It'd make a great ad, or simply a great comeback during the debates, or even now, when John McCain tries to deflect criticism of his troubled present by once again reminding us of his fabled past:
"Senator, I served with John McCain. I knew John McCain. John McCain was a friend of mine. Senator, you're no John McCain."Gets to the larger issue of McCain no longer being a maverick, no longer being much of anything he once was. He's just not the same John McCain who ran for president as a younger man. He's someone else now, someone unrecognizable.
By Dylan MatthewsHey all. First off, thanks to Ezra for giving me the chance to blog today. It's a great break from freshman orientation which, though fun, is sadly devoid of policy wonkery.On that note, Robert Samuelson plays his role as the Washington[...]
Read The Full Article:
A new intelligence report being “prepared for the next president on future global risks envisions a steady decline in U.S. dominance in the coming decades, as the world is reshaped by globalization, battered by climate change, and destabilized by regional upheavals over shortages of food, water and energy.”
“The Coalition of the Willing appears to be going out of business.” In a speech yesterday announcing his plan to withdraw 8,000 troops from Iraq, President Bush also “announced that most of the countries that have been partnering with the United States in Iraq over the past five years will be pulling their troops out as well.” Read ThinkProgress’ report on the Coalition of the Defeated here.
Congressional budget analysts said yesterday that the federal budget deficit will reach “a near-record [of] $407 billion when the budget year ends later this month, and the next president is likely to face a shortfall in January of well over $500 billion.” Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) economic plan, if he is elected president, would sharply increase yearly deficits well beyond the projected $500 billion.
Three years ago, an Alaska judge warned Sarah Palin to stop harassing her brother-in-law, Alaska State Trooper Michael Wooten, comparing her attacks to “child abuse.” The judge presided over Wooten’s divorce trial, during which an official of the Alaska State Troopers’ union testified that Wooten was being “harassed” by Palin and other family members. Wooten is at the center of the “Troopergate” controversy.
On the trail today: John McCain and Sarah Palin will appear at a campaign rally at Van Dyck Park on Old Lee Highway in Fairfax City, VA. Barack Obama discusses education in Norfolk, VA, and appears on CBS’ “Late Show with David Letterman.”
I completely agree with Nate Silver: the Obama campaign needs to make better ads.It’s not that Obama’s ads are bad by any normal metric. They’re well produced and they usually hit the right themes. The problem is that they’re very conventional. Obama is supposed to exude change. But his ads don’t. They look like the [...]
Read The Full Article:
Watching CNN a few minutes, saw Sarah Palin, standing next to John McCain, say her now classic line about the private jet, "I put it on eBay." She certainly leaves the impression that it was her idea and the sale was successful. Neither are true. In fact, the eBay gimmick cost the state of Alaska money. Nico Pitney explains:
"It was the practice of the state to dispose of items such as this via eBay prior to listing the jet," Vern Jones, Alaska's Chief Procurement Officer, acknowledged on Tuesday.But, it's such a good story and the GOPers love it. Why should facts matter. And, anyone who challenges the veracity of John McCain or his v.p. pick will be branded a sexist and un-American.
Despite being a normal state procedure and, in the end, a costly one, Palin has highlighted her decision to put Alaska's luxury jet on eBay in every speech she has given since being chosen as McCain's vice president. It is a significantly abridged version of what happened.
By the time she was elected, there were many state items being offered on eBay. As the Anchorage Daily News reported on December 13, 2006, nine days after Palin took office and the day she announced the jet posting, the state was "auctioning 38 items on the site, including three aircraft -- two Super Cubs and a Cessna... Other items for sale included two sets of used helicopter floats ($300) and King Air exhaust stacks ($500)."
Back in 2003, the state sold an old ferry, The Bartlett, for $389,500. As Jones noted in a Daily News article at that time, "it [was] not usual for Alaska to sell big-ticket items on eBay because the site is cheap and has a big audience."
The state jet, in contrast, was not a good fit for eBay. Palin never actually sold the aircraft online (though, unlike John McCain, she never claimed that to be the case). But more important, while the jet sat unsold, Alaska was on the hook to pay $62,492.79 every three months as part of the initial purchasing deal.
Consider my headline to be the extent of my concession to the trivial stupidity of the moment. Don't worry; it will probably be supplanted by an equally or still more trivial stupidity before this post is even published. This is not to say there are no issues worthy of attention here. Certainly, the emergence of primal misogynistic hatred in the glorious year when a hell of a lot of men (and women) revealed how much they fear and loathe those stupid, trashy, slutty females deserves mention -- and I've more than mentioned it here. Follow the links for a nauseatingly good time. But this latest lipstick-pig episode...well, there is one issue I want to address that has received scant attention. I'll get to it later. With only a handful of exceptions, no one has offered two intelligent words on the subject. Here's one exception, with some further links for those interested. As I say, I'll explore a related point when my revulsion subsides.
Meanwhile, Barack Obama has repeatedly told us that Afghanistan and Pakistan is where the real action ought to be. He's restated the identical program many times over the last year and more. In August 2007, Obama said:
When I am President, we will wage the war that has to be won, with a comprehensive strategy with five elements: getting out of Iraq and on to the right battlefield in Afghanistan and Pakistan; developing the capabilities and partnerships we need to take out the terrorists and the world's most deadly weapons; engaging the world to dry up support for terror and extremism; restoring our values; and securing a more resilient homeland.Given recent developments, Obama should be feeling as mindlessly blissful as a pig in shit. Oh, my. Did I say that? Why, yes. Yes, I did.
The first step must be getting off the wrong battlefield in Iraq, and taking the fight to the terrorists in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Every day, the shame mounts, the lies grow more brazen and more brutal, and the dishonor spreads and deepens -- ineradicable, like a white garment soaked with blood.That's just the beginning of this installment in the perpetual nightmare. It gets much, much worse.
The atrocity in Azizabad, an Afghan village hit by an American airstrike on the night of August 22, is by no means the worst depredation of the so-called "War on Terror," which has left more than million innocent people dead in Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia over the past seven years. But the mass death visited upon the sleeping, defenseless citizens of Azizabad encapsulates many of the essential elements of this global campaign of "unipolar domination" and war profiteering: the callous application of high-tech weaponry against unarmed civilians; the witless attack that alienates local supporters and empowers an ever-more violent and radical insurgency; and perhaps the most quintessential element of all -- the knowing lies and deliberate deceits that Washington employs to hide the obscene reality of its Terror War.
In the days following the attack, the American-backed Afghan government, local officials with long-standing relationships with American forces, and representatives of the United Nations declared that at least 90 civilians, most of them women and children, had been killed by American bombs in Azizabad. The Pentagon and White House adamantly denied the eyewitness accounts of their own allies on the scene. Washington claimed that "only" five to seven civilians had been killed in what the Pentagon claimed was a successful Special Forces operation against a Taliban stronghold. [Think of that: "only" five to seven civilians killed! How far have we become steeped in blood, when the obliteration of half a dozen innocent human beings can be dismissed as a trifle.]
KARACHI - Seven years after the United States led the invasion of Afghanistan in search of al-Qaeda and to topple the Taliban government, US President George W Bush has added neighboring Pakistan to the list of countries that are "a major 'war on terror' battleground", while also announcing a "quiet surge" of troops into Afghanistan.This episode, too, gets worse.
Bush, in remarks prepared for delivery to the US National Defense University and released by the White House late on Monday, said Afghanistan, Iraq and now Pakistan "pose unique challenges for our country" in the worldwide conflict against terror and that it is in Pakistan's interests to "defeat terrorists and extremists".
What Bush didn't spell out is that it is also in the US's interests that Pakistan get tough on militants, and that the US is increasingly taking matters into its own hands inside Pakistan. In the the latest incident on Monday, at least 25 people were killed in a missile attack by unmanned Predator drones on a Pakistani village near the Afghan border.
The USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier has moved into the Persian Gulf. Contrary to comments by US officials that it is to relieve the USS Abraham Lincoln, Asia Times Online has learned it is part of a new task force, separate from the Lincoln, which will allow the US to increase air sorties in the South Asian war theater. The Bush administration, critics say, is desperate to notch up a major terror success ahead of the presidential elections in November.
Pakistan, under president-elect Asif Ali Zardari, is on board with the US's war strategy, but, to the surprise of Islamabad and with potentially devastating consequences for Pakistan, the US has trained its guns on the "good" Taliban based in Pakistan with deep connections to the Pakistani establishment.
David Byron's latest incarnation on My Left Wing has sparked a lot of discussions about the differences between men and women. While I am not persuaded by his "men are hapless victims" argument, there is no doubt in my mind that sometimes the gap between the sexes is more of a chasm.
Sometimes that chasm looms between the bucket seats of a car, whence the radio control is located.
I was out running errands with the spousal unit the other night, and he was driving, as is befitting his head of the household status, while I was bracing myself and stomping my foot into the floorboard as he dodged through traffic, tailgated other drivers and roared up to red lights. (Ok, it's not really that bad, but he is a significantly more aggressive driver than I).
To distract myself, and keep my blood pressure down, I started fiddling with the radio.
When I'm in the car alone, I listen to a lot of news. My new car has an XM radio, so I've been exploring the possibilities: CNN, CNBC, BBC, Air America (now called something like Talk Left, but that can't be the real name or I'm sure Armando would have sued them into submission already) and NPR.
My husband has zero patience with these. The only talk radio he listens to is our local version of Howard Stern. I can't abide it, but from what I gather, there's lots of crude humor, sexual innuendo, and general frat-boy stuff. Definitely not my cup of tea.
Knowing that I'd never get him to listen to Marketplace on NPR, I switched over to the music end of the radio dial. The first song that came on was "Southern Cross," by Crosby, Stills and Nash (and maybe Neil Young). I happily settled back in my seat, until he said: "Ok, enough of this. I hate folk music!
Rather than debate exactly what defines the genre of folk, I mentioned that it's funny that people who have been together as long as we have still have diametrically opposed musical tastes.
He loves Aerosmith, Van Halen, Styx, Yes, Traffic, Genesis, you get the idea. My preferences are more eclectic, but unfortunately don't overlap with his: The Rolling Stones, The Clash, Green Day, Beethoven, Gershwin, etc.
And never the twain shall meet.
Next trip, I think I'll bring my iPod. At least I know he'll never borrow it.
Do you and your significant other have similar tastes in music?
Do you think musical preferences are merely personal, or have a gender component?
Do you think sometimes it's easier to come up with a story than a question?
Read The Full Article:
Bounce? or fade? We shall see...
Maureen Dowd: Herein are the questions Charlie Gibson should be asking Sarah Palin. A few examples:
What kind of fiscal conservative raises taxes and increases budgets in both her jobs — as mayor and as governor?
When the phone rings at 3 a.m., will she call the Wasilla Assembly of God congregation and ask them to pray on a response, as she asked them to pray for a natural gas pipeline?
Does she really think Adam, Eve, Satan and the dinosaurs mingled on the earth 5,000 years ago?
Why put out a press release about her teenage daughter’s pregnancy and then spend the next few days attacking the press for covering that press release?
EJ Dionne: "Does the truth matter anymore?" (That's generally a question asked when everyone knows you're lying. And everyone knows Palin and McCain are lying... examples within.)
Ruth Marcus: More on the Mommy wars. Is reopening them a good thing? Not that they've ever gone away...
Michael Gerson: Another column extolling Palin's family as a campaign prop, leaving out policy discussion about caring for children. I wonder how long it will be before the dysfunctional family really becomes off-limits?
Robert Samuelson: Want policy? I'll give you policy.
The central health-care problem is not improving coverage. It's controlling costs.
Libertarians for Obama? If you like smaller government, should you vote for Barack Obama? Alex Tabarrok, a professor of economics at George Mason University, makes the case at Marginal Revolution.
David Ignatius: When it comes to Georgia, McCain doesn't have the temperament to be President.
Michael Kinsley: Sarah Palin's record in Alaska sucks. I mean, really sucks. Who the hell picked her?
Palin has continued to repeat the already exposed lie that she said "No, thanks" to the famous "bridge to nowhere" (McCain's favorite example of wasteful federal spending). In fact, she said "Yes, please" until the project became a symbol and political albatross.
Sen. John McCain has emerged from the convention with a slight lead - it works out to about 3 points, according to the Real Clear Politics average of major polls. But unless he starts reaching out more vigorously to independent voters, his convention bounce will likely fade.
In an election that is increasingly about who can win over moderates, Obama is still the candidate to beat. And as both candidates make their cases to voters in the coming weeks, Obama's strategy of targeting the middle is likely to prove more effective than the McCain camp's courtship of the conservative base.
Sarah Palin is a plucky, exciting candidate, but when her record is examined, she fails miserably with respect to her views on the domestic issues that are so important to the people of the U.S., and to me. Frankly, it would scare me if she were to succeed John McCain in the presidency.
Besides, Obama's a mensch.
Gerald Seib: Obama has the advantage on the economy. The Obama message is simple: cut taxes on 95% of us, while McCain sounds like Bush.
by Sandra CuneoStatistics on the fate of teen mothers and the futures of children born to mothers aged 18 and under continue to be disappointing. Few teen mothers have a an adequate, structured support system to help them and their children ? including[...]
Read The Full Article:
From the GREAT STATE OF MAINE...
File this under: Thankless Jobs
McCain Speechwriter Trying To Write Lines That Don't Lead To Creepy Smile
PHOENIX, AZ—According to campaign sources, Joseph Chappel, a 38-year-old speechwriter for Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), has spent the last two weeks attempting to combine words and phrases in such a way as to not provoke a tight-jawed, dead-eyed smile from the presidential hopeful. Dreading a repeat of last month's speech to a group of businesswomen in Ohio, during which McCain followed a mention of his wife with an awkward and eerie smirk, Chappel has avoided personal anecdotes for the new speech, omitted any mention of "God" or "this great nation," and cut several phrases that had the potential to draw the 72-year-old candidate's mouth open in a horrifying display of teeth and gums.
"I've managed to make two out of every three sentences a question, but I'm not sure that will help," Chappel said shortly after deleting an introductory paragraph in which McCain welcomes the crowd. "Jesus, that [smile] makes me feel cold inside."
I hope he gets hazard pay.
Cheers and Jeers starts in There's Moreville... [Swoosh!!] RIGHTNOW! [Gong!!]