Friday, October 31, 2008

Nobody Asked Me, But...

Special Zombie Edition

1) Sarah Palin has had her fifteen minutes. She's done nothing for McCain but solidified his one base, which was precisely what he didn't need. I still think this was all performance art, that Palin will be groomed for 2012.

2) All you zombies show your faces.

3) How did I miss the release of Zombie Strippers? How scary is this? George Bush gets elected to his FOURTH term! AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

4) How to get laid by a zombie.

5) The metaphysical zombie.

6) Actual live zombies. No joke! (Well, sort of...)

7) Maybe zombies really DO have souls, after all...

8) Got an iPhone? Here's a scary zombie game. Politicians??? AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!

9) Some zombies aren't that scary at all, Senator McCain.


Thursday, October 30, 2008

Friday Music Blogging

Katrina & The Waves - Walking On Sunshine

This was not my favorite song by this band, but it's about the only one that you can actually hear on American radio.

McCain Wins One Constituency!

Unfortunately, it cannot vote....
Thank god for the Weekly World News, saved from the annals of history at the last minute, for providing one last laugh at no one's expense. I was starting to feel cheap about all the laughs I was having at McCain's expense...

The switch in endorsement is unusual, but there's some reason to suspect Alien succumbed to something other than reason: It would be wrong to speculate, but it would also be irresponsible not to!

Seriously, the McCain campaign is in dire straits, and appears to be destined to lay all their chips on one last "Hail Mary" pass: somehow wresting the state of Pennsylvania from a double digit Obama lead. The 21 electoral votes there would offset likely losses in other traditionally red states that McCain is struggling with (losing in most).

Even in a state noted for its Immaculate Receptions, it seems rather unlikely that McCain can make up a double digit deficit in five days, but we should prepare and call out our friends in western Pennsylvania in particular for a "get out the vote" effort.

Even tho some 40% of the Pennsylvania population lives within the Philadelphia television market and Obama is probably pulling most of his numbers from that section, estimates run as high as 60% in polls from there, he is still having trouble with blue collar voters in western PA.

This isn't about wanting to win and win big. This is about needing to win. We don't know what kind of tricks the GOP have up their sleeve, and frankly, I'd like to keep those up the sleeve if it's all the same to anyone. This point in history is too critical a moment to risk it all by resting on laurels.

We're better than they are. They voted for Bush twice. We did not, and we have to convince as many people as possible that Barack Obama has the solutions we need to get this country back on track.

I am aware that the taste of revenge is sweet, but it comes with a price and that price is a lack of belief by ourselves and others in the rightness of our victory.

Instead, let us frame Obama's win on Tuesday in terms of what is just and right, that life sometimes gives us an opportunity and we must seize it. This is our future, this is our goal, this is our country that we fight for.

Five days. Five short little days. Make the most of them, folks.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Hump Day Comedy Blogging

A Brief History Of John McCain's Presidential Aspirations.

Redistributor Cap

Much has been said in the past week or so regarding Barack Obama's "spread the wealth" comments. Suddenly, he's been called a "redistributionist in chief".

Well, Senators, time to analyze just what "spread the wealth" is all about.

First, let's define some terms. Since the occasional right wing conservative scans this blog (I know, because I've read bits of my writing taken word for word in other places that I'd be ashamed to link to), I think its important they get some edumacation.

Capitalism, loosely defined, is the redistribution of wealth! Think about it: I have a little bit of wealth, and I have a need. You have a product or service that satisfies that need. I give you a little bit of my wealth in exchange for the satisfaction of my need.

What gets exchanged?" Wealth. Where does it go? From me, who had some you didn't have, to you, who now has accumulated more. It has been redistributed!

Nothing wrong with that. I don't know of many rational people who don't get that the free market in theory works pretty well.

In this example, wealth is nothing more than a pile of rocks accumulated from other people. Eventually, the rocks aggregate and make a pile so high, it's hard to toss more on top, and some end up trickling down.

What supply side economics does, in theory, is say, "Look, we'll pour more rocks on top of the highest piles, and some will tumble to the ground where the poor and middle class can scavenge for the pebbles and stone dust.

It's like the old joke about the priest who takes the money from the collection plate and tosses it in the air: whatever God can catch, he can keep.

What Obama proposes to do is simple: take the highest rocks off the highest piles, and give them to the people still with piles closer to the ground.

Not in the direct sense of actually giving money to the poor and middle class, but in allowing those classes (sadly, or maybe not so much, I'm not part of the classes who would benefit from Obama's tax cuts, but I'll get to that in a moment) to keep more of their stones.

So what happens then? Well, the core cost of living is the same no matter how much money you have: you need food, you need clothing (sadly), you need shelter. You need transportation. People with fewer rocks will spend a higher proportion of their rocks on these necessities. Whatever is left, one hopes, they will put in a bank but given our consumerist society, they will end up spending those rocks on comforts.

In other words, they'll get their rocks off.

But remember the first example I spoke about? I have a little bit of wealth and a need (or want) and I share my wealth with you in order to have you satisfy that hole in my life?

Look what happens now: those same rocks that the capitalists would have gotten directly from the government thru lower tax rates, rocks they likely would have off-shored in some Cayman Islands investment corporation, are now repurposed to have benefitted millions of Americans first, before getting back essentially to the same place they were going to end up in the first place! In the pockets of the rich!

In effect, the wealthy have lent out their wealth AND gotten a higher return from the American economy AND seen the American economy get stronger as a result, than they would have seen squirreling their rocks away on some island offshore.

Lest you think that this concept has been lost on Republicans, take a look at some of John McCain's proposals:

- Increased defense spending, including ramping up troop levels.

- a $5,000 tax credit for buying zero emission cars.

- $2 billion to "clean" coal technology.

- a $5,000 tax credit for health insurance to every American family.

None of these are anything except governmental solutions to free market problems. In other words, a redistribution of wealth.

To periphrase Animal Farm, "All rocks are equal, but some rocks are more equal than others".

(show Memeorandum the love, gang)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Friends Don't Let Friends Vote Third Party

The fear-mongering of this article aside, there's an important consideration for all progressives: to make sure that Barack Obama not only wins the Presidency, but that his coattails are long and enveloping:
Although two seats on this court are vacant, Bush nominee Peter Keisler has been denied even a committee vote for two years. If Barack Obama wins the presidency, he will almost certainly fill those two vacant seats, the seats of two older Clinton appointees who will retire, and most likely the seats of four older Reagan and George H.W. Bush appointees who may retire as well.

The net result is that the legal left will once again have a majority on the nation's most important regulatory court of appeals.

The balance will shift as well on almost all of the 12 other federal appeals courts. Nine of the 13 will probably swing to the left if Mr. Obama is elected (not counting the Ninth Circuit, which the left solidly controls today). Circuit majorities are likely at stake in this presidential election for the First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh and Eleventh Circuit Courts of Appeal. That includes the federal appeals courts for New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia and virtually every other major center of finance in the country.

On the Supreme Court, six of the current nine justices will be 70 years old or older on January 20, 2009. There is a widespread expectation that the next president could make four appointments in just his first term, with maybe two more in a second term. Here too we are poised for heavy change.
Now, there's a movement afoot amongst progressives who have become frustrated with Obama's drift to the center to register their disapproval by voting for a third party candidate (likely, Ralph Nader) in "safe" states. The operating theory is, "to hold him accountable on issues of social, economic and environmental justice issues from the Left," as a friend has put it to me.


First, it is a dangerous game to play, trying to determine which is a swing state and which is a "safe" state. While Obama *should* be safe in many states, remember that if Al Gore had won his home Congressional district, Ralph Nader wouldn't be the hated man he is right now. Safe is in retrospect. We can't afford to gamble with the long term future of this nation.

Second, let's assume that the "safe" scenario is, well, safe. Who is Obama going to listen to more: the people who stood by him loyally, or the folks who turned tail at the first opportunity to showboat and grandstand?

Loyalty begets loyalty in politics. If you truly want to sway opinion, the best place to do that is from within the party. Look at how the Christian Coalition has tied up the Republican party for nearly thirty years now. They didn't do it by walking, even after Ronald Reagan abandoned their cherished anti-abortion plank. Or Bush the elder. Or Bush the younger. Or the twelve year Republican-led Congress.

Say what you will about how fools suffer for their foolishness, the simple fact is, any candidate who runs as a Republican has to take into consideration the concerns and programs of that wing of the party. Period.

It's no different for Democrats. Just ask

What progressives really need to do is to fire up the same money machine that the Religious Right has. In politics more than in nearly any other field, money talks, and bullshit walks, and to abandon your vote to make a point is bullshit.

You want a progressive court? You want an end to this invasion? You want national health care? You want an alternative energy program?

Five words: put up or shut up.

When I first had to choose between Obama and Clinton, I had a difficult choice to make: as an old-style Liberal, I knew both candidates had solid progressive...dare I say it? Liberal?...credentials. In my mind, I questioned Obama's commitment to his principles. I didn't have that question with Clinton.

I have no doubt that Obama is sincere when he says he will commit ten billion dollars to developing alternative energy, that he wants the troops home from Iraq within 16 months, that a redeployment in Afghanistan is the only way to find and bring Osama bin Laden to justice. I support him on all of these. I don't think his nuancing the middle is out of character with what he's committed to.

You see, over the past few months, I've listened to what he has said, and came away convinced that he'll make a great President. Not a good one. Not an adequate one. A great one.

And given the uproar from the right wing of this nation, I suspect they know it too.

We cannot do anything less than make sure of a victory for Barack Obama next Tuesday. We cannot afford to make a mockery of this nation like we did eight years ago in allowing George W Bush to slip into the White House.

We cannot afford to let friends vote third party.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Turn The Page

Closing arguments in the 2008 Presidential election are being made this week. Most notable is Barack Obama's call for an end to the failed Republican policies of the past eight years (I'd say the past fourteen).

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Democrat Barack Obama on Monday called on voters to "turn the page" on the policies of the Bush administration as he emphasized his message of change in a closing argument for the presidential campaign.

With eight days left before Election Day, the Illinois senator laid blame for the deepening financial crisis on U.S. President George W. Bush and said Republican presidential candidate John McCain's approach on the economy would mirror Bush's.

"Sen. McCain has served this country honorably. And he can point to a few moments over the past eight years where he has broken from George Bush -- on torture, for example," Obama said in excerpts from a speech he is to deliver later in Canton, Ohio.

"He deserves credit for that. But when it comes to the economy -- when it comes to the central issue of this election -- the plain truth is that John McCain has stood with this president every step of the way," Obama said.

McCain does brag about voting with Bush 90% of the time and has flip-flopped on the Bush tax cuts, initially opposing them but now embracing them.
As this blog has taken great pains to point out in the past, "tax cuts" is the only tool left in the Republican toolbox and as the old saw (sorry) goes, "If all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail". I've made the argument that, indeed, taxes are too low right now.
There's a subtext to this speech that should not be lost on you, however. This is my closing argument.

Obama held steady with a 5-point lead over McCain among likely U.S. voters nationally in a Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby national tracking poll released on Monday.

Exit polls on election day 2004 showed Senator John Kerry with a three point lead nationally over President George W. Bush. When the dust settled, those results were exactly flipped in the actual vote.
Since 1996, the incidents of vote discrepancies between actual vote tabulations and exit polls, and even predicting polls taken in the days immediately preceding an election, have exploded exponentially. In 2006, for example, exit polling suggested that Democrats should pick up 40-50 seats in the House of Representatives, while they were able to capture only 28 seats.
Polling data are accurate, they have been for decades now. Even the US Census in 2004 suggested that 125 million votes would be cast in the 2004 elections, and lo and behold, when the final tally was added up, 122 million votes were counted...with an additional 3 million votes either uncounted or challenged!
Polling data is supremely accurate in statistical analysis like this.
That's a warning shot, folks. Errors that favor one party over the other should be an alarm to anyone, regardless of whether you believe there has been deliberate vote fraud or not, and the discrepancies that have arisen over the past twelve years have skewed Republican by a 12 to 1 margin. That made even partisan Republicans sit up and take notice, including former Reagan Assistant Secretary of the Treasury Paul Craig Roberts.
If, indeed, there has been a deliberate attempt to steal elections, something that can be inferred but not proven, based on the fact there is no way to audit the votes in many districts, then there is also no reason to believe that any vote, any district, any state, is safe.
"Turn the page," indeed. It would not be impossible for the vote-thieves to go to the well one more time in a grand way. After all, until someone is caught and the crime exposed, criminals continue to commit crimes and the more desperate and confident a criminal becomes, the grander his crimes become.
And if it is merely a systemic error, then it is a systemic error that has grown over time, not contracted, and we must be ever vigilant against its unchecked growth.
In other words, it's time to get behind Barack Obama and make sure that not only you vote, but that you get your friends and family to vote as well. We can't afford a close election, not this time, not with the forces of nature and man working against us.