Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Great New Blog

Two of the coolest little old ladies ever to walk the earth have a new blog called Margaret and Helen. They are more full of life than I am, at twice my age. A sample:

But it really all comes down to a fundamental misunderstanding of the poor.  When you hear Palin screaming “socialism” or John McCain spouting off about “redistribution of wealth” that’s really code for “those damn poor people”.  What they are really saying to those people who live in pro-American parts of the country is that Obama is going to take your hard earned money and give it to some poor person who is sitting at home in  anti-America with too many kids just living high on the hog off the government.  And most likely that poor person doesn’t look like you (wink wink).  I doubt Palin even knows the definition of socialism.  After all it has three more letters in it than Muslim.  By the way, the average welfare recipient has less than three children.  Sarah and Todd Palin?  That would be five.  John and Cindy McCain?  Seven

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A TPM Reader calls it:

...it's almost getting painful, like watching a punch drunk fighter get mauled and the ref won't call it.

Monday, October 27, 2008

How to Rebuild the Republican Party

Markos at Daily Kos offers his observations about the task before the Republicans in the wake of their coming defeat. It is not a typical "concern troll" kind of post where he's arguing the Republicans should become more like Democrats or whatever.

While I'm not keen to offer the GOP advice, here's who I think (in a genuine, non-concern-troll way) would be their best candidate: Mike Huckabee. He is exactly the GOP's version of Howard Dean -- a popular governor of a small state, with a huge, energized following who briefly led his party's nomination contest before being kneecapped by his party's establishment. Like Dean, Huckabee isn't an insider, isn't one of them, and as such, isn't bound by their outdated and obsolete conventions. Like Dean, Huckabee offers a different direction from his party. Dean wanted muscular, unapologetic progressivism. Huckabee wants a more compassionate version of conservatism -- not fake "compassion" like Bush's, but the real stuff. "Big government conservatism", as his fiercest detractors charge.

...you see Huckabee speak, and you don't think "he's f*cking crazy". You ever see him on the Daily Show? The guy is good. Real good. (I've worried about this guy for years for those very reasons.)


His entire post is worth a read.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Slip Sliding Away

Hunter: Republicans still fighting those '60 radicals

I am impressed that the Republican Party really does seem to be going out of their way to be as dislikable and as marginalized as possible. They continue to retreat to the farthest, meanest edges of their base, levels of paranoid, 60's-era conservatism that comfort their most diehard fans but scare the bejeebers out of most of the rest of the nation. We're really going back there? Back to the racial fear-mongering, and the McCarthyite ravings about traitors and terrorists in our midst? It's been forty years, and that's what conservatism has left to offer?

Can one be both an atheist and a messiah?

Josh Marshall, on the Obama portrayed on Fox news and other Republican propaganda outlets:

Barack Obama is noted for his powerful intellect, but I don't think he gets nearly enough credit for the mental dexterity it takes to be simultaneously an Islamic theocrat, atheistic communist and national socialist while posing as a center left candidate. Those must be the compartmentalization skills they taught him at that Manchurian madrasah in Indonesia.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Right-Wing Nutcase Schooled by Joe Biden

Orlando, Florida TV Anchor Barbara West appears, from this video, to be a far-right, John Birch Society-style loony. Joe Biden defends Obama, and basically laughs at her loaded questions ("Is Obama a Marxist?"). Reason #3,985 why conservatism is destined for crushing defeat on November 4th.


Monday, October 20, 2008

Get thee to a Union

That is all

Billmon's Right, as Usual

Billmon hits the nail on the head, Knocks it out of the park, connects with a long bomb deep in the other team's territory, sinks a three pointer from... If I hear one more pundit use a sports metaphor to describe the presidential race (oops, now I'm invoking NASCAR...) my head is going to explode. Anyway, Billmon names the unspoken boogie-man of the Republican Right.

But I think by now it's also very clear that the GOP high commmand -- as far back as the Twin Cities white power rally, if not before -- deliberately adopted the demonization of ACORN/community organizers/the poor as a proxy for the hatred that no longer dares to speak its real name (except at the occasional Sarah Palin rally).

I think this strategy serves two purposes. One is obvious: to play upon traditional racial and class resentments to try to win back middle-class and working-class voters who might otherwise be waivering as they watch their jobs, their homes and their already inadequate retirement savings go spinning around the hole in the bottom of the economic toilet bowl.

We can take a page from John Lewis and call this the George Wallace gambit -- not the Wallace of the stand in the schoolhouse door or the bridge at Selma, but rather the Wallace who ran for president in 1968, '72 and '76 and managed to attract quite a few Northern Democratic votes with his attacks on school busing, affirmative action, fair housing laws and other examples of "social engineering" foisted upon Regular Joe (Joe Sixpack's dad and Joe the Plumber's granddad) by Ivy League professors and pointy-headed government bureaucrats.

Exactly who was supposed to benefit from all that social engineerin' was left unsaid, just as it is today.

Students of American politics know that Wallace's populist rabble rousing was quickly expropriated by the GOP and -- watered down for respectable middle-class consumption -- became one of the weapons used by Richard Nixon and his pit bull of a running mate, Spiro Agnew (Sarah Palin with jowls) to crack open the New Deal coalition.

The ACORN monster, in other words, is a stock character out of a play the Republicans have been performing with mind-numbing efficiency for the past 40 years -- making it the political equivalent of what The Fantasticks is for suburban dinner theater.

Given that the same attacks have been used, in some form or another, against a long line of lily white Democratic candidates, it would be unfair to characterize them as coded attempts to make an issue of Obama's race per se. That's a line the GOP high command apparently is still not willing to cross, even as coded attacks on Obama's alleged "foreignness" (i.e. his middle name) have become the order of the day. It is, however, an obvious coded attack (and very lightly coded at that) on the inner-city poor. And in American political slang, "inner-city poor" is simply a five-syllable substitute for "black".

Friday, October 17, 2008

Republicans Inciting Thuggery in Anticipation of Crushing Defeat

It is starting to look like a Democratic tsunami on November 4th. Certain folks are getting desperate to avoid that. The ugly atmosphere at McCain (and especially Palin) rallies is spilling out into actual violence.

An ACORN community organizer received a death threat and the liberal activist group's Boston and Seattle offices were vandalized Thursday, reflecting mounting tensions over its role in registering 1.3 million mostly poor and minority Americans to vote next month.

Attorneys for the Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now were notifying the FBI and the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division of the incidents, said Brian Kettenring, a Florida-based spokesman for the group.

Republicans, including presidential candidate John McCain, have verbally attacked the group repeatedly in recent days, alleging a widespread vote-fraud scheme, although they've provided little proof. It was disclosed Thursday that the FBI is examining whether thousands of fraudulent voter-registration applications submitted by some ACORN workers were part of a systematic effort or isolated incidents.


[Update]

I like Josh Marshall's take:

Vandalized ACORN offices in Boston and Seattle and threats of death or violence in Providence and Cleveland follow in the wake of McCain's bogus "vote fraud" scam.

Denied

The latest attempt by the GOP to suppress and intimidate Democratic voters goes down in flames, thanks to the Supreme Court.

Andrew Sullivan On the Republican Party

They deserve obliteration. For the sake of the country and the sake of conservatism.

That "obliteration" is currently being arranged.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Appaloosa

I just caught the afternoon matinee of Appaloosa, the new western from Ed Harris and the author of the novel, Robert Parker.

I'd give the movie an "A-". Ed Harris did a creditable job with his character, itinerant lawman named Virgil Cole, who (to borrow a phrase from Bill Bryson) uses words as if he believes he will someday be billed for them. His partner in crime-fighting is Everett Hitch, played with a certain taciturn, rough-sawn poetry by Viggo Mortensen.

Anyone looking for John Ford-style western panoramas will be disappointed; there is some beautiful scenery (the film was shot on location near Santa Fe, New Mexico) but it rightly serves merely as backdrop for the really interesting subject of the movie; the hearts and minds of two men who kill in the name of the law for a living.

Jeremy Irons plays the heavy, a local rancher named Randall Bragg, who is powerful enough to live above the law - at least until the lesser powers-that-be in the town have had enough, and hire Cole and Hitch to put an end to Bragg's reign of lawlessness.

Renée Zellweger plays Allie French, a widowed woman who comes to town with a single dollar, and enough guile to make Virgil Cole fall hard for her in spite of his stoicism, to the quiet consternation of his partner Hitch.

There are showdowns, ultimatums, betrayal and gun play galore (it's a western, after all...) but there is a soul to this movie that lingers in your mind long after the lights go up. Virgil and Hitch are two men you are sorry to leave the company of, and you will leave the theater with regret that your time with them was so short.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

ACORN and Supposed "Vote Fraud"

Has it been substantiated that ACORN is committing voter fraud as an organization?
The clear answer: No. From Josh Marshall:

But here’s the key. This is fraud against ACORN. They end up paying people for registering more people than they actually signed up. If you register me three times to vote, the registrar will see two new registrations of an already registered person and the ones won’t count. If I successfully register Mickey Mouse to vote, on election day, Mickey Mouse will still be a cartoon character who cannot go to the local voting station and vote. Logically speaking there’s very little way a few phony names on the voting rolls could be used to commit actual vote fraud. And much more importantly, numerous studies and investigations have shown no evidence of anything more than a handful of isolated cases of actual instances of vote fraud.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Oh, sh*t

Dow down another 678 points today, and 2000 points the last 5 days. This keeps up, and we'll soon all be using stock certificates as the world's cheapest wallpaper.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

And Another Thing

Below is a performance of "All I Could Do Was Cry" by the great Etta James. Her performance of this song is just harrowingly intimate and raw.

I wish the ballad-belters of today (Whitney, Mariah...) would use melisma and other vocal techniques with the restraint Etta used in this performance. Etta's performance was not about, "Watch me use my voice to demonstrate what a spectacular singer I am." No, it was all about singing her pain in a way that makes you feel it with her. Mariah Carey, Celine Dion and the rest of the pop "divas" are about narcissism and empty virtuosity. Good singing is an act of communication. Great singing makes you one with the song, NOT the singer. It is an act of service.

Etta said she wept as soon as the recording ended. *That's* how it's done.

Speaking of Music

The below video is of Gayle Garnett singing her 1964 hit, "We'll Sing in the Sunshine".

The song has an infectious, lilting swing that is as timeless as it is irresistible; the lyrics, however, are a monument of emotional desolation and despair:

I can never love you;
The cost of love's too dear;
But though I'll never love you,
I'll stay with you one year.

My Daddy he once told me,
"Hey, don't you love you any man.
Just take what they may give you,
And give but what you can."


I think about someone actually saying those words to someone, and I think about a person that would find the described arrangement attractive, and then I imagine that I am staring right into the heart of Hell itself.

P.S. Worth pondering: Why would "Daddy" tell her "don't you love you any man"?

Sing it

Republican Self-Parody Commences

Over at NRO's The Corner, a couple of guys are "debating" what brand of extremist radical Obama is:

Obama's radicalism, beginning with his Alinski/ACORN/community organizer period, is a bottom-up socialism. This, I'd suggest, is why he fits comfortably with Ayers, who (especially now) is more Maoist than Stalinist.


Just...wow.

[h/t Andrew Sullivan]

Thursday, October 02, 2008

One of Sully's Readers just says it...

When you think about it, it's astounding. A first term African-American Senator with an Arabic name who is descended from and still related to Muslims in the post-9/11 era is on the verge of being elected President of the United States. If you submitted this script to Hollywood, they'd laugh you off the lot.