October 2008 Archives

Fire revealed nuclear arsenal problems

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A fire caused over $1 million damage in one of our nuclear missile silos in May. The USAF Nuclear Command just got around to announcing it publicly yesterday.

The fire was May 23 at a silo 42 miles east of Cheyenne, Wyo,, where the Minuteman III missile is stored, ready for firing in an unmanned, underground launch facility. The command said it waited for the investigation to be completed before releasing a report.

An Air Force Space Command spokeswoman said the fire, caused by a faulty battery charger in a storage room, extinguished itself from a lack of fuel and was discovered later by repair crews looking for wiring problems on the cables connected to the missile. [...]

Problems revealed by the investigation include unclear instructions on the installation of parts for the battery charger, quality assurance issues and the use of duct tape on cables, the command said.

John Pike, a nuclear expert with the think tank GlobalSecurity.org, said the report, which revealed that duct tape was being used in the silo, is cause for serious concern.

"The notion that you're patching up your H-bombs with duct tape is not encouraging," Pike said. "You also have to wonder if you have this sloppy activity that is revealed by a fire happened, how much other sloppy activity has not been detected."

Pike said if the fire had escaped the equipment room and ignited the missile, radiation could have contaminated the silo and surrounding area.

"You could have a pretty good cleanup job," Pike said.

I know John and I can just imagine his dry delivery of those lines. Just a little understatement there.

The Minuteman III carries a city-leveling warhead that contains plutonium, beryllium and uranium. The warhead has an estimated maximum explosive yield of 330 kilotons, the equivalent of more than 30 of the bombs dropped on Hiroshima in 1945, experts said.

The Minuteman III is powered by a volatile solid rocket booster that if ignited in a sealed silo would destroy the weapon and possibly damage the nuclear warhead. Safety features on the warhead would prevent fission and a nuclear detonation, but damage to the device would result in a release of radioactive material, experts said.

Experts said the risk of the fire causing a nuclear catastrophe was miniscule, but still possible.

How reassuring. Not.

An 'Idiot Wind'

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Today's Washington Post editorial cuts John McCain's neo-McCarthyite strategy off at the knees without even referencing McCain's past support, moral and financial, of Rashid Khalidi.

Kinda goes along with McCain's admission to Larry King that Obama is not a socialist.

So John, what else is your campaign saying that's not true? Or maybe I should put it differently and more succinctly. Is there anything your campaign is saying that is true?

Eagleburger Blisters Palin: "Of Course" She's Not Ready

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Guess McCain didn't consult with any of his 5 secretary of state endorsers before selecting Palin. He so proudly mentioned them in his MTP appearance ... well, almost all of them except George Schultz. So it must be a bit of a surprise to him that Larry Eagleburger said this about Sarah Palin:

The remarks took place during an interview on National Public Radio that was, ironically, billed as "making the case" for a McCain presidency. Asked by the host whether Palin could step in during a time of crisis, Eagleburger reverted to sarcasm before leveling the harsh blow.

"It is a very good question," he said, pausing a few seconds, then adding with a chuckle: "I'm being facetious here. Look, of course not."

Huffington Post has the rest of the transcript as well as the audio.

Ellen Goodman on the jitters

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It's odd. As far as I know, no one in my house has talked to Ellen Goodman lately, or for that matter, ever, but she's managed to perfectly describe the mood in our house. All those discussions that she mentions. We've had them, every one of them.

Well, we're still working on the hope part.

Only in America

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Roger Cohen has a thoughtful op-ed on Obama in the New York Times.

Of the countless words Barack Obama has uttered since he opened his campaign for president on an icy Illinois morning in February 2007, a handful have kept reverberating in my mind:

"For as long as I live, I will never forget that in no other country on earth is my story even possible."

Cohen goes onto discuss why those words struck him so deeply. Thoughtfully inspiring.

Someone else notices that real life is "Following the Script"

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We own all 7 seasons of West Wing on dvd so I suppose that you could say we're avid fans. And we have remarked more than once on how many parallels there are between the final two seasons of WW and Obama's real life campaign. Brian Stelter at the New York Times noticed the same thing. He has a couple interesting details for WW aficionados.

Eugene Jarecki: The Straight Talk Train Wreck

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This HuffPost piece by Eugene Jarecki is one of the most insightful pieces that I've read about John McCain. Well worth your time. Go read.

Campbell Brown: Just Say No

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Campbell Brown speaks out about fear-mongering, misleading, lie-ridden political ads. [via]



Brown pleaded: "Just say no to your own craven ambition. Just cut it out. Reclaim your dignity! And with only a few days to go, please please just tell us what you think you can do to get this country back on track. That is really all we want to hear."

Fox's Shepard Smith Offers a Disclaimer After Joe The Plumber Interview

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Shepard Smith does his part to cut down on the misinformation being peddled. Watch him swallow hard at the end of the interview and shake his head. HuffPo has the video clip and a transcript below the video post.

Journalists on the bus

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Nitpicker gets it right on access journalism.

Tell 'em what you're going to tell them, tell them, tell them what you told them

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Via Sully. Someone spent a lot of time editing this one.

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

Chuckle for the day

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Via Sully, comes this sign:

sullycampaignsign.jpg

Midnight Deadline: Joe the Plumber & I registered 125 voters IN 2 hrs

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kruzrdude aka Mark in real life steps up and saves the day, or the night as it turned out. Go read.

Daughter of slave votes for Obama

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Another small moment of history was made when 109-year-old Amanda Jones voted for Barack Obama. The Austin American-Statesman reported that Mrs. Jones first voted for FDR and has been voting ever since at the urging of her father who "herded sheep as a slave until he was 12" and "...once he was freed, was a farmer who raised cows, hogs and turkeys on land he owned."

Thomas Friedman: Sleepless in Tehran

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Thomas Friedman's current column has some interesting insights into the impact of the drop in oil prices in Iran and how it may affect Obama's ability to formulate new foreign policy with Iran.

How to deal with stolen yard signs

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RUMINT aka Rumor Intelligence on Obama's Transition Team

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Marc Ambinder is publishing a series of posts on the rumor intelligence he's received on Obama's Transition Team and potential appointments to his administration. Some interesting reading if you're really into what's next. It stats here and continues here, here, and here.

Campaign 2008 in 4 Minutes

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4 jam-packed minutes of campaign video from The Revolution Will Be Televised.



Their ISP has shut down their site because they consider the video to be in copyright violation though it clearly falls under fair use doctrine. Give them a rec at the youtube site.

Michelle Obama

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Michelle Obama appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. A calm, collected, funny, poised, warm and endearing performance that must be counted as an asset to the Obama campaign. The NY Times notes how strong a campaigner she has become for her husband in "New to Campaigning, No Longer a Novice". Muzikal203 has gathered these items and other video clips and articles about Michelle in a tribute to her support of her husband and her family on and off the campaign trail. If you've not taken a close look at the woman who will likely be the next First Lady, this diary is a good place to start.

Richard Cohen gets it right: Palin's Love Boats

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Richard Cohen sums it up well in his column, Palin's Love Boats. I'd read the article on which he based a good part of his column earlier and it's worth a read on its own. Just goes along with all the winking and the 4-inch heels.

More from Michelle Bachmann: All cultures are not equal

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The Uptake has found and posted video of Michelle Bachmann commenting on the suburban Paris riots of a couple of years ago. Sigh. All the familiar boogeyman terms manage to make an appearance in her speech. [via]

Talk about a hostile interview

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Ben Smith highlighted this hostile interview with a quote from Joe Biden:

Q: "How is Senator Obama not being a Marxist?"

A: "Are you joking? Is this a joke?"

Just imagine a series of questions made up by the freepers. [via]

R&D for our vets

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KerryVision has a post up with a video of some really cool technology that's under development for amputees. Sen. Kerry and Rep. McGovern visited the company and got a demo of what Liberating Technologies is developing. Check it out.

Was his death a hate crime?

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Did you know that on September 16th a 24 year old black man was dragged to his death after being run over by a pickup truck driven by 2 young white men near Paris, TX? I bet you don't recall hearing about Brandon McClelland's death anywhere. I know I didn't ... until today thanks to bitfreak at dkos.

As it turns out, there was an item on it in the Dallas Morning News on September 30th and no other national coverage other than this story by the Chicago Tribune on October 6th. Kudos to the Trib and their reporter, Howard Witt, for a thorough report. It's not possible yet, evidently, to determine whether or not this murder was a hate-crime according to the Trib report. What does add to the uncertainty is the history of the Texas area which is recounted in the article.

The local paper, The Paris News, published this report on Oct. 13th about the arrest of one of the perpetrators in Kansas and his return to Texas.

On the surface it does sound like there may be a resemblance to the lynching death of James Byrd in Jasper, TX in 1998. This citizen journalist, Jesse Muhammad, doesn't seem to think there's any question that it was a hate crime. Certainly the details about the family finding blood and bits of bone by the side of the road do not inspire confidence in the law enforcement management of the case and in its ability to find justice for the victim.

Just checked Google news and an hour ago - while I was writing this post - the AP finally put out a story about it.

NYT Magazine interview with Rachel Maddow

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A little more insight into the host of MSNBC's newest hit show, Rachel Maddow.

Biggest misconception about pundits: That we all hang out together. I don't know any of these people. Maybe all the pundits are hanging out and not inviting me.

Worst thing about job: My self-doubt that this is a worthy thing to contribute to the world. It's fun, but I worry that it is self-indulgent. [...]

Always in fridge: Champagne. I always keep a bottle, because you might need to celebrate at any moment, and a bunch of mustard, because I am a mustard person.

Not sure about the mustard but the champagne sounds like fun. [via]

Obama's impact in North Carolina

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Bob Moser has an extended yet highly readable look in The Nation at the internals of North Carolina politics and history and the significance of Obama's campaign.

The Field of Hope ... in PA

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Here's the hope poster on steroids ...



Actually it's on a 100 ft x 70 ft canvas of grass and it's pretty amazing. Large scale pictures of the poster are here - definitely click on the link with the artist to get an idea of the scale. The slide show at the bottom showing how it was done is kinda cool. This dkos post has background info on how it came about.

Jon Swift: Great Moments in Election-Year Blogging

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Via Sully, Jon Swift has posted about the remarkable quality of blogging in the right wing blogosphere throughout this campaign season.

No matter what happens in this year's election, the conservative blogosphere deserves to win a collective Pulitzer Prize for its election-year coverage. While the mainstream media has given Americans a very distorted picture of Barack Obama, portraying him as a thoughtful, intelligent, unflappable, decent family man who has the temperament and judgment to be President, the conservative blogosphere has been the only place where you can get the real story. Hampered by quaint, old-fashioned rules of journalism that require citing evidence and reputable sources, the mainstream media has failed to report a number of important stories about Obama and the conservative blogosphere has had to step up and do the media's job for them. As a public service I have collected some of the most important of these stories in one place. Pulitzer Prize judges, take note!

Enjoy the post.

The Richmond Rally

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The Richmond Times-Dispatch has put up a full-screen slideshow with sound track of the Obama Richmond rally. Check it out.

The Powell Effect

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The Washington Post attributes Obama's bounce in the new Washington Post-ABC News tracking poll, 54 to 43 percent, to Powell's endorsement. There's more analysis of the underlying numbers in the post.

Maureen Dowd talked with Powell himself about how he came to do the endorsement and the feedback that he's received since Sunday. Don't be surprised to hear about the negative feedback he's gotten.

He does, he doesn't, he does, he doesn't, ...

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Put this one in the category of "I wish I'd written it". Steve Benen has an excellent post on John McCain's repetitive flip-flopping on whether or not his administration will eliminate the deficit in four years.

The punditocracy's Seven Biggest Blunders of 2008

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Salon.com has a nice start on the chattering classes' biggest "common wisdom" blunders which infected their narrative of the primary and general election campaigns. Bet we could come up with a few more.

Barry Goldwater's granddaughters - updated

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Barry Goldwater's granddaughter, who lives in the Atlanta area, voted early for Barack Obama. The quote that stood out in the AJC article was this:

"Coming from a political family, I had insight into a lot of things," Goldwater Ross said. Of McCain, she said, "I don't have respect for him."

Also of note: they link to a DU post from May 2008.

UPDATE: Another Goldwater granddaughter endorses Obama.

Don't want to miss my chance at history

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One of Ben Smith's readers sent in a marvelous story about 3 little old Jewish ladies and a big NASCAR dude and how they all ended up voting for Obama.

It ended this way:

Mike looked at me and said, "Obama's going to win, and I didn't want to tell my grandchildren some day that I had an opportunity to vote for the first black president, but I missed my chance at history and voted for the other guy."

Go read.

Cooperating with Russia

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It seems we do know how to cooperate with Russia on some things. CBS News has this AP report on a massive secret shipment of uranium from Hungary to a more secure location in Russia.

Why Obama is headed to Hawaii today

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Obama explains why he's taking time out at this point in the campaign to go see his grandmother.



Transcript - [via]

Ohio McCain Supporters - 10/8/08

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Ran across this video from BlueOhioan interviewing people on their way into a Palin rally. He was non-confrontational in his approach and people spoke freely to him. Sigh. It's all on display, ignorance, malicious intent, those who are simply misinformed and those who are bigoted. [via]



Strongsville is the same location as this other video which has been covered by various media organizations.

Commenting on Real America vs. Phony America

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Dana Milbank wrote a rather pointed commentary about his trip down to Virginia Beach, VA for the Obama rally yesterday. His little trip video is pretty good too.

Bill Bennett and Rick Davis Grok Liberal Feminists

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Bill Bennett and Rick Davis know so much about what liberal feminists think about Sarah Palin. Not. Matt Yglesias has the details.

Mike Murphy - 5 spin lines on the $150k Palin clothes buy

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Mike Murphy makes his recommendations for spin lines over at Time's Swampland. Pretty funny.

David Sedaris on Undecided Voters

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David Sedaris has such a way with words. Here's his take on undecided voters. [via]

To put them in perspective, I think of being on an airplane. The flight attendant comes down the aisle with her food cart and, eventually, parks it beside my seat. "Can I interest you in the chicken?" she asks. "Or would you prefer the platter of shit with bits of broken glass in it?"

To be undecided in this election is to pause for a moment and then ask how the chicken is cooked.

$150k was just September's clothing budget for Palin

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Evidently the widely reported $150,000 spent on Sarah Palin's wardrobe isn't the sum total of the amount of money that the RNC spent on Gov. Palin. It's just the amount spent in September. LATimes fashion critic Booth Moore has the details.

Barracuda

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Noam Scheiber spent some time in Wasilla, AK recently. His TNR article adds a little more insight to Sarah Palin's background. [via]

Chuckle for the day

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Chucke for the day from Roger Simon, no less:

And rumors are now flying that McCain has proof that when Obama was in the second grade he once ate paste.

The Internet and the Death of Rovian Politics

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Arianna makes some good points in her post. Unfortunately the logical outcome is that we're going to have to put up with the hatred and smears for another two weeks. Here's to the death spiral of the Republican Party a la Rove, GWB, the neocons and the theocons.

More death threats

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Yes, it's gotten to this point. Huffington Post has the audio and the background details.

A very bad precedent

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Though higher courts will probably end up striking this down, it's disturbing that a Democratic governor is attempting to set precedents on the Internet in this manner. [via]

American News Project: Philly Official Scoffs at Voting Problems

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The American News Project has some interesting videos on its site. This one about felons being unable to vote for their life time brought me to the site. But the Philly voting official just blew my mind. Definitely time for him to retire.

Attacking the press

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David Corn talked with some McCain-Palin supporters after a rally in Virginia -- people who were there to attack the commie-liberal press.

Somehow this goes along with the tire-slashing, car-smashing, canvasser-assaulting, baby-bear-killing, spitting, death-threat writing, muslim-children-gassing supporters of John McCain.

That's the Republican party for you. Sure has changed since Lincoln's day.

The Guardian on Seymour Hersh

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The Guardian has an interesting report on Seymour Hersh's career today which includes this quote from the interview with him.

'You cannot believe how many people have told me to call them on 20 January [the date of the next president's inauguration],' he says, with relish. '[They say:] "You wanna know about abuses and violations? Call me then."

What an interesting prospect. Makes you wonder what Seymour Hersh's next big investigative report will be.

Billmon: The New Stabbed In the Back Myth

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Billmon has a worthy post up at dkos which was promoted to the front page on how the wingnuts are using divisive rhetoric and actions to set up their post-election justifications on why they lost. Interesting reading about the implications for our nation.

Obama's campaign achievements in September

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Barack Obama's campaign achievements in September:

Over 632,000 new donors.

3.1 million total donors throughout the campaign.

More than $150 Million.

Average contribution for the month was under $100.

Average contribution for the entire campaign is around $86.

And Colin Powell's endorsing him.

Not bad for the day after 175,000 people turn out to see you in Missouri.

Security Expert Warns Of Rigged Election

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This report from SecurityProNews is unsettling, to say the least. The video interview with Chris Hood underscores the systemic nature of the threat. Let's hope the Ohio court system stays on top of this.

Death threat, vandalism hit ACORN after McCain comments

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See John? This is what happens when you and your running mate cast slurs. Don't tell us you're not responsible.

Wordsmith Award

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The award today is a posthumous award, prompted by Kathleen Parker's choice of this William F. Buckley quote in her defense of Christopher Buckley and his declaration that he is voting for Obama.

"Radical conservatives in this country have an interesting time of it, for when they are not being suppressed or mutilated by Liberals, they are being ignored or humiliated by a great many of those of the well-fed Right, whose ignorance and amorality have never been exaggerated for the same reason that one cannot exaggerate infinity."

"...whose ignorance and amorality have never been exaggerated for the same reason that one cannot exaggerate infinity". I suspect there are many who never realized they'd just been insulted. And as Ms. Parker notes, "Fast-forward half a century, and the old is the new. " It's still true.

"Simply a Disgrace"

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Josh Marshall at TPM has the inside view on the allegations against ACORN from a former insider, fired US Attorney David Iglesias. In Iglesias' words:

"I'm astounded that this issue is being trotted out again. Based on what I saw in 2004 and 2006, it's a scare tactic."

More detail here as well.

A Republican In Virginia

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One of Sully's readers who is a Republican from Virginia sums up why Virginia is turning blue. HIs email includes this line which caught my eye:

Ignorant Christian Fascism is not a recipe for success, it's Saudi Arabia under a different prophet. Count me out.

So true.


Tonight on WETA in DC: Torturing Democracy

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PBS station WETA is stepping forward to air the independent film, Torturing Democracy, tonight at 10 pm in the DC area. You can view the complete film online as well at the Torturing Democracy website. [via]

Eunomia ยป Liveblogging Absurdity (The Last Time)

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Daniel Larison does the best liveblog of last night's debate. [via]

Choice

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Find your kleenex. Then get mad on her behalf.

FRONTLINE: the choice 2008

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PBS's Frontline has put their Choice special on the 2008 election in a variety of delivery venues, streaming on their website, on dvd, on Video-On-Demand, and on youtube. Here's the scoop on the special and the different places that it's available. [via]

Throw out all the CW about African American voting for this election

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There's a comment at fivethirtyeight.com that's been highlighted at dkos which I think deserves a little attention. Commenter Kenyada said:

I suggest that the pollsters throw out all data for African American voting in the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections. This election is very different for AAs. In previous elections, the majority of us voted against Bush, but there was a wedge created by the Repulsicans when they appealed to the black church, and paid off black preachers. Particularly in 2004, where the pulpit of the black church became just another campaign stop for high level Repulsican candidates, including Bush.

In 2008, however, there is a ground swell in the black community, and silence from the megachurch leaders, lest they suffer the price of empty collection plates. In the past, we always had to choose the better of two representatives of the status quo. Change was not an option.

This year the choice is as clear as a bell. You should see the lines in Atlanta for early voting. And the faces of the people waiting in lines stretching 60 to 100 minutes in length tell the story. "This one is for Florida in 2004!"... "This one is for Fannie Lou Hamer in 1964!"... "This one is for Katrina!"

Yes, we are voting against McCain, but even more importantly, for the first time, we have a candidate for whom to vote wholeheartedly. I've never seen or heard anything like this in our neighborhoods. All across the State of Georgia the racist political structure has historically herded us into "Buttermilk Bottom" isolated pockets of political powerlessness. This is the first time that we have an opportunity to rise up, join together and, in one resounding voice say, "Enough!"

I'm not sure you understand. This vote is 400 years in the making. Pollsters don't seem to take that into account.

My 82-year old mother had to be rushed to the hospital last Sunday - congestive heart failure. One of the first things she asked when the oxygen mask was removed was "Will someone please get me an absentee ballot. I don't want to miss the election."

Committed? Nah, black folks are *passionate* about this one. This is not only a vote for a candidate; it is a vote for America, the America we heard about from our parents and their parents, across the generations. Freedom and Liberty sound so trite these days, but I remember those words spoken by my Dad on his way to the March on Washington. January 20th will be a dream fulfilled. And if you are expecting only a 95% response on Election Day, you are misinterpreting the sound of the drum.

Ben Smith's Blog: Voting for Obama anyway

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Ben's got an email from a Republican consultant that just perfectly embodies how different this election is from those of the past. Go read and be ready to shake your head in bemused amazement.

Secret White House memos authorized torture

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Yes, they really did it and it's on paper. It's just that it's been classified and so we haven't seen them. Washington Post has the details.

The Bush administration issued a pair of secret memos to the CIA in 2003 and 2004 that explicitly endorsed the agency's use of interrogation techniques such as waterboarding against al-Qaeda suspects -- documents prompted by worries among intelligence officials about a possible backlash if details of the program became public.

Must watch video

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Sully has the clip of 2 young Alaskan women in Anchorage talking about Sarah Palin. Make that 2 smart young women who interestingly enough both have ties to Wasilla and are familiar with Gov. Palin's actions and history there. Go watch.

Yes We Carve - pumpkin carving, Obama style

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There are some pretty amazing and patient pumpkin carvers out there. Check out pumpkin carving, Obama style. Thus far, Ben Dorn's pumpkin is my favorite.

30 Days | 30 Reasons: No More Secrets (#21)

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Today's video from Lee Stranahan's series, 30 Days | 30 Reasons



Here's reasons #22-#30.

Rolling Stone: Rove returns to action for McCain

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Matt Taibbi has an eye-opening piece on Rove's return to active duty on McCain's behalf, just 8 short years after he slandered him out of the 2000 race.

Learning about Paul Krugman

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Marginal Revolution blog has done the research on Paul Krugman in a post that celebrates his Nobel Economics award. There's lots and lots of links to his theories, his academic work, his writing - academic and non-academic. Lots to read.

Someone else is onto David Brooks

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Jim Sleeper has written an article that I wish I had written except that I wouldn't bother wasting so much time on David Brooks. He's so NOT worth it. Jim's article, on the other hand, does an excellent job of explaining why Brooks is a waste of time.

100-year-old votes in her first election

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From The Tennesean:

A month after her 100th birthday, Dilla Freeman Burt cast the first vote of her long life -- for presidential candidate Barack Obama.

It's the excitement surrounding these elections -- a woman running for vice president and a black man running for president -- that prompted Burt to action, said her daughter, Phyllis Burt. [...]

Dilla Burt grew up on Monroe Street in Nashville, the fifth of eight children, during the women's suffrage movement and long before the civil rights movement. ... When Burt reached voting age and beyond, she didn't think black votes were counted -- or mattered -- in elections.

One of the dkos commenters noted "If you don't think this election will mark the end of the Civil War, just read this ... again."

I think he makes a good point. [via]

Thank you Campbell Brown

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Campbell Brown makes an excellent point: So what if Obama was a Muslim or an Arab?



On behalf of our close Palestinian-American friends, I thank you. I cringe when I hear the ignorant abuse and suspicion they have to put up with just living here in the US.

Joe Biden on John McCain's Eratic Epiphanies

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Joe Biden sums up the case on John McCain in this clip.

Maureen Dowd Translated From The Original Latin

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Sood at Ablative Absolute performs a public service in translating Maureen Dowd's column in Latin to something the rest of us dummies can appreciate. I did attempt to work my way through it with my English/French background and came away with the slightest taste of what she was saying. This translation, though imperfect, is much more satisfying. [via]

McCain hearts ACORN in 2006 video

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It seems that Sen. McCain appreciated ACORN back in 2006 along with SEIU, People for the American Way, and Unite Here. Marc Ambinder has the details. John Aravosis talks about the video at Americablog, "The good stuff, where McCain sucks up to ACORN as all that is good with America, comes at about 2 minutes in." [via]

Christopher Brownfield: Why My Former Hero Shouldn't Be President

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Christopher Brownfield, an Iraq vet and a graduate of the Naval Academy, questions McCain's military record--and says he failed the country on torture. [via]

New York Magazine feature on Nate Silver aka Poblano

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I introduced my husband to fivethirtyeight.com a couple months ago and he's become an addict. NY Magazine has a terrific background and interview article about Nate and how fivethirtyeight.com came to be. Of course, being a kossack I knew him from his poblano posts at dkos.

Congratulations on the success, Nate. [via]

Obama's Ohio Speech: J-O-B-S

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Obama delivered a major speech in Ohio today. TPM Election Central has the story and the full text of the prepared remarks.

This American Life on the bailout and other economic profundities

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I heard the second of these two episodes and meant to post about it earlier. I couldn't agree more with the way Lee Stranahan put it.

Once again, This American Life has gone above and beyond the call of duty in explaining the financial crisis in a show called Another Frightening Show About The Economy. If you want to get a much better picture of what's actually happening, listen to it right away and also listen to their Giant Pool Of Money episode. I can't say enough good things about both of these pieces; simply the best, clearest, most entertaining explanations of the financial meltdown we're currently enjoying so much.

VAwatchdog.org: Shredding our trust in the VA

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It's that bad. VA investigators have found entire claims and other critical documents in bins waiting to be shredded at the Detroit Regional Office. They've found first time claims, supporting medical documents, incidental claims that would support a primary claim all stashed away in desks, cupboards, boxes and none of it recorded. Larry Scott has the details.

Looks like the Republican culture of cronyism and incompetence has struck again and this time it's hurting our veterans. [via]

McCain's Associates

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Steve Benen does a succinct round-up of McCain's associates at The Washington Monthly. McCain really shouldn't want to "go there" given the associates he has in his life and career.

Michelle Obama on The Daily Show

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In case you missed it as I did, here's Michelle Obama's appearance on the Daily Show.

Calling foul on ABC's 20/20 and John Stossel

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Cernig has the details over at Crooks and Liars and in this case, the emphasis is on Liars.

Sarah Palin's radical right-wing mentors

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Salon.com brings us an investigative report on Sarah Palin's associations. Meet Mark Chryson and Steve Stoll. It will lead you to ask again, "What vetting process?"

Tom Brokaw Review

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In the Boston Globe, Dan Payne has the best one-line review of Tom Brokaw's performance at the town hall debate that I've seen. [via]

Tom Brokaw played Clock Nazi the whole night, enforcing time limits just when the candidates started to really debate.

Katie gets even

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Katie Couric gets even for Sarah Palin's comments about their interview.

Former Chair & CEO of Bank of America endorses Obama

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Hugh McColl, former chairman and CEO of the Bank of America, surprises his fellow North Carolinians with an endorsement of Obama in the Charlotte Observer.

In 49 years of living in Charlotte, I've seldom offered my opinion in writing and never submitted a piece such as this. The condition of our country compels me.

The economic disarray threatening our community and nation poses critical challenges but also presents opportunity. We can observe the presidential candidates in the crucible of crisis.

Only one of them demonstrates the needed intellect, fortitude and temperament. That is why I have decided to publicly support Barack Obama.

What is needed in Washington is sound judgment and exceptional leadership. Through the years that I've been a businessman and before that an officer in the Marine Corps, I saw what qualities make effective leaders. I see them in Obama: a sharp intellect, stiff spine and steady hand.

There's more. Go read. [via]

Kenya watches out for its favorite son

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Swiftboat hater Jerome Corsi thought he'd take his show on the road to Kenya to look up dirt on Obama. Per the International Herald Tribune, it seems the Kenyan authorities don't want a SBVT liar focused on tearing down Obama in their country,

McCain's Radical Friends

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Reuters goes through an interesting list of undesirables that McCain has sought out. Some racists, some haters, actually a lot of racists. He appears to be quite comfortable in their presence.

What freedom of the press?

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It seems that the McCain-Palin campaign has suspended the First Amendment for the duration of their campaign or at least they're trying to at their campaign events if this one in Clearwater, FL is representative.

Dana Milbank weighs in with more detail on the Clearwater event.

Well, the self-identified pit bull has been unleashed -- if not unhinged. [...]

Worse, Palin's routine attacks on the media have begun to spill into ugliness. In Clearwater, arriving reporters were greeted with shouts and taunts by the crowd of about 3,000. Palin then went on to blame Katie Couric's questions for her "less-than-successful interview with kinda mainstream media." At that, Palin supporters turned on reporters in the press area, waving thunder sticks and shouting abuse. Others hurled obscenities at a camera crew. One Palin supporter shouted a racial epithet at an African American sound man for a network and told him, "Sit down, boy." [...]

The reception had been better in Clearwater, where Palin, speaking to a sea of "Palin Power" and "Sarahcuda" T-shirts, tried to link Obama to the 1960s Weather Underground. "One of his earliest supporters is a man named Bill Ayers," she said. ("Boooo!" said the crowd.) "And, according to the New York Times, he was a domestic terrorist and part of a group that, quote, 'launched a campaign of bombings that would target the Pentagon and our U.S. Capitol,' " she continued. ("Boooo!" the crowd repeated.)

"Kill him!" proposed one man in the audience.

Anger, hate, racism, repression of the media ... sounds like the last 8 years. Why would anyone want more?

A stunningly blunt rejection of the Troopergate dismissal motion

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Skip the opening comments about the debate and start with Robert KC Johnson's summary of Judge Michalski's ruling on the motion to dismiss the Troopergate case in the fifth paragraph. The judge's opinion is scathing at points.

Per Johnson, "it was a stunningly blunt rejection of the pro-Palin arguments, and an unusually eloquent testimony to legislative prerogatives."

Michalski ... termed the legislators' "historic" filing "one of the most bizarre challenges to Alaska's separation of powers doctrine in the history of the state." ... As Michalski came to understand, the legislators' basic claim--that a legislature lacks the constitutional authority to oversee and investigate the activities of an executive--so fundamentally challenged American constitutional theory that few on-point cases exist.

At times, Michalski could scarcely contain his sarcasm. Taking note of the legislators' demand that he stop the investigation lest it make "the Alaska Legislature and the State of Alaska a laughingstock," the judge implied that the activities of Palin, Colberg, and the legislators themselves made the state a "laughingstock."

At other times, Michalski was nothing short of brutal. He chided the legislators' "obviously half-hearted argument that cites no cases and relies on no recognizable legal principles." He deemed their claims contrary to the "unambiguous" nature of Alaska law. He dismissed their assertion that the investigation violated Palin's due-process rights as "absurd on its merits," a misunderstanding of the difference between a legislative investigation and a criminal trial.

Michalski concluded that agreeing with the pro-Palin legislators' demand to halt the investigation on the grounds that it was "partisan" in motivation "can never be the right result in a free society with three independent branches of government. Rarely, if ever, has a request for such extraordinary injunctive relief been made on such flimsy legal grounds. The legal principles controlling this case are clear and fundamental. The Legislature has the power to investigate actions of the Executive."

It's hard to imagine a more one-sided finding.

[via]

Foreclosure Alley

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An eye-opening look on foreclosure in southern California and the damage wrought by the home loan lenders.



[Via]

The Wordsmith Award

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Michael Berube posts about his evolving view of Sarah Palin and the conservative intellectual punditry's reaction to her emergence on the national stage. His conversation with his "Imaginary Interlocutor" produces this delightful bit.

"The thing about Kristol," I.I. replied, "is that after he's dead, we're going to find out not only that he has no vital oils but that he has no internal organs whatsoever. No higher-order consciousness, no pineal gland housing the soul. What's in there instead? Just balsam wood from tip to toe."

From the Creative Class

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From Jack and Jill Politics, Jack "attended a block party in West Philly that was an unofficial Obama event ...[and] interviewed an East African Musician named Samba Mapangala as he prepared to record a song about Obama and what he meant to Africans."

Here's the song.



You can listen to the interview Jack did and find out more about the other music here.

Hilarious post from 236.com: Biden's Debate Training

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There's not much more to say than it's really funny. Go see.

Independent analysis of Obama & McCain's health plans = Obama's does more

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From Reuters:

An analysis of the two starkly different approaches to reforming the U.S. health care system offered by John McCain and Barack Obama suggests Obama's plan has the best chance of making health care more affordable, accessible, efficient and higher in quality.

The report, released on Thursday by the Commonwealth Fund, sized up the presidential candidates' plans for dealing with a health care system which has left nearly 46 million people uninsured and many more underinsured.

According to the report, Democrat Obama's plan would cover 34 million of the nation's projected 67 million uninsured people in 10 years, compared with just 2 million covered under Republican John McCain's plan.

McCain = AT&T ... Obama = Google

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Here's an essay on Obama vs. McCain and the importance to the technology world by Nicholas Thompson at The Washington Monthly.

John McCain is an AT&T guy; Barack Obama is a Google guy. And that's one of the most important policy differences between the two.

Think of the Internet as working at different layers. There are all the pipes that go into your home, and then there's all the stuff on your screen--from e-mail to eMule. The telecom companies like AT&T control the pipes; the software companies, like Google, create the stuff.

In an ideal world, both these layers would be sites of great innovation and creativity. But in the United States, that isn't so. The software industry may seem like a team of Gandalfs, constantly producing magic. But the average telecom company resembles Jabba the Hut: it moves slowly and slobbers a lot.

The United States created the Internet, but it's the rest of the world that can really use it. People in Japan are twice as likely as Americans to have broadband connections, and their pipes are ten times as fast. Compared to France, U.S. Internet access is twice as expensive and one-fourth as quick. Since 2000, the United States has gone from fifth in the world to twenty-second in broadband penetration. We have become a nation of buffering YouTube videos.

What went wrong?

Go read it to find what went wrong.

Posted without comment

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Couric: And when it comes to establishing your world view, I was curious, what newspapers and magazines did you regularly read before you were tapped for this to stay informed and to understand the world?

Palin: I've read most of them, again with a great appreciation for the press, for the media.

Couric: What, specifically?

Palin: Um, all of them, any of them that have been in front of me all these years.

Couric: Can you name a few?

Palin: I have a vast variety of sources where we get our news, too. Alaska isn't a foreign country, where it's kind of suggested, "wow, how could you keep in touch with what the rest of Washington, D.C., may be thinking when you live up there in Alaska?" Believe me, Alaska is like a microcosm of America.

Here's the video courtesy of TPMtv. [Transcript via Coates]

Blackwater Machine Gun Found in Raid on Iraqi Insurgents

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What is Blackwater up to in Iraq? Someone should be keeping a much closer eye on their seemingly criminal activities. Check the details from ABC News.

Homer Simpson and election fraud

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Via Raw Story, Homer Simpson tries to vote for Obama. It looks far too familiar for those of us who watched the 2000 and 2004 elections closely.

TPM's Sarah Palin florilegium

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TalkingPointsMemo has gathered the best of the Sarah Palin video clips in a florilegium which is an anthology of sorts. Per Merriam-Webster "a volume or collection of brief extracts or writings" taken from the Latin: "florilegus culling flowers, from flori- + legere to gather". I've been wishing someone would organize them. Thanks Josh and company.

Mudflats in Alaska calls for help

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Mudflats is asking for help from citizens outside of Alaska. He wants us to write the Legislative Council and let them know how important it is that their report be released on schedule on October 10th.

Tristan57 at dkos has more detail including all the email addresses and phone numbers.

McCain's temper flares up again

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Chris Cillizza does a good job of pulling different sources together in this post about McCain's angry and sarcastic responses during his interview with The Des Moines Register editorial board. Evidently he wanted their endorsement. I don't think he's going to get it after this performance.

How it works

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Dkos diarist David Kroning is sharing his 89-year-old grandfather with all of us. Someone on dkos made a button for him and sent it to David. His grandfather responded with a thank you letter that just touches the heart. As a person who worked in Montana in the Conservation Corps, he said that Obama speaks with FDR's voice and that he thinks of him as FDR with a tan. He also encouraged his grandson with this:

When things get rough in America we always work together, all the people--the white ones and the black ones and young ones and the old ones...it's the only way it works

Go read.

Here's more proof of Obama's appeal to the over-70 crowd. This video is of another senior citizen, this time a 95-year-old woman who has registered to vote for the very first time.

Quinnipiac Poll shows Obama leading in FL, OH, and PA

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The nationwide polls look good for Obama today but the Quinnipiac poll brings particularly good news for the Obama campaign.

The new surveys show Obama leading McCain in Florida 51 percent to 43 percent, in Ohio 50 percent to 42 percent and in Pennsylvania 54 percent to 39 percent.

And from dkos's round up of the Daily Tracking Polls:

Today's trackers will have Sun-Tues data.

                 Obama      McCain    MoE +/-   RV/LV
Today
Research 2000:  51 (51)    41 (41)    3         LV

Yesterday
Rasmussen:      51 (50)    45 (45)    2         LV
Diageo/Hotline: 47 (47)    41 (42)    3.2       RV  
Gallup:         49 (50)    43 (42)    2         RV

ABC/WaPo:       50 (52)    46 (43)    3         LV (data in parentheses from 9/22)

Sarah Palin's Debating Skills

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Andrew Halcro has an article in the Christian Science Monitor about his experience debating Sarah Palin. Halcro "served two terms as a Republican member of the Alaska State House of Representatives [and] ran for governor as an Independent in 2006, debating Sarah Palin more than two dozen times." He gives her great credit for her skill:

And she's a master, not of facts, figures, or insightful policy recommendations, but at the fine art of the nonanswer, the glittering generality. ... Palin is a master of the nonanswer. She can turn a 60-second response to a query about her specific solutions to healthcare challenges into a folksy story about how she's met people on the campaign trail who face healthcare challenges. All without uttering a word about her public-policy solutions to healthcare challenges.

The whole article is worth reading.

The Wall Street Journal makes a very similar point in their article, "Palin Proved to Be Formidable Foe in Alaska Debates".

Then, in one of the evening's final questions, she deftly turned the tables on the two men.

Asked what jobs she might have in her administration for either opposing candidate, she chuckled that former Gov. Knowles could be her official chef, while Mr. Halcro would be Alaska's top statistician.

"It was a witty answer, and funny," recalls Larry Persily, the Anchorage Daily News editor who posed the question at a debate broadcast on the state's public television network. "But it was also a put-down. Everyone knows Tony used to own a restaurant called Downtown Deli, and she was suggesting he should go back to running a lunch counter. With Andrew, she was saying, basically, 'Gee, all your facts and numbers are nice, but the voters just don't care.'"

Two years later, both men concede that they may have underestimated Gov. Palin's ease during the debates, or how disciplined she could be in staying on message. Today Mr. Knowles calls her "extraordinary elusive and unavailable to the public."

Nonetheless, he says, "She is an attractive candidate with a unique ability to emotionally connect with the audience," even as "she deals with issues by repetitive slogans."

[via]