Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sunday Reading

A diary on dKos talks about an "unsung moment of the debate" and fair warning: it's a humbling, I've-got-something-in-my-eye moment.

A conservative columnist hopes Palin will bow out gracefully, before it's too late.

And on Bark Obama!, guess who was on the cover of Life in September 2004?

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Chewbacca Defense: McCain's Only Hope

Presumably McCain is right now speeding toward Mississippi (hunched over the wheel, left blinker on since D.C.) for tonight's debate even though no apparent progress has been made on the bailout deal. Which he said would have to be the case in order for him to debate. I don't know, there is so much funny business going on this week, I can't explain it all. Luckily, I found this clip which offers a reasonable defense of McCain-Palin's recent behavior. Thank you Johnny Cochran for making it all clear.

The Foxes' Henhouse Plan

KATIE COURIC: And, Bob, I understand that John McCain actually floated an alternative plan. What can you tell us about that?

BOB ORR: We're told at the White House Senator McCain offered an alternative plan that would include fewer regulations and more corporate tax breaks for businesses, kind of a private solution. But we're also told those ideas angered and surprised Democrats like banking chairman Chris Dodd who now says he thinks the White House summit was more of a political stunt for McCain.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Barney Frank Outdoes Me - Bigtime

Rep. Barney Frank on McCain's debate bail stunt:

"It's the longest Hail Mary pass in the history of either football or Marys."

*ding ding ding*

Hail Mary!

Amidst all the Chicken Little hysteria from our ah, leaders this afternoon - my beloved Senator Lindsey Graham is on TV right now talking about "financial Pearl Harbor".

Jesus Tap Dancing Christ.

Talkin' Freddie Mac Smack

From Newsweek:

When asked about his own campaign manager's associations with the mortgage
giants, McCain, in an interview with CNBC Sunday night, said that Davis "has had
nothing to do" with the Homeownership Alliance since it disbanded and "I'll be
glad to have his record examined by anybody who wants to look at it." (The
Homeownership Alliance was set up and funded by both Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae to promote the goal of home ownership and counter efforts to impose tighter
regulations on the two federally sponsored entities.)

Turns out, someone(s) did want to look at the record. What they found out:

...Davis's lobbying firm, Davis Manafort, based in Washington, D.C., continued
to receive $15,000 a month from Freddie Mac until last month—long after the
Homeownership Alliance had been terminated.

So in a nutshell, we are back to branding McCain and Davis liars, liars, pantses on fire. Not that we ever stopped.

Also from Newsweek:

Two law enforcement officials said Tuesday the FBI is looking at potential fraud
by mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and insurer American
International Group Inc. Additionally, a senior law enforcement official said
Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. also is under investigation.

Soooo, the FBI is checking to see if anything funky might have been going on with these corporations. Ya think? Considering the feds have known that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been cooking their books for years, I wonder what the sudden urgency is? Maybe it's that embarrassing chafing lawmakers are feeling at the idea of giving a trillion dollar blank check to Hank Paulson to bail out these mortgage crooks while their constituents facing foreclosure continue to be kicked to the curb.

Monday, September 22, 2008

No Blank Check to Bail Out Wall Street!

Call me fiscally conservative, but I just don't like the idea of giving $700 billion in taxpayer money to the Secretary of the Treasury with zero accountability. I have contacted my Senators to let them know how I feel and to encourage them not to approve this proposal. I got this sample letter from JRandomPoster on DKos:

September 22, 2008

Dear Senators Lindsey Graham and Jim DeMint:

I am writing in very deep concern over the Wall Street Bailout Act, currently entitled as "LEGISLATIVE PROPOSAL FOR TREASURY AUTHORITY TO PURCHASE MORTGAGE-RELATED ASSETS".

This is, to say the least, a deeply troubling bill. Specifically:

1. There is little to no oversight. Furthermore, section 8 ensures that any oversight is crippled from the start, as it states, and I quote from the text of the act: "Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency."

2. The floating amount controlled by the Secretary of the Treasury is $700B is effectively a blank check as there is no hard limit.

3. It appears that the power of the Secretary extends to no-bid contracts.

4. It provides no restoration of the provisions of the Glass-Steagall Act, modernized or otherwise, that were stripped away by the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. It does absolutely nothing to change the fundamental problems that led us to this situation.

I strongly urge you to vote against this bill. I know that we need to prevent the complete disintegration of our economy, but this is not the solution. This is a blank check to the executive; it is the abdication of the financial powers granted to the legislative branch in Article 1, Section 8 of the constitution.



SC Residents: Find your US Representative here and contact their office too.

Everybody Else: Find your Congressmen here.

UPDATE: Apparently Senator DeMint got my letter and agreed with me (heh):

“After reviewing the administration's proposed bailout plan, I believe it is completely unacceptable,” DeMint, chairman of the Senate Republican Steering Committee, said in the statement. “This plan does nothing to address the misguided government policies that created this mess and it could make matters much worse by socializing an entire sector of the U.S. economy.”

“This plan fails to oversee or regulate the government failures that led to this crisis,” DeMint added.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

What Say You Alaskans - Recall Palin?

In browsing the Constitution of the State of Alaska (why - what do you do on weekends?), I noticed they have provisions for a recall of the governor and other elected officials:

Sec. 15.45.510. Grounds for recall.

The grounds for recall are (1) lack of fitness, (2) incompetence, (3) neglect of duties, or (4) corruption.

I'm not a resident of Alaska but if I was, surely I'd be wondering if at least #3 and #4 weren't applicable to Governor Palin.

Neglect of duties:

Gov. Sarah Palin has surrendered important gubernatorial duties to the Republican presidential campaign. McCain staff are handling public and press questions about actions she has taken as governor. The governor who said, "Hold me accountable," is hiding behind the hired guns of the McCain campaign to avoid accountability.


[The Troopergate] investigation isn't just examining potential abuse of power by the governor, but also others in her administration...
Palin is facing another ethics complaint, filed by a former state employee and political activist alleging her office used improper influence to award a state job.

Since Palin's husband and aides refused to comply with subpoenas issued in the Troopergate investigation (I wonder where they learned that?), will Alaskans stand by and accept this We're-above-the-law behavior or will they demand fair and equal legal treatment for all Alaskans by holding the Palin administration accountable?

Sec. 15.45.510

Friday, September 19, 2008

Charlotte Rally 9-21-08

Just got this in my inbox.  Cos you know, Barack and I are e-mail friendees:

This Sunday, September 21st, please join Barack Obama in Charlotte, where he will talk about his vision for creating the kind of change we need. 

Change We Need Rally
with Barack Obama 

Downtown Charlotte
4th Street between S. Davidson Street and S. McDowell
Charlotte, NC 

Sunday, September 21st
Doors Open: 11:00 a.m.
Program Begins: 1:00 p.m. 

The event is free and open to the public. Tickets are not required; however an RSVP is strongly encouraged. 

For security reasons, do not bring bags. Please limit personal items. No signs or banners allowed.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Stuff to Read

Speculation on why, when Sarah Palin was mayor of Wasilla, the city billed victims for their own rape kits:

The rape kits that Sarah Palin had a direct role in forcing women to pay for
contained emergency contraception.


Who ever knew that politics in Alaska was so interesting?


And - thank goodness - a Layman's Explanation of AIG vs Bear vs Lehmann

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I Had Not Heard That

This Bush Classic is 6 months old now and I can't imagine why it's stuck on endless replay in my head these days...

Our pump price jumped a dollar (more in some places) overnight last week before Hurricane Ike hit. Funny thing but my boss is not hiking the amount of my paycheck so how am I supposed to compensate? I'm still waiting to be trickled on here in SC. I hope those top 1% of American income earners haven't forgotten about me!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Obama's Statement on Today's Financial News

From Barack Obama's campaign blog:

This morning we woke up to some very serious and troubling news from Wall Street.

The situation with Lehman Brothers and other financial institutions is the latest in a wave of crises that are generating enormous uncertainty about the future of our financial markets. This turmoil is a major threat to our economy and its ability to create good-paying jobs and help working Americans pay their bills, save for their future, and make their mortgage payments.

The challenges facing our financial system today are more evidence that too many folks in Washington and on Wall Street weren’t minding the store. Eight years of policies that have shredded consumer protections, loosened oversight and regulation, and encouraged outsized bonuses to CEOs while ignoring middle-class Americans have brought us to the most serious financial crisis since the Great Depression.

I certainly don’t fault Senator McCain for these problems, but I do fault the economic philosophy he subscribes to. It’s a philosophy we’ve had for the last eight years – one that says we should give more and more to those with the most and hope that prosperity trickles down to everyone else. It’s a philosophy that says even common-sense regulations are unnecessary and unwise, and one that says we should just stick our heads in the sand and ignore economic problems until they spiral into crises.

Well now, instead of prosperity trickling down, the pain has trickled up – from the struggles of hardworking Americans on Main Street to the largest firms of Wall Street.

This country can’t afford another four years of this failed philosophy. For years, I have consistently called for modernizing the rules of the road to suit a 21st century market – rules that would protect American investors and consumers. And I’ve called for policies that grow our economy and our middle-class together. That is the change I am calling for in this campaign, and that is the change I will bring as President.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Gotta (Still) Love Dick Cavett

Dick Cavett's blog yesterday about Sarah Palin is an enjoyable snarky gem. My favorite bit is Cavett discussing Palin's convention speech:

Watching a woman, slight of build and full of pizazz so thoroughly bedazzle a vast audience is entertaining. Something chimed in my memory when she brought that crowd to its feet with frantic and worshipful cheering.

Ah, yes. I had seen it all before.

It was Judy Garland at The Palace.

And yet no one offered her the vice-presidency. (Fact-checker: Am I right on this?)

Can I just say again: I love that.

Today I'm Blogging at Bark Obama

My posts are here and here.

And there are a number of really great bloggers there so check it out:

Friday, September 12, 2008

AP Puts Pig on Lipstick

Charles Babington analyzes the careening-out-of-control-like-a-covered-wagon-with-a-missing-wheel McCain-Palin campaign claims:

Politicians usually modify or drop claims when a string of newspaper and TV
news accounts concludes they are untrue or greatly exaggerated.


But McCain and his running mate Palin, the Alaska governor, were defiant this
week in the face of similar reports.

Read the details here.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

McCain-Palin and Troopergate: A Question of Judgment

Sarah Palin was warned to stop trying to get an Alaska State Trooper (who happened to be divorcing her sister) fired as early as 2005. The judge in the divorce proceedings stated that Palin's family's effort to get the Trooper fired "has overridden good judgment".

And she was warned as recently as this summer by an ethics advisor who recommended Palin and her husband apologize for their roles in "Troopergate". The advisor described the situation as "grave" and "told Gov. Palin that she probably couldn't legally shun a legislative investigation".

Although Palin had initially promised full cooperation from her administration during the investigation, she has since flip-flopped, hiring a private attorney (paid for by Alaskan taxpayers) and several of her aides have refused to meet with the investigator. Her attorney wants the state's Palin-appointed, 3 member personnel board to conduct the investigation, not the state legislature.

What kind of judgment does Sarah Palin exercise in official government matters? Does she make her own rules and use her political power to force others to play by those rules? Is this someone we want a 72 year old heartbeat away from running the country? Haven't we already suffered enough these 8 long years under an administration run by President La-La-La-I-Can't-Hear-You?

And what kind of judgment do we credit McCain with for choosing a running mate under investigation for abuse of power in her home state? Word is, he preferred Lieberman as a Veep but caved to political pressure to choose a woman. Will he abandon his own judgment so easily when talking to Iran or Russia? Can he not make up his own mind based on what he thinks is best for the country without considering what's best for an election? O and the woman he ended up choosing - this was the best qualified female candidate in his judgment? Seriously?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

McCain-Palin Ad Forces TRUTH to Jump Off Bridge to Nowhere

A new McCain-Palin ad reiterates the claim that Palin stopped the scandalous Bridge to Nowhere. As has been documented, over and over, that just ain't so. Today the Wall Street Journal adds their voice to the fact-checkers, stating that Palin:

...endorsed the multimillion dollar project during her gubernatorial race in
2006. And while she did take part in stopping the project after it became a
national scandal, she did not return the federal money. She just allocated it

Read the full WSJ article here.

Maybe Palin should change her rhetoric about the bridge to: That Bridge to Nowhere? I told Congress, 'Yes thanks! And if it becomes politically expedient for me to reverse my position later, I'll keep all the money too!'

RIP McCain-Palin campaign TRUTH. We hardly knew ye.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Sunday Palin Reading

Jessica Reaves at the Chicago Tribune offers her thoughts on what qualifications pushed Palin over the top when it came time for McCain to choose a running mate:

Because Palin's a woman. And because Rove, currently serving as an "informal adviser" to McCain's campaign, once read a book about women that convinced him the only thing women love more than a good white sale is casting a vote for another woman. (OK, I just made that up. I have no idea whether Karl Rove has ever read a book).

Good news (?): Palin was not a book-banner when serving as an Alaskan mayor, although she did have fantasies about protesters "circling the library in protest about a book". When the local librarian was asked by Palin if she'd be willing to censor certain books, the librarian essentially replied with a Wha-choo-talkin-bout-Willis? to which Palin reacted by sending her a Donald Trump You're-fired! letter. The librarian ultimately kept her job amidst strong community support and Palin had to back down.

Five Thirty Eight has a good piece on Palin, our reaction to her, and how she's taking us off message:

Get the outrage flowing. Get the opponent not thinking about the game, get them thinking about your shenanigans. And what happens? The “victimized” team loses its composure, hitting back. The guy who hits second is always the guy who goes to the penalty box.

Watching Sarah Palin this week, and the reaction to her by both sides, and all the talk of hockey mommery, I realized that this is who she is. She skates into the corner, throws up an elbow, and the Democrats cry: “Foul!” Hey! She said Obama has never passed a major bill – this is an objective lie! Hey! She ridiculed community organizing the day after Service was the theme! Technically people should punish her by not voting for her over this infraction!

It’s whining, and whiners hit back second and go to the penalty box on top of it.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Turns Out, Palin WAS Thoroughly Vetted After All

In 2006. By the Dems. When Palin was running for Governor.

This 63 page pdf of Palin's 2006 vetting by Democrats has a table of contents on pages 2 and 3 which includes such tantalizing gems as:

The Gender Card
Used Public Funds for Political Gain
Can't Handle Criticism
Vindictive, Firing

God but I can't wait until the movie comes out! Here's a bit I hope makes it into the trailer:

Two weeks after becoming mayor, Palin instituted a gag order on talking to the media for the city’s top employees. Palin denied it was a gag order saying “The department heads appreciated not having to talk to the media.”

Read the entire awfulness here. Thank you Mudflats.

McCain Campaign Says Palin Not Ready do press interviews. They are keeping Palin muzzled for the next two weeks while they teach her about politics and Presidential campaigns and that desert place in the Middle East she's shipping her son off to. Sooo McCain-Palin wants our vote because - if necessary - Palin is ready to lead on day one. Buuuut, as far as facing Larry King softballs, that'll take a couple of weeks.

Friday, September 5, 2008

McCain: The Grapes of Math

In his acceptance speech last night, when McCain mentioned a couple who "lost their real estate investments in the bad housing market" - I was so moved. I mean, there's something all of us can relate to - people with real estate investmentS. Who says McCain is out of touch?

Give us that change we so desperately need John McCain - give us back our real estate investments.

I can't wait til McCain gets to the White House. When he does, Ima get me a buncha grapes offa a bush or sumpin' and squash 'em all over my face. Ima have so many chicken fried steaks, heck - Ima put chicken fried steaks on my head. Ima get me so many houses, I won't even knowed how many iffen you ask...

Palin: Respect My Family's Privacy and I Won't Respect Yours

I know I'm not supposed to talk about it, because it's a "private family matter", but I'm just going to say this: Bristol Palin got to choose. Sarah Palin wants us to elect her and John McCain so they can take away every other woman's right to choose. Apparently they didn't get their own memo that pregnancy is a private family matter and has nothing to do with politics. Sarah Palin wants us to respect her family's privacy. She also wants our vote so she and McCain can show our families no respect by shoehorning their government into our own private family decisions regarding pregnancy.

Check out:

Gloria Steinem on Palin in the L.A. Times

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Palin: Women's Rights and Woman Wrong

Republicans like all the attention Sarah Palin is receiving as their party's first woman on the Presidential ticket. They also seem fond of failing to mention that McCain/Palin would be a disaster for women's rights in this country. They would work to overturn Roe v. Wade and eliminate a woman's right to choose. They say they want less government - ha! - keep your government out of my reproductive organs, thank you very much.

McCain/Palin does not support equal pay for equal work for women, except as a sound bite. Hullo! It's 2008: Do you know what century you grounded your gender bias in?

McCain/Palin does not support education in schools (except abstinence) to prevent unplanned teen pregnancies. Abstinence-only "education" results in pregnant teenage girls.

The National Organization for Women stands up to the Palin hype:

What McCain does not understand is that women supported Hillary Clinton not
just because she was a woman, but because she was a champion on their
issues. They will surely not find Sarah Palin to be an advocate for

Look, I don't care if Palin hunts or is a hockey Mom or if her teenage daughter is pregnant. Really I don't. I do care that she works against things I believe in and want from our government. Important things - to me as a woman, as a human, and an American voter.

Real Pitbulls Don't Wear Lipstick

I'm just sayin'.

Sarah Palin's speech to the RNC last night needs a leetle fact-checking. In it, she claimed she said 'No thanks' to the Bridge to Nowhere. Eh, not so much. She said Obama would raise taxes on Americans. Yeah - those Americans who make a quarter of a million per year or more - the same ones who've been getting tax cuts during the Bush years (cuts which McCain wants to make permanent). Most of us would see lower taxes under Obama's plan.

Palin claimed she stands up to big oil. Right. That's why the crowd was chanting "Drill baby, drill". Palin wants to drill baby, drill in ANWR. Palin claimed she says No to federal earmarks. She neglected to mention her annual trips to Washington D.C. to get all the pork she could carry back to Alaska.

For me, the most outrageous line in the speech was actually accurate. Palin cited a continuing threat from Al-Qaeda and said Obama is worried they won't be read their rights. Um, yeah - me too. If we are to uphold habeas corpus and other bits from that United States Constitution thingy that George W. Bush has deemed irrelevant, we need to read even the most heinous of prisoners their rights. If we are to uphold the traditions of compassion, humanity and fairness that the majority of Americans believe in, we need to interrogate prisoners without torturing them. If we are to have any hope for the future of this great country, we need to abandon the evils perpetrated by the Bush administration and one of his strongest supporters - John McCain, and come back into the light.

Governor, I know some Pitbulls. They are honest, loyal and loving. Pitbulls are friends of mine. Governor, you're no Pitbull.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Governor Palin's Alleged Abuse of Power

Will the results of the Palin "Troopergate" investigation be released on time? - September 2, 2008:

The Alaska state senator running an investigation of Gov. Palin says the McCain campaign is using stall tactics to prevent him from releasing his final report by Oct. 31, four days before the November election.

Full article here.

A little history:

Aide to Governor Palin placed on paid leave until investigation is complete - August 19, 2008

Caught on Tape - Gov. Palin does an about face on "Troopergate" claims - August 13, 2008

Sarah Palin has a history of taking action against trooper - July 23, 2008:

The head of the Public Safety Employees Association says in regards to Palin's complaints against the trooper, "I made the case that I thought they were groundless, that the department was involving itself in a personal matter. She [the head of the state troopers] asked me if I wanted to call Sarah Palin a liar publicly and I said sure, I'll have a press conference; I don't mind telling people what I believe to be true." [brackets=mine]

Trig Palin Conspiracy Theories

The rumor that's been burning up the blogs these past several days is that the teenage daughter of Sarah Palin (Bristol) is actually the mother of the youngest Palin son (Trig). I have no idea if these rumors are true but the evidence - if accurate - is intriguing and I love a good mystery. To combat these rumors, the Palin family and McCain aides announced during Hurricane Gustav that Bristol is "about 5 months pregnant". Since Trig is 4 months old, that excludes her from being Trig's mother. Unless there is a lack of truthiness going on somewhere around here. I don't know, but I'd like to find out.

Some of the blogs positing the 'Bristol is Trig's mother' theory have disappeared but here is one with a number of links (which will hopefully stay live) so you can look into it for yourself if interested.

More: The NY Daily News on Bristol's pregnancy and the father of her child, Levi Johnston:

Mark Okeson, the assistant principal at Wasilla High School, told the Chicago Tribune that Bristol started her junior year last fall, in the town where Sarah Palin grew up.

He said Bristol inexplicably transferred to an Anchorage high school midyear, leaving Levi behind.

"I never heard the story why," he said.

If Sarah Palin released her medical records, that would go a long way toward putting the Bristol rumors to rest. If the public saw on Sarah's medical records, certified by her OB/GYN, that she was seen regularly for pre-natal visits during the pregnancy with Trig and post-natal care after the delivery, I think it would answer questions in some people's minds. Maybe she is going to release her medical records eventually anyway, like McCain did, I don't know. But if she truly wants to quell the prying into Bristol's private life, releasing the records now might be helpful.

In a related story, there is some question on whether Sarah Palin was pregnant when she eloped in 1988.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Sarah Palin Articles

A buncha links to stories worth reading about Sarah Palin:

"Troopergate" - Andrew Halco on Palin's abuse of power

Anchorage Daily News:

Palin has a history of firing people who choose to support her political opponent

McCain's shabby "vetting" of Palin

State of Alaska paying for Palin's attorney in Troopergate, attorney wants a Palin-appointed 3 member board to have jurisdiction over case

Washington Post:

Palin's support of abstinence only school programs in light of her teen daughter's pregnancy

Palin is against federal earmarks - except when they benefit her town

New York Times:

Palin opposed 'Bridge to Nowhere', after she supported it