Through The Static

September 14, 2008

Palin, ahem, I mean Fey appears on SNL

Filed under: Elections,Politics — ausaydong @ 12:58 pm

Tina Fey did an impeccable job imitating Gov. Sarah Palin, air rifle and all. This was seriously too funny. Watch this now on SNL.

And while we’re talking about Palin, read this great political profile from the NYT:

Ms. Palin walks the national stage as a small-town foe of “good old boy” politics and a champion of ethics reform. The charismatic 44-year-old governor draws enthusiastic audiences and high approval ratings. And as the Republican vice-presidential nominee, she points to her management experience while deriding her Democratic rivals, Senators Barack Obama and Joseph R. Biden Jr., as speechmakers who never have run anything.

But an examination of her swift rise and record as mayor of Wasilla and then governor finds that her visceral style and penchant for attacking critics — she sometimes calls local opponents “haters” — contrasts with her carefully crafted public image.

Throughout her political career, she has pursued vendettas, fired officials who crossed her and sometimes blurred the line between government and personal grievance, according to a review of public records and interviews with 60 Republican and Democratic legislators and local officials.

September 11, 2008

Death notice: “In lieu of flowers, please vote Democratic”

Filed under: Culture,Elections,Humor,Media,Politics,WTF — ausaydong @ 3:08 pm

I need to think of a clever line in my obituary like this.

I started hanging out with Ken Swanborn when we were both living on Maryland Avenue in Dolton and attending St. Jude the Apostle in South Holland. We played on the same football and baseball teams, we shared a passion for the White Sox, and we loved watching late-night TV and listening to George Carlin, Bill Cosby, Cheech & Chong.

As a comic, Swanny didn’t reach the heights, but he always kept working. He was damn funny.

We lost him last week, without warning. Dozens of his friends raised a glass to him at Bogart’s in Homewood on Sunday night while cheering the Bears and remembering the many, many laughs over the years.

Just behind Ken’s love for his wife and his family and his comedy was his passion for politics. It wasn’t surprising that his notice in the Sun-Times ended with “In lieu of flowers, vote Democrat.”

Read why the Chicago Tribune didn’t run that line.

“Well, it was not intentional, but we do have protocols and we do have rules we have to follow.”

“We have guidelines.”

August 29, 2008

Another Take on McCain

Filed under: Elections,Politics — disciplepete @ 9:21 am

I just posted an article from Alternet about what McCain’s presidency might be like, here’s another article on the same topic from The Economist. It gives a different take…I’m like Fox News, fair and balanced.

When anything happens to remind Americans that the world is a dangerous place, Mr McCain’s stock rises. The murder of Benazir Bhutto in December probably helped him win the New Hampshire primary less than two weeks later. Russia’s recent invasion of Georgia made him look prescient. (Mr Bush once gushed that he looked into Vladimir Putin’s eyes and saw his soul; Mr McCain quipped that he looked into his eyes and saw “a ‘K’, a ‘G’ and a ‘B’.”)

But will foreign policy always be a strength? Deliberately misconstruing a McCain comment, Democrats have suggested that he wants to occupy Iraq for 100 years. In fact, the gulf between the two candidates on Iraq has narrowed since the end of the Democratic primaries. Mr McCain wants to make Iraq stable and then pull out. Mr Obama wants to pull out as soon as possible, provided that Iraq is stable. How far apart these positions really are depends on how differently you think each candidate would react to developments on the ground. Mr Obama would doubtless withdraw more American troops more quickly, but perhaps not much more quickly.

A more fertile area of attack for the Democrats might well be Mr McCain’s general bellicosity. Back in 2000, his keenness to stamp American democracy on the world made him the neoconservative pick ahead of the milder Mr Bush. Mr McCain, whose political hero is the warlike Teddy Roosevelt, would certainly be readier to bomb Iran than Mr Obama would. And although he has a much better record of getting on with allies than Mr Bush, his scheme for a League of Democracies has plenty of pitfalls.

On economics, Mr McCain’s record has been pretty sensible. He has favoured free trade, low taxes, light regulation and fiscal responsibility. He has consistently opposed wasteful pork-barrel spending while Mr Obama has indulged in it. Two problems, however, have emerged on the campaign trail.

First, he has lost some of his reputation for fiscal straight-talking. The man who condemned Mr Bush’s tax cuts as irresponsible now proposes irresponsibly to expand them. On the stump, he sometimes spouts populist piffle, suggesting for example that oil prices might be reduced by cracking down on speculators. (Mr Obama is guilty of this, too.) And sometimes he says things that make no sense at all, such as when he maintains that a cap-and-trade system for curbing carbon emissions would impose no costs on the American economy.

Second, when it comes to the details of economic policy, Mr McCain often seems out of his depth in ankle-deep water. Asked in July if he supported treasury secretary Hank Paulson’s plan to offer a line of credit to shore up Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the ailing government-backed mortgage giants, he said: “I do.” Asked to flesh out his answer, he said: “I support it.”

Given Mr McCain’s weakness in this area, his choice of economic advisers matters a lot. His chief economics guru, Doug Holtz-Eakin, a former head of the Congressional Budget Office, is widely respected. But two other advisers, Carly Fiorina and Meg Whitman, are businesspeople rather than economists…

…Another part of Mr McCain’s appeal is his record as a maverick. His opponent has never bucked his own party’s orthodoxy on anything important. Mr McCain often has. He pressed for action against global warming when many of his Republican colleagues were still dismissing it as a hoax. He joined hands with a Democrat to enact a campaign-finance reform many conservatives reviled. With Ted Kennedy, he sponsored a bill that would have granted illegal immigrants a path to citizenship, had congressional Republicans not howled it down…

…On social issues Mr McCain takes conservative positions, but without obvious gusto. He opposes gay marriage, but half-heartedly. He says he wants to ban abortion, but once let slip that, if his daughter wanted one, he would leave the choice to her. Such moderation, though appealing to swing voters, is anathema to those who equate abortion with murder. But social conservatives have nowhere else to turn. They might stay at home on polling day, but they are unlikely to vote for Mr Obama, who has a 100% rating from NARAL Pro-Choice America, an abortion-rights group.

What a McCain Victory Could Mean: No Money for Health Care and the End of Our Volunteer Army

Filed under: Eeeeep!,Elections,Politics — disciplepete @ 9:06 am

Alternet:

In judging the shape of a future John McCain presidency, there are already plenty of dots that are easy to connect. They reveal an image of a war-like Empire so full of hubris that it could take the world into a cascade of crises, while extinguishing what is left of the noble American Republic.

McCain has made clear he would continue and even escalate George W. Bush’s open-ended global war on Islamic radicals. McCain buys into the neoconservative vision of expending U.S. treasure and troops to kill as many Muslim militants as possible…

…McCain’s global war strategy is as hawkish, if not more so, than Bush’s. In late 2001 and early 2002, McCain took the lead in pushing the neocon plan of a rapid pivot from the invasion of Afghanistan toward the prospective invasion of Iraq…

…the Bush-McCain-neocon neglect of Afghanistan has contributed to worsening instability in nuclear-armed Pakistan, where the Taliban and al-Qaeda are expanding safe havens and increasing influence…

Another casualty of McCain’s endless Middle East wars, which soon could include Iran, would almost surely be America’s volunteer army. Though McCain officially opposes a restoration of the draft, it is nearly impossible to envision how his multiple wars could be waged without one.

And McCain also had made clear that he favors a neo-Cold War confrontation with Moscow over another part of the neocon agenda — the encircling of Russia with pro-U.S. regimes and the placement of strategic missile systems near Russia’s borders…

From the perspective of U.S. taxpayers, the neocon strategy of permanent global dominance means funding the military-industrial complex at levels never before seen, especially when one factors in the simultaneous costs of the “war on terror,” the Iraq War, the Afghan War and a possible Iran War.

The combined price tag for McCain’s military adventures, at a time when the federal government is already running about half a trillion dollars in debt, would mean that virtually every other national priority would have to be short-changed or neglected.

There will be little money left to address the energy crisis, global warming, retooling the auto industry, health care, Social Security, education, infrastructure repairs, etc., etc.

 

August 21, 2008

For America’s Scholars Of Race, An Obama Dilemma

Filed under: Elections,Politics,Race — disciplepete @ 9:34 pm

This article from Black Agenda Report talks about the effect on race relations an Obama victory in November would have. The article reports the viewpoints of American race scholars on the issue. I really dug it cuz I’m a big fan of Derrick Bell, whom they quote, also they got input from Joe Feagin and David Roediger whom I also like. I was pretty surprised though by what some of em had to say. Anyways, I’ll quote the article and then I’ll throw my 2 cents in…

For scholars of race, Barack Obama presents a new American dilemma. On the one hand, his election as president would be a breathtaking symbol of racial progress. On the other, an Obama victory could prove illusory, doing little to dismantle racism while crippling their ability to call attention to it…

…”At this point, any conflict I might have is more than eased by the knowledge that Barack Obama, if elected, could be the salvation of a country in free flight failure,” Derrick Bell, a professor of law at New York University, who taught Obama when he was a student at Harvard Law School, replied via e-mail.

Pete’s note: Derrick Bell, in an awesome book he wrote called Faces at the Bottom of the Well (you must read it…extremely creative) argued that racism is a permanent feature of American life. So yeah, I guess I’m a bit surprised that he seems optimistic about Barack. Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised, I mean he’s not saying that racism will be over or anything.

Anyways, back to quoting..oh wait, the article mentions what I just said about Bell’s view of racism..ahh well, I’m keeping what I wrote! Ok:

In books like Faces at the Bottom of the Well: The Permanence of Racism, Bell, who is black, offers a bleak view of the possibility of racial progress in America, a view much at odds with the hopeful promise of Obama.

“If he sounded as I might wish him to sound, he could not be elected,” Bell wrote in his e-mail. “And he may not be elected even as his intellect and savvy puts him worlds ahead of his Republican counterpart. And that is all I wish to say on the matter.”

Another renowned pessimist — University of Pennsylvania political scientist Adolph Reed Jr. — did not respond to an interview request.

But in a blistering recent post on blackagendareport.com, Reed, who is black, argued that while Obama might be better than John McCain in the short run, in the long run he might be worse. This, Reed reasoned, is because, having co-opted so much of the left, Obama may move the boundary of acceptable discourse on race and class well to the right.

“I’m not arguing that it’s wrong to vote for Obama, though I do say it’s wrong-headed to vote for him with any lofty expectations,” wrote Reed, indicating his intention “to abstain from this charade.”

David Roediger, a race historian at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, evinced a particle more enthusiasm for Obama’s candidacy. “I feel this sometimes has something to do with something I care about and, as things go in U.S. politics, it’s not the worst thing to happen,” said Roediger, who is white.

But, as he notes in the conclusion of his book – How Race Survived U.S. History: From Settlement and Slavery to the Obama Phenomenon, due out this fall – “Obama does not represent the triumph of an advancing anti-racist movement but rather the necessity, at the highly refracted level of electoral politics, of abandoning old agendas, largely by not mentioning them.”

Hey, they quote a scholar from UCSB!!….

And [Howard] Winant, a leading race scholar of the left and director of the Center for New Racial Studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara, called this “a very promising moment.”

“It’s hard,” he said, “to give up that thrilled sense of possibility, that thrilled sense that something really big might be changing in this area, which is so long overdue.”

There’s more stuff in the article, check out the link if you wanna read it.

I’ve thought about this question a bit, and right now I think an Obama presidency would be a positive thing for race relations. Certainly not a revolution, but when you know the history of this country, I can’t help but see a Black president as a significant thing. But like I read someone else saying in the blogosphere, Barack Obama in the White House isn’t gonna stop a single dude in the ghetto from selling crack. I think that’s a good way to put it: it’s just business as usual with a Black face. And to me, that’s some type of progress, although far less than I think is possible.

Anyone out there reading, I’d love to hear what you think…

McCain unsure how many houses he owns

Filed under: Elections,Politics — disciplepete @ 11:29 am

Don’t be too hard on the guy…I mean, do you think YOU could recall how many houses you own off the top of your head? Politico:

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said in an interview Wednesday that he was uncertain how many houses he and his wife, Cindy, own. 

“I think — I’ll have my staff get to you,” McCain told Politico in Las Cruces, N.M. “It’s condominiums where — I’ll have them get to you.”

The correct answer is at least four, located in Arizona, California and Virginia, according to his staff. Newsweek estimated this summer that the couple owns at least seven properties. 

In recent weeks, Democrats have stepped up their effort to caricature McCain as living an outlandishly rich lifestyle — a bit of payback to the GOP for portraying Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) as an elitist, and for turning the spotlight in 2004 on the five homes owned by Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) and his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry. 

July 20, 2008

Nepal holds presidential run-off

Filed under: Eeeeep!,Elections,Government,Politics,World News — disciplepete @ 11:38 pm

Al Jazeera:

Nepal’s governing assembly has begun voting in a run-off to elect the country’s first president.

The selection of the first head of state since the abolition of a 240-year-old Hindu monarchy could bring the ruling Maoist politicians a step closer to forming a coalition government.

Political parties have squabbled for weeks over who should get the largely ceremonial post…

The country has been stuck in political limbo since the assembly sacked King Gyanendra and abolished the monarchy in a meeting on May 28.

July 5, 2008

Cynthia McKinney Deserves Your Support, Obama Does Not

Filed under: Elections,Gargoyles,Government,Politics — disciplepete @ 12:47 pm

Article from Black Agenda Report about…well, look at the title.

Obama’s modus operandi is consistent and, especially after his recent flurry of policy reversals, transparent to all who care to observe him dispassionately. He is a word-hustler, a slickster, a politician/actor who has always been eager to serve the global aims of the very rich. That’s why, back in the summer of 2003, while a candidate for the Illinois Democratic U.S. senatorial nomination, he had to be pressured (by Bruce Dixon and me) to have his name removed from the corporatist Democratic Leadership Council membership list. And that’s why, five years later, he stripped off his anti-NAFTA clothing to announce on CNBC, the businessman’s cable source: “Look. I am a pro-growth, free-market guy. I love the market.”…

But there is an unwavering progressive in the race. “The  practical effect of NAFTA is that it is an anti-union policy,” says Green candidate Cynthia McKinney. “Why US unions would support a political party [the Democrats] that has decisively contributed to their own demise, is beyond me.  I support the international right to unionize.  My legislation, the Corporate Responsibility Act and the TRUTH Act sought to compel US corporations operating abroad to abide by U.S. labor, environmental standards, thereby lifting up workers in other parts of the world, not exploiting them.  The Reconstruction Movement Draft Manifesto also calls for repeal of Taft Hartley, to strengthen workers’ rights in this country.”…

Cynthia McKinney offers real change – peace for a change.

“The United States should and must engage the world, but not in empire, not in military,” said McKinney, who was first elected to the U.S. Congress from a suburban Atlanta district in 1992. “Ninety percent of the US security budget is dedicated to some military engagement with the world.  The United States should stop arming factions, supporting factions, new elections should be held [in Iraq] with international advisors, and the “coalition of the willing” should work with the United Nations to disarm and restore to the extent possible the Iraqi civil sector.  The Reconstruction Draft Manifesto calls for an end to US militarism and the establishment of a Department of Peace by restructuring the US State Department.”

Memo to Obama: Moving to the Middle Is for Losers

Filed under: Drinking,Elections,Government,Politics — disciplepete @ 12:38 pm

Our boy Barack seems to be maneuvering to the center lately. In this article, Arianna Huffington argues that it’s a losing strategy. 

…the Obama campaign is making a very serious mistake. Tacking to the center is a losing strategy. And don’t let the latest head-to-head poll numbers lull you the way they lulled Hillary Clinton in December.

Running to the middle in an attempt to attract undecided swing voters didn’t work for Al Gore in 2000. It didn’t work for John Kerry in 2004. And it didn’t work when Mark Penn (obsessed with his “microtrends” and missing the megatrend) convinced Hillary Clinton to do it in 2008.

Fixating on — and pandering to — this fickle crowd is all about messaging tailored to avoid offending rather than to inspire and galvanize. And isn’t galvanizing the electorate to demand fundamental change the raison d’etre of the Obama campaign in the first place?…

The Obama brand has always been about inspiration, a new kind of politics, the audacity of hope, and “change we can believe in.” I like that brand. More importantly, voters — especially unlikely voters — like that brand.

Pulling it off the shelf and replacing it with a political product geared to pleasing America’s vacillating swing voters — the ones who will be most susceptible to the fear-mongering avalanche that has already begun — would be a fatal blunder.

June 23, 2008

Some Muslim Americans Feel Shunned by Obama

Filed under: Elections,Politics,Race — ausaydong @ 3:05 pm

Interesting take on Obama and the Muslim community. The NYT writes about how Obama’s campaign attempt to distance itself from Muslim Americans may have backfired:

When Mr. Obama began his presidential campaign, Muslim Americans from California to Virginia responded with enthusiasm, seeing him as a long-awaited champion of civil liberties, religious tolerance and diplomacy in foreign affairs. But more than a year later, many say, he has not returned their embrace.

While the senator has visited churches and synagogues, he has yet to appear at a single mosque. Muslim and Arab-American organizations have tried repeatedly to arrange meetings with Mr. Obama, but officials with those organizations say their invitations — unlike those of their Jewish and Christian counterparts — have been ignored. Last week, two Muslim women wearing head scarves were barred by campaign volunteers from appearing behind Mr. Obama at a rally in Detroit.

In interviews, Muslim political and civic leaders said they understood that their support for Mr. Obama could be a problem for him at a time when some Americans are deeply suspicious of Muslims. Yet those leaders nonetheless expressed disappointment and even anger at the distance that Mr. Obama has kept from them.

“This is the ‘hope campaign,’ this is the ‘change campaign,’ ” said Mr. Ellison, Democrat of Minnesota. Muslims are frustrated, he added, that “they have not been fully engaged in it.”

Aides to Mr. Obama denied that he had kept his Muslim supporters at arm’s length. 

Ever notice how aides are frequently blamed for mishaps? Is this a good political technique? Do you accept that as a viable excuse for mistakes?

Mr. Ellison, a first-term congressman, remains arguably the senator’s most important Muslim supporter. He has attended Obama rallies in Minnesota and appears on the Obama campaign’s Web site. But Mr. Ellison said he was also forced to cancel plans to campaign for Mr. Obama in North Carolina after an emissary for the senator told him the state was “too conservative.” Mr. Ellison said he blamed Mr. Obama’s aides — not the candidate himself — for his campaign’s standoffishness.

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