Sunday, August 31, 2008

Times: Conservative Ire Pushed McCain From Lieberman

As you recall, just a day or two ago, when I was predicting (as I do) the possible McCain VPs, I - like everyone else - did not even include Palin as a possibility. And while it looks like she will be a creeping disaster, I was most afraid of a Lieberman nomination (mainly because I like him personally and I didn't want him to be the most hated man in America).

So it turns out that my fears were not unfounded. According to the Times (Conservative Ire Pushed McCain From Lieberman):
"For weeks, advisers close to the campaign said, Mr. McCain had wanted to name as his running mate his good friend Senator Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut, the Democrat turned independent. But by the end of last weekend, the outrage from Christian conservatives over the possibility that Mr. McCain would fill out the Republican ticket with Mr. Lieberman, a supporter of abortion rights, had become too intense to be ignored."
Pic from here. Backpost finished 2009-12-03.

Palin Reaction Roundup

Just some good pieces about Palin from around the net. First, an opinion piece. I usually don't read the Huffpo (it often crashes my browser) but Robert J. Elisberg (who?) sums up a lot of my ideas well: The Worst Vice-Presidential Nominee in U.S. History.

And two news stories:
  1. Republican backlash as it emerges John McCain only met his beauty queen running mate once from the (UK) Mail Online
  2. Palins' child diagnosed with Down syndrome

Backpost finished on 2009-12-03.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Sarah Palin?!

All the news reports are saying McCain's VP pick is Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. How does a 44 year old governor of a non-contiguous, and largely frozen, state pass the "commander in chief" threshold that McCain boasts about? Answer: because she's a republican.

She's the perfect GOP woman too: young, pretty, and anti-abortion. She was almost Miss Alaska, and that is how Republicans see women, no?

How is this a winner for McCain? Because he looks edgy? She's pro-life so most women won't flock to her (but it does explain all the weird pro-Hillary commercials McCain has been running). In fact, that must be the strategy: to use the groundwork of animosity and scorched-earth performed by Hillary to win over the largest block of disgruntled Democrats and Independents (PUMA/women). I really can't imagine it will work, but that must be the thought.

And she has no foreign policy experience what-so-ever, which means McCain took away his main line of attack against Obama. So the disgruntled Hillaryites is all he's done. McCain's kept the base happy by keeping it anti-abortion, so whoopie, but they must be in some strange echo-chamber if they think this will help.

To reiterate: McCain has been mocking Obama, and the Democrats, by saying we nominated a vapid pretty-boy who resembles Brittney Spears. And now McCain has actually nominated a young, inexperienced pretty-girl. Whoa.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

McCain VP Speculation

I am on record believing it will be SC Senator Lindsey Graham. My brother points out that it's not possible because the man, uh, may be gay. Why say that? Well, he's a never-married in his 50s (and the fact that his name is "Lindsey" and his father's name, according to the Wiki was Florence. No joke.) Anyway, I still believe McCain doesn't care, but he's also a not-so-bright geriatric hothead, so anything can happen.

What worries me is Joe Lieberman. I've claimed that he won't accept the Republican nomination, but, like McCain, he's barely mentally competent nowadays, so I have lost my confidence.

Recent stories suggest that he won't remove himself from contention (see
here from "Rove tried to kill Lieberman VP pick.") It worries me as a pick not because I think it will be a formidable combo - quite the opposite - but because of the residual effects:

1. Lieberman will become the most hated man in America, second only to anyone involved in the current Executive branch: I like the man personally. He's the most prominent Orthodox Jew in America, possibly the world; and to have him a hated/reviled figure is a bad thing for him and a bad thing for all Jews.

2. The Democrats will lose the Senate: If Lieberman becomes the GOP nominee, I assume he'll leave the Democratic caucus and we'll then lose the Senate.

It won't be a good ticket because Lieberman is so hated by Democrats that - if he joins the GOP - he will become the Hillary Clinton type; Democats will flock to destroy him, the traitor. And he's not charismatic or likeable anymore.

Don't do it Joe.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Obama's VP Possibilities

As you may have noticed, I've not been bloggin' much about politics over the past month or two. One reason has been the imminent move and all that entailed. But also it's because the bruising primary was - in my mind - the only real contest. Once Obama trounced Hillary, the election choice is clear. I've lost interest because I've made up my mind (were it Hillary/McCain, I'd be in a quandary wrapped up in an enigma wrapped up in a pickle; I'd still vote Democratic - because of the Supreme Court - but I'd really hate doing it).

Anyway, I will try to give more commentary after the conventions, but the first big deal coming up will be the potential VP pick. I stand by my prediction for McCain - Senator Lindsey "I'm Not A Girl Despite My First Name and General Waifish Demeanor" Graham of South Carolina.

For Obama, the Times reported that there are three clear front runners: Sen. Biden (DE), Sen. Bayh (IN), and Gov. Kaine (VA). My favorite, Gov. Sebelius (KS), is considered less than likely.

I think Biden would be a mistake. While he's a fierce partisan fighter, he's also a gaffe-prone goofball. Nonetheless, it won't be a disaster; he's good on foreign policy; while he's not a veteran, his son (DE's current AG) is and will soon be deployed to Iraq. Bayh is the safest choice possible - he's a bland career/legacy politician from a red state with a good resume. If Obama chooses Bayh, that means he's being as risk averse as possible.

Of the top 3, Kaine is most likely. I'm averse to Kaine (and Bayh) on strategic party grounds - i.e. if either leaves office, they will be replaced by a Republican. This is not such a loss in a state house (who cares about 1 state), but can be a disaster in the Senate where the national stakes are high. Note, Biden and Sebelius would be replaced by Democrats.

Kaine's most likely because - based on what I've read - he's close to Obama and they trust each other. Virgina's an important swing state, and Obama may want to have a governor as #2 so to bolster the executive profile of the ticket (something which also applies to Sebelius). Kaine however is 10 years younger than Sebelius, 50 to her 60, and that may be the clincher. It's stronger to have a 58 year old run in 2016 than a 68 year old (even if it's an actuarially positive female).

In any case, here's an awesome spoof (via Sullivan) of all four candidates from 23/6 News:(WARNING very profane language): If they IM'd: Obama's VP Prospects.

Fine Chickenhawk Smackdown

This comes from TNC via Sullivan, it's a Huffpo post by Robert Mackey commenting on a Michael Goldfarb statement. Got all that. OK. Goldfarb is a former editor of the Weekly Standard and now McCain's deputy communications director, and (sadly) a Princeton grad who is a doughy Jewish Republican. Mackey's bio states:
Dr. Robert Mackey, Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army (Retired), is a combat veteran of the invasion of Panama, Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was Assistant Professor of Military History at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and served on the Army Staff and Joint Staff at the Pentagon.
Now on with the show.

Goldfarb, evidently believing that he is himself John McCain, stated this:
It may be typical of the pro-Obama Dungeons & Dragons crowd to disparage a fellow countryman's memory of war from the comfort of mom's basement, but most Americans have the humility and gratitude to respect and learn from the memories of men who suffered on behalf of others.
Mackey responded in a post entitled "Cloak of Stupidity +5, or the Art of the False Political Assumption." I am posting the majority of his response because it is so very sweet:
Ok, second admission. I played Dungeons and Dragons for years. Started with the old "blue" rule book from 1977-78, graduated to the 2nd Edition hardback books later, waiting eagerly on a small family dairy farm in northwest Arkansas for the newest module or book to come out. Working a part time job to make enough cash to afford the hobby and spending weekends staying up all night trying like hell to survive Tomb of Horrors.

Yes, I'm a card carrying geek. And at the ripe age of 17, I raised my right hand and swore to "uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States, against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and bear true faith and allegiance to the same." Just like Senator McCain. Just like all veterans do. And you know what? In basic training, in the streets of Panama City, in the deserts of Saudi Arabia and Iraq, and in fact, all over the U.S. military, there were D&D players. It was one of those things you never expect.

Why? I wonder what the fine folks at the McCain camp think about things like teamwork, loyalty, duty, honor, responsibility, friendship, and good old wholesome family entertainment -- all things I learned and practiced playing D&D. Apparently, not too much, as noted in the quote above. It seems Mr. Goldfarb, with the blessings of his employer, has decided that anyone who plays Dungeons and Dragons is some sort of anti-social uber nerd, incapable of manly activities, such as political blogging or being shot down over Hanoi.

Well, as anyone with half a brain should know, not all D&D players live in their parents' basement. Some live upstairs.

And others, the vast majority of them, became doctors, lawyers, excelled in business, the arts, and even politics. And a more than a few of them put on the uniform and stand by the colors. And more than a few of them have come back from the very wars that men like Mr. Goldfarb have sent them covered in the colors, the same colors that are given to grieving mothers, wives, and girlfriends.

Yes, Mr. Goldfarb, I play Dungeons and Dragons. And I have, in my home, a very large box filled with medals and decorations that prove my service to this nation. Where were you, sir, when your country called? Oh yes, writing for the Weekly Standard.

While gaming geeks rallied around the flag.
Yeah, I'm a AD&D fan from my early days. And I am a non-veteran. And a geek. And I love a good smackdown, don't you?

Pic is of Goldfarb taken from an above website and motivated by me. Backpost finished 2009-12-07.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Barukh Dayan ha-Emet

A friend from High School. 38 years old.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Radio Free Newton is On the Air

I have to say that the move to Newton was very smooth so far and my internet is up and running in about 24 hours since wheels-down in this zip-code. The family is still quite un-bobulated, but I will regale with some stories from the trip anon. First, dinner.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Radio Free New Haven is Off the Air

The movers come at 8:00am, it is now 7:15am. The Styx will be off the air for a few hours/days/weeks (it takes me from one month to three months to get myself back up to speed after a move - hoisting myself out of a well-connected rut is quite painful). Will resume the Styx in Massachusetts.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Not Me: Life In the Styx by Mix

I found these guys on a self-google. They are not me but surprisingly they have the same sense of punning creativity. Rhapsody MP3 Music Downloads: Life In the Styx by Mix

Pic from their album cover. Backpost finished 2009-12-06.

Nice Link: Rodcorp 'How we Work'

Sullivan sends along this very interesting site: Rodcorp: How we work. A description of what it is:
What is "How we work"?

We're interested in the habits, rituals and small (and occasionally big) methods people and teams use to get their work done.
Backpost finished 2009-12-03.

One more day

Tomorrow the moving trucks come to take us away from New Haven. When I am finally, safely, away from this city, I will give a massive dose of thanksgiving tzedaka for being able to leave here alive.

Oh, and happy Tisha B'av.

John Edwards is a Mamzer

This is one of those paradigm shifting moments. Before the revelation that John Edwards had an affair in 2006, we were able to imagine him as a possible president because he was a charismatic Southern democrat with demonstrable talent in convincing people to do things they wouldn't ordinarily do. Now that we see he committed adultery on his 'cancer-in-remission' wife ONLY TWO YEARS AGO, we see that he is in fact a slimeball with very little on the plus side to offset the massive flaw in character and - most importantly - judgement.

His career in politics is over. His career elsewhere as well, we can only hope.

Monday, August 04, 2008

One Week... and Counting

One week from today is the move-out. Stay tuned.

Glenn McCoy - Voice of the Wingnuts

Political cartoonist Glenn McCoy not only can't draw that well (or at least he makes his figures purposefully disquieting) but he has one of the lowest common denominator minds of the idiot Right Wing. For a quick primer in what the wingnuts are thinking (or, a better term for right-wing nut: freeper), just read Glenn "W is God" McCoy.

These cartoons are from September 2007, but McCoy is as persistent as all small minds, so what holds back then, still holds for today.

Exhibit 1 (Aug 14 2007)

Exhibit 2 (Aug 8 2007)

Exhibit 3 (July 26 2007)

Exhibit 1: A standard Freeper view is that the media is unabashedly liberal. I disproved that canard here, - and it's pretty obviously a lie to anyone who pays attention - yet it's a rock solid axiom of the right wing.

Exhibit 2: Heh heh heh. Up until she actually left the race in June, the freepers believed with absolute certainty that Hillary was going to be the democratic nominee. It came from two coincident axioms: (1) The Clintons were unbeatable (proven by the fact that they hadn't been beaten) and (2) that the Democrats were so stupid, venal, evil that they would naturally choose Hillary.

Exhibit 3: Same with #2. Extra points for making Hillary look monstrous.

Summary: The key question is does Glenn - and by extension the rest of his freaky-right-winger ilk - actually believe this narrischkeit? Yeah, they're convinced, like most radicals, that the press is against them. The secret truth, that the press is on their own side, doesn't penetrate (but that's a different screed). But about Hillary? Or are they just trying to stack the deck in favor of who they think is the worse candidate, Hillary? This is what Rush Limbaugh did, with his Operation Chaos, and I at least give him credit for knowing that he's on the side of evil (same with Rove). So I guess the real question is: is Glenn in on Rush/Rove's joke?

Backpost, started 9/4/07, finished 2009-12-07.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Backpost: Retort to "The Rove Non-Event"

Backpost: from 8/13/07.

A letter I wrote to the TPM, Re: The Rove Non-Event: "Like a whisper"
Dear Dr. Marshall,

I believe the only election that brought fear into the hearts of every true-blue Democrat was 2004. The 2000 election was a mugging - we didn't know the nature of our assailant yet but the 1994-2000 onslaught of Gingrich and his juniors made the whole country sick of fighting. People just wanted the election to end and we allowed it to because we thought the stakes were so low (proof: why so many people felt confident to vote for Nader, because it felt like it didn't matter).

2002 was a direct result of the post-9/11 wartime 'dont switch horses in midstream' mentality. I don't give Rove credit for that. Even a doofus like Carter would have gained seats after 9/11.

It was 2004 that shocked us and made us think that Rove was a magician. And now we see that much of his skill lay not in 'getting out the vote' and 'galvanizing the base' but in 'getting the US attorneys to suppress the vote and indict Democratic opponents.' Bush-Rove won in 2004 through outright theft and we're just getting into those details now. But the Attorney Scandal is the story of the theft of 2004.

I don't know how Rove's resignation protects him from Congressional inquiry into the Attorney Scandal. Maybe it was part of a deal - if he resigns and stays out of politics (or at least 2008) then Congress will let him stay out of jail. It's a dirty deal, if it happened, but I can see that kind of deal being made. The crime is too huge, a NBA Referee scandal magnified by billions, and this could be the elegant way out.

In any case, as Green's recent Atlantic piece shows, Rove angered so many members of the GOP (the comments by DeLay are awesome) that this resignation may be their way of running him out on a rail in time to salvage whatever they can in 2008. The 'whisper'-ness may be how the GOP needs it to play out.

All the best,

Backpost: Abuse of Women in the Military

From 3/17/07. I had the link and the embedded quote.

This article from the NYTimes Sunday magazine is an investigation of the horrific state of abuse of women by the military. Note that armies have been abusing women for millenia (see the first subject in parshat, Ki Teitzei), but new wrinkle for 2007 is that the victims are also wearing uniforms.

Read the whole article ("The Women's War" by Sara Corbett) yet this quote gives a taste of the horror: "Despite fighting wars in two far-off countries, the Bush administration recently announced that while it will increase V.A. health-care financing by 9 percent for 2008, it has proposed consecutive cuts of about $1.8 billion for 2009 and 2010."

Backpost: Premiere vs. Us

Backpost: 8/10/07, 2:54 PM. Just the post title.

So it's been almost a year since Premiere went belly-up. The magazine subscription service I use decided to give us another magazine in its place: Us Weekly. This is, not to exaggerate too much, a travesty of irony.

Premiere was a entertainment magazine that actually had decent journalism and an independent mind towards film criticism. It was on the high end of the spectrum (not too high; that realm is for frou-frou academicishe journals).

Us Weekly, on the other hand, is a bottom-feeding paparazzi rag. Paparazzi are a blight - they are paid to stalk and harass people - and Us Magazine expanded the market for this despicable practice with their tagline: "celebrities, they're just like US." Meaning that US magazine pays for ANY picture of a celebrity doing something ordinary. Pumping gas, buying milk, wheeling a carriage. Thus Us Magazine have given paparazzi to be even more intrusive, invasive, and offensive.

Leafing through the magazine once gave me an intense urge to jump into a mikvah and then burn down the company HQ.

How they dared to replace Premiere with Us shows either corporate ignorance or willful malfeasance.

Backpost: Why they deny the Holocaust

Backpost from 12/18/06, 9:51 PM. I just had the link

Notes: The story is still online and it gives over some important facts about the virulent anti-Semitism in the Muslim world.

From the Los Angeles Times: Why they deny the Holocaust

Obama & The Styx Logo

I removed the Obama Life in the Styx logo not because I've stopped my support - quite the opposite - but because the picture dimensions were whacking out the layout. When I can fix it such that it looks good on the page, it'll go back up.

He's Beating Me To It

I have felt that were I ever to run for congress, it would be from the New Jersey 5th. It's a heavily Jewish area that can use a moderate democrat instead of it's current dipstick Republican. Well, seems this guy is beating me to it, with a similar gimmick (except that my being Orthodox would be better than his being conservative and blind).

Ted Rall Loses It

As I've mentioned before (here and here), the cartoonist Ted Rall is the worst mainstream leftie political cartoonist. For an example of his moral myopia, see today's toon where he decries our war in Afganistan. Now, if you're anything but a pacifict scumbag, our war in Afganistan is just. They attacked us on 9/11, if you recall, and the war actually toppled the evil regime. Sure, war is bad, but it's sometimes necessary and it takes a puny mind to deny that. Exhibit A: Rall.