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Friday, 31 October 2008

It came from out of the woodwork

Lawrence Eagleburger doesn't ♥ Palin - He may be a McCain man, but he was GHW Bush's Secretary of State and he is outraged by the suggestion that Sarah's got the right stuff. Steve Benen reminds us: "Keep in mind, Eagleburger is not just some random McCain supporter. McCain touts Eagleburger's endorsement all the time, and the campaign sent Eagleburger to NPR to emphasize why voters should support the Republican ticket."

William Greider on Paulson's Swindle Revealed: "The swindle of American taxpayers is proceeding more or less in broad daylight, as the unwitting voters are preoccupied with the national election. Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson agreed to invest $125 billion in the nine largest banks, including $10 billion for Goldman Sachs, his old firm. But, if you look more closely at Paulson's transaction, the taxpayers were taken for a ride--a very expensive ride. They paid $125 billion for bank stock that a private investor could purchase for $62.5 billion. That means half of the public's money was a straight-out gift to Wall Street, for which taxpayers got nothing in return."

David Sirota on Treasury's Version of the Weapons of Mass Destruction: "Two new stories out this week that shed some more light on the Halliburton-ization of the Wall Street bailout (a phenomenon progressives warned about). [...] If you are an individual and you walk into the U.S. Treasury Department and hold it up, you'll be carted off to jail. If you are a bank and you walk into the U.S. Treasury Department and do the same thing, you get a smile, a redacted contract and a handshake from Hank Paulson."

"Kay Hagan Files Suit: 'GREENSBORO, NC- Kay Hagan filed a lawsuit against Elizabeth Dole and the Elizabeth Dole Committee, Inc., after Dole declined to remove her new television ad, described by North Carolina newspapers as 'indecent,' a 'gross misrepresentation,' 'dishonest,' and 'beyond the bounds of acceptable political disagreement.'"

Michael Moore talked to Amy Goodman on the Election, the Bailout, Healthcare, and 10 Proposed Decrees From a New White House.

McCain actually managed to disgust Fred Hiatt with that Rashid Khalidi crap.

Dear Kevin, One thing we learn from history is that we don't learn nothing' from history. I know what kind of people want me to get over it, so they can keep doing it again. (Also: Gay Scientists Isolate Christian Gene.)

History: When Jones came to London in 1964, he hooked up with aspiring manager and song writer Gordon Mills. It was Mills who suggested changing the name to Jones - very Welsh, very laddish, very Henry Fielding. Six months on, Jones felt he was wasting his time recording demos for stars to turn into hits. He made a demo of a song written by Mills called It's Not Unusual and was told it was going to be recorded by a young singer called Sandie Shaw. He knew he'd done the song more than justice, that it was perfect for him, and decided he would return to Pontypridd if he couldn't make it his. 'Thank God Sandie Shaw listened to the demo and said, ' Whoever's singing this song, it's his song', so God bless her.' [The song.]

Something from Google.

17:23 GMT

Halloween comes but once a year

But Republicans and their enablers are scary all year long.

BushCo. working hard on those last-minute bombs to weaken the good parts of our government before they leave office in January.

Incentivizing Murder: Plan Colombia and the Bitter Fruits of Empire - nothing spreads democracy and freedom like the War on (Some) Drugs.

A treat for Al Franken - Norm Coleman's got a nice fat scandal on his hands - "Court Docs: GOP Donor Secretly Funneled $75K To Coleman Family: Paul McKim, the founder and CEO of Deep Marine Technology, alleges in a civil suit that Nasser Kazeminy -- a longtime Republican donor, friend of Coleman, and DMT shareholder -- directed the company to send $75,000 to the Senator and his wife." (via)

It was trick rather than treat when Michael Goldfarb went on TV, but there are no surprises there. (Via a linky Libby post.)

Reasonable Conservative Jon Swift has felt the sting of the blogosphere as right-wing bloggers respond to one of his posts, including the vaguely paranormal Ann Althouse ("You know, just because the thing I saw wasn't there doesn't mean there wasn't something there that I didn't see").

Monkeyfister is celebrating Halloween with all kinds of scary stuff, including Zombie Credit Default Swaps.

Bloody BBC woke me up again with that stupid crap. Grrr. I switched to a station where no one was talking. No one is happy, unless you count Richard Littlejohn, a man who is ill-placed to be talking about common decency. (Also: "a terrifying wave of moral busybodying".) (Thanks to Anna for the links.)

12:38 GMT

Another bunch of links

I can only concur with Atrios' choice* of Bob Kerrey as Thursday's Wanker of the Day. What can of nitwit who isn't a Republican operative can say this kind of thing with a straight face: "By my lights, the primary threat to the success of a President Obama will come from some Democrats who, emboldened by the size of their congressional majority, may try to kill trade agreements, raise taxes in ways that will destroy jobs, repeal the Patriot Act and spend and regulate to high heaven." that's an interesting thing to say in the face of existing trade and tax policies that actually encourage companies to move jobs out of America and a set of "security" policies that virtually mandate overexpenditure, not to mention the devastating effects of deregulation on our financial institutions.

I'm delighted to see that Kay Hagen responded to Liddy Dole's lies by naming the crime: bearing false witness.

Anne Zook isn't just peevish, she's freaked out by some of the things she's reading about Republicons.

Quiddity wonders, "Is today's right wing crazy more crazy than that of a decade ago? [...] Given what's been said recently by NRO luminaries Stanley Kurtz, Andy McCarthy, Victor David Hansen, et al, maybe we're headed to a level of crazy that prevailed in the 1950's." (Plus: Extended David Broder.)

Our favorite monarch is worried about McCain's crazy base.

"Socialism -- another name for things that work." (And: Did McCain crash cars into people and kill them, too?)

Bob Geiger thinks there will be 60 Democrats in the Senate, and Sean-Paul has posted some photos of Laos.

The Rude One cannot make sense of Prop Hate (all of them) except as just a great load of hate and fear.

Mark Adams introduces us to Helen.

Since it means something else nowadays, I'd almost forgotten that when people talked about "KY", they meant this. (And now, a word from Lou Reed.)

01:36 GMT

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Assorted stuff

Manibot comes up with an entertaining headline, even if it's a bit much to pretend that sneering at expertise and education is something uniquely American. Where does the term "swot" come from, again?

Obama hits the Daily Show.

McCain's Friend The War Criminal: "Now though, there's an entirely different category of problem for McCain's judgement - Saakashvilli has been accused by a BBC investigative reporting team of ordering war crimes and atrocities during Georgia's surprise attack on its breakaway province of South Ossetia, causing the UK government to re-evaluate its support for Saakashvili himself, if not for Georgia."

Ruth is irritated to discover that "the story" is that the hoi palloi are nefariously giving Obama small sums of money (apparently it's so much better when it's big corporations and weirdo oligarchs giving huge donations), rather than the fact that ordinary Americans are being hurt so much by Republican policies that they want someone else to be in charge. Meanwhile, Diane looks at the foreign policy booby-traps the next administration faces.

Thoreau reluctantly watched Taxi to the Dark Side and wasn't very happy about it. However, there was one detail that made him wonder if they didn't have a point: "If an Afghan warlord can do it, why can't Cheney?"

The Far White prepares for an Obama victory.

17:30 GMT

My alarm clock must die

I'm watching the Obama infomercial from last night. I'm around the halfway mark and so far it's pretty good - it certainly speaks to the right issues and the fact that these are shared concerns not divided by race, sex, or political identity. It's not perfect, but it looks like the kind of thing you might want to pass on to your conservative relatives and see how they take it. If it makes a dent, you might also want to point out that that is the liberalism they've been railing against for the last 30 years.

Once again, I wake up and my clock radio is going on and on and on about the evils of Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand, who apparently other BBC presenters think have been so overpaid that they needn't resist the opportunity to make their recent misstep THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN THE WORLD. I'm with Roz on this - I think the Beeb should not be encouraging the idea that this is all of greater moment than the devastation that "modernizing" the nation has brought to it economically. And, frankly, I thought Russell Brand's resignation speech took a great deal more responsibility than I've seen coming from the higher reaches of real power where real damage is done to the lives of not just one or two people but millions at a time. Too bad Tony Blair didn't make as humble a speech, or that Brown isn't making one right now. How convenient that everyone is talking about Brand and Woss instead of the outrageous salaries still being paid to people who are chewing the legs off of decent working people's futures. And that ten or twenty thousand people aren't complaining about that to the BBC. And good on Jane Graham at the Guardian for placing the blame where it really belongs.

OK, so the wingers (in this case, George F. Will) are apparently so ashamed of their own behavior that they want you to think Iraq was Sarah Palin's fault. Now that's taking personal responsibility! (I also can't help wondering if this t-shirt would be seen as too partisan to wear when you stand in line to vote. After all, conservatives hate ordinary Americans.)

Quite honestly, I find it hard to be upset about this when I remember that they also burned Hillary Clinton in effigy out there.

Your election choices explained in Yiddish.

14:00 GMT

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

In the season of loud bangs

Apparently it snowed last night in London, though it was gone by the time I woke up. It's been a long time since it last did that in October. I liked the video. (Also: Russell Brand resigns from BBC, and Michael Tomasky in SF on Prop Hate.)

Liddy Dole puts out an ad falsely accusing her opponent of atheism, although Kay Hagan is a Sunday School teacher. Pretty rich coming from a Republican, a member of the party whose only god is money.

This is terrible! And it doesn't even rhyme.

"So What IS The Arabic Word For Blackmail? ...it is probably a word being used with some frequency today in whatever passes for Iraqi halls of power. Gen. Ray Odierno, the commander of US forces in Iraq, has delivered what in baseball is called a little chin music to the Iraqi government, threatening to cut off pretty much all military and civil support to the country if the Iraqis don't get their act together and agree to the Status of Forces Agreement by the end of the year.."

At The Poor Man Institute, a study reveals why conservatism is failing.

A little bit of Franken fightback.

In Driftglass' continuing series, Understanding the Right #3: "And with the Right's "Loyalty Uber Alles" centrifuge now kicking in the afterburners, if you think that the last eight years were twisted, you ain't seen nuthin' yet. Because with another Aggrieved White Conservative myth bolted into place, the entire Hatespeech Establishment will be thrown into high gear, ranting to the Pig People 24/7 that Barack Hussein Obama isn't really the legitimate President." (I particularly liked the term "Elder Hatesman". We needed that one.)

"And remember, McCain has always been a bad candidate this election." Makes you wonder what we missed in all the others, eh? This is the guy the media has been so in love with?

12 ways to safeguard your vote.

23:10 GMT

Wishes, horses, etc.

Digby on the Officially Approved "progressive" Christian scolds who support Proposition Hate: "You just wait. On the morning after the election we will see all these so-called Christians and their lobbyists rushing to take credit for the election and telling everyone that it proves America is basically socially conservative. That's what they always do, whether Democrats or Republicans win the thing. All these alleged Republican apostates will make the case that they are right there with Obama on everything --- except, you know, stuff like civil liberties and civil rights (Nobody wants any more of that, obviously.)" Plus! Bertha Lewis thanks us (some of our friends even by name) for helping to support and defend ACORN - and says to do one more thing: Vote. (Also: You better not betray this man's trust, Barack.)

After Barbara West's astonishing interview with Joe Biden in which she hectored him with RNC talking points about Obama, her interview with McCain "balanced" this with an encouragement to repeat RNC talking points about Obama. Errington Thompson says this is a sign of what's happened because of increasing media consolidation, and that we should let them know how we feel about it. Meanwhile, The Cincinnati Enquirer endorsed McCain based on a fake Obama quote, and Bill Scher interviewed Will Bunch on his radio show. He also debated taxes with someone from the Heritage Foundation.

Apparently, even in North Carolina, it no longer is about hating liberals. And Rachel Maddow is doing really well for MSNBC, and Obama is going on her show this week, which Atrios quite rightly says looks to be a good thing. I hope she doesn't get too respectful to do what Atrios suggests. (Also: A whole passel of Republican lucky duckies are about to be out of work.)

From the Apple newspage (Thanks to D. Potter): Apple is publicly opposing Proposition 8 and making a donation of $100,000 to the No on 8 campaign. Apple was among the first California companies to offer equal rights and benefits to our employees' same-sex partners, and we strongly believe that a person's fundamental rights - including the right to marry - should not be affected by their sexual orientation. Apple views this as a civil rights issue, rather than just a political issue, and is therefore speaking out publicly against Proposition 8.

Too close to call - in Arizona.

For the record: The only person who out-paces Jonathan Ross for TMI is Russell Brand. Everything that's on Jonathan Ross' mind is going to come out of his mouth. Russell Brand is going to tell you every unsavory detail of his existence. If you don't want that kind of thing, why the hell are you listening to Jonathan Ross when he's got Russell Brand on?

12:44 GMT

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

"Don't you ever leave off?"

Dday has a piece describing some genuine criminal vote-stealing that traces straight back to a consultant working for a Republican candidate. And Digby says the Democrats really need to get onto dealing with GOP voter-suppression.

For some mysterious reason, PBS apparently didn't think torture was a subject worth airing a documentary about before the election, although many local stations decided to do so when offered it individually. It's not playing in DC until January, and if the same is true for your town, you might want to watch Torturing Democracy here, and share it with friends and family. (via)

Xeni Jardin: "Adult film director Max Hardcore sentenced to 4 years in prison on obscenity charges (UPDATE)." And yes, of course it violates the First Amendment. And I'm actually not interested in how people interpret the man's work; most people have a pretty limited understanding of who is watching and how they view any particular type of pornography, especially a type of porn that is not to their own tastes. And you'd be surprised how many are squicked by supposedly "acceptable" sexual practices. (And some things just seem funny until someone actually tries to get you to deal with them in bed.)

We wish to apologize for missing this story earlier.

"Yes, let's give the banks free money with no strings!"


23:34 GMT

Late lunch, more coffee

Well, I missed the fact that Andrew Rosenthal got a clue about the problem with hiring right-wingers to write for the NYT: "The problem with conservative columnists," Rosenthal said, "is that many of them lie in print." Also, have some Howard Zinn - here and here, because he's right.

Just a little reminder of one of the things we really need to fix. I bring this up because of the item below, as a reminder that there's nothing that redistributes wealth and power like conferring the rights of citizens on powerful corporations - without the constraints placed on the rest of us.

Thers is having a little fun with the bizarre meltdown the RNC is fomenting over Obama's "socialist" statements several years ago in which he said pretty much the opposite of what they say he said. Me, I still think he's more likely to be another Tony Blair than another FDR. (Think of the irony if the recently revived RNC meme that everyone is wrong and McCain will win means they fix the election knowing McCain is on his last legs and we'll have President Palin - and then she decides to duplicate her windfall profits tax for the whole country. Now that will be spreading the wealth to a far greater degree than anything Obama's been promising. How unfortunate that she's also freakin' nuts. Among other things.)

As long as I'm over there, Steve Benen's Monday Campaign Round-up, and Monday's Mini-Report, which includes another reason not to vote straight-ticket in North Carolina.

Hm, what are they hiding at the McCain campaign?

14:00 GMT

Monday, 27 October 2008


Just don't get overconfident, even if you do feel like celebrating, what with Senator Tubes getting convicted and all.

"FBI: Yes We Still Have Our Anthrax Shiny Object" - Marcy Wheeler says they are still making it up to pin it on the dead guy.

"Pelosi Suggests Permanent U.S. Slave Class [...] BURIED in the final paragraphs of this article, the Democratic Speaker of the House offers the LA Times a shocking idea: That millions of immigrants now in the USA-who are currently a deeply-enmeshed part of our commerce and communities-might be relegated to a permanent status of neither citizenship or deportee. What is left after you strike those two possibilities? As Duke said, an indentured class." Via a very linky post from Natasha at MyDD, where the map says 376-163.

The Mexican revolution enters its third year, and Charles says, "Watch your tax dollars at work in the tiny town of Xoxocotla, Morelos, where the teachers's union dared to throw up a roadblock during a strike." Makes ya real proud, don't it?

Patrick noticed a weird (and, as far as I can tell, previously unnoted) presidential election pattern throughout the nation's history.

As George WPE Bush hits a new polling low, Atrios posts the best pony yet.

You know, these skinhead would-be Obama-assassinators really don't strike me as having had a very smart plan. The white tuxedos are a nice touch, though.

23:59 GMT

Secrets of the universe

Barbara Ehrenreich offers a Report from the Socialist International Conspiracy: "Surely you have heard by now of the imminent socialist takeover of America, and if you find the prospect unlikely, ask yourself: How many socialists do you know who lost millions in the recent stock market crashes? Just as I thought-none-and that's not only because you don't know any socialists. The truth is that we, the Socialist International Conspiracy, not only saw this coming, we are the ones who made it happen."

Our friend sTiVo took a little visit to Italy recently and saw things that aren't on his TV back home in America.

Blocking All Roads Into Town - Digby says: "I've been writing for a very long time that the minute a Democratic president is sworn in, the Village cries for bipartisanship are going to be deafening. They did it after 2006 --- imagine what they'll do now. Just last week, Broder laid down the gauntlet. Now Obama fan (and former Bush sycophant) Howard Fineman is starting to get nervous." Yes, it's terrifying to think that Obama might actually do what the people elected him for, rather than to protect the Villagers and the Republicans from paying for their sins.

Right-wing bloggers heroically break the law in order to gin up a fake scandal about how ordinary Americans are breaking the law in order to give small amounts of money to the Obama campaign. More interestingly, the WaPo* doesn't think that's the right headline.

Annie chooses her real life hero, Lillian Wald.

To be clear, the metaphor is not the highwayman shot down like a dog to lay in his blood on the highway with a bunch of lace at his throat. That won't happen. The metaphor is Bess, the landlord's black-eyed daughter, bound with a musket beside her, with the barrel beneath her breast. As we are.

20:31 GMT

Seasonal horror

It would probably be beyond the skills of even the best squash carver to make a Jack-o-lantern that looks like a voting machine, I guess. But I'm a lot more afraid of voting machines than I am of ghosts and goblins. Oh, hell, let's face it, I'm scared by anything Republicons do.

Scott Horton asks, "Will Justice Hack the Vote?" It all hinges on Mukasey, of course, and whether he wishes to follow in the footsteps of predecessors:

In the view of the Ohio Republican leadership, emergency measures were necessary to stem a Democratic tide. So they turned to the old standard, the "voting fraud" fraud. With the voting rolls swelled with new registrants who are largely Democrats and disproportionately drawn from students, minorities and lower and middle income groups, Ohio Republicans knew exactly where to strike: they developed a series of tactics designed to ensure that the roughly 200,000 new voters would not be able to vote, and if they did, their votes could be tossed.


With the clock ticking, however, the Republican Party still had one trick up its sleeve. It decided to instruct the Justice Department to implement its plan-doing an end-run around the Supreme Court's ruling. The Washington Post reports the details: House minority leader John Boehner, the senior figure of the Ohio G.O.P. wrote Attorney General Mukasey demanding that he implement the Republican voter suppression plan in the guise of an investigation of "voter fraud." When Mukasey did not respond to Boehner's prompts, he went to the White House. The White House in turn asked the Justice Department to look into the matter.

The sequence of steps here demonstrates how the G.O.P. views the Justice Department as a simple tool for the implementation of their voter suppression projects. Will Mukasey play their game and enlist the Justice Department in an transparent effort to disenfranchise new, overwhelmingly Democratic voters?

McCain is apparently secure in the belief that Mukasey will deliver for him.

Last night Julia was reminding me of another fine example of Republican dedication to democracy who even wrote a book about it. (During that same conversation, I speculated that the Republicans were taking this opportunity to cut down the hated John McCain once and for all, and Julia reminded me of this story.)

Kristof: "Yet the endorsement of Mr. McCain by a Qaeda-affiliated Web site isn't a surprise to security specialists. Richard Clarke, the former White House counterterrorism director, and Joseph Nye, the former chairman of the National Intelligence Council, have both suggested that Al Qaeda prefers Mr. McCain and might even try to use terror attacks in the coming days to tip the election to him. 'From their perspective, a continuation of Bush policies is best for recruiting,' said Professor Nye, adding that Mr. McCain is far more likely to continue those policies." Same as four years ago. We're all waiting for that new video and terrorist attack to help McCain win. (Kristof also mentions that Bush has now made Somalia worse than Darfur, his former favorite disaster.)

Ettlin talks politics with The Sons of Confederate Veterans, and others, in Tennessee.

More horror show.

I thought Metro's 60 Second Interview with Dave Clark a couple weeks ago was kinda fun.

13:30 GMT

Sunday, 26 October 2008


Dems could make a great case that Republicans are bad for the nation's defense, and yet they always seem to cede this territory to Republicans - even now, when the Republicans have clearly shown abysmal negligence at best on the issue. Why don't they run on defense?

Dan talks about the importance of keeping the link trail going. I agree completely, and sometimes it's only after I find a link two days later that I remember that, damn, I was going to post about that - which means people keep being aware of the story longer and talking about it more, giving it more legs and more power.

Remember the excellent encounter between Greenspan and the Penguin? Woody does, and you couldn't have a better indicator of what the goal is than Tom Tomorrow gave us last year.

Proposition Hate - Given new life by Mormon outside agitators funders from out of state, Prop 8 now stands a real chance of passing. Also: How To Negotiate With The Bush Administration. And a reminder: The electoral map looks closer than you think to the 2000 map - and though Gore won, somehow he never made it to the White House.

Biden versus right-wingnut interviewer. With follow-up interpretation by Maru.

I see Obama is a threat to the Jews. Jews, I'm happy to say, are not buying this bollocks. Most American Jews know that stirring up the Middle East isn't especially good for Israel, anyway.

Man, there's a terrific photo of that giant spider at the Tate Modern in the weekend IHT and I can't find it online. Gah! Anna found me this picture, but it's just not as good.

20:36 GMT

The road was a ribbon of darkness

David ("The Cabbage") Brooks starts with the polite version of the conservative framing in today's column:

There are two major political parties in America, but there are at least three major political tendencies. The first is orthodox liberalism, a belief in using government to maximize equality. The second is free-market conservatism, the belief in limiting government to maximize freedom.

But there is a third tendency, which floats between.

No. Because maximizing "equality" at some low level at the expense of freedom isn't liberalism. Liberalism is the one that floats between the two. While it is true that, as the first sentences of the Gettysburg address suggest, equality and liberty may have some friction between them, both are to be desired, and neither can exist if wealth and power are concentrated in a minority of hands to the extent that they determine the lives of the vast majority of individuals to their detriment. There is ultimately no difference for the freedom of most individuals if either an authoritarian government or a wealthy oligarchy (that is not necessarily part of the official government) have the final say in whether we may step beyond "our place".

What the last eight years have taught us is that when wealthy oligarchs and corporations have too much power, they pull the strings on an increasingly authoritarian government, and thus we have neither equality nor liberty - only the Malefactors of Great Wealth have liberty, and they detest the very idea of equality with the masses. Thus we have seen decreasing economic freedom, limited upward mobility and increasing downward mobility, and the imposition of the laws of a police state overwhelming our country at the hands of the patrician and corporate elite.

(Please don't try to convince me that I should be satisfied with the vast array of "choices" I am provided by the option of two different kinds of chewing gum - each containing a different poisonous artificial sweetener.)

But here Brooks tells the truth:

And there was Sarah Palin, who represents the old resentments and the narrow appeal of conventional Republicanism.
That's the "conventional Republicanism" that The Cabbage and his cronies have been happy to defend for decades, now. And because the repeated demands of ordinary people that polls have demonstrated for all of those decades are now likely to manifest at last - despite the enormous (and so far hugely effective) disenfranchisement efforts of the GOP - in electoral victory of proportions unseen in generations, Brooks is worried that somehow the Democrats have gained "control of the middle."
Self-declared moderates now favor Obama by 59 to 30, according to the New York Times/CBS News poll. Suburban voters favor Obama 50 to 39. Voters over all give him a 21 point lead when it comes to better handling the economy and a 14 point lead on tax policy, according to the Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll.
The real reason, of course, is that conservatives finally tipped their hand by winning and doing what they'd been promising all along - imposing the "liberty" of being gouged by "the marketplace" and leaving the rest of us on our own, while using our own tax money to do it.

Krugman thinks the economy has focused the minds of Americans:

But I suspect that the main reason for the dramatic swing in the polls is something less concrete and more meta than the fact that events have discredited free-market fundamentalism. As the economic scene has darkened, I'd argue, Americans have rediscovered the virtue of seriousness. And this has worked to Mr. Obama's advantage, because his opponent has run a deeply unserious campaign.
Well, that, and the realization that the people you'd been listening to before were actually con-men who were ripping you off, and now you can't pay your mortgage, you're in danger of losing - or have lost - your job (perhaps because the company has completed its transition from being an American company to a Chinese company, thanks to the tax breaks they get for this betrayal of their native land), and you can't even declare bankruptcy anymore. Little things like that make you think.
Will the nation's new demand for seriousness last? Maybe not - remember how 9/11 was supposed to end the focus on trivialities? For now, however, voters seem to be focused on real issues. And that's bad for Mr. McCain and conservatives in general: right now, to paraphrase Rob Corddry, reality has a clear liberal bias.
9/11, for most people, happened to someone else. For conservatives, despite their pretend fellow-feeling with the victims, it happened to people they've always treated as evil aliens. They didn't care then and don't care now whether New Yorkers and other eastern "elites" (and dregs) are murdered at their desks. But when it's your job, or your mortgage, or your gas tank, or your medical bills, well, that's happening to you. And it does concentrate the mind.

Of course, it also helps that Sarah Palin is a terrorist sympathizer when it comes to the form of terrorism Americans continue to be in real danger from - right-wing "Christian" creeps who blow up women's health facilities and murder their doctors.

Frank Rich remembers when George "Macacca" Allen was the Man to Watch for the next president of the United States, and suspects that the GOP's hopes for a Bradley effect will not be fulfilled.

And while everyone is standing over the corpse of conservatism, Ilkya reminds us that the stinking, rotted craziness that is conservatism has always been with us and always will be, rising again from its native dirt as an undead horror against which we must be vigilant. (via)

Ruth watched Bill Moyers interview James K. Gailbraith Friday about his new book, The Predator State:

BILL MOYERS: You call it a corporate republic.

JAMES GALBRAITH: It is a corporate republic.

BILL MOYERS: Which means that the purpose of government is to divert funds from the public sector to the private sector?

JAMES GALBRAITH: I think it's very clear.

"The public sector", to be clear, is your pocket. (You can watch it, too.)

13:32 GMT

On the drum

Malizia by La Perla La Classe non padded balconette braBra of the Week

The Obama-Biden Tax Calculator.

Our treatment of prisoners from Iraq and Afghanistan may have exposed us to broad international outrage, but our own prisons at home are torture chambers and rape rooms - and people laugh about it. One journalist has made that story central to his work.

Bob Herbert knows that things are falling apart, but: "When a new president takes office in January, the temptation will be to delay bold action on these fronts until the overall economic situation improves. That is the kind of mistake (like ignoring the housing and credit bubbles until it was too late or refusing to heed the pre-Katrina warnings in New Orleans) that opens the door to additional crises."

You know when there's a problem at the company, some idiot thinks it can all be solved by some lame reorganization? Well, at least they aren't dealing with problems like "accidentally" flying nukes around the country.

Independents in Florida don't seem to like McCain and Palin. But zombies do.

Sarah Palin can not even dress herself.

Dipped in visual joy.

01:15 BST

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Weather report

Jamison Foser notes that as the likely outcome of the presidential election becomes increasingly clear, the right wing media has become increasingly nuts:

Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage, Jerome Corsi, and others have attacked Barack Obama over his visit to his ailing grandmother.

On Monday, Savage responded to Colin Powell's endorsement of Obama by insisting, "The only people who don't seem to vote based on race are whites of European origin." Later in the week, Savage said welfare recipients shouldn't be allowed to vote. Fellow radio host Jim Quinn went a step further over the edge, declaring that there was "good reason" for allowing only landowners to vote.

A Washington Times columnist called Barack Obama a "Marxist" who believes that "murdering innocent babies ... is an inalienable right." ABC's The Note declared that little piece of overheated rhetoric a "must-read."

The creative conspiracy theorists over at WorldNetDaily claim that Obama "campaigned for" "radical Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga" during a 2006 trip -- a claim supposedly substantiated by obviously fake emails Jerome Corsi claims to have obtained. In the extraordinarily unlikely event that the emails are real, they still do not substantiate WND's claims -- in fact, they don't contain so much as a single statement of support for Odinga.

Syndicated columnist Thomas Sowell compared Obama to Hitler, Mao and Jim Jones. What's the similarity? Well, they all spoke inspiringly of "change."

"Return Of The Unitard: As the term of the 43rd President of the United States finally winds down, George W. Bush has managed yet another 'surprise!' for Congress: he's still playing around with his pet goat, the theory of the Unitary President. This time, however, he's gone beyond his favorite tactic, the signing statement. Now, he's taking the position that a bill he signed into law will not be enforced because it is a constitutional infringement on his executive powers."

Pollnography: This map seems to get bluer by the day, and now even previously dark red Georgia has McCain only two points ahead of Obama, with Montana and North Dakota showing ties. Rassmussen, still assuming that black turnout in NC will be no better than usual, projects McCain to win the state, but otherwise it's pretty much all bad news for McCain.

Joe the Plumber threatens to run against Marcy Kaptur.

I was gonna call it "Whether report", but I couldn't face the people who were gonna tell me I misspelled it.

14:44 BST

Uno mundo

It's frustrating enough that no matter how many times I've written about McCain's outrageous betrayal of his so-called principles on torture, it's a story that never has any goddamn legs. No one seems to care. No one picks it up. I don't mean, "Other bloggers don't link to me," I mean the goddamn story was in the papers when it happened and it disappeared as if it hadn't happened at all as far as the corporate media was concerned, and they still cite McCain's so-called principled so-called stand against torture as one of the things to admire him for. McCain betrayed every soldier in the field when he did that, and it's frustrating as hell that we write about it and it just goes down the memory hole. But at least no one writes to me and demands to know why I'm ignoring it. (Also: Mention this fake story about something that isn't relevant anyway the next time you hear someone dismiss Al Sharpton because of Tawana Brawley.)

Apparently, Hollywood conservatives think they have it really bad because liberals in Hollywood disagree with them, and therefore they think it's the same as being on The Blacklist.

A federal appeals court has granted a last-minute reprieve to Troy Davis. Also, Racial Disparities in Cleveland Drug Prosecutions, and a great reason to change how the census counts prisoners.

To my surprise, a fairly strong endorsement of Obama at Cup O'Joe.

Vlad and Boris want to see Sarah Palin from their doorstep in Moscow. Plus: Greenspan admits that John Galt's speech at the end of Atlas Shrugged is probably too long. (Also: If Obama wins, Will White People Riot?

Rudy Rucker on Sex and Science Fiction.

Buffalo Springfield

00:01 BST

Friday, 24 October 2008

The autumn winds blow chilly and cold

"Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien: Obama's New Advisor Stands By His War Crimes: Just to be clear, Barack Obama's brand-new foreign policy advisor, Colin Powell, wants you to know that he continues to support the decision to launch a war of aggression against Iraq in March 2003 -- an act that, according to principles established by the United States and its allies at Nuremberg in 1945, is a war crime punishable by death. In fact, the only thing that Powell -- the wise and steady statesman, the "grown-up," the "moderate" -- can find to criticize in the conduct of the war he helped launch is the fact that it wasn't savage enough to begin with." Oh, but it's been a helluva success.

Mike Madden and Walter Shapiro have a piece in Salon on The punditocracy's Seven Biggest Blunders of the 2008 election, but Glenn Greenwald notes Another myth fallen: Obama's 'Jewish problem' as it becomes clear that Obama's numbers look no worse than Kerry's were. Of course. American Jews, for the most part, still remember that when conservatives talk about "elites" and "Northeastern liberals" and "Hollywood liberals", it's just the modern version of what they used to refer to as "the Jews". "Pointy-headed liberals" are also "the Jews", by the way. Science is Jewish. (Earlier Ruth was telling me she'd just heard some nitwit caller to C-SPAN delivering his plan to rescue the economy: "it's time to kill Shylock." Bound to happen eventually.)

"ACORN Strikes Back: Four weeks ago most people in the United States had never heard of ACORN. But then the entire apparatus of the GOP started a concerted and coordinated campaign of attacks and smears on us, reaching a zenith of sorts when John McCain attacked us during the last Presidential debate in front of 50 million viewers, saying that we 'may be destroying the fabric of democracy'. " Also, Stoller predicts a landslide as Bowers notes that "safe" Republican seats are in double-digit jeopardy.

I know they'll never admit it, but I wonder: Do things like this ever make the Villagers wonder whether they were sold a bill of goods about Dan Rather's "forged" memos? (via)

Libby is trying to make the numbers work for Sarah Palin's expensive shopping trip, and notes that the McCain/Palin campaign has spent a lot of money on cosmetics, as well. Seems Sidney needs a lot of makeover.

Opie and Andy and Richie and The Fonze endorse. (Thanks to Mark for the tip.)

Simon & Garfunkel

18:17 BST

My morning news scan

Another vote-stealing method to watch out for if you live in one of the 15 states that allow you to vote for the full ticket at once according to party: "THE PROBLEM: :'Straight party voting' on voting machines is revealing a bad pattern of miscounting and omitting your vote, especially if you are a Democrat. Most recently (Oct. 2008), a firm called Automated Election Services was found to have miscoded the system in heavily Democratic Santa Fe County, New Mexico such that straight party voters would not have their presidential votes counted." So if you're in a straight-party vote state, don't take that option, because it tells the machine what your party is and lets it steal your vote. Several important swing-states are among them. (In 2004, not only were some states' votes for Democrats disappeared in straight-party votes, but in Alabama they were shifted to a Republican.)

Top headlines at the Guardian:
"UK on brink of recession as economy shrinks sharply [...] Bigger than expected fall in GDP fuels expectations of further cuts in interest rates." The UK's economy is pretty closely tied to America's - in many ways, more closely than to Europe's. Nobody is safe.
"Greenspan: I was wrong. Sort of [...] Ex-Fed chairman and deregulation cheerleader concedes 'mistake' in free market ideology." Sure, you had a crackpot idea that by some magic you were going to prove thousands of years of history were wrong, and that America could be just as prosperous as it had been by getting rid of all the rules. Who could have imagined you'd be wrong?
"Officer who shot De Menezes had never fired at a suspect before, inquiry told" Except quotes from the article are more to the point: "It was a very short briefing - a pen sketch idea of what we were doing and where we had to go immediately." And "But surveillance officers who followed De Menezes to Stockwell have told the inquest they only said he was a 'good possible' suspect. One of the senior firearms advisers involved in the operation told the inquest last week that C2 and C12 were put in an 'impossible situation'. The officer, identified as Trojan 84, said: 'They were given the judgment call, and that is unbelievably outrageous that they should be left with that responsibility.'"

How to defeat gay rights: Blackmail. (In other news: Road Rage can happen to anyone, but sometimes it runs in the (McNasty) family.)

SNL Thursday Night Live: The Occupant endorses.

13:20 BST

Signal to noise

Good point from Atrios that underlines one I've been trying to make for a good long time: If their magic ground game was so good in 2004, why aren't they using it now? It's always been my belief that the lack of evidence for that ground game in 2004 (and those voters) means they were invented just to explain away Bush's inexplicable "win".

I don't know, do you think it's an accident that the crony corporations who get those government contracts screw up in ways that protect criminals? And just how "Christian" is it to prosecute people for donating to the care of orphans?

Driftglass is absolutely, unambiguously clear on how stupid you have to be to keep thinking this isn't where the culture war was going.

You could do worse than to peruse Dean Baker's page, but I was particularly interested in the point that China is More than Twice as Rich as the NYT Tells Readers.

Bipartisanship - when conservative Dems and Republicans agree on bombing Iran.

Sherry Chandler with a bit of history of women in politics.

Bob Herbert on The Real Scandal - While Republicans falsely accuse ACORN of registration fraud, the GOP's real electoral strategy is to deprive American citizens of their right to have their votes count.

Jim Galloway is on crackpot watch.

Correction: "WASHINGTON - In an Oct. 14 story on the record federal budget deficit for 2008, The Associated Press incorrectly quoted Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad as saying the national debt had climbed by more than $1 trillion while President Bush was in office. Conrad said the national debt had climbed more than $1 trillion in the 2008 budget year. The national debt has risen by $4.6 trillion since Bush took office."

01:07 BST

Thursday, 23 October 2008

I can see the moon from my doorstep; I should run NASA

The Seattle Times only has one reporter covering the Congressional race for Washington's 8th, and that one reporter is making it up about Darcy Burner. Like Atrios says, it's time to send some polite e-mails.

Robert Reich tells the simple truth, that "If They're Too Big To Fail, They're Too Big Period. [...] We seem to have forgotten that the original purpose of antitrust law was also to prevent companies from becoming too powerful. Too powerful in that so many other companies depended on them, so many jobs turned on them, and so many consumers or investors or depositors needed them - that the economy as a whole would be endangered if they failed. Too powerful in that they could wield inordinate political influence - of a sort that might gain them extra favors from Washington." The same is also true with taxes meant to reduce the growth of accumulated wealth: When entities have such enormous power, they become a threat to the republic. As we have seen in a variety of cases, including the media.

This is your mind on Drudge - Eric Boehlert notes that, though Drudge stopped being able to drive the political debate the moment the Wall Street Emergency became public, the media persist in talking about him like he is the source of all knowledge.

The Price of Encouraging Political Violence - We have heard this kind of talk before, and we saw where it leads.

Buzzflash reviews Naomi Wolf's Give Me Liberty: A Handbook for American Revolutionaries.

Eric Williams at Wampum, who spends a lot of energy dealing with ICANN, has an intriguing suggestion: .blog as a new domain suffix. I call dibs on avedon.blog.

Maybe you'd like to help get these ads for swing states on the air - because we deserve a choice.

Heretik provides a Haiku From Hell, and MadKane wonders, "Is GOP Idiocy Real, Or Is It Memorex?

16:27 BST

Shadows on the land

Block the Vote - Bobby Kennedy and Greg Palast ask, "Will the GOP's campaign to deter new voters and discard Democratic ballots determine the next president? [...] 'All these new rules and games are turning voting into an obstacle course that could flip the vote to the GOP in half a dozen states.'"

Jeez, even Peter Tatchell is writing about this: "The US presidential election will not be free and fair, because millions of electors will either not be allowed to vote or will not have their votes properly counted. It could cost Barack Obama the White House, even if he wins most of the votes on November 4. This sensational claim is based on research by the New York Times (NYT) and BBC Newsnight.[*] The NYT found that in some states for every new voter registered in the last couple of months, two voters have been removed - negating Obama's massive voter registration drive. This voter purging could mean fewer people voting next month than voted in 2004."

"The Power We Are About to Inherit" - Paradox wonders if the Democrats will get into office and recognize the power they hold, and use it the right way. The article has a good shortlist of things we really, really need to do, but I have little faith that a passel of Republicans and their enablers will allow them to happen.

Financial danger in rating dubious deals? Who knew? "it could be structured by cows and we would rate it." (via)

Barack-El: For those who missed the Al Smith Dinner, an article on Obama geekiness. (Thanks to Mr. Sideshow.)

Michelle Bachman went on the record to say that it's Chris' Matthews' fault that she said disgusting things on his show. And Joe Klein has been kicked off the McCain campaign plane for being insufficiently adoring. ("we don't allow Daily Kos diarists on board either.") (via)

Warren Zevon, "Searching For A Heart", live.

14:13 BST

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Living in a Phil Dick novel

Teresa notes that plans are already in place to have a strong show of police presence to control "unrest" if "people" are "disappointed" when their candidate doesn't win, and asks the question, "What kind of 'Election Day unrest' are we talking about? That's a very good question indeed, since they're all talking like the candidate of black people is the candidate who is going to lose, despite the fact that he is way out ahead of the white guy whose numbers seem to get worse every day. If Obama loses with these numbers, absolutely no one should trust the results. (Oh, but they're not being partisan or racist or anything - they agree that people might also riot because of the female vice presidential candidate!) Also linked on the sidebar, famous comedians say it Ain't Funny.

Is Bernanke endorsing Obama? And is Obama endorsing Bernanke? There's a question that should keep you up at night. (Among other things.)

Al Qaeda endorses McCain. It's nice to have friends. Oh, wait, I see he doesn't feel the same way.

You will know them by their right-wing rhetoric.

What could be more entertaining than hearing two Republican nitwits explain the opinion of feminists? Maybe watching Rachel talk about it.

Did you know that there are actually more than a couple-dozen people named "Mickey Mouse" listed in the Florida white pages? (Note to aliens: That's the residential phone book.) Yes, strange as it may seem you really should check your facts by insisting that there are no voters with a funny name.

Another patriot attempts a citizen's arrest of Karl Rove. Also, Karl Rove gets a reaction for decrying negative campaigning.

You get to guess what totally bummed me out about this clip.

Just to clear up any confusion, it is not my contention that Kos has become a mindless libertoonian clone just because he is trying to make his case at Cato Unbound.

20:53 BST

Third cup of coffee

So, I filled in the little oval things with my carefully-preserved No.2 pencil (because they don't sell No.2 pencils, here). I tried not to think about it while I was doing it. I disliked the fact that Carter was an avowed born-again Christian, and I wrinkled my nose over Bill Clinton, but I never thought I'd be voting for someone who supported spying on Americans and eliminating the capital gains tax. OK, so I'm always voting against the Republican rather than voting for the Democrat, but still. A part of me suspects that I really should have voted for McKinney, but I voted for Obama for the obvious reason.

Diane notes that the government has dropped charges against five more Gitmo detainees, and discusses the legal maneuvering they continue to do in order to avoid courtroom scrutiny.

Everyone's talking about the new Respectable Republican Cloth Coat, which leads to Nixon's Checkers speech - which, after the last eight years, makes particularly bizarre reading.

Ezra reviewed Andrew Gelman's Red State, Blue State, Rich State, Poor State for the Barnes & Noble site: "His introduction begins with a quote from pundit Tucker Carlson: 'Here's the fact that nobody ever, ever mentions -- Democrats win rich people. Over $100,000 in income, you are likely more than not to vote for Democrats.' As Gelman goes on to explain, there are no fewer than two large falsehoods in that statement. First, lots of people mention that 'fact.' Gelman quotes a number of them at length, ranging from left-wing populists like Thomas Frank to right-wing culture warriors like Michael Barone. Second, the statement is false. As Gelman says, 'If poor people were a state, they would be 'bluer' even than Massachusetts; if rich people were a state, they would be about as 'red' as Alabama, Kansas, the Dakotas, or Texas.'"

If your state has early voting, don't leave it 'til election day, please.

"PG Porn" is creepy, but the fact that Nathan Fillion had anything to do with it is downright depressing.

Spock v. Spock

14:48 BST

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

They just seem a little weird

The Cunning Realist: "In the short term, the efficacy of the government's plan to buy stakes in major banks is clear. The stock market's performance since the lows last week is a good indicator. And in terms of the financial system's immediate stability, it might be the best option. But there's a larger reality that's become unavoidable. Any system that, after barely a year of unpleasant consequences, resorts to taking money from teachers, doctors, cops, farmers, scientists, and small business owners and giving it to people like this is not only fatally flawed but deeply immoral. And the more immoral and desperate it gets, the more important it will be to punish those who balk at participating."

"Paulson censors compensation numbers on Bank of New York bailout contract, despite promises of "Transparency". These people really are pirates.

Justice, the Department, Does Dallas: "The government has brought charges against Muslim charities several times now for charitable support that has enabled terrorism. In 1995, Hamas was put on a list that classifies it as a terrorist organization, and since then any support of Hamas activities would constitute a crime. Financial support, from various Muslim charities, has not been shown to have occurred since the listing happened, but the charges persist. The Justice Department charges have been defeated in previous cases, but Dallas looks like the venue that finally is going to work for them."

Markos Moulitsas gets a job.

The NJDC launches a new ad on Israel and energy independence.

A poor grade for Josh Marshall.

Some of you might enjoy the McCain horror show in this post.

Yes, we carve.

Adventuring Party Politics: The Campaign is Getting Ugly.

Cheap Trick, live someplace other than Budokan.

17:38 BST

I nailed my faith to the sticking pole

It's good news that the Obama team is making noise about the McCain campaign's attack on ACORN and calling for an investigation of misconduct coordinated with the Justice Department. And it's something Dems should be talking about - that the Republicans have a campaign to stop legitimate voters from voting or having their ballots properly counted, that the fake registration-fraud and voter-fraud stories are invented for them to hide behind.

What are the chances that Bush won Ohio in 2004? Pretty damned slim.

Perhaps it's time for a reminder of this.

Shirley Manson and Garbage, "I Think I'm Paranoid."

15:13 BST

Monday, 20 October 2008

When it's all you've got

Marcy Wheeler has some good news about the suit against Michigan Republicans' illegal voter-suppression scheme. I particularly liked this quote from the news story: "The settlement acknowledges the existence of an illegal scheme by the Republicans to use mortgage foreclosure lists to deny foreclosure victims their right to vote. This settlement has the force of law behind it and ensures that Republicans cannot disenfranchise families facing foreclosure."

What Digby said in The Los Angeles Times. Also, there's the threat of socialism. They feel the fear. Oh, and by the way, Donna Brazile - have I mentioned my long-standing disgust with Donna Brazile - well, anyway, Donna Brazile has joined the Hoover administration.

Krugman on how The Real Plumbers of Ohio are faring in the class war: "But what's really happening to the plumbers of Ohio, and to working Americans in general? First of all, they aren't making a lot of money. You may recall that in one of the early Democratic debates Charles Gibson of ABC suggested that $200,000 a year was a middle-class income. Tell that to Ohio plumbers: according to the May 2007 occupational earnings report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual income of "plumbers, pipefitters and steamfitters" in Ohio was $47,930." People who can't manage to live on a take-home of $182,400 really need to ask themselves why, and I think they'll find that it's not because their taxes are too high.

Guess what it was about watching Tweety with Michelle Bachman that really made me angry.

Reinventing wheels in political postering - Ettlin reviews Posters, Propaganda, and Persuasion in Election Campaigns Around the World and Through History, and reveals signs of healing seen on his road trip.

I actually never expected to see a post about PJ Proby at Boing Boing. Here he is singing one of "the songs Lennon and McCartney gave away", and here with the New Yardbirds doing something that didn't get played on the radio.

23:30 BST

Get your kvetching in early

I would have liked this article about how bad the recession will get a lot better if it hadn't blamed you and me for the problem. I'm sure one or two of you bought yourself an iPod or something when you really shouldn't have, but we aren't the ones who made this mess. I haven't been blowing money I didn't have on things I didn't need. (I occasionally buy things I don't need - like that little box of Lindors last week - but I have the money for them.) I know people who make more money than I do and in theory should not have debts, but I know that the difference between them and me isn't so much that I'm frugal (though I am), but the fact that they live in America where the amount of money that comes out of their pockets for medical issues is extortionate, whereas I have the NHS. We had a costly disaster in 2001 to which the response of the person occupying the Oval Office was to tell people to go out and spend money, and then to launch a war without raising the taxes to pay for it - in contrast to the presidents who, in time of war (that they won), told us to make sacrifices for the war effort. We had supposedly-responsible bankers and legislators and financial advisors all telling us that they were going to give us free money that we could spend to our hearts' content without ever having to worry about whether we could pay it back - even that borrowing and spending was the prudent thing to do. We were told we were "suckers" if we simply lived within our means - and then laws were passed to make it more and more difficult to even try to live within our means. We've had "the smart money" going to high-stakes gambling games that were treated as responsible, safe investments when they were really even less reliable than a crap-shoot. But the people whose job it was to tell you they weren't going to give you money were instead telling you that of course you could easily pay back a loan on something that cost five times your annual income without any strain whatsoever, and I take issue with the idea that it was my fault that these people were lending out money to people who they knew could not afford to pay them back (and at extortionate interest, too). This used to be illegal racketeering that was done by the Mafia - you know, a crime. Morally, it still is, so quit blaming me for it. I'm not the person who decided it was a good idea to make billions of dollars worth of bad loans, and the people who did are the people who should take the blame - and pay for it.

Oh, look, they made all the mistakes that led up to the Great Depression, and they're still making them.

"I should have a choice about this."

Ronald Brownstein has a wishful article in The National Journal worrying that the Democrats have picked a candidate who isn't enough like Ronald Reagan, who Americans loved because they recognize that the New Deal was "a failure of ideas". TChris rebuts: "The evidence in support of this fever dream goes unstated. Is it not more likely that the public supports Obama because he argues that a responsible government can act to improve the lives of its citizens? Isn't it possible that voters are tired of waiting for wealth to "trickle down" as Reagan-era economic theories (revived on steroids by Bush) promised? It is Reaganomics, not the New Deal, that represents a failure of ideology." And Americans, who overwhelmingly support New Deal polices including those that were considered too radical to implement at the time, know it. Interestingly, Jon Meacham said something similarly moronic in Newsweek, earning him a dressing down from David Sirota, and Atrios' WoD* award. We have the talking point!

Replicators, and things they made. (Thanks to Dominic for the tip.)

14:33 BST

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Ain't no easy way

Chris Floyd on What the World Knows -- and Americans Don't -- About the Bailout:

Readers of The Guardian were greeted with this leading story -- front-page, up top -- on Saturday morning:

Wall Street banks in $70bn staff payout
Pay and bonus deals equivalent to 10% of US government bail-out package

Having laid out the thrust of the story very plainly in the headline and sub-head, the paper then detailed the way that the Bush-Obama bailout (the most apt moniker for a scheme devised by the top echelons of the bipartisan elite) is yet another inside job by the Beltway bandits who move in and out of the revolving door between "public service" and vast feeding troughs of Cronytopia.

I agree with Atrios - for those who didn't already know about Powell's rather unsavory history from before he got to be really famous, the little white vial probably destroyed most of his credibility. Be that as it may, some people might take his endorsement of Obama as a comfort. (On the other hand, some people might see it as "those people" sticking together.)

Although it appears in his This Week in Tyranny post, Dan reminds me of something good that happened: "In election news the Supreme Court beat back an attempt to create a completely (intentionally) unworkable plan to double check voter registrations for hundreds of thousands of voters right before the election. I'll admit I was surprised that it was a unanimous decision. Ever since Bush v Gore made it obvious that Justices are happy to wear their party affiliations on their sleeves I haven't expected any kind of durable principle from them on vote-related opinions." He also notes that, "Michigan's attempt to turn the financial crisis into a disenfranchisement opportunity suffered a setback this week as well: 'The American Civil Liberties Union is trumpeting a judge's decision in Michigan which brings to a halt the practice of eliminating voters from rolls if their mailing address is found to be invalid.'" Not only that, but Democrat Jim Martin is in a tight race in a red state for Saxby Chambliss seat and yet is forcefully standing up against telecom immunity, despite the Dem leadership's insistence that you have to sound like a Republican to run in a red state.

Glenn Greenwald on the media's excuses for McCain's nasty campaign. Look, he was always an irresponsible creep, and he's running as a Republican. What else is there to know?

A hedgefund manager says good-bye to a disgusting business: "Recently, on the front page of Section C of the Wall Street Journal, a hedge fund manager who was also closing up shop (a $300 million fund), was quoted as saying, 'What I have learned about the hedge fund business is that I hate it.' I could not agree more with that statement." (via)

I'm with Thers: Palin ain't that stylish.

Another sign of the times.

Velma provides a Scraps update. Someone needs to bring that man some decent soft food.

I can't believe I couldn't find the Randy Newman version of "Gone Dead Train", beside which this ain't nothin'. [Update: Anna Granfors to the rescue.]

15:25 BST

Crunchy brunch

Even CNN can't swallow McPalin's libel against ACORN, saying, "This is looking like a fraud committed against ACORN." Still waiting for the corporate media to take actual election fraud seriously. Maybe that's because the Democratic leadership has nothing to say about it, either. When McCain talks about "one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country, maybe destroying the fabric of democracy," he's hoping you forget what happened eight years ago and every goddamned day since.

Southern Beale hopes that this Republican economic collapse has finally killed off economic libertarianism.

Billmon thinks the ACORN slime is The New Stabbed In the Back Myth. I don't think it's new - the idea that the Democratic President is illegitimate worked very well for them to help cripple Clinton, and they've spent eight years raising voter-suppression to a whole new level. This isn't the first time they've trotted out this rubbish about ACORN, either - it's just that they don't usually have it coming directly out of the mouths of their top-ticket candidates. (I do think he knows that.) And it's hardly as if there isn't evidence that Obama just plain has more support. But he cleanly unpacks The Socialism of Idiots, and DemFromCT provides Your Abbreviated Pundit Round-up .

I'm trying to remember if I've ever seen a split-decision endorsement before. Even the Republican ChiTrib and the neocon WaPo just endorsed Obama, after all.

Please Help Joe the Plumber.

Wingnut World Update

13:54 BST

In the chilly hours and minutes

Piege Ria unlined braBra of the Week

For those of us who took to the internet back in the '90s in search of some real liberal media - and a place to create some more - Cursor has always been something special, the essential news aggregator. Now they've lost their funding and have shut down the project, at least for the time being. I do hope they find another source, but whether that happens or not, I'll always be grateful to Mike Tronnes for being there for us. I'm certainly going to miss knowing that when all else fails, I'll always be able to find something good at Cursor.

Buzzflash recommends The 35 Articles of Impeachment and the Case for Prosecuting George W. Bush by Dennis Kucinich, and Thom Hartmann reviews Robert Kuttner's Obama's Challenge: America's Economic Crisis and the Power of a Transformative Presidency.

Bill Ayers is nothin' compared to the people McCain has been pallin' around with, though the media doesn't seem to care much.

"We're voting for the n***er." BooMan thinks the story is a bummer, but for me, the fact that people who are openly racist are still either undecided or voting for Obama tells me that maybe things aren't so bad - after all, they are still considering voting for a black man. And I'm also starting to wonder if talking about the racism isn't a red-herring. Yes, racism is certainly a factor in this race, and there are definitely people who are not voting for Obama just because he's black. But I'm also getting the feeling that, as avowed Christian evangelicals are showing less enthusiasm for Republicans this year, racists aren't being set up to take their place to "explain" mysterious discrepancies in the exit polls. Remember after New Hampshire when the media insisted that Hillary's win was evidence of the Bradley effect even though Hillary had been ahead in NH polling all year? They certainly seem to want us to be thinking about racism, but maybe that's just a distraction. (via)

Ettlin's road trip leads him to a McCain supporter in a drive-in lot and Foamhenge.

"Catch the Wind"

I went out into the country and the stars were gorgeous.

02:22 BST

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Matters of interest

Everybody's really hurting, including Diane, and I've been lobbying Ruth to convince Diane to put up a PayPal button for a while. Losing some hours and her benefits seems to have made her bite the bullet, so please kick in what you can.

An editorial in this morning's NYT warns: "All presidents indulge in end-of-the-term environmental rule-making. President Clinton's rules were mostly good. Not surprisingly, most of President Bush's proposals are not."

Bob Herbert on the millions of older Americans who are about to drop right through the floor from being middle-class to destitution because of the con game: "If you believe Ms. Richardson's account, and I do, she was fast-talked into a mortgage that would have been impossible to pay off with her fixed income. Foreclosure would have seemed inevitable. But Ms. Richardson and her current lawyer, Carlene McNulty of Raleigh, N.C., said the figures that would have made it obvious to Ms. Richardson that she couldn't afford the mortgage were deliberately concealed. She is only one of many people who played by the rules expecting a stable retirement, only to discover that, bit by bit, the foundations of their lives are coming apart and they are falling over the edge. "Real people. Real suffering. We may be fascinated by Wall Street, and bogus yarns like Joe the Plumber's. But the real story in this country right now is the increasingly dire plight of those heading toward the bottom of that ladder that Ms. Navarra was talking about."

It was obvious to some of us eight years ago, but Gail Collins is starting to get a glimmer: "Everybody knows that anything our president says is very likely wrong, and certainly won't happen. If he announced: 'I'm sending government agents to Spokane to arrest the looters, we would expect that the officials would get lost, nobody would be arrested, and the looters probably never existed in the first place." No, actually, I would assume that the looters were sent by Dick Cheney and the "agents" Bush is sending were there to finish the job. (She's right about one thing, though: I'm not happy. I'm especially not happy when the "best" of the two candidates is the one who promised on national television that he would help the economy by, of all things, eliminating the capital gains tax!)

The New England Journal of Medicine reviews the McCain plan, and is very nearly shrill: "The most important questions raised by the health care proposals of the presidential candidates concern their values and judgment. These will guide a new president through the tortuous, unpredictable process of leading health care change. The specifics of candidates' proposals matter. But more important is what health plans communicate about a prospective president's fundamental beliefs and character. By this standard, John McCain emerges not as a maverick or centrist but as a radical social conservative firmly in the grip of the ideology that animates the domestic policies of President George W. Bush. The central purpose of President Bush's health policy, and John McCain's, is to reduce the role of insurance and make Americans pay a larger part of their health care bills out of pocket. Their embrace of market forces, fierce antagonism toward government, and determination to force individuals to have more "skin in the game" are overriding - all other goals are subsidiary."

Watch Rachel do some important grounding of meme-recasting on the Vote Fraud Fraud, and also the candidates at the Al Smith Dinner. Actually, the thing that impressed me most is that she's started hammering Obama on his position on signing statements. Since Obama is likely to win, I'd definitely like to know that people are prepared to recognize signing statements as an evil. She also had Bamford on about the NSA spying program.

"Critical Condition is being streamed in its entirety from October 1, to November 11, 2008. Watch Now."

Is The Jed Report biased?

16:23 BST

Leftover links

"Yes, basically this year's election is a contest between conservatives and Satanists."

Susie says that the extortionate costs of education are another part of the boom that's about to go bust. She also links to a story about the other McCains - the ones who bear that name because Sidney's family once owned theirs as slaves. Also recommended, Joe Bageant receives a letter.

An Interior Department auditor becomes a whistleblower, saying that the Minerals Management agency has become a "cult of corruption" working to favor the oil industry.

Scott Horton examines The Wobbly Political Theology of Sarah Palin - Barack Obama is now leading McCain 53%-43% among mainline Protestants, and it might be that Palin's language of idolatry of America has something to do with it. (via)

It's funny, but after having become used to reading him because of his outrage at Bush's antidemocratic activities and Congress' refusal to hold him accountable, I'd forgotten that Paul Craig Roberts is an economist, so I didn't look to see what he had to say during the great bail-out rush the other week. He provided his own must-do list, including: "The government should then turn to the military budget, which at about $700 billion is larger than the combined military spending of the rest of the world combined. The only justification for such an enormous amount of military spending is a policy of US world hegemony, a policy that financial collapse makes nonsensical. The defense budget needs to be cut sufficiently to bring the US budget into balance or, better still, into $100 billion surplus." Via Democracy Lover.


13:29 BST

Levi Stubbs, 1936-2008

His passing is big news to me. What can I say? Levi Stubbs sang one of my all-time favorite songs.

More here, with slideshow.

04:09 BST

Friday, 17 October 2008

Empty pockets

I was reminded last night that they used to call it "The Great Depression" because it was bigger and more far-reaching than the previous depressions. That's what they used to call them: "depressions". Only after people started short-handing The Great Depression as simply "the Depression", they didn't want to use that word anymore, so they invented the word "recession" so people wouldn't know what they were getting. We are now being told by the best economists, over and over, that the economic situation in this or that aspect is the worst it's been since the Depression (or related years), but we're still not supposed to acknowledge that things are really, really bad. However, they are nearly really bad, so we have to give the Republicans more money.

As a non-subscriber, I can only see the top paragraphs of the article, but Alexander Cockburn says the Bailout Signals the Election is Over: "On September 23 Obama stated on NBC that the crisis and the prospect of a huge bailout required bipartisan action and meant he likely would have to delay expansive spending programs outlined during his campaign for the White House. Thus did he surrender power even before he gained it."

But Paul Krugman says that spending money is just what we need: "While the manic-depressive stock market is dominating the headlines, the more important story is the grim news coming in about the real economy. It's now clear that rescuing the banks is just the beginning: the nonfinancial economy is also in desperate need of help. [...] All signs point to an economic slump that will be nasty, brutish - and long." He also says that the current yield on T-Bills is "depression-level flight to safety."

Time to flag some of our favorite economists' blogs:

Dean Baker

Angry Bear

Brad DeLong

Calculated Risk

And, of course, our favorite economics alarm clock, Eschaton.

18:18 BST

The winter she's comin' on strong

Robert Borosage on The Guy Who Called It Right:

Nouriel Roubini is one of the few economists who warned about the housing bubble and predicted the financial collapse before it occurred. His alarms - dismissed as extreme by Wall Street nabobs and most economists - turned out to be right. Now he details the scope - and the limits of the global financial rescue plan announced this week.

And he issues an urgent call for a $300 billion right-now stimulus plan - investing in green energy, retrofitting buildings to make them energy efficient, rebuilding infrastructure etc.

He sees a two year recession as inescapable, but argues that we must act now and boldly to avoid a decade long downturn.

Would a boycott make Coke stop the execution of Troy Davis? "As I noted elsewhere, the Bush/Reagan Supreme Court turned down Troy Davis' appeal for a new trial and did so without comment, as if they didn't need to explain why they're allowing an execution to go forward in a case where the evidence was so insubstantial as to be nonexistent and 4/5 of the witnesses recanted, claiming they'd been pressured by police and coached by prosecutors eager for a conviction. Yesterday afternoon, Judge Penny Haas Freesemann rescheduled Davis' execution date, setting it for the 27th of this month." Coca-Cola plays an important role in Georgia's economy - could they bring pressure on Sonny Perdue to stop the murder of Davis?

Ray Abernathy asks, "Who'll stand up for ACORN and John Lewis? Certainly not Barack Obama. As our tightrope-walking candidate for president, he can't afford to do much more than he did during the final debate Thursday night: minimize his association with ACORN and mildly castigate Congressman Lewis. But the rest of us can't stand with our fists by our sides and watch a terrific progressive organization and the most moral man of our times get sucker-punched by a lowlife political punk like John McCain. So far, the only public leader to speak out with any forcefulness has been AFL-CIO President John Sweeney."

The White Trash Express: Al-Jazeera Exposes Racism At Sarah Palin Rally in Ohio.

"Obama slaying joke sent by GOP fundraiser [...] The punch line says that if an airplane carrying Obama and his wife were blown up 'it certainly wouldn't be a great loss, and it probably wouldn't be an accident either.'"


13:17 BST

Where angels fear to tread

I keep neglecting to link to the new Maron v. Seder blog, and you may want to have a look at their Naomi Wolf interview.

Libby passed us an interesting little point about Katie Couric's creepy question to Hillary down in comments.

I wonder how many people this is true for, whether they went into econ, psych, anth, soc, or whatever. (Did I mention that I recently re-read the trilogy and was astonished at just how little it all resembled what we know about how people really behave? But it did influence me when I first read it, too. Replaced, of course, by Stand On Zanzibar.)

Joe the Plumber, Republican plant

McCain uses air-quotes for women's health; likely backfire, there. And McCain's illustrative moment from another angle. And Al Gore rolled his eyes because Bush was lying, but McCain rolls his eyes because Obama is telling the truth. And Mark notes in comments that McCain declared Culture War in the debate.

Google ♥ the Queen today (well, really yesterday) in the UK.

"Fools Rush In"

01:46 BST

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Added nutritional information

Whenever anyone points out that what the Republicans are doing is hurting the non-rich classes, they accuse us of class warfare. And it would be, if we were storming their castles with torches and pitchforks. But that usually only happens after the rich have so successfully won their own side of the class war that the peasants feel they have no other choice than to take back what's been stolen from them. Rich conservatives have been waging vicious and devastating class warfare against Americans for 30 years, and it's long past time they were called on it.

And I thought this post was complete and ran off to wash my hair, and then came back and found that Atrios* had given a head-pat to, of all people, Joe Klein, who has done exactly what I wanted: "He thought that merely invoking the magic words 'spread the wealth' and 'class warfare' he could neutralize Obama. But those words and phrases seem anachronistic, almost vestigial now. [...] We have had 30 years of class warfare, in which the wealthy strip-mined the middle class. The wealth has been 'spread' upward."

The state of Ohio is fighting to keep legitimate voters on the rolls despite GOP voter-suppression tactics: "Ohio's Attorney General filed an emergency appeal to the U. S. Supreme Court late Wednesday night seeking to block a lower court decision that could cost many thousands of Ohio voters a chance to cast a regular ballot on Nov. 4."

I'm still hoping Brad will figure out a way to make his print pages linkable, but in the meantime, The Brad Blog does have a story about McCain's praise for ACORN in a speech to them a couple years ago, even though right now he's trying to pretend they're terrorists or something. (Thanks to JHB.)

Morford: "Do you know this feeling? The sense that the bumbling, squinty-faced dude in the White House is about to step down, and this wrecked economy, this decimated nation, this toxic sickness will be his final parting gift, like some sort of nasty STD he and his cronies passed on to you, while you didn't even realize you were getting royally screwed?" Via Alternate Brain.

I periodically post a link to it anyway, but since Monkeyfister couldn't find it and Rosemarie found a a link, here it is again: The Port Huron Statement. And thanks to DeanOR for finding this interview with Ayers and Dohrn.

Someone in a McCain thread at Eschaton asked if anyone else could hear the fat lady singing, and jac said, "Yep." And then posted further with "The McCain campaign, explained".

15:57 BST

No surprises

I couldn't bring myself to watch or listen to the debate last night. Maybe some other time. Obama won with viewers, unsurprisingly. I did watch the last minute or so of it here this morning to find out what the context was for this photo, which looks shocking out of context, but it's not quite as bad as it looks. I also see that McCain must have taken a hint from all the negative reaction last time around and tried to look a bit friendlier toward Obama at the end. MahaBarb says the same was true at the beginning, though McNasty came out later. She also said, "Wow, the moderator wants McCain to answer the question that was asked. That's new."

In any case, I was interested in whether McCain was going to follow the advice from ¡El Gato Negro! at Online Blogintegrity to follow Bill Kristol's advice to bring up Ayers and Wright during the debate, and it seems he only followed half of it.

Atrios' own version of liveblogging (start here and scroll up) is intriguingly terse as usual. I must find out what it all means.

In comments, Charles says: "Listening to the presidential debate, it's very obvious what the source of rage in this country is: Republicans. Republicans are angrier than the rest of us because they have to listen to one another more than we do." Back at his home blog, Phoenix Woman posted what she says might be the most memorable scene from last night's debate.

Big Tent Democrat says that "the SUBSTANTIVE moment of the debate" was when McCain claimed a litmus test on choice while claiming there wasn't a litmus test: "SEN. MCCAIN: I would consider anyone in their qualifications. I do not believe that someone who has supported Roe v. Wade -- that would be a part of those qualifications. But I certainly would not impose any litmus test." Jeralyn notes that the instant polls show Obama as the hands-down winner. She also has a good statement from the Obama campaign: "We came into the debate with two thirds of the American people thinking that John McCain is running a negative campaign, and Senator McCain spent 90 minutes trying to convince the other third. Once again, Barack Obama won a clear victory because he made the case for change for the middle class, while John McCain just had angry and negative attacks." Senator Clinton also gave a post-debate interview with Blitzer. And even David Gergen thought McCain blew it. TChris says the media is not describing McCain in a flattering way. The liveblog (which still always looks to me like it should be called a livechat), is here.

The Front page of the HuffPo is kinda priceless if you can catch it before it changes. Meanwhile, Rachel Weiner says the health insurance question was McCain's deer-in-the-headlights moment. (Personally, I noticed Obama missing the chance to point out that making individuals get individual health insurance means completely losing the negotiating power of being in a group health program - you're on your own in a face-off against a big company. I really wish Dems would talk about this more. Of course the insurance companies would rather leave you flailing on your own.)

13:38 BST

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Quick links

Molly Ivors considers a petty little man.

When their lips are moving.

The Rude One considers The Source of Republican Rage.

Giblets learns that Barack is Black.

Cactus says they're Welfare Queens.

The scorecard

23:59 BST

I get by with a little help from my friends

It's interesting that the media really hasn't ignored the fact that the McPalin campaign is lying about Troopergate, but that hasn't stopped them from continuing to lie. The Dallas Morning News says that "to claim vindication when the report is actually fairly damning should give even McCain-Palin supporters pause," but they don't seem to know who McPalin's supporters are.

Bob Herbert: "We're like a family that won't even think about fixing a sagging, leaky roof until it collapses on our heads."

At Cab Drollery, Diane beats herself up for her brainfart [hint], and Ruth posts some photos from her trip to Chile. She's also got a lot more from her recent travels on her Flickr page - I rather liked this one.

"America's Largest RN Organization Says: If We Can Nationalize Banks, Why Not Healthcare? [...] "Consider that on the same day our government moved to take over collapsing banks, the U.S. Census Bureau released data that 16 percent of Americans under 65 are uninsured, and in some areas, like south Florida, the number is as high as 30 percent. The news isn't so great for those with insurance either. Another report out today in the Wall Street Journal, noted that employers are expected to increase co-pays, deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs to workers by more than 10 percent next year. This comes at a time when one in five Americans already self-rations care for which they are "insured" by skipping medications, doctors visits, vaccinations, and other needed care." And then the insurer weasels out of paying what they've already promised.

A reader reacts to seeing Rachel Maddow footage for the first time.

Yesterday's Drudge-inspired spin was that McPalin are surging! Which is pretty funny considering how big Obama's lead has become. I wonder if Mark Halperin is embarrassed yet. (Have any of those little weeds stopped using Drudge as their homepage?)

CNN's John Roberts is a dick.

Toles on the economic crises. (But that ain't no trickle.)

12:46 BST

Snakes and ladders

Good stuff from Mercury Rising:

  • MEC: "There won't be any car bombs, I hope, but in one important respect the bank bailout will be just like Iraq: the government is farming out its responsibilities to cronies private contractors, with basically no oversight to prevent conflicts of interest and misappropriation of funds."
  • Charles on Katharine Gun: "A junior intelligence officer in the Blair Administration, she released a memo from the NSA to GCHQ that requested assistance in a "surge" to spy on members of the UN Security Council to blackmail them into voting for an invasion. The document showed that the US was not sincerely seeking to avoid war with Iraq. I wrote on her behalf to the British Ambassador to ask that she not be prosecuted for a violation of the Official Secrets Act. She did escape jail, but is struggling financially."
  • MEC on McCain's new transition team chief, William Timmons: "And who, I can hear you asking, is William Timmons? He's a lobbyist (oh, you guessed that part) who worked for Saddam Hussein. Yes, that Saddam Hussein."
  • And via Phoenix Woman, the Bishops of California vote no on Prop 8.

In her interview with David Frum, Rachel Maddow did something I've always wished more interviewers would do: Made him explain what his words meant. Clearly, he wasn't prepared to have to defend himself. (I'll still never forgive Jim Lehrer for not asking Bush in 2000 what he meant when he smirked and said, "No Controlling Authority.")

"Will We Let Conservatives Do To Health Care What They Did To Banking?" Nye Bevan saved an economically devastated Britain after WWII by designing the National Health Service. Today, the big excuse I hear for not going to a universal single-payer (or better) system in America is that we can't afford it because we don't have the money. But, technically speaking, we can't afford anything, especially our military, because we are deep in debt. So if we are going to do anything at all (and I include paying the salaries of the people in Congress and the White House), we have to do the things we must do, and healthcare is a priority. A single-payer system is more efficient in every way than what we have now in America. It's not a question of whether we can afford to do it. The simple fact is that we can't afford not to do it.

Buzzflash reviews Censored 2009: The Top 25 Censored Stories of 2007-08 .

Proof that McCain is the one who is sinking the Dow.

02:00 BST

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

I saw it on the intarwebs

Atrios notes that Tim Mahoney (D-GA), whose recent sleazy activities have currently put him in the spotlight and have Pelosi calling for an ethics investigation, is one of those Blue Dogs who have always been ready to stand against both Democrats and liberal principles. An he links to a post from a year ago showing that the crazy liberals in Congress saw way back then that the housing crisis was a serious threat that required serious action (so much for the surprise factor), and Mahoney was one of those who joined Republicans to quash repair of the bankruptcy laws.

I was going to link without further comment to Diane's post about McCain's hate-training camps, until I stumbled on an interesting error that made me wonder how many photographs of Ayers have been used in the promotion of Obama-the-terrorist-associate during this barrage of guilt-by-association campaigning. Are people not aware of what kind of group the Weathermen were? Are the people who spend hours a day telling us about Obama's Evil Associates withholding Ayers' image, or does Diane just not watch a lot of television news? I know Diane is a smart person who reads a lot of news, and I've never noticed her saying anything that smacked of racism, but I don't know how old she is or how much knowledge she has of '60s politics. Since I know who the Weathermen were and have actually seen Bernadine Dorhn in person, it hadn't occurred to me to think about this before, but if people are getting their information from listening to Rush Limbaugh on the radio, how many of them have simply assumed that Bill Ayers is black?

"Democrats Demand Answers in Wake of Greene County (OH) Voter Suppression Controversy: COLUMBUS - Democrats demanded answers on Monday in the wake of an unprecedented partisan fishing expedition launched against voters by Republican officials in Greene County. Acting without a single shred of evidence, Sheriff Gene Fischer and Prosecutor Stephen Haller, a former law partner of McCain campaign chairman Mike DeWine, sought the un-redacted voting records of every Greene County voter who registered and cast a ballot between September 30 and October 6 -- including driver's license numbers and Social Security numbers."

"'I'm Scared For Me And My Family.' So sayeth a Guantanamo Bay military commissions trial prosecutor who is blowing the whistle, ever so faintly. He is right to be scared. Whistle-blowers die, and their families suffer. Their lives are ruined, because the American way is to isolate, ridicule, defame, ostracize and then withhold all opportunity for the damned whistle-blower to obtain a job and to be included in the very society for which he or she took such risks to advocate."

John McCain's Résumé

14:48 BST

Monday, 13 October 2008

Wish I could take a photo of that moon

Digby: "It isn't just the ACLU or liberal hippie bloggers who see this as a travesty. Four prosecutors have resigned in protest. They are military professionals, the most rigid group of people on the planet, trained to take orders and do as they're told. And yet they cannot live with what they see." Also, even Charlie Crist is jumping on the Terrorize 'Em For Their Votes bandwagon.

Now here's a headline that made me laugh: "Palin Says Obama Would Diminish 'The Prestige Of The United States Presidency'." She thinks Bush left some? Via Maru, who also advises, "Ask your doctor about Palinex. Side effects may vary."

Letterman says he just doesn't know if we can trust John McCain.

McCain says he's gonna help you by reducing your capital gains tax. Because, of course, that's the thing that's been keeping you up at night.

Did you know boys and girls require different science kits? Via Shakes.

The WSJ was full of it the other day about McCain's and Obama's healthcare plans.

Thom Hartmann had a good discussion with Senator Sanders about the current situation on Friday's Brunch With Bernie. (He also spoke to Ravi Batra in the second hour.)

There really is an amazing sky tonight.

22:20 BST

The autumnal city

Autumn in east London, Oct. '08Yesterday I cut two perfect, deep red velvet rosebuds from the bush outside and put them on the table where I work, and today they've opened into two perfect velvet roses. Sitting here in front of me, they seem a manifestation of spring or summer, but that's not really the story the rest of the garden tells, and I have to say that looking out back in the morning over the last couple of days has taken my breath away, with all the color happening at once.

When I originally opened the NYT front page, there was a nice picture of Paul Krugman with the top headline, "Krugman Wins Economics Nobel." On his own blog, he just says, "A funny thing happened to me this morning...." I'm sure we all join Atrios in congratulating The Shrill One (even though I still think we were better off with high tariffs). Meanwhile, His Shrillness says maybe Gordon Brown has saved the financial system after taking over the Royal Bank of Scotland. Or not.

DownWithTyranny: "There's nothing much left of the Republican Party's Grand Coalition other than the racists, pre-Renaissance religionist fanatics, anti-Semites, and bailed-out bankers." I was actually shocked by an image in this post.

Palin spokesbeing gets called out in Anchorage for slime and smears. (via)

This Bob Herbert piece would be better if it didn't contain the line, "Voters in the George W. Bush era gave the Republican Party nearly complete control of the federal government." There is simply no good reason to believe that we did anything of the kind.

Daryl McCullough reminded me that Ruben Bolling warned us months ago about the takeover by a raving Muslim extremist president.

Holy Mackerel! Electoral-Vote is showing North Dakota edging blue. Of course, the wingers are not willing to accept that their policies and strategy of division have hurt America so much that nobody can stand them or their nominees, so of course it's all going to be ACORN's fault.

America, the Gift Shop.

19:08 BST

When the truth is found to be lies

A lot of interesting stuff posted at Balkinization recently:

Woman sentenced to Death for Witchcraft in Saudi Arabia. (Thanks to DMS for the tip.)

The Freeway Blogger is trying to talk to angels. (In answer to your question: McCain said he wanted to bomb more innocent civilians in Vietnam.)

I'm told that if you're into contemporary chamber music, Eighth Blackbird is great stuff, and they have announced that they will be playing in the UK. Details are apparently here, but my internet seems to be cranky just now and is not loading it, and I can't seem to load their home page, either. The MySpace page does have some music but the listed schedule apparently doesn't extend that far, so that's all I got.

Today Google is celebrating the 50th birthday of Paddington Bear.

Jefferson Airplane

15:25 BST

Saturday, 11 October 2008

If it's not asking too much

Matt Yglesias commends to our attention the American Prospect cover story Sam Boyd did on Rachel Maddow. (Boyd: "She proves that liberals can attract viewers on television when they actually act like, well, liberals.") Matt also raises an important point: "One issue I'm interested in that I think hasn't been aired yet is whether or not a new Obama administration will try to use the considerable leverage at its disposal to enhance the credibility and standing of some of the new more progressive media - with Maddow's show certainly being a big part of that. People forget, but Fox News had quasi-pariah status at the beginning, but conservative politicians really insisted on getting it taken seriously and the Bush administration, when it came into office, did a lot to further entrench that." Far from following that model, Democrats so far have tended to shy away from Air America, probably because they'd have to answer for letting Bush/Cheney get away with murder. So, like Atrios, I'm not optimistic about Democrats doing the smart thing, here, but it sure would be nice. (Atrios also cites another example of McClatchy doing the job right, this time debunking the "It's all minorities' fault" line on the Fanny and Freddy aspect of the housing crisis.)

Khaled Hosseini: "But pretending to douse flames that you are busy fanning does not qualify as straight talk."

Juan Cole wonders whether it's the October Surprise: "Al-Hayat reports in Arabic that its sources in Baghdad say that the al-Maliki government will sign off on a security agreement with the Bush administration 'within days.' Does that mean he won the war?

Paul Campos answers the question, "What might happen to our country if we elect a black Muslim terrorist president? (via)

"Paying the Piper, Big Time", and video of Robert Parry discussing the story of how our country has been wrecked.

Failing the reverse Turing Test - This may be why I didn't leave a comment at your blog.

Mark Twain's House - the 501 (c)(3) problem in the Economic Crisis: "We are heading into dark times."

I actually never expected to see this for anyone I know: A shoulder-bag from the "William Gibson Collection". (via)

"Please Send Me Someone To Love."

17:58 BST

Wild Berry Red

Panache Ariza balconette braBra of the Week

Last night QrazyQat reported in a comment that: "On Freedom to Tinker today, Grayson Barber describes how he tried to get "permission to watch the poll workers when they close the polls" in the NJ county where Princeton is. These guys have done a lot of study of voting machines, and they know their stuff. They submitted a formal legal request and the Election Board said no."

Jamison Foser: "The truth is that when John McCain says "jump," the media still ask, "How high?" Think about this: When was the last time McCain or his campaign has wanted the news media to focus on something, and they have refused? From "lipstick on a pig" to Bill Ayers, the media have scampered after whatever mud McCain has flung, like a puppy dog chasing a stick thrown by its master. Sure, sometimes they have pointed out that McCain is lying -- and that's tremendous progress for a profession that has spent a decade flatly asserting McCain's honesty. But -- as I've explained in the past -- even as they've debunked McCain's claims, they've too often privileged the lie by allowing those claims to drive their coverage."

The Troopergate report is out, and no one's buyin' what Palin is selling.

The Republicans claim that government welfare programs can be replaced with charity - which is pretty rich coming from people who don't have any. But the trouble with private charity is that it dries up pretty fast when the givers become the needy.

What McCain's base has become, and he's not going to get that genie back into the bottle.

Down in comments, Wendy says kids get angry when they find out how much they aren't being told about politics and voting. Which isn't surprising, since adults get angry about the same things.

22:23 BST

If you don't take her out tonight, she's gonna change her mind

Thomas Nephew reminds us that one thing trumps pardons: impeachment. And the fact that Alberto Gonzales is out of office does not mean he can't or shouldn't be impeached. The present administration has been full of people who wouldn't have been there if they'd been impeached when they should have been the first time. We don't want to see any of them there again.

I suppose we could have a contest to choose George Walker Bush's most impeachable offense (speaking of which, I apologize for not having linked to this in a timely fashion), but the very existence of Gitmo is pretty high on my list. Dan points out that new news about Gitmo cases may have been buried under the other events of the last week, but raises more questions that could lead to a reckoning, while lawyers deprived of the normal legal process are having to make it up as they go along.

They get letters - The NYT hears from the lead federal prosecutor of the Weathermen in the 1970s, and even he is outraged at the McCain campaign's attempts to link Obama with the activities for which the Weathermen were prosecuted. He also says, "I do take issue with the statement in your news article that the Weathermen indictment was dismissed because of "prosecutorial misconduct." It was dismissed because of illegal activities, including wiretaps, break-ins and mail interceptions, initiated by John N. Mitchell, attorney general at that time, and W. Mark Felt, an F.B.I. assistant director."

I just know there has to be a techie in LA who works someplace that is forever upgrading its laptops and throwing out perfectly good ones that the techie knows how to grab and spiff up, and that this person is a denizen of Blogtopia who would be willing to help Arthur out. Failing that, sure, Arthur can use some money, but having this kind of tech support is worth more than money when your computer is dying.

My commenters had a little discussion on the nature of banking and reform.

Look, I just love the song, okay? Besides, I keep thinking it's an analogy kind of thing.

15:16 BST

Things fall apart

There was a time when it never even crossed my mind that the lessons of the First Great Republican Depression could be forgotten. This illusion probably lasted even past my recognition that the lessons of Nazi Germany were being forgotten as the people who lived them were dying out. After eight years of watching our own government repeat the steps the Nazis took to consolidate terror in Germany - and having to listen even to liberals who insisted it was over-the-top to recognize the pattern as it occurred - it should come as no surprise to me that many people still don't get that we already knew what RepubliCon economic policies bring. But I don't think it's just the erosions of time. I think moneyed interests have always worked to suppress the memories of lessons of the past, throughout history, and that's why conservatives have worked so hard in the modern era to weaken publicly-funded education. That's what David Horowitz is for - and he's been remarkably successful. Did you know that under Reagan, with Horowitz's help, civics classes have been mostly stamped out of schools? American children are deliberately being deprived of the kind of education that was available to me in my ordinary public school classrooms as a kid. (And even that education could have been more thorough. I was well into adulthood before I understood that George Washington Carver was a good deal more than just a peanut farmer.) It isn't lack of money that's doing this - it actually costs money to re-write textbooks to remove important material on the American Revolution and make schools replace better textbooks with these new, neutered versions. And laws against media consolidation existed because all of this had happened before, even in America. And I imagine that there were always people who claimed that the latest newfangled device made the old restrictions obsolete way back when, too. This is hardly the first time that people have resorted to magical claims to justify behavior that flies in the face of clear material evidence.

Phoenix Woman notes an unwholesome pattern of the conduct of the authorities toward real and perceived threats to the political campaigns, MEC observes some good news as Congress steps away from the brink of insane warmongering on Iran, and Charles reminds us that merely debunking a lie isn't good enough - we need to tell the true story of how Republicans created the banking crisis - and how McCain was in the thick of it and still has no plan to repair the damage. (Also: Phoenix Woman on why Vista may be a failure for Microsoft.)

Maine Owl notes that the "bail-out" seems to be hurting US Treasury bills: "That's how Rome fell, right? They couldn't pay the bills for all their far-flung armies and their decadence. Their marker became no good in places they needed it to be. As their forces hollowed, others no longer were as afraid of them."

PNH linked it as "Crack for liberals." You might like the response, too. (Also: Terrorists.)

13:41 BST

More sleepy blogging

"Set up to steal it again" - Greg Palast explains that Americans didn't elect that buffoon, and might not elect the next one, either, tonight, on BBC America. Meanwhile, the GOP is libelling ACORN in order to amplify lies about voter fraud.

Chris Floyd, "Without a Trace: The Smokeless Gun of Flagrant Election Fixing: The idea of "victimless crimes" has been around for a long time, but the ultra-modern 21st century has given us a bold new concept: perpetratorless crimes."

William F. Buckley's son Christopher endorses Obama.

Bill Scher thinks the economic situation could spell a landslide for Obama. I guess McCain virtually promising not to make any changes in Bush's economy-wrecking policies could help that along just fine. Of course, the wingers think they can write their way around that by blaming it all on Obama.

I neglected to note that Scraps is a freelancer and therefore doesn't have health insurance, so if you can help him with those ICU bills, please do.

Latest poll shows West Virginia flip to Obama.

And now, a few words from Betty White.

00:52 BST

Friday, 10 October 2008

Safe as houses

Give Me Death: "Back in December 2005, Texas Senator John Cornyn pioneered what became the Republican Party's "give me death" defense of President Bush's program of illegal NSA domestic surveillance. "None of your civil liberties matter much," Cornyn announced, "after you're dead." As ABC revealed in its shocking expose of NSA personnel monitoring the private phone calls of Americans abroad, your civil liberties don't matter much while you're living, either." And for that matter, neither does keeping you alive, as the administration has done just about everything you can think of to make the watch for real terrorism harder, rather than easier, by clogging up the system with useless information about people they know have nothing to do with Al Qaeda or any related group.

Charles Dodgson: "And with that in mind --- what was wrong with Communist central planning? Well, precisely that it used high-flown rhetoric to justify ill-conceived projects which might have been justified by lofty goals, but which ultimately just didn't work. And that's what the capitalist system seems to be giving us --- Greenspan, acting on his own, gave us the bubble." And the disastrous result. And that is of course consistent with his mission, which he described as being to introduce more job insecurity. Heckuva job.

A little late, but I found Bernie Sanders' statement on the bailout lost in my inbox.

Why did ABC refuse to air this ad?

At Angry Bear, comments are welcome on Dr. Doom's recommendations for dealing with the financial crisis.

The New York Times finally admits that Greenspan was crap.

Dumb and dumber: "It's like getting fashion tips from a man wearing a clown nose & fruit hat, with a live salmon down his pants."

In a sinking economy...

15:37 BST

The midnight hour

McCain has been running around repeating that idiotic factoid about how Obama is the "most liberal Senator" (and don't we wish it were true). Jane Hamsher unpacks it for us again.

Atrios: "This situation is being compounded by credit issues and the negative neighborhood effects of foreclosures, but it's also a problem because not enough people make enough money to reasonably afford houses at the levels we saw at the peak of the boom." This was the first place I noticed the problem: I'd walk by local real estate offices and see that houses not as good as mine were selling for more than two and a half times what the market value of our house had been not that long ago, but incomes certainly hadn't gone up by anything close. In America, incomes have visibly declined for most Americans, but housing prices were, well, ridiculous. How did this happen? And that's when I found out that banks were actually giving people mortgages that they would never, ever have given them before. This isn't simply a matter of whether people had good credit, it was that banks were encouraging people to believe that they could afford to make a promise to pay money they didn't have. It was open flim-flammery, and I found I could not convince people that they were being taken for a ride. They weren't used to being unable to afford things. They had good credit. They'd always managed to keep up with their bills and have money to spare. Why would that change? I imagine that it simply never occurred to them that the banks would be conning them. Surely they wouldn't tell me I could afford it if they knew I couldn't...? And once, they wouldn't have. But people have to move sometimes, and there were the real estate agents ready to tell you that you could sell your house for some enormous sum of money and make enough off of the sale to buy another house for such a sum. And around it went, with a very big chunk of the economy tied up in money that didn't exist. And it was obvious who would get caught holding the bag, and it wasn't the con men who did it.

Also from Atrios, I guess this means that when I phone my sister or brother from London, I must be a terrorist.

The map looks a lot better today - compare the October 6 map with today's for CO, MO, VA, and especially PA.

Maybe Barney Frank has it covered, and what the Fifth Column thinks. But I'm not so sure this tells me anything good.

'Sfunny, Julia independently had the same thought about Palin's accent that other people have had, and made her own very first YouTube video to show it.

PTerry had an article in the Mail the other day about having Alzheimer's. Via Match It For Pratchett.

Some more amazing nature, this time from Afghanistan.

Wilson Pickett

00:07 BST

Thursday, 09 October 2008

My fellow prisoners

Yeah, I thought it was weird. Not entirely sure what it meant. For all I know it's a dog-whistle to some truly paranoid freepers. Turkana says: " John McCain personifies the modern Republican Party. His looming electoral lambasting is the perfect bookend to an era that began with the lambasting of his fellow Arizonan, Barry Goldwater. The conservative era is over." And look who's pallin' around.

Probably only the Rude One would put it like that, but yeah, it was Tall, Dark and Handsome beats Crotchety Old Man. A non-story, really.

Yes, the person whose opinion of Palin we were interested in was the adoring Camille Paglia incoherent as usual. Salon is often a wonderful thing, but why do they keep doing this?

Yeah, Paulson knows just what to do to keep our economy in the crapper. America wants healthcare: Polls now show that nearly 60% of doctors now favor national health insurance. (Also: Ohio's Secretary of State say voting machines almost made her barf. And this isn't good branding.)

One of my commenters had a faulty memory, but we corrected it in the rest of the thread.

Thanks to Anna for alerting me that John Cleese has written a poem about Sean Hannity.

14:45 BST

Wednesday, 08 October 2008

Aged cheddar, fresh crackers

My question of the day: Are Republicans knowingly lying when they claim that convicted felons have no right to vote, or are they just completely ignorant? Most states either allow convicted felons to retain their right to vote or return it to them once they have been released, or once they have finished serving out all related time (parole, probation, etc.); two states actually allow convicted felons to vote while in prison. There's no reason not to - after all, unconvicted felons are still allowed to vote - these are only the people who've been caught and punished. Even George Walker Bush and Richard Bruce Cheney are allowed to vote. Only two states permanently remove all voting rights from convicted felons. Check your state's laws on the matter, and spread the word.

Brad DeLong says McCain's new mortgage plan is even worse than he thought, even taking account what he already knows about McCain: "There's a big difference here: Democrats want to prevent depression and support the financial markets by investing taxpayer money in banks with troubled assets. Republicans want to give taxpayers money away to the shareholders and managers of banks with troubled assets. I would say that this is unbelievable, but I do believe it." (via)

"Do you support Bush today more than you did four years ago?" One man does. And just in case anyone's getting complacent, you can still rely on Fox to spread lies about Obama. (And here's a photo deserves a place beside 2003's ever-popular lime helmet.) Oh, and another entry in the acronymn reshuffle.

I've repaired the Naomi Wolf link, but here it is for those who don't look back, and I really do think you should watch it.

One Neat Thing a Day collected all three parts of The Trap together in one place for our convenience.

19:42 BST

The never-ending search for coffee

MEC and Phoenix Woman did the honors for last night's "Town Hall". MEC didn't like the idea of a drinking game and instead proposed The Pledge Game: "44 cents (for President #44) to the Obama campaign for every lie John McCain tells." From the parts I heard, he was lying every time he opened his mouth, so that should be a tidy sum. (I particularly liked the way he tried to sound like an economic liberal. How...Bushian.) MEC also observed: "Barack Obama said we need to "work with homeowners to make sure that they can stay in their homes". John McCain said we need to "stabilize home values". There's the difference in their priorities." Phoenix woman says the people have spoken with a CNN Insta Poll saying people thought Obama did the best job (54%-30%) and that Obama's unfavorable's dropped by 4% while his favorables went up by 4%. "It's almost impossible to lower unfavorable numbers, yet that happened with Obama last night. McCain's numbers didn't budge: His favorables stayed at 51% and his unfavorables at 46%."

Your right to be free from illegal search and seizure is protected by the exclusionary rule. Now the Supreme Court has heard two cases on that rule, with a real threat that they could further weaken it. (Also: BTD notes that everyone now agrees that we need HOLC, so it's time to start doing it. And one small but shocking moment from last night's debate: "That one." If you actually go to TL's debate liveblog, links for specific clips of Obama's answers are embedded within the thread so you can connect the comments to them. Everyone agrees that McCain talked a lot of gibberish and Brokaw did a dreadful job.)

The other day, Bob Herbert explained what's important: "With less than a month left until Election Day, there is still time for the presidential candidates to focus with great intensity on what should be the most important issue of this campaign. It's not just the economy, stupid - it's jobs. [...] The economy won't be saved by bailing out Wall Street and waiting for that day that never comes when the benefits trickle down to ordinary Americans. It won't be saved until we get serious about putting vast numbers of Americans back to work in jobs that are reasonably secure and pay a sustaining wage."

Kevin Drum explains Commercial Paper. (via)

For some reason, the LAT link* for the interview with Dexter Filkins isn't loading for me, so here's the link at the Random House page. I still feel twitchy about the name of the book, even though many of us, including me, have also been making the same irresistible reference to Joe Haldeman's The Forever War, ourselves. [I see that the Wikipedia version of Joe's encounter with Heinlein is a little different from what I remember. I was sitting in the bar at the 1977 Worldcon in Miami when Joe came up looking a bit stunned and said, "I just met Heinlein." And? "He liked the book." That was a big deal, because he'd written it in part as an answer to Starship Troopers, and was at least half expecting Heinlein to at best resent and disagree with it. Actual praise from Heinlein was quite a bit more than he'd hoped for.]

15:28 BST

Dark, with scattered light

Patrick informed me yesterday that Scraps is in intensive care. We're all a bit freaked out right now, crossing our fingers and hoping real hard.

When they fiddled the election machines and lied about the exit polls last time, they claimed a huge outpouring of "values voters" had turned up at the polls without anyone noticing. Mark Crispin Miller thinks that's what Sarah Palin is for - to convince people that those right-wing religious folk were inspired to come out to vote for her, even if they didn't like McCain. So watch out for the invisible Republican voters to strike again. (via)

It's your money: "Less than a week after the federal government offered an $85 billion bailout to insurance giant AIG, the company held a week-long retreat for its executives at the luxury St. Regis Resort in Monarch Beach, Calif., running up a tab of $440,000." (via)

Gavin Newsome is really pissed off with Obama/Biden. Via Susie, who also posted one of my all-time favorites. (But this is depressing as hell.) Hm, do you think this could be a good idea?

It's almost awesome that McCain is now pretending it is a smear to call him a "deregulator", even while he is still promoting nothing but deregulation and tax cuts for the rich - oh, and more war, of course.

Sidney the Third, or Shakespeare writes the candidate.

Everything I've read about this movie just confirms that conservatives simply don't get the joke, and I wish they'd kept my name out of.

I don't know how I missed the important story of the penguin who was granted a knighthood. (via)

I am listening to that lying sack of crap debate Obama but I don't want to talk about it, I'm too busy banging my head against the floor.

03:21 BST

Tuesday, 07 October 2008

State of emergency

Representative Brad Sherman (D-CA) said something disturbing on the floor the other day - that "a few members were even told that there would be martial law in America if we voted no" on the bailout bill. (Via King of Zembla.) He later tried to contextualize that remark on the Alex Jones show, but I'd really like to know where that came from - did the White House actually say this to anyone? And did it come in the form of a warning against possible street riots, as a veiled threat, or as an open threat?

The Homeland Brigade - The Army Times indicated recently that what they've been doing in Iraq, they will soon be doing in the United States: "But this new mission marks the first time an active unit has been given a dedicated assignment to NorthCom, a joint command established in 2002 to provide command and control for federal homeland defense efforts and coordinate defense support of civil authorities." Wendy McElroy warned, "Set your clock for martial law."

Naomi Wolf on what to do now that the coup has taken place.

18:00 BST

Digging the hole

The Good War: "Don't tell Obama and McCain, but the war they are both counting on to make their bones as commander-in-chief -- the "good war" in Afghanistan, which both men have pledged to expand -- is already lost. Their joint strategy of pouring more troops, tanks, missiles and planes into the roaring fire -- not to mention their intention to spread the war into Pakistan -- will only lead to disaster."

I see via Eschaton that McCain and Palin have been doing hate rallies to encourage crowds to throw nasty epithets at Obama and even shout "kill him" at the mention of Obama's alleged relationship to Ayers; and that when Palin blames Katie Couric for her own stupid answers to Couric's questions, it's time to physically threaten the media people who are present. But then, Palin already has experience with ginning up hate.

Bill Curry in The Hartford Courant: "Why then did Palin take a drubbing in the polls? It may have to do with the very personality that brought her to the ball. You may recognize it: it's Marge Gunderson, from the darkly comic Coen Brothers film 'Fargo.' For her portrayal of the small-town sheriff forever saying 'golly' and 'you betcha,' Frances McDormand won an Oscar. So should Palin. The resemblance is uncanny. Some reporter should find out if Palin talked that way before the movie came out." Via MahaBarb, who thinks voters know that this time it's serious.

At Angry Bear, Stormy reckons it's dead serious, and Cactus ranks presidents on real economic growth, with what should now be predictable results, but without any proofreading. (And he left out the fact that another impact of Republican policies is increases in crime.)

What a shame you don't see interviews like this and this with Dennis Kucinich on the broadcast networks too often. Strange that one happened on Fox. (And good on Dennis for using the word "immoral" in the right context.)

What "Main Street" means to Lance Mannion.

14:53 BST

Just a bunch of mashed chickpeas with olives and garlic

Unbelievable: "Back in 1999, John McCain acknowledged his role in the 1980's Keating Five savings and loan scandal that rightly stained his career. 'The fact is,' he said, 'it was the wrong thing to do, and it will be on my tombstone and deservedly so.' But again facing withering criticism as a second financial crisis grips the United States, his campaign today instead claimed McCain's intervention 20 years ago with federal regulators on behalf of future convicted felon Charles Keating was merely 'a political smear job.'"

Damozel has a good round up of posts about the McKeating Five, complete with the Obama team's Keating Economics video.

Krugman reminds us that when Palin quotes Reagan, it's about how getting good healthcare is losing your freedom! "Conservative Republicans still hate Medicare, and would kill it if they could - in fact, they tried to gut it during the Clinton years (that's what the 1995 shutdown of the government was all about). But so far they haven't been able to pull that off. So John McCain wants to destroy the health insurance of nonelderly Americans instead."

A friend recommended this play to me so I looked it up and noticed this line I rather liked: "I don't think we should give up our values to find common ground. Then it's not common ground, it's their ground and we're just standing on it." Sounds like it'd make a good postcard to someone should make so you can use it to write your reps.

As Digby notes, CA's Proposition 4 is heartless to begin with, and apparently has a chance of passing, but I was shocked by the creepy ad its proponents are running. Guess I should know by now. (Meanwhile, cops are now using tasers for every goddamned thing.)

"Code of Honor is a song by a Vietnam vet who doesn't think much of McCain's "heroism" in being a POW. He has some other songs, too, but I didn't listen to all of them.

Weather report: Ettlin polls retired BWI weathermen for their predictions on the election. Also via Dave, an online source of good fudge.

China in Mist - the photographer admits he "did not expect China to be so visually stunning."

03:38 BST

Monday, 06 October 2008

Cheesecake for dinner

As regular readers of The Sideshow already know, if there is one individual who can be called the author of this specific financial disaster, an act of theft so profound that I wouldn't blame anyone for calling it "treason", that man is Phil Gramm, John McCain's favorite financial advisor. McCain himself, of course, is someone who helped Gramm light the fuse. As Harold Meyerson notes, that is a pretty close association with a destructive criminal.

Naomi Klein was on Democracy NOW!, saying the Wall St. Crisis Should Be for Neoliberalism What Fall of Berlin Wall Was for Communism.

Another attack ad from McCain that is a complete lie - it's the conservatives, not Obama, who have voted against money for our troops. It's also the conservatives who have voted against the required oversight to ensure that the money that is voted to the troops actually goes to them instead of just to Halliburton and Blackwater.

There's been quite a turnaround, it seems, in polling figures from Virginia, where McCain's double-digit lead has turned into a double-digit tail. Meanwhile, a man who was once an important member of McCain's base, Joe Klein, is downright steamed at Palin's smears about Obama and wonders why turnabout shouldn't be fair play, and the LAT says John McCain Was a Crappy Pilot. Oh, and the SNL winky debate.

Oh, yes, it's still a mystery why John McCain didn't lose his seat like the others in the Keating Five scandal. It's quite obvious what he learned from that.

"I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness." (Thanks to Anna.)

The National Jewish Democratic Council launched an ad on reproductive choice last week.

18:57 BST

Hard landings

I wonder if Megan McArdle can possibly believe the loathsome things she writes. It's not just that she's apparently stupid enough to think that marriage has survived all these centuries purely on the basis of a romantic myth of heterosexuality (as if it wasn't blatantly an economic contract), and feminine/masculine roles (as if the roles hadn't constantly changed), it's that the very basis of her writing them is just so shamefully hateful. There's no intellectual justification for spending time finding reasons to discriminate against gays who want to build homes together. That thousands of years of history and anthropological fact manifestly disprove the thesis is evidence of a profound lack of rigor on McArdle's part that can only be motivated by an underlying moral and intellectual abyss. People who go on the record to seriously propose policy decisions without supporting their proposals with any substantive evidence of their validity are intellectually lazy at their very best, but to persist in doing so without ever even looking for the evidence or absorbing the known contraindications is morally bankrupt.

Jane Smiley says Bill Ayers makes her think of McCain, because we know which one spent lots of time bombing innocent people - and he wanted to bomb even more innocent civilians.

"Thanks a lot, Congress. You've once again put moral hazard in the driver's seat."

I think a lot of us have already surmised that there's a direct line between Bush/Cheney's relaxation of restrictions on police, military, and mercenary action against the American populace and the theft and devaluation of all of our money (and our ability to earn it).

I'm always amazed that people talk about not being able to retire and having to keep working even when you're over 65 because of some weakness in your 401K or the loss of your pension to predatory managers or whatever, as if the work will be there for those over 65. Even in good times, many businesses are constantly on the lookout for ways to get rid of workers over 50; they aren't champing at the bit to hire new ones.

Well, one thing you can say for Sarah Palin - she's not a slave to fashion.

Soundscapes lets you listen to sounds from nature (in .wma files), like rainfall, a thunderstorm or water dripping in a cavern. Or you can play Infected. Both via Biomes Blog.

14:25 BST

Sunday, 05 October 2008

I can't feel nothing but this chain that binds me

The New York Times warns against Republican voter-suppression tactics on voters whose homes have been foreclosed. Isn't it a pity that they haven't wanted to treat this kind of thing as front-page news for the last eight years?

In which Gary Farber learns that Sarah Palin can read, that David Broder thinks Palin is just great, and a bunch of other stuff.

Glenn Greenwald on A country in shambles, under GOP rule: "As polling data conclusively demonstrates, the mindset of the voting public is infinitely more rational and substance-based than the pundits and the Right fantasize when they lyrically praise the Regular American -- at least it is in this time of perceived (and actual) crisis. [...] In sum, Americans hate the way the country has been ruled, the economic crisis is making them hate that more by the minute, and the country has been dominated by Republican rule for the last eight years -- at least." (Also: "The right's two-pronged religion of rage and self-pity".)

"Conservatives in power leads to skyrocketing debt." Told ya. (via)

McCain consorts with criminal terrorist: He "called for the murder of federal agents, served time in jail, plotted murder - and after that, John McCain applauded him and took his money."

Jeez, how did I miss the fact that Bob Geiger has been back to doing the Saturday Cartoons for a couple of months? (via)

And now, a few words from Bruce Springsteen. Or Atrios has more.

19:55 BST

Things I saw today

John Le Carré: "'I know about interrogation,' he said, alluding to his days as a British spy in the 1950s. 'I've done interrogations, and I can tell you this: By extracting information under torture, you make a fool of yourself. You obtain information that isn't true. You receive names of people who are supposedly guilty and aren't. You land yourself with a wild goose chase, and you miss what is being handed to you on a plate, and that is the possibility of bonding with someone and engaging with them and talking to them reasonably.'"

It's kind of gratifying watching Barney Frank tell O'Reilly he's stupid and lying.

Believe or not, Peggy Noonan just can't understand where the divisiveness comes from. Oh, and she's against that, now.

Could John Warner (R-VA) vote for Mark Warner (D-VA) in the Senate race? JW beat MW when they ran against each other for their respective parties, but JW's not running in this one and MW is running to replace him.

Anglachel says you can learn a lot by reading the NYT series on the finance mess, but beware of the bias in the third article she cites. She provides helpful summaries.

Crooks and Liars has much faster-loading template, now, and I'm very happy not to have to wait so long to see it. Check out Naomi Klein with Colbert, while you're there. Oh, and here's a nice scary ad for you.

The Beatles, live in Indiana.

17:23 BST

Assorted stuff

Dan has a list of the culprits who voted for the bailout - and their opponents in the election. I am shocked to learn that Louise Slaughter is one of them.

Once again, the top story at Memeorandum, the thing the wingers really want to talk about, is the Bill Ayers connection - why, even their vice presidential candidate thinks it's a legitimate line of attack, even though there's nothing to it.

Mpls-Stpl's Star Tribune has a new poll showing Al Franken now leading Norm Coleman. Coleman was ahead in last month's poll. However, the SurveyUSA poll still shows Coleman ahead. (via). Meanwhile, here's a fun ad for Franken, via John Cole, and thanks to Charles, who also reminds us that happy days are not here again.

It's funny how Sarah Palin didn't used to be quite so folksy. Hell, she didn't even used to sound quite so dumb. This is a dangerous woman, people. (Thanks to QrazyQat.) I have a feeling she's not so popular anymore in Alaska, either. (Thanks to Anna.)

"Famous last words: 'We've got to do something.' How many times I've heard this statement from defenders of this or that bankrupt, destructive, incompetent plan. It's a sign that the speaker doesn't really know what to do, knows that the course of action he advocates is indefensible, but wants to blunder ahead anyway, regardless of the cost (to others). It's a confession of incompetence and frustration, the fury of a three-year-old trapped in the body of a nominal adult. " (But...what photo accompanying Pam Martens's article?)

"Hey Sarah Palin" is cute, although I'm not sure there's a country in the world where you can hide if McCain/Palin win.

12:23 BST

Saturday, 04 October 2008

If you can believe your eyes and ears

Implicite Tantale underwired braBra of the Week

TChris asks, "Did you know this?" and then reports on something I certainly did not know - that the bailout bill creates permanent authority for the IRS to work as undercover agents running sting operations to try to tempt citizens into breaking the law, as well as involving themselves in investigations of drug case in order to bust dealers for not reporting their income, which, as TChris says, is really stupid, because dealers don't usually save any money to collect on.

And speaking of tax cheats, I'm grateful to QrazyQat for alerting me that one of them is Sarah Palin.

Man, I hope Thers' prediction is correct: "And that is precisely why the Republicans are doomed this year, and precisely why they can't govern: they are insane people standing on their furniture cheering on lunatics who are fighting imaginary wars while the nation goes to hell because of the horrible mess they made."

Thomas Nephew reads the Sachs Report on Maryland Cops spying on peaceful protestors and labelling them "terrorists". Sachs says: "While the MSP employees with whom we spoke recognized that the individuals and groups under investigation here were not "terrorists," under any reasonable and accepted definition of that word, none who were aware of the use of the designation seemed to consider that a government agency's decision to label someone a terrorist, particularly when that label is included in an external database, could cause serious harm to that person's reputation, career, and standing in the community."

"US cuts funding for condoms in Marie Stopes' African clinics: The US government is cutting its funding for the supply of contraceptives to family planning clinics run by Marie Stopes International in Africa, alleging that it condones forced abortions in China. MSI has categorically denied that it supports forced abortions or coercive sterilisation in China or anywhere else in the world, and says that the actions of the Bush government will result in more abortions in Africa, as women will be unable to get contraceptives and will end up with unwanted pregnancies."

And yet, he didn't see this coming? Yeah, right. (Thanks to Dominic for the tip.)

Intelligence test failure.

23:24 BST

Lazy Saturday

I've been catching up on a few things elsewhere, sorry for the light posting.

Cindy for Congress, because we're tired of being trickled down on.

The end of the neo-liberal era: "Shadow boxing over values enabled the two parties to retain their separate brands despite the similarity in their basic philosophies: Politicians propose, but markets dispose."

Unsurprisingly, the media doesn't want you to know who will give you a tax cut and who won't.

Something else we see from the US Attorney scandal is that, aside from trying to persecute Democrats and cover up for Republican malfeasance while suppressing voting, there have been two other priorities of the conservative Justice Department: arresting people who are involved in medical marijuana, and prosecuting people who make or sell skin flicks.

Some commenters were interested in discussing the Orangina ad, so here it is.

20:04 BST

Wake me, shake me

David Sirota says the bailout is capitalism murdering democracy: "The United States has always struggled to balance its capitalist economy with its democratic ideals. We've spent the last many years telling ourselves that the two go hand in hand, only to watch capitalism thrive in China in the absence of democratic freedoms. Indeed, if there's been any lesson the last few years, it is that authoritarian capitalism - rather than democratic capitalism - may be the dominant ideology of the 21st century. And as I write in my newspaper column this week, that ideology may be coming to America."

Trillion dollar giveaway passes the House, 263 to 171. Just banging my head against a wall, here. Why did these people get in behind such an obvious con? Do they really think it's good elephant repellent?

Jane Smiley: "Ever heard of "creative destruction"? That's a phrase free market economists are always applying to the effects of the free market when it goes wild and hops from bubble to bubble. Bridges, farms, houses, freeways, people's bank accounts, investments, auto companies, the Chilean economy, the nation of Iraq, public schools, ecological balance, hey, if they offer no short-term profits, then let the market destroy them and build something better. But we absolutely can't apply that term to credit-default swap contracts, no no no, they are too big to fail!"

Digby could have called this post, "How Amy Sullivan and her pals have been throwing dangerous distractions in our path."

I gotta say, it really bugs me when people talk about how the American people are lazy and stupid and that's why we elect people like George Walker Bush. Leaving aside the fact that at this point you can hardly pretend to be smarter if you believe we did elect George Walker Bush, there is also the fact that the people who say such things usually completely underestimate the forces that make people too tired and give them too little time to read lots of books and magazines and papers to find out what's really going on that the TV isn't telling us. Hell, it's pretty nearly a full-time job just to find out who's lying. In addition to which, of course, blaming the laziness and stupidity of the American people is kinda lazy and stupid. (And thanks again to D. for the tip.)

I hardly know what to say about this advertisement and the objections. (Thanks to Dominic.)

02:31 BST

Friday, 03 October 2008

Living with the animals

This may be the debate clip you want to send to your relatives who haven't been moved by the simple facts on issues. Most people don't think much about Biden's experience as a single father.

Who won last night? Looks like Obama, as McCain gives up on Michigan: "Make no mistake, this is a terrible development for the McCain campaign, one that overshadows whatever happened last night (and not much did). The turf upon which the 2008 campaign is being waged was fairly solidly Republican in years past, with McCain increasingly playing defense and hoping for -- as Mark Warner might have put it -- the "triple bank shot" of holding every one of the increasingly endangered red states, from Indiana to North Carolina to Virginia to Florida to Colorado." (Of course, two of the states Bush supposedly won were never really "red" states to begin with and there's strong evidence that he never won them; there's no reason to think that problem still doesn't exist.)

Indications from polls over the last few days are that Obama is clawing back some states he'd lost since the FISA vote and some of those deep red states are showing pink again. Both Electoral-Vote.com and the MyDD poll trackers are now showing Obama with well over 300 electoral votes and McCain much closer to 200 than to the required 270 needed to win.

As I've previously mentioned, Harry Truman said war profiteers were traitors, and he was right. He set up the permanent Senate committee on profiteering and held hundreds of hearings. Do you know who headed that committee for the Republicans and is still their ranking member on it? You probably don't, because he never held a single hearing - although he's blamed Democrats for the resulting problems, of course. Make sure your relatives know that this has been okay with the Republican leadership - and make sure anyone you know in Minnesota learns that the guy who can't be bothered to do his patriotic duty and doesn't care that our troops aren't even getting the clean water we've overpaid for is their own Senator, Norm Coleman.

There are some useful points to be noted in this article D. Potter called to my attention, although I think Anglachel has accepted a number of false assumptions herself, and she doesn't look like she's joking when she mentions Paul Krugman's son.

Here's an amusing story JHB flagged in comments, in which some news agencies mistake Tina Fey for Sarah Palin.

Delightful story with fine photographs of what happens when you build a hotel on an elephant migration trail.

17:04 BST

Last night I had the strangest dream

Here and here, Joe Biden disputes the idea that John McCain represents any change from Bush, in last night's debate.

Monkeyfister saved screenshots of his computer during the debate, with a focus on - yes! - something on Palin's back! And the Bartcop chatroom discussion that was going on at the same time.

Some thoughts about the VP Debate at Under the LobsterScope.

The return of Bérubé: "I've been reading the GOP campaign as being not merely an assault on liberal elites - like I say, that's old news - but a frontal attack on the very idea of standards of plausibility in argument. To friends and family (and one or two inquiring reporters), I've been calling it the National Insult My Intelligence Tour 2008."

Sara Robinson is Firing Back on the CRA Libel after Republicans try to blame loans to minorities for the banking crisis.

Steal Back Your Vote!

Apparently one of the Side Effects of Medical Marijuana is enlightenment to people who see who is really fighting for access to the better drug.

Freedom Tracks - political music I haven't had time to listen to yet to see if it's any good.

15:38 BST

Late links

Via Under the LobsterScope I see Tim Dickenson has a long article called "Make Believe Maverick" where he says, "The myth of John McCain hinges on two transformations - from pampered flyboy to selfless patriot, and from Keating crony to incorruptible reformer - that simply never happened."

Watching the news on television, it's almost funny watching everyone try to pretend Ian Blair, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, hadn't become an embarrassment because of the poor leadership and trigger-happy policies that led to two shootings of innocent civilians, one of whom died.

Don't Vote, unless....

Strategery Capital Management LLC

Have you got your Palin Bingo card? (I like this idea better than the drinking game.)

02:44 BST

Thursday, 02 October 2008

A few things

Think Progress has a guest post from "Dr. Clark Newhall, MD/JD of Salt Lake City, UT, one of over 2,700 doctors from around the country who signed an open letter calling on John McCain to release his medical records." The also have a good linky post of their own headlines, and news that McCain seems to be zigging and zagging on the bailout bill.

There's been a lot of good stuff from Glenn Greenwald I haven't gotten around to mentioning, but you probably ought to have a look at his interview with ACLU's Mike German on new FBI spying powers before going on to "The simultaneous rejection of the bailout and a corrupt ruling class", his interview with David Cay Johnston, and his thorough dressing-down of WaPo hack Steven Pearlstein for claiming that people who oppose the bailout are "ignorant", and then to his response to hilarious right-wing projection.

An illuminating interview of Dean Baker by Rachel Maddow.

You Might Be An Idiot If...

17:34 BST

Our headlines

Well, the Senate went ahead and passed a bad bailout bill, and Ian Welsh has more bad news. Even Greg Palast has been on the radio saying "Hillary Delano Roosevelt" had the right plan - a return to New Deal policies. (I think this is the first positive thing I've ever heard Palast say about a Clinton.)

I forget who it was who originally brought this up, but it's as though someone at an Iowa newspaper actually reads liberal blogs: "Iowa newspaper editorial board to McCain: Haven't you lived your entire adult life with taxpayer-funded health care?"

I was pretty steamed about McCain pretending to be a friend of our troops and veterans, you may recall. Well, good for Brandon Friedman for having compiled examples of McCain's Miserable Record of Not Supporting America's Troops and Veterans".

"Violations Reported at 94% of Nursing Homes: More than 90 percent of nursing homes were cited for violations of federal health and safety standards last year, and for-profit homes were more likely to have problems than other types of nursing homes, federal investigators say in a report issued on Monday."

Ettlin has already added reports on his movie-going to his blog, and he went to the preview of Bill Maher's Religulous.

"Woman Wearing Cow Suit Charged With Disorderly Conduct."

13:51 BST

American landscape

BarbinMD had a nice little pundit round-up yesterday, including some people you're really glad you don't read, and also notes that, Jeffrey R. Lewis believes that the Bush administration has fired the first shot in the 'undeclared war on contraception.'". Another thing I would like people to talk about on TV is how women's control of their reproductive freedom is a vital component of a healthier and more stable economic life at both the individual and national level. That's why Republicans are against it.

Yeah, sure, just Palin's "personal opinion" on abortion....

"CBS News reports that a lot of voters are being purged from the voter rolls... and no one is doing anything about it." Check the Voter Suppression Wiki for more info.

Gee, I can't imagine why some people are unsympathetic to rich people who want to be bailed out. No, I just can't. (The New York Times should pay Drifty to edit Friedman for them, but he didn't edit it enough.)

Did I mention that John Sidney McCain is a creep?

Preston Fosback's Obama/Biden sign is still up, thanks I'm sure to the gnome. (Thanks to Ten Bears.)

Farewell to Shea. (I never even went there, but ya brought a tear to my eye, MetsGrrl.)

00:45 BST

Wednesday, 01 October 2008

Keep on pushin'

Sirota has a good piece up explaining what's really going on with the bailout plan. Here's a few bits:

In two separate stories, The Politico reports that Corporate America is intensifying its efforts to ram the Paulson plan through Congress, despite the House's stunning rebuke. Specifically, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce - the most powerful corporate font group in the country - is overtly threatening retribution against any lawmaker that opposes the $700 billion bailout. Meanwhile, the lobbying industry is beginning to reap a windfall from industry clients expecting to profit off the Paulson plan.

Though House Democrats spent yesterday claiming that the original Paulson plan was amended to include stronger protections for taxpayers (CEO pay limits, aid for homeowners, equity stakes in financial houses for taxpayers, etc.), the Treasury Department was simultaneously holding a secret conference call with Wall Street analysts explaining how those new provisions were specifically written to be unenforceable (you can listen to the conference call here).


If Democratic leaders make the bill more conservative - for instance, by loading it up with corporate tax cuts, as the GOP demands - it could eke through the House with almost all GOP support. Of course, this would be an unprecedented move, in that the House Democratic leadership would be using its power to steamroll its entire party and hand over the reins of legislative power to the minority party.

Alternately, the Democratic leadership could add in key Democratic priorities, such as toughened financial regulations, bankruptcy law reforms helping homeowners prevent foreclosure, direct government aid to mortgagees, a tax on the financial industry to pay for the bailout, and the job-creating $60 billion economic stimulus/infrastructure spending package the House passed a few days ago. This would sacrifice Republican votes for the Paulson plan, but it could unify the Democratic majority to pass the bill with mostly Democratic votes.

To date, it looks like House Democratic leaders are leaning to the former, rather than the latter. Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY), one of the Democrats' top recipients of corporate cash, told Roll Call that the focus is on convincing 12 more Republicans to support the bill - rather than instead getting more Democrats to support it. ABC's George Stephanopoulos says it is "unlikely" that the Democratic leadership will move to "get more Democrats on board" and instead will probably tilt right to get more Republican support.


Seeking to strengthen the Left-Right coalition of Democrats and Republicans who defeated the Paulson bailout on Monday, progressives introduced a bailout alternative at a Capitol Hill press conference on Tuesday afternoon. They outlined the No BAILOUT Act, which would strengthen financial industry regulation of short selling and other speculative gamesmanship through the Securities and Exchange Commission, change accounting rules to let banks show more assets, and empower the FDIC to open up banks' books, restructure bank management, and provide short-term liquidity to the credit markets - with no automatic outlay of taxpayer cash. The bill already has the support of the Service Employees International Union, and the political strategy behind the initiative is shrewd: It aims to solidify all of the Democratic and Republican "no" votes against any bill still structured like Paulson's $700 billion giveaway, and includes admirably progressive themes.

He goes on to talk about likely outcomes and what we need to do to try to move it toward the better outcome. Read the rest.

At Driftglass, The Choler of Money: "For 30 years, the GOP has invested enormous amounts of time and money dumbing down several very complex concepts into artificial, Manichean bumper stickers. Turning them into Majyk Conjure words, and whamming them into the collective semiconsciousness of their Base, to be redeemed at later dates for Big!Cash!Prizes!"

'Stop The Bailout Now: Our Last Chance, Petition & Final Thoughts", and more from our helpful commenters.

Ian Welsh says you have One Last Chance to Replace the Paulson Bill With a Good Bill, so pick up the phone and call, dammit.

Some days I think of changing the name of this blog to What Entropy Means To Me.

16:55 BST

Explore the ship, replace the cook

Spoonamore reveals the plan to steal the next election in an interview posted by Marc Crispin Miller. In part one of the interview, Stephen Spoonamore explains why all voting machines are insecure.

Hmm... "The Senate is set to vote tonight on a revised financial industry rescue bill after leaders there agreed to add tax breaks for businesses and the middle class and increase deposit insurance in an attempt to revive the legislation rejected by the House."

Another pointless inquest: People are still angry that the official "resolution" to the murder of Jean Charles de Menezes has been a collective, "Oh, well, these things happen." So, to placate the citizenry, they're holding another inquest, but "not a forum to determine culpability or compensation, still less to dispense punishment." Without a full admission by the police that their procedures and assumptions were reckless beyond reason, and without the imposition of new instructions to assure it doesn't happen again, there's no point to it. And if culpability is determined, punishment should surely be part of that assurance. The police had some sort of tip that someone who might be a terrorist might be in a certain apartment block, so they sent someone to watch the building and for no apparent reason it was assumed that when someone walked out of the building and used mass transit, he could be doing so for no other purpose than to blow up a train, and therefore had to be shot immediately. That wasn't just "an error", it was utterly and completely mad from the top and all the way down. This should be obvious to all, and yet somehow it isn't.

"What Brand of Dog Food is the Tastiest?" A recommendation from eRobin for an NYT article by Ron Lieber, "`Is My Money Safe?' and Other Questions to Ask" - and a reminder that the only Social Security crisis is that conservatives are trying to steal your money.

Dave Ettlin, former reporter, re-write man, and editor for The Baltimore Sun, who also plays Dave Ettlin, fictional Baltimore Sun newsroom guy in The Wire, has finally gotten around to starting a blog. In his first post, he ruminates on McCain's choice of Sarah Palin and reports on his experience of wearing his Obama button in his Republican neighborhood, and shopping for an American flag.

Hugo's pick for musical accompaniment to Congress' deliberations on the bailout.

Gary collected more details on the US Attorney investigation. Oh, and snow on Mars!

Gnomes held in captivity.

"A Salty Dog", live, 1977.

14:28 BST

Burning down the house

Kaptur and Musgrove defend their votes against the bailout bill, despite stupid interviewer.

Kucinich on the floor, and what Kucinich wrote yesterday: "If you are tempted to vote for this legislation because you think it will keep people in their homes, think again: in fact, Treasury will not be able to change the terms of bad mortgages because the Act does not require Treasury to purchase a controlling share in the underlying mortgage backed securities and collateralized debt obligations. The Secretary will be powerless to make any real and substantive change in the terms of mortgage. The Secretary will have NO power to avoid foreclosures and keep families in their homes."

Sheila Jackson Lee ("The Constitution protects Americans!") and Lloyd Doggett (both D-TX), Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Brad Sherman (D-CA), Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (D-MI), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Barbara Lee (D-CA) saying the right things against the bailout on the floor. Why not call them and say thanks?

Far be it from the Villagers to praise the courage of those Congressfolk who went against the party leadership to do the right thing and listen to the people - oh, no, that was just crazy talk!

So, the Republicans tripped over their own fake-out this time by trying to simultaneously support and condemn the bailout bill. Weird. Also, More nefarious manipulation by Palin.

I'm pleased to see that Ian Welsh shares my relief that the bailout bill failed. He has a plan, too, but I don't want to give Paulson any money - even if it is "only" $150bn - until I know exactly what he plans to do with it and that he can be thrown in jail if he doesn't serve We The People first.

Don't forget to call your member of Congress and tell them not to settle for anything less than what we need.

Daylight robbery, or how to commit three major acts of theft in front of God and everyone.

Banned Book Week seems like a good time to get heavy on Sarah Palin, an openly anti-American candidate.

John McCain said you don't announce to an enemy out loud that you're going to attack them, but that's just what he did.

Monkeyfister offers Senator Obama a plan.

Talking Heads

00:22 BST

Avedon Carol at The Sideshow, October 2008

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