Running thoughts (OR Huh?)

September 4, 2008

Mr. Keating Five fought corruption?

How, exactly, did Gen. Petraeus get elevated to, apparently, the best General this country has ever seen?

McCain fights for me by kicking me in the groin and laughing at me while insisting that it’s making it me stronger.

Says C: Because that’s what he learned after he crashed and was taken prisoner, so we all need to learn it too; can we all have his millions afterward?

Wait, Republicans had principles?

Mr. Drill Here, Drill Now thinks Sen. Obama is Big Oil’s pocket?

We believe in not sharing and controlling your personal lives.

He’ll make more choices available, unless that choice is to marry someone of the same gender, or abort an unwanted child.

I’m John McCain and I will state some things as fact without any sort of evidence, proof, or rationale. My audience will accept them all as truth and “boo” accordingly.

Wait a second…  did Sen. McCain just explain something resembling a policy proposal (worker retraining)? That seems a little out of place. He didn’t explain how he’d pay for it though, since he just said he’d cut government spending.

I wish I had a blue elephant hat. No, wait. I don’t.

So, Sen. McCain just espoused, essentially, a Democratic energy plan (with a large sampling of “Drill baby, drill”) and the Republicans lemmings cheered. Does drilling matter to the people that much? Is it impossible for them to see how short sighted clinging to oil is?

There it is! That’s why Sen. McCain picked Gov. Palin. Russia is trying to rebuild an empire by invading neighboring countries to control their oil. Alaska is, as Cindy McCain told us, right next to Russia…  it’s obvious that we’re next! Gov. Palin, though, will be able use her extensive experience in Alaska to rally the polar bears and penguins to withstand the furious Russian assault.

I hate war, and want to keep other families from sending their parents and children to new wars. But, I’m a militaristic man with a temper, so don’t hold me to that.

Sen. McCain wants to change the way everything in Washington is done, to invent in infrastructure, in our children, in each other…   Just like the Democrats have been trying to do for decades.

“Let’s use the best ideas from both sides”…  just like I’m stealing all these ideas from the Democrats and this vision from Sen. Obama.

Wow. Sen. McCain really does hate to talk about his POW experience. He’s certainly speaking hesitantly, and emotionally about it…  oh wait, no he’s not. It really is a remarkable story, and Sen. McCain claims to have learned some lessons from it. But, really…  what does it have to with being President?

“My country saved me” …  cool. Now, save your country by conceding the Presidency now.

“If you find faults with our country, make it a better one. If you’re dissapointed with the mistakes of government, join its ranks and work to correct them. […] Run for public office.”  Just like Sen. Obama has done and is doing? Seriously, does he not see that connection?

OK, I know there aren’t many ways to convey the conflict of ideas, of the struggle we all undertake to improve our selves, our situation, our station, but do we have to cache everything as “fight”? Fight for this, fight for that…  Are we really that pugnacious of a society?

And, it’s over. Phew. I made it. My TV survived.


Disconnect (OR Inside the Republican Mind)

September 4, 2008

Marc Ambinder had a couple nuggets today from the McCain campaign that deserve comment.

First:

McCain will focus on the battles he’s had with his party and make the contrast: has Obama ever taken on his party when it was politically inexpedient?

This is one of those things that the McCain camp seems to bring up often, as though it’s a badge of honor. Look, it’s really easy to oppose Republican policies and ideas. It can be really easy to find an issue to oppose the GOP on and, simultaneously, appeal to the vast majority of Americans. I think it’s, generally, much harder to do the same with Democratic policies. Taking on a party that is generally wrong almost can’t be politically inexpedient, by definition.

Next:

[The McCain Campaign] insist[s] that no one knows what a community organizer is, and whatever they think it is, it doesn’t compare to being a mayor.

[…]

Indeed, the Obama campaign knows that many Americans don’t know what a community organizer does, and they’ve changed the way they refers to Obama’s experience too. When he talks about community organizing now, he references his organizing work for churches. That embeds the work in a more familiar context. Inner city Catholics know what community organizers do, certainly.

So, if we accept that “inner city Catholics” know what community organizers do, and further posit that many church goes at least have an inkling of the same, doesn’t that really leave “elite” urban and suburbanites as the only people who don’t know? Doesn’t that mean that the McCain campaign is appealing to the same “elites” of which they claim Sen. Obama is a member?

Maybe it’s just me.


Assorted Thoughts (OR Changing Gears)

September 3, 2008

Rumor has it, the Republicans are holding some sort of large gathering right now… I’m pretty sure you can watch it on any major network. What I doubt you can see is any coverage whatsoever of the emerging police state around the aforementioned large gathering.

I don’t know this for sure because there’s a family tennis rivalry to watch tonight, and the much anticipated NFL opener tomorrow. Essentially, the world has provided me with ample excuse to not watch the Republicans espouse, with astounding enthusiasm, policies, philosophies, and ideas with which I completely disagree.

For example: tonight’s theme is “Prosperity.” Just think about that for a minute. The same party that has presided over 2 recessions in 8 years, that has pushed policies to encourage the creation of the housing bubble which has lead to trillions of dollars of lost wealth, that continues to endorse economic policies that will further exacerbate the gap between the “haves” and “have nots”, that same party is going to talk about prosperity? Seriously?

——-

Other random thoughts:

– The biggest win for Sen. McCain with his VP selection is that no one is really talking about him, his unpopular policies, cranky personality, or his uninspiring candidacy. Even if the news is mixed about Gov. Palin, there certainly isn’t a lot of negative talk around Sen. McCain (outside of his apparent lack of vetting his VP selection)

– Google has release a new web browser. Wil is uncertain about the EULA. My thoughts are mixed. But, the comic that tells the back story of the browser is very cool.

– In my never ending quest to find the media play that best fits my needs, I have currently settled on WinAmp. MediaMonkey had its perks, but the Library navigation was always a bit cumbersome. When playing with Linux, Amarok seemed best, but it’s not yet the complete package. By the same token, neither is Songbird, but it seems oh-so-close to being a simple media player/manager. Not a do-everything-and-make-your-breakfast application. I’m going to keep an eye on that one.

– In other software news, the free MagicDisc portion of MagicISO is really handy. Anyone who deals with .iso files on a regular basis should download and install it right now.


Quick Hits (OR Selectivity)

August 31, 2008

Does anyone else find it interesting how completely, yet subtly, Sen. Obama has shifted the campaign language and how little anyone is talking about it. Does anyone argue that the dominant meme has been “change”? Can anyone argue that anyone has promoted that idea more than Sen. Obama? I mean, stody, old, 20 plus year Senator McCain even has a commercial that says something “We need change, John McCain knows it”.

Seriously? I don’t really recall the Republican primary being about change. It was more about who could be more hawkish than President Bush, who could cut more taxes than President Bush, and so on. Change wasn’t part of the conversation. And now, the Republican nominee is trying to run a campaign on “change”:

SEN. MCCAIN: [Sen. Lieberman ] said, “John, I want you to do what’s best for this country.  And I’ll be at your side.”  […]  And so, it had everything to do with my judgment about what we can do to change things in Washington.

And then there’s the narrow definition of “need”.

In speaking to some delegations, Sen. Mcain said:

[We’ll] put on our American hats and we say “America, we’re with you. America, we’re going to care for these people in their time of need”

What about the need 47 million people have for health care? What about the need of the unemployed to have jobs? What of the need of the middle class to see their incomes grow?

Obviously, these needs don’t get any play on national media, or headlines in the newspaper, so Sen. McCain doesn’t need to talk about them.


In Detail (OR More Information on Gov. Palin)

August 31, 2008

Here are couple stories about Gov. Palin’s difficulties back in Alaska:

From Talking Points Memo: Getting Real About Palin

Here’s the most interesting part (from a campaign point of view):

In an interesting sidelight, that may end up telling us a lot, Monegan says no one from the McCain campaign ever contacted him in the vetting process.

That is, the McCain campaign did not vet one of the primary actors in Gov. Palin’s current political difficulties. That doesn’t seem very Presidential.

And, from the Washington Post: Long-Standing Feud in Alaska Embroils Palin

Most interseting here:

The legislative [investigation] report is due in October.

Which means that a major wrench could be thrown in the McCain/Palin hopes in the last month of the campaign. Kinda makes you think that, perhaps, the McCain campaign should have vetted Gov. Palin a little more/better.


Palin Thoughts (OR A Matter of Perspective)

August 31, 2008

As Dave pointed out, his post on Sarah Palin has elicited lots of traffic, and some very interesting comments.

There’s been a bunch of stuff bouncing around the interwebs for the couple days, and I thought I’d take a (somewhat snarky) stab at it. Dave points to, probably, the most relevant question: What does the Palin selection say about Sen. McCain’s commitment to the value of experience in the Presidency?

The answer to that question will, in all likelihood, play itself out over the next couple months. In the meantime, we get commited McCain supporters trying to claim that Gov. Palin is, in fact, more experienced that Sen. Obama. The rationale? She’s been an executive, with a side of Alaska National Guard commander in chief.

By this logic, of course, Gov. Palin is more experienced that either Sen. McCain or Sen. Biden, which is absolutely preposterous on its face. How many years in the Senate, then, are necessary to provide more experience than 20 months as Alaska’s governor? Where, exacty, do we draw that line?

In other ‘experience’ news, it’s entertaining that the party which, 8 years ago, argued that experience shouldn’t be the sole deciding factor in deciding a president (Gov. Bush vs. VP Gore) is now arguring that experience matters more than any other attribute.

Changing gears to foreign policy, it’s clear the Gov. Palin has excellent foreign policy credentials because she lives so close to Russia. That being said, it’s obvious we need to elect Sen. Obama because of his extensive foreign policy experience with China due to growing up in Hawaii and Indonesia. How is this even acknowledged as a valid point? What would Gov. Palin do? Negotiate a truce between US and Russian polar bears? Even if Anchorage is close to Russia, it’s not like that’s a part of Russia where anybody lives.

Additionally, there is the fact that she’s a woman, which The Daily Show deconstructs nicely. I’ll only add that, if women voted for any ticket with a woman on it, Mondale/Ferraro wouldn’t have had their asses handed to them in 1984.

Also, there’s the fact that Gov. Palin is not on record on a whole variety of national issues. At this point, I can’t withhold my cynicism any more. It’s entirely possible that Sen. McCain selected Gov. Palin precisely because of this. She can be asked to adopt positions which aren’t counter to those previously stated, because she’s never been asked to state those positions. This makes her an ideal pander candidate. The McCain campaign can evaluation what issues they need help on, and ask Gov. Palin to adopt them without being accused of “flip-flopping” or altering her positions for political benefit (which is something that Sen. McCain is facing). Essentially, she’s a candidate that might help Sen. McCain get elected, but probably won’t help him govern.

And, finally, most cynically, I wonder if Sen. McCain is looking at a Palin Vice Presidency as an impeachment shield in much the same sense that VP. Cheney has done for Pres. Bush. Democrats have been loathe to impeach Pres. Bush, partly for fear of elevating and even more dangerous VP Cheney. I can imagine even greater hesitance to elevate a largely unproven VP Palin.

OK, that last might be a stretch… still, this VP selection certainly does make one wonder.


McCain’s VP (OR Pale in comparison)

August 29, 2008

I don’t have too much time right now… but it appears that Sen. McCain has selected Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to be his running mate.

This, in particular, caught my eye:

Governor Palin is a tough executive who has demonstrated during her time in office that she is ready to be president.

I guess this means that 10 years of Mayorship of a very small town (Wasilla, AK: Pop: ~5,500) and 2 years as governor trumps 7 years in a (large) state Senate and 4 years in the US Senate.

Although, there was this bit, too:

As the head of Alaska’s National Guard and as the mother of a soldier herself, Governor Palin understands what it takes to lead our nation

Which, I guess outweighs being essentially raised by a veteran…