Friday, October 31, 2008

Palate Cleanser

Been meaning to get around to this one for some time, but for some reason my music-critiquing skills feel atrophied these days. Lately I've been digging Opeth's current release, Watershed. I'd heard some of their earlier songs and liked them, especially several from their "mellow" album, 2003's Damnation, but have been listening to Watershed front-to-back pretty frequently.

Opeth is primarily the brainchild of guitarist/songwriter Mikael Åkerfeldt, and Damnation aside, much of what I've heard of their catalog consists of extended arrangements of post-Metallica/Iron Maiden riffage, lots of loud-soft-loud dynamics, and the requisite Cookie Monster vocals. Ordinarily I have very little patience with that vocal style, but musically Opeth are talented and thematically ambitious.

One standout in the lineup was former drummer Martin Lopez, whose propulsive syncopations were something different for the genre, most reminiscent of the style of Tool's Danny Carey, who for my money is the best all-around (if not prolific enough) rock drummer working today. New drummer Martin Axenrot, who had been Opeth's touring drummer for several years and finally took over the job full-time as Lopez coped with health problems, proves to be an excellent replacement.

Watershed starts off innocuously enough with Coil, a quiet, pensive intro featuring Åkerfeldt and female vocalist Nathalie Lorichs (Axenrot's girlfriend) trading brief verses of loss and bereavement, a common thread in Åkerfeldt's lyrics. In fact, it may be this as much as anything that separates Opeth from the average "death metal" band -- rather than the usual "Turdklog, Despoiler of Porcelain" barking the script to Hostel over and over again, Åkerfeldt treads a more universal lyrical path. On Watershed he outdoes himself, evoking a myriad of synonyms for "melancholic", especially on the slower numbers.

The key to Watershed being something special and transcending its typical categorization is the addition of keyboardist Per Wiberg, who contribues enormously to Åkerfeldt's bleak vision. Wiberg's organ and mellotron (yes, dammit, mellotron) broaden the band's soundscape, complementing the lyrics and moving the overall sound forward. As Coil gives way to the nine-minute pounding of Heir Apparent and that second song develops, Wiberg's role in the aggression increases, accentuating Axenrot's furious blast beats with minor cadences right out of the Jon Lord playbook. Considering the usual tropes of the genre, it's a bold move, and sets the stage for the rest of the album.

Even the hardest tracks contain some sort of little quiet invention to break the action up a bit. The Lotus Eater and Hex Omega are rife with Seventies prog references, such as Deep Purple and King Crimson, adding contrast and depth to the weighty riffing. Some of the mid-song miniatures wouldn't have been out of place in Songs from the Wood-era Jethro Tull. There's even a mellotron version of Porcelain Heart on the special edition CD, called Mellotron Heart.

Burden is probably the most conventionally accessible song here, and its Phrygian/Aeolian modalities conjure up Ulrich Roth-era Scorpions as much as anything. While slow and plaintive, it features a burst of fantastic Lord/Blackmore interplay from Wiberg and new lead guitarist Fredrik Åkesson. Seventies prog references abound throughout Watershed, but maybe nowhere more so than here. Rather than sounding derivative or even an homage, it's an expansion of the sonic palette.

Perhaps the centerpiece of the album is the penultimate track, the eleven-minute-plus Hessian Peel. Starting with a sinuous, vaguely creepy melody on the higher strings, Åkerfeldt weaves a metaphorical tale of loss, nodding to Zeppelin with a couple of backward-vocal verses, heading into a stately Aeolian modal riff that builds into a short, punchy organ break at the halfway mark, before descending into a pummeling second-half maelstrom, punctuated with a great diminished-scale solo from Åkesson. Here the band sounds like they're reaching their destination on the album, all parts thrumming with energy and conviction.

The special edition CD closes with a reverential cover of Robin Trower's Bridge of Sighs, which really should be a radio track, even on a classic station. Watershed takes a few listens to really get into as an entire album, primarily because of the use of growl vocals, but Åkerfeldt uses them judiciously, with a vision at work for the album as a whole. It's an impressive effort that makes the term "Swedish progressive death metal" actually mean something.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Kerners Are Go

We may have to brace ourselves next Tuesday night for the collective implosion of a thousand pinheads, starting with poor Pammycakes. One gets the notion that the excruciating minutiae of Barack Hussein Obama Junior's conception, term, birth, and the official record of that birth, seep into quotidian activities such as dinner and sex. These are the kind of people who cry out "Must credit Drudge!" or "Islamojihadifascist!" at the moment of climax and/or failure to achieve an erection.

Spanking the Monkey

"Growing the pie" is indeed precious nonsense of an almost Palinesque -- hell, almost Bushian -- stature, so perhaps the tundra shrew is rubbing off on the old fart despite his best efforts. It's a phrase that could just as easily be replaced by "slamming the ham" or "flogging the dolphin", which pretty much sums up his inept free-floating jerkoff of a campaign.

“Joe’s with us today,” McCain said. “Joe where are you? Where is Joe? Is Joe here with us today? Joe, I thought you were here today.”

After a four second pause, he realized that Joe was not present this chilly morning at Defiance Junior High School.

“Well,” he said, “you’re all Joe the Plumber, so all of you stand up!” That was easy since nearly everyone was standing already.

“I saw Joe on television this morning,” he added. “He did a great job.”

Aides said later that the campaign mixed up its events and that Joe would be appearing later in the day. McCain is at the start of a two-day bus tour through Ohio, a state he must win Tuesday if he has a shot of victory.

Boy howdy, they run a tight ship there, don't they? It's bad enough that they stake their homestretch run on these Bill the CatJoe the Ringer/Bob the Builder jokers. But Obama draws thousands in freezing rain in Pennsylvania, and midnight rallies in Florida, while the Straight Talk Express sputters into early-morning monologues at East Overshoe Junior High. Is the field there bigger and nicer than the high school's, or are we trying to win over a couple hundred thirteen-year-olds?

I caught a little over half of the Obama infomercial last night, out of basic curiosity more than anything, and I noted that not once did I hear the name of either of Obama's opponents uttered. This was much more effective than any open repudiation would have been. Yet it's not an unreasonable impression to assume that neither McCain nor his Neiman Marxist sidekick can go three minutes without lobbing some incendiary lie about Obama, because they're simply incapable of coming up with anything else. Their arguments have been uniformly impotent and incoherent. I'd have some respect for them if they, for example, talked about the working-class people who got hosed by Joe-the-Delaware-Senator's sponsorship of the credit-card industry's bankruptcy bill, but there's too much common ground there, I suppose.

As obnoxious as that "big lies, oft-repeated" aspect of McPalin's tepid effort is, perhaps what's worse is the gleam in Palin's eye as she dutifully recites laundry lists of "This the That" faces-in-the-crowd, almost as if it actually meant or accomplished a single useful thing. More than ever, she comes off like an annoyingly precocious fourth-grader who not only has memorized most of the state capitals, but insists on reminding everyone within earshot as often as possible.

It's easy enough to observe that both parties and their respective candidates are, in the end, simply the far-right and the center-right wings of a militarizing, data-mining corporatocracy, red in tooth and claw, extending the hegemon whilst picking our pockets and drowning our dreams of anarcho-syndicalist bliss, etc., etc. I'm down with all that. But that doesn't mean there aren't serious differences not just between the candidates and policies, but more importantly their audiences. I'll take painfully earnest, muddled idealism over doddering senescence and increasingly virulent yahooism any day. Even the golden opportunity of tearing down a corrupt edifice isn't worth unnecessarily empowering these throngs of hooting retards.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Plumber's Crack

In case you haven't had quite enough of America's Favorite Ringer, you'll love this. Just when you thought you'd seen the limit of utter stupidity from McPalin backers -- and sweet Jebus, have they pushed that envelope like a bull elephant in full rut -- they have now sunk to discussing foreign policy with this goddamned clown:

Wurzelbacher was hitting the campaign trail on behalf of McCain for the first time, joining former Rep. Rob Portman on a GOP bus tour through Ohio.

At a stop in Columbus, he fielded the question on Israel from a self-identified Jewish senior citizen.

The questioner said he was "concerned" with Barack Obama's associations and "It's my belief that a vote for Obama is a vote for the death to Israel."

Wurzelbacher responded: "I do know that."

The questioner then complained about Obama's tax policies and reiterated his Israel comment.

"Well, you know what, I'll actually go ahead and agree with you on that one," Wurzelbacher said. "You know ... no, I agree with ya.'"

I don't even know what to say anymore. Words truly fail at this point.

He later said Obama would end the democracy that the U.S. military had defended during wars.

"I love America. I hope it remains a democracy, not a socialist society. ... If you look at spreading the wealth, that's honestly right out of Karl Marx's mouth," Wurzelbacher said.

"No one can debate that. That's not my opinion. That's fact."

Though "Joe the Plumber" has become a centerpiece of McCain's campaign in the closing days of the presidential race, McCain aides told FOX News the Republican nominee does not share Wurzelbacher's opinion on Obama's view toward Israel.

So what exactly is the point of having someone speak for you on the campaign trail -- even a stone ringer like this cartoon character -- if you have to repudiate some of the things he says?

More importantly, I'm just boggled at the Israel "questioner". I mean, I get why Joe the Ringer, despite his earlier protests about how the big bad librul media have been all mean and unfair to him, continues to wallow in his fifteen minutes. It makes sense, at least in a society where any jerkoff can become an overnight celebrity for no particular reason.

But what kind of an asshole not only takes time out of their day to listen to Samuel J. Wurzelbacher speak, but actually asks him a foreign policy question? These are sad little freaks meandering through life without enough brains to successfully pick their noses, embarrassing themselves for a shitty Rickroll of a campaign.

Monday, October 27, 2008

No Sleep 'til Wordsmith

I don't often find myself agreeing with Safire, but when he's right, he's right -- the "proof of the pudding" is in the eating, truly a difference with an actual distinction.

Other things that rub my anal-retentive nub:
  • Saying that you "could" care less. Really, could you? I mean, so could I. So could anyone. What makes you so special? Doesn't matter what the subject is. We could all care less. Fucking duh. But if the expression has any meaning, which it doesn't, then you could not care less, right?

    Eh, fuck it. I could care less.

  • Having your cake and eating it too. How is that accomplished? Doesn't eating your cake and still having it make more logical sense or what? In what other way are you "having" this abstract cake? In the conjugal sense? That would certainly explain the existence of Twinkies.

  • "From whence". This is redundant construction; "whence" itself means "from where" or "from when". It's funny that some of the people who lapse into such usage are exactly the sort of folks who should have encountered Strunk & White at some point in their professional writing careers.

As for the rest of Safire's scrying of the rhetorical frottage of McCain and Palin, characterizing their endless vamping as "verbal tics" is at once too kind and insufficient. Watching their speeches is about as entertaining as listening to alley cats mate on a backyard fence; reading the transcripts is different but not much better. McCain seems to benefit a bit from reading his piffle rather than listening to it, being tethered to his toneless, cadence-free delivery.

Palin, on the other hand, gathers steam and gall in her delivery as she pounces from one crowd of halfwits to the next. Transcripts are inadequate in capturing her snideness and sarcasm, her smirking glee as she parks lie after shrill lie into the cheap seats.

The fact that all they've been able to attract at most of these things is career yahoos such as Hank Williams Jr. and Elisabeth Hasselbeck is, I suppose, something of a relief. Professional wrestlers and NASCAR drivers seem to be few and far between at these rallies, surely a cultural barometer of that particular base.

All of which points to something that even Safire would have to concede. This past weekend featured much speculation over Palin becoming a "diva", and perhaps looking ahead already to 2012. More than a few professional leg-humpers made the usual rounds to encourage such speculation.

If Palin really is the best they've got to offer next time around, then their party is well and truly dead from the standpoint of ideological legitimacy, and their Wills and Krauthammers and Safires will have to do some real soul-searching. It would seal the notion that they are no longer the party of Lincoln, nor even of Schwarzenegger, but rather the satrapy of cartoon characters directly descended from Tom DeLay.

There has to be more to their would-be philosophical underpinnings than giving Rich Lowry a boner. Palin's future -- and the country's -- would be better served by letting her ply her trade at one of the indistinguishable poliporn glory holes that litter the abandoned rest stops of the basic cable spectrum.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Figure Eight

California's much-abused referendum process (we're about to vote on the third set of initiatives this year) contains the latest tedious exercise in homo-bashing, the ludicrous Prop. 8, which "protects marriage" from those people, if not from the seedy likes of Larry King or Lorrie Morgan. Some variation on this tired-ass theme comes up every couple years as of late here, because the whole issue is outmoded and on its way out, and the god-botherers know this. And golly, they're scared, even if they have no idea why. May they all have gay kids, and thus be forced to figure this out from a standpoint of intellectual honesty.

This year's model was on its way to failure, until out-of-state Mormons got involved and began funding ad campaigns featuring a rather infamous quote from Gavin Newsom, talking about how it's going to happen, "whether people like it or not". Well, he's right, it will. Hell, it is happening. Nothin' you can do about it, bunky. The question is not whether you think homosexuality is immoral or not, just whether you think they should have inheritance and visitation rights like everyone else. Not too complicated.

What really pisses me off about this year's nonsensical effort is this interference from out-of-staters in what is a California state process. I don't care what the issue is, they need to stay the hell out of it here. You busybody Utahns and Idahoans best think about minding your own fuckin' business, lest things come back and bite you in the future. I pick on religious fanatics a lot, obviously, but I think most of us are content to live and let live, it's when they try to impose their hypocrisies that we're tired of it.

Maybe it's time to get tired of it for real. Maybe it's time to get serious about taxing religious "donations" that are being used for expressly political purposes, much less to interfere in other states' initiative processes. Again, you self-righteous assholes need to start minding your own goddamned business, before your little racket starts costing you the money it should in the first place.

Friends With Benefits

While an Obama victory has loads of potential (instinctive misgivings about hegmonic management notwithstanding), one thing I am actually counting on is the impending marginalization of this clown:

"When I go out, I say, 'I have a lot of respect for Sen. Obama. He's bright. He's eloquent.' Someday, I might even support him for president, but now in the midst of this series of crises, John McCain is simply so much better prepared that that's who I am proud to support," Lieberman said.

Yes, and he's certainly shown that level of preparation with his neck-deep involvement in Russia's summertime excursion into Georgia, as well as his prancing back and forth, in and out of impending debates, in and out of support for regulating Wall Street bookmaking operations, as the grand casino falls on its face and takes everyone's savings with it. If Lieberman were any more full of shit, he'd have flies coming out of his ears.

Lieberman said he felt no obligation to address comments by McCain and Palin questioning the patriotism of places in America that are not supportive of McCain.

"I am prepared to be held accountable for my own comments on the campaign trail," Lieberman said.

Don't worry, asshole, you will be. But yes, you are also an accomplice every time the people you endorse lie to us, and you're accountable for all that as well. Whatever political Siberia exists in the Beltway, whatever Potomac gulag they got, we expect your dumb ass to be chained to it for the duration. Don't kid yourself, we're not forgetting. By February 1, we expect you to be walking funny, fuckface.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Bachmann Palin Overdrive

Count me in as one of millions who think it would be Teh Awesome to see a Klondike Barbie/Mary Tyler Moron ticket in 2012. There have been too many stories already in the past few days about Palin going rogue for it be merely rumor. She may know jack shit about policy, but appears to lack nothing when it comes to shrewdness and ambition. The implosion of the Republican Party continues apace.

Swift Boat Jammietards for Truthiness

The one and only Jon Swift compiles some of the abject foolishness the tardosphere has been perpetuating throughout the campaign season. Apparently Bill Ayers molested Obama and then wrote his memoirs for him, something along that line. I think Bat Boy or some other Weekly World News character may figure into it all as well.

Really, I'm surprised more of them didn't fall for the rather transparent mugger hoax the other day, since they're so willing and able to be gulled by just about anything. (Because not only would this mythical mugger, in the commission of his crime of opportunity, have taken the time to express his idealistic principles by ramping up a simple robbery to felony mayhem, he would have done it by carving a backwards "B" instead of, erm, a simple "O". Jesus Christ, did anybody really believe this drunken cow when her story hit the "news"?)

Thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster that Swifty can stand to skim this junk for endless diamonds of stupid, because I just don't have the stomach. These people must have to wear helmets and protective goggles to the dinner table.

McCain Campaign Stays Mainly in the Lame

Looking back at the waste and debris that comprises the 2008 Republican campaign, perhaps the most striking feature is how consistently inept and incoherent it has been. It has not been a coordinated campaign with an actual mesage, so much as a series of disconnected weekly stunts and gimmicks.

None of these stunts and catch-phrases have made it beyond what marketing weasels would call "early adopters", but in the political arena are simply (to be charitable about it) true believers. They'll believe whatever they're told, because they're predisposed to. The effective campaign is the one that can move its message beyond that first layer of self-selecting dopes, but all you see at these "events" is the same idiots with their "I Am Joe the Plummer"[sic] signs, proving on several levels that they indeed slept their way through the public school system.

So when I read a breathless, gushing chronicle of McCain appearing in Denver with by far the most famous face of that city's NFL franchise, I instantly wonder what the numbers are. After all, Obama just drew 100,000 in St. Louis, and turned around and drew another 75,000 in Kansas City the very next day. Surely John Elway can reel in some numbers on his home turf for Poor Ol' Straight Talk.

Four thousand. 4,000 people showed up to listen to this mess. Come on. Elway probably can't go shopping at the mall in Denver without attracting a few hundred gawkers, and the draw is only 4k at a campaign event?

Elway said McCain knows how to show "leadership and sacrifice for the good of the team."
Turning to the candidate, he said "It's the fourth quarter, and some have counted you out. But I know a thing or two about comebacks."

Elway urged everyone to vote. "We need to put someone in the White House who puts country first."

First, you know, go fuck yourself, Elroy. You would think a guy who went to Stanford might actually have a clue about the implications of continuing this pernicious little "McCain loves his country more than Obama" theme. But he's got his car dealerships and his new cheerleader wife, so it's all good. He's set, and nobody in Colorado will ever hold him accountable for anything he says, no matter how obnoxious or flat-out stupid. Don't be too surprised if a desperate Colorado GOP taps him for statewide office in the next few years.

But whatever. It's about what you'd expect from pro football players, most of whom just vote for whoever will take the smallest chunk of taxes out of their fat paychecks. The thing is, I'd bet money that the turnout would have been at least triple what it was if Palin had been scheduled to speak. She's their only draw now, because the campaign itself has no meaning, it's just a traveling American Idol, with an indistinguishable group of cartoonish morons at every stop.

Think about that: ten days out from Election Day, and one of the major-party candidates has been so overshadowed by his running mate, who was virtually unknown just a couple months ago, that he can't draw a decent crowd without her. He's gotta know what bad news that is for his prospects, and what that says about his tepid, shallow support, while Obama ground forces dwarf his in every state, red and blue alike. The way things are going, this election won't even be close enough for them to steal this time.

Nobody's voting for John McCain. They're either voting for the naughty librarian they think Sarah Palin is, or they're voting against what Limbaugh and Hannity have told them about Obama. For a guy that's spent a quarter-century in the US Senate, that's pretty damned sad.

Update: Hee hee. Suck it, Elway. Just fuckin' blow me long time. Real mature, I know. But still: Suck. It. Long. Time.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Li'l Miss Can't Be Wrong continues her DiMaggio-like streak of not answering simple interview questions from mainstream tee-ballers:

CNN: You seemed to be very much on your game. You get huge crowds. Even bigger crowds than [Republican presidential candidate Sen.] John McCain. Why is that?

Sarah Palin: I think it's what I'm representing and what the message is and that is true reform of government that is so needed, and having a representative of someone who has a track record of showing that, yeah, you can, you can do this, you can reform, you can put government back on the side of the people, you can fight corruption. You can actually take steps towards helping our nation become energy-independent and all those things that we're talking about. I think that more and more Americans are realizing that, well, good, we have a candidate who has actually done some of those things and it's not just, talkin' the talk, she's gonna tell us how she's done this.

I would have expected this sort of question from Neal Boortz or Hugh Love Hewitt or some such, but there you have it. "Gubna, why are you so awesomely awesome, even more so than your mavericky running mate? Is it because you graciously allowed him to stay on top of the ticket?" Sheesh.

But what is her answer? The usual boilerplate about what a "reformer" she is. She won't specifically bring up the "thanks but no thanks" Bridge to Nowhere lie anymore, but what else is there? Her only "step" toward energy independence is the "drill baby drill" chant. She does not, has not, "[told] us how she's done this", nor, more importantly, how any of it would apply outside the politically inbred confines of Frontierland.

CNN: Yeah. Uh, Joe the plumber?

Palin: Yeah.

CNN: Socialism, it's come up on the campaign trail now.

Palin: Sure.

CNN: Governor, is Barack Obama a socialist?

Palin: I'm not gonna call him a socialist, but, as Joe the plumber had suggested, in fact he came right out and said it sounds like socialism to him and he speaks for so many Americans who are quite concerned now, after hearing finally what Barack Obama's true intentions are with his tax and economic plan, and that is, to take more from small businesses, more from our families, and then redistribute that according to his priorities. That is, that is not good for the entrepreneurial spirit that has built this great country. That is not good for our economy, certainly it's not good for the opportunities that our small businesses should have, to keep more of what they produce, in order to hire more people, create more jobs. That's what gets the economy going. So, finally Joe the plumber and as we talked about today in the speech, too, he's representing, you know, Jane the engineer and Molly the dental hygienist and Chuck the teacher and, and all these good, hard-working Americans who are, finally, were able to hear in very plain talk the other night, what Barack Obama's intentions were to redistribute wealth.

It was pretty clear from the get-go in the context of Obama's phrasing that "spreading the wealth" was more broadly implied as maybe it's time the assholes who've been picking your pockets all these years and blowing up your 401(k) need a shakedown. Not too unreasonable under current circumstances. Nobody's entrepreneurial spirit is going to be shitcanned by the knowledge that incomes -- not revenues, which Wurzelbacher the Ringer couldn't seem to distinguish -- over $250K are going to get tapped slightly more than before. The idea that this is some sort of confiscatory redistributive policy in the offing is hysterical.

And nobody's fooled by your ringer, dearie, at least nobody who wasn't already on board. They're not after Joe the Plumber or Joe Six-tooth or Bob the Builder or Tito the Screaming Douchebag; they're after this Joe, and that's exactly what they're getting.

Skipping past her injecting her latest Joe Biden stump riff into the mix, let's get to the "apology" at the end:

CNN: You've talked about America. And certain parts of America, that are maybe more American than other parts of American, Are there?

Palin: Ehhh, I don't want that misunderstood. No, I do not want that misunderstood. You know, when I go to these rallies and we see the patriotism just shining through these people's faces and the Vietnam veterans wearing their hats so proudly and they have tears in their eyes as we sing our national anthem and it is so inspiring and I say that this is true America, you get it, you understand how important it is that in the next four years we have a leader who will fight for you. I certainly don't want that interpreted as one area being more patriotic or more American than another. If that's the way it's come across, I apologize.

Bullshit. It came across exactly the way it was meant to come across, to incite rural crowds with the frisson of resentment at know-it-all city slickers. This campaign has done nothing but appeal to people's baser impulses, to gin up a snide, unseemly hostility among people whose states are statistically on the taking end of things. They talk about self-sufficiency while taking more federal tax dollars than they put in, tax dollars that are put in by coastal elite state that get back much less than their share.

And they talk tough about gettin' them al Qaeda fellers, but not one of them, in their jingoistic fury, bothers to wonder why exactly it is that New York City -- the place that actually got hit by these bastards, not your Piggly Wiggly in Squatter's Gulch -- are pro-Obama to a degree that's not even laughably close. In fact, regardless of the issue, in the months this dreadful thing has gone on, I honestly cannot recall a single person at a single Republican rally who could make their case without this aphasic mad-libbery wingnut-bingo of Ayers-Wright-Muslim-Rezko-celebrity.

And now the rallies seem more like chattering hordes of red-assed baboons seen on National Geographic specials, except perhaps even less coherent and reasoned. Palin's a huge reason for that, obviously, lowering the bar in what her campaign really has to offer, as opposed to merely attempting to detract by smear. Her interview may be more civil, but is not any more reality-based or intelligible in terms of practical aspects.

Grandma's Boy

No doubt we're just minutes from some breathless rightblogger regurgitating some terrist rumor he picked up at the local glory holepublic bathroom. "Visiting deathly ill grandmother" will be interpreted as "picking up Semtex, to strap up with nails and ball bearings, and hold US Capitol hostage on Inauguration Day unless secret demands for informal hot tub with Ahmadinejad and Chàvez are met."

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Powell Trip

Colin Powell's word ceased to mean much to me after that dark day where he trudged into the UN, covering up Guernica in the process for some weird reason, and jerked the world's chain over the imminent danger of WMD. He's a lifelong company man, whether covering up Charlie hamlets being machine-gunned into makeshift ditches, or rushing off to mayhem in the desert.

And yet, his endorsement adds clarity and meaning and momentum to the realities of the campaign. It makes the Republicans nervous as hell; the more frantically they spin and sour-grapes this thing, the more clear it is that they would have loooved, like fuckin' lurved to have Powell's okey-doke. It would have huge for them, just for all the thinly-veiled racial reasons they're trying to dance around.

Most importantly, it means something to the media weasels, probably them most of all. As far as voters, Powell might move some undecideds, but you can't count on anything there because those people are by definition narcissistic morons. But the media loves them some Colin, and this automatically seizes the penultimate news cycle, mere hours after Sarah flailin' on some overhyped late-night comedy show.

It's going to be fun to watch the conservabots spin this one without intimating any racial connotations, their deepest fears of Flavor Flav being made Seckatary of What Time It Is welling in their puny hearts. If Condi Rice makes a move, their heads might explode.

Saturday, October 18, 2008


I suppose it's encouraging to see erudite expatriate limeys such as Sully the Pooh and Hitchens come around to the side of common sense. The latter in particular is appropriately scathing in his denunciation of Palin's manifest unfitness for the office she seeks, as well as her unblinking hypocrisy and prevarication. Yet he seems unmindful of how the American political system has devolved to this point.

Hitchens was an occasional guest on Dennis Miller's old HBO show, back before the two of them became willing dupes for this nightmarish administration. I distinctly recall (though strangely, cannot find it on YouTube, amidst the numberless squids trying to teach a cat to skateboard or some such) one such instance, either right before or right after the 2000 electoral debacle. Miller and Hitchens were snickering, rightly so, at the prospect of a person such as George W. Bush even getting in the room, much less being granted the opportunity to set policy for this nation. Hitchens in particular riffed on someone else's (favorable) assessment of Fredo as being "able" and "capable", amused and mortified by the acquiescence of such a pale endorsement. Miller, as he always does, knowing his intellectual place around someone such as Hitchens, agreed with a cascade of giggles and esoteric references.

The thing is, Hitchens and Miller were absolutely correct at the time in their perception of Bush. And what Bush's reign of error has shown us is that even a disinterested, incompetent person can have torrents of unforeseen consequences. Possibly the most difficult to undo will be the infestation of federal departments by scads of Pat Robertson-bots, ideologically-driven religious fanatics committed to the mission of gumming up the workings of the federal government. This is a direct consequence of what Rove and Cheney brought to the table -- even if you win by one vote, govern as if you have a full mandate, and reward your base.

Which brings us to Palin's involvement in the current campaign, again an entirely natural consequence of a dumbed-down base endowed with an unearned sense of entitlement. This was McCain's (and, despite his protests, Rove's) present to the extra-chromosome bloc, which they need desperately to even remain notionally in contention. That in turn was because Rove and Bush and Cheney and the lot of them had proven that that sort of shit works, that if you incite the nastiest, most ignorant elements of American society with the most ludicrous fairy-tales, they will literally set aside their own rational self-interest and vote for pure nonsense and lies.

Political junkies, professional and amateur alike, typically focus on policy objectives first, then in how the proponents' temperament and character jibe with those objectives. This is understandable. One lesson every observer should draw from the last eight years, not that there aren't a whole mess of lessons to be drawn, is that a McPalin administration would most assuredly extend the internal efforts begun by Bush and Cheney. They'd probably replace Stevens and/or Ginsburg not with a Harriet Miers cheerleader, but some baby-faced shithead from Falwell's or Robertson's home-school-advancement cracker factories.

Republicanism as such is an incoherent mush of pseudopatriot memes and god-bothering piffle to whip up the base. Its intent is at once self-perpetuating and parasitic, which is ultimately far more destructive than the corporate homilies Obama and Biden have been riding on. Palin's selection says much more about the party's goals in renewing itself, than about McCain in particular. Hitch would do well to realize that the people he has aligned himself with don't compartmentalize things as well as he can. He's a skeptic's skeptic, and seems almost bemused that they believe this shit. It is all of a piece with this breed, and alliances of convenience with them are bound to turn sour.

A Hundred Thousand Words

You know the best thing about this picture? There's probably not a pair of ThunderStix to be found. Anybody who uses those things outside of a playoff game -- and maybe even then -- should have them shoved up their asses. The fact that virtually every Palin open-air putsch in the South had yahoos clattering those infernal things tells us everything.

100,000 people in St. Louis, mere hours before Palin gets 30 seconds to reiterate her cipher status on our late-night comedy teevee institution. I won't get too cocky until it's over, but damn, it's getting harder to resist.

Roe to Nowhere

Originally I had been slotted to speak at Joerg Haider's funeral today, but being the impulsive scamp that I am, I blew it off to check out the latest flummery from The Corner.

These people never quit with their obsession, and now it comes full circle, in imputing a blasé, cavalier attitude about abortion to Obama -- or indeed, any pro-choice person. This sort of characterization is necessary; were they to acknowledge that it's an inherently difficult decision and that people ought at least have the expectation to be left the fuck alone to make their own life decisions, they'd be done.

Obama's position is roughly the same as Bill Clinton's, which was roughly the same as Poppy Bush's, which is likely not far different from Junior Bush's, the latter's hortatory rhetoric notwithstanding. So Whelan's messy little discursion is really just a cheap excuse to lob ridiculous scuds at Obama's "character". It's the usual base-shoring exercise. Good luck with that.

It's understandable that the Cornerites and their audience would be slow on the uptake, but this country is in deep financial shit, and no longer has the luxury of veiled racism or false pieties. People don't want to talk about Bristol Palin any more than they want to talk about Joanne Goldwater, if they've got any sense. Which explains the self-selecting nonsense emanating from the bowels of what passes for "conservatism" these days.

As it stands though, perhaps Whelan and his ilk should just step up and take their constant whinging to the logical outcome: if abortion is in fact murder, then one assumes they suggest that both the doctor and the patient -- who is, let's recall, complicit in making this decision -- be prosecuted for murder. Perhaps lesser charges for the willful, if emotionally fraught, removal of a life, such as negligent homicide or a gradiated manslaughter rap. Why, a whole new Law & Order franchise could open up, with wisecracking cops pursuing back-alley butchers and frightened college girls with equal gusto.

Friday, October 17, 2008

About a Girl

Tina Fey's impressions of Sarah Palin have been funniest when she simply recites what Palin has actually said -- out loud, in public, to a journalist in the context of an interview no less. There is no need to caricature Palin, she does most of the work for you. But the idea that it's some sort of biting satire, come on. It would be amazingly difficult to come up with an entertaining skit that could begin to encapsulate the seething contempt McCain and Palin exude for their opponents and their opponents' voters -- or hell, even McPalin's own voters.

If McCain really gave a rat's ass about which direction the country was going, he wouldn't have given the time of day to a rabble-rousing buffoon like Palin. Genuinely serious conservatives have acknowledged this fact en masse. When Chris Buckley leaves the magazine that is essentially his legacy birthright, because he no longer recognizes the clown car driving the magazine and its political endorsements, maybe, just maybe the fuckin' problem is with McCain and not Buckley. You wouldn't know it to read the 'tards who claim to carry on in the old man's name, though.

For some reason, probably in the name of some misguided veneer of "objectivity", Palin herself will appear on tomorrow night's SNL. Only the show's rather unseemly longevity lends it any credibility to the politically credulous. Aside from The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, there is nothing in this country resembling competent satire, and even those two have compromised as they've mainstreamed.

For years SNL has been little more than a sausage factory for idiotic characters somehow being converted into unwatchable 80-minute extended skits. Shit, Bob Roberts had the subversion-lite of SNL nailed over fifteen years ago. It's a defense-contractor-owned petting zoo of political observation, with nothing ever quite finding an envelope to push.

What is Palin going to do during her appearance? Who cares? That's not the point; the event of her showing up to portray herself as a "good sport" about Fey's mindless Fargo-isms is the point. Most likely she'll show up for a 30-second cameo and repeat a couple of Fey's more popular zingers. Oh, snap!!1!1!

But perhaps one of our eminent satirists might like to take on the creeps in Palin's crowds, the perpetually aggrieved losers who have taken to assaulting opposing protesters and now even attacking reporters. Maybe they were just pissed because this guy wasn't from the Völkischer Beobachter.

The operational and philosophical realities of the McPalin campaign, much like those of the nation itself, remain mostly beyond the ability of most satire or even parody. Sure, Fey makes an ideal Palin, and Kristen Wiig did a dead-on Crazy McCain Townhall Cat Lady. But at the end of the day, Fey's there to plug 30 Rock, and Wiig to be in the next opus from the Apatow crew. It's only business, which removes any hope for truly effective satire.

Maybe they'll surprise us all and portray Palin for what she really is, a politically adept but fundamentally ignorant pathological liar and religious freak married to a secessionist, and whose primary skill is demagoguing the most reactionary, thuggish elements of her party's base. I don't think anyone's holding their breath, though the discomfort on the set while Miss Thang is present ought to be palpably entertaining. Too bad we won't get to see that, we just get the faux-self-deprecating good-sport cameo.

Update: Boy, was that ever a big sack of meh. Alec Baldwin and Tina Fey both looked sick to their stomachs, just wanting it to be over, Fey especially seeming tired of the skit itself, tired of being our campaign-season dancing monkey every weekend. Palin looked like she might have a glimmer of recognition that the best she could hope to get out of all this was more stump material for the gibbering rubes who believe her happy horseshit, how she went into the belly of the entertainment industry and came out unscathed. They'll boo on cue for Baldwin and Fey, which is about all the energy they can muster anymore.

A Face in the Crowd

I did not watch the final debate, because life is too short. I did, however, acquaint myself with the Legend of Joe the Plumber that rapidly sprung up in its wake, and the first thing that came to mind was, damn, these guys are so incompetent, they can't even get a simple snake-oil ringer scam right. It failed the smell test almost instantly; it was, as we say in the 'hood, D.O.A.

Just a suggestion for the dopes and hacks driving the Cheap Talk Express over an electoral cliff -- when you're concocting your next idiotic campaign stunt, try to pick someone whose name isn't so easily Googled, someone whose politics aren't quite so blockheaded and reactionary....and someone who isn't loosely connected to a guy who did time in the Keating Five scandal. Do these people vet anybody?

O'Donnell Meets Hasselbeck

I'd actually watch this. It can't possibly be any worse than watching the actual show.

Flag Hags

Will the talk-radio/ClownHall/Freeper asswipes apologize for yet again not having any clue what they're talking about? I think it's more likely that this Bob Grant character invests in a higher-quality rug. I assumed the last of those you-can-practically-see-the-price-tag-hanging-from-it toupées went to the grave with Howard Cosell. Maybe Paul Harvey bought the last gross and shares them with his more spongeworthy friends on the retard-radio circuit.

I love how Grant claims to not want to "overdramatize", and then does precisely that, again investing far more in the notion that Obama defaced the American flag for his own marketing purposes, than he will in setting his own egregious error straight. Epic fail, Bob, epic fuckin' fail.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A Different Breed

Christ, now we're giving certifiable lunatics the time of day. Is it too much to ask for these sheep-fuckers to do the rest of us a small favor and splatter their fevered pea-brains across the nearest wall? Seriously. Fuck you, Ricky Thompson. Fuck off and die already, you scumbag mutt piece of shit.


So JMac 12.2.1 is gonna show up tonight and bring up the Bill Ayers smackdown, bee-yotch. Awesome. No doubt he's fully prepared for the inevitable Keating Five counterpunch to the throat, followed by a "banking weasel/would-be McPalin econ-tsar Phil Gramm is balls-deep in this financial mess" roundhouse.

With nearly three weeks to go, there's still time for at least two more of these re-inventions. One expects nothing less from the lone rangersteam of mavericks.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Deep Breath

The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money.

The Indian knew how to live without wants, to suffer without complaint, and to die singing.

-- Alexis de Tocqueville

It is almost impossible to imagine a talker who sticks to the facts. Carried away by the sound of his own voice and the applause of the groundlings, he makes inevitably the jump from logic to mere rhetoric.

The more uncivilized the man, the surer he is that he knows precisely what is right and what is wrong.

-- H.L. Mencken

If the past week has taught us anything, it's that keeping your head while others lose theirs is just as important as they say. Panic is driving this bus now, and nothing good ever came of such a situation. People need to step back, settle down, and remember a few crucial things.

Americans have a notoriously dysfunctional relationship with their money -- and everyone else's -- to begin with. We're conditioned to look at it as a source of immediate gratification, rather than a useful means to productive ends. The easiest way to keep people in the throes of joyless consumerism is to perpetuate the gospel of jonesmanship, keep them in the constant pursuit of stuff. Imagine if you were suddenly no longer able to borrow money you can't really pay back in order to buy stuff you don't really need. Just imagine.

Everybody's getting a haircut on this round, but the people who are taking it in the shorts the most are the people who were the most overextended in the first place -- which means the people who shelled out the most phantom money for the least actual value. If you were the sort of doofus who fell for the notion that you could get rich flipping homes indefinitely, chances are you walked away from your foreclosure six months ago, leaving the keys in the mailbox or on the front porch. The sheer degree of overvaluation should have been an instant cue as to the cognitive dissonance going on, but that's usually not enough to supersede innate greed and ignorance.

Here's one thing we might take away from this episode and its repercussions to come: Gravity works.

We can foot the bill for all the glad-handing bailouts and hot-beef liquidity injections we want, but without addressing the very serious degree of income disparity in this country, nothing will change. The economic stratification in the US is something normally associated with old-school junta dictatorships. The CEO-to-worker compensation ratio has skyrocketed, while average and minimum wages have languished or decreased. The average compensation of an oil company CEO was about 518 times that of the average oil company worker in 2006, before the price increase last year. For those of you who went through the American public school system, that means that a production worker would have to work for 1½ years to earn what the CEO does in a day. (And that's just by the calendar year; if you count a 250-day work year, it's over 2 years against one day.)

But at least oil companies are actually creating something of value, whereas finance companies, it turns out, have crafted investment vehicles out of thin air, and gotten their buddies in the insurance companies to underwrite their regression analysis spreadsheets. And these greedy bastards still have the balls to come hat-in-hand for a bailout, while cashing in their perks and bonuses. Why the AIG gang, to cite just one of many egregious examples, have not yet been strung up from the nearest lampposts is a mystery. It would be a respectable start at any rate.

Wage stagnation is what turned the ignition on our little Bus O' Panic here, now careening with an interchangeable cast of fools for would-be drivers. Really, a 1-2% redistributive tax might even be in order to begin setting things aright, but what the hell would we peons do with a ream or so of the paper wealth accumulated by the likes of Hank Paulson? Perhaps we can race wheelbarrows of worthless currency to state-owned bakeries, to wait in line for crusts and toilet paper and such like, returning to our state-owned homes of the sovietized economy we find ourselves entering.

Imagine if George W. Bush didn't have that Harvard MBA. Every catastrophe that has beleaguered this guy's reign of error was, let's keep in mind, the best he could do. Seriously.

Now, for those of us who made the effort to play it smart, live within our means, etc., not losing one's house seems a rather insufficient reward, yet it'll do under the circumstances. I recall when we went to re-fi the house, simply to take advantage of a shift in interest rates and consolidate and lower payments, how the agent actually encouraged us to run a HELOC and use that basically as an ATM. "Go on vacation!", she chirped, as if it would go on forever, and we could all just draw from our houses any time we felt like schlepping to Hawaii.

But a lot of people bought into that shit, didn't see the elements of undercapitalization and overvaluation, overbuilding cutting into that overvaluation, and again their own wage stagnation leaving them unable to keep up with the inevitable adjustment. And it's up to individuals whether they want to use their newfound circumstances -- which, again, were not exactly unforeseen nor impossible to mitigate or even prevent -- as an opportunity to start reconnecting with themselves and their families and the simpler pleasures in life, or an excuse to stoke their nascent xenophobic impulses, blame the convenient Other in their midst, and wallow in it.

It's an underlying theme of what I keep seeing at the McPalin open-air putsches -- people who really do lack so utterly in awareness of themselves and the external factors in their problems, they blindly lash out. "Obama's a terrorist", blah blah blah. Beyond the temptation to reiterate just how dumb that is, there's the very real issue of America's rapidly changing geopolitical role, accelerated now by an expensive, unnecessary desert war and a teetering economy.

These yokels don't realize that if they keep this shit up, theirs will be a future of squalor and dependence. (For many of them, it already is.) Their kids will move to the cities, if their creationist schools haven't scared the shit out of them, to lucrative careers as bellhops for the Euros and the Chinese. Good times.

But again, it's something that can be handled, if people from Wall Street to Main Street just calm down and see what's right in front of them. I'm not sure what sort of moron, while reaching into newly-picked pockets, finds themselves gulled by this booga-booga schtick the McPalins are running, but they are ruining the fucking world at a pace that suggests deliberate intent.

However, in the meantime, the sun still shines, children still play, music still has meaning. The inchoate urge to panic removes the normal sense of balance from its participants -- or maybe they were really always like that. You'd think they'd never enjoyed or even heard of any of the good things in life that are free, like sex or a decent book.

Pitchfork Nation

It's interesting to watch McCain attempt an honorable pirouette, after weeks of stoking throngs of ignorant yahoos. Perhaps he's finding that their bullshit is easier to ignore or play off from a podium than in one-on-one scenarios; perhaps he's having something resembling a genuine crisis of conscience. Hell, maybe he was just afraid that that drunken, shambling, disheveled beast in the red t-shirt was about to throw a cat at him. I know I was waiting for it.

Surely McCain realizes that they're not saying "Boo-urns" when he lamely tries to inform them that Obama is not, despite the stump-speech discursions from McCain and Secessionist Barbie, actually an Arab, a Muslim, nor a terrorist. Too little too late, J-Mac. You can't jerk off these dipshits for a month straight then just stop right before they bust their crazy political nut. Now they've got blueballs and they're gonna take it out on you. Whatever the case, McCain is visibly uncomfortable with the situation as it stands, as a man who has spent the last three decades campaigning on his sacred honor, chucking it at the feet of a know-nothing rabble-rouser from the nation's biggest welfare state.

Clearly Palin does not share McCain's discomfort with spurious, vitriolic imputations of treason, even though her own associations with actual, current domestic terrorists and traitors is much more concrete than Obama's flimsy ties with a seemingly rehabilitated Bill Ayers. She has no sense of shame or hypocrisy, and these extra-chromosome tubthumpers are her crowd, so stoking their troglodyte fervor is as easy as abusing power. She and her dimwit acolytes are good Christians like I'm Ron Jeremy.

I don't necessarily buy the correlation between these crowds of idiots festering at their weird little Two Minutes of Hate rallies, and the will to actual violence. Americans are simply too docile and unmotivated to coordinate any action more complicated than acquiring and/or protecting their toys. They'll stand outside Wal-Mart in freezing weather all night after Thanksgiving, for the chance to save 10% on a flat-screen teevee, but damned if they'll wait ten minutes to vote, or do anything at all after that notional act of political semi-commitment. But if there's any group of violent retards that's up for some rage-fueled desperation, it's these goobers. Buncha closet-case Walter Mitty types who all think they're Tim McVeigh.

Anger is a useful emotion, but not this incoherent pseudopopulist twaddle the Cheap Talk Express trucks in. It doesn't qualify as genuine anger; it's a tantrum thrown by a four-year-old in a supermarket aisle. I've noted some flashes of cockiness amongst some Dem corners, and I would really not count out the propensity of massive blocs of the electorate for stupidity and self-deception. Not only is it not over until it's over, but knowing these goofy bastards, it won't even be over then.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Funny Vibe

Not sure if this guy is auditioning for Dennis Miller's next failure or just keeping the irons in the fire while he polishes his spec script for An American Carol 2: Michael Moore is Reeeaaaalllly Fuckin' Fat, but the wink-but-not-really column name of "People's Weekly Brief" is a nice touch. It alludes to the borderline fascism masquerading as authoritarian populism that permeates so much professional conservatard discourse, satirical and otherwise.

We had our senior mailbag analyst review the responses and separate them into bins marked “It’s all Bush’s fault” and “Everybody’s to blame.” This is how high-level research and statistical analysis are done.

In a surprise twist, not a single answer fell in the category of “It’s all Bush’s fault.” Apparently the mantra currently being chanted by the Obama campaign about how this is all the result of Bush (don’t forget to mention McCain in the same breath per Obama Field Manual, section 7, page 124, paragraph b) hasn’t taken hold with everyone just yet.

Imagine that. Nobody reading the Fixed Noise website was willing to blame Bush. Shocking, really. Of course, seeing as how the Dow dropped precipitously while Bush spoke today and yesterday, maybe the vaunted free market knows something these guys don't. And while maybe Bush doesn't bear 100% of the blame, the fact is that this implosion has been brewing for a long time, and he's done jack shit. Bernanke and Paulson are his appointees, so yeah, he's responsible for their actions and decisions.

Most of the rest of it is lame attempts at press conference humor. Oh the media is in the tank for Obama, blah blah blah. Right, because that two-week honeymoon they gave Klondike Barbie didn't count, even though she squandered it with her utter cluelessness. Maybe when they go home for the day these clowns are able to admit to themselves that their candidate is an empty, irritable husk who stands for nothing, has no plan, no ideas, and is just going to continue Li'l Lord Pissypants' reign of fuckuppery.

But let's play the game and see what happens at the Dolchstosslegende rally. Not quite as cutesy as the Fauxbama scenario.

"I was reading my copy of the New York Times the other day," she said.

"Booooo!" replied the crowd.

"I knew you guys would react that way, okay," she continued. "So I was reading the New York Times and I was really interested to read about Barack's friends from Chicago."

It was time to revive the allegation, made over the weekend, that Obama "pals around" with terrorists, in this case Bill Ayers, late of the Weather Underground. Many independent observers say Palin's allegations are a stretch; Obama served on a Chicago charitable board with Ayers, now an education professor, and has condemned his past activities.

"Now it turns out, one of his earliest supporters is a man named Bill Ayers," Palin said.

"Boooo!" said the crowd.

"And, according to the New York Times, he was a domestic terrorist and part of a group that, quote, 'launched a campaign of bombings that would target the Pentagon and our U.S. Capitol,'" she continued.

"Boooo!" the crowd repeated.

"Kill him!" proposed one man in the audience.

Lovely. There are also instances of people shouting "Terrorist!" at McCain townhalls, and at another Palin rally in Florida, one of the knuckle-draggers in the crowd told a black soundman to "sit down, boy".

At some point respectable conservatives and Republicans, if there are any left, are going to have to address the toxic mess in their midst, or be washed away with them. Smug little playlets about media Obamatons ain't gonna cut it, not when people are losing everything and figuring out how to live on soup and wishful thinking.

Bigger Buckets

Good thing we fell all over ourselves to pass that bailout.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Sunday Bloggy Sunday

Jeez. Glancing at the last couple weeks of posts, Miss Thang has really sucked the oxygen out of the room. Here and everywhere, it's all Palin all the time. That sucks. Obviously, she is not really the story, so much as the cloud of weirdness that follows her. It's the bizarre, unsettling dynamic of addled morlocks crowding her as if she's the 2001 version of Britney Spears, hanging on these meaningless anecdotes and buzzwords she lobs at them, like an infant in a high-chair launching mashed potatoes with a spoon.

Palin was indeed the game-changer McNasty had hoped for, but she's been superseded by a much greater one, the foundering economy. In the short run it works to Obama's advantage, but longer-term, if the systemic issues persist, this anomic base that has been energized by Palin's aphasic babble is just the sort of bloc that turns to a fascist demagogue.

That's really what interests me as this unfolds, not her lies or her quals specifically, but what her meteoric ascent says about a significant chunk of this country. It's no longer sufficient to repeat the stock line about each party having 40%, and that elections are just about competing for the 20% in the "middle". The intellectual nihilism and cultural paranoia motivating this vaunted "base" should be exposed and explored for its deeply destructive undercurrents.

But I have a feeling that come November 5th, regardless of the outcome, I will be indulging a sudden urge to talk about nothing but half-naked starlets and unusual guitar scales for the next six months or so. Or the really awesome job market these days.


Even though the borrowed quote was completely de(re)contextualized for her own use (and yes, in its original context there is a clear difference between "help" and "support"), Palin is technically correct in there being such a special place in hell for such women.

It's called the Republican Party.

California Dreamin'

California is indeed more conservative in many pockets than a lot of people realize. But it's an enormous state, both in size and population. Duh. This is just wishful thinking:

Gov. Palin spoke in Buringame [sic] this very afternoon. From an eyewitness:

What caused genuine applause? Well, one line, in particular: near the end of her twenty-minute speech, Sarah Palin told the audience that out on the hustings one comment from supporters has dominated, in frequency, all others: tell people about the real Barack Obama. She said this quietly, without drama. But: thunder, hoots, an ovation.

Wow, that is so cool, dude. So let me get this straight -- Sarah Palin concocted yet another anecdote, this time one about as corroborative as a Tommy Friedman cab-driver story, pulled that bad boy straight out of her pooper, flopped it on the podium and the goobers bought it sight unseen. Gee, you could knock me over with a fuckin' feather. "Thunder, hoots," and an ovation. Sounds like the only thing missing is a steel pole and a couple Whitesnake songs for the dance part of the competition.

Coincidentally enough, I think people have been waiting for Obama and Biden to tell people about the real Sarah Palin, but they'd spend more time trying to list her voluminous lies than going over their actual platform. It's been five weeks, and I still honestly can't think of one thing she's said that hasn't been proven untrue.

You know, if their choices didn't affect the rest of us, I'd say these dullards deserve to be grifted every time by the exact same people, and die broke and penniless. McCain could have dug up the corpse of P.T. Barnum and hit the hustings with it, and these assholes would have waited in line for hours to hoot and smack their Thunderstix all the same.

Kulturkampfers Über Alles

Weekend brilliance from the short-bus crowd [link via TBogg]:

An e-mail: "My husband and I just went to see American Carol. This is a really big deal because my husband has not been to a movie in a theatre since my daughter forced him to see Lord of the Rings, before that, it was Hannah and Her Sisters... So - this was a big, big deal. We went to the 1: 30 show, there was only about 20 people in the theatre, but we all laughed and rolled our eyes.... It was funny in the same way Airplane and Naked Gun. So, I wish more people would see it."

Hey, great story, occasional movie-goer! I sympathize with the urge to avoid paying ten bucks to sit through a half-hour of commercials and two hours of retards answering their cell phones, but when the last two movies you went to the theater for were Lord of the Rings and Hannah and Her Sisters, maybe your vote of self-affirmation is not quite the big, big deal you thought it was. Self-promoting mavericks and all. I betcha hubby don't think Tina Fey's sendups of the Baked Alaskan are as much of a stitch, but it's just a hunch.

Friends of My Fathers

In which a mavericky maverick coasts on his family legacy, trades in the glamour of crashing planes and chasing pussy for politics, battles his short-guy complex and marries up. Coupla familiar elements there. Anyone still thinking about voting for this pogue needs to read it with someone they love.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Bland Ambition

Christ, this broad has some balls on her. Are we sick of this vile person yet?

Mrs Palin described Mr Obama as someone who saw the US "as being so imperfect... he is palling around with terrorists who would target their own country".

Mr Obama served on a charity board several years ago with Mr Ayers, who is now a professor at the University of Illinois.

The White House hopeful, who was a child when Weather Underground was active, has denounced Mr Ayers' radical activities.

Oh hey, doncha know, stupid li'l ol' facts have never stopped this pathological liar from just making shit up. That's all she's done since the day McCain crapped her into the punch bowl. Enough of this kid-glove treatment -- Obama and especially Biden need to start picking up their game, and stop taking shit from this blithering idiot and her senile grampa.

Of course, as Matt Taibbi points out in his scathing profile of Mooseolini, among other issues, she has her own Jeremiah Wright:

Palin belongs to a church whose pastor, Ed Kalnins, believes that all criticisms of George Bush "come from hell," and wondered aloud if people who voted for John Kerry could be saved. Kalnins, looming as the answer to Obama's Jeremiah Wright, claims that Alaska is going to be a "refuge state" for Christians in the last days, last days which he sometimes speaks of in the present tense. Palin herself has been captured on video mouthing the inevitable born-again idiocies, such as the idea that a recent oil-pipeline deal was "God's will." She also described the Iraq War as a "task that is from God" and part of a heavenly "plan." She supports teaching creationism and "abstinence only" in public schools, opposes abortion even for victims of rape, has denied the science behind global warming and attends a church that seeks to convert Jews and cure homosexuals.

All that and the crazy witch doctor thing. If this is the sort of person that Americans think reminds them of themselves or their neighbors, they really need to re-evaluate their lives. Hopefully at one intrepid media person gets the chance to ask her if she really thinks humans and dinosaurs coexisted.

Whatever core ideologies serious conservatives once at least pretended to espouse, are no longer bothered with much. As brazenly cynical as it was for them to dump Fredo on an unsuspecting public eight magical years ago, it's nothing compared to the serious dumbing down necessary for them to keep a straight face with putting Palin on the ticket.

Why should we give her a pass on the most important issues of the day? Supposedly sharing the fears and concerns of the average families who face the burdens of mortgages, healthcare and economic insecurity, Palin simply refused to discuss changes in bankruptcy law and proved that she didn't know the provisions of McCain's healthcare plan.

All the glaring defects so blatantly on display in her debate with Joe Biden -- and that make her candidacy so darkly comical -- would be the same if she were a hockey dad instead of a "hockey mom." In fact, the cynical attempt to foist Palin on the nation as a symbol of feminist progress is an insult to all women regardless of their political orientation.

There was a time when conservatives lamented the dumbing down of American culture. Preservation of basic standards in schools and workplaces compelled them -- or so they said -- to resist affirmative action for women and minorities. Qualifications mattered; merit mattered; and demagogic appeals for leveling were to be left to the Democrats.

Not anymore.

Cheap demagoguery aside, what's becoming clearer and clearer by the day is just how low Palin is willing to stoop. She tells flat-out lies as easily as she throws a wink at the braying morons panting for her. She is quickly overshadowing her partner on the ticket, rather eagerly in fact.

In the last of her Couric interview installments on Thursday, Palin was asked which vice president had most impressed her, and after paying tribute to Geraldine Ferraro, she chose “George Bush Sr.” Her criterion: she most admires vice presidents “who have gone on to the presidency.” Hours later, at the debate, she offered a discordant contrast to Biden when asked by Gwen Ifill how they would each govern “if the worst happened” and the president died in office. After Biden spoke of somber continuity, Palin was weirdly flip and chipper, eager to say that as a “maverick” she’d go her own way.

But the debate’s most telling passage arrived when Biden welled up in recounting his days as a single father after his first wife and one of his children were killed in a car crash. Palin’s perky response — she immediately started selling McCain as a “consummate maverick” again — was as emotionally disconnected as Michael Dukakis’s notoriously cerebral answer to the hypothetical 1988 debate question about his wife being “raped and murdered.” If, as some feel, Obama is cool, Palin is ice cold. She didn’t even acknowledge Biden’s devastating personal history.

Despicable. She is really turning out to be a creepy, borderline-personality type, where the words they say have no intrinsic meaning, and other people are merely obstacles to them getting what they want. Borderline personalities quite literally will do or say anything that furthers their goals, regardless of the moral implications. This has consistently been the case with her.

So far, she seems to still be spinning her wheels with her choir-preaching and clown-punching, rendering her own running mate less and less relevant. But Americans have proven they'll fall for pretty much anything at times, there's a month to go, and they clearly plan on pulling out all the stops to get their shot at finishing Fredo's agenda of ruining the country.

Should McPalin achieve the unthinkable and pull this one out, McCain may want to look over his shoulder, keep an eye on this one. Maybe hire a food-taster, or a bodyguard to make sure she doesn't smother him with a pillow. She may stop at something, but we haven't seen that thing yet.

Fashion Fatwas

Not sure if this purports to be a treatise on Muslim feminism, or a Robin Givhan knock-off.

Tassled turquoise cotton and flowered peach crepe flutter as I pull out a black-and-ivory striped headscarf for the day. When I was 22 and balked at buying a $30 paisley scarf, my best friend told me, "I never scrimp on scarves. If people are going to make a big deal of it, it may as well look good."

I embraced that principle, too, even when I was a scratch-poor graduate student. Today I sort my scarves, always looking to replace the frayed ones and to find missing colors, my collection shrinking and expanding, dynamic, bright: The blue-and-yellow daisy print is good with jeans, the incandescent purple voile for a night on the town, the gray houndstooth solidly professional, the white chambray anytime.

As beautiful as veils are, they are not the best part of being a Muslim woman -- and many Muslim women in Islamic countries don't veil. The central blessing of Islam to women is that it affirms their spiritual equality with men, a principle stated over and over in the Quran, on a plane believers hold to be untouched by the social or legalistic "women in Islam" concerns raised by other parts of the Scripture, in verses parsed endlessly by patriarchal interpreters as well as Muslim feminists and used by Islamophobes to "prove" Islam's sexism. This is how most believing Muslim women experience God: as the Friend who is beyond gender, not as the Father, not as the Son, not inhabiting a male form, or any form.

Of course she is saying all this from the safety of America, not Saudi Arabia, where she would be forbidden to drive, and forbidden to leave the house without her "tent of tranquility". Does she not understand the difference between being allowed to practice her religion as she sees fit, and being treated like a third-class citizen because of her gender? She seems oblivious to the fact if she decides to go to the store sans scarf one day, nobody cares here, but if she did it in Riyadh, or was seen talking to man who was not her husband, the mutawwa would come up and beat her ass in the middle of the street.

So spare us the sermon, sister. Women are treated like animals in many -- not all, but many -- Islamic societies, kept illiterate and pregnant and economically dependent, and constantly under threat of violence, death, honor-killing, etc., usually from their own families. I've never claimed to be Phil Donahue or Alan Alda, but even I recognize the strong correlation between disempowering women and poor, regressive societies. Only a damned fool would claim that women in Pakistan or Saudi have just as much freedom to live their lives as they would in Europe or America.

I'm glad that America has provided a free and open society of laws, which allows Ms. Kahf to observe the contemplative fashionista side of her religion to her hearts' content. No doubt Christianity is a backwards religion in many ways, but in no Christian country is a man allowed to beat the fuck out of his wife or kill her because she didn't feel like wearing her tent one day. This seems to be as much about her scarf collection as anything else.

An American Cornhole

When Variety -- whose mission, let's recall, is to encourage people to go to the movies -- refuses to polish your turd, it must be a real stinker.

Poorly made indie production has a script that feels like a list of ripostes collected over the last several years to liberal criticisms of the U.S.: The whole enterprise feels far more agenda- than entertainment-driven. Talk radio and grassroots marketing have been trying to rally the B.O. troops, but target audience is more likely to check this out when they can buy it at Wal-Mart. Those with a real craving for hilariously potent anti-left propaganda will have to go back for another toke of "Team America: World Police."

All satire has to have one foot in reality. Even the exaggerations have to make some logical sense, be an extension or a metaphor for what is. That's why this stupid shit fails, because it doesn't even attempt to follow those principles of satire. It merely iterates the moronic slurs of the Bush-addled, deliberately conflating Americans who don't like what this administration has done to the country, with hating America.

Take heed, fucktards -- Bush is not America, nor vice versa. Nobody is ever going to mess with the Fourth of July, and Michael Moore is never going to be so hard up for funding (like documentaries are soooo expensive to make) that he has to be a Islamojihaditerroristicexpialidocious dupe. It just doesn't work on any level, especially the one that matters most -- it apparently even fails to be funny. Couldn't even get eighty minutes out the premise, so it's lazy as well.

It's as if a liberal tried to write a parody of conservatards by insinuating that all of them, rather than just some or many of them, are self-loathing closet cases who offer blowjobs to undercover cops in public park bathrooms, or are found erotically asphyxiated with two wetsuits and a dildo stuck in their ass. I mean, that would just be ridiculous. How can you mine a movie's worth of comedy gold out of such things?

Shit, Apatow riffs for two hours at a time on kids organizing parties and stoners knocking up hotties, and all you can get on Michael Moore and college radicals is seventy-five minutes of fat jokes? Really, can these posers do anything competently? They sound like they could fuck up a baked potato, as Mamet once put it.

Good luck with it, ladies. I'm sure the market will decide what you can do with your Paris Hilton/Gary Coleman epic, and you wouldn't have it any other way. And when it loses money and no one wants to bother with the cast members (et tu, Hopper?), it'll be because of bias of course, and not simply because they're a bunch of self-righteous assholes.


You know, it's sad what happened to Steve Fossett and all, and I'm glad so many public employees have spent so many hundreds of hours and untold tax dollars combing through sand and brush to find bits of rubble and bone, but what's the mystery here? He was flying a wood-and-canvas single-prop air-scooter in a notoriously treacherous area. Planes go down frequently in that part of the Sierra -- on both sides of the ridge -- because of the unpredictable windshears and weather conditions. I mean, I assume that all that inherent risk is what made the whole prospect adventurous, no?

But by all means, let's spend another six months piecing this all back together in a warehouse. There can't possibly be any better use of people's time and money.

See You In Health

Joseph Stiglitz has an astute analogy for our economic situation:

A patient arrives at a hospital in serious condition. Now, it may be that the patient has simply fallen victim to one of those debilitating ailments that go around from time to time and can be cured by a massive dose of antibiotics. In this case we have a macro problem with a macro solution. But it could instead be that the patient is suffering from a decade of serious abuse—smoking, drinking, overeating, lack of exercise, a fondness for crystal meth—and that it has not only taken a catastrophic toll but also left him open to opportunistic infections of every kind. In other words, a buildup of micro problems has led to a macro problem, and no cure is possible without addressing the underlying issues. The American economy today is a patient of the second kind.

That analogy could certainly be extended to other areas, such as the obvious fact that it applies as well to the corrosive nature of our corporate-operated political system, and perhaps to societal trends in general. Economic security, to take a rather hawkish stance, is national security. The trillion dollars or so spent in Iraq could have been invested in infrastructure, in American people and American opportunities, or conserved, or whatever. Instead it was spent, with zero dividend to the American taxpayer, while simultaneously another trillion or so (for now) is being pissed down a rathole of esoteric equations and imaginary wealth.

None of that will be recouped, and the neocon fantasists had better hope that their crackpot theories were dead wrong in the first place, because this is the sort of cascading series of catastrophes that undoes empires. Ask the British, and look where they were a hundred years ago.

Deep Thoughts

If Cokie Roberts were never to darken a teevee commontater (as in ordinary spud) studio again, would anyone miss her? For that matter, isn't it about time to have Logan's Run-style culling of the pundit herd, put about 80% of these morons out to pasture? Why do they get to pollute and clutter our infostreams indefinitely?

Spanking the Donkey

In the midst of tearing Klondike Barbie and her flock of knuckle-dragging troglodytes yet another new one, I forgot to smack Biden around for a few of his more reckless assertions. Occasionally we can be equal-opportunity pimp-slappers.

  • Biden's and Obama's statements regarding "energy independence" leave me somewhat nonplussed. Both talk a great game on "alternative" energy sources, as if we're all going to be buzzing about our economically desolate exurbs on soybean-oil-powered hovercars with just a half-decade or so of commitment, wind turbines and solar panels humming in every backyard. I have heard neither one even so much as mention conservation, driving smaller and smarter, especially since we just silently bailed out the American automakers, rather than letting them sink into the tar pits of their own irrelevance. Or at least reinstating the CAFE standards.

    It's more than just sheer waste of gas that takes place every second of every day, it's the commensurate repair to a decaying infrastructure, having to invest in the renewal of a withering paradigm. I think we're all for creating a happy sunshiny green economy that doesn't rape the planet quite so much, but nothing would have quite so immediate and meaningful an impact as even slight modifications to personal habits.

    Indeed, many people were forced into that by high fuel costs earlier this summer, and the drop in demand has impacted oil prices. But if Americans hadn't gone stone broke in the last couple months, they'd just take that as a signal to start driving their grocery schooners again, carrying nothing to nowhere. Availability of resources is only part of the problem; sheer waste and excess is by far the easiest part of the equation to address. Yet no one even bothers to bring it up, though impending economic hardship has a way of wiping away the condescending sneer of conservation being a "personal virtue".

  • Biden (and again, Obama) fails to make a convincing argument on Pakistan. I find it very difficult to believe that an Obama-Biden administration will make cross-border incursions into Waziristan a priority, and it would be a very bad idea if they did. Even a "surge" in Afghanistan is unlikely to provide the desired outcome. Afghanistan needs roads and schools and infrastructure and a more powerful centralized government. Pakistan needs to keep its ISI out of its incessant meddling and subterfuge, and help seal the Durand Line more efficiently. Some continued bribery will no doubt be necessary, and in this context acceptable.

    But to hear Obama and Biden talk about it, it's a chance for that muscular diplomacy talk that they hope will peel off a couple of points from the flag-waving demo. Look, guys, anyone still seriously thinking that the McPalin ticket has anything but pure grief in store for the country and the world is probably beyond convincing. They cannot explain themselves, and you cannot explain anything to them. Their politics are a direct projection of their psychological problems. You are not going to out-crazy their political crushes, and life (and the rest of the campaign season) is too short to suddenly have to become a special-ed teacher for these people. Just give 'em the pitch and move on. Half of them can't find Pakistan on a map anyway.

  • Are we seriously intervening in Darfur? Only if we're prepared to enter into a dangerously adversarial relationship with our biggest creditor, and if one thing about both political parties is true, it's that money always trumps morality. Hell, Palin couldn't even tell the truth about divesting Alaska's state funds from Sudan, which means she's just okey-doke about using genocide as a political prop, doncha know.

    This sort of tedious moralizing always brings out the worst in politicians, because they always overextend on their idealistic happy-talk. They never actually mean it enough to follow up on it, and they never want to talk about the obvious constraints to doing so. You want to help out the Darfurians? Stop buying products from China. Most of it seems to be saturated with melamine anyway. But we're not fooling anyone with this "something must be done about Darfur" schtick. George Clooney has done far more about Darfur than either Joe Biden or Sarah Palin will ever do.

Friday, October 03, 2008

American Idolt

So we're all tired of reading, writing, hearing, and talking about Sarah Palin, and yet we can't look away. It's as if another crappy Fox game show is being pitched as we speak, Jeff Foxworthy -- or even better, Larry the Cable Guy -- hosting Are You Smarter Than Sarah Palin? Elementary schools are being combed far and wide to assemble a prospective pool of contestants.

Okay, not entirely fair. The Sarahcuda that showed up last night for the Second Banana Super Bowl was not quite the same naïf that innocently stumbled into the notorious journalistic bear trap that is Katie Couric. She set her trademark burbling to a nervous staccato rhythm, punctuated with increasingly phony, insouciant winks and enough contrived Marge Gundersonisms to run through a snowbound wood-chipper.

She's smart enough to know that Biden has her outclassed, but since her party trucks in fecklessness and gall, she has been given full license to not give much of a shit. Even if it means trying to tie Obama to questionable bills that, um, her own running mate also voted for. Even if it means setting herself up with an ignorant assertion about Iraqi "surge principles" being applied to Afghanistan, and being instantly rejoindered by Biden with word that the American commander in Afghanistan had earlier that day specifically repudiated such a notion. Even if it means, bloody hell, lying outright about divesting state funds from Sudan because of the Darfur genocide.

But a search of news clips and transcripts from the time do not turn up an instance in which Palin mentioned the Sudanese crisis or concerns about Alaska's investments tied to the ruling regime. Moreover, Palin's administration openly opposed the bill, and stated its opposition in a public hearing on the measure.

"The legislation is well-intended, and the desire to make a difference is noble, but mixing moral and political agendas at the expense of our citizens' financial security is not a good combination," testified Brian Andrews, Palin's deputy revenue commissioner, before a hearing on the Gara-Lynn Sudan divestment bill in February. Minutes from the meeting are posted online by the legislature.

Gara says the lack of support from Palin's administration helped kill the measure.

"I walked out of that hearing livid," Gara recalled of the February meeting. Because of the Palin administration's opposition to the bill, "We could not get a vote in that committee," he explained. At no point did Palin come out in support of the effort, Gara said.

I got your "thanks but no thanks" right here, bub.

Another thing that struck me as fairly important, but seems to have gone unmentioned in the online necropsies of this thing, is Biden's concise evisceration of McPalin's unremittingly ugly excuse for a health-care bill. A $5,000 tax credit on something that costs an average of $12K/year is not a deal, fucking duhhh. It is merely a sop to corporations, both the employers who would be off the hook to providing decent plans for their employee risk pools, and the insurance/pharma corporations who rake in the bucks already by ass-raping sick people. "Let the free market decide", she chirps in rebuttal, as if it hadn't been lo these many years. How's it been working out for ya, America? I betcha not so swell, doggone it.

But that's what this woman does, it turns out: she compensates for her lack of genuine knowledge and principle with a bottomless sack of twinkly lies, defying any would-be debunkers with a Tracy Flick-like commitment to her internal vision, whatever that turns out to be. Judging from her warm endorsement of increasing the vice-presidential portfolio, as if the grasping opacity of Cheney's tenure weren't warning enough, it's power and validation. Jesus H. Christ, the woman's so clueless, she didn't even realize that her own campaign had pulled out -- and not in the biblical sense -- of Michigan until this morning. I knew about it before she did. That is indescribably weird.

So of course her no-forehead fan club are way on board with all this, heartened by the fact that she wasn't gotcha'd this time around with tricksy questions about news sources and such. Our Lady of the Talking Dolphins has a mash note that makes ya wonder if she thinks Palin is inhabited by the shade of Saint Ron of Rancho del Cielo. There's tonsa pull quotes, doncha know, but this one's a real winner, right up there with Norm's duck stamp:

She will re-electrify the base. More than that, an hour and a half of talking to America will take her to a new level of stardom. Watch her crowds this weekend. She's about to get jumpers, the old political name for people who are so excited to see you they start to jump.

Unfortunately Nooners doesn't mean off a bridge. She means the sort of emotionally stunted twits who imbue the people they see on their teevee with their own projected assumptions. They don't want to vote for the John McCain-Sarah Palin ticket because they sincerely believe that the policies of the ticket will provide the best path out of the messes this country has become mired in. They want to be at the next Sarah Palin event so that they can come closer to their imagined objective of, fuck, I don't know, watching soap operas and having topless pillow fights with her. Whatever it is you chicks do together when we're not around.

I mean, seriously, what kind of a flaming jackass goes through their life like this? It's not just silly, self-absorbed women -- the next middle-aged guy at the office that comes up and makes some dippy "I'd like to hit it" crack without a little further explication is going to get punched in the fuckin' throat. I'm glad you want to fuck her, guys, and it's not that she's unattractive, it's just that there's a lot of serious shit going on here and everywhere else, and you're ready to hand the keys over to some broad I wouldn't trust to do my measly taxes, just 'cause you think she's winking at your scroungy ass.

Your house is on fire, asshole. The fire department shows up, but the chief seems a bit aloof, boring, pompous. Probably drives a better car than you. Looks like he's in better shape. Seems to know how to do his job, but intimidating to your latent inadequacies nonetheless. Then the milf from next door shows up, offering you a place on the couch for the night. It'd sure be nice if she came out and woke you up on that couch, maybe wearing some negligeé, a little sympathy rub-and-tug, sorry about your house, I've never done anything like this before. No no, leave the glasses on, baby, I kinda dig it. Hey, a guy can dream. But that doesn't put out the house fire, especially when it's just a cock-tease fantasy in your head anyway.

The main thing I take away from this overblown event is that Palin is about done. She'll be shuttled off to the Fixed Noise safehouse for the homestretch, to try to rehabilitate her earlier flubs for the mouth-breathers. There's no fucking way they're going to put her on Face the Nation or Press the Meat; there's no way they're going to risk putting her in front of a journalist with an ounce of integrity or self-respect. They'll call her frenetic, over-rehearsed and underprepared debate performance a win for their side, but the only people buying it are the ones who already had their money out. Biden hit back where it counted, attacking McCain instead of Palin, heading into a weekend sure to be dominated by quizzical looks at how we could give a bunch of Wall Street thieves and poltroons $140 billion more than they were extorting from us, yet still have the stock market continue its dive.

And Tuesday is the "townhall" debate, supposedly McCain's strength, but even Chuck Krauthammer implicitly concedes not only the election itself to Obama, but the correctness of that choice of intellect and temperament over an endless series of head-fakes and cheap stunts. An easy guess is for McCain to overcompensate the reports of his refusal to visually engage Obama, and come off looking even more stilted and awkward.

And the thing is, not only is Obama the more gifted orator and debater, the way Biden actually is over Palin (not that it counts in these things), but Obama is also more gifted in the abstract areas "real" Americans care about. Obama has defied his supporters' ministrations to go all Chuck D on the old man and scare the shit out of Peoria, while McCain, irritable in temperament to begin with, has become more erratic in the face of Obama's calmness. He is turning into Cotton Hill, a ranting, strutting banty rooster, barely concealing his indignation at not having received his just reward for what the Tojos put him through. He does not get that his time was eight years ago, that he had a real shot before Rove and Bush ratfucked him in that South Carolina primary, and that he has shown up to the burning house with a half-full bucket and a bad attitude, wondering why the guys with the big ladder truck are getting all the attention.

The thing is, if conservatards ever got over their silly schoolgirl crushes they carry for their candidates, and thought hard about the serious issues they so regularly posture and preen about, they wouldn't let McCain nor Palin anywhere near the levers of national power. That's not an affirmation of Obama's messianic greatness, nor Biden's moral superiority. They both have considerable flaws. But it's not even close as to which ticket is consistently, tangibly worse in every conceivable area. That can't be so easily hidden with a bunch of repetitive falsehoods and bumptious catchphrases, not when people are wondering how much longer they'll have a house and a job, thanks to the current occupant.