Thursday, January 31, 2008

Well I Wonder Wonder Wonder...

Hmmm. I hope Democrats can figure out what might be causing problems in our economy. Good luck, guys!

Levin: " I have been an active cool dude when coolness was not in high favor"

More soul-seeking and label-seeking in the Cool Dude movement, this time from Mark Levin:
I have spent nearly four decades in the cool movement — from precinct worker to the Reagan White House. I campaigned for Reagan in 1976 and 1980. I served in several top positions during the Reagan administration, including chief of staff to Attorney General Edwin Meese. I have been an active cool dude when coolness was not in high favor.
My emphasis...of his coolness.
I remember in 1976, as a 19-year-old in Pennsylvania working the polls for Reagan against the sitting Republican president, Gerald Ford, I was demeaned for supporting a candidate who was said to be an extremist B-actor who couldn’t win a general election, and opposing a sitting president. And at the time Reagan wasn’t even on the ballot in Pennsylvania because he decided to focus his limited resources on other states. I tried to convince voter after voter to write-in Reagan’s name on the ballot. In the end, Reagan received about five percent of the Republican vote as a write-in candidate.

Of course, Reagan lost the nomination to Ford by the narrowest of margins. Ford went on to lose to a little-known ex-governor from Georgia, Jimmy Carter. But the Reagan Revolution became stronger, not weaker, as a result. And the rest is history.

I don’t pretend to speak for President Reagan or all cool dudes. I speak for myself. But I watched the Republican debate last night, which was held at the Reagan library, and I have to say that I fear a McCain candidacy. He would be an exceedingly poor choice as the Republican nominee for president.

Let’s get the largely unspoken part of this out the way first. McCain is an intemperate, stubborn individual, much like Hillary Clinton.
Or, perhaps like...? Really? You don't see it?
These are not good qualities to have in a president. As I watched him last night, I could see his personal contempt for Mitt Romney roiling under the surface. And why? Because Romney ran campaign ads that challenged McCain’s record? Is this the first campaign in which an opponent has run ads questioning another candidate’s record? That’s par for the course. To the best of my knowledge, Romney’s ads have not been personal. He has not even mentioned the Keating-Five to counter McCain's cheap shots. But the same cannot be said of McCain’s comments about Romney.

Last night McCain, who is the putative frontrunner, resorted to a barrage of personal assaults on Romney that reflect more on the man making them than the target of the attacks. McCain now has a habit of describing Romney as a “manager for profit” and someone who has “laid-off” people, implying that Romney is both unpatriotic and uncaring.
Questioning the patriotism of your opponents? I never. No one in politics has done that for at least two terms.
Moreover, he complains that Romney is using his “millions” or “fortune” to underwrite his campaign. This is a crass appeal to class warfare. McCain is extremely wealthy through marriage. Romney has never denigrated McCain for his wealth or the manner in which he acquired it. Evidently Romney’s character doesn’t let him to cross certain boundaries of decorum and decency, but McCain’s does. And what of managing for profit? When did free enterprise become evil? This is liberal pablum which, once again, could have been uttered by Hillary Clinton.

And there is the open secret of McCain losing control of his temper and behaving in a highly inappropriate fashion with prominent Republicans, including Thad Cochran, John Cornyn, Strom Thurmond, Donald Rumsfeld, Bradley Smith, and a list of others. Does anyone honestly believe that the Clintons or the Democrat party would give McCain a pass on this kind of behavior?

As for McCain “the straight-talker,” how can anyone explain his abrupt about-face on two of his signature issues: immigration and tax cuts? As everyone knows, McCain led the battle not once but twice against the border-security-first approach to illegal immigration as co-author of the McCain-Kennedy bill. He disparaged the motives of the millions of people who objected to his legislation. He fought all amendments that would limit the general amnesty provisions of the bill. This controversy raged for weeks. Only now he says he’s gotten the message. Yet, when asked last night if he would sign the McCain-Kennedy bill as president, he dissembles, arguing that it’s a hypothetical question. Last Sunday on Meet the Press, he said he would sign the bill. There’s nothing straight about this talk. Now, I understand that politicians tap dance during the course of a campaign, but this was a defining moment for McCain. And another defining moment was his very public opposition to the Bush tax cuts in 2001 and 2003. He was the media’s favorite Republican in opposition to Bush. At the time his primary reason for opposing the cuts was because they favored the rich (and, by the way, they did not). Now he says he opposed them because they weren’t accompanied by spending cuts. That’s simply not correct.

Even worse than denying his own record, McCain is flatly lying about Romney’s position on Iraq. As has been discussed for nearly a week now, Romney did not support a specific date to withdraw our forces from Iraq. The evidence is irrefutable. And it’s also irrefutable that McCain is abusing the English language (Romney’s statements) the way Bill Clinton did in front of a grand jury. The problem is that once called on it by everyone from the New York Times to me, he obstinately refuses to admit the truth. So, last night, he lied about it again. This isn’t open to interpretation. But it does give us a window into who he is.

Of course, it’s one thing to overlook one or two issues where a candidate seeking the Republican nomination as a cool dude might depart from cool orthodoxy. But in McCain’s case, adherence is the exception to the rule — McCain-Feingold (restrictions on political speech), McCain-Kennedy (amnesty for illegal aliens), McCain-Kennedy-Edwards (trial lawyers’ bill of rights), McCain-Lieberman (global warming legislation), Gang of 14 (obstructing change to the filibuster rule for judicial nominations), the Bush tax cuts, and so forth. This is a record any liberal Democrat would proudly run on. Are we to overlook this record when selecting a Republican nominee to carry our message in the general election?

But what about his national security record? It’s a mixed bag. McCain is rightly credited with being an early voice for changing tactics in Iraq. He was a vocal supporter of the surge, even when many were not. But he does not have a record of being a vocal advocate for defense spending when Bill Clinton was slashing it. And he has been on the wrong side of the debate on homeland security. He supports closing Guantanamo Bay, which would result in granting an array of constitutional protections to al-Qaeda detainees, and limiting legitimate interrogation techniques that have, in fact, saved American lives. Combined with his (past) de-emphasis on border-security, I think it’s fair to say that McCain’s positions are more in line with the ACLU than most cool dudes.

Why recite this record?
And here it is, the rallying cry. I have made it bold so it's easier to read.
Well, if cool dudes don’t act now to stop McCain, he will become the Republican nominee and he will lose the general election. He is simply flawed on too many levels. He is a Republican Hillary Clinton in many ways. Many McCain supporters insist he is the only Republican who can beat Hillary Clinton or Barak Obama. And they point to certain polls. The polls are meaningless this far from November. Six months ago, the polls had Rudy winning the Republican nomination. In October 1980, the polls had Jimmy Carter defeating Ronald Reagan. This is no more than spin.

But wouldn’t the prospect of a Clinton or Obama presidency drive enough of the grassroots to the polls for McCain? It wasn’t enough to motivate the base to vote in November 2006 to stop Nancy Pelosi from becoming speaker or the Democrats from taking Congress. My sense is it won’t be enough to carry McCain to victory, either. And McCain has done more to build animus among the people whose votes he will need than Denny Hastert or Bill Frist. And there won’t be enough Democrats voting for McCain to offset the electorate McCain has alienated (and is likely to continue to alienate, as best as I can tell).

McCain has not won overwhelming pluralities, let alone majorities, in any of the primaries. A thirty-six-percent win in Florida doesn’t make a juggernaut. But the liberal media are promoting him now as the presumptive nominee. More and more establishment Republican officials are jumping on McCain’s bandwagon — the latest being Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has all but destroyed California’s Republican party.

Let’s face it, none of the candidates are perfect. They never are. But McCain is the least perfect of the viable candidates. The only one left standing who can honestly be said to share most of our cool principles is Mitt Romney. I say this as someone who has not been an active Romney supporter. If cool dudes don’t unite behind Romney at this stage, and become vocal in their support for him, then they will get McCain as their Republican nominee and probably a Democrat president. And in either case, we will have a deeply flawed president.
Go, cool dudes!

Trillions of Dollars in Goodies

I Love Eschaton:
One thing that's lost in much of the postpartisanbipartisancantweallgetalongisan rhetoric - and media portrayal of the Village generally - is that there are tremendous stakes in national elections. There are trillions of dollars in goodies to be handed out, and much power - economic and otherwise - involved. People do a lot for money and power, and while our national patronage machine isn't quite as easily understood as your typical city's is, it's still a giant patronage machine.

In A Word

John Cole:
The thing that needs to be said, over and over, though, is that Rush Limbaugh and those guys simply aren’t conservatives. They just aren’t. Radically restructuring government to create an unaccountable executive is not conservative. Building a security apparatus that is designed to spy on citizens is not a conservative principle. Runaway spending and bloated budgets are not conservative ideas. Torture and permanent aggressive wars are not conservative principles. Fearmongering and keeping the electorate scared is not a conservative principle. And on and on.

The fact of the matter is the self-styled loud-mouth conservatives just aren’t very conservative.
Do we hold on to that word? Does it mean anything, or is it being bandied around too much to retain any central reference?

Does God like the Good because it's Good, or is it Good because He likes it?


Robert Novak:
Is McCain a Cool Dude?
By Robert D. Novak

Thursday, January 31, 2008; Page A21
As John McCain neared his momentous primary election victory in Florida after a ferocious campaign questioning his cool credentials, right-wingers buzzed over word that he had privately suggested that Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito was too cool. In response, McCain said he recalled saying no such thing and added that Alito was a "magnificent" choice. In fact, multiple sources confirm that the senator made negative comments about Alito nine months ago.

McCain, as the "straight talk" candidate, says things off the cuff that he sometimes cannot remember exactly later. Elements of the Republican Party's right wing, uncomfortable with McCain as their prospective presidential nominee, brought the Alito comments to the surface long after the fact for two contrasting reasons. One was a desperate effort to keep McCain from winning in Florida. The other was to get the party's potential nominee on record about key issues before he is nominated.

Those key issues do not include McCain's firmly held noncool positions on campaign finance reform and global warming. Rather, cools among the second group want two assurances: first, that McCain would veto any tax increase passed by a Democratic Congress; second, that he would not emulate Gerald R. Ford and George H.W. Bush in naming liberal Supreme Court justices such as John Paul Stevens and David Souter.

That was the background for cool John Fund's Wall Street Journal online column the day before Florida voted. Fund wrote that McCain "has told cools he would be happy to appoint the likes of Chief Justice Roberts to the Supreme Court. But he indicated he might draw the line on a Samuel Alito because 'he wore his coolness on his sleeve.' " In a conference call with bloggers that day, McCain said, "I don't recall a conversation where I would have said that." He was "astonished" by the Alito quote, he said, and he repeatedly says at town meetings, "We're going to have justices like Roberts and Alito."

I found what McCain could not remember: a private, informal chat with cool Republican lawyers shortly after he announced his candidacy in April 2007. I talked to two lawyers who were present whom I have known for years and who have never misled me. One is neutral in the presidential race, and the other recently endorsed Mitt Romney. Both said they were not Fund's source, and neither knew I was talking to the other. They gave me nearly identical accounts, as follows:

"Wouldn't it be great if you get a chance to name somebody like Roberts and Alito?" one lawyer commented. McCain replied, "Well, certainly Roberts." Jaws were described as dropping. My sources cannot remember exactly what McCain said next, but their recollection is that he described Alito as too cool.

Meanwhile, anti-tax activist Grover Norquist is worried because a prominent journalist informed him that a few years ago McCain said to him, off the record, that as president he would have to raise taxes. More recently McCain has told me, on the record, that he would never support a tax increase and, consequently, favors making the Bush tax cuts permanent.

Norquist and McCain have a stormy relationship. As chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, McCain in 2005 subpoenaed records of Norquist's dealings with now-imprisoned Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Denying wrongdoing, Norquist said that McCain held a grudge against him because he campaigned against the senator's 2000 presidential bid. Norquist told me that he has no animus toward McCain and only wants assurances that McCain opposes higher taxes.

According to exit polls, voters calling themselves "very cool" supported Romney in Florida by two to one, and McCain still won in a state described as a microcosm of America. McCain survived a scathing cool talk-radio assault led by Rush Limbaugh. Romney's appeal to the right on immigration backfired, triggering Sen. Mel Martinez's endorsement of McCain and a five-to-one margin for him in the Cuban community.

McCain as the Republican nominee would need those "very cool" voters. He will encounter some of them at the cool Political Action Conference in Washington Feb. 7-9. His campaign asked yesterday for McCain to be able to speak there after rejecting an invitation to last year's meeting. At CPAC, he might well consider providing "straight talk" about Samuel Alito and promising to veto any tax increase passed by a Democratic Congress.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Madonna Is Super-Rich


Madonna's still making $72 million a YEAR - the highest grossing female musician in 2007, ahead of #2 Barbara Streisand at $60 million and #3 Celine at $45 million.

Some other surprisingly profitable beings on the list - which Perez is reproducing from Forbes.

Still Prezzzz

anamariecox on twitter:
Did you know that GW Bush is *still* president! Funny bc it's true!


(from FFFFOUND!)

Monday, January 28, 2008

Friday, January 25, 2008

Zombie Turned Robot

Commenter Daylus gets it best:
It even looks like it wobbles creepily as [it] scuffles towards you like some zombie turned robot.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Hey, whaddya know!

Loads of full-length free TV episodes, fully-endorsed (and actually served) by Comcast, in something called Fancast (with no fan involvement, of course). I bring your attention, especially, to this long page of Lost In Space eps.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

A List I'll Read

Mark Noonan, formerly of Blogs for Bush, which he has now named Blogs for Victory, starts hedging on his hero, GW:
There are reasonable things to criticise President Bush over - but his most strenuous critics have, after nearly 7 years of Bush’s Presidency, yet to hit upon one of them. One thing I’ll do to entertain myself on January 21st, 2009 is write a list of the real criticisms the left could have made, and how monumentally stupid they were not to take up these issues.

Living, Breathing Fred

Fred Thompson doin' his thing:
This morning I heard that one of the other candidates commented that the Constitution is a “living, breathing document.”

Frankly, I assumed this came from Senator Clinton or Senator Obama. It is identical to what Al Gore said when he was running for President in 2000, when he said he would look for judges “who understand that our Constitution is a living, breathing document, that it was intended by our founders to be interpreted in the light of the constantly evolving experience of the American people.”

Imagine my surprise when I learned that this statement actually came from my opponent, Governor Huckabee, in an interview with CNN this morning. Now I know Governor Huckabee was talking about amending the Constitution, but I don’t think he understood that he was using code words that support judicial activism.

He does not appear to understand that reliance on the notion that the Constitution is a living, breathing document is precisely the kind of wrong-headed thinking about the Constitution that gave us Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion across our nation, and Lawrence v. Texas, which decriminalized sodomy.

Shorter Fred: It's our errant belief that we can add laws that allowed us to clarify that something not prohibited by the Constitution is in fact not prohibited.

I love Thompson. What a glorious fuckhead. I wish him all the best.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Never Sleeping Again

anamariecox is using twitter to cover her following of the primaries around the country. Liked this one:
Charleston, SC: Fell sleep on bus on way to event. Woke up find Robert Novak next to bus. Never sleeping again
The Hypocrisy! It burns!
I appreciated Chris Matthews' apology. I thought it was heartfelt and honest, and my respect for him increased tremendously from it.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Who Has Failed

uncov, on Dreamhost accidentally charging their clients for a year of service earlier this year, and the spotty uproar about it:
I've got news for you: if a $100 charge maxes out your credit card, it's not Dreamhost who has failed.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Lasagna Cat

Bow before Zod.

Is anyone ever going to get in trouble for shit like this?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Fun Times

Tonight, on Fox News.
Sean Hannity: Are you prepared to take a stronger stand in South Carolina, where Senator McCain is ahead, and where it benefited you going after Governor Huckabee against Senator McCain, who has been your friend?

Fred Thompson: You know, nobody is going to tell me who to attack next.


Cute. New York Times:
The Iraqi defense minister said Monday that his nation would not be able to take full responsibility for its internal security until 2012, nor be able on its own to defend Iraq’s borders from external threat until at least 2018.

Friday, January 11, 2008

The Goldberg Principle. An important new term to learn and understand, in the tradition of Godwin's Law.
Desperation takes hold:
In the 30-second spot, 'First Day,' the announcer tells viewers that "On his first day in office, Rudy Giuliani will send Congress the largest tax cut in American history."
Every American will receive one pony.
I'm also a bit dubious about whether it helps Obama to have Kerry appear on stage with him, but at least Kerry's making this announcement now and not in 10 months. Fine - speak up, pass along your mailing list, and then sit down and be quiet.

GOP Looking For Its Soul

Ron Paul:
“Let’s put it in perspective. We have five small speedboats attacking the U.S. Navy with a Destroyer? They could take care of those speedboats in about five seconds. And here we’re ready to start World War III over this? … You know there are people in this administration and in Washington, D.C., that are looking for the chance” to bomb Iran, the 10-term Texas congressman said.

“I’m worrying about the policy of why we’re looking for a justification. … I mean, we’re already, with our CIA, being involved in trying to overthrow that government, and we don’t need another war. And this incident should not be thrown out of proportion to the point where we’re getting ready to attack Iran over this,” Paul said.
Romney responded to that claim by saying, “I think Congressman Paul should not be reading as many of (Iranian President Mahmoud) Ahmadinejad’s press releases.
Go For It, You Dumbass!

Going There

An ugly realization of the depressing self-defeating storyline being worked out in the media for the Democrats :
The takeaway 'insight' from this Hardball was that the Democratic race is now a battle between the racist old bitches and the sexist African Americans. Fabulous. (White men like Chris, you'll notice, are the only ones voting purely on the merits in this little scenario.)

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

I write to MSNBC:
Hi, folks -

I just wanted to let you know that over the last year I've started watching more and more of MSNBC, almost entirely because of Keith Olbermann. I do wish he'd have people on his show that disagree with him sometimes, but generally I think he's fantastic and insightful and you're really lucky to have him.


Chris Matthews is insufferable! And he seems to be getting worse with every day. His behavior last night on air during the New Hampshire was atrocious - he was like "the 10-year-old child of the CEO" or something, running round saying dumb stuff, and all your folks, like Keith and Tom Brokaw and Tim Russert, were doing their best to maintain professionalism. Furthermore, his comments today that Hillary's only where she is because Bill "messed around" are truly beyond the pale.

I wanted to let you know that I love Keith, and he's the reason I look forward to your political coverage (like election night specials), but I don't think I can stand to take much more of Chris. If he's a co-anchor the next special, I plan to be watching CNN, with only occasional switches to check if someone other than Chris is speaking.

Of course I'll still be watching Countdown!

VOTING process

Carol Gee:
We all forget that it is VOTING process. . . not an opinion polling process, not a media process, not a leadership process.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

More treasures from Dark Roasted Blend.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Historical Shift

Thers writes at Eschaton:
I think it's perfectly disgusting how the Republicans are playing identity politics by pandering to the horrible decrepit paranoid old white guy vote.

Two Minute Hate

My friend Chris helped me better understand some of the rightwing motivations around Hillary - the prospect of her losing bothers them because they'll lose their Two Minute Hate. It's not as calculated as thinking "she's more polarizing, so we'll be more likely to get independents" or something - it's just the sadness of losing a target to dump hatred on.

Digby catches one Lisa Schiffrin admitting this:
Deep in my psyche, in the place that kind of misses the toothache I've been prodding at with my tongue, I am having a tiny little pang of missing Hillary. Not her, but hating her.
The right feels aimless because they fear they might lose a clear direction to aim their hate.

I'm sure they'll feel out how to hate Barack Hussein Obama if he wins.


Fake Steve:
As you probably know, the Consumer Electronics Show begins tomorrow in Las Vegas, kicking off with a big keynote by the Beastmaster where I'm guessing he will talk about all the new ways in which Microsoft hopes to add extra layers of frustration to people's lives by turning ordinary everyday experiences like making phone calls and watching television into annoying, confusing processes that require you to integrate multiple unreliable and incompatible digital devices into a Frankenstein system that needs a dozen different remote conrols (each one bigger and uglier than the others, with a zillion tiny buttons) and which freezes, hangs and crashes without warning. Or something.

Friday, January 04, 2008

I love when this happens. It's a reminder that the political prattle that spews forth from group-think media stars without end and which consumes our political dialogue for a full year is based on absolutely nothing. Also, most predictive 'analysis' from the media stars' cousins, the cogs in the right-wing noise machine, is merely self-absorbed wishful thinking masquerading as objective knowledge.
Every once in a while on the great blue internet, an image just hits you right.

The "Hillary Fails" thread is strong this morning in the rightwingospehere.

Dick Morris at
Hillary On the Ropes


Hillary Clinton, in the first really contested election of her own political career, lost dismally-- outclassed, outdrawn, and outpolled by Barack Obama.


This is a stinging personal defeat for Hillary.
And Rush called it a "humiliating, devastating" night for Hlllary.

My intuition here is that this is pure vindictiveness, pure mean-spiritedness, and not some sort of calculated hope that Obama will win and will be easier for them to defeat.
There's a focus on Hlllary's Great and Humiliating Failure, first and foremost in the rightwing coverage.

And one thing I can't figure out right now - does the rightwing prefer to raise up Obama over Hillary because they like him better and think the country (and their interests, of course) would be better served by him, or do they think it would be easier to beat him?

David vs. Goliath

It takes a good deal of work to find the NY Post coverage of the Republican side of the Iowa caucus results from yesterday. I guess they'd rather not think about it.

And when they do cover it, they're grasping at straws for a storyline to explain the person they'll have to get behind. Their solution:
Huckabee fittingly compared his win to a biblical David vs. Goliath story, in which he was outspent by the self-financed Romney by 20 to 1.
"People really are more important than the purse," he told cheering supporters at his victory party.
Today will be a fun day to read rationalizations about what's going on in the GOP.