October 31, 2008
Update: Looking at my referrer logs, I've apparently been the recipient of a Rachellanche. Very cool. And thanks to all who've shown up. Hopefully you won't permanently ban my site from your browser.
October 20, 2008
Thursday, January 27, 2005
Get to know Barack Obama
When I first met Barack Obama, he was giving a standard, innocuous little talk in the livingroom of those two legends-in-their-own-minds, Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn. They were launching him--introducing him to the Hyde Park community as the best thing since sliced bread. His "bright eyes and easy smile" struck me as contrived and calculated--maybe because I was supporting another candidate. Since then, I've never heard him say anything new or earthshaking, or support anything that would require the courage of his convictions. I only voted for him in this last race--because his opponent was a pinhead. And I've been mostly alone in my views. But maybe that's changing.
Thanks, Barack. By voting to confirm Condoleezza Rice for Secretary of State you confirmed my opinion of you as someone who will not come through when it counts. You voted with the entire Republican membership rather than your compadre, Dick Durbin, and the man you supported for president, John Kerry. Your sense of collegiality is ridiculous under the circumstances.
What are all those people who thought you walked on water thinking now? I'm just wondering who's going to whisper in President CandyAss's ear when Condo's busy playing Secretary of State.
And here's a quote from Treacher:
You need to decide, Obama fans: Either this stuff didn't happen, or it happened but I'm not supposed to care. You need to pick one or the other and stick with it.
Check out the archived post.
Anyway. Read this article by Orson Scott Card: Would the Last Honest Reporter Please Turn On the Lights?. Excerpt:
I remember reading All the President's Men and thinking: That's journalism. You do what it takes to get the truth and you lay it before the public, because the public has a right to know.
This housing crisis didn't come out of nowhere. It was not a vague emanation of the evil Bush administration.
It was a direct result of the political decision, back in the late 1990s, to loosen the rules of lending so that home loans would be more accessible to poor people. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were authorized to approve risky loans.
Barack Obama is just another politician, and not a very wise one. He has revealed his ignorance and naivete time after time -- and you have swept it under the rug, treated it as nothing.
Meanwhile, you have participated in the borking of Sarah Palin, reporting savage attacks on her for the pregnancy of her unmarried daughter -- while you ignored the story of John Edwards's own adultery for many months.
So I ask you now: Do you have any standards at all? Do you even know what honesty means?
Is getting people to vote for Barack Obama so important that you will throw away everything that journalism is supposed to stand for?
Assuming that those last 3 questions weren't entirely rhetorical, the answers are No, No and Hell Yes!.
October 18, 2008
Some Obama douche (but I repeat myself) was on Fox this afternoon saying that McCain had not vetted Joe the Plumber. Vetted. It was like I had taken the red pill, fallen down the rabbit hole, stepped through the looking glass and fallen into a 1960s era Jefferson Airplane acid-amplified video.
WTF? Im serious: WTfuckingF?! Do you vet everyone in this entire country who MIGHT have opinions, or ask questions, that make the One look like a fucking jackass?
Vet the plumber? I feel like vetting someones head with a nail-studded 2×4.
Oh, and if youve checked Ace lately, you know that Team Barry is filing suit against Palin and McCain for trying to prevent fraudulent votes. I dont know what the next step beyond batshit and bugfuck crazy is, but were there now.
Right now, Stalin is crying in his glass coffin because he sees now that he didnt go as far as he could.
Iowahawk takes a break from his usual uproarious stuff to post something dead serious. Excerpt:
Politicians -- Sarah Palin, Bill Clinton, et al. -- obviously have to put up with some rude, nasty shit, but it's right there in the jobs description. Joe the Plumber is different. He was a guy tossing a football with his kid in the front yard of his $125,000 house when a politician picked him out as a prop for a 30 second newsbite for the cable news cameras. Joe simply had the temerity to speak truth (or, if you prefer, an uninformed opinion) to power, for which the politico-media axis apparently determined that he must be humiliated, harassed, smashed, destroyed. The viciousness and glee with which they set about the task ought to concern anyone who still cares about citizen participation, and freedom of speech, and all that old crap they taught in Civics class before politics turned into Narrative Deathrace 3000, and Web 2.0 turned into Berlin 1932.0.
Godwin's Law! you say? if the jackboot fits, wear it.
And here's an image that everyone should stick on their websites. Everyone, that is, who wants to show solidarity with Joe:
October 16, 2008
The real-world campaign involves speeches and proposals and facts and scandals and political positions and news events. These details, however, are becoming increasingly irrelevant, and have become subsumed by the meta-campaign, which consists of perceptions, polls, reactions, analyses and summations. Until very recently, elections were decided by real-world facts -- but not anymore. Facts and events in and of themselves are no longer important; what's important is how everyone reacts to them. And how do we find out the public's mood concerning this or that incident? Why, the media tells us, that's how.
Or so we've been led to believe.
We're all part of the campaign now. Every single one of us. Our opinions, our actions, are bundled together as a group and used as weapons in the race for the White House. When the media reports on what people think, either through public-opinion polling or reportage about anecdotal incidents, it becomes an endless feedback loop, in which the media's representation of most people's purported thoughts is supposed to influence everyone else's thoughts. And then they take another poll to determine how effective the first poll was in influencing public opinion, and the cycle starts all over again. Since everyone now knows that any public expression of their political opinions might be reported by the media, even the most innocent activity becomes a calculated campaign action. Saying how you intend to vote is not simply an expression of how you intend to vote, but rather a component of the public barometer of how the majority intends to vote, which is then used by the media and the blogs to influence everyone else. Nothing is done in all innocence anymore.
One odd thing about public-opinion polls is that there's no way to know if they're accurate or not. Except for a poll taken on the very last day of the campaign, when it can be later compared to the actual vote totals, a poll is a self-supporting statement of "fact" that can only be confirmed or disproven by taking yet another poll -- which is just as unreliable as the first one. We do not have access to some secret hyper-accurate invasion of privacy enabling us to peer into voters' hearts to see how they actually intend to vote, and to use that information to assess the accuracy of a poll. So, if a poll is taken a month ahead of time showing a candidate with a five-point lead, and then a month later he in fact wins the election by five points, we have no way of knowing whether or not the poll was simply accurate, or whether it was originally inaccurate, but fed a public perception that the candidate was in the lead, causing many voters to switch allegiances to him out of a desire to "be on the winning team." Do polls reflect reality, or do they create reality?
The entire Democratic strategy in 2008 revolves around the unproven theory that polls do create reality. Otherwise, there would be no point in continuously striving to inflate Obama's perceived public support.
The real question at the end of the day is this: Are people telling pollsters they're supporting Obama due to normative conformity (which is what I suspect) or due to informational conformity (which is what the Left is banking on)? We won't know until November 4. You can lie to a pollster. But you cannot lie to a ballot.
I hope that Zombie will forgive my taking such an extended entry, but I wanted to make certain that you clicked over to his site.
October 15, 2008
What Im about to say will, if it works out to be true, cause Lawrence ODonnell to have a coronary on Nov. 5. In the immediate aftermath of Kerrys loss to Bush in 2004, ODonnell called for blue states to secede from the Union. So, we will need a volunteer in the blogosphere to stay with ODonnell on election night with a portable defibrillator in order to zap him back to life.
ASSUMING that the pre-election polling is close to accurate, if Obama is leading in the national polls coming out of the final weekend by 52% or less, hes going to lose. If hes at 53% itll probably be very close, but he may still lose. If its 54% or above, he will win. And its not the Bradley Effect.
Why does he have to be that high? Its the revenge of the small-states-on-steroids in the electoral college. The math is actually pretty simple, although some assumptions have to be made about turnout and victory margin in specific states (i.e., that current polls in those states are close to being accurate).
Anyway, time to update my picks:
1) Virgina: I continue to predict that McCain will carry the state, albeit by a 2%-5% margin.
2) Colorado: I still have it in the One's win column. I also stand my prediction that if Obama loses CO, he's done.
3) Florida: McCain wins. Very, very close.
4) Ohio: McCain hangs in an wins by a smaller margin than Bush over Kerry.
5) New Hampshire: I think that I might have been wrong last time. NH will probably stay blue. In fact, I think that NH flipping red would be a sign that Obama should start working on his re-election plans for the Senate. As it stands now, I don't think that will be the case.
6) Pennsylvania: This one has gotten a lot tougher. Polls show a consistent small edge for Obama, but, for some reason, he's spending a lot of time and money there, more than I would think is necessary if the race were already sewn up. And Murtha just called western PA a bunch of racists, which I'm sure will play well in that part of the state. Anyway, I think that Obama probably carries the state by the slimmest of margins, at least right now.
7) The rest of the states remain their election day 2004 color, except for New Mexico, which will flip back to blue.
Oh yeah, those one or two precincts in Nebraska and Maine which cast electoral votes in a non-winner take all manner are probably up for grabs. It would be more than interesting if those two districts actually determined the electoral vote winner.
Where does that leave us as far as electoral votes? I could look it up, but I'm lazy. I will make a final prediction the day before the election. In the interim, I plan to try and ignore politics here just so that I can retain my sanity.
I have always said (even in my more anti-libertarian days) that it always pays to have a libertarian in the room to ask the question "Why, and by what right, should government do this at all?"
That question is asked far too infrequently these days. Pity.
Chris Matthew: OMG, I think that I just came in my pants!
Keith Olbermann: Much like during the vice-presidential debate, I touched myself repeatedly whenever our country's savior spoke.
CNN focus group: Obama's so pretty. And he's going to give me a free pony!
FNC focus group: McCain sounded like a patriot, but looked like a cancer victim. And Barry's going to give me a pony!
Brit Hume: Well, neither candidate made any gross errors. McCain had the edge on facts, but, in this television age, Obama's visual appeal might have swayed the overall score in his favor.
Chris Matthews: I don't understand what he just said because I came again while watching the tape!
Brit Hume: Uh, Chris? Maybe you could go back to MSNBC and help out your co-anchor Keith. He seems to be in some sort of physical distress.
::Keith Olbermann performing homoerotic asphyxiation while watching tape of the debate::
Barring one of the candidates mowing down the audience with a flamethrower, I don't think we'll get much out of the debate.
October 08, 2008
Check out today's www.woot.com product description.
sounds almost exactly like what I heard last night
And here is the image. more...
October 03, 2008
What struck me the most about the debate and it probably helped having quintessential Obamaphiles in the room was how Bidens gravitas is derived almost entirely from the fact that he can lie with absolute passion and conviction. He just plain made stuff up tonight. I read a long list tonight in my debate with Beinart here at Wash U, we can visit the details tomorrow.
Just a few: Flatly asserting that Obama never said hed meet with Achmenijad; that absolute nonsense about spending more in a month in Iraq than weve spent in Afghanistan (let me say it again, he said as if he was hammering home a real fact); the bit about McCain voting with Obama on raising taxes; his vote in favor of the war etc.
Its amazing how the impulse to see Biden as the more qualified and serious guy stems almost entirely from his ability to be a convincing b.s. artist. Im not saying Palin was always honest or unrehearsed, but when she offers up a catchphrase or a talking point, you can tell. When Biden spews up a warm fog of deceitful gassbaggery the response seems to be what a great grasp of the issues he has!
His ability, nay his eagerness, to fake not only the facts but his sincerity is so shameless many pundits seem either mesmerized by it or scared to call him on it. Id call his fakery passive aggressive except its actually just aggressive aggressive. Beyond being a tool of trial lawyers, I never saw much similarity between Biden and John Edwards, but tonight I was really struck by how alike the two are. Edwards fakes being an everyman, and Biden does too. But his real fraud is intellectual seriousness. He talks like an intellectually mature person, but thats all it is talk.
Update: More from Jonah:
And, again, I never said that Palin was pure. My point is that Biden showed himself to an exceptionally facile liar. He makes stuff up with great passion, conviction and seeming command of the substance. So it just bugs me when people say he's better on the substance. I could be a great physicist if I'm not held to a requirement to be factually correct;
"Well, Gwen, that's an interesting question. As we all know the hamster spinning at the earth's core runs in a counter-clockwise direction. Let me repeat that so everyone understands. That hamster does not run in a clockwise direction, that would be madness. It's counter clockwise. That's why our lakes and rivers don't simply turn into a fine mist, and why our atmosphere doesn't simply spontaneously combust. This is something that my dear friend John McCain just doesn't understand. And it saddens me."
October 01, 2008
Ifill: Good evening, America. Tonight is the Vice Presidential debate between the charismatic, experienced, intelligent Senator, Mr. Everyman himself, Joe Biden, and his slow-witted opponent, the former mayor of Wasilla. Now lets begin
Question #1: Senator Biden-can I call you Joe?-, please tell us about how much you love your family and how it pains you to have to leave them for hours every day, riding Amtrak in to DC to do work on behalf of the American people.
Joe Biden: Snakes! Get em off me!
Iffil: Thank you, Joe. Now, former mayor Palin, please explain to everyone why a bubble-headed former beauty pageant runner-up like yourself should even be included in this debate? Please, no mention of I was asked to be on the ticket because youll only embarrass yourself.
Gov. Palin: Gwen, Id first like to say that maybe someone should help Senator Biden.
::Biden beating his head on the podium::
And next, Id like to
Ifill: Times up. Onto the next question.
Gov. Palin: I thought that Id be allowed to respond?
Ifill: HAHAHAHAHA! You thought?! Youre killing me! HAHAHA! ::sniffs, wipes away tears:: Anyway, Senator Biden, please tell us why you graciously allowed to share the stage with this killer of polar bears.
Biden: ::whipping out his junk and shaking it at the camera:: Look! I can go pee-pee like a big boy now.
::proceeds to urinate on stage::
Gov. Palin: Ms. Ifill, isnt this a bit inappropriate?
Ifill: No one cares about your prudish, Puritanical ideas. Now go back to blaming rape victims, or raping them yourself, or whatever you do when your husband isnt incestuously breeding with your gap-toothed offspring.
::another 45-50 minutes or so of this::
Ifill: Now, one final questions for our next Vice President and the stupid bimbo who shares the stage with him. Please tell us, in your own words, why you would make a good Vice President. Sarah, go first.
Gov. Palin: Gwen, Id first like to point out that Im really worried about Senator Biden.
::points at Biden, who has just set his hair on fire ::
And Id like to say that as your Vice President I will-
Ifill: HAHAHAHA! You actually think you can win?! Bitch please! Oh my, but thats funny. Senator Biden, Ill give you the last word.
Biden: EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! ::running naked around the stage::
Ifill: Thank you, Senator Biden. And thank you, America.
Chris Matthews: I think that Senator Biden really touched a chord deep within the American people tonight, showing that he was really one of us. Sarah showed that, pretty as she is, she really isnt ready for primetime. Keith?
Keith Olbermann: Id just like to say that I touched myself when Biden ran naked around the stage. And I know that everyone in America was doing the same. Lets just call off the election right now.
Ahh well, it should be an interesting spectacle. It reminds of this old joke about who gets to leave in the lifeboats. The first man is asked how many Titanic passengers survived. The second is asked how many drowned. The third is asked to name them. I kind of think that that is how the debate will go.
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