Thursday, October 30, 2008

Stay Tuned!

I'm having a crazy day today, but just to give a little heads-up to regular readers, I'm prepping a fun little video barrage for this evening complete with drugs, Tina Fey, Baseball, strange campaign gaffes and um... did I mention videos about drugs and weird other scary stuff like that?

I know, I know... this post is a tease, and while I was typing it I totally could have just fed you at least one of the videos I'm vaguely describing, but if you wait, they'll all come in one glorious post sometime later tonight. I swear. Like, really.

Until then, here's a picture of me celebrating the Phillies' win in the World Series! YEAH PHILLIES!!!!!! Kim doesn't look too scared by my craziness, right? Ok, if so it's kinda understandable. I was um... a little excited. Just a bit. Ok, no really, I was out of my mind with excitement.

Last time the Phillies won a world series I was... what? Oh, that's right not quite 6mo old!

Politics Is Local: Questions about CT Question #1

Connecticut has recently become the latest state thrust into the gay marriage spotlight, when the CT Supreme Court ruled that laws setting out marriage for straight folks and civil unions for gay folks were an example of a "separate but equal" approach to the law. This ruling and judgment on their part, strikes me as eminently logical, clear-cut, and very admirable. I know the marriage question can be difficult for some people, even very tolerant people, but there are common sense aspects to this whole debate, and the analogy to "separate but equal" is, in my eyes, one of the clearest available.

The result of this decision? A new push to introduce ballot initiatives into law in CT via Question #1 which is not a ballot initiative itself. Question #1 is a once-in-twenty years chance for CT voters to say yes or no on the idea of the state holding a convention to review and revise the CT constitution. This question is not legislative, and was last on the ballot in 1986 when voters decided no such convention was necessary.

The predominance of opinion seems to hold that the supporters of Question #1 and a convention want to use this forum to enact ballot initiatives into law, whereby they will almost certainly then move swiftly to introduce an anti-gay marriage initiative onto the next possible ballot.

Now, Ballot initiatives are not a new thing, and here in America they have made some of the biggest splashes out in Califorina, where famous initiatives include:
  • Proposition 187, which was designed to deny illegal immigrants social services, health care, and public education (passed with 58.8% of the vote in 1994, and was subsequently overturned by a federal court).
  • Proposition 215, also known as the Compassionate Use Act which passed in 1996 with 55.6% of the vote. The proposition allows patients with a valid doctor's recommendation, and the patient's designated Primary Caregivers, to possess and cultivate marijuana for personal medical use, and has since been expanded to protect a growing system of collective and cooperative distribution.
While these two examples may seem to show how ballot initiatives can swing support to causes both socially liberal and conservative, the most widespread use of ballot initiative in recent memory has been as a tool to fight against the institutionalization of gay marriage. As I mention in the introduction, CT now finds itself in the middle of the marriage battle. Hence, one of the biggest supporters of voting "Yes" on Question #1, is the Catholic church.

Advocates claim that ballot initiatives will help the people participate more directly in CT's government, and that they will help fight corruption and lack of action on issues close to CT voters' hearts. Opponents, including the Attorney General (aka the highest ranking lawyer in the state) of CT, believe ballot initiatives would give special interests and lobbyists a new tool, and would not benefit the people.

So, what to do? Is it a good or bad idea to let the people of our lovely nutmeggy state gain the wonderful new ability to petition for and then exercise a new right to basically legislate via popular vote?

I would strongly encourage people to vote "no." While I like the idea of ballot initiatives in theory, I don't necessarily see them as a huge positive in practice. I also am someone whose personal beliefs are pretty far left, so I feel like rules legislated by popular opinion (it is suggested that along with anti-gay marriage initiatives, we would likely also see mandatory sentencing or "three strikes and your out" initiatives introduced on ballots right away) are likely to be at least a significant distance further to the right than where I sit.

Bottom line here, as I see it, is that the people pushing for Question #1 to get yes votes are not being forthcoming about their motives, and I find that reason enough to give it a thumbs-down.

Read More:

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Comic Relief: FAIL

Just cause... you know... The Price is Right is still on TV. That's reason enough to enjoy this video:

Stick wit McCain you gone have some drama, Warning: This WILL Get Stuck in Your Head

It's stuck in mine. I only wish I could understand more of their lyrics. Thanks to Wonkette for bringing us this wonderful video!!! These kids should be in the cabinet, whoever gets elected... wait... no, maybe that's a bad idea, but regardless this video is kinda fun, even if you get the song stuck in your head, like I did!

Favorite lyric, "Stick wit McCain you gone have some drama"

Franken Update! Washed-Up Stars Hate Al!

The video below even stars Bridgeport, CT (and Cheers') own John Razenberger among a 4-person parade of Hollywood almost elites basing Al Franken. Somehow I can't quite imagine this making a huge splash for Norm Coleman... but... yeah.

Ouch, This Hurts Me Right in the Soul

Damn, West Virginia. Why? Why must you disappoint so deeply. Below please watch and join me in being concerned by a demonstration of how voting machines in WV function just... um... great. Great, if when you vote a "straight Democratic" ticket you end up voting John McCain for president! Crap crap crap crap crap crap crap, this is just, well, scary.

Round Mound of Rebound to Lead Alabama to Bright New Future???

In the year Two Thousand (and fourteen) Charles Barkley will run Alabama... I wonder if there are any Alabama residents who comment on this blog and might have thoughts on this idea!?!? For more on what motivated Barkley's thoughts of running:
"I plan on it in 2014," Barkley told CNN's Campbell Brown on Monday. When asked if he was serious, the former Philadelphia 76er said, "I am, I can't screw up Alabama." He added that his native state could only improve. "We are number 48 in everything and Arkansas and Mississippi aren't going anywhere," Barkley said.
Read More.

Journalistic Integrity, Political Flack/Hackery and Media Bias, an Essay in 3 Parts (with Video!!!!)

Part 1: Campbell Brown on Campaign Journalism, BS, Pregnancy, and Callin' it Like it Is
Campbell Brown visited the Daily Show yesterday and among other things discussed CNN's goals with regards to campaign coverage. She nicely summed up her goals, saying, "If one candidate is saying it's raining and the other says it's sunny we should be able to look outside and say, 'it's sunny.' Which means one guy is wrong!" It's a simple concept, but one so easily lost in the world of debate-style match-ups of talking heads from "each side" of an issue and demands that equal time go to each side, or that fairness or balanc-ed-ness is measured in the number of minutes given to each "side" while the other often has the opportunity to blabber over them as much as they can manage.

Part 2: Taking Flack Poster Child Tucker Bounds to School
I've got a growing list of campaign flacks I hate, and I think anyone who watches cable news with any regularity likely does as well. While I've been an Obama fan for awhile, I don't think John McCain has helped himself by having Nancy Pfotenhauer and Tucker Carlson Bounds out there spewing idiocy on his behalf. How bad is Mr. Bounds? Apparently at least 3 cable news outlets have more or less taken him to school. Check out the video (I couldn't embed this one) by following the link.

Part 3: Bill Burton Won't Back Down
The left has talked about Fox News' bias for quite some time now, and that bias has been documented in various ways (but honestly, what progressive who has watched Faux News for more than 5 minutes even feels like documentation is actually necessary?). Anyway, the Obama campaign has recently gone after Faux News head-on with the candidate himself even taking some digs here or there. Bill Burton, a campaign spokesman, recently released a statement about Fox picking up and distributing a story no other major news network has touched after the Drudge Report started the rumor mill churning a day before. Fox had him on to get a spanking, but Bill Burton would not take his licks quietly, no no. Instead, what they got is the combative exchange you see below. Nice.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Who's up for getting INSPIRED on a Tuesday morning?

Ok, so yesterday I had a somewhat infuriating clip of some crazy lady in Florida "interviewing" Joe Biden by basically parroting GOP talking points and then acting like they were questions. Today, the Biden clips continue, but they give you a completely different piece of the political landscape, namely one of many reasons Joe Biden is a ridiculously cool guy. Below is a story about one woman's struggle with domestic violence and how Biden's work to pass the Violence Against Women act had a direct impact on her life. Inspiring stuff! Enjoy.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Questions about polling

I've had many conversations over the last month about polls. I've also had a running dialog with myself over the last few days as the election draws closer and closer. My inner conversation has been one whose tone I can describe best by using the term, "caution." My conversations with friends have veered more towards discussion of the remarkable trends you can see in the last month + of polling data compiled in the trends graph from below.

The reason my inner thoughts have veered towards caution is that I'm superstitious and I'm worried. In 2004, I was convinced there was no way America could possibly think more Bush was a good idea, and yet somehow on November 5th I found myself wandering around Washington DC wondering to myself, "wtf???"

Now, 4 years later, it seems clear that Obama is in a much stronger position than Kerry ever was able to establish for himself, but still I am one who will keep his fingers crossed into the evening of November 4th. I'm excited, hopeful and looking at the trends you can see above I am encouraged, but I cannot and do not assume this is in the bag by any means. I'm excited to get into the booth and cast my ballot, and I hope all the other Obama supporters out there are just as pumped up, so that we show up in the record numbers that appear to be turning out already in early voting states.

Are you joking? Who's up for getting ANGRY on a Monday morning?

Given my leanings, you might think this post is going to be about John McCain's temper, but it is not. Instead, it's about my own. One thing I have grown increasingly tired about over the past few years is the hackery that is passed off in so many places as reporting. There sometimes seems to be a horse race between cable news and local news to see who can dig the deepest into the pit quickest, but sometimes that feels unfair. Is it worth pointing out that cable news personalities may be actually paid to be hacks whereas local news personalities may just be rookies or amateurs who don't realize how poorly they're executing on reporting?

I dunno, and maybe I don't even care. Do you? Either way, check out this lady from Florida "interviewing" Joe Biden. I think Biden keeps his cool and does a remarkable job in the face of some truly ridiculous questions taken from or even elaborated beyond McCain campaign talking points. If you want some further background on this lovely reporter, check out her interview with McCain.

Glad to have found all of this on HuffPo. Ugh, I really don't know what else to say here.

Conservatives for Obama

There is a good video out that was released last week showing interviews with conservatives who plan to vote for Barack Obama. The video is below, and truly speaks for itself, but Huffington Post also had a great piece put together by the video's creator, and I wanted to post a bit of that text along with the video.
There are a number of people in my life -- some family, some friends, some colleagues -- with whom I have never agreed upon anything political. Ever. These are my political opposites. My bizarre-o twins. And they have been my adversaries in countless debates; the kind nobody ever wins, but nobody ever seems to tire of, either.

Sadly, politics have become sort of a new sports league in modern culture. We don't really listen to each other's points of view so much as we pick a side and root for it. And just as with our favorite sports teams, our faith in our parties can become blind...

I fully expected the results to be compelling and convincing. And they are. What I didn't expect was the emotional wallop these unscripted interviews deliver. A combination of deep disillusionment with the last eight years, disappointment in John McCain's candidacy, and an undeniable draw to Obama brought these people to a political decision that was deeply personal and courageous. It became clear to me that these were more than interviews. These were confessions.

This is what democracy is supposed to be. These people actually listened, considered and were open to the possibility of change. They didn't support a candidate. They actually chose one. And while I'm happy this year they are voting for "my team," they also inspired me to be more open in my own political life.

Obama on Visiting his Grandma

I know this whole piece of campaign history is now in the books, but I caught this video last week and really wanted to post it. I believe it appeared on Huffington Post just before Obama left the trail to visit with his grandmother, who recently broke her hip and is in very poor, and possibly deteriorating health. What I didn't know, personally, is that he made the decision to visit Grandma, in part, motivated by the fact that he chose differently when his mother was sick before she passed away. He talks about that decision below.

As someone who lost a parent with very little notice I feel like his decision is something I can 100% relate to, and a choice I very deeply respect.

SNL Will Ferrell's Brilliant George Bush Returns

I'm a pretty huge fan of Will Ferrell, I'm not gonna lie. Elf? Perhaps my favorite Christmas movie... ok, perhaps second to It's a Wonderful Life, with Home Alone a close 3rd. Did anyone else see the Ice Harvest? That was kinda fun too. Crap, I'm totally off topic. Anyway, Will Ferrell, I love the guy, I'll be honest with you, I love his music, I do, I'm a Will Ferrell fan. For my money, I don't know if it gets any better than when he sings "When a Man Loves a Woman." celebrate his entire catalogue... yeah, oops, off topic again.

SNL rolled out Ferrell for the latest brilliant installment of the Tina Fey as Sarah Palin show. While we all now know that playing Sarah Palin causes Fey the kind of pain typically reserved for Guantanamo Bay interrogations, the sketches really are amazing. I'll be happy to see Palin and McCain lose so that Fey doesn't launch herself into space, but I will miss the comic hijinks. Check it:

The Best Way Back!

Hey, I have to say that I gave no notice to my friends who post some wonderful content up here and hence I'm glad some stuff made it up while I was away at Kim's sister Heather's wedding this weekend. Meanwhile we all returned home yesterday and mixed football with napping and general laziness. Good times were had by all. The wedding was great, but as weddings can, the experience was very all-consuming. Hence, there was no blogination for a few days now.

To pull back the curtain a bit on my blogging techniques, when I get super-busy I still find moments here and there to look for stuff to blog about. If I can't get to posting, I'll write myself an email with links to whatever content I had in mind to toss up. Today I'll post a bunch of stuff that hopefully isn't too horribly dated at this point, but I'll also mix in some amazing new news of the day. How's that?

Meanwhile, how about the whole picture of where things stand today, huh? 8 days out from the election it looks like Obama is holding onto double-digit leads in national polls. Down in Philadelphia the Phillies are up 3 games to 1 on the Rays in the World Series, with a chance to finish it off tonight in Philly! (that would be absolutely HUGE for the city of Brotherly love... don't believe it? Check out the "Clock of Fan Desperation" that counts down how long it's been since the last national championship won in Philadelphia.) Also, how about the whole thing with Jennifer Hudson? That's just horrifically sad. I can't imagine what it must feel like. Oh, and um... yeah, how about that stock market, huh?

Ok... seriously now, I'm so happy to be back blogging away. I had a great weekend and I hope you did too! Congratulations to Heather and Doug and my friend Shaun and his lovely new bride Jen who also got married on Saturday!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Real Political Vlack Talk

Filmmaker Alex Vlack recently sat down with the people who bring you Real Political Face Talk, for a chance to talk about his new feature Still Bill, a documentary about Bill Withers. Mr. Withers is the songwriting talent behind such classics as "Ain't No Sunshine," "Lovely Day," "Lean on Me", and "Just the Two of Us". In other words, even if you are not familiar with the name, you have certainly heard his music! The resulting interview, between Mr. Vlack and RPFT, is well-worth reading for anyone who is excited about music or movies, or movies about music. Here is Mr. Vlack's description of his own work:

We do feel like there are no films about music legends quite like this one. It's not a "Behind-The-Music". It's a very personal, honest, and profound portrait of a very interesting man. You won't walk away knowing everything about his life and career, but you will feel like you know him much better as a person.

Highly Reccomended.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Former Republican Gov. of Minnesota endorses Obama!

The wave of bi-partisanship continues with Arne Carlson, a former Republican governor in Minnesota, endorsing Barack Obama for President. I'm not sure Minnessota was in play even before this announcement, but it is another feather in Obama's already very well-adorned cap.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Let's Go Phillies!

Phillies and the Rays are under way here, and like so many folks out there I'm on the edge of my seat. Nice start courtesy of Chase Utley... but many innings to go!


Time Machine: Destination 2004!!!

Wow... incredible, remarkable, strange... I just don't quite know what to say about this bizarrely prescient Life Magazine cover from 2004, where they talked to various famous people about why they take voting so seriously. Among the folks they talked to were Tina Fey and John McCain, who, according to former Managing Editor, Bill Shapiro, got along famously.
Of course, we photographed John McCain and Tina Fey together. He was thrilled to meet her and they got along very well: They had lunch and he gave her an impromptu tour of the Senate building. Makes us wonder if when McCain met Palin for the first time, he said, 'You know, you remind me of someone..."

Nice discovery, Wonkette. I'm still trying to comprehend the picture, but damn if it isn't cool.

Wednesday Video Blitz (part 2)!!!

Ok... the Wednesday video blitz continues! This time with slightly more brief commentary.

Video #3 From a rally yesterday in PA, McCain can't quite stick the landing on this attack line. Not too much to say beyond that, except if you want to hop back to a previous post on slips. Thoughts?

Video #3 Citizen's Arrest! Citizen's Arrest! I, for one, love the concept of a citizen's arrest, don't you? In the video below you can see two funny things, first being a San Francisco woman attempting to execute a citizen's arrest for treason of Karl Rove. Right on lady! You rock! Meanwhile, later in the video there's a great zinger first, one John Kerry apparently had and Rove repeats, and then a beautiful dig on Rove. Check it!

Hope you enjoyed the video fun! Maybe we'll add part 3 later.

Hey Peter, watch out for your corn hole, buddy!

Salon reported earlier in the week that Office Space star Ron Livingston will hit the campaign trail for Barack Obama in Iowa this week. Livingston grew up in Iowa and will make stops all across the state. Salon said:
We hope there is enough cake to go around and that Milton will get to keep his stapler.
Meanwhile, I'm hoping that someday soon the shop will feature a red Swingline stapler that simply says, "Hope" on it. C'mon, you know you want one!

Wednesday Video Blitz (part 1)!!!

Hey, come on people... it's Wednesday, hump day, that day that sits between the two that start with 'T'... ya know, it's all... wait, I have no point. Yes, wait, yes!!! I do! It's Wednesday, let's celebrate with a barrage of recent interesting videos for your enjoyment!!! What do you think!?!?!? This post will feature the first two, and I'll post another two in the early afternoon, with some other random junk in between.

Video #1 will really start us off with a bang... but sadly, it's a bang called 'really appalling and disturbing." John McCain was recently asked if he was 'proud' of an mailer the RNC is sending around with airplanes and text about terrorists on the outside, and a huge picture of Barack Obama inside. The mailer states, among other things, that Barack Obama "thinks terrorists just need a good talking to." Apparently, this sort of distorted and gut-wrenchingly disgusting crap is the kind of stuff John McCain is proud of. Ugh.

Video #2 is an interesting one that is making the rounds and something McCain really should be proud of. This is the second recent clip I've posted from the American News Project, and both have been remarkably well done glimpses into illuminating issues around and connected to the presidential race (today they've got a striking piece up about the disenfranchisement of felons). In the video below you can see a variety of different folks, eventually joined by a man who is a representative from Muslims for McCain confronting a couple who are selling bumper stickers at a McCain rally. The video starts with the sticker salesman lecturing about Islam, and the stickers contain imagery linking Obama to Islam and Communism.

The folks who confront the sticker-selling couple are pretty level headed and cool about their comments for the most part. Towards the end a guy who identified himself as a conservative Christian actually asks, "are you deliberately trying to lose us this election"?

I think the two videos provide an interesting juxtaposition of ideas swirling around how Islam and Obama's name, identity, etc. are treated in this election. To be honest, I think the issues we see swirling around the election right now represent a huge leap forward in terms of progress, by which I mean to say I think that it's progress that America is working through some of this. We've still got a lot of work to do in many quarters to realize how to live out the tolerance and liberty our nation was founded on, but I am hopeful that remarkable things are happening this fall and will continue in the months and years to come.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Japan that can say "Buy"

One of the interesting side effects of this whole subprime financial crisis has been the growing assertiveness of Asian economies, particularly Japan (and I don't care what you say, Japan is an Asian economy!) It's not that the Japanese economy is doing particularly well right now. However, Japanese banks are apparently fair stable and flush with cash in comparison to their American counterpoints. After the Mitsubishi deal, some people have started talking about Japan as a "white knight" nation, one who rescues South Korea and some Wall Street titans. If this comes about to pass it will be very fitting, given that Japan went through a similar problem in the 1990's. Fareed Zakaria will prarticularly love this tidbit:

Mr. Shiozaki and others are careful to point out that no one is talking about replacing Washington as guardian of the global economy. Rather, what they envision is a world where America shares oversight of the global economy with emerging powers like China and India, as well as Europe and Japan.

With all this buzz about "pro-American" and "anti-American" we would do well to remember that the buzzword for the next few decades is likely to be "post-American."

So Close? or So Far Away?

I was reading through the post yesterday from Venice and I agree with his concern about the strength of poll numbers, the chances that things will look very different in two weeks than they do today, etc. It's an interesting morning to blog about this, what with Obama leaving the campaign trail to be with "Toot," his grandmother. Andrew Sullivan describes their relationship accurately, I think, by saying that if she passes away Obama will in essence be losing, "his last parent." His mother passed a few years back, and his grandfather and father are both gone.

Here are a few of my thoughts on Obama leaving the rallys and hooplah for a couple days, and on the polls and what they mean:
  1. Polls: I think there are a couple sites, Five Thirty Eight and in particular that do a good overlap of poll tracking and accompanying analysis. While I understand what Venice is pointing out about the fact that Obama's unprecedented support in some states doesn't necessarily translate to wins there, what I think is worth noting is that maps on both sites listed above calculate whether states are in one column or another (or somewhere between) based on composite poll numbers... hence, not comparison to past performance in a given venue. Below are some of Nate Silver from Five Thirty Eight's thoughts on Saturday's poll numbers and the talk of the race tightening:
  2. Between "Joe the Plumber", "spread the wealth", "I'm not George Bush", etc., however, McCain at least now seems to have a few somewhat more constructive talking points (in that sense, the fact that the Ayers attacks went over like a lead balloon at the debate might have done him a favor). So some of those crestfallen conservatives might have moved back into the likely voter universe...

    McCain's other problem is that the polls in battleground states have not really tightened at all. Obama gets good numbers today, for instance, in North Carolina, Wisconsin, and Florida. Obama presently has something like a 3:1 advantage in advertising, and most of that advertising is concentrated in battleground states. As such, this may serve as a hedge against any improvements that McCain is able to make elsewhere in the country.
  3. Leaving the Trail: I think that Obama's departure for Hawaii at this particular moment is a reasonable thing, something most Americans will understand, and potentially something that the campaign will benefit from. Why? Well, it would seem to me that it would be hard to hit hard at a guy who's currently going home to see his sick grandma for perhaps the last time, but based on the past couple months nothing would surprise me. Perhaps his grandma 0nce had tea with some terrorists and we'll hear about it from some Sarah Palin rally today. Meanwhile, the rallys will go on with Michelle Obama, Clinton, Biden, Richardson, and the whole Democratic support team swooshing in to help out in Barack's absence. I think this whole event will work out to a net neutral for the campaign, even in light of how late on the moment is.

Monday, October 20, 2008

How close- or far- is this thing?

There's a bit of chatter this week about how the presidential race is tightening. It's a fair question, but what I've really been wondering is whether Obama was ever as far ahead as he seemed. Last week I remember reading about how some people at the networks were already thinking about an early election night, one in which it would be almost immediately apparent that Obama had won. It's easy to see why. Obama is way ahead nationally and leads in pretty much every swing state. He's even threatening McCain in traditionally Red territory like North Carolina and Indiana. Seems like this thing is over and done with.

The problem with this view is that electoral votes are, generally, an all or nothing affair. Obama might do unbelievably well in North Carolina, Indiana, West Virginia and Colorado, but that doesn't he'll actually beat McCain in any of these places. If he doesn't, that will bring the race back to traditonal swing states like Ohio and Florida, where things look more like a normal election. For instance, McCain has respectable, if not necessarily winning, support in Ohio. In other words, Obama's unprecedented strength in Red states could be great as fodder for political discussions and yet still be totally ineffective in terms of actually winning the election. Anyway, what do you all think? Just paranoia?

Franken's Got Map-Skills

In my continuing effort to promote the cool idea that Al Franken may soon unseat Norm Coleman for one of Minnesota's senate seats, I bring you a video of Franken drawing the continental US free hand. I found it via Digg, and a more extensive post on geography and Franken's drawing sills is available on the blog Parenting Squad. The Parenting Squad post sources Greg Laden for the story behind the drawing skills:
This [skill] stems from a bar bet Franken made some years ago in which he claimed to be able to name all fifty states. When he got to the end, the count was only 49, and there was no way to remember which state he had accidentally skipped. So he decided to learn how to draw a map of all 48 states so he could keep track.

A few friends from my study abroad trip to Rome used to razz a friend of ours who went to Waldorf Schools growing up about the fact that his alternate education should have endowed him with innate map-skills useful in any situation. Marky did, indeed, have quite a bit of cleverness... but I don't think his map skills were quite Franken-esque.

Mom, Dad, do you have a minute? We need to talk.

My friend Evelyn sent this clever little spot my way last week and it took me a couple days to post it up, but check out a nice little bit of advertising from my friends over at Makes me think of the famous, "I learned it from watching you!" anti-drug advertisement from back in the day.

Weekend Wrap-Up: Rachel Maddow, Endorsements, etc.

I've got a deep fondness for Rachel Maddow, and as she grows a bigger name on the national stage as a political pundit/voice in the national cable news blab-o-thon my respect for her grows. I think she's an interesting, playful, powerful and smart voice from the left, but I also think she represents the best possible version of progressive politics, an often polite, rarely shrill yet still strong, passionate and clear voice driven by a strong set of values. This last piece is important to me, as someone who has always identified his liberal bias as built off a foundation of values and as someone who has struggled with the right's easy ability to seemingly own the term "values" in the national debate.

This weekend the New York Times ran a nice piece profiling the private side of Maddow. It's a nice read for anyone who seeks balance in their life, since it depicts a rising star in the chattering class who counter-balances her life on a state in NYC with a quieter weekend existence 190 miles away in the woods of Mass. Maddow is a liberal lesbian who drives a pickup, takes her dog to the dump on Saturday mornings, and seeks out odd-ball art like the squirrel statue you see on the right. The questions the NYT posed were well chosen, including the following:
Worst thing about Obama: He’s measured to a fault. He is so calm and cool and collected that sometimes I want to know what he feels.

Best thing about McCain: He’s very funny...

Obsession: Loose nukes. I literally lie awake and worry that we haven’t paid attention to some of the real national-security threats that are out there.

Favorite item in house: The house mostly reflects Susan’s style, but I have to put my stamp on things. Once, I found a sculpture of a big, fat squirrel holding a reflector. You’re supposed to put it at the end of your driveway. We have it near the kitchen table; it’s the house mascot.
Meanwhile, back out on the trail, Obama's camp was celebrating Colin Powell's endorsement. We've written a couple things about that development already so I wont' dwell on it, except to raise a sad and strange little related news bit. The McCain campaign countered Sunday's endorsement with an email blast to reporters touting an endorsement of their own:
"As a Hispanic-American, I understand how important this election is for Hispanics," said Katie Barberi, a Telenovela actress currently on Telemundo's Dona Barbara. "We need a leader who can lower taxes, protect small businesses, and increase job creation nationwide. I have no doubt that John McCain appreciates the important role Hispanics play not only in the economy, but in our nation's culture as well...
Wow... um... so there you have it folks... two little tidbits that tell you a bit about how the weekend went. Seriously, I can't muster anything to say about this Telemundo Telenovela star's endorsement... except, "wow."

Oh, and the Tampa Bay Rays won the honor of going up against the Phillies in this year's World Series. Should be a good series, although I don't know how well it will do ratings-wise.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Powell's Endorsement

By now, we all know that Powell endorsed Barack Obama on Meet the Press today. I have no idea how much this will mean in the next 16 days-- though it certainly will be welcome by the Obama camp-- but for me personally it was a very powerful moment and not only because I respect Colin Powell. I have rarely agreed so whole-heartedly with a national political figure.

I shared each one of his concerns about McCain's campaign, from the free improvisation that was his response to the financial crisis to his shameful suggestion that Obama sympathizes with terrorists. I hope that this will serve as a wake up call to McCain and the rest of the Republican party: we are sick of the politics of personal destruction and we VOTE!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Spy Stuff... Random, but Fun!

Learn a little bit about Jay J. Armes, Private Investigator. My friend Adam sent this my way months ago, but for some reason I never really watched it until today. It's completely random but fun and worth 6 minutes of your time!

On A Lighter, But Just As Anti-American Note

This Thursday brought us a special edition of SNL Weekend Update, and the highlight was Kristen Wiig (so so so funny) as the crazy lady from the McCain rally. Video of Kristen, Amy Poehler and Seth Myers below.

Click here for the original footage this joke is based on.

Modern McCarthyism: Minnesota, Please Get This Woman OUT of Congress!!!

Wow, it's anti-America Saturday here at The Best Way, and I've got post number two on the subject for you now. I saw a truly bizarre and disturbing exchange on Chris Matthews' MSNBC show hardball yesterday in which a complete wingnut crazy lady who just so happens to be a Congresswoman, Rep. Michelle Bachmann from Minnesota, blathered and name dropped every questionable association Barack Obama has ever had, making it sound like each and all of these folks are Obama's closest advisors today.

She also ranted about how liberals are all anti-American, and how journalists should do an expose exploring what members of congress don't love this country. I can't tell if exchanges like this should make me angry or just scared, but I do know that I hope Ms. Bachmann gets booted from her seat in congress this fall.

Late in the clip you can see Matthews speak for a few moments with Stephanie Cutter, a smart and often unshakable Obama representative, and I think it's worth noting just how upset and off her game Cutter is. I would be too, if I were in her shoes and had just sat there listening to 10 minutes of this vile crap and suddenly had to respond as though any of it was reasonable enough to warrant a response. The clip is below followed by two sections of transcript I think are particularly illuminating.

Matthews - Do you think the 30% of this country that call themselves liberals, are they anti-American?

Bachmann - I think the people that Barack Obama has been associating with are anti-American by and large, the people who are radical leftists...

...and then later

Matthews - This is the strongest stuff I've heard since back in the 50s when they used to call up and say, 'Hey you know, this guys a communist...'

Stephanie Cutter - What do you want me to say, Chris? 2/3 of the American people think John McCain is running a low-road campaign... I'm not sure that Congresswoman really represents where the American people are right now...
Seriously, and honestly, if this isn't McCarthyism, I don't know what is. If it makes any of you feel any better, Ms. Bachmann's routine here has done wonders for the fundraising efforts of her opponent in this fall's election. What was already a close race will hopefully now be even closer with a new infusion of cash for Elwyn Tinklenberg, her fantastically named oponent.

Update: In the first 24 hours after Bachmann's remarks Tinklenberg raised over $438,000.00 for his campaign, and it has been reported that he has continued the windfall, raising well over $600,000 this weekend. That's not the only fallout for Bachmann, though, her remarks have also inspired her GOP primary opponent for this congressional seat to wage a new campaign to get Republicans and others outraged by Bachmann's remarks to vote for him as a write-in on their November ballot! Amazing how clearly Americans have responded, saying loud and clear, "We don't want a new era of McCarthyism!" Nice work everyone!!!

Biden Takes on the Idea of "Pro-American parts of America"

I think Americablog gets it right when they say that the video below shows, "Biden at his best." This short clip shows Biden reacting to Sarah Palin's recent remark about how she likes to visit, "Pro-American parts of this country." Biden says, among other things:
I've never been to a state that hasn't sent it's sons and daughters to fight and die for this country. It doesn't matter where you live! We all love this country.

Friday, October 17, 2008

WWCPD? What would Colin Powell do, and so what?

Huffington Post reports today that Colin Powell is almost certainly ready to endorse Barack Obama for President, and I for one am impressed and encouraged by this tidbit of news. Back in the 90s when I was both a teenager and much less knowledgable about politics Powell was someone who floated into my consciousness as uniquely impressive. Late in the 90s when he basically refused to run for President supposedly largely based on his wife's objections I took that as yet another reason to be impressed with his judgement and values.

While serving in the Bush administration Powell did a number of things that tarnished my opinion of him as both a leader and a person. When considering some of his most egregious acts during his tenure under Bush, I often imagined (and some reporst would support this idea) that he convinced himself to go along with Bush Cheney & Co. under the umbrella of serving our country best by working within their team to try and offer a stable, sensible voice among some truly nutty wingnuts, like Cheney. At the same time, and through all of this I know that Powell and I are two vastly different people in terms of our political beliefs and values.

So what's this all worth, and why does Powell matter? Well, I would suggest this tidbit is newsworthy, if accurate for two salient reasons:
  1. Powell is understood primarily to be not only a military man, but an elderstatesman within the U.S. military establishment. The guy was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs (also only African American to serve on the Joint Chiefs so far), Secretary of State, and National Security Advisor to Raegan and Bush 1.
  2. I believe Powell is seen and will continue to be seen as eminently either nonpartisan or, if at all partisan moderately Republican across wide swaths of undecided America. While Powell's own endorsement may not have an enormous measured impact, I do think it plays into a larger narrative about the middle of the American electorate slipping away from McCain based on a stew of different issues swirling around the economy, his choice of Palin, recent erratic behavior, and the simple sense that one candidate in this election has brightly out-shined the other in terms of confidence and leadership over the last month of rocky news for our nation.
Now, that said, I am sure there are parts of America, and I hate to say this, where folks will look at a Powell endorsement and simply see one African American man endorsing another. I would posit, however, that these folks are likely already decided and are waiting anxiously to tote out their monkey dolls or other bizarro paraphernalia to the next local Sarah Palin rally. Meanwhile many places in the land of the undecided I can see Powell's voice resonating in interesting ways.

Perhaps the larger trends are the real story, but I for one was pleasantly surprised (although not that surprised) to see this headline today, and I am encouraged to see Powell follow the undecided Matts of New Hampsire constituency in joining the Obama fold!

image from World Economic Form published under Creative Commons license.

Editor's Note: This post was originally posted on 10/15, but I have bumped it back up in response to Powell's upcoming appearance on national TV (Sunday morning).

Voter Fraud Facts, Fiction, Fury and Foolishnes.

As the campaign pulls into the closing stretch over the next couple weeks, expect to hear more and more and more from the right wing about how evil ACORN is, and how they are aiming to destroy democracy. John McCain lashed out hard against the group in Wednesday night's debate, and Sarah Palin has been whipping up the base with vaguely stated charges out on the campaign trail for weeks, not only accusing the group of organized fraud, but also Obama of collusion with these supposed efforts.

Meanwhile, in some states early voting has already begun, and reports are trickling in of actual attempts at voter fraud by supporters of the GOP ticket. Read one or two of these accounts on Andrew Sullivan's blog to get a feel for what I mean.

Also, whether informally or through some formal effort, emails have circulated in the past few months about voters being turned away from polling places if they wear anything showing support for a particular candidate. The validity of this rumor varies from state to state, so through a link off a page on the subject I found an article that documents extensive research on the various state laws. This article says, among other things:
1. Laws in 10 states prohibit the “wearing” of a political message button

Ten States -- Delaware, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, New Jersey, New York, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Vermont -- prohibit a voter from “wearing” to the polls the same type of political message button that I wore on Election day. State laws describe this type of political message/campaign button in language such as “badge, “lapel,” “button,” or “pin” (all hereinafter “button”). It is important to note that in Tennessee, the state that enacted a “campaign-free zone” law that was challenged in the Supreme Court,18 the statute explicitly notes that a person may wear campaign clothing only outside the legally appropriate polling place boundary...

2. Laws in 40 states and the District of Columbia prohibit campaign activities in and around the polls in other ways

Each of the other forty states and the District of Columbia also regulate activities in and around its polling places on election day. These laws are designed to preclude voter intimidation and reduce the opportunity for fraud. A group of states make it unlawful to “display” or “exhibit” campaign material (sometimes enforced against voters wearing buttons, t-shirts or hats) in and around polls. Several states ban “electioneering” in polling places (the definitions of the activities that constitute electioneering vary from state to state). The majority of states prohibit a person from “posting” or “distributing” campaign literature and materials around the polling area. Several states simply regulate campaigning near polls through anti-loitering statutes. All these statutes intend to prevent active, disruptive campaigning as voters cast their ballots.
Advice: if you have questions about what is permissable in your state, find information on contacting your state elections board here, and consider sending around the proper information far and wide once you have it.

So now you've got some context, but where's the story and what's really going on? The reality of the ACORN situation is that unfortunately some shady action is in fact happening. One of the things ACORN does is to pay workers who canvas, often in low-income communities, looking to register voters. These workers are often paid based on how many folks they register so it should come as little surprise to people that here or there one of these workers forges a name or 70, simply trying to pad their check by upping their numbers.

Should the fact that this is unsurprising make anyone feel like it's less disturbing? No, not really. However, what should is that every single state in the U.S. has systems to check voter registrations and weed out faulty ones along the way. ACORN is not collecting votes, merely registering people to vote, and the thinness of this GOP scare tactic is illustrated even more clearly when you look at an interview former U.S. Attorney David Iglesias recently did with Talking Points Memo. Iglesias was dismissed by the Department of Justice after he refused to chase after voter fraud claims in certain cases where he felt the investigations of said fraud showed little evidence worthy of prosecution. Discussing this latest controversy over ACORN, Iglesias said:
"I'm astounded that this issue is being trotted out again," Iglesias told TPMmuckraker. "Based on what I saw in 2004 and 2006, it's a scare tactic." ...

Iglesias, who has been the most outspoken of the fired U.S. attorneys, went on to say that the FBI's investigation seemed designed to inappropriately create a "boogeyman" out of voter fraud.

And he added that it "stands to reason" that the investigation was launched in response to GOP complaints...

As we noted earlier... changes made to DOJ's election crimes manual, lowered the bar for voter-fraud prosecutions, and made it easier to bring vote-fraud cases close to the election... Speaking today to TPMmuckraker, Iglesias called such changes "extremely problematic."
So... what is any of this worth? Well, if the current polls hold true and even if the race tightens a bit over the next few weeks, it looks like Obama may win a decisive enough victory that claims around voter fraud, etc. will matter very little in the larger picture. If, however, something happens over the next little bit and the results on November 5th look closer that we now expect, don't be surprised if these shrill shrieks about ACORN become even louder, and potentially a more divisive wedge pounded into the American electorate.

I, for one, hope that this issue becomes the non-issue I predict it could be simply because I think a lot of the hoopla about fraud focuses on fictitious and trumped up claims that provide a cover for more pernicious goals (namely continuing the existing disenfranchisement of low-income and minority voters to the benefit of those parties whose policies ultimately hurt these same populations).

That said, could we use cleaner, easier, more straightforward systems for both signing up to vote, and for the government to ensure the integrity of our votes? Yes, I am, and I think we can all be in favor of that idea.

Until better systems are achieved, I will keep my fingers crossed, and I would suggest that it might just be wise to consider leaving your candidate pin in the car when you go into the polling place November 4th. I would hate to see anyone turned away from voting in such an important election for any reason at all.

C'mon Fox News, Haven't the Mets Had Enough Already?

Now, as a Phillies fan, I can't feel too bad about people piling on the Mets. I am, however, dating a Mets fan, so I feel bad about the fact that Fox News, for whatever reason, felt the need to decapitate Mr. Met after this week's debate at Hofstra. I don't hold the Fox News folks in very high esteem to begin with, but violence against mascots? Seriously? This is just not right.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Joe the... what the?

Oops! Turns out today has provided America with a storehouse of interesting facts around everyone's favorite new everyman, Joe the Plumber... fact #1 on the list is that Joe is, in fact, not licensed as a plumber! From an AP article published today:
Joe the Plumber said Thursday he doesn't have a license and doesn't need one. Joe Wurzelbacher, better known as Joe the Plumber, the nickname Republican John McCain bestowed on him during Wednesday's presidential debate, said he works for a small plumbing company that does residential work. Because he works for someone else, he doesn't need a license, he said.
In other places on the web Daily Kos is documenting an ongoing series of info pieces on Joe, including information seeming to indicate he's a registered Republican (not the independent folks are making him out to be) and that he doesn't worry too much about taxes, since it appears he simply doesn't pay 'em. Oops, indeed!

Worth 1,000 Words? 10,000?

Amazing how things just get crystallized in the strange stillness of photography. I caught this moment last night at the end of the debate (check the live blog, I mentioned it at 10:31 PM) and in real time, live, as it happened it was strange and kinda fun. McCain made a mistake about where he was headed while exiting the stage, and he kinda jokingly reacted and wagged his tongue while shifting gears to head off the stage in the opposite direction from Obama. Today, however, REUTERS has up the image above, captured by Jim Bourg and the whole thing takes on a new life. Sure, this isn't a video clip like there was when Howard Dean let out his Hzar! back in the 2004 primaries, and maybe it's nothing, but damn if this picture isn't at the very least funny, kinda spooky, and perhaps the best way of encapsulating where things stand right now in this Presidential race.

McCain realizes he headed in the wrong direction, reacts, kinda goofs, and then goes along his merry way.

Post Debate: McCain and Special Needs Children

This morning, as I've read through a series of blog posts about last night's debate I was struck by one issue in particular. A number of writers took different angles on some strange stuff in John McCain's talk about Sarah Palin, special needs children, autism, etc. Now, before I dive into recounting the more interesting information I've run across, let me say that I think any extra attention given to these issues is laudable. Autism, from everything I know is a serious and growing problem in the U.S. and I hope we can all agree that research and work on understanding, treating, and hopefully someday curing some of these ailments is, in my estimation, a clear need.

That said, I came across a couple points I thought were worth conveying, first from my friends over at Purple State Blog, who posted the following insightful question during a liveblogging of the debate:
McCain keeps saying Palin's son has autism, but it's Down's Syndrome.
Oops? Maybe. He did focus largely on autism, perhaps because autism is currently getting attention from a greater number of parents than Down's is. Meanwhile, Andrew Sullivan's blog this morning has an even broader and more nuanced critique of what we saw last night, provided by the parent with a 12-year old autistic daughter:
McCain’s most out of touch statement of the evening for me was his claim that Sarah Palin, with her four month old child with Downs Syndrome, knows more about special needs than anyone else he knows. My 12 year old daughter is autistic and I can tell you, at four months I knew next to nothing about the joys and heartbreak of raising a child with a disability.

At four months these kids are much like typical babies --- sweet, full of hope, and we related to them the same way relate to every other child we know. Ask parents of adults and teenagers with down syndrome or autism about what they know --- it is a different world.
To close things out, NBC's First Read has a good set of questions that pull us back from what was said to what the McCain camp has actually proposed in relationship to research on autism, programs for special needs children and families (hint: it's very little). There has been much talk of Sarah Palin's empathy for and understanding of what it means to have a special needs child, but what would a McCain administration actually do. Domenico Montanaro at NBC asks:
But what does McCain-Palin specifically want to do about special education? Do they agree with IDEA? Do they want to expand rights for special-education students to private schools? Do they want to increase funding? Do they want more access, by way of funding, to special-ed advocates?

McCain also said they want to help find a cure. But how?

The NIH budget has been slashed in the past eight years. Does McCain-Palin propose additional funding, particularly for autism or Down's research?

We don't know. Nothing was or has been laid out.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

PHILLIES WIN!!!!! PHILLIES WIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Matt says it best: All your base are belong to us.

Make your time, Devil Rays (or Sox)!!! Make your time!!!

Oh, and awesome that Fox Sports keeps kickin the Rocky theme after big Phillies wins!

Live Blog b-blog Blog Bloging the De-biggity @ Hofstra

Ok folks... here we are. Here goes nothing. Phils just turned a nice double play to end the second inning. Kimmie and I are here watching the TV with Phils picture in picture in the lower left and CNN in the main picture of the TV. Wolf Blitzer is cooing at us with his dulcet tones. All is right wiht the world.

Meanwhile, you should know that tonight's debate is taking place at Kim's alma mater, Hofstra. She said she recognizes the neighborhoods in the video posted on today's Debate Warmup post.

So here we go folks. Blogging in a few minutes... live, here, in the hooooooouuuuuuuuse.

9:01 PM Bob Schieffer looks so jolly and nice. Kim agrees!
9:02 PM McCain is writing frantically, Kim says we can't vote for him because he's a lefty, aka sinisterness. Also, sup with the black tie, McCain? Don't cha know? It's blue or red, man. BLUE OR RED!!!!! Why does McCain hate America? Oh, sorry... got carried.
9:04 PM Kim pointed out that McCain's face (on the left cheek) looks particularly swollen today.
9:07 PM Welcome Matts of the world, Nate, Corinne, anyone else who hasn't commented yet. Also, Kim is worried about the question of what the candidates are going to do to help people who actually do pay their mortgages
9:09 PM Kim's asking why the government doesn't go after all the small businesses who don't claim any of the $ they make. Her question is why people get away with claiming $30,000 when they're somehow magically paying to live in a $500,000 home. I said, "hmm... that's way more insightful than anything I could have said on this topic."
9:11 PM McCain wants to prevent Obama from spreading money all over the place. No spreads. McCain does not like that fake spread stuff, only real butter NO SPREADS!!!
9:13 PM From the comments: Joe Sixpack, Joe the Plumber, GI Joe, Jonah and the Whale
McCain dominates in all J-names!!!, also Ryan Howard just singled in the Phils second run of the game, Phillies 2/Dodgers 0. Finally, McCain still frantically and sinisterly writing.
9:15 PM Burell singles in the next Phillies run (Phillies 3/Dodgers 0)
9:16 PM A little delayed here, but how about that classic, "class warfare" dig from McCain??? That was old skool! I remembered when McCain started talking about how things worked back in the Great Depression when McCain was first elected to the Senate. Men in Ohio LOVE when McCain talks about hatcheting his scalpels.
9:18 PM YES YES YES, 18 minutes in and McCain has already brought out the projector! That's right, Johnny Mac! Hit 'em hard! Drill baby Drill!
9:21 PM Men like when McCain gets testy, women not so much. Obama sometimes just outright laughs when John McCain gets super testy.
9:24 PM Woah weird moment where McCain challenges Obama on whether he's challenged his party's leaders, then when Obama actually offers some examples McCain pulls out an even bigger list.
9:25 PM From the comments: Venice: The black tie is for McCain's campaign. Corinne: yeah - Mccain looks like darth vader with that tie. Glad we're all on the same page.
9:30 PM Of Course McCain talks to Joe the plumber about his wealth and how people want to put low-fat non-butter spreads on his money.
9:34 PM From the comments: Oh come on. Stop pretending like you don't understand what Lewis was saying about the atmosphere at your campaign events! I hate it when politicians pretend to be upset about something. I hate it so very much.
9:36 PM Hi Auntie Mel-mel! Nice to see you here with us!!!!
9:36 PM Wow... into the Ayers thing.
9:38 PM While Obama was talking I think McCain was gritting his teeth or something, because Kim noticed and then we both watched in awe as his left cheek kinda pulsated. Weird stuff.
9:42 PM From the comments: Raphe: phew, thank you, a new good topic... whew! what about those running mates? YEOW!, venice: Running mates? This can't be good for McCain!
9:43 PM Kim, "Do you know how much he regrets picking her?" Amen. Wait! Wait! Todd Palin is tough, so VOTE McCAIN!
9:47 PM Wow, McCain pulled out the whole we've had nukes on Navy ships for years so it must be safe line AGAIN. Seriously. Do people believe this? I guess the folks who might fall for that won't necessarily worry about whether it makes any sense or not.
9:50 PM From the comments: venice: Forget foreign oil. What really worries me is foreign air. Do you know how much of our air comes from other countries? We should only allow people to breath air made domestically.
9:51 PM I think Obama really was clear and smart on unfair trade there.
9:54 PM More wardrobe commentary from the peanut gallery!!: venice: Obama= flag pin. McCain= not so much. Matt: OMG Venice is right. McCain hates America! I hear he doesn't say the pledge of allegiance. Corinne: mccain's suit is velour. it looks kind of sparkly.
9:58 PM Ohio loves Obama's health care solutions. Meanwhile, the Dodgers are falling apart, my friends. It's now 5-0 Phillies with two outs and the bases loaded in the 5th inning. Back in the debate, John McCain is on the up-tick when talking about how much he cares about obesity. Joe the plumber is back! WOMEN HATE JOE! Shut up about Joe, McCain, the ladies hate Joe the plumber. Their happy lines are super low.
10:01 PM From the comments: venice: I would point out that neither NAFTA or Columbia are actually Free Trade agreements, by definition. They should be callled "Discriminatory Trade Agreements" because they favour certain countries, discriminating between countries we judge worthy and those we don't. FREE trade would allow us to to trade regardless of nationality.
10:03 PM As someone who will be deemed to have a pre-existing condition should I ever be unlucky enough to lapse in healthcare coverage, I greatly appreciate what Obama just said. Also, I'm glad he tossed up the $ amounts for cost on an average annual plan.
10:07 PM From the comments: Nate: I am so going to rob Joe... That sucker is loaded!!
10:08 PM Kim: "John McCain sure got the best in Sarah Palin, huh?" ZING!
10:10 PM Obama wins! He has made the leap from talking about stupid old Joe plumber who nobody even likes anymore or perhaps ever did, to Lillie Leadbetter who is only hated by John McCain, who by the way is courageously and compassionately proudly pro life.
10:12 PM I think John McCain has now called his opponent "Senator Government" and, "Sarah Obama."
10:15 PM Barack Obama believes that, "Sexuality is sacred," which I think maybe I think too... but it kinda sounds funny, and um... sexy?
10:17 PM WHEW! The last question is actually good, important and non-bizarro this time around! I understood it. I'm excited to hear what they have to say. So far Obama is talking clearly about the programmatic plans and ideas he has.
10:18 PM From the comments: venice: Dude, McCain HATES Obama's eloquence! You can see his blood pressure rising! Mac, the hand quotes are not worthy of you! (go Phillies!)
10:20 PM John McCain for now is focusing on education policy and ideas, which is kinda cool. I expected him to basically say, "rah rah charters" and then back to the kitchen sink junk. I'm impressed here. Nice shout-out to Teach for America, and then this weird troops to teachers thing that McCain makes sound like if you've been in the battlefield you must be qualified to teach, which strikes me as um... weird (and I hope that doesn't come across as offensive to troops, cause I've got some friends who were in boats... not quite the battlefields, but still...)
10:22 PM From the comments: Raphe: community! service! responsibility! so positive, such a relief to listen to Obama and so painful to listen to the black tie guy., Matt: what kind of sense does it make to let anybody leave the army and become a teacher without certification? Did I hear that right?, venice: Hint for federal government about education: if you make a state or local government do something, give them the money to do it!
10:25 PM Manny hits his latest post-season homerun, posting the Dodgers first run of the night out in LA, 6th inning out there Phillies 5/Dodgers 1
10:28 PM Here in John McCain's closing comments I finally am getting a good chance to soak in his fine fine suit, and I agree with the others who have suggested it just may be velour. It looks so soft. I want to hug him. Especially since he has no flag pin, hence there is no danger of being scratched by said lapel dagger.
10:30 PM Kim and Zoey agree, this debate is the perfect sedative. 2 people, 1 dog here in the house. 1 person and 1 dog sleeping, 1 person blogging away. I love the phrase, "service and responsibility." I think it really drives home what Obama is all about.
10:31 PM Schieffer's closing line was really quite lovely, "Go vote. It will make you feel big and strong." I also liked John McCain's hearty, "Good job! Good Job!" Wait, did John McCain just wag his tongue at the croud while giving them a thumbs-up? WOAH! That was unexpected and kinda... awesome!?!?!?!
10:32 PM Thank you so much to all of the lovely and amazing folks who left comments. This was tons and tons and tons of fun.

Final thing: Corinne just tossed this up in the comments, and I saw it earlier today. Check out the fun site Palin as President. You have to mouse around and click on stuff to discover all the fun pieces of what's going on.

One More Actual Final thing: It's already a headline from the AP (10:39 PM) "Ohio plumber becomes focus of debate."

He's Joe Wurzelbacher, an Ohio man looking to buy a plumbing business who came to symbolize the middle class in Wednesday night's presidential debate...

Debate Warmup

How do we all prepare for the debate tonight? What makes sense in terms of how we set it all in context? Many today will be working away, and after dinner will sit down to get one last visit with the two candidates for President. Not too far from me they will meet, McCain and Obama, to discuss their ideas, and certainly to bash each other a bit here and there. The stakes are high, and if anyone forgets that, I've got two short videos to help queue things up. First is a fairly serious one that I found on Huffington Post today. The American News Project gives us a well compiled documentary piece that shows what's happening on the Main Street (I know, I'm tired of this same damn metaphor too) of Hempstead, NY where tonight's debate will take place. The video is heart wrenching at moments, but worth 6 minutes of your time.

If, on the other hand, you want a bit of levity to help you deal with what is sure to be a pretty heavy viewing experience, why not check out these two videos. First, I'm not sure how I missed posting this before, but here is Dave Letterman's reaction to Sarah Palin's debate performance a couple weeks ago. The editing here is quite brilliant.

Finally, Hayden Panettiere of Heroes fame gives us a nice little PSA about what a McCain Presidency would mean for you and me.

See more Hayden Panettiere videos at Funny or Die

Not Afraid to Call Out the Craziness

Salon War Room has a post up with videos, including the one below, created by Bring Back Ohio, a 527 group working to turn Ohio back to a blue state this November. The whole series (Salon has 3 more up) are all pretty good, but this one is my favorite.

The bar room jokey tone is an interesting departure from the feel of so much political advertising, but I, for one, think that it works. How about you?

Appropriate preamble to debate drinking games? I think so!

Just a Quick Announcement

Hey, just to letcha know, we'll be doing some live blogging of tonight's debate dontcha know, you betcha. It'll just be us giving some real Mavericky straight talk direct to Joe Sixpack, Hockey Mamas everywhere, and well... you, if you're up for it. Tune in here while you tune in elsewhere tonight (at or around 9pm Easternish). I for one will be trying to figure out how to blog, switch between the debate and the Phillies/Dodgers game, and um... continuing to smear my still-healing chin with goo to keep it healing.

Matts of the world (I think we had 3 last time) please join us! Corinne, your presence is always welcomed and enjoyed! Others, please check in, even if you don't interrupt your debate drinking party festivities to track all the clever little quips we toss up along the way.

Oh, and I've got a softball game at 6pm, so unless I cause more lacerations and end up back in the ER (seriously now, that would be redonkulous... but I'm knocking on wood anyway) I'll be in front of a laptop clicking away, with Kimmy and Zoey chiming in clever comments of their own along the way. Zoey says, "Arf!" to that. See y'all later, I hopes!

The Joys of Blu-Ray

I'm pretty technologically backwards, having only recently acquired an iPod and owning about 3 DVDs. My good buddy Nate on the other hand, is an electronic media guru. He's got a new article up about the Blu-Ray, which thankfully has nothing to do with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, which are- and I say this objectively- the worst people who have ever lived. Anyway, the article can be found on Nate's blog, Real Political Face Talk. Any fan of movies, games, music or just general good bloggery should check it out!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Gross Random Distraction-of-the-Day

Honestly, who made this political ad, and how did they get it approved to go on air. Amazing, really truly amazing.

Al Franken's race may have to take a back seat to my new favorite non-Presidential race!

McCain Transition Chief Aided Saddam In Lobbying Effort

That at least is the gist of a new article up on Huffington Post. I'd need to know way more before forming any intelligent opinion on this,-- especially considering the source-- but if it's true, it's surely embarrassing for team McCain. This is the exact opposite of what they need now.

Politics is fun and all, but...

Nothing can beat October baseball played out like the Phillies did against the Dodgers last night. The game had all sorts of ups and downs, but it ended with classic October fireworks provided by the most unlikely of villains, the small, talkative, speedy and friendly Shane Victorino and Matt Stairs, a free agent the Phillies picked up out of the Toronto Blue Jay's discard bin for the purpose of providing a lefty home-run hitting bat.

It was one hell of a game, and if you are interested in reading more, I highly recommend Phil Sheridan's write-up of why Victorino is such an unlikely villain and Jayson Stark's rundown that references my hometown in the 'burbs of Philly:
Yeah, Stairs hit it, all right. He hit it so high and so far to deep right field that at first, said Howard, "I thought it was going to leave the park and hit the roof." Instead, it "only" came down two-thirds of the way up the right-field pavilion -- a mammoth blast in this park. And as that baseball finally settled into those far-away seats, folks from Chavez Ravine to Cheltenham needed a moment -- or maybe an eternity -- to make sense of what they'd all just witnessed.
That's right, Cheltenham, PA is a wonderful little suburb right outside Philly, a place that I'm sure 98% of people who read this write-up of the game do not know. It's also where my family lived starting back in 1982, and the town my mother still calls home! Why Stark chose Cheltenham to shout out... I'm not sure, but thanks to Matt for pointing this out, and thanks to Stark for the love. The 'ham appreciates it!