August 2008 Archives
MoDo reviews the Palin 'chick flick'
MoDo nails it on the Palin chick flick:
This chick flick, naturally, features a wild stroke of fate, when the two-year governor of an oversized igloo becomes commander in chief after the president-elect chokes on a pretzel on day one.
The movie ends with the former beauty queen shaking out her pinned-up hair, taking off her glasses, slipping on ruby red peep-toe platform heels that reveal a pink French-style pedicure, and facing down Vladimir Putin in an island in the Bering Strait. Putting away her breast pump, she points her rifle and informs him frostily that she has some expertise in Russia because it's close to Alaska. "Back off, Commie dude," she says. "I'm a much better shot than Cheney."
Then she takes off in her seaplane and lands on the White House lawn, near the new ice fishing hole and hockey rink. The "First Dude," as she calls the hunky Eskimo in the East Wing, waits on his snowmobile with the kids -- Track (named after high school track meets), Bristol (after Bristol Bay where they did commercial fishing), Willow (after a community in Alaska), Piper (just a cool name) and Trig (Norse for "strength.")
"The P.T.A. is great preparation for dealing with the K.G.B.," President Palin murmurs to Todd, as they kiss in the final scene while she changes Trig's diaper. "Now that Georgia's safe, how 'bout I cook you up some caribou hot dogs and moose stew for dinner, babe?"
McCain and I are not on the same Iraq page, Palin says
Two weeks ago, Sarah Palin thought Obama was kinda cool and wasn't upset with the idea of him winning Alaska in her interview with the New Yorker. She also made it clear that she didn't agree with McCain on Iraq policy, saying "I'm a mom, and my son is going to get deployed in September, and we better have a real clear plan for this war. And it better not have to do with oil and dependence on foreign energy."
McCain Camp Didn't Search Palin's Hometown Paper Archives
Huffington Post has the scoop. It seems that a Democratic opposition researcher sent to Palin's hometown in Alaska is the first person to ask for the archives which are not available online.
Hilzoy on Obama's Executive Experience
This post by Hilzoy on Obama's executive experience falls into the "I wish I'd written it" category.
When this campaign started, one of my biggest questions about Barack Obama was whether he would be any good at managing things. The President is, after all, the head of a very large organization, and he had better either have good management skills or hire a chief of staff who does. The fact that I didn't know whether Obama had them didn't prevent me from voting for him -- none of the other candidates I might have supported had a track record in management either -- but I would have been happier had I known whether Obama was any good at running things.
I don't have that problem any more. Obama has spent the past year and a half running a large organization -- as of last December, it had "about 500 employees and a budget of $100 million" -- and running it very well. It's not just that he and his team beat the Clinton campaign, which started out with enormous advantages. It's not even that he often did so by building effective political machines from scratch in states in which Clinton had locked down the political establishment. It's that every account of the Obama campaign that I've read makes it clear that he has done an outstanding job of constructing and running a political organization. For instance, this account of Obama's campaign is very much worth reading, if you want to get a sense of how he runs things: [...]
Surprise? First Two National Polls Find Palin Gains LESS Support from Women
Editor&Publisher has the details on the Rasmussen and Gallup polls on the impact of Palin's selection. It may be that her only impact will be to tempt a few more of the religious right, social conservative base away from staying home and back into the voting booth.
Internet Traffic Bypassing the U.S.
The NY Times reports on the effort to build out the Internet network outside the US so that internet traffic doesn't have to pass through the US on its way from one place to another on the globe.
The era of the American Internet is ending.
Invented by American computer scientists during the 1970s, the Internet has been embraced around the globe. During the network's first three decades, most Internet traffic flowed through the United States. In many cases, data sent between two locations within a given country also passed through the United States. [...]
"Since passage of the Patriot Act, many companies based outside of the United States have been reluctant to store client information in the U.S.," said Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington. "There is an ongoing concern that U.S. intelligence agencies will gather this information without legal process. There is particular sensitivity about access to financial information as well as communications and Internet traffic that goes through U.S. switches."
People Magazine: How Obama asked Joe
People magazine chatted with Barack and Michelle Obama and Joe and Jill Biden and prints up the Q&A's for this article on how Barack approached Joe for the Veep position.
Cartwrightdale's ad is going live
Cartwrightdale's excellent ad is going to be aired. He fills us in on how it has come about and what their plans are and how we can all help.
First Person: An Italian's viewpoint
Just wanted to highlight a diary from an Italian person who got up in the middle of the night to watch the DNC convention at Denver's Invesco Field and saw Barack Obama and all his supporters. It underscores how important this election is to people beyond our borders.
PUMA PAC goes racist
David Brooks pens another waste
David Brooks pens another waste of paper and ink. It is beyond me how the New York Times perceives any value in what he writes. Don't bother going to look unless you really like being disgusted by juvenile scrawling.
Bartender experiments with C-SPAN at work
Kristina40 conducted an experiment with C-Span at work last night. She's a bartender. Check out her results.
Reaction to Jim Leach's speech
The Dallas Morning News Opinion blog has an interesting post by Republican William McKenzie who used to work with Jim Leach.
Who Diggs ObamaTaxCut.com?
Don't know its accuracy level but this is getting a lot of Diggs and attention.
53% of Americans think Barack Obama will raise their taxes, which means at least 52% of Americans don't know anything about his tax policies. In fact, 95% of Americans will see a tax cut from Obama, and 80% of Americans will get a bigger cut than they'd get from McCain. Calculate your Obama Tax Cut at ObamaTaxCut.com!
Looks like someone else has concerns about McCain's age and physical condition. Politico reports that Sen. Leahy sidled up to the topic with a discussion of Reagan's mistakes and slips as he progressed in his Alzheimers.
Hillary Sucks Up To Bloggers
Stormbear shares his latest "A Town Called Dobson" cartoon strip at dailykos.
Library of Congress Picks My Left Nutmeg
The bloggers over at MyLeftNutmeg got a letter from the Library of Congress letting them know that the MLN website had been selected "for inclusion in its historic collections of Internet materials related to Election 2008." Just imagine. All your comments, posts, pictures and video cilps enshrined in the LOC. Think there will be any self-censoring going on?
NYT: Wind Energy Bumps Into Power Grid's Limits
The New York Times has a good article on how wind energy generation is revealing deficits in the energy grid and specifically, an inability to move the generated energy from point A to point B.
Cool Transcripts by Docstoc
Rachel Maddow is the news this time
Howard Kurtz interviewed Rachel about her journey to MSNBC star status. He included some interesting background bits that I didn't know.
Check out the C-SPAN Convention Hub
Jon Stewart lectures reporters on coverage
Looks like Jon Stewart got a little wound up at the reporters' breakfast.
Jon Stewart took after the "established" media for getting too cozy with candidates and regurgitating campaign spin when it comes to political coverage.
In a breakfast with reporters, Stewart directed most of his ire at the 24-hour cable news networks, which he called "gerbil wheels," and said the media at-large had "abdicated" to what he called the "slow-witted beast."
He said the never-ending television news cycle creates a "false sense of urgency" and forces reporters to "follow the veins that have been mined," instead of pursuing serious and in-depth reporting.
...Stewart shredded reporters for, in his estimation, getting too cozy with and used by political candidates...
Seriously, this is what's wrong with 24 hr cable news
I'm not sure how I got sucked into watching this clip of Scarborough and Shuster. It epitomizes how the so-called news shows have deteriorated into drivel. If I want to watch two stubborn, less-well-informed-than-they-think idiots argue, I'll invite my brother-in-laws over. At least they're funnier than these guys.
We should help Georgia because...
Check out this one... now John McCain is saying that we should help Georgia because the king of Georgia converted to Christianity in the 3rd century and that makes Georgia worthy of our support. That and the fact that oil pipelines run through the country.
We cannot afford to have such an ignorant player as our leader in the world. I mean saying that a country is worthy of our support because they have churches built in the 4th and 5th century? With that line of logic, McCain should be stepping right up to support Palestine. They have churches from the first and second century and the Orthodox Christians who attend them are in direct descent from the very first believers. [via]
The Chicken Prank
I almost feel like a dupe writing about the second pro-Hillary ad McCain released today at 6am: It's a stunt, a trick meant to keep him in the press during the Democratic convention and gin up more Hillary-Obama-tension media storylines. Message: neener neener neener.
It is, in fact, the political equivalent of a prank legendarily pulled at my high school in which students procured well fewer than 20 live chickens, numbered them 1 through 20 with magic markers (leaving some numbers out), set them loose, and then sat back and gleefully watched as hapless school officials ran around the school searching for the remaining missing chickens that had never actually existed.
Nobody knows how much truly dangerous anti-Obama sentiment exists among former Hillary supporters or how many Hillary delegates will vote for John McCain in November (this past June, McCain said that the woman in today's ad, Wisconsin nurse Debra Bartoshevich, was the only Hillary delegate they knew of who was committed to pull the lever for McCain). But I guarantee some of us in the press will spend today haplessly running around looking for more of them out here, to fill out our stories about this ad and the angry-Hillary-brigades-hit-Denver storyline.
Yet as Steve noted, "while the McCain campaign is touting support from Bartoshevich, be prepared to hear more about high-profile Republicans throwing their support to Barack Obama."
A Leader of Obama's Grassroots Army
Laurin Manning posted a note on Facebook about this article on Anton Gunn from South Carolina. I liked the part about where he got so engrossed in the book he was reading, he missed his flight home. I get that involved in a book when I read. Drives my family nuts.
The Big Tent Calendar of Events
Check out what's on tap for all the bloggers who didn't get credentials to blog inside the DNC convention.
Al Giordano and others on Biden
Al Giordano at The Field has a nice writeup on Joe Biden that I think highlights the right perspective on Biden as Obama's veep choice.
Also of interest: There have been two other posts of first person stories of people who encountered or interacted with Biden at length that add additional insight in to who he is.
Johnny, We Hardly Know Ye
McCains' lie about Mother Teresa - UPDATED
Declassified 1999 Secret Report on Bin Laden & Taliban now posted
Wired blog notes the release of the report which "is packed with fascinating State Department documents, tracking the rise of the Taliban and bin Laden. One particularly interesting doc, from August 1998, describes the Taliban's growing pan-Islamic aspirations but declares that they're not actually making much progress because they're still 'country boys'."
What civil liberties? The FBI's new rules
Not doing anything wrong but living your life, going to work or school, hanging out with family and friends, pursuing your favorite hobbies. Well watch out ... the FBI may be along to spy on you based on new rules from the Attorney General.
What's that? You have civil liberties guaranteed by the Constitution?
Not under the Bush administration. Instead of protecting your rights and liberties, the DOJ must now be forced to consider whether or not you have them.
The price of incompetence
Incompetence. That must be one of the words used to describe the Bush administration and in this case, the White House itself which is missing as many as 225 days of email records. Could be more. Could be less.
Was the incompetence inadvertent or intentional? Whichever it was, Its damage is costly and recovery is consuming taxpayer money and time which should have been available for other efforts but must now be diverted to make up for the Bush administration incompetence.
Obama hits back
Short. Sweet. Crisp. Right to the point takedown on McCain's tax plan failures by the Obama campaign. [via]
Obsidian Wings: Patriotism And The Surge
Just FYI Bobo - It was McCain's choice
Kevin Drum berates David Brooks (and John McCain). I'm not the only one who gets frustrated with Brooks.
Calling all Daily Show fans
This NYT story gives Jon Stewart and The Daily Show staff the credit due their achievements over the last 8 years. (Has it really been that long?) It's a good read and has some details that you may not know.
Thank you Scott Lehigh
Scott Lehigh of the Boston Globe has written a review of Jerome Corsi's latest piece of trash that gives hope that traditional media and talking heads have finally wised up to Corsi's game. It's an outstanding bit of snark. Thanks for writing this one, Scott.
Here's a tidbit to wet your appetite:
So let's consider a little of the work Corsi has done in his efforts to portray Barack Obama as a crypto-radical. Start with Obama's use of the word "change." Now, in politics, a call for change may seem innocuous enough - until, that is, you apply the shrewd interpretive power of Jerome Corsi, Ph.D. [...]
Students of history may recognize this as in similar vein with the kind of investigatory work once pursued by Senator Joseph McCarthy.
D-Day's Must-Read Post on Obama's ground game and the polls
D-Day has a must read post.
Over the past few days, a fair number of high-profile progressive bloggers have been, to put it mildly, flipping out about Barack Obama's campaign style and his chances in November. ... I think they all make points which are valid to varying degrees. But they are failing to totally account for the X factor of the election, an X factor which is going virtually unmentioned throughout the blogosphere - the historic ground effort that the Obama campaign is banking on to win. It is not without peril, but it is a very new thing, and I think we have to understand it if we want to understand the twists and turns of this election.
I was attempting to excerpt it for a comment elsewhere and found that I'd highlighted at least 3/4 of it and it's long. So just go read it.
The offshore drilling floodgates are open
Kagro X highlights something that I missed last week in his post about Pelosi and now Udall coming out in favor of a compromise on offshore drilling.
What's behind the opening of the floodgates?
Meteor Blades told you last week:
Republicans have an ace up their sleeve. The ban on additional off-shore leases must be renewed each year by September 30. The extension is attached as a rider to the annual appropriations bill. Senator DeMint says 36 of the 49 Republican senators have signed a letter to Senate leaders opposing a renewal of the ban. Texas Rep. Jeb Hensarling is said to have gotten 136 House Republicans to sign a similar letter.
CongressDaily [now linkable] reports:
"Many people aren't aware that these bans on drilling must be renewed every year, and that all we have to do is to allow these prohibitions to expire on Oct. 1," DeMint said in a statement released Tuesday.
"In just 50 days, Americans will have the freedom to pursue their own energy resources here at home," he added. DeMint argued that it was "irrational to say 'no' to American energy" because it was needed to reduce independence on foreign oil and bring down gas prices.
That's the game, right there. The floodgates will open because they have to open. There's no way on God's green earth to find veto-proof majorities to re-up that ban, and no bill George W. Bush won't veto to stop it. Not a defense bill. Not a continuing resolution to keep the government running. Not a National Motherhood and Apple Pie Day bill. Nothing.
A well-done slapdown
I'm not going to excerpt it. Just point out that sometimes a slap-down is so well-done that you have to step back and appreciate it. Not to mention that it is, in fact, well-deserved.
A little racism along with the news, MSNBC?
As Doc Gonzo commented:
The American Heritage Dictionary has two definitions for "spade". The first is the digging tool, the second has two senses:
NOUN:1. Games a. A black, leaf-shaped figure on certain playing cards. b. A playing card with this figure. c. also spades (used with a sing. or pl. verb) The suit of cards represented by this figure. 2. Offensive Slang Used as a disparaging term for a Black person.
Anyone who doesn't know "spade" is insulting to Black people is either one of the few blissfully ignorant, or someone willfully ignorant. The people who put together and broadcast MSNBC news to millions in the whole country don't have a good excuse.
You got that right Doc.
Dr. Levy Patrick Mwanawasa - A Good Man and A President Dies
"The Zambian President, Levy Mwanawasa, died in hospital in Paris earlier today. He was 59. He had suffered a stroke in late June in Cairo where he was due to attend a summit of the African Union.
At the time of his stroke, President Mwanawasa was Chair of SADC, the South African Development Community and was an outspoken critic of Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe. At home he was better known for challenging the corruption of his predecessor, Frederick Chiluba.
The post goes onto provide biographical details about Mwanawasa including this note from the BBC obituary:
He had numerous professional distinctions, among them becoming the first Zambian lawyer to be appointed advocate and solicitor of the Supreme Court of England and Wales.
In Zambia, he was famous for taking up cases that few lawyers would even contemplate. But the one case that pushed him into prominence was a treason case in 1989.
He had to defend former vice-president Lt Gen Christon Tembo and others who were charged with plotting to overthrow the government of the then president, Kenneth Kaunda.
And I want to highlight the diarist's conclusion:
It will be for his courage in leading the regional criticism of Africa's self-proclaimed Hitler, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe that he will be best remembered outside his country. He broke the code of silence that surrounded a "liberation leader" among other African leaders to describe his southern neighboring country as a "catastrophe" and condemning the conduct of this year's elections.
It's important to mark the good ones in government wherever they may be. Too often the bad ones dominate the news.
Chuckle for the day - Cone of Blackberries: an aide's Transcript
Test your ability to interpret texting and have a good laugh. Zeiben has "re-created" the texting that went on between two of McCain's aides prior to his appearance with Rick Warren in the Saddleback Forum. Part 1 was posted last night. Here's the translation in case you don't get it. Part 2 got posted this morning.
Nedra Pickler of the AP gives Lieberman a new title
This is just too delicious. Nedra Pickler, a notorious AP stenographer, had an interesting typo in her story about the Dem and Repub VP picks. She Id'ed Lieberman just the way much of the Democratic party thinks of him.
and Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman, the Democratic vice presidential prick in 2000 who now is an independent.
Really, she did.
And a number of news organizations put it up verbatim including Google AP above, Breitbart, Yahoo AP, Cleveland Plain Dealer, International Business Times, NJ.com of NJ Star Ledger fame, and silive.com of the Staten Island Advance.
There's something to be said for not trimming the staff so thin that you get rid of all the good copy editors.
NPR: Cindy McCain ditches her half-sisters
NPR just did a segment on Cindy McCain's dissing of her family. It was intro'ed by Robert Siegel and he noted that an email that they got commenting on a story about Cindy McCain had turned into a story itself.
Then they went through naming all the "reputable" news sources that have identified Cindy McCain as an only child include NYTimes, CBS and a couple others and even played a clip of Cindy on CNN saying that she was an only child.
Then they got into the story itself. It seems the son of Kathleen Hensley Portalski contacted NPR on behalf of his mother and their family. They're hurt that Cindy goes on acting as if they don't even exist.
Here's the story on NPR which also has pictures.
Wade talks about his "mystery" boss
Mary Ann Akers takes note of the staff already on board for Obama's VP pick, whoever it will be. David Wade weighs in at the end of the post
Wade tells the Sleuth this cart-before-the-horse arrangement really isn't as weird as it may seem. "For eight years we've had a vice president who stayed in undisclosed locations. Trust me, it's already change we can believe in -- it's just the next vice president's identity that's undisclosed."
I'm looking forward to some more smart remarks, David, once the convention is over.
DNC bloggers in the news
Sibel Edmonds case update
Lugar defends Obama and slaps down Lieberman
When Blitzer tried to get Lugar to agree with LIeberman's sleazy remark about Obama not putting his country first and working across party lines, Sen. Lugar stood up and said unequivocally. [via]
I think that was clearly a partisan statement at a rally. I respect everybody their opinions in a political campaign, but that's all that was.
Billmon teaches history as only he can
Billmon has an excellent post up on the Georgian-Russian fiasco complete with history background as only he can write it.
Did McCain lie in Saddleback Church?
David Shuster pounds PUMA PAC
John Cole called this brutal and it was. David Shuster just nailed them.
A judge and a juror
The Low-Road Express derails in Kansas City
Some wonder if McCain's too old and wrinkly to be president
The McClatchy Washington Bureau reports on the "wrinkly, white-haired dude" and that "Twenty-one percent of voters told a Pew Research Center survey in June that McCain was too old to be president".
How I became a soldier in the Georgia-Russia cyberwar
Evgeny Morozov documents how easily and quickly he became a warrior in the cyberwar assault on Georgian government websites. As he points out:
In less than an hour, I had become an Internet soldier. I didn't receive any calls from Kremlin operatives; nor did I have to buy a Web server or modify my computer in any significant way. If what I was doing was cyberwarfare, I have some concerns about the number of child soldiers who may just find it too fun and accessible to resist.
My experiment also might shed some light on why the recent cyberwar has been so hard to pin down and why no group in particular has claimed responsibility. Paranoid that the Kremlin's hand is everywhere, we risk underestimating the great patriotic rage of many ordinary Russians, who, having been fed too much government propaganda in the last few days, are convinced that they need to crash Georgian Web sites. Many Russians undoubtedly went online to learn how to make mischief, as I did. Within an hour, they, too, could become cyberwarriors.
Mark Penn's Poison Pen
We have, thanks to Penn's own hand, a glimpse into his ethics and values. We can see how he would exploit heritage, background and class and use misleading and offensive characterizations in his work. We understand how he would go about challenging and demeaning Obama's American identity by suggesting that the Hawaii-born, Columbia- and Harvard-educated U.S. senator from Illinois is not American enough.
Cynically, he would make Obama out to be a threat to American values and culture.
It's clear from the memo exactly what type of politics Penn would practice.
What is unclear, though, in an increasingly diverse and multicultural America, where merit and not lineage or class should be deciding factors, is why the salons of Washington, the boardrooms of corporate America and the doors of foreign governments are open to such a divider and fear-exploiter as Mark Penn.
It's fair to ask about his roots in basic American values. Why do business with him?
The intro to his column hits home too. Go read.
Darfur: Slow motion genocide
No genocide has ever been so thoroughly documented while it was taking place. There were certainly no independent film-makers in Auschwitz in 1942, and the best-known Holocaust memoirs did not achieve a wide audience until years after the war. The world more or less looked the other way as genocide unfolded in Cambodia during the 1970s, and the slaughter in Rwanda happened so quickly--a mere hundred days--that by the time the public grasped the extent of the horror, the killing was done.
But here is Darfur, whose torments are known to all. The sheer volume of historical, anthropological, and narrative detail available to the public about the genocide is staggering. In the case of the genocide in Darfur, ignorance has never been possible. But the genocide continues. We document what we do not stop. The truth does not set anybody free.
Haunted by Guantanamo
Jumah al Dossari was held in Guantanamo for 5 1/2 years after being swept up in the post-911 dragnet instituted in Afghanistan. He was never charged, an innocent man sent to no-man's land for seven years by a fellow detainee attempting to better his own situation by telling tales about others. It is a compelling story.
TeacherKen has a thoughtful post about al Dossari's story and highlights this point in a challenge to all of us to consider our response:
To me, now reading his words, he is a large-spirited man called Jumah al Dossari, whose final words to us are these:
When I was watching "United 93," I thought of the soldier who had offered me compassion in Guantanamo. Her words reminded me that we all share common values, and only by holding on to them can we ensure that there is mercy and brotherhood in the world. After more than five years in Guantanamo, I can think of nothing more important.
And unless we accept the importance of those words, we cannot hope, as usually do at the end of my diaries, for meaningful peace.
I am disgusted, ashamed, and worse. And yet the generous spirit of this man that our nation abused, who is but one of many who so suffered, challenges me beyond that disgust and shame.
And so even as I demand full disclosure, however unlikely that might be, I am required to something else: a similar level of generousness of spirit. That includes in my attitudes towards those in power who were too cowardly to confront the evil for which they were responsible.
If we are responsible to do all we can to eliminate evil wherever we encounter it, must not we begin with ourselves, our own nation, so that we not be so arrogant as to do more evil in our own claims to righteous anger?
Broder notes Obama's Well-Oiled Machine
David Broder toured Obama's national HQ the other day and found it filled with confident, purposeful focus. It's an interesting column as much for what it doesn't say as what it does. One almost gets the impression that he was impressed in spite of himself.
NanceGreggs's Journal: Memo From a Pissed-Off God
NanceGregg pens a memo with slightly irreverent and humorous touches that nonetheless makes some good points about just what the Almighty thinks about what's happening here on earth.
Beth Broderick writes to Bill Clinton: Dear Mr. President
Capitalism and democracy are not synonyms
Devilstower has a fascinating essay up in which he discusses the evolution of capitalism and posits that democracy and capitalism are not tightly linked and the assumption that they are in many of today's discussions leads to faulty decisions. His description of capitalism really struck home:
Communism was based around the idea of freedom. Shocking, I know, but then every form of government not centered on a genealogical chart puts freedom somewhere high on the menu. In the communist view, the biggest obstacle to freedom was the slavery imposed by economic and social inequality. Break that grip by giving everyone a fair share of the pie, and we'd all be free. [...] Marx' position sounds Nice as that might sound on paper, it didn't work that way in the real world. [...]
With the hindsight of a century of authoritarian state excesses this looks obvious, but when Marx was writing the grinding, relentless capitalism that engulfed Europe and America was so ugly that anything seemed preferable. He was writing against a world that had not even a hint of a social safety net - quite the opposite. It was full of social razor blades, where one slip could cut to the bone. Child labor, employers who tricked their workers into accepted inflated company scrip, unregulated products filled with poison, and military force used to keep workers toiling in horrid conditions. In competition with communism, capitalism in Europe and America had to clean up its act. What we live with today in most of the western world is capitalism with many of its sharpest edges blunted. Thousands of workers died to wear down those edges.
He concludes with this:
For the first eleven millennia of human civilization, capitalism and democracy were only rarely and loosely coupled. There's no reason it should be otherwise. In an unregulated market child labor, environmental destruction, government corruption, and ideological rigidity often provide an advantage. Capitalism can serve an authoritarian state as well as a democratic one -- perhaps better.
Capitalism is as indifferent to freedom as a whale is to the lives of plankton on which it feeds. If we continue in the pretense that the market in and of itself favors democracy, we'll be witness to the end of the experiment that began a bit over two centuries ago in Philadelphia. The market won't mind -- it's seen democracies rise before. If we don't unbuckle our concern for human rights from our concern from corporate profits, it will surely see this one fall.
The whole essay is worth some consideration.
Troops Deployed Abroad Give 6:1 to Obama
Open Secrets has found that the troops abroad are expressing strong opinions on who their next CinC should be based on their donations. The whole article has some interesting reading.
Drivers cut back for 8th month in a row
The high price of gas (and other things) has made its impact felt in US family budgets and they've responded accordingly. The Reuters report also noted:
"Changes in consumer behavior have essentially erased five years of growth in gasoline demand," the American Petroleum Institute said on Wednesday in a separate report that showed gasoline use during the first seven months of 2008 fell by 2.1 percent to the lowest level for the period in five years.
The impact of driving less was also reflected in new Energy Department data released on Tuesday that said total U.S. petroleum demand shrank by an average 800,000 barrels a day during the first half of this year, the biggest decline since 1982, because of soaring pump costs and a weak economy.
Plight of the Little Emperors
Julia Child spied for the OSS
Believe it or not, it's evidently true.
The secret comes out Thursday, all of the names and previously classified files identifying nearly 24,000 spies who formed the first centralized intelligence effort by the United States. The National Archives, which this week released a list of the names found in the records, will make available for the first time all 750,000 pages identifying the vast spy network of military and civilian operatives. [...]
The files will offer new information even for those most familiar with the agency. Charles Pinck, president of the OSS Society created by former OSS agents and their relatives, said the nearly 24,000 employees included in the archives far exceeds previous estimates of 13,000.
The newly released documents will clarify these and other issues, said William Cunliffe, an archivist who has worked extensively with the OSS records at the National Archives.
"We're saying the OSS was a lot bigger than they were saying," Cunliffe said.
Booman Tribune ~ Understanding MoDo
I still run into old friends occasionally that not only think Maureen Dowd is a good columnist but that she is a liberal and uses her column to advocate for the Left. Without fail, these friends are busy people that have not spent the Bush years reading alternative media and blogs. They're somewhat like Democrats that were trapped in amber sometime in 2000-2001, just before the rise of the Blogosphere. They have puzzled about why Dowd spent the last three months of the 2000 campaign writing about how horrible Al Gore was as a candidate, but then they remember those zingers she put down on Dick 'Big Time' Cheney and his geographically-impaired sidekick. Ooh...that felt sooo good.
This is a message to my old friends trapped in amber. Maureen Dowd doesn't root for Democrats. She uses her column to mock Democrats, drive wedges between Democrats, and to reinforce negative stereotypes about Democrats. Yes, she is somewhat irreverent and she does her share of blasting Republicans. Occasionally, when her righteous ire is up, she can really let the Republicans have it. But you can start a count now. It's August 13th. Dowd does two columns a week. If she doesn't take any time off, she'll write thirty-three more columns between now and the election. I guarantee you that the majority of them will not be helpful to the cause of Barack Obama. Today's column is about as unhelpful as it gets.
CNN: Airlines making money off the troops
This one seems like a no-brainer but evidently some airline executives don't get why US soldiers on their way to and from battle should be exempted from the airline baggage fees.
James Fallows did it for you
The Atlantic has another interesting article besides the one about the Clinton campaign emails. Jim Fallows sat down and watched in sequence all the 2008 presidential primary debates, Republican and Democratic. I wonder if he yelled or groaned at the moderators and some of their ridiculous questions as I did. He also watched the 2004 Obama vs. Keyes debates. Then he did some serious writing. Interesting reading if you watched some of the debates or even if you didn't.
Wes Clark Jr: Dad not being vetted
From WesClarkJr yesterday in a diary asking for Clark to be considered:
I've heard nothing about him as a VP choice or being on any list whatsoever. Dad doesn't really know anyone on the search committee, so my guess is that he is not going to be Obama's VP choice.
Guess that knocks him off the much-discussed short list.
Josh Green on Hillary's email: The Front-Runner's Fall
Susan Eisenhower, Ike's Granddaughter, For Obama
Meant to highlight this the other day but Firefox blew its buffers and when I restarted, I never got back to this interview by The Washington Independent with Susan Eisenhower. Here's her take:
"I don't know how much you know about my grandfather's administration," Eisenhower said. "But that administration stood for multilateral engagement, balancing the budget. They were the party of civil rights, they were the party of environmental progress. That was the Republican Party of the 1950s. I think you can make the case that doesn't sound like the Republican Party we know today. If you look at the way Obama's run his campaign, to how Hillary Clinton ran her campaign, or even how John McCain's campaign is shaping up -- you can definitely say that Obama's running his campaign in a way an Eisenhower Republican would have run his campaign.
"He raises a lot of money," Eisenhower, 56, said, by way of explaining the similarities she sees between her grandfather and the likely Democratic nominee. "He has very little debt. I just love it. Anybody who wants to make him out as this wide-eyed liberal -- I just don't see any evidence for that, not in the way he runs his campaign. And this tells you a lot about how he can administer things, how he manages things, how he deals with situations.
I agree, Susan.
WSJ Publishes Pro-Obama Editorial
GAO Report: Most Companies Don't Pay Federal Taxes**
The GAO has released a report that "said two-thirds of U.S. corporations paid no federal income taxes between 1998 and 2005, and about 68 percent of foreign companies doing business in the U.S. avoided corporate taxes over the same period."
More analysis from the AP report:
The GAO study did not investigate why corporations weren't paying federal income taxes or corporate taxes and it did not identify any corporations by name. It said companies may escape paying such taxes due to operating losses or because of tax credits.
More than 38,000 foreign corporations had no tax liability in 2005 and 1.2 million U.S. companies paid no income tax, the GAO said. Combined, the companies had $2.5 trillion in sales. About 25 percent of the U.S. corporations not paying corporate taxes were considered large corporations, meaning they had at least $250 million in assets or $50 million in receipts.
**That means that 75% of the companies not paying corporate taxes were small companies, either S corporations, LLC's or sole proprietorships, with assets under $250 million or less than $50 million in receipts. Given how hard-pressed smaller businesses have been with insurance premium costs, higher energy costs, more global competition, etc., some care should be taken with interpreting the results of the GAO report (pdf). With the S corporations and the sole proprietorships, the income is passed through to the owners' individual taxable income and taxes would be reported on their individual tax returns, not on corporate tax returns.
I would be interested in seeing more analysis on those corporations whose assets were above $100 million or whose receipts were above $50 million.
The GOP's Funeral Convention
Politico brings us the news that many Republicans aren't planning on attending their convention this year. Why?
"Nobody likes a funeral," said a Senate Republican press secretary who spoke on the condition of anonymity, citing "the overall climate of general malaise about the party" as the reason for hesitance on the part of Republicans.
And then there's this -- they're being told not to attend:
On the House side, according to a report in The Hill, during a July 31 conference call National Republican Campaign Committee Chairman Tom Cole of Oklahoma discouraged congressional hopefuls from attending, saying that doing so would potentially be a "waste of time."
Unusual advice from a Republican leader.
Oh and St. Paul is too far out of the way. Really, it's not convenient like NYC or Philly.
Many GOP lobbyists also have decided the convention isn't worth the trip -- despite the seemingly limitless networking and schmoozing opportunities -- in part because of logistics and location.
That darn flyover country just isn't interesting enough and it's too hard to get to.
Voter Registration Numbers in Florida
Lots of number-crunching analysis in this diary by True Independent including this:
... over the course of the past six months, Democrats have out-registered Republicans by adding roughly 149,000 voters to the rolls to the Republicans adding roughly just 31,000 voters to the rolls, a factor of 5 to 1!
Temperatures Hit 80 Degrees in the Arctic
This must-read post starts with this:
During the last week of July, a 7 square kilometer piece of the Ward Hunt ice shelf, the largest ice shelf in the Arctic broke up into 3 pieces.
Scientists reacted with unusual bluntness:
"Canadian ice shelves have undergone substantial changes in the past six years, starting with the first break-up event on the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf, and the loss of the Ayles Ice Shelf," said Dr. Luke Copland of the University of Ottawa. "These latest break-ups we are seeing have come after decades of warming and are irreversible," said Dr. Derek Mueller of Trent University. [Science Daily]
Gary Stern, co-leader of an international research program on sea ice, said it's the same story all around the Arctic.
Speaking from the Coast Guard icebreaker Amundsen in Canada's north, Stern said He hadn't seen any ice in weeks. Plans to set up an ice camp last February had to be abandoned when usually dependable ice didn't form for the second year in a row, he said.
"Nobody on the ship is surprised anymore," Stern said. "We've been trying to get the word out for the longest time now that things are happening fast and they're going to continue to happen fast." [Associated Press]
A couple of days after the breakup at the Ward Hunt ice shelf, Canadian Park officials announced the evacuation of 21 tourists from Auyuittuq National Park on Baffin Island.
Please go read the rest of it and then consider what you must do next.
Nate Silver on The Persistent Myth of the Bradley Effect
Nate has another time-worthy post debunking the CW concerning the Bradley Effect with a couple of his clear charts included. Tough to excerpt so go read it. You'll be glad you did the next time you read an article with some pundit going on about the Bradley effect and what that "really means".
Why Howard Wolfson is Out of a Job
Nate Silver does a thorough job of illustrating just how faulty Howard Wolfson's reasoning ability is.
Iowa actually didn't turn out to be that close, with Obama defeating Edwards by 7.9 points and Hillary Clinton by 8.1 points. For Clinton to have beaten Obama, she would have needed (as Wolfson correctly points out) about two-thirds of those Edwards voters.
The thing about Iowa, however, is that unlike virtually any other electoral contest, second choices matter, since Democratic caucus rules dictate that a voter may caucus for her second-choice candidate if her first choice does not achieve the 15 percent of the vote required for viability. As such, Iowa pollsters did a lot of work in trying to determine voters' second choices. And in virtually every survey, Clinton did rather poorly as a second choice: an average of several surveys in December showed that she was the second choice of about 20 percent of voters, as compared with 25 percent for Obama and Edwards (an even later version I have sitting on my hard drive showed the second-choice breakdown as Edwards 30, Obama 28.5, Clinton 23.5)
So the odds are that, if John Edwards had dropped out on the morning before the Iowa caucus, Obama would have won by more points rather than fewer.
Voter registration in Wake County, NC going the Dems' way
Ben Smith asked for some reader feedback on what voter registration looked like locally and got this from a reader in Raleigh, NC who also included graphs.
Basically the Obama campaign added 15,000 Democrats and 7,000 Unaffiliated voters for the primary, then they pulled up stakes for 6-8 weeks and since they've started up again they've added another 6,000 Democrats and 6,000 Unaffiliated voters. Republicans in this time have only added 1,000 voters in Wake county since the beginning of the year (keep in mind Wake county is one of the fastest growing counties in the country). Republicans are down to 32% of registered voters where in the 2004 election they were 36% of registered voters in the county.
The reader, Adam Terando, concludes with "I have no doubt Obama will flip this county in 2008; the only question is by how much." I'd say.
Per Mary Miliken of Reuters, "I.O.U.S.A. may not be the sexiest film at the Sundance Film Festival, but it could be the most timely as the documentary about deepening U.S. debt problems debuted in a week of tumbling financial markets and heightened fears of recession."
There are references to it being "An Inconvenient Truth" for the economy that uses humor with some pretty straight talk to create "a primer for ordinary Americans on the financial state of an economy saddled by a rapidly growing federal debt." It was part of the 2008 Sundance Movie Festival and is being released in selected cities on Aug. 22. Keep your eyes open for more press about it. I'm sure it will garner some.
H/T to Sully
How to Redeploy or a sane exit strategy
Yglesias blogged about "a new report by Lawrence J. Korb, Sean Duggan, Peter Juul on "How to Redeploy: Implementing a Responsible Drawdown of U.S. Forces from Iraq"." The Center for American Progess has a summary write-up on it as well as a pdf-link to the complete report which they summarize as follows.
Deciding between a swift or extended redeployment, however, is a false choice. Both options are logistically feasible, but this report will demonstrate that an orderly and safe withdrawal is best achieved over an 8 to 10 month period. This report, written in consultation with military planners and logistics experts, is not intended to serve as a playbook for our military planners; it is a guide to policymakers and the general public about what is realistically achievable. A massive, yet safe and orderly redeployment of U.S. forces, equipment, and support personnel is surely daunting--but it is well within the exceptional logistical capabilities of the U.S. military.
New blog homes for Matt Yglesias and Ta-Nehisi Coates
I went looking for an old post of Ta-Nehisi Coates today and when I typed in www.ta-nehisi.com, I ended up at The Atlantic. Guess I wasn't watching too closely but Ta-Nehisi Coates is replacing Matt Yglesias in the line-up as of the end of July. They've moved his prior 2008 blog posts to the Atlantic blog as well.
As for Yglesias, today is his first day blogging at ThinkProgress and it looks they've moved his prior blog posts there as well. He live-blogs this session at CAP which sounds really interesting.
I'm sitting at an event for the release of a new report by Lawrence J. Korb, Sean Duggan, Peter Juul on "How to Redeploy: Implementing a Responsible Drawdown of U.S. Forces from Iraq". Korb is speaking right now and making the point that the alleged logistical impediments to a reasonably speedy withdrawal from Iraq tend to be wildly overstated. If you want to make it logistically impossible to withdraw in a timely manner you can define the problem in such a way as to make it impossible -- carefully dismantling each and every thing we've ever built, withdrawing every last piece of equipment -- but if you want to leave, it's more than possible to organize a responsible exist strategy.
Larison on the flaws of the 'morally clear'
Daniel Larison comments on the flaws in rightwing reasoning, summing it up with this trenchant observation:
There is certainly no foolish consistency for the morally clear. This moral clarity, so called, is the ability to see the crimes and villainy of people whom you already regard as villains, while being largely blind to one's own flaws and those of one's allies. It also seems to involve a healthy dose of ingratitude towards those governments that have lent support and aid to ours in times of crisis, provided that those with "moral clarity" have decided that a given government is malevolent.
Taken with the rest of his commentary on the Georgia-Russia situation which I cataloged here, I have to say that I may be adding him to the blogroll. Though I may not always agree with his perspective, well-informed and well-written commentary is always worth considering.
First Person: Cora and her dad meet Tom and Lois
Celtic Pride has an amazing story of tragedy, lives intersecting and unexpected outcomes.
Another economic frontier for the US: regenerative medicine
DarkSyde has an interesting update on the 10th anniversary of embryonic stem cell research that is well worth the time to read both it and its embedded links. He makes a point that I find interesting to think about given our current economic woes. Imagine tying efforts in alternative energy and regenerative medicine into a new economic engine for the US... taking advantage of what we as a country do so well.
Every American Has A Stake In the Rapid Success of Regenerative Medicine. The potential benefit of cell-based therapies to our country defies exaggeration whether you are talking about lives saved, restored economic productivity, improvements and cost savings in health care across the board, or the economic contribution of high value biomedical jobs.
Jezenomics: Economic Insecurity and Women
The Media and Donations from Abdullah via Jordanian war profiteer
Marc Ambinder asks:
If there were a group of questionable donations all with the name Abdullah that were funneled through a guy in Jordan who is a Jordanian national who is under investigation for war profiteering and it were Barack Obama instead of John McCain would this be a bigger deal?
Yeah, Marc, methinks that the talking heads and pundits would be all over it. Heck, Obama would have already lost the race.
History repeats itself: McCain-Hess donors vs. Nixon-Hess donors
Morton Mintz has an interesting post on the Harvard School of Journalism's Niemann Watchdog blog about the historical parallels between McCain and the Hess oil related donations and the efforts to hide Hess oil donations to Nixon's campaign.
It's not possible that the current Hess CEO is unaware of the illegal actions of his father in donating to the Nixon campaign. What's surprising is that he expects to repeat them and get away with it.
The other thing that impressed me about the post was Mr. Mintz's extensive quotation of Greg Sargent's investigative work on the Hess matter at TPM. Congratulations to Greg and TPM. Keep up the good work.
Remind Me, or Know-Nothing Politics
The next time I think of praising Thomas Friedman for anything he wrote, remind me to go back and watch this video clip.
As Atrios said:
Though, it must be said, what we did wasn't just posturing. The dead are all still dead.
He was commenting on Paul Krugman's latest effort which is worth reading itself and includes this gem.
Republicans, once hailed as the "party of ideas," have become the party of stupid.
Now, I don't mean that G.O.P. politicians are, on average, any dumber than their Democratic counterparts. And I certainly don't mean to question the often frightening smarts of Republican political operatives.
What I mean, instead, is that know-nothingism -- the insistence that there are simple, brute-force, instant-gratification answers to every problem, and that there's something effeminate and weak about anyone who suggests otherwise -- has become the core of Republican policy and political strategy. The party's de facto slogan has become: "Real men don't think things through."
AZ reporter's insider story on McCain's history as a politician
Here's the ultimate insider story about McCain from a AZ reporter, Amy Silverman, who's covered him for many years.
Memo to Broder re: Journalism and Ethical Reporting
8ackgr0und N015e pulls out The Society of Professional Journalists' code of ethics and applies it to David Broder's latest maunderings.
Short version: Broder either needs to retire or go back to journalism school.
Mystery Pollster explains Gallup's likely voter methodology
Mystery Pollster Mark Blumenthal explains what underlies Gallup's likely voter poll numbers. Hint: young people and newly registered voters get shortchanged big time. His conclusion is good though it should have been more assertive, IMO.
What is less clear is whether news accounts ought to be emphasizing such snapshots in July when the mechanism for those estimates is so inherently hypothetical and potentially shaky.
It's not less clear. It's perfectly clear that they shouldn't do so.
Popular Mechanics weighs in on Obama's suggestion
The venerable do-it-yourself magazine, Popular Mechanics has weighed in on Obama's recommendation to check your tire pressure:
We opened this discussion with Sen. Obama's assertion that we can offset the need to reopen offshore drilling--and save money at the pump--by keeping our tires inflated properly. He's right, although he's ignoring the potential for making a serious dent in natural gas production rates.
Can't get much more blue collar basic than that. H/T to Ben Smith
Quotes of the day
John McCain's a new ad is garnering some sharp responses. It pulls out Hillary's primary comment about him along with those of several other Dems who look considerably younger than they currently are. (Really digging deep in the video vaults for those, eh, John?)
And now for the quotes -- first and my favorite, from John Kerry:
"The real question is what happened to the John McCain we used to know and why has he changed overnight into a George Bush nominee with a Karl Rove campaign."
And from Howard Dean:
"The John McCain of 2000 wouldn't even consider voting for the John McCain of 2008."
And from Joe Biden:
"The John McCain of 2008 is not the maverick of 2000. On the most urgent national security challenges we face - Iraq, Iran and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan -- there is no day light between George Bush and John McCain. He has embraced President Bush's failed policies and will continue them. It's unfortunate he's changed so much in just eight years."
And the DNC has a video in response: Maverick No More. Think they saw that one coming.
Hillary catches up on KBR
Sully's Quote for the day
I have to agree with Andrew's selection for Quote for the day:
"It took seven years for the Bush administration's military commissions system to get its first conviction for a crime that is regularly prosecuted in federal court. And when it did, it was a driver who even the administration acknowledges did not participate in the planning or execution of any terrorist attacks. Surely there is a better way to protect America and bring terrorists to justice while adhering to the constitutional values that have kept us safe and strong for 200 years," - Rand Beers, President of the National Security Network and retired counterterrorism official.
Obama's deft touch
Steve Benen weighs in on the handwringing over the Obama campaign not hitting back hard enough over the various McCain misstatements and lies.
I talked to someone earlier this week who worked tangentially on some previous campaigns with David Axelrod, the Obama campaign's chief strategist. He told me, "Axelrod's not the type to drop a refrigerator on a guy's head. He'll take the refrigerator apart, drop one piece at a time, and save the biggest piece for last."
But my advice to the party, at least with regards to Obama's strategy is simple: Relax, we've only seen the small parts of the refrigerator.
The rest of the post makes some good points.
An interesting post on animal rights - NYT and La Vida Locavore
Nicholas Kristof talks about current legislative moves in the animal rights arena and reflects on them based on his farmboy background. He provoked many varied comments on his blog. OrangeClouds115 discussed them at La Vida Locavore which is a great new blog about food, food safety, food production, and food policy in the US.
OrangeClouds115 aka Jill Richardson also has a piece up at Alternet on organic food labeling and safety which notes at the bottom that she has a book coming out in June 2009 on food politics. Amazing where blogging at Daily Kos will take you in the long run. Congratulations Jill.
Madness in Memphis - Nikki Tinker style - UPDATED
I saw the youtube video of Nikki Tinker's shameful ad yesterday before it got pulled from youtube. Steve's right in his assessment. We don't need Democrats like Nikki Tinker in Congress -- someone so willing to cross the line in race-baiting and slander to win a House seat.
Best wishes to Steve Cohen in the primary today.
UPDATE: skepticalbrotha did a bit more research on Nikki and her supporters. Whew. I'd say he's a skeptic.
UPDATE 2: Via Ben Smith, it seems that Keith Olberman and Obama both thought it was over the line as well. Keith named Nikki Worst Person in the World on last night's countdown. Obama put out the following statement:
"These incendiary and personal attacks have no place in our politics and will do nothing to help the good people of Tennessee. It's time to turn the page on a politics driven by negativity and division so that we can come together to lift up our communities and our country,"
Way to go Marvin
Glad to see that Marvin got his garment bag back along with Obama's birthday present.
Rethinking Bill's reaction
Roland Martin has a thoughtful post on his blog at Essence about Bill Clinton's responses during his interview with ABC's Kate Snow.
McCain's Green-Eyed Monster
Maureen Dowd aka MoDo misses far more often than she hits but when she does, it's razor sharp.
Not since Iago and Othello obsessed on the comely Cassio, not since Richard of Gloucester killed his two nephews, not since Nixon and Johnson glowered at the glittering J.F.K., has there been such an unseemly outpouring of boy envy. [...]
Now John McCain is pea-green with envy. That's the only explanation for why a man who prides himself on honor, a man who vowed not to take the low road in the campaign, having been mugged by W. and Rove in South Carolina in 2000, is engaging in a festival of juvenilia.
Why is Congress treated as an advisory board?
Kagro X pretty much nails it in this post.
Cafferty Shredding McCain
Couldn't have said it better myself, Jack.
John McCain Wants Cindy To Do What?!?
BarbinMD beat me to it. "It seems that John McCain really is willing to say or do anything to win."
The Amazing Photos of Scout Tufankjian
I just spent some time (ok a lot of time) browsing the stunning photos of the Obama campaign taken by Scout Tufankjian. She's photographed it since the beginning and has some remarkable takes.
Unbelievable: FEMA's Latest Scandal
Words fail me. How is it possible that this sort of thing is still happening?
NYT: Stinging Tentacles Offer Hint of Oceans' Decline
The NY Times reports that swarms of jellyfish are on the increase globally and that scientists consider them "a source of more profound alarm, a signal of the declining health of the world's oceans."
Frank Rich: How Obama Became Acting President
Frank Rich has an interesting column about Obama's growing clout and its source. Hint: it isn't conferred by media pundits.
Who's acting too presidential?
The LA Times smacks Dana Milbank and other media types over their coverage of Obama.
Daily Kos: Why Obama is losing the pundit race ... and winning the election.
NCrissieB exhorts the dkos community to cut out the bemoaning and offers "an explanation of why Obama is losing the pundit race (and he is) ... and winning the election (and he is)...."