Friday, October 31, 2008
"My epitaph? My epitaph will be 'Curiosity did not kill this cat.'"
Fun-size Snickers: Obama told her he liked her pants!
Fifty of those little Reese's Cups: This may be the most thoughtful op-ed I've yet seen in the Arizona Daily Star arguing against that goddamn Proposition 102, which would protect straight people's third and fourth marriages by amending the state constitution to keep my partner and me from making our long-term two-kid, two-dog family legal. Take a sec and send the writer a thank-you note; I did.
In our learning, there is one truth we do not question. It is that our influence as a straight couple cannot change the orientation of our son, nor will it change the orientation of any non-heterosexual person we meet. Likewise, those of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persuasion cannot influence our straight orientation.From this truth, we have concluded that to whom we are attracted is not a choice, but rather a continuation of our normal development begun at conception.As unique human beings, then, our personal and very private rights to love another belong to us alone. We, every one of us, should be free to choose our life partners without fear of laws restricting our natural birthrights.
Fun-size Krackel: Abby Wambach was one of nine US athletes the Chinese government put on a watch list of potential protestors prior to the Olympics. Even though the broken leg kept her at home, the shout-out as a rabble-rousing progressive is all sorts of awesome.
Box of raisins: Thursdays that feel like Fridays, making Friday feel you're having to come into work on Saturday. Yesterday was so totally a Fridayesque day that those of us in the office today are grumpy about it. Also, office Halloween parties without alcohol. Although those are more like a box of stale raisins left over from last year.
Toothbrush: Do you have ovaries, a uterus, a vagina, or any combination of the above? Then you're paying 32, or 39, or 49 percent more for your healthcare than a man of comparable age. You know, because when you're young you might have a baby and when you're old you might be incontinent. Actually, you'll pay more even if you opt out of maternity coverage, because the insurance companies reason that, as a woman, you tend to go in for preventative care and take their prescriptions more frequently than guys who man up and shrug off minor symptoms until their appendixes explode or their prostates swell up and pinch off their bladders or their depression gets so bad that they kill themselves. Or something. If you still need a reason to vote for Obama, think about what your matching X chromosomes will do to your prospects in an open healthcare market. Enjoy that $2500! It should last you about two months.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Let's not forget Afghanistan. My brother will never forget Travis.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
He's a n****r! Think Palin didn't hear that? Was the little stumble, the little stammer in her speech just a coincidence? It must have been. I mean, if John McCain can grab the mic back from his own Crazy Rally Lady and tell her that Obama is not actually Arab, you'd think Sarah Palin could take just a sec to say ooooh, now, we shouldn't be sayin' things like that, dontcha know.
Now that two white supremacist knuckleheads have been arrested for plotting to off a bunch of African-American kids as a warmup to killing Obama (whilst dressed in white tuxes and top hats? are sheets and hoods that declasse now in Appalachia?), can she credibly continue to pretend she just doesn't hear these things, or that people are yelling Trigger for her baby, or that... what? It was satire?
Yes, the ATF caught Mssrs. Cowart and Schlesseleman and foiled their long-on-ambition, short-on-reality plans to wreak murder and mayhem. That's the upside. The downside is that these two guys are complete idiots. If they were out there seriously contemplating assassination, how many others of a similar mindset but with actual intelligence and tactical capabilities are mulling their own shots at infamy, tacitly egged on by increasingly id-free rally attendees whose epithets have gone unchecked by the candidates they're shouting to? Does this disturb you? It disturbs me.
Monday, October 27, 2008
Seriously, who could ever have seen this coming? Certainly not me.
First, the $700 billion rescue for the economy was about buying devalued mortgage-backed securities from tottering banks to unclog frozen credit markets.Then it was about using $250 billion of it to buy stakes in banks. The idea was that banks would use the money to start making loans again.But reports surfaced that bankers might instead use the money to buy other banks, pay dividends, give employees a raise and executives a bonus, or just sit on it. Insurance companies now want a piece; maybe automakers, too, even though Congress has approved $25 billion in low-interest loans for them.
O RLY? Wow, talk about deja vu. This is totally like that time my idiot brother borrowed $1,500 from my uncle to pay his tuition bill but ended up blowing the money on a bachelor party for our other brother. And then had to borrow an additional 1.5K from our dad, which comes with more strings than the Kilkenny Harp Convention, and still hasn't paid our uncle back. At least the other brother's still married and has a couple of kids, so I suppose some good came of it, but still. Just wow.
And now Detroit is saying heeeeeeeeeyyyyyy wait a minute, did what the banks just did really just work that easily? Holy shit! We got next! and, despite not being able to find their asses with both hands a couple of years ago as they stubbornly insisted on continuing to produce Hummers instead of Priuses, are coming now with both those hands out for their own piles of taxpayer money. Remember, nicking a 250K earner's taxes up three percent to help ease poorer people's tax burdens is socialism bordering on communism, but nicking all of us to keep executives chin-deep in Armani and hired help is patriotism.
So far all they're getting from the government is $25B in low-interest loans. Could I have a little of that? A Boltbailout really wouldn't cost the taxpayers much. I have been fixated on the sum of $8,000 for a while, and while I can't really explain why that figure rings so hopeful, well, if Congress could just toss the 8K my way a lot of problems would be alleviated. I will start holding my breath right now on that one.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Matthews is an imperfect messenger, to say the least. But when it's a topic that's in his wheelhouse, wham, shade your eyes out in the bleachers and wave as that ball leaves the park in a hurry.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
I am, in my own, state, I have voted along with the vast majority of Alaskans who had the opportunity to vote to amend our Constitution defining marriage as between one man and one woman. I wish on a federal level that that's where we would go because I don't support gay marriage. I'm not going to be out there judging individuals, sitting in a seat of judgment telling what they can and can't do, should and should not do...
Except, you know, for when I am.
It was so much fun to be in uber-conservative Mesa over the weekend, which is similarly full of people who would never judge a fellow sinner or tell them what they can and can't do, except for doing "get married," of course, because that doesn't count as judgment or anything, and see giant, jaunty Yes! on 102 signs at every major intersection and smaller signs in people's yards and even smaller bumper stickers on their Escalades. Bracing, really.
The only bright spot in the miasma of despair that trip wrought on my normally sunny disposition is that at least one person out there took the time to do what I only fantasized about:
Granddad will probably be okay, and is mostly annoyed at being stuck in bed. Grandmother is helpless on her own, which isn't going to work so well when it's just the two of them since she can't drive and can barely walk 50 feet without tottering over. Mom is freaking equally about having to be there and wondering what will happen when she leaves, which she can't do soon enough.
Me? It was the first time since the summer of '85 that I haven't sniffled saying goodbye. Weird to be in a room surrounded by a cumulative age of 204 and feel like the only grownup for miles around.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
You know who would have done all those town halls? Joe the Plumber, that's who. Such as. He probably also would not threaten to destroy the fabric of democracy. That's for community organizers and washed up terrorists, not for upstanding guys like Joe! The! Plumber!
19 days. Just 19 more days.
6:07 It's the bailout. The back-and-forth format is already interesting as McCain and Obama get into it over Joe the plumber from Ohio, who will now have higher business taxes and won't be able to buy the business he worked for all this life. Obama: ooh, McCain's been watching too many McCain commercials. Five years ago when you were in a position to buy your business, you needed a tax break then, and I want to give guys just starting out a break now, so we gotta make some tough choices.
Goddamn but Joe the plumber's getting a lot of mileage. McCain: Obama told Joe we need to spread the wealth around, and he's going to do it by stealing Joe's money. Does not know why we want to raise taxes on anybody. Even businesses. Oh Christ here comes Ireland and their 11% rate again. If they have the lowest corporate tax rate in the world, why don't all the US businesses set up their shell corporations on the Emerald Isle instead of all those Caribbean ones?
Obama: Warren Buffet could have afforded to pay more taxes back when it would have helped Joe the Plumber (feel like I need to capitalize it at this point, Jesus!). Exxon Mobil can afford to pay more now to allow cuts for working families. Apparently Joe falls into that 5% of small businesses that make over $250,000 per year and isn't eligible for the Obama plan? I feel Joe the Plumber commercials and possibly action figures in the offing.
6:19 Schieffer: back on topic, old man! McCain is all yeah yeah whatevs, oh what would I cut? Everything! Spending freeze! Hatchet first! Then scalpel. I know how to save billions in defense spending (like knowing how to catch Osama?) but the only examples I will cite is eliminating sugar cane-based ethanol from Brazil (eat it, samba kings!) and that airplane contract again. And earmarks, which Obama is the king of. Obama: some programs don't work at all and some are underfunded. Earmarks account for one half of one percent of the federal budget (eat it, old man!).
6:23 McCain: Senator Obama, I am not President Bush, and if you wanted to run against President Bush you should have run four years ago. Oh, my, two points to McCain for the takedown on that one. That might be the snappiest line I've heard from him in this entire campaign. McCain is really coming out swinging and is looking at Obama, apparently making eye contact and even directly addressing Obama. When have you ever stood up to the leaders of your party?
Obama: lists things that don't make him popular with key Dem constituencies. Calls out McCain's 42,000 tax increase claim, says even Fox News disputes it (ha ha! says the audience). If I've occasionally mistaken your economic and energy policies for George Bush's, well, that's because you've voted like George Bush. McCain: your examples are not very convincing.
6:32 So, guys, what's up with this nasty campaign? Are you willing to say to each other's face what your campaigns have been saying? McCain: if we'd done ten town halls like I wanted, the tone of the campaign could have been very different. It's taken turns that aren't acceptable. I've repudiated every nasty remark, Obama hasn't (huh?). Obama has spent more money on negative ads than any campaign in history (aroo?). Said you'd take public financing but you didn't. Obama: John, 100 percent of your ads have been negative. I don't mind being attacked for the next four weeks but the American people want to hear about the economic crisis, and McCain's campaign said if they talk about the economy they lose, so they want to change the subject. Hmm, he does not address McCain's indignant insistence that he repudiate John Lewis. Oh, now McCain clarifies: ads that disagree with him are attack ads. Well, that clears things up.
6:38 Another Joe the Plumber shout-out. And how about John Lewis? Obama: without being prompted by me, Lewis said he was troubled by Palin's rally attendees yelling things like terrorist and kill him and Palin not doing anything about it. Acknowledges the comparison Lewis made to the Birmingham bombings was inappropriate, and says his campaign did put out a statement saying so, and that Lewis subsequently said whoops, my bad. When people suggest I pal around with terrorists, we're not talking about issues, we're *garble garble can't hear because McCain is interrupting for about the fifth time in the last three sentences.*
McCain: if you say those Military Wives for McCain are saying bad things about you, or those veterans who wear those hats from Vietnam, Korea, Iraq, I'm not going to stand for people saying that the people coming to the rallies are anything but the most patriotic men and women. Okay, I don't think Obama was talking about the Military Wives for McCain. I think he was talking about the people who can clearly be heard on video screaming terrorist and kill him when Obama's name is mentioned. McCain works up an impressive righteous lather, but it's misguided. Now McCain's sputtering about the mythical people at Obama rallies yelling the same things about McCain, which I don't believe they have.
GodDAMNit, Barry, quit fucking stammering and just say he's fucking lying and deflecting right now. But no, Obama goes right back to needing to create jobs but by the way being respectful to each other.
6:46 Baboom! Here comes Ayers and ACORN--they may be destroying the fabric of democracy! Obama outright starts laughing. Perpetrating the greatest fraud in history? Destroying the fabric of democracy? The fabric of democracy? Are you fucking kidding me? Oh Christ. I'm impressed Obama didn't spit-take and fall over. Obama: first, Ayers. What he did in the '60s was despicable. We serve on an education board that was started by Ronald Reagan, along with the president of Northwestern (a Republican) and the head of the Chicago Trib board of directors, also very Republican. He doesn't serve my campaign and he will not serve my White House. End of story. Next, ACORN. Gives the same history already reported by the Washington Post, Gawker, you name it, Obama's only association was representing them vs. the state of Illinois re: the Motor Voter law. Who does he actually associate with? Economically it's Buffet and Volpert. On foreign policy it's Biden, Lugar, and Gen. Jones (former NATO supreme Allied commander). That's who I associate with, and the fact that this has become the centerpiece of your campaign, Sen. McCain, says more about you than about me.
McCain: you launched your political campaign in Ayers' living room! Long association with bomber terrorist relationship ACORN! But my campaign is about creating jobs and not raising taxes so I don't really care about that other stuff. No, my eyes always bug out this way and I think pounding veins in my temples are rather fetching. Why do you ask, Bob?
6:54 Why is your running mate better than the other guy's? Obama: Biden has a brain. No, not really. Biden has senate experience and blue-collar Scranton experience. McCain: Palin is a role model for women, got that gas pipeline goin' to relieve the energy problems of what they call the Lower 48. Oh and she understands special needs families, including autism! (aroo?) She understands it better than any American I know! And her husband is a tough guy! Obama on Palin: she's done a great job on special needs (aroo?). I guess the Special Olympics are just a perk that don't really matter. Minor zing: a spending freeze will make it kinda hard to continue research on autism. McCain: yeah, Biden's okay, whatever. But really, why do you keep wanting to spend more? Uh, because autism researchers are probably cool people but don't do their work on a purely volunteer basis?
7:00 McCain: Canadian oil is fine but the Middle East and Venezuela, nuh-uh. We're going nuclear and we're going to store and reprocess all that waste with no problem. The Navy has always done it; it's just those radical environmentalists who insist it has to be safe. Obama: We can x out the Middle East and Hugo Chavez in ten years, but it ain't gonna be during my first term. We do need to stop borrowing from China to pay Saudi Arabia, though. We need to tell the oil companies to use or lose the 68 million acres they're currently leasing but not drilling (nb: because holding the land pumps up their liquidible assets and thus their stock prices). And do all that hydroelectric and wind stuff and what the hell let's drill offshore too (oh fuck me).
McCain: oh, I admire Senator Obama's eloquence. He's got a real way with words. SO YOU HAVE TO PAY REAL CLOSE ATTENTION BECAUSE HE USES HIS MAGIC WORD POWERS TO BE ALL TRICKY. Obama suppresses a guffaw.
7:06 McCain: Obama's never been south of our border, unlike me, who fucked the bejesus out of a Brazilian model back in the day. Columbia just let three Americans go, so now they're going to be a great free market for our goods! What? Obama: Colombia has a shitty human rights record when it comes to labor protestors, so I didn't support a trade agreement with them, but did with Peru since they're improved greatly in that arena. Oh, right, the question was about energy, and I'm all about efficient cars and turbines. McCain: whatever, Obama wants to talk to Hugo Chavez.
7:09 Christ, is this over yet? No? My eyes are starting to glaze. Obama wants to raise taxes, did you know that? I hadn't heard.
7:10 No, it's not over. Now it's healthcare time. Does Joe the Plumber have insurance? I am certain we will find out. Obama: get to keep your doc, keep your plan, if you don't have it you can buy into the same federal plan McCain and I have. McCain: American kids are lardasses. Here's your $5k. Oh, good, here comes Joe the Fucking Plumber again. McCain says Joe is going to be fined if he doesn't adopt the Obama healthcare plan! Obama wants a... a... bureaucracy in charge of healthcare! Who ever heard of a bureacracy in charge of an HMO? Small businesses are exempt, you prevaricating sack of shit, so Joe the Plumber will be fine, but big companies have to make sure their employees get coverage. Joe, if you're out there and you wanna give your tiny employees coverage, we'll give you a fifty percent tax credit to help pay for it. $5k sounds great but only if you're young and healthy. Once the healthy younguns opt out of employer pools, all you old people will be the only ones left and you won't be able to afford your new jacked up premiums, especially when McCain taxes your benefits. And the average policy costs $12k anyway, so STFU already. And there won't be any regulation of state insurance laws, so they'll all end up in the least regulated state in the nation.
7:18 Joe the Plumber is probably regretting that little photo op with Obama, since this has officially become the Joe the Goddamn Plumber to America Debate. Joe is suddenly rich now and has to pay the fine. Because McCain says he is? I'm confused. Jesus, I'm glad I'm not drunk, because then I would be even more confused. Or maybe it would all make sense, which is really scary. Wait, now McCain says the average policy costs $5,800. Somebody not telling the truth here.
7:21 Question: would you appoint a SC justice who disagrees with you on Roe v. Wade? McCain: I've never had a litmus test, but R v W was a bad decision and it should be a state decision. I voted for Breyer and Stevens even though I disagreed with them, Obama voted against Breyer and Roberts because he's an ideologue. Obama: shouldn't be a strict litmus test (me: unless it's on this issue, in which case it better fucking well be the only litmus test you have) even though R v W hangs in the balance. I believe it was correctly decided, good people on both sides can disagree on abortion, oh FUCK NOT THIS AGAIN says women are in the best position to make the decision, but throws in those fucking bullshit qualifiers of consultation with family, doctor, and minister. Seriously, Barack? &%$^%#%$#%^*&^&$$#$ FUCK. Jumps back on the Ledbetter bandwagon, but I'm no less pissed about the abortion line.
7:26 McCain: gotta change the culture, brings up the fucking canard of the Illinois legislature trying to ensure medical care for fetuses that survive an abortion, and also the partial-birth abortion crap. McCain is proudly pro-life. Obama: the first one is not true (McCain's eyes bug nearly out of his head). There was already an IL law requiring life-saving treatment; the bill in question was designed to undermine R v W. The partial-birth abortion bill did not contain a provision for the health of the mother, so I didn't vote for it. Even though I'm in favor of a late-term ban (McCain grimaces and rolls eyes). What we really need to do is prevent unintended pregnancies by educating kids and helping single moms if they want to keep the baby. McCain is twitching and bouncing and seriously coming out of his chair. McCain says there he goes again with that eloquence, so you have to pay close attention to what he says about... and then McCain spits out the word health, "the health of the mother" with a sneer like it's the most obscene double entendre he's ever heard, and he's been around a lot of sailors in the Navy, dontcha know. Says "the health of the mother" has been stretched to cover just about everything. Oh, nice. Don't fucking talk about "compassion," you fucking asshole. He touts his status as an adoptive parent (an adoption Cindy surprised him with, by the way; he probably figured she was coming back from Malaysia with a souvenir more along the lines of painted coconuts) as proof of his compassion and commitment to life. But the *spit* *sneer* health of the woman? Piffle. A myth. An obscenity.
There's a final question about education but I'm too pissed to care right now. McCain wants charter schools and executing underperforming teachers or something. I am ready for this motherfucking asshole to choke on one of his condescending cackles and drop dead.
Thank you and good night.
Last fashion note: Spouses on stage. I think we can all agree that this explains McCain's nonchalance about what the Navy's been doing with nuclear waste all these years. They've been weaving it into fabric for Cindy McCain's final debate dress. Holy shit. That thing is fucking glowing.
Blogging? What is this blogging of which you speak? I am unfamiliar with the concept. It apparently involves thinking enough to hammer something out on a daily basis. I'll have to work on that one, maybe after a nap.
Debate? Debate! There is a debate tonight. What will be the main issue? I think it will involve oak reproduction in some manner, shoehorned in by McCain if not brought up directly by Bob Schieffer. My understanding of the matter so far is that (1) any fraud perpetrated through ACORN's voter registration drive fleeced ACORN, not the democratic process, and (2) the Republicans are doing handsprings over this ready-made excuse for both the financial crisis and, potentially, the lost election. I am waiting breathlessly for the inevitable shocked! e-mail! from! my! right! wing! brother!
Thank dog they're sitting down for this debate, although I do not know yet if the chairs have rollers on them; if so, well, look out for Scooterpants McWandery there, Barack.
Oh, right, I keep forgetting about Bill Ayers despite the McCain campaign's inability to let go of the same. That will probably come up too. I think it would be interesting to canvass the next McCain or, even better, Palin rally and ask people so, William Ayers--black guy or white guy? and see what the responses are. I could hazard a guess as to the majority response but won't.
Funny, but the Cubs still don't seem to be in the NLCS. There must be a mistake.
Is it lunchtime yet? Fuck. I'm starving.
Monday, October 13, 2008
On the plus side, on re-reading The Razor's Edge for the first time since high school I am pleasantly reminded of why I fell in love with Somerset Maugham way back in the day. The man had an elegant yet easy writing style that makes the words float smoothly and richly off the page and through my brain, painting pictures all the way. It's an old Penguin edition my mom gave me for Christmas, I think, in 1984, all yellowed pages turning brown at the edges and alarmingly brittle, the orange spine washed out to something approximating the old Crayola "flesh" color. It's comforting.
I am simulataneouly reading Cormac McCarthy's All the Pretty Horses, so I have lyrical language going in stereo. Never read McCarthy before, and his writing style--so different from Maugham, but equally evocative--is magical. This one was recommended by Dave; Maugham came courtesy of Brother Phil. Thanks, guys, for both.
Oh, and I heard some chick named Maddow was on Leno last week way after my bedtime. Quelle adorbs!
Friday, October 10, 2008
Later, McCain was again pressed about Obama's "other-ness" and again he refused to play ball. "I don't trust Obama," a woman said. "I have read about him. He's an Arab."
"No, ma'am," McCain said several times, shaking his head in disagreement. "He's a decent, family man, [a] citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues and that's what this campaign is all about."
At another point, McCain declared, "If you want a fight, we will fight. But we will be respectful. I admire Sen. Obama and his accomplishments." Supporters booed then also. "I don't mean that has to reduce your ferocity," McCain responded. "I just mean to say you have to be respectful."
They booed their own man when he asked them to be respectful? How old are these people? Seriously, this is the culmination of the juvenile behavior we first saw at the GOP convention, only now it's mixed with an unhealthy dose of paranoia, willful ignorance, anger, and violent overtones. I do think they need to dial the ferocity back a few notches, to keep their heads from exploding when they wake up on November 5, and it's about time McCain started refuting the bullshit his supporters are spewing. He should have started a long time ago, round about the time someone asked how do we beat the bitch, but at least now maybe he's starting to see the disconnect between crowing about bipartisanship and snickering at his supporters' most over-the-top hyperbole.
Of course, when it comes to hyperbole, this is the campaign who screamed sexism and gotcha media every time someone asked exactly how long Sarah Palin was mayor of Wasilla and how much she relegated to her city manager when the strain of running a 6,600-person teeming metropolis got to be too much, only to come out with this earlier today. You know, before that respect directive was unleashed:
It is clear that Barack Obama just doesn't understand regular people and the issues they care about," read a statement from spokesman Brian Rogers. "Even worse, he attacks anyone who dares to question his readiness to serve as their commander in chief. Raising legitimate questions about record, character and judgment are a vital part of the Democratic process, and Barack Obama's effort to silence and shame those who seek answers should make everyone wonder exactly what he is hiding.Brian! Dude! OMG! You're killing me here! Your man McCain is starting to reap what you all have sown, and the base is acting dangerously intractable. As in having no compunction about booing their candidate when he tells them directly to act like adults. You're veering awfully close to cat-herding territory here, and your cats have some nasty claws and teeth on them.
The state Supreme Court's 4-3 decision Friday that same-sex couples have the right to marry swept through the state with the force of a cultural tidal wave.
While lead plaintiff Beth Kerrigan and her partner -- soon to be wife -- embraced and sobbed after learning of the ruling, opponents vowed to pursue a long and complicated route to change the constitution to ban gay marriage.
And there you have it. In a nutshell, citing the equal protection clause, the court accepted the argument that civil unions--already approved in Connecticut--are a poor stand-in for the full legal rights and societal recognition the magic word "marriage" confers. Predictably, the opposition is clamoring for a vote on convening a constitutional convention to thwart the activists in the judiciary and restore the right of the majority to feel better about themselves on the backs of a minority to the people, where it belongs. Because questions of equal civil protections are always best left to a popularity contest.
The decision leaves me uneasy coming this close to November 4 because the shriekers in California, Florida, and Arizona are going to point to Connecticut and say see, we told you we need a constitutional amendment before some goddamn liberal judge comes along and says our straights-only law is unconstitutional! This raises the question, at least for me, of what would happen if Connecticut voters should go ahead and pass a neener neener amendment, since the logic laid out by the majority is both simple and seemingly ironclad:
"Interpreting our state constitutional provisions in accordance with firmly established equal protection principles leads inevitably to the conclusion that gay persons are entitled to marry the otherwise qualified same sex partner of their choice," the majority wrote. "To decide otherwise would require us to apply one set of constitutional principles to gay persons and another to all others."
Can an amendment approved by the voters subsequently be voided if it contains provisions that violate the existing constitution as interpreted in a decision that's directly relevant? An amendment limiting voting rights to landholding white males would clearly not pass muster even if it passed with 100% of the vote, and since the Kerrigan decision was made on the strength of the existing equal protection clause in Connecticut's constitution, how can an amendment designed to contradict that ruling not run afoul of the same clause in the same way?
The question is likely moot in Arizona, unfortunately, since the state Supreme Court in 2004 refused to review an appeal of a lower court decision that found the current no-queer-marriage statute to be constitutional. Of course, not getting the answer you want has never been a deterrent to the other side; Arizona voters already rejected a constitutional amendment in 2006, but its backers resurrected it this year in a stripped-down form they hope will appeal to more people since it only targets gays rather than stripping contract rights from hetero couples who choose to live together without marrying.
And now they have a great big East Coast boogeyman to wave menacingly at anyone who might still be on the fence. I'm happy for Connecticut. I hope it doesn't hurt us. Not that we weren't dead in the water already, but still.
Thursday, October 09, 2008
Well, if we are all Georgians now, maybe we're also all POWs.
What does that slip hearken to, really? Have his multiples of multiple POW references finally consumed him? Is it a metaphor for being a prisoner of the campaign process and chafing against the constraints that limit him to calling Obama That One instead of what he really wants to say? Is he finally so exhausted by the whole damn thing and infuriated by Obama's implacable calm that he's starting to slip? Or is he just going dotty?
The next best bit? The WTF? look that briefly crossed Sarah Palin's face before she decided to swallow hard and pretend she didn't hear him say that.
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
Random note time.
They really should have put shorter chairs on the stage. McCain has taken to just standing or walking around while Obama's talking because his feet barely reach the floor. Did his people not bring a measuring tape tonight?
McCain is taking a page from the Palin playbook and answering as many questions with "energy independence!" as he can.
Teh "my friends" Tourette's, he haz it bad tonite.
McCain has reached across the aisle! Unfortunately, a lot of those grab sessions have been with Joe Lieberman.
Obama bags on Bush calling on people to go shopping after 9/11, saying Americans are looking for leaders that call them to work together to sacrifice for the country. The best thing we can start with, since energy is so central to everything, is to look at how we can save energy at home and at work.
McCain flogging his $5000 tax credit again. Says we need choice but to be smart about not choosing a Cadillac policy if we can't afford it. No word on what level of coverage he thinks will be available for 5k on the open market, or what people who can't front 5k even in monthly installments are supposed to do until April or May, or what people who don't make enough to file taxes and therefore will be ineligible for a tax credit in the first place are supposed to do.
Obama is pissed that his mother died at 53 from cancer, spending her last months in a hospital fighting with insurance companies over whether it was pre-existing or not. He says healthcare should be a right in the wealthiest country in the world. He would give a fifty percent tax credit, and I have no idea what this means, although he did say that empoyer-provided policies get to still exist. Oooh, I hope my boss decides to still be awesome.
Obama points out that in McCain's free market that opens up insurance without regard to state lines, every insurance company would relocate to states with the least amount of regulation so that they will be able to provide you with the least amount of coverage possible.
Oh snap! Obama says McCain's right that he doesn't understand some things about foreign policy, like why we invaded a country that had nothing to do with 9/11 while al Qaeda sets up camps along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. That was McCain's job, and he was a cheerleader for Bush. Can't be a military power when the economy's in the tank, can't be a force for good when our national reputation is in the tank, can't swoop into Rwanda when the military is overextended. Obama Doctrine will be... if we stand by and watch genocide, that means we suck. But we have to pick and choose and work with our allies because there is bad shit happening all over the world all the time and we can't be everywhere at once.
McCain ignores the point that the Iraq war was not the best idea and falls back on Obama wants to bring the troops home in defeat. McCain Doctrine is to know our limits, says Somalia pretty well sucked. Gotta temper decisions with ability to make a difference. Oh, McCain's been in those situations all his life, and he won't take them lightly, but oh we can't leave early.
What do we do about Pakistan? Should we go all Cambodia on their ass? Obama: it's a difficult situation exacerbated by our getting distracted by Iraq and letting AQ regroup in Pakistan, which is the real central front in the war on terrorism. Gotta get out of Iraq so we can go back in and get Afghanistan right and quit coddling Pakistan as they make treaties with AQ. If we have Osama in our sights and the Pakis won't take him out, we will. McCain: We have to speak softly and carry a big stick! Obama wants to announce he's gonna attack Pakistan, which will turn public opinion against us! We, uh the Afghan freedom fighters drove the Russians out of Afghanistan and then we washed our hands of it and the Taliban came back! Who was one of the main freedom fighters? Olama? Osamoo? bin Loppin? Ohhhh, Osama bin Laden, right.
Obama insists on a followup and Brokaw gives up and capitulates. Obama says nobody called for the invasion of Pakistan, even though McCain keeps saying he did. Obama repeats the thing about retaining the right to kill bin Laden if he happens to be in Pakistan and Pakistan won't do it. And points out that McCain sang Bomb Bomb Bomb Iran and threatened to annihilate North Korea, and before we finished in Afghanistan said next stop, Baghdad! Which is not exactly speaking softly. Oh, he was just joking with an old veteran friend about Iran. And I know how to get Osama bin Laden, my friends, I know how to get him, but I won't telegraph my punches. I'll be responsible like I have been through my entire military career. Which made Boltgirl go HA HA HA HA HA HA HA.
Question from me: if you know how to get Osama, why have you been keeping it a giant secret for the past seven years? Why no inclination to share this strategy with, say, the Marines?
I would like to point out that I am not drinking tonight. This shit is surreal enough on its own.
Is Russia an evil empire? Obama: they're not the old Soviet Union, but they do evil things and still have dangerous nationalistic impulses. McCain: saying yes reignites the Cold War, saying no excuses their behavior. Wow, the one answer he gave that did not piss me off.
What do we do if Iran attacks Israel? Do we fight for them or wait for the UN? McCain pisses himself thanking the questioner because he's a retired Navy petty officer, then goes back on the Obama wants to talk to Ahmedinejad without preconditions my friends train. We can't allow a second Holocaust to take place. No word on what his answer to the actual question is. Obama makes like he's going to shirk the question as well, instead sticking to the script of trying to keep Iran from getting nukes... but says we should never take military options off the table or give the UN veto power over our national interests, but the biggest thing has to be diplomacy to keep this kind of crisis from happening in the first place. Defends the need for direct talks. Notes that when Bush said he wouldn't talk to Iran ever ever ever, they went from zero centrifuges to 400.
Last question: what don't you know and how will you learn it? Jesus fucking Christ. Obama opens with a joke: I'll ask Michelle! Ha ha ha. What he does know is he got where he is because opportunities were given to him despite coming from modest means. The question is are we gonna pass on that same American dream to the next generation? McCain: What I don't know is what's going to happen here at home and abroad. Things suck here and abroad and we'll be surprised by shit. I always put my country first.
And with that it's over. The guys actually pull off a handshake/bro hug and then try to stand side by side but get in the way of Brokaw's teleprompter, which gives them the excuse to fucking sprint away from each other and start shaking hands at opposite sides of the room.
Michelle looks lovely. I like the color of Cindy's dress so much I am almost distracted from the scary pale wraith wearing it. Oops, Michelle and the McCains almost crash into each other. McCain actually pats Obama on the back, Obama extends his hand, McCain redirects him over to Cindy, who accepts the proffered hand and shakes briefly.
Just enough time to grab a beer, finally, and settle in for Dancing With The Stars!
Edited! To add! It's Wheel of Fortune instead of DWTS! Not happy!
It is difficult to pull three representative paragraphs from a ten-page story crammed with details. So I'm breaking fair-use rules and quoting four in an excerpt that probably illustrates the man better than anything else in the story. In July of '67, McCain was flying bombing missions off the carrier USS Forrestal. One morning, while waiting on the flight deck, a missile inadvertently launched from another plane hit McCain's fuel tank, causing a fire. McCain jumped out of his cockpit and was able to run to safety before one of his bombs fell off his plane and detonated, which in turn caused a chain reaction of explosions from the surrounding planes and a huge fire that blew open the ship, threatening to sink it, and killed 134 men.
These are the moments that test men's mettle. Where leaders are born. Leaders like . . . Lt. Cmdr. Herb Hope, pilot of the A-4 three planes down from McCain's. Cornered by flames at the stern of the carrier, Hope hurled himself off the flight deck into a safety net and clambered into the hangar deck below, where the fire was spreading. According to an official Navy history of the fire, Hope then "gallantly took command of a firefighting team" that would help contain the conflagration and ultimately save the ship.
McCain displayed little of Hope's valor. Although he would soon regale The New York Times with tales of the heroism of the brave enlisted men who "stayed to help the pilots fight the fire," McCain took no part in dousing the flames himself. After going belowdecks and briefly helping sailors who were frantically trying to unload bombs from an elevator to the flight deck, McCain retreated to the safety of the "ready room," where off-duty pilots spent their noncombat hours talking trash and playing poker. There, McCain watched the conflagration unfold on the room's closed-circuit television — bearing distant witness to the valiant self-sacrifice of others who died trying to save the ship, pushing jets into the sea to keep their bombs from exploding on deck.
As the ship burned, McCain took a moment to mourn his misfortune; his combat career appeared to be going up in smoke. "This distressed me considerably," he recalls in Faith of My Fathers. "I feared my ambitions were among the casualties in the calamity that had claimed the Forrestal."
The fire blazed late into the night. The following morning, while oxygen-masked rescue workers toiled to recover bodies from the lower decks, McCain was making fast friends with R.W. "Johnny" Apple of The New York Times, who had arrived by helicopter to cover the deadliest Naval calamity since the Second World War. The son of admiralty surviving a near-death experience certainly made for good copy, and McCain colorfully recounted how he had saved his skin. But when Apple and other reporters left the ship, the story took an even stranger turn: McCain left with them. As the heroic crew of the Forrestal mourned its fallen brothers and the broken ship limped toward the Philippines for repairs, McCain zipped off to Saigon for what he recalls as "some welcome R&R."
McCain First. Remember that.
Monday, October 06, 2008
Sunday, October 05, 2008
What about this, came a querulous voice from the back of the room. What about a stupefying total team meltdown for the guys who ran up the best record and best offense in the National League? Ooh, this one had merit. The mood around the table grew giddy as they considered the possibilities. First we put the bats to sleep! Yes... Then we make sure the Cubs' number one starter has less control than a Depends convention! Yes, I like it... and then, when the fans have convinced themselves that Game 2 can't possibly be worse? I know! How about the infield backing up Zambrano with an E-3-4-5-6 on the way to giving up ten runs? And after that they just curl up and die in Game 3, right? Right! Awesome!
Hey, guys? One more thing? Whazzat, kid? How about having the Sox come back and win the whole thing? I like the way you think, kid. And they clinked their glasses and drank.
So put away your dreams of a pair of championships on the eights to bookend a century of futility. The baseball gods are sadistic bastards. And they will not be denied.
Saturday, October 04, 2008
Sen. John McCain's senior foreign policy advisor cites a steamy romance 50 years ago with a Brazilian babe among the things that illustrate the candidate's decades-long interest in Latin America.
''Talking a little about his personal experience, he was famously born in Panama and has traveled all over the hemisphere for many years.'' Fontaine said. ``In fact, I saw, I guess it was last week, that his old girlfriend in Brazil has been found from his early days when he was in the Navy and was interviewed. She's a somewhat older woman now than she was then, but it sorta speaks to the long experience he has had in the region -- in the most positive terms.''
Neat! You know, I spent two summers in Peru when I was an undergrad. The third-ranked golfer in Peru at the time spent most of June and July of '89 trying to get into my pants, so this must mean I'm in line for an ambassadorship and a sponsor's exemption at the next LPGA event. I can't wait!
I'm also trying to figure out how the experience of being born in Panama and boning a Brazilian hottie makes a man think that Spain is part of Latin America, but really, who wouldn't get confused in all that muy caliente tropical heat and humidty?
Friday, October 03, 2008
And with all due respect to Governor Palin--which is a very small amount at this point--her beloved Joe Sixpack Hockey Mom living on Main Street USA already has enough on his plate to keep track of. Some people here at work make fun of the mangled syntax and spelling in our office manager's e-mails, but she knows her shit when it comes to keeping on top of the health plan. And our boss has taken on a lot of the burden, constantly looking for the best plan available for the kind of premiums his workers can afford, reimbursing us for half our co-pays, reimbursing our out-of-pocket payments to our deductibles, generally covering the gap between costs and the realities of our paltry bank accounts. You want me to take on the intricacies of that insurance and find comparable coverage on my own? I'd be lucky to wind up with a co-pay that was still in two figures.
It's not something John McCain has ever had to worry about. Even if he didn't have the lifetime government-provided healthcare (as well as it's worked out for him, it's rather disingenuous to hear him and Palin snark about putting the feds in charge of your insurance), his own personal fortune would cover any medical situation he might face. The rest of us? Not so much.
Thursday, October 02, 2008
Factually, she repeated the tax increase on $42,000 earners lie. She repeatedly credited the surge with gains in Iraqi security without mentioning the other two vital factors there--namely, the Iraq Awakening groups accepting US money to stop killing US troops, and al Sadr's cease-fire--and repeated that "surge principles" will succeed in Afghanistan despite the considerably different political and geographical situation there. She repeated the "Barack Obama voted to cut off funding to the troops" bullshit. She deflected questions on healthcare. Actually, she deflected a lot of questions or just declined to answer the question that was asked, preferring to flog taxes and energy, energy, energy maverick energy.
Biden was exactly as even-keeled as he needed to be, calling her on some of the more egregious mistruths as time allowed. I wish he had hit back on the details of the surge, but he defended Obama's tax and healthcare plans adequately. One point on McCain's $5000 healthcare tax credit I wish he had brought up is that regardless of how big any tax credit ends up being, people who have to buy their own coverage will still need to come up with the money up front, either in a lump or monthly, and if we have to cough up five grand even in monthly installments, well, we're not going to have coverage. Because we don't have an extra $417 a month, whether we get it back at tax time or not.
If you're going just on facts and expertise, Biden won. If you're going on not falling on your face when the world expects you to, Palin did worlds better than I ever would have expected, and a tiny win on principle is going to blow up into a blowout in the minds of people not inclined to think much past the familiar memes, talking points, and lies that have become as comfortable for McCainiacs as a favorite sweatshirt.
Both Biden and Palin oppose gay marriage. Both said they fully support equal civil rights for same sex couples, but both know that will never include key things like Social Security benefits or portability of rights until the federal government pulls same-sex couples under the umbrella of marriage. Most troubling to me was Biden's statement that both he and Obama oppose changing the civil definition of marriage because religious faiths define it as a man and a woman. Seriously, Joe? You're signing on to that conflation of civil law with religous dogma? He and Palin looked so pleased and relieved to agree on that one and be quickly scooted along to the next question that I had to tell them both to fuck off, and their running mates too. I'm too goddamn old and tired for this bullshit. Yes, hospital visitation is necessary. No, saying you're for that doesn't even come close to scratching the surface of showing you have the slightest fucking clue.
So after about an hour we pushed our Palin bingo cards aside and turned on the Cubs game for some relief, and the night promptly nosedived the rest of the way into the shitter. It was only 1-0, but the bases were loaded, and within a couple of batters they'd been cleared. Cubs are now down 6-0 after five. Early during the game last night, the TBS guys said that Wrigley was very quiet, almost as if the fans were nervously anticipating disaster. Kinda like we were about ten minutes into the debate tonight once it became apparent that what we thought was going to be a coast to victory was turning out to be something very different after all. At least the Cubs aren't flipping us off on their way down.
Shite. Shite, shite, shite.
"I suspended my campaign, took our ads down, came back to Washington, met with the House folks and got on the phone, and also had face-to-face meetings."
No, you didn't. You said you were suspending your campaign on Thursday night, but you went ahead and gave what amounted to a stump speech to the Clinton Global Initiative on Friday morning, and your ads countinued to run everywhere. You did come back to Washington... 22 hours after you said you would depart immediately. From New York.
"I came back and suspended my campaign and got the House into the negotiations at the table, which they had not been before. We were able to get a large increase in the number of Republicans who voted for it.
Except that it's a Senate bill, and Senate Republicans were not the sticking point in the original bill's failure. That would be the House Republicans, who have yet to take up the new Senate measure. Your coming back to Washington did little but turn what had been a weeklong process, culminating in a done deal, into a political circus blown up by grandstanding House Republicans.
McCain said Obama's approach was to "phone it in" -- in regards to working with congressional leaders.
Sort of like... you did, when you spent most of your time on the phone from your Arlington condo--when not dining with Joe Lieberman, of course--rather than stalking the halls of Congress showing the kind of in-your-face leadership that has led most of the people in your own party to loathe you?
So "I suspended my campaign" means whatever John McCain wants it to mean, even when the reality that translates to is more along the lines of "I said I suspended my campaign, the Couric interview and CGI speech and numerous statements that I was putting Country FirstTM by myself and my surrogates notwithstanding." Just like everything else, repeat it enough times and the American voter will start to repeat it in his sleep. John McCain suspended his campaign! Barack Obama will raise taxes on everyone making $42,000! Sarah Palin said thanks but no thanks!
Always completely 100 percent double-dog truthful, that John McCain. How do I know? Because he says so, that's how.
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
Remember, this is the person John McCain claims probably knows more about energy than anyone else in the United States.
Well, if she knows more than anyone else that must mean she's an intellectual elite, which I suppose would explain the dense, incomprehensible syntax of her fungible oil and coal rambling above, right? Right??? As we speak, Palin is holed up in Cornville, AZ at one of the McCain estates (Cornville? really?), cramming for tomorrow night's debate with the help of Steve Schmidt and Randy Scheunemann. A nation waits, giddy.