice to see those boys all grown up -- 44 years and counting:

Tuesday, April 08, 2008


Bad news in the Senate today, as General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker delivered lousy Iraq news to the Senate committee: no exit.

The somewhat historical event happening in simultaneity and symbiosis with their testimony was that for the first time in decades or possibly centuries or ever, all three Presidential hopefuls were there to question the witnesses.

Per Kevin Drum:

Obama was able to hit Petraeus and Crocker very hard....He got Petraeus to agree with him that the total elimination of Al Qaeda is an impossible standard for withdrawal. Next he goes after Crocker's points about Iranian influence, pointing out that both Iran and Al Qaeda are in Iraq because we invaded and that we can not expect to eliminate Iranian involvement.

Then came the hammer. Obama pointed out that if the definition of success is put so high - no Al Qaeda, no Iranian influence, a prosperous diverse democracy we will be there forever. He then points out that we still, after 8 hours of testimony, have no definition of success....Crocker's weak response its "hard and complicated."
Watch it in these two parts, thanks to TPM, and tell me if you don't see our next President. Tell me if you don't think Petraeus and Crocker are realizing it talking to him.

What's interesting is his term, "end point", entering it into our political lexicon as he worked immediately towards the definition of a solution set by engaging these two patriotic but trapped men. He's the only one offering the beginning of a map, a legit way out, with expert stakeholders.

I'd say Sen. Clinton came off smart but tired, and I mean some of that in an existential way. This was a grim hearing, you feel it in Obama as well, but while she's laser-sharp in pointing to problems, I don't get the sense of her ability to move as immediately focused as Sen. Obama on constructing the solutions, or at least taking that project on right from his first question.

And then there's Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, although I'm starting to see a path where he doesn't make it to or through the Convention...

"Choose to win" given the facts of this particular conflict reminds me of how it used to be thought that homosexual people chose their sexuality, and could just as easily choose it back.

Just like choosing who's Shiite and who's Sunni.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Hollywood Royalty

There were three Charlton Hestons.

One was the very fine leading man who could actually anchor a movie and used his power to get Orson Welles' last Hollywood directing job (Touch of Evil), as well as anchoring the brilliant Planet of the Apes and iconic 1970's science fiction pictures Soylent Green and The Omega Man.

Then there was the parody of Heston, sometimes seeming self-parody, of his rock-jawed line delivery and toga-esque performances.

Finally, there was the National Rifle Association Heston where, as President of that organization, he seemed bizarrely tone-deaf to the gun-fueled slaughter of Columbine high school students, a hero to the callous, the selfish, the brutes.

Of the first Heston, let it be said that he had the chops and held the screen. It seems that Australia is minting this sort of leading man these days. Can an urban kid do it, or does it have to be someone closer to the land, a Midwesterner like Heston or Brad Pitt? And Heston had excellent taste, a huge fan of both Welles and Laurence Olivier, even turning down a big role with Marilyn Monroe to do an Olivier play, and doing less successful pictures in his later years because he liked them, including his personal favorite, Will Penny.

The second Heston, the hammy guy, we loved him, too. Thank him for giving something to parody. And he seemed very smart about this as well, going against it brilliantly as Cardinal Richelieu in the Richard Lester versions of The Three Musketeers and The Four Musketeers. Heston played the evil Cardinal like a leading man, without gimmicks, and with great intelligence and grace. And if you really hate ham, then you're denying yourself one of the greatest final scenes ever, on the beach in front of the Statue of Liberty, in a world ruled by simians.

As for the political Heston, it's nice to see obits reminding us that he marched with Dr. Martin Luther King before it became fashionable, also lending his voice to an important civil rights documentary. Although I was very unhappy about his role with the NRA, I was also embarrassed by Michael Moore's ambush of Heston at his home, which made the aged actor seem the gracious one, and Moore the opportunist, desperate to score points with which to buttress attention to his otherwise salient documentary, Bowling for Columbine.

It's interesting that the other dominant rightwing actor who was once a liberal Democrat, Ronald Reagan, also suffered from Alzheimer's Disease towards the end of his life. One wonders if such a political shift might someday be revealed as a very early stage indicator of the disease. After all, scientist have already proven that liberal brains and conservative brains respond differently to the same set of stimuli.

It's also nice to find out that Heston's original name, John Carter, had to be changed for being too close to that of Edgar Rice Burroughs' John Carter of his Mars series (starting with A Princess of Mars). It's actually hard to imagine a better actor to cast in that role, although it appears Heston never had the opportunity to play Carter.

So give the man his conservative flaws. As an actor, he contributed liberally to the opening of the imagination.

Oh, and by the way, soylent green...is people.

Sunday, April 06, 2008


So Hillary Clinton's longtime associate, Mark Penn, is forced to step down as Chief Strategist of her campaign, due to his Colombia free trade lobbying, which is at least superficially a black eye, but is he really gone?:
"After the events of the last few days, Mark Penn has asked to give up his role as chief strategist of the Clinton campaign,'' Clinton campaign manager Maggie Williams said in a statement e-mailed to reporters.

Penn will continue as a pollster and adviser for Clinton, Williams said. Campaign communications head Howard Wolfson and Geoff Garin will take over coordinating Clinton's "strategic message team'' she said.

It's getting so that cataloging the Hillary Clinton campaign's prevarications is all too reminiscent of doing the same for the George Bush administration. I mean, if this is her daily damage control on the trail, what's it going to be like if she manages to steal into the White House?

I mean, now she's even "moving the goalposts" about Obama being waaaaaay ahead of her on criticizing the Iraq War:

Clinton on Saturday told Oregonians, "when Sen. Obama came to the Senate he and I have voted exactly the same except for one vote. And that happens to be the facts. We both voted against early deadlines. I actually starting criticizing the war in Iraq before he did."

It's an odd way to measure opposition to the war -- comparing who gave the first criticism of the war in Iraq starting in January 2005, ignoring Obama's opposition to the war throughout 2003 and 2004. (And Clinton's vote for it.)

Turns out this isn't even close to truth, even within her own mendacious construct:

Scrambling to support their boss's claim, Clinton campaign officials pointed to a paper statement Clinton issued on Jan. 26, 2005, explaining her vote to confirm Condoleezza Rice as Secretary of State...

...But Obama offered criticisms of the war in Iraq eight days before that, directly to Rice, in his very first meeting as a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Jan. 18.

Call her a fighter if you want. That doesn't mean she's a leader.

Once again, way back then, following Obama.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

She Still Can't Help It

Who knows if Sen. Obama has a chance in hell with all the low-information voters already pre-disposed to vote in a primary for Sen. Clinton (or in the General for Sen. McCain), but she's having a rather bumpy weekend, luckily for her over a weekend.

First she releases the Clinton family taxes and while there's nothing particularly shameful about averaging $13,625,000/year for the past 8 years, there's questions arising about some of the income sources, particularly $15 million over 5 years from zillionaire investor Ron Burkle.

Second, her infamous Chief Campaign Strategist, Mark Penn, seems to have singlehandedly undermined her credibility on the labor front, after it was revealed that he was (until today) lobbying for a free trade deal in service of the nation of Columbia. When the news media got hold of him he called it a mistake, lost the account, but has yet to be fired by the woman in charge.

Will it affect her standing in Pennsylvania?

Would it have in Ohio?

But now today it turns out she's been telling lies again, whether she knew it, didn't know it...or just didn't vet it:

Jedreport raises the question of whether the campaign knew and had admitted it was a lie and still told it one last time:

Here's where my question comes: unless the NYT waited until after 9PM 9:45PM Eastern to contact the Clinton campaign -- just three a little over two hours before the story was published -- then even as Clinton was telling the the story again, her campaign had already admitted it was false.

This is something a reporter should follow up on -- was the Clinton campaign aware that Hillary Clinton's story was false before she told it? If so, why did she tell the story anyway?

The worst part of all this is that our health care system is in crisis. There's plenty of true health care horror stories out there -- and when a presidential candidate tells false ones, it makes it that much harder to achieve the progressive change we all seek.

At this point I think we assume she just lies so easily, you either accept the kabuki or you're revolted. If this is simply a case of weak vetting, i.e. merely cynicism on the part of her campaign, and you somehow excuse her, the head of it, you have to ask how they or Hillary herself had the gall to go so dramatic, so Oscar-baitish on the scripting and delivery:

The truth is:

Since Ms. Bachtel’s baby died at O’Bleness Memorial Hospital, the story implicitly and inaccurately accuses that hospital of turning her away, said Ms. Weiss, the spokeswoman for O’Bleness Memorial said. Instead, the O’Bleness health care system treated her, both at the hospital and at the affiliated River Rose Obstetrics and Gynecology practice, Ms. Weiss said.

The hospital would not provide details about the woman’s case, citing privacy concerns; she died two weeks after the stillbirth at a medical center in Columbus.

“We reviewed the medical and patient account records of this patient,” said Mr. Castrop, the health system’s chief executive. Any implication that the system was “involved in denying care is definitely not true.”

"Ready on day one?"

"Already vetted?"

How about this for a new campaign slogan:

Hillary Clinton:
You never know just what you're going to get.

Friday, April 04, 2008


The night President John F. Kennedy was assassinated:

Most Barack-like, and where you can see Obama as the populist intellectual descendant, heavyweight division. Interesting also to think of Obama as representing the King side of the argument, but the more publicized rhetoric of Reverend Wright being his Malcolm:

King the "radical" who had both civil rights insiders and the press suddenly turning against him for speaking out against the Vietnam War in 1968:

The eve of destruction:

40 years ago today he was stolen from America.

Thursday, April 03, 2008


Here's the fruits of our efforts in Iraq:
More than 1,000 Iraqi soldiers and policemen either refused to fight or simply abandoned their posts during the inconclusive assault against Shiite militias in Basra last week, a senior Iraqi government official said Thursday. Iraqi military officials said the group included dozens of officers, including at least two senior field commanders in the battle.

The desertions in the heat of a major battle cast fresh doubt on the effectiveness of the American-trained Iraqi security forces.

Meanwhile, Al Qaeda adds more talent:
On the night of July 10, 2005, an obscure militant preacher named Abu Yahya al-Libi escaped from an American prison in Afghanistan and rocketed to fame in the world of jihadists...

...Mr. Libi, a Libyan believed to be in his late 30s, is now considered to be a top strategist for Al Qaeda, as well as one of its most effective promoters of global jihad, appearing in a dozen videos on militant Web sites in the past year, counterterrorism officials said. At a time when Al Qaeda seems more inspirational than operational, Mr. Libi stands out as a formidable star whose rise to prominence tracks the group’s growing emphasis on information in its war with the West.

“I call him a man for all seasons for A.Q.,” said Jarret Brachman, a former analyst for the Central Intelligence Agency who is now research director of the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point. “He’s a warrior. He’s a poet. He’s a scholar. He’s a pundit. He’s a military commander. And he’s a very charismatic, young, brash rising star within A.Q., and I think he has become the heir apparent to Osama bin Laden in terms of taking over the entire global jihadist movement.”

Comforting, eh? Thank goodness the Republicans were in charge on 9/11. Thank goodness we have an intelligent, attentive, patient, focused President:
Enough is enough, it seems. With the NATO summit meetings consistently running two hours over schedule most of the day, President Bush abruptly got up and left the last formal session of the day, not bothering to wait for an official summit photograph of all the leaders.

Bush is no fan of windy meetings and evidently had had his fill. He left behind Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates to represent him for the rest of the session, which concerned NATO operations in Afghanistan, but his departure was so sudden and unexpected that he left some of his motorcade behind, inculding his press pool, when he got into his car and headed back to his hotel.

Yes. He's still el Presidente.

For another 290 days.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

The Man

I was expecting to write about the American war criminal, John Yoo, a lawyer and Berkeley professor who wrote the evil "legal" memo for Cheney, Addington, Feith and Bush that authorized torture under the shady justification that the President can basically do anything he wants if he says it's defending America (via Balkanization):
The Yoo memo effectively gave the Pentagon the green light to disregard statutory limits on torture, cruelty and maltreatment in the treatment of detainees. This is the version of the 2002 Torture memo, which was addressed only to the CIA and the torture statute, as applied to the numerous statutes restricting the conduct of the armed forces. None of those statues, you see, limits the conduct of war if the President says so. It is, in effect, the blueprint that led to Abu Ghraib and the other abuses within the armed forces in 2003 and early 2004. Here, finally, is Part One of that memo, and here is Part Two. (Thanks to the Washington Post for forwarding the memo.) (Needless to say, the classification of these memos all these years was ridiculously unjustified. There's no reason at all that this roll out could not have occurred in 2004.)
But then I took a trip on YouTube to watch Sen. Barack Obama's campaign appearance on the first night of Hardball's college tour, in which he pwns Chris Matthews and reminds me why he's so easily the best choice in America today to be nominated and then elected President on November4th.

I decided to make note of Yoo, but to focus on hope, a future of another Constitutional law professor, but one who's idea of executive power isn't the same as King George III and his notorious redcoats.

If you find yourself at all wavering, get ready for a treat (4 actually, for some reason Pts 1, 2, 5, 6):

So clearly the best this country has to offer at this particular moment.

So clearly the brightest.

So clearly The Man:

Tuesday, April 01, 2008


Interesting NY Times piece on how Obama's town hall approach in the depressed areas of Pennsylvania are more about specifics and his start as a community organizer than his aspirational rhetoric:

So in Johnstown, a small, economically depressed city tucked in a valley hard by the Little Conemaugh River, Mr. Obama on Saturday spoke to the gritty reality of a city that ranks dead last on the Census Bureau’s list of places likely to attract American workers. His traveling companion, Senator Bob Casey, Democrat of Pennsylvania, introduced the candidate as an “underdog fighter for an underdog state.”

Mr. Obama, a quicksilver political student, picked up that cue. He often mentions his background as a community organizer but in passing, a parenthetical. Not this time. “I got into public service as an organizer,” Mr. Obama told these 1,200 mostly white Pennsylvanians in a local high school gymnasium. “There were a group of churches, mostly Catholic parishes, and they hired me for $12,000 plus car fare.”

That detail drew knowing chuckles in a town where the median income hovers at just over $20,000. “So I got myself believing that the most important thing is not to be an elected official but to hold them accountable.”

Sen. Bob Casey is the big endorsement here, a more taciturn guy with family roots in the working class electorate, going up against Gov. Ed Rendell's powerful machine for Clinton, but most importantly to Obi-Wan young Luke:

The candidate’s best weapon in this race just might be Senator Casey. Laconic to the core, a politician who dominates the working-class cities of Scranton and Wilkes-Barre, he seems intent on refashioning his candidate — still very much a long shot in the primary. In his telling, Mr. Obama is nearly a shot-and-a-beer guy.

“We can’t just curse the darkness. We have to do our best to roll up our sleeves,” Mr. Casey said. “He’ll fight for your jobs, and your families’ jobs. Understand this: All of our battles are his battles.”

Mr. Obama stood and watched; he might as well have been taking notes.

Meanwhile his opponent, in her campaign's now expected mode of passive-aggressive racial semiotics, likens herself to Rocky Balboa (as in against that burly, black, hubristic Apollo Creed). Too bad -- Rocky may have earned his bloody dignity by the end, but he lost the fight. And rather less passive-aggressive, more aggressivo maximo, there's Harold Ickes pimping Reverend Wright to any superdelegate he can call:

In a reference to Wright's controversial views, Ickes continued: "Nobody thinks that Barack Obama harbors those thoughts. But that's not the issue. The issue is what Republicans [will do with them]...I think they're going to give him a very tough time."

Asked whether he was specifically bringing up Wright to super-delegates, Ickes said: "I've said what I've said...I tell people that they need to look at what they think Republicans may use against him. Wright comes up in the conversations."
The argument is that the campaign isn't racist, just truthful, built around Sen. Clinton's heartfelt conviction that America will not elect a black nominee President, not this time.

Meanwhile, Americans now agree that Obama makes the much more electable candidate against McCain:
Democrats were asked whether Clinton or Obama has the better chance of defeating McCain in November: 59% say Obama does; 30% say Clinton. Republicans were asked whether McCain has a better chance of defeating Clinton or Obama on Election Day. Sixty-four percent say McCain has a better chance of beating Clinton, compared with only 22% choosing Obama, meaning Republicans view Obama as the more formidable candidate.
Oh, and it looks like he raised at least $1 millon/day throughout the entire month of March.

Who would you trust with your economy?