Cindy McCain

Neon - NH Ballin Drugs Prescriptions
[NH Ballin Drugs Prescriptions, click image for full view]

Strange that Cindy McCain would be chosen as the messenger to attack Michelle Obama. Ms. McCain has a few decaying bones in her closet to. According to Snopes:

In 1989, following two back surgeries, Cindy McCain became addicted to the painkillers Vicodin and Percocet. To keep up with her daily need of 10 to 15 pills, she used other people’s names for prescriptions and stole drugs from the American Voluntary Medical Team, a mobile surgical unit she’d begun in 1988 to provide emergency medical services around the world. A 1993 DEA audit of the amount of painkillers her charity had obtained quickly uncovered her thefts. She avoided prosecution for those crimes through an agreement with the Justice Department in which she submitted to drug testing, paid a fine, performed community service in a soup kitchen, and joined Narcotics Anonymous. She also closed her medical charity.

Cindy McCain is Senator McCain’s second wife. His infidelities put strain on his first marriage, and he was divorced from Carol McCain, his wife of 15 years, in 1980. (Carol McCain not only waited for five and a half years for her husband to return from Vietnam, but she also endured a horrific automobile accident during that period which broke both her legs and one arm and ruptured her spleen. She nearly lost her left leg, and surgeries left her four inches shorter than she was before her accident. The woman John McCain returned to was far different in appearance from the beautiful former model he’d left behind.)

Cindy Lou Hensley and John McCain began dating in 1979. While the Wall Street Journal article used as the source for the e-mail’s information states “At the time, Sen. McCain was separated from his first wife,” numerous other sources assert he was still living with Carol McCain when he began seeing his future wife, Cindy. John and Cindy wed in 1980, one month after his divorce from Carol became final.

[From Cindy McCain]

But hey, what’s a little drug theft for an heiress? I’m sure if you or I stole narcotics from a charity, the DEA would laughingly slap our wrists too. As far as screwing around with a man still married to another woman? Who really cares, besides the evangelical Republicans, and apparently they don’t care too much since McCain won the nomination anyway.

Obama Rejects Public Financing

Nickles Not Pickles

The internets are apparently good for something…

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama announced Thursday that he would become the first presidential candidate to forgo public financing of his general election campaign since the system was established three decades ago.

In a video emailed to supporters, he said that “it’s not an easy decision, especially because I support a robust system for public financing of elections.”

The move was widely expected, following the Illinois senator’s record-shattering fundraising during the nominating contest, and his proven ability to raise unprecedented sums from big donors and small Internet donors alike.

Sen. Obama’s Republican opponent, John McCain, has been much less successful at raising money and the move sets up the likelihood of a big mismatch in money heading into the fall campaign. If Sen. McCain stays in the public financing system, as is expected, he would have about $80 million to spend between the Republican nominating convention in September and the Nov. 4 election. Sen. Obama is expected to be able to raise $200 million for that contest.

Sen. Obama said he felt compelled to make the move because “we face opponents who’ve become masters at gaming this broken system.”

“John McCain’s campaign and the Republican National Committee are fueled by contributions from Washington lobbyists and special interest PACs,” he said. “And we’ve already seen that he’s not going to stop the smears and attacks from his allies running so-called 527 groups, who will spend millions and millions of dollars in unlimited donations.”

[From Obama Rejects Public Financing –]

McCain predictably is whining about Obama’s decision, because McCain’s fundraising has been so anemic in comparison to the Obama juggernaut. Don’t forget that McCain gamed the system in the primary, so any whining has to be put in context.

McCain’s Secret Record

McCain is similar to Bush in one more dimension: his dad pulled some strings to help him out too. Elite, indeed.

All of the evidence, indications and comments that the New York Times published a flattering lie about McCain’s career on its front page are easy for John McCain to refute. All he needs to do is sign Standard Form 180, which authorizes the Navy to send an undeleted copy of McCain’s naval file to news organizations. A long paper trail about McCain’s pending promotion to admiral would be prominent in his file. To date, McCain’s advisers have released snippets from his file, but under constrained viewing circumstances. There’s no reason McCain’s full file shouldn’t be released immediately. There’s also a recent precedent for McCain signing the simple form that leads to full disclosure: Senator John Kerry signed the 180 waiver, which made his entire naval file public.

The Navy may claim that it already released McCain’s record to the Associated Press on May 7, 2008 in response to the AP’s Freedom of Information Act request. But the McCain file the Navy released contained 19 pages — a two-page overview and 17 pages detailing Awards and Decorations. Each of these 17 pages is stamped with a number. These numbers range from 0069 to 0636. When arranged in ascending order, they precisely track the chronology of McCain’s career. It seems reasonable to ask the Navy whether there are at least 636 pages in McCain’s file, of which 617 weren’t released to the Associated Press.

Some of the unreleased pages in McCain’s Navy file may not reflect well upon his qualifications for the presidency. From day one in the Navy, McCain screwed-up again and again, only to be forgiven because his father and grandfather were four-star admirals. McCain’s sense of entitlement to privileged treatment bears an eerie resemblance to George W. Bush’s.

Despite graduating in the bottom 1 percent of his Annapolis class, McCain was offered the most sought-after Navy assignment — to become an aircraft carrier pilot. According to military historian John Karaagac, “‘the Airdales,’ the air wing of the Navy, acted and still do, as if unrivaled atop the naval pyramid. They acted as if they owned, not only the Navy, but the entire swath of blue water on the earth’s surface.” The most accomplished midshipmen compete furiously for the few carrier pilot openings. After four abysmal academic years at Annapolis distinguished only by his misdeeds and malfeasance, no one with a record resembling McCain’s would have been offered such a prized career path. The justification for this and subsequent plum assignments should be documented in McCain’s naval file.

[Click to read much more of Jeffrey Klein: McCain’s Secret, Questionable Record – Politics on The Huffington Post]

Jeffrey Klein also wonders why McCain won’t release his entire Naval record:

Is McCain now getting away with more by hiding his official history and by having his national security adviser inflate McCain’s resume with a bogus promotion to admiral humbly declined? If so, McCain may be attempting to hide why the Navy was in fact slow to promote him upwards despite his suffering as a POW and his distinguished naval heritage.

One possible reason: After McCain had returned from Vietnam as a war hero and was physically rehabilitated, he was urged by his medical caretakers and military colleagues never to fly again. But McCain insisted on going up. As Carl Bernstein reported in Vanity Fair, [McCain] piloted an ultra-light, single propeller plane — and crashed another time. His fifth loss of a plane has vanished from public records, but should be a subject of discussion in his Navy file. It wouldn’t be surprising if his naval superiors worried that McCain was just too defiant, too reckless and too crash prone.

Regardless, McCain owes it to the country to release his complete naval records so that American voters can see his documented history and make an informed decision.

I don’t want to stoop to “Swift Boating” McCain, but since his military experience is going to be played up as a campaign theme, his full record should be made available for perusal.

Do Angry Clinton Women Love McCain?

Frank Rich is positively giddy in his Sunday column1:

You’d never guess that Mr. McCain is a fierce foe of abortion rights or that he voted to terminate the federal family-planning program that provides breast-cancer screenings. You’d never know that his new campaign blogger, recruited from The Weekly Standard, had shown his genuine affection for Mrs. Clinton earlier this year by portraying her as a liar and whiner and by piling on with a locker-room jeer after she’d been called a monster. “Tell us something we don’t know,” he wrote.

But while the McCain campaign apparently believes that women are easy marks for its latent feminist cross-dressing, a reality check suggests that most women can instantly identify any man who’s hitting on them for selfish ends. New polls show Mr. Obama opening up a huge lead among female voters — beating Mr. McCain by 13 percentage points in the Gallup and Rasmussen polls and by 19 points in the latest Wall Street Journal-NBC News survey.

How huge is a 13- to 19-percentage-point lead? John Kerry won women by only 3 points, Al Gore by 11.

The real question is how Mr. McCain and his press enablers could seriously assert that he will pick up disaffected female voters in the aftermath of the brutal Obama-Clinton nomination battle. Even among Democrats, Mr. Obama lost only the oldest female voters to Mrs. Clinton.

But as we know from our Groundhog Days of 2008, a fictional campaign narrative, once set in the concrete of Beltway bloviation, must be recited incessantly, especially on cable television, no matter what facts stand in the way. Only an earthquake — the Iowa results, for instance — could shatter such previously immutable story lines as the Clinton campaign’s invincibility and the innate hostility of white voters to a black candidate.

[Click here to read more of Frank Rich – Do Angry Clinton Women Love McCain? – Op-Ed –]

If you ignore the chattering class in the Washington DC media (which you should for your own health anyway), and concentrate on the real numbers, McCain looks a lot like Bob Dole in 1996, or even Walter Mondale in 1984. That is to say, President Obama is looking good, CC.

One more snippet:

Yet the myth of Democratic disarray is so pervasive that when “NBC Nightly News” andThe Wall Street Journal presented their new poll results last week (Obama, 47 percent; McCain, 41 percent) they ignored their own survey’s findings to stick to the clichéd script. Both news organizations (and NBC’s sibling, MSNBC) dwelled darkly on Mr. Obama’s “problems with two key groups” (as NBC put it): white men, where he is behind 20 percentage points to Mr. McCain, and white suburban women, where he is behind 6 points.

Since that poll gives Mr. Obama not just a 19-point lead among all women but also a 7-point lead among white women, a 6-point deficit in one sliver of the female pie is hardly a heart-stopper. Nor is Mr. Obama’s showing among white men shocking news. No Democratic presidential candidate, including Bill Clinton, has won a majority of that declining demographic since 1964. Mr. Kerry lost white men by 25 points, and Mr. Gore did by 24 points (even as he won the popular vote).

“NBC Nightly News” was so focused on these supposedly devastating Obama shortfalls that there was no mention that the Democrat beat Mr. McCain (and outperformed Mr. Kerry) in every other group that had been in doubt: independents, Catholics, blue-collar workers and Hispanics. Indeed, the evidence that pro-Clinton Hispanics are flocking to Mr. McCain is as nonexistent as the evidence of a female stampede. Mr. Obama swamps Mr. McCain by 62 percent to 28 percent — a disastrous G.O.P. setback, given that President Bush took 44 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2004, according to exit polls. No wonder the McCain campaign no longer lists its candidate’s home state of Arizona as safe this fall.

There are many ways that Mr. Obama can lose this election. But his 6-percentage-point lead in the Journal-NBC poll is higher than Mr. Bush’s biggest lead (4 points) over Mr. Kerry at any point in that same poll in 2004. So far, despite all the chatter to the contrary, Mr. Obama is not only holding on to Mrs. Clinton’s Democratic constituencies but expanding others (like African-Americans). The same cannot be said of Mr. McCain and the G.O.P. base.

That story is minimized or ignored in part because an unshakable McCain fan club lingers in some press quarters and in part because it’s an embarrassing refutation of the Democrats-in-meltdown narrative that so many have invested in. Understating the splintering of the Republican base also keeps hope alive for a tight race. As the Clinton-Obama marathon proved conclusively, a photo finish is essential to the dramatic and Nielsen imperatives of 24/7 television coverage.

  1. in the New York Times. So glad they opened up the TimesSelect to everyone – saves me having to quote the whole damn thing. Though I got more site traffic []

Clinton Primary Debt

Seems to make sense to me, why not allow her to balance her books? There are lots of small vendors probably still waiting to be paid off.

Hillary Clinton has $24 million she collected for a general-election campaign she now won’t run. With debts of about $20 million to outside vendors and to herself, it seems she could easily balance her books.

Campaign-finance-law experts say it isn’t so simple. The seeds of the quandary lie in the way Sen. Clinton chose to raise money when she began her presidential effort in January 2007. Individuals can give a maximum of $2,300 to a single candidate for a single campaign. Sen. Clinton asked big donors to give $4,600 for both the primary and the general election. That allowed her to claim big-money totals as she sought to establish her reputation as the prohibitive front-runner.

Campaign-finance rules say only money collected for the primaries could be used for bills amassed in the primaries. Money collected for the general election can only be used in a November race.

But there may be an out.

Some campaign-finance experts say Sen. Clinton could be allowed to take the $24 million and, with permission from the donors, redeploy it to her Senate campaign account. She is up for re-election in 2012. She could then ultimately pay back the vendors from that kitty, the lawyers say.

[From Clinton Primary Debt Poses Quandary –]

Or she could do like Dennis Kucinich, and sell Hillary Gear at 50%

With her concession, Sen. Clinton joins the ranks of other failed 2008 contenders such as New Mexico Democratic Gov. Bill Richardson and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who maintain Web sites asking supporters to help them retire debt.

Mr. Giuliani, a Republican, was $3.6 million in the hole at last reporting. He recently accepted about $60,000 from the McCain campaign to pay for a charter flight to a joint political event and unload some surplus office equipment from his failed effort, according to federal records and the McCain campaign.

Ohio Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich, who is still whittling away at the $450,000 debt he amassed from a presidential run in 2004, added $718,000 to his debt total in 2008, federal records show.

The campaign no longer takes Internet donations but is running a 50%-off sale on Kucinich gear, which includes, among other things, original voting machines from Palm Beach, Fla., the scene of the 2000 voter recount.

For $219 plus shipping, purchasers receive the machine, “actual chads,” a replica of the infamous “butterfly ballot” from that vote, and a signed letter from the Ohio congressman decrying the bungled election.

Coveted Bob Dylan Endorsement of Barack Obama

Exit, Zimmerman

Whew. Glad that’s on record – there’s bound to be a McCain supporter or two who will change their vote now that His Bobness has spoken.

Bob Dylan – who could justifiably claim to be the architect of Barack Obama’s ‘change’ catchphrase – has backed the Illinois senator to do for modern America what the generation before did in the 1960s.

In an exclusive interview with The Times, published today, Dylan gives a ringing endorsement to Mr Obama, the first ever black presidential candidate, claiming he is “redefining the nature of politics from the ground up”.

Dylan, 67, made the comments when being interviewed in Denmark, where he stopped over in a hotel during a tour of Scandinavia.

Asked about his views on American politics, he said: “Well, you know right now America is in a state of upheaval. Poverty is demoralising. You can’t expect people to have the virtue of purity when they are poor.

“But we’ve got this guy out there now who is redefining the nature of politics from the ground up…Barack Obama.

“He’s redefining what a politician is, so we’ll have to see how things play out. Am I hopeful? Yes, I’m hopeful that things might change. Some things are going to have to.”

He added: “You should always take the best from the past, leave the worst back there and go forward into the future.”

[From Bob Dylan says Barack Obama is ‘changin’ America – Times Online ]

In all seriousness, if McCain wins, I might move to Denmark. Luckily, I don’t think he stands a chance, unless something weird happens.

The Bob Dylan exhibit sounds interesting. I wish I could take a week or so off and go to England.

The haphazard process leading to the London show began nearly 20 years ago when he was approached by an editor at the American publishing company Random House. “They’d seen some of my sketches somewhere and asked if I’d like to do a whole book. Why not, you know? There was no predetermined brief. ‘Just deal with the material to hand, whatever that is. And do it however you want. You can be fussy, you can be slam-bang, it doesn’t matter.’ Then they gave me a drawing book, I took it away with me and turned it back in again, full three years later.”

Published in 1994 under the abbreviated title Drawn Blank, the resultant images had been executed both on the hoof while he was touring and in a more structured way in studios, using models (“Just anyone who’d be open to doing it”) and lights. What was going on in his life during that three-year period to inform or provide a back story to the work? “Just the usual,” Dylan shrugs, fixed in the hunkered-forward, hands-clasped position he will maintain for most of our time together. “I try to live as simply as is possible and was just drawing whatever I felt like drawing, whenever I felt like doing it. The idea was always to do it without affectation or self-reference, to provide some kind of panoramic view of the world as I was seeing it.”

Built up of work that is often contemplative, sometimes exuberant but consistently technically accomplished and engaging, that view is of train halts, diners and dockyards, barflies, dandies and uniformed drivers glimpsed in New Orleans or New York, Stockholm or South Dakota. And of women. We’re left in no doubt that Dylan likes women. “They weren’t actually there at the same time,” he notes quickly, pointing, when his page-turning reveals the painting Two Sisters, its subjects lounging, one clothed, the other naked but for her bra. “They posed separately and I put them together afterwards.”


The method used to turn them into the paintings about to go on exhibition in London involved making digital scans of the original drawings and enlarging and then transferring them on to heavy paper ready for reworking. Dylan then experimented with treating individual images with a variety of colours. “And doing so subverted the light. Every picture spoke a different language to me as the various colours were applied.”

Fundraising: Obama vs McCain

Garfield Pond with fish

Obama would seem to have an edge in fundraising, unless the economy tanks so much that the under $200-donation crowd can’t afford to contribute anymore.

Obama’s campaign spent significant resources on physical offices in battleground states. But those efforts often came to follow the informal infrastructure that his supporters built ahead of time by finding each other through and coordinating off-line to campaign for their candidate.

The most obvious area in which it led was online fund-raising. Just under half its record-level of $265 million raised so far came from donations of $200 or less, much of which flowed to the campaign through the internet. The Clinton campaign ended up tweaking its fund-raising approach after Obama’s initial successes and began asking supporters for smaller amounts of money in online fund-raising drives following each primary victory.

In contrast to Obama’s campaign, presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain has raised only $90.5 million during the same 2007 and 2008 period. Just over a third of his donations came from the $200-and-under crowd. Forty-two percent of it came through contributions at the maximum $2,000 level. For Obama, just under a quarter of his donations came from $2,000-level donations.

[From Obama, Propelled by the Net, Wins Democratic Nomination – Wired Blogs]

Hopefully, for all our sakes, that doesn’t happen.

McCain to spy on Americans Secretly

Let there be light
[There could be a hidden microphone in this light fixture if John McCain has his way]

McCain flip-flops on whether civil liberties are important. Now he’s against them, just like his mentor, George Bush.

If elected president, Senator John McCain would reserve the right to run his own warrantless wiretapping program against Americans, based on the theory that the president’s wartime powers trump federal criminal statutes and court oversight, according to a statement released by his campaign Monday.

McCain’s new tack towards the Bush administration’s theory of executive power comes some 10 days after a McCain surrogate stated, incorrectly it seems, that the senator wanted hearings into telecom companies’ cooperation with President Bush’s warrantless wiretapping program, before he’d support giving those companies retroactive legal immunity.
As first reported by Threat Level, Chuck Fish, a full-time lawyer for the McCain campaign, also said McCain wanted stricter rules on how the nation’s telecoms work with U.S. spy agencies, and expected those companies to apologize for any lawbreaking before winning amnesty.

But Monday, McCain adviser Doug Holtz-Eakin, speaking for the campaign, disavowed those statements, and for the first time cast McCain’s views on warrantless wiretapping as identical to Bush’s.

[N]either the Administration nor the telecoms need apologize for actions that most people, except for the ACLU and the trial lawyers, understand were Constitutional and appropriate in the wake of the attacks on September 11, 2001. […]

We do not know what lies ahead in our nation’s fight against radical Islamic extremists, but John McCain will do everything he can to protect Americans from such threats, including asking the telecoms for appropriate assistance to collect intelligence against foreign threats to the United States as authorized by Article II of the Constitution.

The Article II citation is key, since it refers to President Bush’s longstanding arguments that the president has nearly unlimited powers during a time of war. The administration’s analysis went so far as to say the Fourth Amendment did not apply inside the United States in the fight against terrorism, in one legal opinion from 2001.

[From McCain: I’d Spy on Americans Secretly, Too | Threat Level from]

Constitution, begone, says McCain, if it was good enough for Stalin, it’s good enough for Republicans.

Infighting Among the Dems

Bob Herbert is irritated with the fractious Democratic Party, their goofy nomination process, and their self-centered campaigning.

Talk about self-inflicted wounds.

The Democrats may finally be stepping away from their circular firing squad. It took them long enough.

There are so many things that the Democrats need to do to have any chance of winning the White House in November, and it’s awfully late in the game to begin doing them.

Only now is the party starting to rally around Senator Barack Obama, who has been the likely nominee for the longest time. No one knows how long it will take to move beyond the fratricidal conflict that was made unnecessarily bitter by Bill and Hillary Clinton.

The cry of “McCain in ’08!” at the Democratic rules committee meeting in Washington over the weekend came from a supporter of Senator Hillary Clinton.

It reminded me of Bill Clinton’s comment that “it would be a great thing if we had an election year where you had two people who loved this country and were devoted to the interest of this country.”

He was talking about Hillary Clinton and John McCain. The former president’s comment played right into the sustained effort by opponents of Barack Obama to portray the senator as some kind of alien figure, less than patriotic, not fully American, too strange by half to be handed the reins of government.

[Click to read more Bob Herbert – Infighting Among the Democratcs – Op-Ed –]

If McCain wins the election, I wouldn’t be surprised to see rioting in the streets.

Lieberman and Graham, Conflicted

Random Colored Lights and Moon
[click to embiggen]

McCain supporters feign surprise that they are expected to follow the candidate’s public policy announcements. They thought they’d be able to continue being as corrupt as before, and nobody would pay attention. Notice – neither paragon of virtue, Lieberman nor Graham, decided to step down until after reporters asked uncomfortable questions.

Senators Joseph I. Lieberman and Lindsey Graham, prominent surrogates for Senator John McCain’s presidential campaign, stepped down Wednesday from their positions with an independent group that released a pair of Internet advertisements attacking Senator Barack Obama on Iraq.

Mr. Lieberman, independent of Connecticut, and Mr. Graham, Republican of South Carolina, were both on the policy advisory board to the organization, Vets for Freedom, which on Wednesday released its second Web advertisement in less than a week attacking Mr. Obama.

The senators’ positions with the group, which describes itself as a grass-roots advocacy organization pushing for victory in Iraq and Afghanistan, seemed to place them in contravention of new conflict-of-interest rules released by Mr. McCain’s campaign that specifically prohibit anyone “with a McCain campaign title or position” from participating in a “527 or other independent entity that makes public communications that support or oppose any presidential candidate.”

After inquiries from reporters, the senators released a joint letter to Vets for Freedom on Wednesday saying they had requested a leave from their positions to come into compliance with the new policy.

[From Lieberman and Graham, Senators for McCain, Leave Group After Ads Attacking Obama –]

Remind me again why Holy Joe Lieberman is a Democratic Superdelegate? Didn’t the DNC strip Zell Miller of his status after Senator Miller fulminated in support of Bush? Shouldn’t Lieberman lose his chairmanships too? He obviously has little in common with the Democrats anymore. I wonder what Connecticut voters think of him now?

Ooops, my mistake, Lieberman has been stripped of his super delegate status.

Thanks to Zell Miller, there is a rule to deal with Joe Lieberman.

Lieberman’s endorsement of Republican John McCain disqualifies him as a super-delegate to the Democratic National Convention under what is informally known as the Zell Miller rule, according to Democratic State Chairwoman Nancy DiNardo.

Miller, then a Democratic senator from Georgia, not only endorsed Republican George Bush four years ago, but he delivered a vitriolic attack on Democrat John Kerry at the Republican National Convention.

The Democrats responded with a rule disqualifying any Democrat who crosses the aisle from being a super delegate. Lieberman will not be replaced, DiNardo said.

John McCain’s Arab-American problem

Something I never even thought about – Arab-Americans as a demographic group. 3,500,000 isn’t a tiny number, as these things go. Hope McCain’s lack of courage in the Ali Jawad matter costs him a few swing states, or more.

Not long ago, the John McCain campaign dropped a prominent Arab-American businessman from its Michigan state finance committee because of allegations that the man was an “agent” of Hezbollah. The charges, made by a right-wing blogger, were unsubstantiated, but fears of being associated with Arab terror caused Republican knees to jerk, and cost Ali Jawad his position. All politics, even national politics, is local, and Jawad’s abrupt dismissal may cost McCain many votes among Southeastern Michigan’s large Arab-American community. But more important, Arab-Americans across the country are looking for changes in domestic and international policy that McCain seems unwilling to pledge — and they are concentrated in swing states that he will need to win this fall. Does John McCain have a problem with Arab-American voters?

Recent polls show a tight race between either Democrat and McCain in Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Ohio, all states where Arab-Americans account for an appreciable percentage of the vote. Such polls have limited utility with November so many months away, but that it will be a close election in those key states seems clear. In a tight election, the votes of a well-placed minority — Arab-American votes — can be crucial.

Arab-Americans are a highly diverse group of up to 3.5 million persons, according to Arab American Institute figures. About three-quarters of them are Christian and a quarter Muslim. Eighty percent are U.S. citizens. Many are from families that have been in the U.S. for decades or even a century. They come from all over the Arab world, from Morocco to Egypt and Iraq to Yemen, but the traditional core of the community is Lebanese and Palestinian.

[From John McCain’s Arab-American problem | Salon ]

Corporate Media Lazy


Stop the press! Well, you know what we mean. Poor (ex-mayor of Austin) Kirk Watson was caught on live television without an answer to the gotcha-question of the moment – is Obama a light-weight Senator? Blogger hilzoy answers

it’s only a Rorschach test for people who don’t bother to find whether or not Obama actually has any actual legislative achievements. If he does, then of course this just shows that this one supporter didn’t know what they are. If he doesn’t, it might show something more, e.g. that Obama is a lightweight. As it happens, Obama does have substantive legislative achievements. I have written more about them here. A few highlights, all of which became law:

[Click to read them The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan – Dear Chris Matthew Please Do Your Job]

Asleep at the Post

He concludes:

There’s a lot more. Honestly, there is. I wrote a summary here (and an earlier one here), and provided lists (1, 2, 3) of all the bills and amendments sponsored or co-sponsored by Clinton and Obama in the 109th and 110th Congresses, just so it would be as easy as possible for people to see for themselves. (Fun fact about each side’s legislative records: during the 109th and 110th Congresses (which is to say, the time that both Obama and Clinton have been in the Senate), only one sponsored a substantive bill that became law. Guess who it was? Hint: the bill concerns the ongoing conflict in the Congo.) Which brings me to my larger point:

I did this because I had heard one too many people like Chris Matthews talking about Obama’s alleged lack of substance, and I thought: I know that’s not true, since I have read about Obama’s work on non-proliferation, avian flu, and a few other issues. And if people are saying he lacks substance, then surely I, as a citizen, should try to find out whether I just hallucinated all this interesting legislation, or whether this talking point was, in fact, completely wrong. So I sat down with Google and Thomas and tried to find out. But I’m just an amateur. I have a full-time job doing something else. Chris Matthews, by contrast, is paid large sums of money to provide political commentary and insight. I assume he has research assistants at his disposal. He could have done this work a lot more easily than I did. But he didn’t. He was more interested in gotcha moments than in actually enlightening the American people.

So here’s a challenge for Chris Matthews, or anyone else in the media who wants to take it up. Go over Clinton and Obama’s actual legislative records. Find the genuine legislative accomplishments that each has to his or her name. Report to the American people on what you find. Until you do, don’t accept statements from either side about who has substance and who does not, or who traffics in “speeches” and who offers “solutions”. That’s lazy, unprofessional, and a disservice to your audience.

Amen to that. Why make up a fluff question when the answer is something an intern could turn up with a few days work? The obvious answer is the question isn’t supposed to get answered, it’s just a form of mud-slinging, and laziness.

Public thanks to hilzoy to doing the legwork.

Love Me I am A Liberal

No wonder I’ve never considered running for president (well, besides the little rule about having to be born in the US). Per Corpus Callosum, we see that the candidates for president, especially the ones who are well funded and likely to win a primary or two are all really Republicans, and the Republicans are really fascists/authoritarians by another name.

USprimaries 2007

So I wonder who is against the Drug War? Probably Mike Gravel and Dennis Kucinich only. I’ll admit I actually haven’t been paying attention to the platforms of specific candidates, other than in a vague way. Data like this is probably why – none of them are talking to me anyway. (Especially Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Chris Dodd, based on this chart. John Edwards is the most left of the likely candidates, but something irks me about him too. )

Data from here.

My score? Took the test, and in no surprise to anyone who regularly glances at this page, I scored way, way to the left. Live and Let Live. Or as the Gnostic Christ said: “If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.”

love me I am a liberal

The Political Compass – Test:
Economic Left/Right: -7.63
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -8.31

About The Political Compass™

In the introduction, we explained the inadequacies of the traditional left-right line.

If we recognize that this is essentially an economic line it’s fine, as far as it goes. We can show, for example, Stalin, Mao Tse Tung and Pol Pot, with their commitment to a totally controlled economy, on the hard left. Socialists like Mahatma Gandhi and Robert Mugabe would occupy a less extreme leftist position. Margaret Thatcher would be well over to the right, but further right still would be someone like that ultimate free marketeer, General Pinochet.

That deals with economics, but the social dimension is also important in politics. That’s the one that the mere left-right scale doesn’t adequately address. So we’ve added one, ranging in positions from extreme authoritarian to extreme libertarian.