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December 29, 2008

My post-season football Rant...

The season is not over, you say? Well, if you are a University of Miami and Green Bay Packer fan, the season is over. This is my Rant and the season is over.

The Hurricanes:

Let me begin by saying that there is very much I like about Randy Shannon. When he was named head coach, he said that he was going to make discipline a priority, on and off the field. He has made good on that promise and it doesn’t matter whether the player involved is a star or a reserve. Ask Robert Marve. He may end up as a very successful college quarterback but, at this point, we don’t know whether that will happen at Miami or someplace else. If Marve does succeed, he will owe a lot of his maturation to Shannon’s no-nonsense, tough-love approach. (I hope I am wrong but I think that Marve may be another Jeff George.)

Having paid my tribute to Shannon, Saturday night in the Emerald Bowl, he demonstrated that he has learned little about being a game day coach in his two seasons as head coach. Most apparent was the total lack of clock management at the end of each of the two halves. At the end of the first half, the Canes got the ball with 1:18 remaining and all three timeouts. Somehow, inexplicably, they managed to get only four plays off before the half ended. Then, at he end of the second half, down seven points, with one timeout, the following play sequence occurred:

1st-10, MiaF32 2:37 L. Chambers rushed up the middle for 1 yard loss
2nd-11, MiaF31 2:17 J. Harris passed to C. Zellner to the left for 6 yard gain
3rd-5, MiaF37 1:47 J. Harris passed to L. Chambers down the middle for 4 yard gain
4th-1, MiaF41 1:07 J. Harris passed to C. Zellner to the left for 3 yard gain
1st-10, MiaF44 1:00 J. Harris rushed to the left for 5 yard gain
2nd-5, MiaF49 0:20 J. Harris incomplete pass to the left
3rd-5, MiaF49 0:12 J. Harris incomplete pass to the right
4th-5, MiaF49 0:05 G. Cooper rushed to the right for 14 yard gain

Look at how much time elapsed between plays. Yes, there was a freshman QB. But this is not on the head of Jacory Harris. It is on the coaches.  As Kipling wrote:

If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son!

I think next year will be Shannon’s final exam. He will still have a young team but the majority of the key players will have at least one year of experience. Their growth as players and Shannon’s growth as a game-day coach will be watched closely. I am hoping he passes with flying colors. That will tell me that Shannon is in the process of becoming a coach worthy of the Hurricanes.

Note: The 2009 NFL Draft will end the Hurricanes record of fourteen drafts with a player selected in the first round. There may not even be a second round pick. This says a lot about the recruiting under Shannon’s predecessor, Larry Coker.

The Packers:

In 2007, the Packers were the youngest team in the NFL, went 13-3, and played to an overtime loss in the NFC Championship Game. The most significant change from 2007 to 2008 was at QB. Surprisingly, this offers no explanation for the Packers’ slide from 13-3 to 6-10. By all standards, Aaron Rodgers had a highly successful season in his first year as a starter, passing for over 4000 yards. Only one other QB in NFL history (Kurt Warner) has passed for more than 4000 yards in his first year as a starter. No, the dropoff was on defense and special teams. Just as Hurricane fans will be closely watching Randy Shannon next year, Packer fans will be watching GM Ted Thompson and Coach Mike McCarthy in the off season and next season to see how they address the problems.

 

Miscellaneous thoughts...

When the Jets failed to make the playoffs, the Packers missed out on the draft pick the Packers will receive in the Favre trade moving from the third round to the second round. Ouch. So close.

Hey, Donna Shalala. About those UM promos you do on the telecasts of the UM football games. Please, get your face off the tube. Despite you boasting that "It’s all about the U," it comes across as being all about you.

Not only am I fed up with football players who celebrate a big play even when they are losing, I don’t understand the religious beliefs of players who thank their god after a big play. I would love to have a theological discussion with someone who thinks that any god worthy of faith would take an interest in individual plays or who favors one team over another (except, of course, rooting against the Chicago Bears, Notre Dame, University of Florida, etc.)

The Lions' loss to the Packers sealed their destiny as the losingest team in NFL history with a 0-16 record. This is the final indictment of Matt Millen who served and President of the Lions from 2001 until one month into the 2008 season when he was finally fired. The Lions’ record during Millen’s tenure was 31-84 and the team lost nine or more games in every season. How he lasted that long is one of the big mysteries in the NFL. I surmise that Millen was blackmailing the owner of the Lions, William Clay Ford, Sr.

I am not a Dolphins fan but every NFL fan has to be somewhat in awe of the turnaround engineered by Bill Parcells (1-15 last year to 11-5 this year).

 

December 25, 2008

 

 

 

December 24, 2008

My holiday gift...

We went to the west coast of Florida Saturday and returned Sunday night. It was a short trip but we had to opportunity to see a bit of Naples and Sanibel Island, two communities we had never seen despite living just a couple of hours away for three dozen years. The weather was absolutely perfect and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. It was, however, disturbing to see the effects of the bad economy. Naples is a very affluent area and we spent a couple of hours wandering in and out (my wife more in and me more out) of the tony shops in Naples. On the Saturday before Christmas, you might have thought that there was a hurricane evacuation underway for the number of people shopping. We didn’t help much, spending just under five dollars on some frozen custard. Then, on Sunday, driving from Naples through Bonita Beach and Fort Myers Beach on the way to Sanibel, we saw Lee County, the foreclosure capital of the Southeast if not the U.S. It seemed as if every house had a For Sale sign.

But the reason for writing tonight is the reason we went to Sanibel. Mikey, my freshman roommate from college, his wife, daughter, son-in-law, and grandson are spending the week in Sanibel. Mikey and his wife live in Mobile and our opportunities to see each other are way too infrequent. We have known each other for almost forty years.   We shared experiences which shaped our lives.  Our friendship survived and thrived despite some real stresses in the eight months we lived together (it was the academic year that was abruptly ended by the anger about the Viet Nam War generally and the Kent State shootings specifically).

Thirty-five years ago, at the rehearsal dinner the night before Mikey’s wedding, I picked up a souvenir in the lobby of a restaurant in Queens. It was a sheet of paper with the name of the restaurant and had a printed essay entitled "What is a Friend?". The author of the essay was listed a C. Raymond Beran. If you Google Mr. Beran, you will find numerous citations to this essay but not a scintilla of information as to identity or era of Beran. No matter. It is an amazing essay which captures the essence of what friendship means to me.

I am extraordinarily fortunate to have friends who not only put up with me but go out of their way to accommodate my "eccentricities". My close friends and my family are my greatest treasures. So, at this holiday season, I am sharing Mr. Beran’s essay with the hope that it makes you appreciate anew those friendships which truly enrich your life.

What is a friend?

I will tell you. It is a person with whom you dare to be yourself. Your soul can be naked with him. He seems to ask of you to put on nothing, only to be what you are. He does not want you to be better or worse. When you are with him, you feel as a prisoner feels who has been declared innocent. You do not have to be on your guard. You can say what you think, so long as it is genuinely you. He understands those contradictions in your nature that lead others to misjudge you. With him you breathe freely. You can avow your little vanities and envies and hates and vicious sparks, your meannesses and absurdities and, in opening them up to him, they are lost, dissolved on the white ocean of his loyalty. He understands. You do not have to be careful. You can abuse him, neglect him, tolerate him. Best of all, you can keep still with him. It makes no matter. He likes you. He is like a fire that purges to the bone. He understands. He understands. You can weep with him, sin with him, laugh with him, pray with him. Through it all - and underneath - he sees, knows and loves you. A friend? What is a friend? Just one, I repeat, with whom you dare to be yourself.

- C. Raymond Beran

 

December 22, 2008

December 20, 2008

Newton's Third Law
For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

www.TheDailyRant.us

 

December 19, 2008

What if the inaugural prayer was delivered by...

Rabbi Meir Kahane (if he was still alive) or, for that matter, any female rabbi

Reverend Jeremiah Wright or, for that matter, Reverend Lewis Farrakhan

Reverend John Hagee

L. Ron Hubbard (if he was still alive)

Joseph Smith, Jr. (if he was still alive)

Any Muslim imam

Think about the reaction from various constituencies in each of these scenarios. 

Obama will have to weave some magic to make a silk purse out of Rick Warren's selection.

 

December 18, 2008

A nominee for the 2008 Darwin Awards...
(The best catch now that OJ is off the market?)

CHICAGO — Drew Peterson, who is still married to his missing wife Stacy, is now engaged to a 23-year-old Chicago-area woman, his publicist said today.

Glenn Selig said the 54-year-old former police sergeant has been seeing the woman for about four months. She’s the same age Stacy was when she disappeared last October. If they marry, she will be Peterson’s fifth wife.

"This is a private matter as far as we’re concerned," Selig said. "And he’s entitled to be happy."

Peterson is a suspect in Stacy’s disappearance, which police have called a "potential homicide." Peterson has long claimed that she left him for another man.

Peterson met with a divorce attorney in November. In Illinois, willful desertion or abandonment for at least one year is grounds for a divorce.

Peterson said Wednesday that media attention tends to sabotage his relationships.

"I’m not saying nothing," he said in a telephone interview with a female Chicago Tribune reporter. He then joked: "You kept putting me off. What else could I do?"

The engagement was first reported Wednesday morning in a news release by Derek Armstrong, the author of a book about Peterson.

Regarding the new engagement, Selig said: "Obviously he has to be divorced in order to be remarried. But we’re not giving details at this point as far as what that process will be or won’t be."

Selig also noted that Peterson was in the process of getting divorced from his third wife, Kathleen Savio, when he got engaged to Stacy.

Savio, 40, was found dead in an empty bathtub in her Bolingbrook home. Her divorce from Peterson was only weeks from being finalized.

Although her death initially was ruled an accident, authorities reclassified it as murder after a second autopsy was conducted in the wake of Stacy Peterson’s disappearance.

Mandate in Miami...

Veteran property appraiser Pedro Garcia Jr. won a runoff handily over one-time county Commissioner Gwen Margolis to become Miami-Dade’s first elected appraiser.

Garcia had come in second to Margolis in the general election. But, on Tuesday, he generated 59 percent of the vote to Margolis’ 41 percent. A total of 97,412 votes were cast – only 8 percent of the county’s 1.25 million registered voters.

My first gripe with the Obama Cabinet...

Senator Ken Salazar was named by President-Elect Obama to be Secretary of the Interior. 

Interior?  He doesn't even know enough to remove his hat indoors.

From Thomas Friedman in the NY Times...

I have no sympathy for Madoff. But the fact is, his alleged Ponzi scheme was only slightly more outrageous than the “legal” scheme that Wall Street was running, fueled by cheap credit, low standards and high greed. What do you call giving a worker who makes only $14,000 a year a nothing-down and nothing-to-pay-for-two-years mortgage to buy a $750,000 home, and then bundling that mortgage with 100 others into bonds — which Moody’s or Standard & Poors rate AAA — and then selling them to banks and pension funds the world over? That is what our financial industry was doing. If that isn’t a pyramid scheme, what is?

From Jay Leno...

And this is the big news in New York. Well, all over the world, really. It's just an amazing story. A Wall Street tycoon named Bernard Madoff has been arrested for running a $50 billion Ponzi scheme. $50 billion. You know what a Ponzi scheme is? That's where they use the money of new investors to pay off the older investors. Or as we call it, Social Security.

Late night humor...

"Now, here's my question, and no offense here, but where was the Secret Service? I mean, shouldn't they at least have jumped in front of the second shoe? I mean, you know what I'm saying? Come on. Seriously. Aren't these guys supposed to take a bullet for the president?" -  Jay Leno

"Have you watched this tape? Some people are criticizing the Secret Service, because the shoe thrower caught them off guard. The man was able to throw a second shoe. A spokesman for the Secret Service said, 'Sorry, but we were laughing our asses off.'" -  Conan O'Brien

"Anyway, the conspiracy theories have begun. Oliver Stone is already making a movie about the shoe-throwing incident. He thinks there was a second shoe-thrower, because that journalist threw two shoes in four seconds. That's impossible." -  Craig Ferguson

 

December 16, 2008

The read we get on the people of Iraq is there is no question but what they want to the get rid of Saddam Hussein and they will welcome as liberators the United States when we come to do that." - Cheney, Meet the Press, 3/16/03

Memo to David Gregory...

Yes.  We all miss Tim Russert on Meet the Press.  I wasn't at all surprised that you got the job after Tom Brokaw filled in until a permanent replacement was named.  The only major network interviewer with Tim's interviewing skills is Ted Koppel and, at 68, is not going to carry the MTP franchise for the next couple of decades.  You proved, in your years as NBC's chief White House correspondent, to be a tenacious questioner.  This ability to be tough but congenial was a trademark of Tim Russert which I am confident you will successfully model. 

After your first week hosting MTP, you showed that you understood that preparation is critical to being tough.  However, you seemingly overlooked another of Tim's talents - the ability to listen to an answer and follow up on the answer even if the following question is not scripted.  Even with your panel, you appeared scripted, moving from one talking head to another with well-planned questions.  The problem was that it was a series of chopped segments rather than a conversation which flowed.

I am hopeful that you will get the hang of it, sooner rather than later.  I'm afraid that your honeymoon will be shorter than Obama's.

It reminds me of when the Green Bay Packers transitioned from Vince Lombardi in the 1968 season.  Oops.  Never mind.  Bad comparison.

Post script re: David Gregory...

I mentioned that Ted Koppel was too old at 68 to have gotten the job.  Gregory, you, on the other hand, are making me feel old.  At 38, you are only ten years older than my daughter and almost twenty years younger than me. 

 

December 11, 2008

December 10, 2008

Not since Orson Welles...

Not since Orson Welles October 30, 1938 radio broadcast of an adaptation of the H. G. Wells novel War of the Worlds seized the country in panic has such a great hoax been played on the American people.  Now, more than seventy years later, the prankster is Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich and the sucker-in-chief is previously well-regarded Chicago United States Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald.

Fitzgerald, with the bait and hook firmly attached to his gills, stood before the press yesterday and announced preposterous allegations against Governor Blagojevich such as trying to reward the owners of the Chicago Tribune if they would fire editorial writers who had been critical of Blagojevich, auctioning off the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama to the highest bidder, or even appointing himself to prevent the Illinois legislature from impeaching him as governor.  The evidence against Blagojevich?  Hours and hours of tapes of conversations, mostly between Blagojevich and his chief-of-staff, all of which were secured by the use of bugs and wiretaps.

The corruption investigation of Blagojevich was hardly a secret.  No, it was widely reported.  Even Monday, fielding questions from the press, Blagojevich gave a clue to his practical joke which was still in progress when he said anybody was welcome to tape his conversations, public or private.  Fitzgerald, ordinarily an intuitive fellow, had fallen so far into Blagojevich's trap that he missed the hint entirely.  No wonder Blagojevich was grinning during his court appearance yesterday and why he walked over to shake the prosecutor's hand.

If you are not a fan of Carl Hiaasen novels, you, too, may have missed the joke.  Blagojevich, knowing his phones were tapped and office bugged was reading a carefully scripted adaptation of a Hiaasen anthology.  You don't think that corruption, in this day and age, could possibly be as blatant as portrayed by Blagojevich, do you?  Hell no.  Sadly, the federal court system does not permit cameras so we can witness the actual unveiling of this hoax. 

I am pretty sure I know the epilogue (is there such a thing as an epilogue to a hoax?).  The Illinois legislature is moving forward, quickly, with a plan to convert the Senate appointment into a special election.  Before the legislature can act, Blagojevich, who is now out on a $4,500 bond, will appoint Mike Ditka to the Senate and together they will be feted in a tickertape parade down Michigan Avenue.

This from a press release on the web site of my representative in Congress:

December 3, 2008

Miami, Florida --- Cong. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen thought it was a hoax when President-Elect Barak [sic] Obama called her twice today and she proceeded to hang up on him, twice.

 

Ros-Lehtinen was working in her South Florida district when she received a call on her cell from a Chicago based phone number and an aide informed her that President-Elect Obama wished to speak to her. A gentleman sounding like Obama introduced himself when Ros-Lehtinen cut him off and said that “I’m sorry but I think this is a joke from one of the South Florida radio stations known for these pranks” and hung up.

 

A short time later, Cong. and Chief of Staff designate Rahm Emmanuel called Ileana and stated “Ileana, I cannot believe that you hung up on the President-Elect.” Ros-Lehtinen told Rahm that she didn’t believe the call was legitimate and hung up on Emmanuel. A staffer to the Congresswoman informed her that Chairman Howard Berman of the Foreign Affairs Committee needed to speak with her urgently. When Chairman Berman called, Ros-Lehtinen urged him to recount a story only both of them would know, which he did, and told her that she had indeed hung up on the President-Elect.

 

 

 

Ros-Lehtinen is such a bright light.  Note the mis-spelling of the first name of the President-Elect.

Notes from Wisconsin...

I returned Monday from five days in Wisconsin (hence the Rant hiatus).  I particularly enjoyed visits with family and friends.  On Saturday, my daughter flew up to Wisconsin and joined me so I could make amends for not having ever taken her to a Packer game at Lambeau Field. 

Which brings me to two points:

1.   The economy in Wisconsin is suffering as it is in much of the country.  The Packers were a long shot for the playoffs going into Sunday's game and they were matched against the Houston Texans, a team with no following outside of Houston, no star power, and no playoff prospects.  The temperature at game time Sunday was 3°.  Despite all of this, there was not an empty seat in the stadium.  I'm so proud to be a Packer fan.

2.   Last season, the Packers finished the regular season with a 13-3 record and only lost the NFC Championship in overtime.  The only question mark going into the 2008 season was whether Aaron Rodgers could fill the shoes of Brett Favre.  Rodgers did - superbly.  And yet, the Packers are now 5-8 and will be at home watching the post-season.  With only a couple of exceptions, the defense, special teams, and penalties have killed the Packers' hopes of building on last season.  This year, it is so frustrating to be a Packer fan.

 

December 3, 2008

Who is this man?

This is a first - a Daily Rant contest.  The first one to e-mail me with the correct answer will win a FREE subscription to The Daily Rant.

Alright.  The truth is that I need your help.  This is one of a set of four photographs in a private collection apparently taken by the same photographer.  The other three photos are of Eleanor Roosevelt, Carl Sandburg, and Robert Frost.  I am guessing that they were taken in the fifties or early sixties.  We would like to figure out the identity of the mystery man.  Is it William Frawley's grumpy brother?


William Frawley

E-Mail me the solution to the mystery.  Please...


Mystery Man

 

December 2, 2008

The title of an evening show on CNN:
Campbell Brown: No Bias, No Bull.

I am a fan of Campbell Brown and I frequently like her show which makes an effort to be more middle of the road than either Fox or MSNBC.  Sometimes even I need a break from Keith Olbermann.  Ms. Brown's signature commentary is entitled "Cutting Through The Bull". 

Last night, however, Brown stepped into the bullshit instead of cutting through it.  So much so that her name took on a new significance, if you get my drift. 

The subject of the commentary was Obama's reaction to a question from the press about the disparaging remarks he and Hillary Clinton had leveled at one another during the primary campaign, particularly with regard to foreign policy issues and experience.  Brown introduced the topic by playing a video clip of Obama with the lead-in: "This is worth listening to."

 
In the clip, Obama said: "I mean - I think this is fun for the press to try to stir up whatever quotes were generated during the course of the campaign.  No, I understand.  And you're having fun."
 
Brown conveniently stopped the clip before Obama's very next words "But, and there is nothing wrong with that.  I'm not faulting it."  which was followed by an actual answer to the question - the question which Brown suggested by CNN's editing and her commentary that Obama belittled and did not answer.

Watch for yourself.  1. CNN commentary   2. Full Obama clip from MSNBC [begin at 8:21]

This intentional editing was done for the sole purpose of creating a juicy commentary.  It was dishonest and, in fact, Fox-like (which is worse than dishonest).

Come on, Campbell.  Cut through the bull.  You are better than that.

Hazardous Duty...

 

December 1, 2008

Biggest underachiever in the NFL?

Sadly, the Green Bay Packers.  They are 5 - 7 and have lost seven of the last ten games and it has nothing to do with Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers.  Heartbreaking to Packer fans.

Obama and Lieberman...

The Senate Dems were clearly headed toward stripping Turn-Coat Joe of his chairmanship of the Homeland Security Committee when Obama made a phone call to Harry Reid asking that Lieberman not lose his chair.  Some think Obama wanted Lieberman to be indebted to him when the inevitable close votes come in the Senate.  Yes, I'm sure that is part of the equation.  However, I think that an equally important consideration for Obama was the desire to send a message to the Republicans and the country that there is, indeed, change coming.  In this case, the change is a serious demotion of partisanship as an important consideration in doing things.  Along this line, Rahm Emanuel reportedly met with Republican leaders and gave them his personal cell number to assure them access.  This is smart and it gives us a real reason to believe that there will be change we can believe in.

Barack, you're a better man than I.  I would have asked for Lieberman's.... [use your imagination].

I actually think that the heads of Chrysler, Ford, and GM should don sackcloth next week, hold a press conference to say that they get it, and actually take Greyhound busses from Detroit to Washington.

By the way, last week the Insurance Institute announced the results of the most recent testing of new cars.  More models than ever before, 72 models, achieved the highest rating on all of the crash tests.  Honda?  Ever single vehicle Honda makes passed all the tests.  Chrysler?  Not one model.  Zippo.  Gee, Chrysler, how is it you intend to convince a skeptical Congress that your company is viable; that is, how you are going to persuade any consumers to actually buy one of your products?

Obama and Clinton[s]...

Apparently, the announcement of Hillary as Secretary of State is coming later this morning.  I haven't heard anything specific about this but I would guess that Obama is a hell of a chess player.  Watching him over the coming years is going to be fascinating. 

 

November 27, 2008

Thanks to Obama I have Thanksgiving...

I know what you are thinking.

"Katz is engaging in McCain-like hyperbole.  What he really means to say is that on Thanksgiving we can be thankful that Obama won."

But no, dear Rant readers.  I meant just what I wrote.  Thanks to Obama I have Thanksgiving. 

"Ricky, you have some splaining to do."

In my September 30 Rant, I wrote:

I've decided.  On election night, I'm watching the results from a hotel room in Canada.  No matter the result, there will be such a stampede north that the Canadians will start erecting fences.  So, if it is McCain, I'll have a head start.  If it's Obama, I'll be a salmon and swim back, against the current.

Stay with me here.  If I had traveled to Canada on November 3rd, I would have missed the Canadian Thanksgiving which is celebrated on the second Monday in October.  If McCain had won, I would have stayed up north missing today's celebration of Thanksgiving in the United States.  So, thanks to Obama winning, I am here at home celebrating Thanksgiving with my family.  Thank you, Barack.

 

I hope today is special for all of you.

 

November 25, 2008

Mea Culpa...

On November 13, I bragged about not being a superstitious person and pointed out that I had purchased this domain the weekend before the election:

www.FourMoreForObama.com

Well, I got cocky.  In yesterday's Rant, I bragged on Aaron Rodgers, the quarterback of the Green Bay Packers.  About an hour ago, Rodgers and his team left the biggest stink in New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina.  Let that be a lesson to me.


Tired of Sarah Palin?  Trust me.  This is worth an investment of 28 seconds...

Click this link if the video did not appear.

 

November 24, 2008

Worried about the economy, your 401K, or the myriad of other problems facing our next president?  Who isn't?  Yet, I am quite sure that almost all, if not all, of the readers of the Daily Rant will have a bountiful meal with family and friends on Thursday.  Sadly, there are many people, some with families and some alone for whom the Thanksgiving meal will be another daily struggle to eat.

My recommendation for enhancing your enjoyment of Thanksgiving Day is to make a generous gift to a local food bank so that others who are in need will have it a bit easier.

If you don't know where to give, go to FeedingAmerica.org to find information for a food bank which serves your community.  I know you will be glad you did.

Thoughts about Brett Favre...

Many of you know that I live and die with the Green Bay Packers.  Early, this summer, when Brett Favre was going through his unretirement and the Packers were on the spot about whether to take him back or trade him, the Rant was dormant.  So, this is my first Rant about Brett Favre.  While I suspect that my view is similar to many Packer fans, there are clearly a number of other perspectives and I haven't a clue if there is a consensus.  So, this Rant is my take on the matter.

I am, first and foremost, a Packer fan.  Many may not remember that Vince Lombardi resigned as coach of the Packers after the 1967 season, was general manager of the Packers in 1968, and became the head coach of the Washington Redskins for the 1969 season.  I wanted Lombardi to be successful with the Redskins but, had the Redskins played the Packers in 1969, there would have been no confusion about my loyalty.  Similarly, I remain a fan of Mike Holmgren unless Seattle is playing Green Bay.

Brett's situation has another wrinkle.  He was under contract to the Packers and the Packers made the decision to go with Aaron Rodgers in 2008 instead of Brett Favre.  Hence, Brett is playing this year wearing a different shade of green. 

There is no question that Brett Favre is having an excellent season with the Jets.  He has quieted any doubters who questioned his physical abilities or his ability to learn a new offensive system.  Today, against the previously undefeated Tennessee Titans, Favre was 25 for 32 with two TD passes.  The Jets are now 10-3.  Favre is already the only player to be named league MVP three times and, I suggest, he is in the thick of the competition for that honor this year.

Nevertheless, I enthusiastically support the decision to go with Rodgers.  Trading Favre didn't mean that he couldn't play or even that he couldn't be a star.  The decision meant that while Favre had another year, or two, or maybe even three left to give, Rodgers could be the QB for the next ten years.  More than halfway through this season, there is nothing which brings this judgment into serious question.  I am a big Aaron Rodgers fan and being so does not diminish my feelings about Brett Favre.

The King is dead.  Long live the King.

P.S.
Favre for MVP.

Miscellaneous...

This week, I heard two pithy sayings which were new to me.  I love pithy sayings and am happy to share in case you missed them.

Congressman Gary Ackerman, D-NY, at the hearing with the heads of the Big Three:  "You don't want to put your last tourniquet on a dead guy."

Paul Begala describing Obama Chief-of-Staff Rahm Emanuel:  "He is as strong as garlic in a milk shake."

 

 

November 21, 2008

I received the following e-mail last night.  The logistics of this trip seem daunting to me and I intend to follow their progress.

Hi friends,

I just wanted to let you know about a road trip I'm embarking on tomorrow with four friends.  We're planning to walk a mile in each of the 48 continental states over ten days.  The idea was hatched by my friend Jordi (who has MS) in an effort to see the country while he's still in good enough shape.

We've started a blog here which we'll be updating periodically:
http://48countrymiles.blogspot.com/

Here's an article that came out in the Cambridge Chronicle:
http://bit.ly/38Tu

If you're in the NYC area there will be a story aired on WCBS 880 radio tomorrow about our trip.

I'll be back in New York on December 1.  Wishing you all the best.

Dan
 

 

Gave some thought to traveling to Atlanta to watch the streaking Miami Hurricanes play Georgia Tech last night.  Glad I didn't.  Enough said.

 

November 20, 2008

The following piece is Rant worthy...

In the first two weeks since the election, President-elect Barack Obama has broken with a tradition established over the past eight years through his controversial use of complete sentences, political observers say.

Millions of Americans who watched Mr. Obama's appearance on CBS's 60 Minutes on Sunday witnessed the president-elect's unorthodox verbal tick, which had Mr. Obama employing grammatically correct sentences virtually every time he opened his mouth.

But Mr. Obama's decision to use complete sentences in his public pronouncements carries with it certain risks, since after the last eight years many Americans may find his odd speaking style jarring.

According to presidential historian Davis Logsdon of the University of Minnesota, some Americans might find it "alienating" to have a president who speaks English as if it were his first language.

"Every time Obama opens his mouth, his subjects and verbs are in agreement," says Mr. Logsdon. "If he keeps it up, he is running the risk of sounding like an elitist."

The historian said that if Mr. Obama insists on using complete sentences in his speeches, the public may find itself saying, "Okay, subject, predicate, subject predicate -- we get it, stop showing off."

The president-elect's stubborn insistence on using complete sentences has already attracted a rebuke from one of his harshest critics, Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska.

"Talking with complete sentences there and also too talking in a way that ordinary Americans like Joe the Plumber and Tito the Builder can't really do there, I think needing to do that isn't tapping into what Americans are needing also," she said.

Andy Borowitz in the Huffington Post

Late night humor...

"Barack Obama, like many people, uses a Blackberry, but the Secret Service says this is a security hazard, so they took it away. I'm thinking, well, this is not fair. George Bush, do they let him keep his Gameboy? What's the problem?" --David Letterman

McCain to Obama: "I know I'm trailing by 192 electoral votes two weeks after the election, but I've got you right where I want you!"  --David Letterman

 

November 18, 2008

The car industry bailout is this week's hot topic.  I'll have a Rant on the topic later this week but, in the interest of increasing the CAFE standards of The Daily Rant, I need to get some mileage out of some outside material.

 

Late night humor...

"President-elect Barack Obama is still looking for a new White House dog. The search is on. In fact, do you realize he has spent more time selecting a dog than John McCain did selecting a running mate?" --Jay Leno

"Sarah Palin this week was on her 'You've Got to be Kidding Me' tour. She did more interviews than she did during the campaign, this week. She was on Matt Lauer, she was on Greta Van Susteren, Wolf Blitzer, Larry King. She would have done this show, she said, but there was a scheduling conflict. Either that, or it was because I called her a retarded stewardess." --Bill Maher

"They asked Palin on Fox if she was going to run for president in 2012, and she said, and I'd like to quote this directly. She said, 'I'm like, okay God, if there is an open door for me somewhere, this is what I want. I always pray. I'm like, don't let me miss the open door.' Even Britney Spears is at home going, 'You dumb shit.'  --Bill Maher

"The big political scuttlebutt now is that Obama apparently is asking Hillary Clinton to be secretary of state. A grueling job that would take her all over the world, constantly away from home. Bill Clinton said 'Go for it!'" --Bill Maher

"President-elect Barack Obama is hard at work selecting a cabinet. And the big rumor today is he might name Hillary Clinton secretary of state. That would be something -- finally a secretary Bill doesn't want to sleep with." --Jimmy Kimmel

"But the Bushes are packing up. This is eight years they've lived in the White House, and this is interesting. They're going to be gone in January, and the $4 billion moving contract went to Halliburton." --David Letterman

"Big changes, of course, in store for the Obama family. They've been writing about when Barack Obama's daughters, Malia and Sasha, move into the White House, they're gonna have to get used to having a chef cook all their meals. Yeah, the White House chef is furious about the kids. And he said, 'Great, four more years of making Spaghettio's and chicken fingers.'" --Conan O'Brien

"In Washington, D.C., today, Dick Cheney gave Joe Biden tour of the vice president's living quarters. Yeah, afterwards, Biden said he loves the house, but he'll probably turn the dungeon back into a rec room." --Conan O'Brien

A joke from an unknown source...

A female CNN journalist heard about a very old Jewish man who had been going to the Western Wall to pray, twice a day, every day, for a long, long time.
 
So she went to check it out. She went to the Western Wall and there he was, walking slowly up to the holy site.

She watched him pray and after about 45 minutes, when he turned to leave, using a cane and moving very slowly, she approached him for an interview.

"Pardon me, sir, I'm Rebecca Smith from CNN. What's your name?"

"Morris Fishbein," he replied.

"Sir, how long have you been coming to the Western Wall and praying?"
"For about 60 years."
 
"60 years! That's amazing! What do you pray for?"
 
"I pray for peace between the Christians, Jews and the Muslims. I pray for all the wars and all the hatred to stop. I pray for all our children to grow up safely as responsible adults, and to love their fellow man."
 
"How do you feel after doing this for 60 years?"
 
"Like I'm talking to a fuckin' wall."


Yesterday, I neglected to gloat mention:

Packers      37

Bears           3

 

November 16, 2008

To paraphrase Sarah Palin, a shout out to Howard Dean...

In January 2004, Howard Dean went into the Iowa Democratic Caucus as the prohibitive favorite.  He had made unprecedented use of the Internet to raise money and support, particularly among young people.  Unfortunately, most of these young Dean supporters turned out not to be voters and Dean went from phenom to phlop in one instant on the night of the Iowa caucus returns when the Dean Scream was invented:

Not only are we going to New Hampshire, we're going to South Carolina and Oklahoma and Arizona and North Dakota and New Mexico, and we're going to California and Texas and New York ... And we're going to South Dakota and Oregon and Washington and Michigan, and then we're going to Washington, D.C., to take back the White House! Yeeeagah!

Dean could have withdrawn to Vermont after his flame-out as a national pol.  He didn't.  After the Kerry loss in 2004, Dean ran hard for the chair of the DNC, pledging that he had no personal political ambition other than  to make the Democratic Party competitive on all levels in all states.  Howard Dean was elected chair of the DNC in February 2005.  In football terms, Dean started with the ball deep in his own territory and marched the ball down the field, through Republican territory, and scored a touchdown with a two-point conversion for good measure.  However, instead of a victory dance in the endzone, Dean is quietly stepping down from the DNC.

Although Howard Dean has deliberately stayed out of the limelight focused on Barack Obama, Dean deserves great credit for the success of the Democratic Party in 2006 and 2008, including the election of Obama.  Howard Dean "invented" the use of the Internet for fundraising and building grassroots support, the use of which was perfected by Obama.  Howard Dean implemented a fifty state strategy which put the Democrats on the offense (and the Republicans on the defense) in every state, red or blue.

Yes, we also have George W. Bush to thank for the political climate and Barack Obama for being a transcendent candidate.  But the climate was quite ripe for Gore in 2000 and Kerry in 2004 and yet...  

One of my  favorite quotes is from Will Rogers who famously said, "I am not a member of any organized political party, I am a Democrat."  After 2000 and 2004, Rogers' fatalistic view of Democratic politics lived on in Democrats who feared that the Democrats could screw it up even when the Republican president had a 75% disapproval rating and the polls showed Obama holding a near double digit lead going into election day.  As it played out, Will Rogers would have been dumbstruck if he were alive to see his Democratic Party on November 4.  And, if words did fail Will, I think he would have still managed a tip of his hat to Howard Dean.

 

 

November 14, 2008

The Emancipation Proclamation - 2008

The election season is over.  The Daily Rant will transition, both in frequency and subject matter.  I will not predict an actual schedule other than to say that the frequency of the Daily Rant will be less.  The subject matter will diversify to include more than just politics, depending on what catches my attention, strikes me funny, or pisses me off.

Many people on The Daily Rant mailing list have asked to be included.  Many others have landed there because of the [mis]fortune of being in my e-mail address book.  For the most part, I don't know which is which.

Therefore, I hereby proclaim that Saturday, November 15, 2008 will be The Daily Rant's Emancipation Date.  All names on the mailing list will be liberated until and unless you e-mail asking to be re-subscribed.  If you chose not to reenlist, please feel free to bookmark www.TheDailyRant.us and stop by from time to time.  If you like what you see, please spread the word.  Thanks.

Hurricanes      16

Hokies      14

 

 

November 13, 2008

The Emancipation Proclamation - 2008

The election season is over.  The Daily Rant will transition, both in frequency and subject matter.  I will not predict an actual schedule other than to say that the frequency of the Daily Rant will be less.  The subject matter will diversify to include more than just politics, depending on what catches my attention, strikes me funny, or pisses me off.

Many people on The Daily Rant mailing list have asked to be included.  Many others have landed there because of the [mis]fortune of being in my e-mail address book.  For the most part, I don't know which is which.

Therefore, I hereby proclaim that Saturday, November 15, 2008 will be The Daily Rant's Emancipation Date.  All names on the mailing list will be liberated until and unless you e-mail asking to be re-subscribed.  If you chose not to reenlist, please feel free to bookmark www.TheDailyRant.us and stop by from time to time.  If you like what you see, please spread the word.  Thanks.

As promised, something unrelated to politics...

Last night, I went to a jazz concert in Ft. Lauderdale.  The artist was 23 year-old singer Rachael Price.  When I bought the ticket, I thought I was going to see a fabulous young singer I had heard perform briefly with Arturo Sandoval at the 2007 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.  I was mistaken.  That singer was Dana Lauren.

However, Rachael Price and the three musicians supporting her, all in their mid-twenties, were wonderful.  Ms. Price spoke about how jazz singers are always asked to sing blues songs.  She was first asked to sing blues when she was fourteen.  She said that she had resisted the blues because she had a great family and childhood and, as a result, had no way to empathize with the mood of blues songs.  However, she explained, she is now 23, graduated from college and an adult.  And, to top it off, her mother stopped paying for her cell phone.  Now, she concluded, she is ready to sing the blues.

Buying the ticket turned out to be a most fortuitous mistake.  Could Sarah Palin be right?  God opening a door?

I forgot to mention...

I am not a superstitious person.  If I was, I probably would not have purchased this domain the weekend before the election:

www.FourMoreForObama.com

As of now, I have high hopes for this domain.  Stay tuned.

In 2002, when Georgia Senator Saxby Chambliss ran against and defeated Max Cleland, Chambliss ran ads against Cleland which enraged even fellow Republican, John McCain, who said at the time:

"I'd never seen anything like that ad. Putting pictures of Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden next to the picture of a man who left three limbs on the battlefield -- it's worse than disgraceful. It's reprehensible."

Today, McCain will be in Georgia campaigning for Chambliss.

Late night humor...

"One of the Obama girls is allergic to dogs, so someone has offered the Obamas a puppy that is completely hairless. Yeah. In fact, the children have already given the puppy the name James Carville." --Conan O'Brien

"The only awkward moment was when Bush complimented Obama on his campaign, he said, you did a heck of a job, Brownie." --Jimmy Kimmel

 

November 12, 2008

The Emancipation Proclamation - 2008

The election season is over.  The Daily Rant will transition, both in frequency and subject matter.  I will not predict an actual schedule other than to say that the frequency of the Daily Rant will be less.  The subject matter will diversify to include more than just politics, depending on what catches my attention, strikes me funny, or pisses me off.

Many people on The Daily Rant mailing list have asked to be included.  Many others have landed there because of the [mis]fortune of being in my e-mail address book.  For the most part, I don't know which is which.

Therefore, I hereby proclaim that Saturday, November 15, 2008 will be The Daily Rant's Emancipation Date.  All names on the mailing list will be liberated until and unless you e-mail asking to be re-subscribed.  If you chose not to reenlist, please feel free to bookmark www.TheDailyRant.us and stop by from time to time.  If you like what you see, please spread the word.  Thanks.

Yesterday was Veteran's Day...

President Bush spent his final Veterans Day as president in New York aboard the USS Intrepid Sea, Air, & Space Museum in New York City.  Bush took time to reflect on his last term and what he will miss after January 20th when his powers are passed to President-elect Obama:

"Oftentimes they ask me, what are you going to miss about the presidency? And first reaction is, I say, no traffic jams in New York. The truth of the matter is, I will miss being the Commander-in-Chief of such a fabulous group of men and women -- those who wear the uniform of the United States military."

And what a Commander-in-Chief he has been.  As of November 6, 2008, there have been 4193 American fatalities and almost 31,000 American casualties in Iraq, the war that many Americans think should never happened.  (Remember WMDs?)

Peter Kauffmann, a fellow at the Truman National Security Project, said it well:

"For decades, Republicans have worked to perfect the art of lapel pin patriotism – creating and exploiting iconic imagery for political gain while neglecting the substantive needs of our veterans. We see the devastating effect of this focus on rhetoric over reality in the dismal treatment of our wounded heroes at Walter Reed, attempts to block the new GI Bill, and the Bush Administration’s failure to adequately fund mental health care."

Perhaps, the American people are beginning to see through this Republican B.S.  In the past two election cycles, Democrats have added ten new Democratic veterans to Congress. Last week, Barack Obama helped close the gap among military voters, winning 44 percent of veterans as opposed to John Kerry’s 41 percent in 2004. 

It is my expectation that the respect veterans really deserve will be manifested more properly beginning January 20, 2009.

 

November 11, 2008

The Emancipation Proclamation - 2008

The election season is over.  The Daily Rant will transition, both in frequency and subject matter.  I will not predict an actual schedule other than to say that the frequency of the Daily Rant will be less.  The subject matter will diversify to include more than just politics, depending on what catches my attention, strikes me funny, or pisses me off.

Many people on The Daily Rant mailing list have asked to be included.  Many others have landed there because of the [mis]fortune of being in my e-mail address book.  For the most part, I don't know which is which.

Therefore, I hereby proclaim that Saturday, November 15, 2008 will be The Daily Rant's Emancipation Date.  All names on the mailing list will be liberated until and unless you e-mail asking to be re-subscribed.  If you chose not to reenlist, please feel free to bookmark www.TheDailyRant.us and stop by from time to time.  If you like what you see, please spread the word.  Thanks.

Did you catch Morning Joe on MSNBC yesterday morning?  Joe Scarborough used the "F" word (fuck), much to the surprise and amazement of the other panelists.  Pay attention to the expression on Mike Barnacle's face:


Click this link if the video did not appear.

Aside from the obvious history made with the election of the first African-American President, less attention has been paid to the torch being handed to a new generation.  Clinton and Bush (43rd) were both born in 1946.  Obama was born in 1961.  There is a whole group of boomers (like me) who will be older than the president for the first time and, possibly, will be older than all future presidents.  Sorry, McCain.  You're not getting another shot. 

According to Answers.com, middle age is the period between 40 and 60.  If Obama serves two terms, when his successor takes office, most of the boomers will be certifiably old.  Obama, on the other hand will be 55 on Inauguration Day in 2017.  What will this ex-president do with the rest of his life?  Feel sorry for us old-timers?

Late night humor...

"And in other election news, Massachusetts voted to decriminalize marijuana, it won by 65% of the vote, which is amazing. Well, that is huge. It's really big when you consider, most marijuana supporters don't even show up at the polls until next Tuesday." --Jay Leno

"The effects of the Barack Obama election win are still reverberating throughout the country. A lot of pride in the African-American community. Have you noticed that? And listen to the latest rumor. You hear about this? ... Michael Jackson now considering going back to being a black guy." --Jay Leno

 

 

 

November 10, 2008

Final final thoughts on McCain...

After the November 6 Rant (Final Thoughts on McCain), there was the following exchange...

Rick,
 
You are right, he does have a LOT of failings, but then I also suspect that someone that went through what he did would never have their head screwed on entirely correctly after that - thus some of the behavior is not surprising.  I have a friend that was the sole survivor of two Force Recon (Marine equivalent to the Green Berets) units and he finished his tour as a load master on C-130's that made low pass drops of supplies without landing because it was too dangerous.  He then spent the return flight running his hands around the walls of the airplane looking for any bleed air leaks that might have been caused by the small arms fire from the ground.  When he got home, they were still spitting on vets.  Needless to say, he was pretty well off beam.  He's better now, thanks to counseling from Viet Now, but he will never again be "right" - and he was not in a POW camp.
 
With that said, two things to think about.  Given all of that, I'm happy McCain is not the PE - not because I don't like him or all of that, but because I'm not sure he will ever be "over" Viet Nam.  We (the US) put him there, so we can't really criticize him too strongly for those failings.  Second, and perhaps more important, he gave what I thought was one of the best concession speeches that I have heard - and he quickly moved to silence those that reacted negatively (booed) when he did so.  I was impressed that he did so well - and also glad that he and the campaign decided to NOT let Sara speak then.
 
Just some thoughts. 
 
Alan
Alan,
 
Name me a losing candidate who has not given a good concession speech.  They are all the same:  "time to unite behind the new president for the good of the country". 
 
Most are, as you note, routine, but we thought that McCain's was better than average - that was the point of the remarks. 
 
It's not how you act when the battle is over.  No honor in doing the right thing when the election is no longer at stake (like McCain admitting he acted dishonorably in 2000 after the primaries were lost).  The real test of honor, I submit, is how you act in crunch time.  And despite what McCain has tried to sell for thirty-five years, the experience gained as a POW does not qualify one to be president and the honor shown as a POW is not a lifetime pass for dishonorable acts in the post-war world. 
 
You will get no disagreement from me on that.  My only point was that such erratic behavior is not surprising given what he went through, albeit a long time ago but I can tell you that time doesn't fix it.  I'm just glad he's not the one going into the office. 
 
Rick 

Alan

 

November 8, 2008

Late night humor...
"Ladies and gentlemen, Barack Obama is our new president. And I think I speak for most Americans when I say, anybody mind if he starts a little early?" --David Letterman

"At the end of the evening, the electoral vote count was 349 for Obama, 148 for McCain. Or, as Fox News says, too close to call." --David Letterman

"But right about now Joe the plumber is meeting with his transition team. They're going to help ease him from obscurity back to oblivion." --David Letterman

"How about Sarah Palin, ladies and gentlemen. Right now on her way back to Alaska. And I'm thinking oh, I wouldn't want to be a moose now." --David Letterman

"Did you see the concession speech last night? John McCain was generous. He was gracious. He was statesman-like. And I was thinking well, he should have tried that earlier." --David Letterman

"People all over the world are celebrating Barack Obama’s victory. In fact, Sarah Palin watched the Russians celebrating from her house." --David Letterman

"And people were worried about the Bradley effect. Apparently, it was not nearly as strong as the Bush effect." --Jay Leno

"After congratulating President-elect Obama, President Bush called John McCain to commend him on his well-fought campaign. President Bush also phoned Sarah Palin and she said, 'Oh yeah, I'm sure this is the real Bush, I'm not falling for that again.'" --Jay Leno

"You know who is really, really happy that John McCain did not win last night? The boyfriend of Sarah Palin's daughter. He doesn't have to get married now. 'Whew, thank God!'" --Jay Leno

"And in what has to be one of the most ridiculous moments yesterday, it looks like convicted Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska has won re-election. How does that make the guy who lost feel, huh? What's that concession speech like? 'We gave it our best, but the voters are preferred a convicted, 84-year-old felon who's going to prison.'" --Jay Leno

"Last night, after Barack Obama was declared the winner, President Bush called Obama, promised to work with him to guarantee a smooth transition. Yeah. Yeah, when we heard this, Obama said, 'Thanks, but you've done enough.'" --Conan O'Brien

"A lot of speculation about Sarah Palin's future, but last night, she denied rumors that she's getting ready to run for president in 2012. Palin said, 'That’s a long time away. I’ll be a great-grandmother by then.'" --Conan O'Brien

"President Bush called Sen. Obama last night to congratulate him and this is an actual quote. He said, "What an awesome night for you and your family." I think his eloquence is what we will remember most about Bush. Obama thanked the President for his call and for all he did to help him get elected." --Jimmy Kimmel

"The real challenge, though, is for Joe Biden because he's got to figure out how to get Dick Cheney out of the vice presidential mansion. As you know, Dick Cheney is armed and has a history of shooting old men." --Jimmy Kimmel

"The stock market dropped over 400 points today, which is not a reflection on Obama. No, the brokers just realized they’ve still got three months of George Bush." --Craig Ferguson

"This is fun, because Republican campaign insiders are now spilling their guts about Sarah Palin. Apparently she's not taken the defeat well. And it must be true because today before shooting a moose, she pistol-whipped it." --David Letterman

 

 

November 6, 2008

Final thoughts on John McCain...
After listening to McCain’s graceful concession speech, I seriously pondered whether I should listen to "the better angels of my nature" (ironically, a phrase from Lincoln's first Inaugural Address) and not rant any more about McCain, not kick the dog now that he is down and out. Then I realized that I don’t have any better angels, hence the existence of The Daily Rant. So, with that warning, please realize that if you read on, it may lead to the inescapable conclusion that you have no better angels either.

I spent fourteen hours on Tuesday at the Obama headquarters in Miami Beach, volunteering with about two dozen lawyers in the command center which monitored the many hundreds of lawyers at polling places throughout Miami-Dade County. A notebook computer was set to monitor MSNBC beginning at about 6 PM. We gathered around the computer as election results began to be announced. MSNBC called the Pennsylvania race early for Obama and a joyous whoop was heard. For me, the joy I felt and feel was not only because I believe that Obama has the potential to be a great president but also because I believe that McCain had the potential to be a dangerous president.

Dangerous?  I’m talking about character, not issues. The John McCain image as a man of honor, straight talk, and country first which was carefully created and nurtured throughout his political career was more phony than fact. I’ll make the case with some highlights, some bullet points. Thankfully it is no longer necessary to build the total case that I would have in my days as a prosecutor.

  • McCain’s career is the result of privilege, not merit. His father and grandfather were admirals. There is nothing wrong with that. However, because of being a legacy at Annapolis, he was admitted even though he clearly did not meet the very high academic admission standards of the military academies. This explains why he graduated 894 out of 899 in his class at Annapolis. Normally, only the top of the class is given the opportunity to become a naval aviator. One can reasonably assume that a student at the bottom of the class who becomes an aviator is given that opportunity because of his lineage. And, the fact is that McCain was a lousy pilot, having crashed four jets before he was ultimately shot down in Viet Nam.
     
  • McCain has repeatedly made dishonorable decisions which belie his created image as a man of honor. ITEM: Upon his return from Viet Nam, McCain learned that his wife had been disfigured in a car accident. He literally turned his back on his wife and children, met Cindy (a beauty queen and heiress) at a bar, and applied for a new marriage license before his divorce was final. ITEM: He was admittedly very close to Charles Keating, the biggest figure at the heart of the 1980's S&L scandal, openly enjoyed Keating"s largess and, as a sitting U.S. Senator, attended a meeting of federal regulators on Keating’s behalf. McCain would later call this "the worst mistake of my life". There are a lot to chose from. ITEM: After his 2000 presidential bid was over, McCain called for the removal of the Confederate battle flag from atop the South Carolina Statehouse, acknowledging that his refusal to take such a stance during his primary battle for South Carolina was a "sacrifice of principle for personal ambition. I feared that if I answered honestly, I could not win the South Carolina primary. So I chose to compromise my principles." ITEM: The McCain Campaign ran an ad which accused Obama of supporting comprehensive sex education for kindergarten children when, in fact, the legislation cited in the ad provided for educating kindergartners to defend themselves against sexual predators and was supported by a coalition of education and public health organizations, including the Illinois Parent Teacher Association, the Illinois State Medical Society, the Illinois Public Health Association and the Illinois Education Association. Even after the media widely debunked McCain’s ad, McCain steadfastly defended it.
     
  • McCain has anger issues which, as president, would have been dangerous. This fact is best illustrated by some of McCain’s outbursts toward Senate colleagues, all Republicans:
  • "Fuck you! I know more about this than anyone else in the room." --to Republican Sen. John Cornyn, during a testy exchange about immigration legislation.
    "No, I'm calling you a fucking jerk." --to fellow Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, when Grassley asked "Are you calling me stupid?"

    "Only an asshole would put together a budget like this ... I wouldn't call you an asshole unless you really were an asshole." --to Republican Sen. Pete Domenici, during a Senate budget hearing.
    This pattern of behavior caused Republican Senator Thad Cochran to say, "The thought of his [McCain] being president sends a cold chill down my spine. He is erratic. He is hotheaded. He loses his temper and he worries me."

     

  • McCain’s slogan, "Country First" is only a slogan, not a principle which guides his conduct or decisions.  After becoming the presumptive Republican nominee, McCain said that "We all know that the highest priority [for vice-president] is someone who can take your place." I only need two words to illustrate this bullet point: Sarah Palin.
  • By now, you are probably wondering why I am making such an effort to make the case against McCain after he has lost. Surely, he won’t be a presidential candidate again in 2012 when he is 76. First, I consider it imperative that the real John McCain be remembered and not the image which was being resurrected in his concession speech. Second, I want you to understand why I suggest that McCain’s next career choice be out of politics.

    McCain's "straight talk" [wink] would be well-suited for Viagra commercials with the last Republican to lose the presidency, Bob Dole. It might also give Cindy something to smile about now that John is off the campaign trail. You betcha!

    November 5, 2008

    Knocking down barriers...

    July 27, 2004 was a turning point in American political history, even though we didn’t know it at the time. That was the date that a young Illinois state legislator who was largely unknown on the national scene gave the keynote address at the 2004 Democratic Convention in Boston. It was a speech which grabbed the attention of all who heard it. [It is worth your time to listen to the speech again, now that we understand its significance.  Here is the link.]

    Like so many, I heard that speech and thought that this young black man had a bright future in the Democratic Party. However, if you had told me that in a mere four years Barack Obama would be elected president of the United States, I would have bet the farm against it. Today, I am ecstatic to admit how wrong I was.

    That a relatively inexperienced black man named Barack Obama could be elected president is proof that this country has come a long way in its thinking about race. Clearly, in 2008, a majority of voters was open to the idea of electing an African-American president. But let us not get too comfortable, too satisfied, with this progress. Let us not think that we have reached the goal line in the battle against racism and bigotry. I suggest we are somewhere at mid-field, not even in the red zone.

    The landmark 1967 movie, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, broke new ground on the subject of mixed-race marriages. However, to sell the idea, to make it plausible to the audience, the black man in the relationship was written as an extremely handsome, articulate, well-educated, high-achieving physician portrayed by Sidney Poitier. Forty-one years later, it was plausible to a majority of the American people to elect an extremely handsome, articulate, well-educated, high-achieving lawyer portrayed by Barack Obama. But one of Joe Biden’s celebrated gaffes inadvertently accentuated this point when he said about Obama, then his opponent in the Democratic primaries, "I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy." While it was politically incorrect for Biden to have said this, it resonated because so many people understood and agreed with Biden.

    The attitudes of many Americans (including liberals who enthusiastically supported Barack Obama, a group to which I proudly belong) toward blacks who are less handsome, educated, and achieving than Barack Obama has not fully evolved. Is there anyone who would doubt that with the concern the American people have for the direction of this country, had the Democrats nominated a candidate who was as handsome, articulate, well-educated, and high-achieving as Barack Obama but who was white, that candidate would have been elected by a landslide of historic proportion? The number of McCain voters whose votes were largely motivated by race is easily the difference between 53% and a landslide.

    Bigotry, racial and otherwise, is still with us and is not in its last vestiges. If you doubt this, ask the gay community who had to be saddened, if not surprised, last night by the easy passage of anti-gay marriage initiatives on ballots from Florida to California.

    I regret being a party pooper at a time when we, as a country have so much to celebrate, so much of which to be proud. It’s just that we cannot allow ourselves to be collectively lulled into complacency, thinking that bigotry is in our past. No. It is a battle that all of us, myself included, must continue to fight.

     

    November 4, 2008

    Random bits at the end of the campaign...
    (my fearless predictions below)
    Obama's grandmother passed away on Monday.  How incredibly sad that she didn't live to see her grandson elected. 

    It also brings to my mind the tears shed by John Lewis at the Democratic Convention.  Lewis, who marched with Martin Luther King in the 60's, said that he never expected to live to see the day that a black American would be the presidential nominee of a major party. 

    In conjunction with the civil rights movement, Lyndon Johnson overcame southern resistance and convinced Congress to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlawed most forms of racial segregation. Johnson signed it into law on July 2, 1964. Legend has it that, as he put down his pen, Johnson told an aide, "We have lost the South for a generation," anticipating a backlash from Southern whites against the Democratic Party.

    The civil rights movement of the 60's used court rulings and legislation to force the issue of equality.  Obama's election will represent the enthusiastic choice of the majority of the American people.  We've come a long way.

    Before Sunday's Broncos-Dolphins game at Invesco Field, a plane flew over the area with an anti-McCain banner sailing behind. The message: MCCAIN IS A RAIDERS FAN

    On March 5, 2008, President Bush met with presumptive Republican nominee John McCain and Bush gave McCain his endorsement.  McCain proudly accepted the nomination and said, "I intend to have as much possible campaigning events together, as it is in keeping with the President's heavy schedule. And I look forward to that opportunity."

    The number of campaign appearances with Bush?  ZERO!

    Other top McCain allies who went missing in action are Phil Gramm, co-chair of the McCain campaign and the senior economic advisor, was  forced to resign after he proclaimed, in reference to the current recession, "We have sort of become a nation of whiners."  Carly Fiorina, a senior point person for the McCain campaign on business and economic matters, disappeared from view after declaring that none of the candidates, including McCain, had the experience to run a major corporation.  Nicolle Wallace had been serving as spokesperson for the McCain campaign.  In October, Ms. Wallace was the focal point of dissension within the McCain campaign, particularly as related to the handling of Sarah Palin and the clothing controversy.  Wallace responded to these accusations by saying, "If people want to throw me under the bus, my personal belief is that the most honorable thing to do is to lie there."  Since then, the campaign spokesperson has been largely absent from the media.

    Almost two weeks ago, in an interview Sarah Palin gave to NBC's Brian Williams, Palin surprised the press with the agreement to release her medical records (she was the only one of the four candidates on the two major party tickets not to have done so).  Guess what.  They have not been released.  While it may be moot after today (at least until she re-emerges on the national scene), the refusal to release the medical records certainly feeds the suspicions that there is something to hide.  For now, I'll refrain from speculation about what is being hidden, at least publicly.
    McCain's new line on the last day of the campaign: "The Mac is back."

    I can only think of one thing to say:  Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun.

    The best Obama ad which wasn't used:  Obama, endorsed by the Buffetts, Warrren and Jimmy.

    I saw this ad for the first time on Monday.  I enjoyed it and decided to share even though it won't sway any votes now.

    Click this link if the video did not appear.

    As promised yesterday, to enhance your election night analysis, I am including a chart which ranks the states in order of average IQ (I don't vouch for the ranking) and shows how that state voted in 2004.   Which states have gotten smarter in four years?

     

    The Daily Rant Projections

    2004

    2008

    Here is more candor than you might expect.  This is my 2004 prediction, verbatim. 

    The 2004 Daily Rant Electoral Vote Prediction...

    Considering my track record, this prediction is worth what you pay for admission to this site.  But, no guts, no glory.

    The story of this election will be the turnout of people, minorities and young voters, who have not traditionally turned out in big numbers.  There will be in excess of 125,000,000 votes cast for president.  Most of the pollsters will be embarrassed because they have not figured out how to poll these new voters who will break 3 to 2 for Kerry.  

    Kerry will win 304 electoral votes to 234 for Bush.  The popular vote will be Kerry 51%, Bush 48%, and Nader <1%.

    So, the question is, after showing my 2004 predictions, why are you wasting your valuable time reading this?

    The 2008 Daily Rant Electoral Vote Prediction...

    The story of this election will be the turnout of people, minorities and young voters, who have not traditionally turned out in big numbers.  There will be in excess of 140,000,000 votes cast for president.

    Obama will win 353 electoral votes to 185 for McCain.  The popular vote will be Obama 52%, McCain 47%, Nader, etc. 1%

    Note the similarity.  I didn't realize in 2004 that I was looking ahead four years. 

     

    November 3, 2008

    A shameless tease...  Late Monday night I will post my predictions for both the popular vote and the electoral vote.  There will also be a fascinating chart from the 2004 election which will greatly enhance your understanding and appreciation of the results as they come in on Tuesday night.

    November 2, 2008

    These three cartoons all deal with the same subject.

    I couldn't decide which to use..

     

    November 1, 2008

    potpourri...

    I mined The Daily Rant Archive for a few items from the days leading up to the 2004 election.  The 2004 items appear with RED background.

    November 3, 2004

    Comedian Yakov Smirnoff made famous the line, "What a country!"

    I, too, say "What a country!"  However, I say it not in jest but rather with revulsion and dread.  It is mind-boggling and unacceptable to me that a majority of my fellow citizens could vote for a president who has alienated most of our traditional allies in the world, taken us into a war based upon a lie, taken giant steps backward on environmental issues, has appointed judges who advocate putting pictures of Jesus in our courtrooms, has turned a budget surplus into a deficit, and on and on.

    A friend recently described me as being apoplectic about the election.  I'm afraid so.  While I remember surviving eight years of Ronald Reagan, as tumors go, Reagan was benign compared to this malignancy which has grown in our country.

    November 4, 2004

    In yesterday's Rant, I compared Bush to a malignant tumor growing in our country.  If Jeb Bush runs for president in 2008, I'll know I'm right and that the cancer is spreading.  We must be proactive.  What the country needs is a double mastectomy to have these two boobs removed.

    [2008 note: it still seems like a good idea.]

    An Associated Press survey of election officials nationwide "found that as of Oct. 1, 2008, the number of registered Democrats had grown by nearly 5 percent since 2004 -- outpacing overall population growth in the 28 states where information on voter registration by party was available for 2004 and 2008. During the same time, the GOP lost more than 2 percent of its registered voters."

    This year, the campaign buzzword is "energy". McCain’s supports building more nuclear power plants. At least he says "nuclear", not "nucular"; Palin has shown her versatility - she goes both ways.

    Obama’s support for nuclear power is qualified by the need to find acceptable methods to store spent nuclear waste. In the past when crime was a hot issue, it was always popular to support building more prisons to lock people away forever - as long as the prisons are not in "my neighborhood".  Could the fact that Nevada is leaning toward Obama have something to do with his understanding of the concern for safe storage of nuclear waste?

    It has been conventional wisdom that Social Security is the "third rail" of American politics. For as much as I hear the national debt and global warming discussed, I would argue that they, too, are the third rails.

    The national debt was on its way to being retired when Bill Clinton handed the presidency to George W. Bush who, for six years, had a Republican Congress to do his bidding. Bush proceeded to make history and become the first president in our history to cut taxes when the country was at war - both the tax cuts and war supported by John McCain. The result? A national debt of $10.2 trillion. (The National Debt Clock was put up by the late real estate mogul Seymour Durst in 1989 when the U.S. government's debt was a mere $2.7 trillion, and was even turned off during the 1990s when the debt decreased.)

    Why can’t even Obama explain to the electorate that this debt will prevent meaningful tax cuts for generations?

    Global warming. This is the answer to why "Drill, Baby, Drill!" is the wrong-headed mantra. Placing the emphasis on new oil supplies (which won’t begin flowing for ten years) would divert the focus from solutions to global warming and, thus, exacerbate the problem. Instead of beginning the long process of climbing out of the hole we have dug, we would dig deeper. Why can’t Obama say this?

    John McCain has frequently asserted that the United States has the best health care in the world.  Yes, people of wealth and influence come from around the world to be treated in American hospitals.  The problem is that the majority of Americans can't afford health care in America.  That is why Americans are going to places like Costa Rica and Poland for surgery.  Even more chilling is the fact that the United States ranks 29th in the world in infant mortality in 2004, the latest year that data are available from all countries, tying with Poland and Slovakia. The year before, it was 27th. In 1960, it was 12th.  Is that something to be proud of, Senator McCain?

    November 4, 2004

    [2008 note: Come on, Kids.  It's your future, too!]

     

    October 31, 2008

    Trick or Treat...

    "All looking forward to Halloween? You know what John McCain, Cindy McCain and Sarah Palin are dressing up as this year? Hugh Hefner and 'The Girls Next Door.'" - Jay Leno

    "Do you like John McCain and Sarah Palin together?  McCain looks like the old guy taking his secretary to Las Vegas, doesn't he a little bit?" - David Letterman

    "Listen to this, they now say that there may be some friction between John McCain and Sarah Palin. Yeah, and staffers suspected that there was something wrong when McCain started referring to Sarah Palin as 'that one.'" - David Letterman

    "They say that recently, on a campaign bus trip, John McCain actually snubbed Sarah Palin on the bus trip. But now listen, to be fair, here's what actually happened. She was busy on the bus trip, in the rear, out the window, shooting squirrels." - David Letterman

    "Earlier tonight, Barack Obama had a half-hour television special.  It's a lot of money, ladies and gentlemen. Don't kid yourself. A half-hour, prime-time network television. I mean, it costs a lot of dough. And they say it was the most money spent by a Democrat for a half an hour since Eliot Spitzer." - David Letterman

    "Alaska's Senator Ted Stevens has been found guilty on seven felony counts. But he says he will not step down and he will win re-election. Don’t you love how these guys have no shame? In fact, have you heard his new slogan, 'Vote for Stevens, a man of convictions.'" - Jay Leno

    "Yesterday, in Washington, I don't know if you heard about this, the Secret Service arrested a man who climbed over the White House fence. True story, yeah. Yeah, the Secret Service told the man, 'Get back here, Mr. President. You have two more months.'" - Conan O'Brien

     

    October 30, 2008

    As a preface to this Rant and in the interest of full disclosure, I hereby disclose that I barely passed my course on tax law in law school thirty-five years ago. With that admission and with the chutzpah readers of the Rant have come to expect...

    John McCain has been all over the charts with his arguments against Barack Obama and this is no less true with regard to taxes. Three arguments, in particular, have caught my attention and risen to the level of being rant worthy. These arguments are:

    1.  That Obama’s tax plan would increase taxes on small employers whose growth will lead us out of this recession, and

    2.  That Obama’s desire to spread the wealth is socialist or even Marxist. Let me, tax scholar that I am, set you straight on these points so you, in turn, can educate the rest of the country (and hurry! - the time to convince fifty million or so voters that they have their heads up their asses is quickly running out).

    3.  That there is nothing patriotic about paying taxes.  In the word of McCain's hand-picked running mate:

    "To them, raising taxes--and Joe Biden said it again today--raising taxes is about patriotism. To the rest of America, that's not patriotism; raising taxes is about killing jobs and hurting small businesses and making things worse." 

    1.  I’ll begin by quoting FactCheck.org and explaining what that is. The Annenberg Political Fact Check is a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. The APPC was established by publisher and philanthropist Walter Annenberg (a Republican, an ambassador in the Nixon Administration, a close personal friend of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, and the benefactor of the Annenberg Challenge Grant which is the largest donation ever made to benefit public education in this country and which funded the board on which Barack Obama served with William Ayers) in 1994 to create a community of scholars within the University of Pennsylvania that would address public policy issues at the local, state and federal levels.

    FactCheck.org wrote: "McCain has repeatedly claimed that Obama would raise tax rates for 23 million small-business owners. It's a false and preposterously inflated figure. We find that the overwhelming majority of those small-business owners would see no increase, because they earn too little to be affected."

    McCain also argues that Obama's proposed tax increase is a job-killer. First, Obama proposes to offer a tax credit to employers who create new jobs for American workers (and take away tax incentives for those employers who ship American jobs overseas). Second, suppose you own a small business and are showing a profit of $500,000. Yes, you could bank your profits and you would pay higher taxes on the top half of that profit. Or, if you expand your business and hire more employees, you would get a current deduction for salaries and benefits on top of the Obama tax credit which would decrease your taxable profits and your taxes.

    Even a D student in taxes can grasp this concept. (Besides, I checked it out with a CPA to make sure I was right.) McCain, the maverick who graduated 894 of 899 at Annapolis and said "...economics is not something I've understood as well as I should. I've got Greenspan's book," either doesn’t grasp this concept or, more likely, doesn’t care that he is wrong because he believes that enough people won't know the difference.

    2.  In an October 2000 town hall meeting, McCain defended progressive taxation, stating:

    "I think it’s to some degree because we feel, obviously, that wealthy people can afford more.

    [T]he very wealthy, because they can afford tax lawyers and all kinds of loopholes, really don’t pay nearly as much as you think they do when you just look at the percentages.…

    So, look, here’s what I really believe, that when you are — reach a certain level of comfort, there’s nothing wrong with paying somewhat more.… And frankly, I think the first people who deserve a tax cut are working Americans with children that need to educate their children, and they’re the ones that I would support tax cuts for first."

    But when Obama applies this same principle, he’s a socialist.

    3.  Let's get this clear because it's important.  Never before in the history of the United States has the president initiated a tax cut in a time of war.  Whether you agree with the decision to go to war in Iraq or not, there can be no reasonable person who would defend the morality of going to war and running up a deficit which means that the cost of the war (which will be more than a trillion dollars before it is over) will be paid by generations which have yet to be born.

    That is why every president until the present has appealed to the patriotism of the American people asking them to sacrifice to pay for the war effort.  The following video (a true blast from the past) illustrates this point:

    Click this link if the video did not appear.


    Dear readers of the Rant, I have a revelation for you. McCain’s speeches are not "straight talk" at all.  McCain’s campaign has bet the farm on the stupidity of the electorate.  While this bet may have been justified based on the last two presidential elections, it doesn’t seem to be working now.  As McCain’s ideological twin, George W. Bush, tried to say: "There's an old saying in Tennessee — I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again."

    P.S.

    Oops! I almost concluded this Rant without mentioning Sarah Palin. That would be like going to a hockey game and not seeing a fight.  So, before you ask for a refund...

    "According to expense reports, Sarah Palin charged the state of Alaska over $21,000 for her children to travel with her on official business. In fairness to Gov. Palin, when she leaves them home alone they get pregnant." --Seth Meyers

    "Alaska's largest newspaper has endorsed Barack Obama despite the fact that their governor is Sarah Palin. Luckily for Palin, it's one of the 500 newspapers she doesn't read." --Conan O'Brien

     

    October 29, 2008

    Late Night Humor
    (or why is Katz too busy to write his own material?)

    "Sorry to disappoint the liberals who tuned in tonight to gloat about Obama's lead in every poll, but I am not worried. McCain may be behind, but the man is a fighter. He doesn't know the meaning of the word 'quit.' He used to, but it was stored in the same part of his brain that remembered to vet his running mate." --Stephen Colbert
    "And Ralph Nader, God bless him, still out there campaigning. Ralph Nader said today he has set a record for the most campaign speeches given in one day. He gave 21 speeches in one day. Of course, we have to take his word for it, because of course, there are no witnesses." --Jay Leno
    "Well, political experts say that John McCain’s only chance of winning the presidential election next week is to attract swing voters. Unfortunately, McCain thinks swing voters are people who listen to Glenn Miller." --Conan O'Brien
    "On top of that, in turns out the highest-paid person in the McCain campaign? Not the campaign manager, not the pollsters: Palin's makeup artist. I'm not kidding. The highest-paid person, she flies to every city where Palin appears. And McCain? He just gets the local gal who does the funeral home. No, it's not as bad as it sounds. The makeup girl is also Palin's top foreign policy adviser." --Bill Maher
    "To top it all off for the week, apparently Sarah Palin accessorized her wardrobe with some ignorance this week. She was asked a question by a third-grader, and she got it wrong. She apparently still does not know what the vice president does. The job she is running for. She said he or she runs the Senate. No, not in this country. You know, George Bush, I would never accuse him of being a bright man, but when he was elected, he at least knew what building to show up to." --Bill Maher
    "With less than two weeks to go before the election, John McCain is behind Barack Obama in every major poll. But here's the important thing to remember, back in 1984 with the same amount of time remaining, Walter Mondale was 14 points behind Ronald Reagan, and then, by the time the election came, he went on to lose every state except Minnesota. So, alright, maybe that's bad example. But I think I made my point." --Jimmy Kimmel

     

     

     

    October 28, 2008

    Word of the day:  NUANCE: - a subtle distinction or variation.
    Can I use it in a sentence?  You betcha!

    Barack Obama has been criticized for being too nuanced in his discussion of issues.  Without question, this criticism is not resounding with a majority of the electorate and certainly not with the readers of The Daily Rant, who appreciate that Obama is intelligent enough to both recognize and discuss very complicated issues. 

    This country (and the world) has suffered from eight years of a president who doesn't see the nuance in any situation.  This failure to understand complexities has led our country into a war in Iraq which was imprudently begun and stuck in a quagmire from which there is no good end in sight.  I submit that this lack of sophisticated thought is the principle reason the country so desperately seeks change in this election.

    Unfortunately, John McCain often appears not to have nuance in his speech or his thoughts.   Examples?

    1.  In April of 2007, McCain was asked when he thought the US Military might "send an air mail message to Tehran."  McCain began his answer by changing the words to a popular Beach Boys song.  "Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran," he sang to the tune of Barbara Ann.

    2.  At the third presidential debate, McCain criticized Barack Obama for not supporting an array of anti-abortion bills in the Illinois state Legislature. Obama said he had not backed them because they lacked exemptions to protect the health and life of the mother.  McCain responded, his voice rising in moral indignation: "He's [for] health for the mother. You know, that's been stretched by the pro-abortion movement in America to mean almost anything. That's the extreme pro-abortion position, quote 'health.'"  The way McCain exaggerated the pronunciation of "health," including putting in hand gestures to indicate quotations, was reminiscent of his running mate Sarah Palin's belittling of "community organizer" in her maiden speech to the Republican convention.

    3.  On Sunday, McCain said, "You know, the other night in the debate with Senator Obama, I said his eloquence is admirable, but pay attention to his words. We talk about offshore drilling and he said he would quote, consider, offshore drilling. We talked about nuclear power, well it has to be safe, environment, blah, blah, blah."

    Is it that McCain, like Bush, just doesn't get the nuances of complex issues (he did, after all, graduate 894 of 899 at Annapolis) or is it that he thinks so little of the American electorate that he feels he must talk down to them (us) by reducing all issues to black and white (no racial reference intended here)?  Whichever it is, this is a part of the reason (along with his defense of his attack ads, his defense of Sarah Palin, etc.) that McCain has lost much of his credibility. 

    Like Obama, I don't want to take a victory for granted but I suggest that McCain's unnuanced "straight talk" would be well-suited for Viagra commercials with the last Republican to lose the presidency, Bob Dole.  It might also give Cindy something to smile about when John is off the campaign trail. (You betcha! Wink. Wink.)

     

    October 27, 2008

    Tim Russert: "The fact is you are different than George Bush."

    McCain:  No. No. I--the fact is that I'm different but the fact is that I have agreed with President Bush far more than I have disagreed. And on the transcendent issues, the most important issues of our day, I've been totally in agreement and support of President Bush.

    October 24, 2008

    Phrase of the Day: "hoist by one's own petard"
    ...which means: "to be harmed by one's own plan to harm someone else" or "to fall in one's own trap"
    My Brief Dialogue with John McCain...
    Senator, during an interview you had Wednesday afternoon with a Washington, D.C. area CBS affiliate, the reporter told you that some "commentators" and even some "personal friends" have asked, "Where is the John McCain from 2000?" The reporter then asked, "Did that guy go away? Has something changed?"  You took issue:

    "You’ll have to tell me what’s changed. I love it when they say, 'Oh McCain has changed.' And I say, 'What have I changed on?' They can’t name a single issue or they’ll name an issue and its false. I’m the same guy. I’m proud of our campaign."

    Senator, I've got a whole website devoted to answering your question, "What have I changed on?"

    www.McCainVersusMcCain.com

    Oh, that's right.  You don't know how to use the "Internets".

    Oh, there is another, ahem, flip-flop on a less weighty issue, Senator McCain.  Maybe you didn't know that they keep a verbatim record of everything said by Senators on the floor of the Senate.  Remember when, in May of 1993, you proclaimed:

    "Madam President, the amendment before the Senate is a very simple one. It restricts the use of campaign funds for inherently personal purposes. The amendment would restrict individuals from using campaign funds for such things as home mortgage payments, clothing purchases … and vacations or other trips that are noncampaign in nature.…

    The use of campaign funds for items which most Americans would consider to be strictly personal reasons, in my view, erodes public confidence and erodes it significantly.
    "

    And then there was that October 2000 town hall meeting.  You know, those opportunities you love when you can talk to real people without the media filter. When one of those real people asked you about why the rich pay higher taxes than the middle class, you defended progressive taxation, stating:

    “I think it’s to some degree because we feel, obviously, that wealthy people can afford more.

    [T]he very wealthy, because they can afford tax lawyers and all kinds of loopholes, really don’t pay nearly as much as you think they do when you just look at the percentages.…

    So, look, here’s what I really believe, that when you are — reach a certain level of comfort, there’s nothing wrong with paying somewhat more.… And frankly, I think the first people who deserve a tax cut are working Americans with children that need to educate their children, and they’re the ones that I would support tax cuts for first."

    Now that it is Barack Obama with exactly these views on tax policy, you label him a socialist. 

    You say: "I’m the same guy. I’m proud of our campaign."  But when you tell Brian Williams that you are "overjoyed" to have Sarah Palin as your running mate, that she is "absolutely" ready to assume the presidency, and when you tell the ladies on The View that your ad accusing Barack Obama of wanting to teach comprehensive sex education to kindergartners is the complete truth, only your most partisan backers actually believe you (or are willing to give you a pass).

    When exactly did you stop being a straight talker?  Was it a conscious decision in 2000 when you, in your own words, made a "sacrifice of principle for personal ambition" or is this ambition a narcotic over which you have no control?  Which is it?

    Where is the John McCain from 2000?

    October 23, 2008

    Q.  What do you call a hockey mom with a $150,000 wardrobe?

    A.  Mrs. Gretsky?

    October 22, 2008

    Works for me...

    I still see cars in traffic with Bush/Cheney or "W" bumper stickers.  It is hard for me to control the urge to roll down my window and ask if they are proud of the support given to Bush.  I don't. 

    Yesterday I did my first session of poll watching for early voting in Florida.  After the theft of the election in 2000, Florida Democratic Lawyers was organized to prevent the recurrence of election day abuses.  I participated in the poll watching in 2004 and am a small part of an even larger effort this year.  As it turned out, I was at the fifth busiest (out of twenty) early voting site in Miami-Dade County.  However, it was the least eventful.  No voter suppression, which is great.

    So, it was a boring day, watching the line of voters make their way into the polling place after waiting about ninety minutes in line.  Other than a handful who wore Obama or McCain t-shirts, I could only guess the political leaning of each voter.

    Which brings me to the point of this rant (which, in truth, is the opposite of a rant).

    Nobody understands more vividly than I how politically polarized are a large majority of the American people.  Just as I had the urge to roll down my window and make some sarcastic comment  to the Bushee, I know (and we all know from watching the lathered crowds at the McCain rallies in recent weeks) that the urge is just as strong among many who see my Obama bumper sticker.  (How many of you remember the bumper sticker: "Don't Blame Me. I Voted McGovern"?)

    But despite these strong feelings, people all over the country, representing every part of the political spectrum and intensity of feelings, are lining up peacefully, together, to cast their votes.  Yes, it was a boring day, watching these voters show their identification, receive their ballots, cast their votes, and then leave to go about their business.  But, despite the boredom, it was awesome to watch democracy in action.

     

    October 21, 2008

    At the risk of being too fair to the opposition,
    Giving Conservatives a Voice on The Daily Rant...

    "McCain’s recent conduct of his campaign – his willingness to lie repeatedly (including in his acceptance speech) and to play Russian roulette with the vice-presidency, in order to fulfill his long-held ambition – has reinforced my earlier, and growing, sense that John McCain is not a principled man." - Elizabeth Drew

    "Sarah Palin has many virtues. If you wanted someone to destroy a corrupt establishment, she’d be your woman. But the constructive act of governance is another matter. She has not been engaged in national issues, does not have a repertoire of historic patterns and, like President Bush, she seems to compensate for her lack of experience with brashness and excessive decisiveness." - David Brooks

    "The word "experience" appears 91 times in the Federalist Papers, those distillations of conservative sense and sensibility...  America's Founders were empiricists and students of history who trusted "that best oracle of wisdom, experience," which is humanity's "least fallible guide."...  So, Sarah Palin. The man who would be the oldest to embark on a first presidential term has chosen as his possible successor a person of negligible experience."  - George Will

    "It is arguable that, because of his inexperience, Obama is not ready for the presidency. It is arguable that McCain, because of his boiling moralism and bottomless reservoir of certitudes, is not suited to the presidency. Unreadiness can be corrected, although perhaps at great cost, by experience. Can a dismaying temperament be fixed?" - George Will

    "I suppose the McCain campaign's hope is that when there's a big crisis, people will go for age and experience. The question is, who in this crisis looked more presidential, calm and un-flustered? It wasn't John McCain who, as usual, substituting vehemence for coherence, said 'let's fire somebody.' And picked one of the most experienced and conservative people in the administration, Chris Cox, and for no apparent reason... It was un-presidential behavior by a presidential candidate." - George Will

    "In a stroke, McCain gratuitously forfeited his most powerful argument against Obama. And this was even before Palin's inevitable liabilities began to pile up -- inevitable because any previously unvetted neophyte has "issues." The kid. The state trooper investigation. And worst, the paucity of any Palin record or expressed conviction on the major issues of our time." - Charles Krauthammer

    "[Palin is] under-informed and over-confident. But there was no "macaca" moment, so she survives. Those who wish to believe in her will continue to believe in her. As for the rest - well it's a 6 in 7 chance that McCain makes it to the end of his first term. That's pretty good!"  - David Frum

    "[W]e've seen the entirety of the Palin-Gibson tete-a-tete...The most that can be said in her defense is that she kept her cool and avoided any brutal gaffes; other than that, she seemed about an inch deep on every issue outside her comfort zone... And there's no way to look at her performance as anything save supporting evidence for the non-hysterical critique of her candidacy - that it's just too much, too soon - and a splash of cold water for those of us with high hopes for her future on the national stage." - Ross Douthat

    "What if she were to become president of the United States?  The idea, to me, is quite disturbing, if not appalling." - Former Republican Michigan Gov. William Milliken

    "There's no question she's totally unqualified." -  Former Republican Rhode Island Sen. Lincoln Chafee

    "If BS were currency, Palin could bail out Wall Street herself." - Kathleen Parker

    "John McCain has changed. He said, famously, apropos the Republican debacle post-1994, “We came to Washington to change it, and Washington changed us.” This campaign has changed John McCain. It has made him inauthentic. A once-first class temperament has become irascible and snarly; his positions change, and lack coherence; he makes unrealistic promises, such as balancing the federal budget “by the end of my first term.” Who, really, believes that? Then there was the self-dramatizing and feckless suspension of his campaign over the financial crisis. His ninth-inning attack ads are mean-spirited and pointless. And finally, not to belabor it, there was the Palin nomination. What on earth can he have been thinking?" - Christopher Buckley

    McCain failed in his most important executive decision. Give him credit for choosing a female running mate--but he passed up any number of supremely qualified Republican women who could have served. Having called Obama not ready to lead, McCain chose Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. His campaign has tried to stage-manage Palin's exposure to the public. But it's clear she is not prepared to step in at a moment's notice and serve as president. McCain put his campaign before his country. - Chicago Tribune

    I was also concerned at the selection of Governor Palin.  She's a very distinguished woman and she is to be admired.  But at the same time, now that we have had a chance to watch her for some seven weeks, I don't believe she's ready to be President of the United States, which is the job of the Vice President.  And so, uh, that raised some question in my mind as to the judgment that Senator McCain made. - Colin Powell

    [W]e have seen Mrs. Palin on the national stage for seven weeks now, and there is little sign that she has the tools, the equipment, the knowledge or the philosophical grounding one hopes for, and expects, in a holder of high office.... She doesn’t think aloud. She just . . . says things.... In the past two weeks she has spent her time throwing out tinny lines to crowds she doesn’t, really, understand. This is not a leader, this is a follower, and she follows what she imagines is the base... She could reinspire and reinspirit; she chooses merely to excite. She doesn’t seem to understand the implications of her own thoughts.... In the end the Palin candidacy is a symptom and expression of a new vulgarization in American politics. It’s no good, not for conservatism and not for the country. And yes, it is a mark against John McCain, against his judgment and idealism. - Peggy Noonan

     

     

    October 20, 2008

    October 19, 2008

    Powell Endorses Obama
    Game - Set - Match?

    Yeah, yeah, yeah.  I'm sure that most regular readers of The Daily Rant share my view that former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell should have resigned from the Bush administration rather than support the march toward the war in Iraq. 

    But the truth is that most people in the middle of the political spectrum hold Powell in high esteem without qualification.  This is the segment of the electorate which will decide this election.  Powell's endorsement will go a long way to answering the question some have about Obama's readiness to be president, particularly with regard to foreign policy.

    This is huge.

    October 18, 2008

    What is an Elwyn Tinklenberg?

    And why should you send him money?

    Elwyn Tinklenberg is the Democratic nominee challenging Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann in Minnesota's Sixth Congressional District.

    Why should this matter (any more than the other 435 House races)?

    Yesterday, in an appearance on MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews, Congresswoman Bachmann unintentionally (giving her the benefit of the doubt) made a strong case for the existence of reincarnation.  That is, we would be well-justified in concluding, after watching her shocking statements, that she is Joseph McCarthy reincarnate.

    On Obama's advisers:
    "I think the people that Barack Obama has been associating with are anti-American, by and large."

    On whether Barack Obama himself is anti-American:
    "Absolutely, I'm very concerned that he may have anti-American views."

    On whether there are anti-American members of Congress:
    "The news media should do a penetrating expose and take a look. I wish they would, I wish the American media would take a great look at the views of the people in Congress and find out are they are pro-America or anti-America."

    Watch for yourself:

    Click this link if the video did not appear.

    That's not all:

    Bachmann, a first-term Republican, is challenging the nation's embrace of energy-efficient compact fluorescent lights.  She introduced the "Light Bulb Freedom of Choice Act."  Bachmann also wants to to ban gay marriage, voted against an increase in the minimum wage, and supports the partial privatization of Social Security.

    We must send the Right Wing crazies an unequivocal message that this branding of Democrats as anti-American will be punished.   Nip the rebirth of McCarthyism in the bud.  Elwyn Tinklenberg is the antidote.

    1.  Visit the TINKLENBERG FOR CONGRESS website.

    2.  Make a contribution, even a small one.

    3.  Forward this message to everyone you know. 

    The power of the message to the Right Wing is in our numbers.

     

    Katherine Harris

    Michele Bachmann

    Is it me or are the Right Wing nut jobs all looking the same?

    October 17, 2008

    Chicago Tribune Endorses Obama
    First Democratic Presidential Endorsement Ever!

    Excerpts:

    We might have counted on John McCain to correct his party's course. We like McCain. We endorsed him in the Republican primary in Illinois. In part because of his persuasion and resolve, the U.S. stands to win an unconditional victory in Iraq.

    It is, though, hard to figure John McCain these days. He argued that President Bush's tax cuts were fiscally irresponsible, but he now supports them. He promises a balanced budget by the end of his first term, but his tax cut plan would add an estimated $4.2 trillion in debt over 10 years. He has responded to the economic crisis with an angry, populist message and a misguided, $300 billion proposal to buy up bad mortgages.

    McCain failed in his most important executive decision. Give him credit for choosing a female running mate--but he passed up any number of supremely qualified Republican women who could have served. Having called Obama not ready to lead, McCain chose Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. His campaign has tried to stage-manage Palin's exposure to the public. But it's clear she is not prepared to step in at a moment's notice and serve as president. McCain put his campaign before his country.

    Obama chose a more experienced and more thoughtful running mate--he put governing before politicking. Sen. Joe Biden doesn't bring many votes to Obama, but he would help him from day one to lead the country....

    We know first-hand that Obama seeks out and listens carefully and respectfully to people who disagree with him. He builds consensus. He was most effective in the Illinois legislature when he worked with Republicans on welfare, ethics and criminal justice reform....

    Obama is deeply grounded in the best aspirations of this country, and we need to return to those aspirations. He has had the character and the will to achieve great things despite the obstacles that he faced as an unprivileged black man in the U.S.

    He has risen with his honor, grace and civility intact. He has the intelligence to understand the grave economic and national security risks that face us, to listen to good advice and make careful decisions.

    When Obama said at the 2004 Democratic Convention that we weren't a nation of red states and blue states, he spoke of union the way Abraham Lincoln did.

    It may have seemed audacious for Obama to start his campaign in Springfield, invoking Lincoln. We think, given the opportunity to hold this nation's most powerful office, he will prove it wasn't so audacious after all. We are proud to add Barack Obama's name to Lincoln's in the list of people the Tribune has endorsed for president of the United States.

    Click for full editorial

     

     

    GOP Diversity Strategy
    (What were they thinking?)
    Exhibit 1

     

    GOP Diversity Strategy
    (What were they thinking?)
    Exhibit 2

    This article from FoxNews.com...
     

     

    October 16, 2008

    Debate Post-Mortem...

    "The third presidential debate is Wednesday night, and John McCain says he's going to win. Of course, he also told Custer the surge was working." - David Letterman
    I was pleased to find this cartoon because I thought that Obama was unflappable in all three of the debates, particularly in this one.   Instead of stooping to McCain's level when McCain brought up the Ayers [non]issue, Obama explained that this simply took attention away from the issues which really mean something to the lives of the American people.  Then, after putting the Ayers allegation in its place, Obama explained why he was in good company working with Ayers on the Annenberg board.

    For a man who acknowledges a fondness for gambling, McCain has trouble with his poker face.  Frequently, his anger is hardly masked and his shit-eating grins just look phony, and phony is not the image of a straight-talker.

    Did a single person other than committed Republicans buy McCain's defense of Palin to be ready to be president?

    I know I have a strong bias so it is very reassuring when the CBS and CNN post-debate polls confirm my impressions:

    CBS:

    Fifty-three percent of the uncommitted voters surveyed identified Democratic nominee Barack Obama as the winner of tonight's debate. Twenty-two percent said Republican rival John McCain won. Twenty-four percent saw the debate as a draw.

    More uncommitted voters trusted Obama than McCain to make the right decisions about health care. Before the debate, sixty-one percent of uncommitted voters said that they trust Obama on that; after, sixty-nine percent said that. For McCain, twenty-seven percent trusted him to manage health care before the debate; thirty percent said so afterwards.

    Sixty-three percent think Obama will raise their taxes, while forty-eight percent think McCain will.

    Before the debate, fifty-four percent thought Obama shared their values. That percentage rose to sixty-three percent after the debate. For McCain, fifty-three percent thought he shared their values before the debate, and fifty-six percent thought so afterwards.

    CNN:

    58% saying Obama won, to 31% saying McCain won. Barack Obama's personal ratings are 66% favorable to 33% unfavorable, way ahead of McCain's score of 49%-49%.

    Obama was seen as stating his ideas more clearly by 66%-25%, was seen as the stronger leader by 56%-39%, and was more likable by 70%-22%. McCain did win in one category: He's the candidate who launched more attacks on his opponent, by a whopping 80%-7%.

    Independents, who made up 30% of CNN's sample, gave it to Obama 57%-31%, essentially the same as the overall margin for Obama.

    Obama's connection to William Ayers matters to you...

    Great Deal   23%
    Somewhat   14%
    Not Much     11%
    Not At All     51%

    What does McCain think about his debate performance?

    "You probably saw this on the news. A woman at a John McCain rally said that Barack Obama is an Arab. And McCain quickly corrected her. It was really awkward, because McCain had to tell her, 'Look, Governor Palin, you are wrong.'"  - Jay Leno
    Last Friday, McCain was widely praised when an elderly woman referred to Obama as an Arab, McCain cut her off, grabbed the microphone from her and said, "No, ma'am. He's a decent family man with whom I happen to have some disagreements." 

    The nasty tone of the McCain-Palin campaign was not working.  McCain was dropping in the polls and was being widely criticized for the tone of his campaign.  Whatever his motives, it was good for America that this attempt to divert the electorate from the issues was stopped, albeit temporarily.

    However, the thing that bothered me (also the subject of a Jon Stewart bit) was this - being an Arab is not mutually exclusive with being a decent family man.  Anyone who is an Arab or anyone who has empathy for minorities in this country, including Arabs, has to feel the sting of the implication of McCain's statement, whether it is believed that McCain intended it or not.

     

    October 13, 2008

    Columbus Day Delights...

    McCain: Out of Touch
    Side A
    McCain: Out of Touch
    Side B

    Late Night Humor

    "They had the town hall format, and that meant that the candidates could wander around on stage. You know, I like John McCain, but wandering around on stage there, he looked like a retiree who can't find his Buick." - David Letterman
    "At one point McCain referred to Barack Obama as 'that one.' And McCain later thought maybe something had gone haywire. He apologized, he said he got confused, he thought he was at the bakery." - David Letterman
    "The question Palin keeps asking at all of the rallies is, 'Who is Barack Obama?' You know what, genius, maybe if you'd picked up a newspaper in the last year you'd know. He's the guy who's kicking your ass." - Bill Maher
    "In Boca Raton, Florida, yesterday, a woman who looked like Sarah Palin caused a near riot when she walked into a diner for breakfast. But after a minute or two, people finally realized it wasn't her when she started answering questions." - Jay Leno
    "It got a little heated at one point during the debate. McCain talked about experience and he said, 'We don't have time for on-the-job training.' Then why did you pick Sarah Palin?" - Jay Leno
    This economic crisis is worse than divorce. I lost half my assets and still have my wife! - Unknown

    This year, the campaign buzzword is "energy". McCain’s supports building more nuclear power plants.  At least he says "nuclear", not "nucular"; Palin has shown her versatility - she goes both ways.

     

    October 12, 2008


    In August, at the Rick Warren forum, John McCain cited Representative John Lewis, the Georgia Democrat and civil rights leader, as one of three people on whom he depends for sage advice.  Saturday, Lewis stated that John McCain and his running mate, Sarah Palin, were "sowing the seeds of hatred and division" in a way that reminded him of former Gov. George Wallace and "another destructive period" in the nation’s history.

    McCain apparently thought the sage was less than sage-like, calling the remarks “a character attack against Governor Palin and me that is shocking and beyond the pale.”
     


    Republican Senator Norm Coleman of Minnesota is locked in a tight race to keep his seat.  Did he appear at a McCain rally in Minnesota on Saturday?  Coleman apparently concluded he was better off without McCain.  Coleman told reporters that he would not be appearing at a planned rally with McCain this afternoon. Coleman said he needs the time to work on suspending his own negative ads.  "Today," he said, "people need hope and a more positive campaign is a start."

    It doesn't bode well for McCain's prospects of turning Minnesota red.
     

    Random items...
    If you haven't heard about it, you might not believe it.  This is the invocation delivered by Pastor Arnold Conrad at a McCain rally in Davenport, Iowa on Saturday:

    I would also add, Lord, that your reputation is involved in all that happens between now and November, because there are millions of people around this world praying to their god — whether it’s Hindu, Buddha, Allah — that his opponent wins, for a variety of reasons. And Lord, I pray that you will guard your own reputation, because they’re going to think that their god is bigger than you, if that happens. So I pray that you will step forward and honor your own name with all that happens between now and election day.

    OMG !

    More conservatives on Palin:

    "What if she were to become president of the United States?  The idea, to me, is quite disturbing, if not appalling." - Former Republican Michigan Gov. William Milliken

    "There's no question she's totally unqualified." -  Former Republican Rhode Island Sen. Lincoln Chafee

    "If BS were currency, Palin could bail out Wall Street herself." - Kathleen Parker

    "And finally, not to belabor it, there was the Palin nomination. What on earth can he [McCain] have been thinking?" - Christopher Buckley

    October 10, 2008

     

    October 9, 2008

    Desperate becomes despicable...
     

    On Tuesday night, I wrote about how Sarah Palin has been traveling the country in recent days mocking Obama for "palling around with a terrorist" and in the hours before the debate, Mrs. McCain told a Nashville newspaper that Barack Obama has "waged the dirtiest campaign in American history.”

    The New York Times saw it differently from Mrs. McCain.  In an editorial published in Wednesday's Times:

    It is a sorry fact of American political life that campaigns get ugly, often in their final weeks. But Senator John McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin have been running one of the most appalling campaigns we can remember.  They have gone far beyond the usual fare of quotes taken out of context and distortions of an opponent’s record — into the dark territory of race-baiting and xenophobia.  Senator Barack Obama has taken some cheap shots at Mr. McCain, but there is no comparison.

    On Wednesday, the McCain campaign got uglier.  At a McCain-Palin rally at Lehigh University, the chairman of the Lehigh County Republican Party implored the crowd to work hard to elect McCain or wake up November 5 to see "Barack Obama, Barack Hussein Obama," as the president.

    Then, Mrs. McCain further instigated the crowd (mob): "The day that Senator Obama cast a vote not to fund my son when he was serving sent a cold chill through my body, let me tell you."  (Both McCain and Obama have opposed Senate measures with troop funding attached.  Obama voted against a troop-funding bill in May 2007 because it did not contain language calling for a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq.  McCain voted against a troop-funding measure earlier that year that did call for a withdrawal timeline.)

    When McCain finally addressed the rally, his references to Obama were received with shouts of "socialist," "terrorist" and "liar".

    Did the John McCain who had promised a high-brow campaign, the John McCain who said: "Unfortunately, all I can do is, in as visible a way as possible, disassociate myself from that kind of campaigning," did that John McCain play to the lathered mob or did he disassociate himself?  You guess.

    October 7, 2008

    Debate Post-Mortem...

    Jumping around online and between the TV news shows confirms my impression.  Obama won hands down.  CNN's bipartisan panel of "experts" gave it to Obama unanimously.  Both CNN and CBS polls gave it to Obama by wide margins.  So, the result of the night is that Obama reinforced the conclusion that a growing majority of the American public is coming to, that Barack Obama is ready to be the President of the United States. 

    McCain needed a game changer and didn't come close to getting it.  Yesterday, McCain asked the rhetorical question, "Who is Barack Obama?".  Indeed, McCain, referring to Barack Obama as "that one" simply reinforced the conclusion about who John McCain is and, unlike the original Grumpy Old Men, Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau, McCain's version of grumpy is not charming, it is just mean and angry.

    McCain's closest surrogates, Sarah and Cindy, are also doing their part to cement this  judgment.  Palin has been traveling the country in recent days mocking Obama for "palling around with a terrorist" and in the hours before the debate, Mrs. McCain told a Nashville newspaper that Barack Obama has "waged the dirtiest campaign in American history.”  The American people who are not dyed-in-the-wool Republicans just aren't swallowing these pills and they are leaving a bitter taste in their mouths.

    There are four weeks left, although, with predictions that upwards of 30% of the electorate will vote early, the impressions drawn thus are final ones.  For those voters waiting to decide, McCain has one debate left and there is no reason to expect him to come up with a slam dunk given his performances in the first two debates.  That leaves a major Obama gaffe or an October surprise to change the direction of the campaign. 

    Just as I am confident in Obama's ability to lead the country, I am confident in his ability to finish this campaign strongly.  This includes the ground game, finishing the registration drives and getting the people to vote.  This is the part which I encourage readers of the Rant to support, to become involved.  Please.

     

    October 6, 2008

    The Leopard's Spots

    The McCain/Palin campaign unveiled its new strategy over the weekend and today. With the polls uniformly trending to Obama, it is a strategy born out of desperation:

    "We are looking for a very aggressive last 30 days," said Greg Strimple, one of McCain's top advisers. "We are looking forward to turning a page on this financial crisis and getting back to discussing Mr. Obama's aggressively liberal record and how he will be too risky for Americans."

    Mr. Strimple called it. Yesterday, Sarah Palin told a rally "the heels are on, the gloves are off" before launching into an attack questioning Barack Obama’s ties with 60’s radical William Ayers and telling folks "our opponent is someone who sees America as imperfect enough to pal around with terrorists who target their own country". Today, John McCain spoke in New Mexico, repeatedly asking the rhetorical question, "Who is Barack Obama?". The same question was the theme of a new McCain ad.  With the stock market down as much as 800 points today (closed below 10,000 for the first time in four years), McCain has decided that his only hope is to "turn the page" from an economy which, by all accounts, will be in crisis for years to come.

    On the flip side of the coin, the answer to the question, "Who is John McCain?" is crystal clear - and the answer is sad, disgusting, pathetic (choose your adjective). More importantly, past is prologue (where did I hear that recently?).  The answer is not surprising.  After his 2000 presidential bid was over, McCain called for the removal of the Confederate battle flag from atop the South Carolina Statehouse, acknowledging that his refusal to take such a stance during his primary battle for South Carolina was a "sacrifice of principle for personal ambition. I feared that if I answered honestly, I could not win the South Carolina primary. So I chose to compromise my principles."

    Despite his pretense of remorse over his succumbing to personal ambition in 2000, the old dog has resorted to the same tricks (on the electorate) in 2008, throwing his principles under the bus he calls the "Straight Talk Express".

    Example? In September, the McCain campaign released an ad which accused Obama of supporting comprehensive sex education for kindergarten children when, in fact, the legislation cited in the ad provided for educating kindergartners to defend themselves against sexual predators and was supported by a coalition of education and public health organizations, including the Illinois Parent Teacher Association, the Illinois State Medical Society, the Illinois Public Health Association and the Illinois Education Association. In an appearance on The View, McCain was directly challenged on the truthfulness of this ad and he responded with a red-faced (barely concealing his anger) denial of the accusation.

    I feared that if I answered honestly, I could not win the South Carolina primary. So I chose to compromise my principles.

     

    Unfortunately, all I can do is, in as visible a way as possible, disassociate myself from that kind of campaigning.

     

    Sooner or later, people are going to figure out if all you run is negative attack ads you don't have much of a vision for the future or you're not ready to articulate it.

     


    "I'm John McCain and I approve these messages."

    Example?  Now, we see Sarah Palin play the coquettish attack dog (no lipstick on a pig outrage - she is responsible for the comparison of the hockey mom and the pit bull) trying to smear Barack Obama with activities of Ayers which occurred when Obama was eight years old and playing the Reverend Wright card. Never mind that McCain condemned the North Carolina Republican Party in April for an ad that linked Obama to his former pastor, saying, "Unfortunately, all I can do is, in as visible a way as possible, disassociate myself from that kind of campaigning."

    Notwithstanding the votes of the electorate in 2000 and 2004 which should undermine any confidence in our collective intelligence, I am hopeful that this country has learned from its mistakes and will not buy into McCain’s attempted diversion from the economy with attack ads. The Navy hero will be hoist by his own petard, in this case, his response to the negative ads run against him by Bush in the 2000 primaries, "Sooner or later, people are going to figure out if all you run is negative attack ads you don't have much of a vision for the future or you're not ready to articulate it."

    If I am correct and the attack ads fail to get traction, we will hear more about the issues that really matter, the issues which have been decisive in the past two presidential elections: gay marriage, gun control, and the elite, liberal media. Karl Rove will resurface in the McCain campaign to exploit social and cultural divisions in our country.  Hold your nose.  Four weeks left and only the future of our country is at stake.

     

    October 3, 2008

    Debate Post-Mortem...

    Quite a debate. First, my thoughts on Biden... he was terrific - but no more so than I fully expected. Throughout the primaries, he was very effective in the debates. He was never undisciplined as he has occasionally been during the rest of the campaign. But Palin was the one the American people wanted to see, not whether she blundered but how bad she blundered. She didn’t. There were no moments which Tina Fey will repeat verbatim (well, we might see: "Gwen, thanks for the excellent question but I'm going to answer something else.") In that sense, Palin won.

    Republicans will be elated. Democrats will feel great about the substance of Biden. The big question is how will the people in the middle who are either undecided or wavering in their decisions react. As I write this, the early results of the CBS News poll are in:

    Forty-six percent of the uncommitted voters surveyed say Democrat Joe Biden won the debate, compared to 21 percent for Republican Sarah Palin. Thirty-three percent said it was a tie.

    Eighteen percent of previously uncommitted percent say they are now committed to the Obama-Biden ticket. Ten percent say they are now committed to McCain-Palin. Seventy-one percent are still uncommitted.

    My concern is that Palin’s self-caricature which has predominated her coverage in the media for several weeks has been substantially neutralized. To the extent that this Palin factor (which was substantially responsible for McCain’s bounce in the polls after the Republican convention) was responsible for McCain’s decline in recent weeks (goodness knows his gaffes and erratic conduct on the economy were a more important factor), we will see McCain come back. Indeed, if the House approves the economic bailout tomorrow as expected, the end of the "crisis" may also help McCain.  In short, this race is not over.

    The House votes today on the Wall Street Bailout...

     

    October 2, 2008

    Debate Prep

    Has any debate been this highly anticipated (dreaded)?

    I've been invited to a debate watching party tonight.  The host has promised to provide barf bags.  I declined.  I'd rather not have the audio distraction, be it belly laughter or worse.  Besides, I'll be busy packing my woolies for Canada, just in case.

    September 30, 2008

    Random thoughts...

    $700 billion - the amount of the failed bailout plan.  We all know it's a lot of money.  Would you like a visual?  Put out your hand and imagine stacking $1,000 bills one at a time.  When you got your stack to 4.3 inches, you would have $1 million.  If you continued your stack to $700 billion, the stack would be 47.5 miles high. (Do the math.  A single bill is .0043 inches.)
    I've decided.  On election night, I'm watching the results from a hotel room in Canada.  No matter the result, there will be such a stampede north that the Canadians will start erecting fences.  So, if it is McCain, I'll have a head start.  If it's Obama, I'll be a salmon and swim back, against the current.

    Note to self:  Check with DirecTV to make sure that NFL package is available in Canada.

    Yesterday, Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey released the Report of an Investigation into the Removal of Nine U.S. Attorneys in 2006.  Mukasey released a statement which stated, in part:

    "[T]he Report makes plain that, at a minimum, the process by which nine U.S. Attorneys were removed in 2006 was haphazard, arbitrary and unprofessional, and that the way in which the Justice Department handled those removals and the resulting public controversy was profoundly lacking.... The Report leaves some important questions unanswered and recommends that I appoint an attorney to assess the facts uncovered, to conduct further investigation as needed, and ultimately to determine whether any prosecutable offense was committed with regard to the removal of a U.S. Attorney or the testimony of any witness related to the U.S. Attorney removals."

    I have only skimmed The Report which is 392 pages, including appendices.  However, I did find the following findings relating directly to then Attorney General (and former White House Counsel) Alberto Gonzales to be noteworthy and disturbing:

    We believe that Attorney General Gonzales bears primary responsibility for the flawed U.S. Attorney removal process and the resulting turmoil that it created.

    While delegation in many matters is understandable given the wide range of matters demanding an Attorney General’s attention, we believe that Gonzales failed to exercise appropriate leadership and supervision throughout this entire process. While he described himself as a delegator who does not micromanage, he allowed a subordinate who had little prosecutorial or managerial experience to design the plan and select for removal Presidentially appointed Department officials with virtually no supervision, oversight, or accountability.

    Gonzales failed to take action even in the case of Iglesias where he had notice that partisan politics might be involved in the requests for his removal.

    Gonzales also made a series of statements after the removals that we concluded were inaccurate and misleading

    Regardless of his motive, we question Gonzales’s judgment in recounting what he believed the facts to be with someone whom he knew to be a prospective witness in both a Congressional investigation and an internal Department investigation. We also question why he stated to Congress that he had never discussed the facts of the removals with anyone in the Department, which was not true.

    Why disturbing?  According to reporters covering the Justice Department, Mukasey has refused to convene a grand jury to determine whether Gonzales should be indicted.  However, this is a decision which could be revisited by a new administration in 2009.  With this in mind, watch for the name of Alberto Gonzales on Bush's Christmas pardon list.

    Has there been anything nice said about Jim Lehrer's role moderating Friday night's debate?

    Paraphrased from Sarah Palin (Tina Fey) on SNL:

    "When I was in New York, I went to Times Square.  There was a film documentary about the Bush Doctrine.  It turned out not to have anything to do with foreign policy."

    Using Sarah Palin for fund raising, Planned Parenthood gets $760K in donations

     

     


     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     


    September 27, 2008

    Thoughts on the debate...

    The polls all give Obama a clear win in the debate.  However, I don't think either McCain or Obama had a knockout punch.  Putting it another way, I think they both brought their A game.  As a result, I don't think anyone who had made a firm decision one way or another was even tempted to change their mind.  But the real battle was for the undecided middle, perhaps 15% of the electorate.  Because of this, I was most interested in the CBS News poll of uncommitted voters:

    40% of uncommitted voters who watched the debate tonight thought Barack Obama was the winner. 22% thought John McCain won. 38% saw it as a draw.

    68% of these voters think Obama would make the right decision about the economy. 41% think McCain would.

    49% of these voters think Obama would make the right decisions about Iraq. 55% think McCain would.

    Finally, it is always easy to second guess after the event.  I have given many a closing argument to a jury and never, not even in my wins, did I not sit down after a closing and think of something I could have said better or something I didn't think of saying at all.  So, when Obama was asked by Lehrer what his definition of "rich" was, I forgive Barack for not saying that no matter where you draw the line everyone would agree that anyone with seven houses and thirteen cars would qualify.

    The ad I'd like Obama to run this week...

    [Obama walking arm-in-arm with Michelle in a park with children playing in the background, both wearing jeans and polo shirts]

    "I've been hearing since Friday night's debate that the pundits, on both the left and the right, have been critical of the fact that at several points in the debate I agreed with John McCain or gave him credit for a good idea.  They say I should not be giving any ground.  I don't agree.  The problems we face as a nation are too important to refuse to give any credence to the views of my opponent.  The best solutions to the most important problems are going to come from a bi-partisan effort, something I have tried to do since my first days in the Illinois legislature.  I will continue to do this and, when appropriate in the remaining debates and when I am president, I will not hesitate to reach out and give credit where credit is due.  The future of the country depends on it.  I am Barack Obama and I approve this message."

    Three Q & A's from Katie Couric's interview with Sarah Palin and my comments...
    Couric: You've said, quote, "John McCain will reform the way Wall Street does business." Other than supporting stricter regulations of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac two years ago, can you give us any more example of his leading the charge for more oversight?

    Palin: I think that the example that you just cited, with his warnings two years ago about Fannie and Freddie - that, that's paramount. That's more than a heck of a lot of other senators and representatives did for us.

    Couric: But he's been in Congress for 26 years. He's been chairman of the powerful Commerce Committee. And he has almost always sided with less regulation, not more.

    Palin: He's also known as the maverick though, taking shots from his own party, and certainly taking shots from the other party. Trying to get people to understand what he's been talking about - the need to reform government.

    Couric: But can you give me any other concrete examples? Because I know you've said Barack Obama is a lot of talk and no action. Can you give me any other examples in his 26 years of John McCain truly taking a stand on this?

    Palin: I can give you examples of things that John McCain has done, that has shown his foresight, his pragmatism, and his leadership abilities. And that is what America needs today.

    Couric: I'm just going to ask you one more time - not to belabor the point. Specific examples in his 26 years of pushing for more regulation.

    Palin: I'll try to find you some and I'll bring them to you.

    Well done, Katie.

    Couric: In preparing for this conversation, a lot of our viewers … and Internet users wanted to know why you did not get a passport until last year. And they wondered if that indicated a lack of interest and curiosity in the world.

    Palin: I'm not one of those who maybe came from a background of, you know, kids who perhaps graduate college and their parents give them a passport and give them a backpack and say go off and travel the world.

    No, I've worked all my life. In fact, I usually had two jobs all my life until I had kids. I was not a part of, I guess, that culture. The way that I have understood the world is through education, through books, through mediums that have provided me a lot of perspective on the world.

    The follow-up I would have loved:

    Couric: Please name three books on history or foreign policy which have most significantly contributed to your perspective on the world and what is the most important insight you gained from each one.

    Second choice:

    Couric:  Because you have cited education as one of the ways you have gained your perspective on the world, would you authorize the five colleges you attended to release your transcripts so the American people can see the courses you took and gauge the depth of your understanding of world affairs?

    Couric: You've cited Alaska's proximity to Russia as part of your foreign policy experience. What did you mean by that?

    Sarah Palin: That Alaska has a very narrow maritime border between a foreign country, Russia, and, on our other side, the land-boundary that we have with Canada. It's funny that a comment like that was kinda made to … I don't know, you know … reporters.

    Couric: Mocked?

    Palin: Yeah, mocked, I guess that's the word, yeah.

    Couric: Well, explain to me why that enhances your foreign-policy credentials.

    Palin: Well, it certainly does, because our, our next-door neighbors are foreign countries, there in the state that I am the executive of. And there…

    Couric: Have you ever been involved in any negotiations, for example, with the Russians?

    Palin: We have trade missions back and forth, we do. It's very important when you consider even national security issues with Russia. As Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, where do they go? It's Alaska. It's just right over the border. It is from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right there, they are right next to our state.

    Say what?

    September 26, 2008

    You won't often find me urging you to read the conservative magazine, The National Review.  Today, I must.  Conservative columnist, Kathleen Parker, wrote:

    Palin’s recent interviews with Charles Gibson, Sean Hannity, and now Katie Couric have all revealed an attractive, earnest, confident candidate. Who Is Clearly Out Of Her League.

    No one hates saying that more than I do. Like so many women, I’ve been pulling for Palin, wishing her the best, hoping she will perform brilliantly. I’ve also noticed that I watch her interviews with the held breath of an anxious parent, my finger poised over the mute button in case it gets too painful. Unfortunately, it often does. My cringe reflex is exhausted....

    What to do?

    McCain can’t repudiate his choice for running mate. He not only risks the wrath of the GOP’s unforgiving base, but he invites others to second-guess his executive decision-making ability. Barack Obama faces the same problem with Biden.

    Only Palin can save McCain, her party, and the country she loves. She can bow out for personal reasons, perhaps because she wants to spend more time with her newborn. No one would criticize a mother who puts her family first.

    Read entire column.

     

    In case you missed Sarah Palin with Katie Couric...

     

    A heartbeat away...?  I'm waiting for John McCain to hold a press conference and say, "I was only kidding.  I can't believe everyone fell for this."

     

    September 25, 2008

    Word of the day:  PARABLE - a story intended to teach a basic truth or moral about life.

    Parable of the day:  PLIGHT OF THE POST TURTLE

    I received an e-mail suggesting that Sarah Palin is a post tutrtle.

    What is a post turtle and what is it's plight? 

    When you're driving down a country road you come across a fence post with a turtle balanced on top, that's a "post turtle".

    You know it didn't get up there by itself, it doesn't belong up there, and it doesn't know what to do while it's up there, and you just wonder what kind of asshole put it up there to begin with.

    Postscript to a Parable

    CNN's Campbell Brown:  "Tonight I call on the McCain campaign to stop treating Sarah Palin like she is a delicate flower that will wilt at any moment. This woman is from Alaska for crying out loud. She is strong. She is tough. She is confident. And you claim she is ready to be one heartbeat away from the presidency. If that is the case, then end this chauvinistic treatment of her now. Allow her to show her stuff. Allow her to face down those pesky reporters.... Let her have a real news conference with real questions. By treating Sarah Palin different from the other candidates in this race, you are not showing her the respect she deserves. Free Sarah Palin. Free her from the chauvinistic chains you are binding her with. Sexism in this campaign must come to an end. Sarah Palin has just as much a right to be a real candidate in this race as the men do. So let her act like one."

    Let the turtle off the post!

    www.thedailyrant.us

    Punchline:  Set the post turtle on the ground, she pokes her head out of the shell and says,
    "Damn.  Now I'll have to spend another day climbing back up!"

    September 24, 2008

    More from George Will...

    If you haven't read it, I urge you to read yesterday's COLUMN by George Will (the conservative Pulitzer Prize-winning writer).  Then, be sure to forward the column to anyone who is undecided about McCain or whose mind is open to new information.  If you are short on time, this is the concluding paragraph:

    "It is arguable that, because of his inexperience, Obama is not ready for the presidency. It is arguable that McCain, because of his boiling moralism and bottomless reservoir of certitudes, is not suited to the presidency. Unreadiness can be corrected, although perhaps at great cost, by experience. Can a dismaying temperament be fixed?"

    September 23, 2008

    In case you missed Saturday night's lead-in skit on SNL, here is the link.  It is an excellent satirical look at McCain's campaign ads.  Incidentally, the idea for the skit came from former SNL writer, Al Franken, now the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in Minnesota.   LINK

    McCain on Economics...

    “I’m always for less regulation,” McCain told The Wall Street Journal last March, “but I am aware of the view that there is a need for government oversight” in situations like the subprime lending crisis, the problem that has cascaded through Wall Street this year. "But," he concluded, “I am fundamentally a deregulator.”

    Later that month, he gave a speech on the housing crisis in which he called for less regulation, saying, “Our financial market approach should include encouraging increased capital in financial institutions by removing regulatory, accounting and tax impediments to raising capital.”

    The chronology of McCain's reaction to the economic crisis last week:

    Monday:  "The fundamentals of the economy are strong."

    Tuesday:  "The American worker and their innovation and their entrepreneurship, the small business, those are the fundamentals of America and I think they’re strong.”

    "We cannot have the taxpayers bail out AIG or anybody else."

    "We're going to need a 9/11 Commission' to find out what happened and what needs to be fixed.  I warned two years ago that this situation was deteriorating and unacceptable. And the old-boy network and the corruption in Washington is directly involved, and one of the causes of this financial crisis that we're in today. And I know how to fix it, and I know how to get things done."

    Wednesday:  "I didn't want to do that [bail out AIG].  And I don't think anybody I know wanted to do that.  But there are literally millions of people whose retirement, whose investment, whose insurance were at risk here,"

    Thursday:  "The chairman of the SEC serves at the appointment of the president, and in my view has betrayed the public trust. If I were president today, I would fire him."

    Friday:  After it was reported that a commissioner of an independent regulatory commission cannot be removed by the president, McCain softened his demand and said he would request the chairman’s resignation: "That’s why I believe that the chairman of the FEC [sic] should resign and leave office and be replaced."

    Also on Friday:  "We’ve heard a lot of words from Senator Obama over the course of this campaign. But maybe just this once he could spare us the lectures, and admit to his own poor judgment in contributing to these problems. The crisis on Wall Street started in the Washington culture of lobbying and influence peddling, and he was square in the middle of it."  This from McCain who was criticized for exercising "poor judgment" in his association with Charles Keating in the 1980's S&L scandal and whose chief economic advisor Phil Gramm (until last month when Gramm called the American people whiners) authored the bill which deregulated investment banking (supported, of course, by McCain).

    More from conservative columnist George Will:
    "I suppose the McCain campaign's hope is that when there's a big crisis, people will go for age and experience. The question is, who in this crisis looked more presidential, calm and un-flustered? It wasn't John McCain who, as usual, substituting vehemence for coherence, said 'let's fire somebody.' And picked one of the most experienced and conservative people in the administration, Chris Cox, and for no apparent reason... It was un-presidential behavior by a presidential candidate." -
    Sunday, 9/21/08 on ABC's This Week

    McCain graduated 894 out of 899 in his class at the Naval Academy.
    What's the over-under on his grade in Economics 101?

    September 21, 2008

    Sunday, we received credible, quantitative evidence of the racial factor in this year’s election. An AP-Yahoo News poll, conducted with Stanford University, found that the percentage of voters who may turn away from Obama because of his race could easily be larger than the final difference between the candidates in 2004 — about 2.5 percentage points.

     "There are a lot fewer bigots than there were 50 years ago, but that doesn't mean there's only a few bigots," said Stanford political scientist Paul Sniderman who helped analyze the exhaustive survey... The findings suggest that Obama's problem is close to home — among his fellow Democrats, particularly non-Hispanic white voters.

    In order to prevail, Obama must make the most of the three presidential debates and six weeks before the election. If he can continue to connect with the American people on the issues, the number of people who will recognize him as the intelligent, thoughtful, consensus-builder that he has proven to be throughout years of public service will grow.

    On the other side of the coin, if McCain continues his about face on honor and Palin continues to be appear scripted and limited to the rote lines, fewer of the American people will have confidence in their ability to redirect the course of this country.

    Finally, it is up to us - those who know that change is necessary and believe that Obama is best-suited to lead us there - to do more than sing to the choir (rant) for six weeks.  We must be active.  We must reach out to our communities to persuade anyone who will listen that we have a great deal at stake and that Obama should be judged not on race but as a man with the intelligence and integrity to lead us all. Once again, every vote will matter if we are going to overcome the shrinking but still significant hurdle of race.

    Let 2008 be the year that we proclaim that We Have Overcome.

    September 19, 2008

    First Cousins (Once Removed)

    Michelle Obama

    Rabbi Capers C. Funnye Jr.

     

    Congregation Website

    Wikipedia


    I am trying to figure out whether this will comfort those who remain concerned whether Barack Obama is a friend to Jews.  If you fall into that category, I urge you to check the Phoenix Jewish News.

     

     

    September 18, 2008

    HAGEL:  Palin Not Qualified To Be President

    Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, in an interview with the Omaha World-Herald, became the nation's most prominent Republican officeholder to publicly question whether Sarah Palin has the experience to serve as president.

    "She doesn't have any foreign policy credentials. You get a passport for the first time in your life last year? I mean, I don't know what you can say. You can't say anything."

    McCain has cited the proximity of Alaska to Russia as evidence of Palin’s international experience. Hagel scoffed at that notion. "I think they ought to be just honest about it and stop the nonsense about, 'I look out my window and I see Russia and so therefore I know something about Russia. That kind of thing is insulting to the American people."

    Hagel offered a couple caveats on his assessment of Palin: Experience is not the only qualification for elected officials — judgment and character are indispensable. Washington experience isn't the only kind of experience, Hagel said, and he noted that many White House occupants have been governors with no time inside the Beltway.

    "But I do think in a world that is so complicated, so interconnected and so combustible, you really got to have some people in charge that have some sense of the bigger scope of the world," Hagel said. "I think that's just a requirement."

    So is Palin qualified to be president? "I think it's a stretch to, in any way, to say that she's got the experience to be president of the United States," Hagel said.

    Hagel supported McCain's unsuccessful bid for president in 2000. This year, Hagel says he has no plans to endorse either presidential candidate.
     

    PAUL:  Will Not Support McCain

    Republican Rep. Ron Paul stated today on MSNBC: "I could never support somebody who thinks that its funny to say ‘Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Iran’. That to me is not somebody I could endorse ever."

    Conservative Columnists Disenchanted With McCain/Palin

    "McCain’s recent conduct of his campaign – his willingness to lie repeatedly (including in his acceptance speech) and to play Russian roulette with the vice-presidency, in order to fulfill his long-held ambition – has reinforced my earlier, and growing, sense that John McCain is not a principled man." - Elizabeth Drew

    "McCain has turned ugly. His dishonesty would be unacceptable in any politician, but McCain has always set his own bar higher than most. He has contempt for most of his colleagues for that very reason: They lie. He tells the truth. He internalizes the code of the McCains -- his grandfather, his father: both admirals of the shining sea. He serves his country differently, that's all -- but just as honorably. No more, though." - Richard Cohen

    "Sarah Palin has many virtues. If you wanted someone to destroy a corrupt establishment, she’d be your woman. But the constructive act of governance is another matter. She has not been engaged in national issues, does not have a repertoire of historic patterns and, like President Bush, she seems to compensate for her lack of experience with brashness and excessive decisiveness." - David Brooks

    "The word "experience" appears 91 times in the Federalist Papers, those distillations of conservative sense and sensibility...  America's Founders were empiricists and students of history who trusted "that best oracle of wisdom, experience," which is humanity's "least fallible guide."...  So, Sarah Palin. The man who would be the oldest to embark on a first presidential term has chosen as his possible successor a person of negligible experience."  - George Will

    "In a stroke, McCain gratuitously forfeited his most powerful argument against Obama. And this was even before Palin's inevitable liabilities began to pile up -- inevitable because any previously unvetted neophyte has "issues." The kid. The state trooper investigation. And worst, the paucity of any Palin record or expressed conviction on the major issues of our time." - Charles Krauthammer

    "[Palin is] under-informed and over-confident. But there was no "macaca" moment, so she survives. Those who wish to believe in her will continue to believe in her. As for the rest - well it's a 6 in 7 chance that McCain makes it to the end of his first term. That's pretty good!"  - David Frum

    "[W]e've seen the entirety of the Palin-Gibson tete-a-tete...The most that can be said in her defense is that she kept her cool and avoided any brutal gaffes; other than that, she seemed about an inch deep on every issue outside her comfort zone... And there's no way to look at her performance as anything save supporting evidence for the non-hysterical critique of her candidacy - that it's just too much, too soon - and a splash of cold water for those of us with high hopes for her future on the national stage." - Ross Douthat

     

    September 17, 2008

    John McCain, in his own words:

    “Our economy, I think, still, the fundamentals of our economy are strong."

    "She [Palin] knows more about energy than probably anyone else in the United States of America."

    "Sometimes I’m given to a little hyperbole."

    "I have had a strong and a long relationship on national security, I've been involved in every national crisis that this nation has faced since Beirut, I understand the issues, I understand and appreciate the enormity of the challenge we face from radical Islamic extremism. I am prepared. I am prepared. I need no on-the-job training. I wasn't a mayor for a short period of time. I wasn't a governor for a short period of time."

    "I'm going to be honest: I know a lot less about economics than I do about military and foreign policy issues. I still need to be educated."

    "The issue of economics is not something I've understood as well as I should. I've got Greenspan's book."

    "It's not social issues I care about."

    "The fact is that I have agreed with President Bush far more than I have disagreed. And on the transcendent issues, the most important issues of our day, I've been totally in agreement and support of President Bush."

    "Fuck you! I know more about this than anyone else in the room." --to Republican Sen. John Cornyn, during a testy exchange about immigration legislation.

    "No, I'm calling you a fucking jerk." --to fellow Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, when Grassley asked "Are you calling me stupid?"

    "Only an asshole would put together a budget like this ... I wouldn't call you an asshole unless you really were an asshole." --to Republican Sen. Pete Domenici, during a Senate budget hearing.

    "Do you know why Chelsea Clinton is so ugly? Because Janet Reno is her father." --at a 1998 Republican fundraiser.

     

    September 16, 2008

    Please read Richard Cohen's column in tomorrow's Washington Post and then forward the link to anyone you know who is undecided about this election.  The column is significant because it comes from a columnist who was admittedly "in the tank" for John McCain.

    September 15, 2008

    I urge you to read and to pass on to others to read the New York Times Editorial Gov. Palin’s Worldview published on September 13, 2008. It makes a point similar to the one I make today in the Daily Rant but the Times does it more effectively and with authority.  I am, as always, undeterred.


    "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." George Santayana, Reason in Common Sense, 1905.

    Of course, you can’t remember that which you’ve never learned. We don’t have the transcripts from any of the four (maybe five) colleges Sarah Palin attended in six years. We do know that she finally received a bachelor’s degree in journalism in 1987 from the University of Idaho. [USNews] There is nothing in her educational background to indicate any study in history, let alone any depth of study of history. Her sparse unscripted remarks fail to assure the world that she has any particular knowledge of history or world affairs:

    PALIN: "As for that VP talk all the time, I’ll tell you, I still can’t answer that question until somebody answers for me what is it exactly that the VP does every day? YouTube, July 2008

    Q. Are you offended by the phrase "Under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance? Why or why not?
    PALIN: "Not on your life. If it was good enough for the founding fathers, its good enough for me and I’ll fight in defense of our Pledge of Allegiance."
    [Note: the Pledge of Allegiance wasn't written until 1892 and the words "under God" weren't added until 1954.]

    GIBSON: What insight into Russian actions, particularly in the last couple of weeks, does the proximity of the state give you?
    PALIN: They're our next door neighbors and you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska, from an island in Alaska.

    GIBSON: Do you agree with the Bush doctrine?
    PALIN: In what respect, Charlie?

    In 2001, at the conclusion of his first meeting with Vladimir Putin, George W. Bush said, "I looked the man in the eye. I found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy. We had a very good dialogue. I was able to get a sense of his soul." Over the years that have elapsed since this naive assertion by Bush, we have learned that Bush had no insight into Putin’s soul. (How Putin and his closest confidants must have howled in private at the bumpkin who is the leader of the free world.) The soul of Putin, indeed the soul of the Russian people, is incredibly complex, shaped by hundreds of years of history. I’ll eat the keyboard on which I am now typing this rant if Sarah Palin gleaned that complexity from peering across the Bering Straits.

    (To those reading this rant who dismiss Palin’s lack of depth in world affairs because she is, after all, the number two person on the Republican ticket, it is unlikely that this rant will persuade you otherwise. However, if you’re reading this far, who knows?)

    The fact is that the selection of Palin reflects on McCain's integrity and/or judgment.  Mr. McCain said, in early 2008, "We all know that the highest priority [for VP] is someone who can take your [the president’s] place." After naming Palin as his running mate, NBC's Brian Williams asked McCain if Sarah Palin was the best choice given that he's a 72-year-old cancer survivor. McCain defended the choice: "She has had executive experience as governor, mayor, as a city council member, as PTA." Williams followed up and asked again if she was the best choice. "Oh sure," McCain said, "in every way."

    It is crystal clear that McCain, in his interview with NBC, was being disingenuous or was demonstrating a gross lapse of judgment, or both.  It wouldn’t matter much if the audience of McCain’s remarks was Brian Williams (sorry, Brian) but it was the American people to whom McCain was speaking. His motive? To get elected.

    This is a theme which is recurring. In my September 11, 2008 rant, I wrote:

    But, gee whiz, what would justify making this serious accusation against this war hero, this self-described straight-talking maverick, this man of honor? Well, after his 2000 presidential bid was over, McCain called for the removal of the Confederate battle flag from atop the South Carolina Statehouse, acknowledging that his refusal to take such a stance during his primary battle for South Carolina was a "sacrifice of principle for personal ambition. I feared that if I answered honestly, I could not win the South Carolina primary. So I chose to compromise my principles."  Do you think that the 2008 McCain, chastened by his moral lapse in 2000, is less ambitious and is now committed to the high road (as in I'd rather lose an election than lie to the electorate)?

    Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

    On November 4, will the American people remember the last eight years or will we have amnesia?

     

    September 11, 2008

    (Please note that this rant is inspired by numerous blogs and, most recently, Keith Olbermann on MSNBC.  I proceed with a tip of the hat to them all.)

    It is the seventh anniversary of 9/11.  A solemn day.  Some will think that this is an inappropriate day to rant about the politicization of the "War on Terrorism".  I respectfully disagree.  The politicization of the War on Terrorism disrespects those who lost their lives (and their families) in the terrorist attacks on 9/11 and there is no better day to expose it.

    What politicization?  Let me be blunt.  John McCain's. 

    For well over a year (at least as early as May 3, 2007), John McCain has been strongly asserting (in these or essentially  these words):

    “If I have to follow him to the gates of hell, I will get Osama bin Laden and bring
     him to justice.  I will do that and I know how to do that. I will get that done.”

    This statement has become a signature line, used by McCain dozens of times in his stump speeches and interviews.  Why not?  It is an assertion which telegraphs to the electorate that McCain will be a strong and courageous leader.

    The way I figure it, there are four possible scenarios here:

    1.   McCain has an actual plan for getting bin Laden, disclosed the plan to President Bush who implemented the McCain plan, and the plan didn't work.

    Well, if this is the case, wouldn't it be dishonest for McCain to continue to assert that he knows how to get bin Laden?

    2.   McCain has an actual plan for getting bin Laden, disclosed the plan to President Bush who refused to implement the plan, and McCain, the loyal soldier of the Republican Party, has kept quiet about a Republican administration which is not serious about getting bin Laden.

    3.  McCain has an actual plan for getting bin Laden, kept the plan and will to continue to keep the plan a secret from President Bush for some twenty months from early May 2007 until the inauguration in late January 2009, at which time McCain will spring into action and claim the credit.

    How do scenarios 3 and 4 square with McCain's two campaign slogans, "Country First" and "I'd rather lose an election than lose a war"?

    4.  McCain has no plan...

    ...in which case McCain has consistently lied to the American people to bolster his chances of being elected.  But, gee whiz, what would justify making this serious accusation against this war hero, this self-described straight-talking maverick, this man of honor?  Well, after his 2000 presidential bid was over, McCain called for the removal of the Confederate battle flag from atop the South Carolina Statehouse, acknowledging that his refusal to take such a stance during his primary battle for South Carolina was a "sacrifice of principle for personal ambition.  I feared that if I answered honestly, I could not win the South Carolina primary. So I chose to compromise my principles." - CNN   Do you think that the 2008 McCain, chastened by his moral lapse in 2000, is less ambitious and is now committed to the high road (as in I'd rather lose an election than lie to the electorate)?  If you are at all inclined to believe that McCain has truly reformed, I challenge you to reconcile that belief with yesterday's ad released by the McCain Campaign (LINK) which accuses Obama of supporting comprehensive sex education for kindergarten children when, in fact, the legislation cited in the ad provided for educating kindergarteners to defend themselves against sexual predators and was supported by a coalition of education and public health organizations, including the Illinois Parent Teacher Association, the Illinois State Medical Society, the Illinois Public Health Association and the Illinois Education Association. - New York Times

    Under which of the four scenarios is John McCain not politicizing 9/11?  When John McCain promises to follow bin Laden to the gates of hell, is he honoring the victims of 9/11 or is he using our collective national outrage to fuel his political campaign?

    You decide.
     

    September 5, 2008

    Throughout the primary season, any criticism of John McCain was countered with the story of his heroism as a POW with the inference that such criticism was unpatriotic.  Now, the Republicans are branding all criticism of Sarah Palin as being sexist.   

    Is it sexist to point out that Sarah Palin advocates teaching creationism in public schools?

    Is it sexist to point out that Sarah Palin opposes abortion even in the cases of rape and incest?

    Is it sexist to point out that Sarah Palin opposes any sex education other than abstinence?

    Is it sexist to point out that despite Sarah Palin's claim that she has fought against earmarks that, in actuality, she has successfully fought for earmarks both as mayor of Wasilla and Governor of Alaska?

    Is it sexist to point out that Mayor Sarah Palin tried to force the librarian to remove books from the public library, books that Sarah Palin found offensive?

    Is it sexist to question the sophistication needed to balance the budget of Alaska, the richest state in the union?

    Is it sexist to ask why the McCain campaign has yet to allow the press an opportunity to interview Sarah Palin?

    Is it sexist to point out that Sarah Palin denies that global warming is the result of human conduct?

    Is it sexist to point out that Sarah Palin wants polar bears to be removed from the endangered species list?

     If the answer to these questions is yes, call me a male chauvinist pig.

     

    September 3, 2008

    Cutting off my nose in spite of my face?

    Earlier this summer, I filled a need.  I was introduced to a bright endocrinologist, Dr. Robert E. Aden, who was "in network" on my insurance plan.  For me, Dr. Aden looked to be the the doctor who could oversee my Type 2 diabetes care for the duration (mine).  However, this morning, I had my second office visit with Dr. Aden and he was running an hour-and-a-half behind scheduled appointments.  Instead of apologizing, he defended the wait by saying that three to four hours is the norm for endocrinologists. I replied that being the "norm" did not make it right.  Dr. Aden then shocked me by saying "Are you paying my full rate? No, you are paying a discounted rate."

    I am not interested in having a relationship with a doctor, no matter how well-qualified, who regards me as a second class patient because I have health insurance (or for any other reason).  So, I turned and walked out of his office.

     

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