Sunday, September 07, 2008


Today is my little brother's 25th birthday. Hip hip, hooray! Post a birthday wish here (if you have one) or leave him a note on Facebook. Happy Birthday, Buddy!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Did I miss something?

Here are my questions/comments from the Republican convention speeches I've watched so far:
  1. When did Washington, D.C. become Liberal?
  2. When did "War Hero" become synonymous with "Ready to be the Most Powerful Person on Earth"? (As Pete says, "Therefore, all POWs should be President!")
  3. How can you have the slogan "Country First" when you have an "Alaska First" VP?
  4. Mitt Romney actually used giving Guantanamo detainees basic rights as an example of how awful the Democrats are. For serial!
  5. And he also railed against the elite East Coast Washington Insiders that run government. Does he know of which state he was governor?
  6. Huckabee said two things that he thinks are related but are clearly not even a little related. First, that he's so sick of hearing about how unqualified Palin is. (Incidentally, me too! She should step down and save us all the headache.) Secondly - and this is not an exact quote (I'm not a stenographer) but it's close - "Sarah Palin got more votes for mayor of Wasilla, Alaska than Joe Biden did for President!" Pete's reaction was, "No she didn't! That's an outright lie!" I think Huckabee was probably being facetious, but I could be wrong.
  7. I mean, he does believe Lincoln founded the Republican Party.
  8. Evidently you don't need to explain how someone is qualified for the job, you just have to tell a super maudlin story about veterans and school children that has nothing to do with anything and that's good enough.
  9. But at least Huckabee's likable. At least it's clear that he really believes in all the crazy crap he says, like earnestly.
  10. And at least they keep to cutting Palin's kids. They're cute and photogenic and well-behaved. They may be the only well-behaved people there.
  11. Guiliani wants approbation for keeping simple, unimportant promises.
  12. As creepy as McCain's smile is, Guiliani's is equally douchebaggy. And yes, that is my personal opinion. I hope no one holds that against me. I'm very ired by this viewing experience.
  13. Guiliani seems to think that the part of this ticket we find hard to believe is that McCain is a patriot who loves his country. He's working very hard to convince us that this is true. At least he's picking an easily attained goal.
  14. When did it become okay to be pro-Reagan again?
  15. They're still arguing experience? THEY'RE STILL ARGUING EXPERIENCE!
  16. Guiliani is seriously a douche. Pete just asked, "How can anyone not hate these people?" Dude, I'm turning it off. Fuck this guy. These aren't arguments, this is just dicking around and pretending like the failing economy, the war in Iraq and everything else that's wrong with the country right now aren't serious problems that deserve serious consideration from qualified professionals.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Hopefully a final Palin Post

There is buzz out there in the electronic world that Palin may step down. McCain's people are trying to rally, but it doesn't really give one much hope for her as a candidate. For the sake of her future political career, she really ought to. Really, though: she ought never to have accepted in the first place. She knows how unqualified she is.

But there are some weird things about her that I haven't mentioned. I would link to them, but it's late and everyone has the Googles, so I'll leave it for now. (If I remember, I'll come do it later, but no one hold their breath.) Okay, time for another bulleted List of Laziness. Weee!
  • She was a member of an Alaskan secessionist group. Or she spoke at their convention and said, "I totally agree with all your views." (I know - I should be providing links because without direct reference I suck at facts.)
  • Her husband works for an oil company (although this is from an Alaskan friend who has never heard of her).
  • That same Alaskan friend made me laugh out loud today, writing that if she's governor of Alaska and has an 80% approval rating, she must 1) be in bed with big oil; and 2) be a republican "i.e. she doesn't believe in evolution, photosynthesis, or gravity."
  • There were shenanigans when she got into the mayor's office in Wasilla - a town of dirt roads without sewers, it appears (hey, a link! I know, it's amazing). I don't have a link for this right now (Pete read it to me yesterday), but it seems that she fired everyone, eliminated the office of Town Historian (or similar) and was implementing loyalty tests... in a tiny town without paved roads. Wow. Just, wow. Can you say "power mad"? I can. Power mad. What would she be like as Vice President? I imagine the Bush-Justice Department scandal is probably a pretty good template.
  • This is just an observation: she had a crazy accent and now she doesn't. If you watch videos of her from her sports casting days on YouTube, she has this crazy almost-Canadian accent. It's really charming. It's gone now - I wonder how much work that took - but I wonder if you could give your campaign the same kind of folksy feel with that accent as with a Southern accent.
  • She isn't all bad: she enacted a big tax on oil companies, including on windfall profits. That's pretty impressive. Pete says, "What I like about Kevin Drum is he will give credit where credit is due without reservation." And of course, I want to be just like Kevin Drum so that Pete will still like me too. Plus, it leads me to believe that you will find this gem at Mother Jones.
  • Maybe she was only vetted via Google. (Okay, I'll link to things I've read in the last six hours.) Now if I were only vetted via Google, I would come out looking pretty good. I went to U of O recently, I'm middle aged and living in Cedar Rapids where I donate a lot to various charities, I worked on something related to stroke... Yes, truly, I am a woman of the world.
  • Oh yeah, and she's under investigation and has hired a private lawyer for her alleged misdeeds in the firings of the safety commissioner and her ex -brother-in-law.
  • Anything else I forgot is probably here.
I just think this is the craziest thing. I don't understand how they could be so careless. I know: McCain wants to court the far right. But there are plenty more appropriate people to put on a ticket who could accomplish just that, I'm sure of it. All I can do is hope that this is the last I'll feel compelled to write about this woman. Unless I try to think of some other LOLVPs. What scares me is that she won't step down or be taken off the ticket and people will still vote for McCain knowing that if/when he dies, she'll take over.

So here is what I tell myself to feel better. Chester A. Arthur was a purely political pick for VP on Garfield's part. He was not considered desirable or necessarily qualified and I don't think he and Garfield even really got along. He wasn't supposed to take the job, either. When offered, though, he said, "This is a higher honor than I have ever dreamt of attaining. I shall accept!" This is one of my favorite quotes ever because it's exactly what you should say in that situation. When Garfield was assassinated, Arthur became president. Wikipedia says:
Publisher Alexander K. McClure wrote, "No man ever entered the Presidency so profoundly and widely distrusted, and no one ever retired… more generally respected." Author Mark Twain, deeply cynical about politicians, conceded, "It would be hard indeed to better President Arthur's administration."
Although they represented completely different views on the subject of civil service reform (I think), Arthur felt it was his duty to respect the late President's wishes and turned his back on his people, the Stalwarts. I'm sure I'm the only person to ever say this, but I hope there's a little Chester A. Arthur in all of us. And I hope that there's a big Chester A. Arthur in Palin and that she'd do the right thing if the opportunity presented itself. (Also, everyone should read Sarah Vowel's Assassination Vacation, which is where I first learned about all this. That book is so good - I have to find it and read it again.)

Monday, September 01, 2008

Palin's Daughter

Caveat Lector: Pete points out that this is in questionable taste because it's rumor mongering and about a candidate's child, etc. So read no further if you agree that rumors should not be discussed without ample evidence or that candidate's children are always off limits no matter what.

One of the rumors that's been flying about is that Palin's fifth child (Trig) is not actually her son, but her grandson. She didn't announce she was pregnant until she was seven months and did not look demonstrably pregnant. Her 16-year old daughter was suddenly out of school with mono (for five months) so there are not a ton of pictures of her from that time. Then, when she supposedly went into labor a month early, after her water broke she flew 4,000 miles and skipped the hospital in Anchorage to return to her home town to give birth. Aside from the fact of such a choice being just plain dangerous (in fact, in the past, OBs were known to suggest an overdue woman take a short flight as the pressure change could induce labor), everyone knows that the more times you give birth, the quicker it's likely to happen. Anyway, the whole story, including pictures of the daughter from earlier in the year where she does look demonstrably pregnant, is here. I highly recommend reading it as it is just flabbergasting how totally improbable this story is.

Most liars would agree that the most convincing lies omit the details and stick to the truth as much as possible. (In fact, the best way to get caught lying is to look down as you speak or make too much eye contact and to offer too many details.) The Karl Rove school seems to believe that you can say any damn thing you want, no matter how crazy or impossible, and so long as you gnash your teeth and growl while saying it, people will buy it. And if they don't, never try to explain how your crazy story is possible, just accuse them of something, anything, and never ever back down. This story Palin has told is such a weird mix of too much detail AND too many crazy, impossible things that it shouldn't work on any level. Every time she offers a new detail, it fails to jibe with the rest. And she just brazens it out.

Now she's saying that her daughter is currently five months pregnant and therefore couldn't be Trig's mother. Um, what? My guess is that baby will be born two months "premature."

I don't think a candidate can be measured by the choices their children make. They can, however, be measured by the way they handle the fall-out of those choices. We've (my family and I) been talking about this story a lot for several days now and I wasn't going to write anything about it because I agree that candidates' children should not be brought into the process, scrutinized, etc. But in this case Palin has brought her daughter into it herself in exposing her current pregnancy in response to rumors. If she did pretend to be pregnant to cover up what she considers to be a shameful act on the part of her daughter, she made a lot of bad choices in bringing her pretend baby into the world, and that should matter to voters because it speaks to her decision-making skills. If she really was improbably pregnant, it should speak to them even more strongly. If these rumors are untrue, I apologize for having speculated. But the rumor seems more plausible than the purported truth and that is impossible to ignore.