Tuesday, September 30, 2008

OH JOY!!!!


HE'S BACK!

Bring out the fatted neocons. Line up  innocent conservative students so that their lives, spirits, and careers may be properly crushed by inappropriate leftist mental touching. Fire up the zamboni. Let the merrymaking begin.

Michael Berube, Penn State's own  member of David Horowitz's axis of academic evil  and the ONLY person who has ever been able to make it possible for me to both understand a discussion of critical theory and to then have me believe that it in any way matters,  has restarted his superlative blog.

The political whirlwind is now in full storm.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

VP debate prediction

At some point, when faced with a particularly hard hitting point from Mr. Biden, Ms. Palin will quietly begin to cry. Brushing away her tears she will then make a speech about how much she loves America and that she trusts in God to show her the way.

This will not be an accident. It is standard Rovean politics.

Mark my words.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Debate scoring

60/40 Obama

Bad news for McSame who needed a clear win in the debate that was about his supposed strong suit, foreign policy.

Obama responded with quiet strength when attacked. McSame looked like a chipmunk on meth at some points and as if he was falling asleep at others. He never looked at Obama, averting his gaze in a most curious manner. Obama always turned toward him and looked at him when answering him.

Obama scored his biggest points during  the Iraq section, telling McSame that "he was wrong" to take his eye of the ball in Afghanistan, wrong about the WMDs, wrong about  our troops being greeted as liberators and wrong about there being no great enmity between the Sunnis and the Shites.

McSame made some strong points during the section on Russia but  once again spewed forth the lie that the Russians started the Georgia crisis.

All in all, a credible performance by Obama who clearly looked "presidential', whatever that means.

He scored well with Independents and Democrats. MsSame scored well with the ill-informed and the brain dead.

Now on to Sarah "I can see Russia from my porch" Palin.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Dear lord....

How Alaska's Proximity to Russia is Relevant

An excerpt from Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's interview with Katie Couric to be aired later tonight on the CBS Evening News:


COURIC: You've cited Alaska's proximity to Russia as part of your foreign policy experience. What did you mean by that?
 
PALIN: That Alaska has a very narrow maritime border between a foreign country, Russia, and on our other side, the land-- boundary that we have with-- Canada. It-- it's funny that a comment like that was-- kind of made to-- cari-- I don't know, you know? Reporters--
 
COURIC: Mock?
 
PALIN: Yeah, mocked, I guess that's the word, yeah.
 
COURIC: Explain to me why that enhances your foreign policy credentials.
 
PALIN: Well, it certainly does because our-- our next door neighbors are foreign countries. They're in the state that I am the executive of. And there in Russia--
 
COURIC: Have you ever been involved with any negotiations, for example, with the Russians?
 

PALIN: We have trade missions back and forth. We-- we do-- it's very important when you consider even national security issues with Russia as Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, where-- where do they go? It's Alaska. It's just right over the border. It is-- from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right there. They are right next to-- to our state.

You just can't make this stuff up...

Sarah Palin, the gift that keeps on giving....

A brief history of McSames's experience in an economic Crisis

McSame was a central figure in the first major Republican buyout to save their rich buddies' asses. I guess that's what he means by using his expertise to solve this crisis.

And for the record, McSame has made exactly one vote in the Senate this year. He wasn't present for the GI Bill vote nor for the economic stimulus package vote. What makes this vote so special?

My guess, he wanted to get the debate moved to next week so that they could finese the VP debate off the table. Ms. Palin is clearly not ready for prime time. Her "interview" on CBS was so lightweight that I thought I was watching a bad Saturday Night Live sketch. Nobody in national politics could actually mutter that mealy mouthed bilge with a straight face and mean it, right?

Letterman tears Mr. Maverick Republican a new one

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Hoist. Petard. Even...

From the 2008 platform of the Republican Party, presented at its convention early in September:

"We do not support government bailouts of private institutions. Government interference in the markets exacerbates problems in the marketplace and causes the free market to take longer to correct itself. We believe in the free market as the best tool to sustained prosperity and opportunity for all."

Just saying....

Elite -- (NeoCon-ese)

1. (adj) Uppity, not keeping to one's place,

2. (n) One who tries to move beyond his place

OH PLEASE!! PLEASE!!!!

Democratic challenger Bruce Lunsford has closed to within a statistical tie with Republican incumbent Mitch McConnell in their U.S. Senate race, according to a new poll by SurveyUSA released Tuesday.

With six weeks remaining until election day, McConnell, the Senate minority leader, now holds a 49%-46% lead over Lunsford, which is within the poll's 3.9% margin of error. Compared to an identical SurveyUSA poll released six weeks ago, Lunsford is up six points, McConnell is down three.

Monday, September 22, 2008

A novel approach to CEO management...

Sacked staff of Italy-based firm lynch CEO in Greater Noida

Pragya Kaushika
Posted: Sep 23, 2008 at 0150 hrs IST
 
Greater Noida, September 22
Sacked employees of an Italian auto-parts maker bludgeoned the chief of the company’s India operations to death following a violent disagreement with the management on the firm’s premises in Greater Noida’s Udyog Vihar on Monday afternoon.
Certain banking CEOs better take note....

Is he trying to lose?

“Opening up the health insurance market to more vigorous nationwide competition, as we have done over the last decade in banking, would provide more choices of innovative products less burdened by the worst excesses of state-based regulation.” — John McCain

My God, the man hasn't a clue.....

Joan Winston, ‘Trek’ Superfan, Dies at 77


from NYT:

By WILLIAM GRIMES
Published: September 20, 2008 

For the “Star Trek” faithful, it was a historic event. Gene Roddenberry, the creator of the series, showed up. So did the science fiction writer Isaac Asimov, not to mention fans dressed as Klingons, Tribbles and Bele from the planet Ceron. NASA delivered a scaled-down lunar module and a spacesuit.
 
It was January 1972, and the first Star Trek convention was under way in a rented ballroom at the Statler Hilton in Manhattan. The organizers had expected a crowd of about 500. In the end, more than 3,000 fans turned up, so many that by the final day of the event registrars were issuing ID cards made from torn scraps of wrapping paper. For fans of the series, the convention marked the moment when a diaspora became a nation.

And it made a subculture celebrity of Joan Winston, who played a leading role in creating the event and went on to achieve a second-order fame as one of world’s most avid “Star Trek” fans. She died of Alzheimer’s disease on Sept. 11 at age 77, her cousin Steven Rosenfeld said. She lived in Manhattan.

Like many SF fans from the period, I "knew" Joan mostly by sight and reputation. She truly was a force of nature.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Demand that McCain release his medical records

The multiple melanoma McCain has been treated for is one of the most life threatening types of cancer. Yet he refuses to allow his medical records to be scrutinized. How can we determine his fitness for office? If the cancer were to reappear, the treatment he would have to undergo is so debilitating he would become unfit for office. That makes Sarah Palin's lack of qualification for office even more critical.

McCain has allowed a small group of reporters only 3 hours to view  over 1000 pages of records covering only the last 10 years of his life. What is he hiding?

Friday, September 19, 2008

McCain Attacks Wall Street Greed—While 83 Wall Street Lobbyists Work for His Campaign

From MoJo:

Here's the list of the McCain aides and bundlers who have worked for the high-finance greed-mongers McCain has pledged to take on. So far, it seems, none of them have been cast out of the campaign. If McCain were serious about his outrage, he might throw these money-changers out of his own temple.


Phil Anderson: American Council of Life Insurers, Aetna, AIG, New York Life, MassMutual, VISA

Rebecca Anderson: Aegon, American Council of Life Insurers, Cigna, Barclays, Credit Suisse First Boston, HSBC

Stanton Anderson: The Debt Exchange

David Beightol: Allstate, Amerigroup, Charles Schwab, HSBC

Rhonda Bentz: VISA

Wayne Berman: American Council of Life Insurers, AIG, Americhoice, Shinsei Bank, Blackstone, Carlyle Group, Broidy Capital Management, Credit Suisse Securities, Highstar Capital, VISA, Ameriquest Mortgage, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Fitch Ratings

Charlie Black: JP Morgan, Washington Mutual Bank, Freddie Mac, Mortgage Bankers Association of America, National Association of Mortgage Brokers

(more)

It still takes a village...

From Kolchak:

Much like Number Six himself, I'm back in the Village.

Production has started on the remake of The Prisoner, the cult classic TV show from the 1960s, and, so far, even a hardcore fan like yours truly can't find much to complain about. There are still some questions that need to be answered--which is only fitting for The Prisoner, I guess--but the producers of the new show may actually know what they're doing.

Hey, it could happen.

The original "Prisoner." for the record , is a British television series from the late 1960s, which also ran here in America. It starred Patrick McGoohan, who also co-created the show and wrote several episodes. Over the course of 17 episodes, the show went from being a weird variant of the then popular spy shows to a surrealistic parable about paranoia, identity and the misuse of technology. My first post about The Prisoner here at the Blatt was back in April, and it looks like I'm going to geek out again. But don't worry: I'll wash my hands afterwards.

The new "Prisoner" is a co-production of ITV in Britain and AMC. It will run for six episodes on AMC in 2009. It will star Jim Caviezel as the title character, Number Six, and Ian McKellen as Number Two, Number Six's jailer and the man trying to break his spirit. As one website put it: it's Jesus versus Gandalf.

I've not seen Caviezel in anything, but I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt on this (though I have to wonder whether going from Jesus to Number Six qualifies as typecasting).

I think Caviezel may have benefited from some old-school networking, for whatever that's worth. McGoohan worked with Mel Gibson in the movie Braveheart, and during the promotional drive for that movie, McGoohan said that Gibson would make an excellent Number Six. If they're still friends, it's easy to imagine Gibson recommending Caviezel for the part.

This isn't really on-topic, but I can't resist mentioning it. I went to the Internet Movie Data Base and called up The Passion of the Christ, in order to double check the spelling of Caviezel's last name. There are a number of pre-set categories in IMDB's basic listing for each movie and one of them is "Plot Keywords." The first words under this heading were "Spoiler Alert!" The story of the crucifixion needs a spoiler alert?

As for McKellen , I've no doubt he'll do a fine job as Number Two. His casting, though, does represent an interesting departure from the original. In the original series, a different performer played Number Two every week. The only exception to this rule was Leo McKern, who appeared in three episodes.

I think they should've kept this system. If nothing else, the parade of Number Twos in the original series could be interpreted as a victory of sorts for Number Six, which was much needed, since he clearly wasn't escaping. Still, that may not be needed in a shorter series.

I'm a little more concerned about the casting of a woman named Hayley Atwell for the remake. She's describing her role as Number Six's "love interest", and the original series did quite well without giving Six a love interest. Oh, there were women in the original show.There were even women serving as Number Two, which was a fairly progressive idea for the time. There wasn't much in the way of traditional romance, though. I'm hoping the phrase was slip of the tongue on Atwell's part. But we could be in for an unpleasant surprise there.

On the other hand, there was a pleasant surprise concerning where the new "Prisoner" is being filmed. Originally, the role of the Village, the bizarre town where Number Six is held captive, was played by Porteirion, a resort in Wales. The Victorian design of Portmeirion made a striking contrast with the surveillance and mind-control technology operated by the overseers of the Village.

So I was getting ready to go into a geekfit when I read that the new version would be filmed in Swakopmund, Namibia. Err, excuse me a minute. My spellcheck just threatened to quit.

Okay, we're back. When I googled the name, though, I quickly learned that Swakopmund is a resort town, settled by the British and many of the buildings have a pronounced Victorian look to them.

I'm still not positive as to why the show is being filmed there. Money is the usual reason, but is really cheaper for a British production company to go to Africa than it is to Wales? In any case, I was pleased to see that the creative staff is respecting the look of the original series.

There are some good, if small, photos of Swakopmund, at www.sixofone.org.uk/prisoner-remake.htm Another good source of information is at www.theprisoneronline.com.

AMC is promoting the show through a blog at www.amctv.com/originals/theprisoner. There is also a site called www.seekthesix.comwhich is probably going to lead to some sort of game or viral promotion. If anyone can unlock the first image, let me know, will you? I haven't had any luck so far.

AAAARRRRRGH!!!!


It's National Talk Like a Pirate Day. Go forth and plunder, me hardies!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

McCain campaign: Our candidate is crazy, not senile

from Lawyers, Guns and Money:

This story is getting better all the time.

It's pretty clear from the interview that McCain is a very tired old man who was having trouble concentrating, while being interviewed by a native Spanish speaker with an accent who was speaking pretty fast. And even though she asked him four separate times if he would invite Zapatero to the White House, and helped him out a couple of those times by mentioning that Zapatero is the head of the Spanish government, McCain was confused about who Zapatero was (even though he was doing an interview with a Spanish radio network).

But instead of owning up to this, the McCain campaign, using their standard operating procedure, decided to think up a lie and think one up quick, to wit: McCain was fully intending to say that he would refuse to meet with the head of the government of a NATO ally -- a country we are by treaty required to defend with military force if they're attacked (by someone other than us I suppose). As Kevin Drum and others are pointing out this is a fairly insane position to take, but the campaign people have clearly calculated it's less damaging than to admit that he was just out of it.

EFF sues NSA, Bush, Cheney over illegal wiretaps

From Boing Boing:

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed a lawsuit against the National Security Agency (NSA) and other government agencies today on behalf of AT&T customers to stop the illegal, unconstitutional, and ongoing dragnet surveillance of their communications and communications records. The five individual plaintiffs are also suing President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Cheney's chief of staff David Addington, former Attorney General and White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales and other individuals who ordered or participated in the warrantless domestic surveillance. 

The lawsuit, Jewel v. NSA, is aimed at ending the NSA's dragnet surveillance of millions of ordinary Americans and holding accountable the government officials who illegally authorized it. Evidence in the case includes undisputed documents provided by former AT&T telecommunications technician Mark Klein showing AT&T has routed copies of Internet traffic to a secret room in San Francisco controlled by the NSA.

w00t!!!

Undoubtedly a futile gesture given the Roberts Supreme Court will have to agree that the suit is even possible, but maybe it will keep the heat on their lying thieving asses through the election...

Palin is a "hunter" who believes in a stacked deck

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

How an adult speaks of politics

More news on the 'fundamentally sound'* US economy

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Stocks plummeted Wednesday, with the Dow industrials falling 449 points in its second worst session of the year, as the government's emergency rescue of AIG amplified fears about the stability of financial markets. 

The Dow Jones industrial average (INDU) lost 449 points, or 4% and fell to the lowest level since November 2005. The Standard & Poor's 500 (SPX) index lost 4.7% and fell to its lowest point since April 2005. The Nasdaq composite (COMP) lost 4.9% and ended at its lowest point since August 2006.

*John McSame - 9/15/2008

That's nearly a 9% drop in stock market value in 3 days. 

Debunking McSame's LIES

from NYT:

During the last week, the McCain campaign has unabashedly engaged in the active spreading of mistruths and falsehoods.

It said that Barack Obama supported “comprehensive sex education” for children in kindergarten (“dishonest” and “deceptive” said The Washington Post);

that Mr. Obama used the colloquial expression “lipstick on a pig” to describe Sarah Palin (G.O.P. Senator Orrin Hatch labeled the charge “ridiculous”);

that Ms. Palin never accepted earmarks as governor of Alaska; (this is patently false, she actually requested $450 million in earmarks as governor);

that Mr. Obama will raise taxes on middle-class families (his plan would actually give a tax cut to 80 percent of Americans);

that his health care plan will force families into a government-run health care plan; (a public health expert quoted in this paper called that “inaccurate and false”);

that Ms. Palin told Congress “thanks, but no thanks” on the Bridge to Nowhere (she initially supported the bridge and kept the Congressional funds earmarked for the project);

that Ms. Palin visited Ireland and Iraq (her airplane refueled in the former and never crossed the border into the latter).

Now there are even reports that the McCain campaign fabricated crowd estimates for a recent rally in Virginia.

---------------------------------

Some more of the howlers from McSame/Palin:

here and most of all here

Cheery Thought for the Day

If McSame and his friends had had their way, it would be your Social Security money that would be going down the tubes in the Stock Market today. The market  that they all deregulated with the  Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act.

That's the Phil Gramm that says we are a bunch of whiners and that the recession is all in our heads. The Phil Gramm who is the architect of McSame's economic policy. And the Phil Gramm who is still one of McSame's closest advisors and FRIENDS.

Idiots.

Monday, September 15, 2008

from Sarah Palin's reading list...

Robert Kennedy Jr. via Huffington Post:

Fascist writer Westbrook Pegler, an avowed racist who Sarah Palin approvingly quoted in her acceptance speech for the moral superiority of small town values, expressed his fervent hope about my father, Robert F. Kennedy, as he contemplated his own run for the presidency in 1965, that "some white patriot of the Southern tier will spatter his spoonful of brains in public premises before the snow flies."


It might be worth asking Governor Palin for a tally of the other favorites from her reading list.

-----------------------------

from Wikipedia:

Pegler was a rabid Joe McCarthyite who loathed F.D.R. and Ike and tirelessly advanced the theory that American Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe (“geese,” he called them) were all likely Communists.

---

Perhaps she could use some of Pegler's other bon-mots such as his assertion in November 1963 (at the height of the civil rights movement) that it is "clearly the bounden duty of all intelligent Americans to proclaim and practice bigotry" or his proposal for "smashing" the AF of L and the CIO by having the state  take them over. "Yes, that would be fascism," he wrote. "But I  see advantages in such fascism."

So are the Fascists are being overt now. Not even hiding their roots this time... It is to weep.

Friday, September 05, 2008

From FactCheck.Org:

FactChecking McCain

September 5, 2008

He made some flubs in accepting the nomination.

We checked the accuracy of McCain’s speech accepting the Republican nomination and noted the following:

McCain claimed that Obama’s health care plan would "force small businesses to cut jobs" and would put "a bureaucrat ... between you and your doctor." In fact, the plan exempts small businesses, and those who have insurance now could keep the coverage they have.

McCain attacked Obama for voting for "corporate welfare" for oil companies. In fact, the bill Obama voted for raised taxes on oil companies by $300 million over 11 years while providing $5.8 billion in subsidies for renewable energy, energy efficiency and alternative fuels.

McCain said oil imports send "$700 billion a year to countries that don't like us very much." But the U.S. is on track to import a total of only $536 billion worth of oil at current prices, and close to a third of that comes from Canada, Mexico and the United Kingdom.

He promised to increase use of "wind, tide [and] solar" energy, though his actual energy plan contains no new money for renewable energy. He has said elsewhere that renewable sources won’t produce as much as people think.

He called for "reducing government spending and getting rid of failed programs," but as in the past failed to cite a single program that he would eliminate or reduce.

He said Obama would "close" markets to trade. In fact, Obama, though he once said he wanted to "renegotiate" the North American Free Trade Agreement, now says he simply wants to try to strengthen environmental and labor provisions in it.

Palin speaks to her church

Pay particular attention to her coments about the "sacred" mission in Iraq. This video is from three months ago.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

More About Sarah Palin

from AlterNet:

Since the McCain campaign apparently didn't even bother Googling Sarah Palin before picking her to join the Republican ticket, we've taken it upon ourselves to compile some important -- and terrifying -- revelations about Palin.

Yesterday AlterNet ran a piece titled "Top Ten Most Disturbing Facts and Impressions of Sarah Palin." And in only 24 hours, almost as many exaggerations, misrepresentations and outright lies have reared their ugly heads. If you already read yesterday's piece, here's the next installment:

1: Palin Tried to Ban Books From Local Library

Thanks to Bush, the Republican Party is not strongly associated with intellectualism. But Sarah Palin has apparently taken the conservative derision for book-learnin' to a whole new level: Time reports that as mayor of Wasilla, Palin asked the town librarian how to go about banning books from the local library. News reports from the time show that the librarian, who, strangely enough, was opposed to a tactic commonly employed by totalitarian regimes, had her job threatened for not giving her "full support" to the mayor.

The People for the American Way have issued a statement condemning Palin's actions and demanding an explanation from her:

People can disagree about a lot of things, but censorship is completely beyond the pale. Our democracy was founded on the belief that government shouldn't tell people what kinds of books to read or what kind of beliefs to hold. No one with that kind of history should be anywhere near the White House. Sarah Palin needs to clarify her stance on freedom of speech immediately, and John McCain needs to explain why he chose a running mate with so little regard for the Constitution.

So far the McCain campaign has been quiet about Palin's attempts to legislate what books people should be allowed to read.

2: Palin Apparently Doesn't Put "Country First"

A central and integral part of the McCain campaign's message is "Country First." McCain is a POW who has always put country before personal gain, as he and his handlers have reminded the public time after time after time. So if the vetting process of Palin was as thorough as McCain's people (and McCain himself) have been claiming, how is it that they missed this:

Officials of the Alaskan Independence Party say that Palin was once so independent, she was once a member of their party, which since the 1970s has been pushing for a legal vote for Alaskans to decide whether or not residents of the 49th state can secede from the United States.

And while McCain's motto -- as seen in a new TV ad -- is "Country First," the AIP's motto is the exact opposite -- "Alaska First -- Alaska Always."

Lynette Clark, the chairman of the AIP, tells ABC News that Palin and her husband Todd were members in 1994, even attending the 1994 statewide convention in Wasilla. Clark was AIP secretary at the time.

"We are a state's rights party," Clark -- a self-employed gold miner -- tells ABC News. The AIP has "a plank that challenges the legality of the Alaskan statehood vote as illegal and in violation of United Nations charter and international law."

"Alaska First -- Alaska Always." Huh, I don't suppose there's an unless-you-are-nominated-to-be-vice-president clause, is there? No, probably not.

3: Palin's Love Affair With Earmarks

McCain, when introducing Palin on Friday in Ohio, praised her as a champion for "reform to end the abuses of earmark spending." When it was Palin's turn to speak, she mentioned her claimed opposition to the famous pork barrel project, "the Bridge to Nowhere," as an example of her tough stance on earmarks. Well, we all know now that she was actually for the bridge long before she was against it. Apparently her love affair with earmarks doesn't end there:

… under her leadership, the state of Alaska has requested 31 earmarks worth $197.8 million in next year's federal budget … 

But hey, it was her first shot at being governor of Alaska. Maybe things were different when she was mayor?

As mayor of the small city of Wasilla, Alaska, Palin appears to have made use of the system she now decries, hiring a Washington lobbyist, Steven Silver, to represent the town. 

After he was hired, the city obtained funding for several projects, including a city bus facility that received an earmark valued at $600,000 in 2002. That year a local water and sewer project received $1.5 million in federal earmarks, according to Taxpayers for Common Sense, a nonpartisan watchdog organization.

Hmmm, Steven Silver, why does that name sound familiar? Talking Points Memo is quick to remind us:

… Silver appears to have additional ties that could further undercut Palin's image as a squeaky-clean reformer. According to Senate lobbying disclosure reports examined by TPMmuckraker, from 2002 to 2004 Silver listed as a client Jack Abramoff's lobbying firm, Greenberg Traurig. On Greenberg's behalf, Silver lobbied the federal government on "issues relating to Indian/Native American policy," "exploration for oil and gas" and "legislation relating to gaming issues" -- the very issues that Abramoff headed up for Greenberg at the time. In other words, Silver appears to have been a part of "Team Abramoff.

So this is the breath of fresh air that McCain wants in Washington? Earmarks aplenty and links to the infamous Jack Abramoff? If that's a step in the right direction, I don't want to see the step in the wrong one.

4: Palin Slashed Funding for Teen Moms

Not many pregnant teens are as privileged as Bristol Palin. And for those who are not, Sarah Palin made things a little harder a few months ago when she used a line-item veto to cut funding for a transitional home for teen moms in Alaska. According to the Washington Post:

After the legislature passed a spending bill in April, Palin went through the measure reducing and eliminating funds for programs she opposed. Inking her initials on the legislation -- "SP" -- Palin reduced funding for Covenant House Alaska by more than 20 percent, cutting funds from $5 million to $3.9 million. Covenant House is a mix of programs and shelters for troubled youths, including Passage House, which is a transitional home for teenage mothers.

According to Passage House's Web site, its purpose is to provide "young mothers a place to live with their babies for up to eighteen months while they gain the necessary skills and resources to change their lives" and help teen moms "become productive, successful, independent adults who create and provide a stable environment for themselves and their families."

(It certainly doesn't sound like the teen moms were joyriding in Cadillacs on the government's dime, but you never know.)

In classic "compassionate" conservative fashion, Palin opposes programs that teach girls how not to get pregnant, lobbies against their right to decide whether to have a child, then kills social programs that exist to cushion the impact of those policies. She then has the gall to trot out her own pregnant daughter as a symbol for "family values."

5: Crazy Reverend, Crazy Church

From the age of 12 and for most of her adult life, Sarah Palin attended the Wasilla Assembly of God. Apparently, Sarah Palin's God was a vengeful God -- one that made Himself helpful to the Bush administration from time to time by damning critics of the president, Democrats and other irredeemable sinners. The Huffington Post writes that the church's preacher, Ed Kalinins:

… preached that critics of President Bush will be banished to hell; questioned whether people who voted for Sen. John Kerry in 2004 would be accepted to heaven; charged that the 9/11 terrorist attacks and war in Iraq were part of a war "contending for your faith;" and said that Jesus "operated from that position of war mode."

Kalinins also offered a nuanced view of foreign policy, preaching that 9/11 and the Iraq war were part of a greater struggle over Christianity, with Jesus playing an important role as a very exacting general:

"What you see in Iraq, basically, is a manifestation of what's going on in this unseen world called the spirit world. … We need to think like Jesus thinks. We are in a time and a season of war, and we need to think like that. We need to develop that instinct. We need to develop as believers the instinct that we are at war, and that war is contending for your faith. … Jesus called us to die. You're worried about getting hurt? He's called us to die.

It can't necessarily be assumed that Palin agrees wholeheartedly with her former pastor. But in an address to the church three months ago, Palin also used disconcertingly religious language to frame the conflict in Iraq:

"Pray for our military men and women who are striving to do what is right. Also, for this country, that our leaders, our national leaders, are sending (U.S. soldiers) out on a task that is from God," she exhorted the congregants. "That's what we have to make sure that we're praying for, that there is a plan and that that plan is God's plan."

Considering how much flak Obama got for the statements of his former pastor, Jeremiah Wright, this is an issue Palin needs to address.

6: McCain Picking Palin Reeks of Sexism

The McCain campaign is already doing its best to deflect all the negative stories that are coming out about Palin by calling Democrats sexist, and by claiming that they are the party that values women's rights. Of course, Dems had a woman on the presidential ticket in 1984 (Congresswoman Geraldine A. Ferraro), so Republicans aren't breaking glass ceilings here but are actually 24 years late to the party. When it comes to sexism, it seems the party that isn't for equal pay or for a woman's right to choose should take a quick look in the mirror before accusing others of sexism. In fact, McCain's idea that women will vote for the McCain/Palin ticket just because Palin has a vagina is incredibly condescending, as Ann Friedman at the American Prospect writes:

Palin's addition to the ticket takes Republican faux-feminism to a whole new level. As Adam Serwer pointed out on TAPPED, this is in fact a condescending move by the GOP. It plays to the assumption that disaffected Hillary Clinton supporters did not care about her politics -- only her gender. In picking Palin, Republicans are lending credence to the sexist assumption that women voters are too stupid to investigate or care about the issues, and merely want to vote for someone who looks like them. As Serwer noted, it's akin to choosing Alan Keyes in an attempt to compete with Obama for votes from black Americans.

A candidate should be chosen because they are qualified for the job, not because of their gender. Any hardworking woman who has been passed over for a promotion could have told the McCain campaign that.

7: Palin Can't Even Run a Car Wash

Many politicians have a strong background in business: CEOs, executives, business presidents, self-made millionaires, etc. The thinking is that a businessperson is economically savvy, has executive experience, and can make tough calls and quick decisions. Well, Palin has some experience in the private sector: While she was mayor of Wasilla, Palin had time to open up a car wash in Anchorage. Good for her, nothing wrong with a little public service cushioned by some private business while raising a family. But by the time Palin was governor of Alaska, her business had run into trouble, as Matthew Mosk reports for the Washington Post:

State records show the business ran into trouble with Alaska's division of corporations business and professional licensing after Palin became governor of the state in 2006.

A Feb. 11, 2007, letter to the governor's business partner advises that the car wash had "not filed its biennial report and/or paid its biennial fees," which were more than a year overdue.

The warning letter was written on state letterhead, which carried Palin's name at the top, next to the state seal.

On April 3, 2007, the state went further and issued a "certificate of involuntary dissolution" because of the car wash's failure to file its report and pay state licensing fees.

The least you can accuse Palin here is of mismanagement (of a car wash!); at worst, she was abusing her political clout by trying to cut corners. Either way, Palin doesn't come off as the kind of executive you'd want running your business, let along your country.

8: Lied About Foreign Travel

In an attempt to inflate her nonexistent foreign policy credentials, Palin's spokespeople stated shortly after her nomination that she had traveled to Germany, Kuwait and Ireland: you know, the three countries most likely to give rise to catastrophic national security emergencies in the next four years.

But not only is Palin's travel history unimpressive, it was also being blatantly misrepresented. According Jim Aravosis, an Irish blogger has just revealed that Palin was in Ireland for a brief refueling layover.

And as Aravosis argues, Palin's lack of travel experience outside of "duty-free diplomacy" has major implications:

… John McCain, who is 72 and has had 4 bouts of cancer, (has) picked Sarah Palin to replace him as commander in chief should he die or be incapacitated in office.



Monday, September 01, 2008