Thursday, October 30, 2008

Going Rogue: An Election Short

Happy Birthday, Satan!

In the Halloween spirit—I won’t be home tomorrow night; I’ll be in Chicago at the Hawks game—I wanted to pass along the following Tribune piece by Christopher Borelli about war stories from haunted house employees who deal annually with losers (often drunk, often high-school age) who become belligerent, sometimes to the point of throwing a punch.

The article reminded me of a gig my brother had years ago for a local, higher-budget haunted house where he played a rat-like creature in a full latex mask (which I understand was difficult to breathe in), and often dealt with teenage guys who would hassle him, and sometimes slap his face and bolt from the room like real men.

My God, there are so many people on Earth who need a good beating.

As for me, during my brief stint as a student at NIU (circa 1989-90), I was talked one October into working a very low-budget haunted house set up in a dorm basement, and had a mixed experience.

The first night, when I was told to stay in a wide-open room—where it was impossible to sneak up on anyone—it was total boredom. The second (and final) night, however, I moved into another, darkened room where an ad-hock maze was built out of scrap wood and cardboard.

At first, I enjoyed jumping out and scaring kids, but soon found I could crawl and roll under the maze’s cardboard walls allowing me to grab a chick’s leg and quickly disappear.

I was also hit on relentlessly by a cute girl (who called me “pooky”) working the same room, but then oddly never saw her again.

Good times, I say. Good times.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


A popular myth peddled by the far-right is that if every American man, woman, and child packed heat that the nation would be a blissful, crime-free utopia.

In this same vein, never let it be said that fear, guns, and quick cash aren’t powerful ways to soothe one’s anxieties following a triple-murder.

Also, it’s interesting that if you Google the manufacturers of this fine product that the header includes the following images (click on them to embiggen) of classic, arch-conservative ideals: well-scrubbed white folks, a shotgun, a pretty homestead in a gated community, and a flag.

Yup, nothing sez “God Bless America” and “Keep The Darkies Under The Bridge” more than that.

Monday, October 27, 2008

It Hurts To Think

Once again, Sarah Palin proves herself to be (at best) an intellectual lightweight, and closet member of The Flat Earth Society.

Please go to the corner and put your head down for the next eight days.
We'll wake you when it's over.

Sanity Check

Although some Obama backers (e.g. Rachel Maddow) are bemoaning the worst at T-minus eight days to the election, I saw some stats today that encouraged me regarding his final chances.

In 2004, at this same time during that election, Real Clear Politics reports that Bush was leading Kerry by 1.5% nationally. And although I don’t put much stock in such polling, that figure is very close to the final margin of victory Bush had when the dust settled (including Nader voters).

Fast forward to today: RCP projects Obama having a 9.3% advantage over McCain (including consideration for Third Party voters).

Swing state polling is also holding for Obama in PA, OH, VA, CO, IA, MI, and NM while projections in MO, FL, and NC are tightening down the stretch. Either way, the numbers are favoring Obama. So my advice to chronic Debbie Downers like Dr. Maddow is to relax.

Also, here’s another Election Day tip: ignore all exit polling data no matter which way it leans.

Remember 2004 again? When exit numbers showed Kerry with a robust lead over Bush around 1PM? The same figures that cast a pall over White House staffers who believed their boss would soon be packing for Crawford?

Well, do yourself a favor this year and dismiss anything you hear next Tuesday afternoon regarding who is leading in what state.

We likely won’t have a clear winner until midnight anyhow so chill.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Suicide Pact

Just as the 2008 election is about to wrap up, a faction within the GOP (that is, Palin herself) is already driving Sarah Palin as the party’s heir-apparent in 2012.

It’s possible, of course, that Palin may take a solo stab at the House.

And while it’s hard to project what may happen in four years, if a President Obama (if elected) does as well as I expect (despite inheriting eight years of George W. Bush’s idiocy), Palin would face a strong incumbent, plus the same problems fracturing her party now: internal strife between Republican moderates, and hawkish neo-cons who want power back.

However, it is these same ideologuish, commie-hunting, media-hating, would-be inheritors of Reagan (e.g. the talk radio stooges of the GOP – Limbaugh, Hannity, et al.) who are responsible for the party collapsing today by refusing to expand their tent for—God forbid—other conservatives who refuse to march in lockstep with their ilk.

If this is truly the type of glassy-eyed, you’re-either-with-us-or-against-us type of Republican that Sarah Palin wants to court to in four years, so be it. But barring a colossal screw-up by Obama (should he be elected), no one else in the GOP—much less any other voter—may be interested in what she’s selling.

Good For Her

Although up until last year she was a lifetime Republican, I was a bit surprised to learn in a chat last night with my stepmother (now an independent living in the hotly contested state of Florida) that she is backing Obama next week in early voting.

Well done, Dot. Well done.

Gee, And I Thought Lovecraft Was Twisted

It seems that as the possibility of an Obama presidency grows larger that the minds of some on the far-right clip along at an equal pace into utter madness.

Take for example, as seen on MMFA, Swift Boat and anti-Obama author Jerome Corsi (who this past week officially made himself eligible for those jackets with sleeves that tie up in the back) who swore the following to G. Gordon Liddy on his radio program [dated Oct 22, 2008]:

LIDDY: Bring us up to date on the latest findings.

CORSI: Well, Mr. Liddy, I'm headed out to Honolulu. I am not convinced that Barack Obama is going because his grandmother is sick. I appreciate that his grandmother is sick and he wants to be with her. I do recall that Barack Obama's mother died of cancer, and he didn't go to be by her side when she died. He relates that in his autobiography, Dreams From My Father. And I'm going out to do what digging I can on the birth certificate. I'll be in Honolulu for the next few days. I don't expect to be detained in Honolulu the way I was in Kenya.

This right-wing myth—which has been heavily debunked—that Obama was never born in the U.S., and is being covered by the State of Hawaii, is beyond pathetic. Yet that doesn’t stop imbeciles like Corsi, the Drug-Addled Gasbag, and Michael (Weiner) Savage from trumpeting it to throngs of like-minded people (such as these great Americans) wanting to believe it.

Either way, it’s intriguing to see the depths to which some individuals—including Amy Todd—will drop to humiliate themselves in myriad lame attempts to derail Obama 10 days out from Election Day.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Two weeks out from the election, Obama’s poll momentum is holding or climbing – helped in no small degree by Colin Powell’s endorsement, which I believe is more a rejection of Bush/Rove-style conservatism than of McCain himself.

Still, even with the morale of McCain supporters lagging—and who could blame them with the pitiful speeches he’s shelling out now—I am assuming nothing in this election, nor should any Obama supporter.

As such, I cannot emphasize it enough: if you haven’t already done so, vote on November 4th.

And if your state offers early balloting, take advantage of it now.

Get up, and be a part of history.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Lil Bill (Part 2)

And the really funny part of this clip is that it is not far off from O'Reilly's actual behavior during his interview with Barney Frank.

Sundays In Aurora

Right off, I was surprised by Colin Powell’s announcement today on “Meet The Press” that he is endorsing Barack Obama in the election; I had expected Powell to stay neutral, and endorse no one. But considering how Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld used and abused Powell in the run-up to the Iraq War, I say bully for him.

Plus, Powell's endorsement is just another nail in the coffin for McCain-Palin 2008.

I also spent a short time in downtown Aurora today at the Phillips Park Zoo, a little free zoo sporting wolves, cougar, otters, and eagles established in 1915. It was a nice day today, and I figured that since I’ve lived in Aurora for 11 years now, it was time I paid a visit.

Nice little place; good for small kids to explore.

Finally, I was shocked to have found this on the You Tubes this afternoon….

Shocked, because I had the very same dream last night. Swear to Jehovah!

And see that guy sweeping in at the end of the clip to rescue Princess/Jun? That was me saving the lady fair from a gruesome death before taking spiriting her up to my castle in the sky where we made sweet, sweet Manga love!

True story. If I’m lying, you can sue me.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Here We Swing Again

Although I largely enjoyed the work that Sam Raimi and Tobey Maguire have done on the “Spider-Man” film series, I’m not overly jazzed about the official word that both have signed on for two more sequels.

After my mixed emotions over “Spidey 3,” part of me thinks that three movies is enough – but the rumor mill is already speculating that The Lizard (which could be cool) is the next villain due up, which makes perfect sense as Dr. Curt Conners has been a presence in all three “Spidey” pics to date.

We will see.

I Did It, Mike! I Voted!

Did my civic duty this morning and cast an early ballot for Obama-Biden, in addition to candidates in a few local races.

It felt good to do it now versus waiting another17 days.

Today also marked the first time I ever voted with a dreaded Diebold touch-screen model, which was simple enough.

A Very Brief Review: "W."

Although Oliver Stone’s “W.” hardly depicts President George W. Bush as a great leader nor thinker, it frankly does not treat him unsympathetically either.

Instead, in what amounts to a Cliff Notes version of his adult life from college up until post-war Iraq, Bush (through Josh Brolin, who does a great job) is shown as a black sheep fighting to escape his father’s legacy, and win his approval at the same time.

But unlike Stone’s heavily embellished “JFK,” “W.” draws much of its content from real history, particularly in the run-up over the invasion of Iraq, which is stewed over in several White House meetings pitting the pragmatic Colin Powell (Jeffrey Wright) versus twin hawks Dick Cheney (Richard Dreyfus) and Don Rumsfeld (Scott Glenn) – both of whom come off far worse than anyone in “W.”

For her part, Condi Rice (magnificently played by Thandie Newton) comes off as Bush’s eggheaded stoolie, and Karl Rove (Toby Jones) is cast as a political dork.

Overall, though, I found “W.” to be less comic than I expected, and is more often than not an engaging portrayal of Bush.

Friday, October 17, 2008


With the election ever closer, both lefties and righties seem caught up in a fever: the left over fears that the GOP will steal the election to McCain, and the right—specifically, the Christian right—emotionally split between elation that an Obama victory will help usher in the End Times, and utter despair that he will make abortion clinics as common as strip malls, and the Federal government will assume ownership of Wall Street banks.

Oh, wait…

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I Didn't Like It

Got word from my boss today that due to new restrictions on travel spending in light of recent economic ills, that my trip to Germany slated for three weeks from now has been postponed until early 2009.

Y’know, as a kid I hated being disappointed, and today as an adult I like it even less.

And speaking of things I don’t like, how about the Blackhawks suddenly deciding to sack head coach Denis Savard after just three games into the new season? Savard has been replaced by former COL/STL coach Joel Quenneville.

What wonderful timing.

Finally, has it ever occurred to anyone—as it did to me after lunch today—that were a big screen version of “The Year Without A Santa Claus” ever produced that last night’s debate provided two great casting options to play The Miser Brothers?

I mean, the temperaments couldn’t make for a better fit.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Over and Done

Now that the third and final presidential debate is over (Thank God), my initial responses to both Obama and McCain can be summed up in a single word.

“Cool” and “angry.”

I’ll let you decide which word applies to which candidate.

But suffice to say, McCain reminded me of a human Tasmanian Devil spinning in a whirl of arms and legs and spittle and fury as he flailed away at Obama, once landing a rhetorical blow when McCain chided his opponent for mistaking him for George W. Bush.

But the hit felt lucky, as if McCain was launching tons of shrapnel into the air hoping a fragment would nick Obama – who came away from the night relatively unscathed.

In the end, I’ll give the night to Obama. He kept his poise, whereas McCain only reinforced his image as a hothead.

Yeah, that pretty much defines the evening for 'ol Grampie.

Monday, October 13, 2008


Care To Rephrase?

After slogging in the polls for weeks, today John McCain told a friendly crowd in the uber-conservative burg of Virginia Beach (better known as televangelist Pat Robertson’s HQ) the following:

“My friends, we’ve got them right where we want them.”

(With “them” referring to the Obama campaign.)

Immediately after hearing this quote, it struck me how many people throughout history have met their grisly deaths after saying it: General G.A. Custer, George Pickett, Davy Crockett, Marie Antoinette, et al.

Not to say that Team McCain is about to run headlong into a buzzsaw (yet). But when has anything good even come of someone bellowing such a line? It’s a karmic invitation to disaster.

Otherwise, in an effort to stem Obama’s sudden appeal in Virginia and North Carolina, McCain and Palin attended rallies in both states today where their poll numbers have sharply dropped on recent economic woes.

This means more bad news from Grampie and Caribou Barbie.

If forced spend its already limited time and effort defending territory it should already have locked up, how can Team McCain pay attention to the swing states it needs to go over the top?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Duranie Anime

Wow, who'd a thunk '80s pop rock was so dangerous?

Little Drama

Although John McCain is promising his supporters that he’ll take Barack Obama to the woodshed during their final debate this Wednesday—which is exactly what he told them before his prior debate before Obama whacked him—I expect it to be even more dull than Nashville.

And that is exactly what Obama wants: no drama, no gaffes, nothing worth writing home about.

Beating McCain in New York will be good enough, but in a way, Obama simply neutralizing him would be even better as it keeps him in the same rut his campaign has been in for weeks.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Waking Up In Boca

This morning, I swore I woke up in Florida.

Not only is it unseasonably warm in Chicago for October 11th, it seemed no matter where I went today, I was annoyed by doddering oldsters – first at a Boston Market when I was stuck in line behind three blue hairs who marveled endlessly over the variety of side dishes, and later at the movies when I saw the Western “Appaloosa” (which started well, but dragged on way too long) and an old lady kept asking her husband about plot points.


Friday, October 10, 2008

Bad To Worse

The McCain camp must be fit to be tied as I write this, because Sarah “Reform” Palin has been found liable by a bipartisan state committee (of whose 14 members, 10 are Republican) of violating the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act, and abusing her power via firing former state Public Safety Commissioner Walter Monagan after he, in turn, refused to sack Palin’s state trooper ex-brother-in-law Mike Wooten (who is admittedly a slimeball).

The committee goes onto say that while Palin acted within her legal powers as governor, she abused said powers by allowing her husband, Todd, to apply pressure on state officials to get rid of Wooten.

The fact that Palin wanted her ex-BIL fired is truly no crime; it’s the way she went about it that was unethical.

On top of this, today at a McCain town hall rally in Minnesota, the senator was forced to publicly defend Barack Obama as a “decent family man” who should not be feared if elected president.

This, after a man asked McCain if he should not be afraid of his unborn child growing up under an Obama administration, and woman claimed she was terrified of Obama because he is an Arab. To his credit, McCain took the microphone away from the woman (who seemed shocked to hear McCain reject her claim), and again stated that Obama is an honorable man.

In response, some in the crowd booed McCain.


Read the following piece by John Dickerson on Slate today about a McCain-Palin rally held this past week in Waukesha, WI.

Descriptions of the emotion vented therein by McCain backers (at Obama, socialism, and especially the media) were both interesting and disturbing, but mostly disturbing. Politically, of course, this tone does little to help get McCain elected president 25 days out, as explained by former McCain advisor John Weaver (via Politico):

“People need to understand, for moral reasons and the protection of our civil society, the differences with Sen. Obama are ideological, based on clear differences on policy and a lack of experience compared to Sen. McCain,” Weaver said. “And from a purely practical political vantage point, please find me a swing voter, an undecided independent, or a torn female voter that finds an angry mob mentality attractive.”

“Sen. Obama is a classic liberal with an outdated economic agenda. We should take that agenda on in a robust manner. As a party we should not and must not stand by as the small amount of haters in our society question whether he is as American as the rest of us. Shame on them and shame on us if we allow this to take hold.”

Thank you.

However, Team McCain failing to connect with swing voters is not what most concerns me this year.

While no one in Waukesha—or other McCain rally sites, to my knowledge—have quite crossed the line between frustration (often aimed at McCain himself for not attacking Obama more fiercely in debates) and inciting violence, history repeatedly shows how easily one motivated whackjob can jolt the course of human events.

The days of American public figures being shot down like geese in the 1960s was before my time (RFK was slain two months before I was born). But suffice to say, I’m not interested in experiencing that same madness first hand – especially when the fury expressed by some McCainiacs makes McCain’s own notorious temper seem cool by comparison.

As for me, I’m wondering when the first noose or fiery cross will show up one day outside an Obama state election office.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Better Than Cold Fusion

If raw ignorance--such as that displayed by the above individuals at a recent McCain-Palin rally in Ohio--could be turned into a power source, America's addiction to fossil fuels would be history overnight.

Thanks to Pandagon for the roundabout tip.

In Memoriam

Today I received a bracelet ordered two weeks ago memorializing a slain Iraq/Afghanistan War veteran.

The name I drew was US Army First Sergeant Obediah J Kolath of Louisburg, Missouri.

He died on August 28, 2005, at age 32 in a military hospital in Germany after injuries sustained three days earlier in Iraq from an IED. Three other US soldiers died from the same incident.

Sgt. Kolath was based out of Ft. Bragg, North Carolina, and is survived by three daughters.

To him, I say thank you.

What's The Matter With Mike Easley?

Last night, Rachael Maddow was interviewing Gov. Mike Easley (D-NC) on race as a variable in the upcoming election, and how it may affect the totals.

In response, Easley played down such concerns, noting that Obama is surprisingly competitive in North Carolina, adding that local voters would not possibly vote against their own economic interests by going with McCain.

But governor, I thought, rural and conservative voters have been doing so for years. Why the hell should 2008 be any different?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

These Go To 11

For what it’s worth, today’s Gallup tracking poll listed Obama with an 11-point nationwide lead over McCain (his greatest to date) at 52-41.

In response, on his radio show during my lunch hour, Rush Limbaugh was doing his best not to wet himself in a panic.

I swear to God. If Obama wins this election, one of my greatest pleasures will be tuning into Limbaugh on November 5th to hear him spin McCain’s demise (which he’ll call a failure for McCain, not conservatism – Limbaugh’s usual way of rationalizing GOP defeats), and then Hannity that evening on Fox.

The anxieties of conservatives are so sweet. I wish we could bottle them.

Strike Two

After last night’s debate—which most everyone, beyond the unshakable Fox News texting poll, gave Obama a win on—it seems that John McCain’s campaign bus has run head-long into a pool of quicksand.

This said, there is no way I am writing off McCain now. Anyone who assumes anything in this election is just asking for a karmic anvil to be dropped on their skull.

Yet McCain is clearly in trouble – which poses the question: what’s he got left? Because Sarah Palin’s Ayres-strike (isn’t that clever?) against Obama is not working outside her base, and undecided voters are testy for details on actual issues.

So if McCain is not scoring points with either issues or negative attacks, what can he hope to use against Obama in their third and final debate?

If it’s Ayers or Jeremiah Wright, McCain will come off as weak and desperate, rankling voters who want hard policy stances. But McCain’s ability to master the issues is wanting too. So what the hell is he gonna do to save his ship (besides pray for the racist vote)?

Were I McCain’s campaign manager, at 27 days out, I’d be at a loss for answers.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

That One?

Truth be told, I stopped watching tonight’s second presidential debate in Nashville about an hour in.

I wanted to watch “The Shield” (a killer episode, by the way), and the forum between Obama and McCain just became a snoozer.

However, McCain did two things tonight I felt were very unbecoming: a) at one point, he called Obama “that one” in reference to a vote he made on an energy bill, and; b) at the end of the debate, McCain abruptly left the forum, leaving Obama and his wife to chat with debate attendees and take photos.

I don’t know what the hell McCain was thinking, but his behavior in these instances was very disconcerting – not to mention awfully rude.

Finally, I was surprised—as I’m sure were many conservatives—when McCain said that a way he’d relieve the current Wall Street morass as president would be to instruct his Treasury Secretary to buy up tons of bad mortgages.

The reason this was a surprise answer is that McCain has never hinted at such a thing before, and his conservative base would probably regard it as socialism.

So who was McCain trying to please? The middle? I’m not sure.


I used to think that Governor Sarah Palin—despite her frequent lapses from reality in interviews—was a fairly intelligent person.

I was wrong: she’s a fucking idiot.

Huffington Post; October 5, 2008

At a rally on Saturday in California, Sarah Palin offered up a rather jarring argument for supporting the Republican ticket. "There's a place in Hell reserved for women who don't support other women," the Alaska Governor said, claiming she was quoting former Clinton Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

The statement came after Palin had recounted a "providential" moment she experienced on Saturday: "I'm reading on my Starbucks mocha cup, okay? The quote of the day... It was Madeleine Albright, former Secretary of State [crowd boos] and UN ambassador. ... Now she said it, I didn't. She said, 'There's a place in Hell reserved for women who don't support other women.'"

Actually, Albright didn't say that. The accurate quote is, "There's a place in Hell reserved for women who don't help other women."


Red Acres

This morning on the drive into work, I heard an interview with Democratic consultant James “Mudcat” Saunders, known best for his background with the Clintons, and familiarity with how rural voters digest politics.

Suffice to say, Saunders claimed that despite McCain’s recent polling woes, Obama is struggling in the countryside, which was no shock as it’s has banked with the right for years. However, this year—with an unpopular Republican president, and a GOP candidate anxious to avoid mention of the economy—I’m curious how motivated rural voters will be this election.

That is to say, when faced with a choice between McCain and Obama, will these people bother showing up? If so, what is their motivation?

In 2000 and ’04, Republicans managed potent get-out-the-vote drive which unquestionably helped to elect Bush twice. This year, however, Dems finally seem to have learned from their rivals, and have honed their own voter drive machinery – both in new registrations (which have boomed for Democrats), and early voting proceeding in several states including Ohio.

But again, what—if anything—will nudge rural people out to vote in 28 days?

Will they forget the bad economy, and hold their noses to go with McCain? Will they set aside their cultural distrust of Obama, and support him? Or will rural voters just say “Screw it. What’s on TV tonight?” and stay home?

In my view, I’d wager the answer in 2008 will be a tie between held noses, and “Screw it” – neither of which are a ringing endorsement of McCain.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Lil Bill

And speaking of Bill-O, click here for the real thing recently “discussing” Wall Street's free fall with Rep. Barney Frank – and by “discussing” I mean O'Reilly screaming at Frank like a lunatic.


Although I’m taking it with a shrug, a new USA Today/MTV poll is showing college-age voters registering to vote en masse this year, with a ratio of 2-1 citing support for Obama over McCain. The reason why I’m skeptical is because, traditionally, college voters don’t show up on Election Day.

However, with a younger candidate in Obama, I’m wondering if 2008 won’t be a year that young voters indeed deliver, as they did for JFK and Bill Clinton.

If so, some Republicans quietly admit that McCain may get clobbered in four weeks – with or without the economy in serious flux.

Vote Early, Vote Often

Although I’m unsure how 2008 compares to previous elections, CBS News reported today that voters (me included) are heavily casting early ballots in various states, including traditional GOP strongholds such as North Carolina (where Obama currently holds a narrow edge) where—like most everywhere—the economy is a major concern.

I may be wrong, but my political spider-sense says this trend may be yet another piece of bad news for McCain.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Round 2 of 3 (Nashville)

Now that the much-hyped Biden-Palin debate is over, the second of three debates (this one in Nashville) between John McCain and Barack Obama is about in 48 hours.

Intended to focus on domestic policy, the debate will be in a Town Hall format – a setting which McCain generally does well in, and Obama (with his oft-professorial tone) not so much. However, despite McCain lagging in the polls, the pressure will be on Obama to follow-up on his capable performance at the first presidential debate in Oxford, MS.

For one, less McCain regain lost ground in the polls, Obama must demonstrate his showing at Ole Miss was no fluke; secondly, he’s got to keep McCain on the defensive (i.e. the economy), and; finally, although Nashville is not the last debate, Obama would be well-advised to treat it as such, as if he puts McCain solidly into a corner this Tuesday, it will be even harder for him to recover by November 4th.

In other words, if Obama and his staff thought the first debate was high stakes, the next one should be even more so. And if he fails to capitalize, McCain and Caribou Barbie will be breathing down his neck again.

Fortress of Solitude Discovered

Although it looks like a Kryptonian movie set, NatGeo recently published images of a remote Mexican cave loaded with gigantic crystal formations.

I just think it’s amazing.

No Excuses

There is no reasoning whatsoever for the Cubs’ horrid performance this post-season.


I simply can’t believe that a team that played so well during the regular season utterly failed to show up when it counted most. It was as if the team was kidnapped, and replaced by pod people with no hand-eye coordination.

I’m at a loss.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

A Very Brief Review: "Religulous"

“Religulous,” Bill Maher’s documentary on world religions (i.e. Christianity, Islam, Judaism, plus a few cults), is insightful, funny, thoughtful, and often brilliant.

It ends with a firm atheist stance—which I don’t personally subscribe to—but Maher’s point, I feel, is well intended. And if it pisses off staunch social conservatives, all the better.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Sarah's Strategy

Obama's Real Opponent

I suppose I should be shocked by this AP-Miami Herald story about a Florida middle school teacher who recently suspended by his school board, but I’m not.

A Florida middle school teacher has been suspended after students said he used a racial epithet directed at presidential candidate Barack Obama.

Seventh-grade social studies teacher Greg Howard reportedly wrote the word CHANGE as an acronym on the board and wrote an expletive with the letter 'N.'

The phrase he wrote has alternately be reported as "Can You Help A (expletive) Get Elected" and "Come Help A (expletive) Get Elected."

The incident happened last Friday at Marianna Middle School.

The Jackson County School Board said Thursday that Howard has been suspended without pay for 10 days and will be transferred to the Jackson County Adult Education program. He is also required to submit a letter of apology to his students and attend diversity and sensitivity training.

Marianna is near Florida's border both with Alabama and Georgia.

A message left for a Greg Howard in Marianna, Fla., was not immediately returned.


I wonder if Mr. Howard’s kids were given tips on cross-burning earlier in the week in science class – y’know, to demonstrate how wood carbonizes when exposed to fire?

Thanks to Keith Olbermann for the sickening heads up.


After last night’s VP debate, I’m hard pressed to see how things could get much worse for Team McCain.

Not that Sarah Palin bombed in St. Louis. She didn’t. I just think that her boss is out of bullets.

At 31 days remaining in the election, McCain is struggling badly for traction on any issue (beyond national security).

He is also drowning in a steady rain of bad economic news, and Team Obama is besting McCain's ground game (him leaving Michigan being a key example). McCain also voted this week for a Senate bailout bill padded with the same earmarks that he openly reviles. So he can’t play his earmark-busting maverick act as effectively now.

McCain’s “Drill, Baby, Drill” mantra has also lost starch since Congress allowed the offshore moratorium to expire, and he cannot use the hysterical, Fox News ploy of trying to link Obama to Rev. Jeremiah Wright with much effect – ironically, thanks to Sean Hannity who beat the story to death last spring.

Finally—and perhaps worst of all for McCain—he cannot reintroduce Sarah Palin to America.

So considering all of the above, what has McCain got left in his holster? According to some, the answer is negative ads. Lots and lots of negative ads.

Yet even these are problematic for McCain, as veering his campaign into the territory he once rejected as low-road politics makes him look desperate, hypocritical, and risks alienating voters by seemingly caring more about nailing Obama than offering solutions to their problems – that is, beyond endlessly bleating “Vote for me. I’ll fix everything.”

So simply, barring a huge mistake by Team Obama (or a racist electorate that can’t bring itself to vote for the black guy), as of now, I see little for McCain to bank on as his opponent steadily runs out the clock.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Beat Me in St. Louis

My brief take of the VP debate post-game chatter is that Palin charmingly held her own (despite laying on several dollops of Reaganesque hokum) on a range of issues, but Biden—who avoided gaffing—was clearly the smarter and more worldly of the two candidates.

So I’ll give Biden a slight edge.

However, as with most VP debates, this one will quickly fade from memory as the second Obama-McCain debate nears early next week.

Goodbye Kalamazoo

Uh oh…

Today the McCain campaign announced its intent to (in effect) concede Michigan to Barack Obama by reallocating its staffers and advertising dollars over to other swing states (Florida, Ohio, Indiana, Colorado) where McCain is struggling in the polls.

About Last Night

I was as dismayed as anyone to see the Cubs’ normally solid starter Ryan Dempster walk seven men in last night’s Game 1 loss to L.A.

Granted, the rest of the Cubs weren’t much better, but they must put last night’s calamity out of their minds.

This evening (at the bizarre start time of 8:37 PM), the Cubs’ emotional powder keg Carlos Zambrano is pitching, and God knows fans will be anxious over which version shows up: the Zambrano who is nigh-untouchable, or the one who throws gopher balls to opposing hitters, and attacks Gatorade jugs in the dugout afterwards.

If it’s the latter tonight, all the hard work by the Cubs this past season will have been a waste.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Double Vision

Tomorrow night, I’ll be anxiously flipping between the VP debate and Game 2 of the Cubs-Dodgers NLDS.

And frankly, I’m torn.

While almost nothing can rattle my lifelong fandom for the Cubs, my interest in watching Sarah Palin walk a tightrope between hot lava and piranhas is just as compelling.

Dang it, which side do I hope she falls into? I can’t decide.

I mean, on one hand, a rhetorical death by hot lava is a classic – nice and clean, with a sweet hickory aftertaste. Yet for sheer drama, it’s hard to wrong with piranhas too.

Oh, well. I’m sure everything will sort itself out.