Friday, June 20, 2008

Video Smörgåsbord

I won't have much time for blogging for the remainder of the week or so (sad, I know). So, in the meantime, here are a bunch of videos I wanted to post about. Feel free to throw in your two cents and all that jazz.

Watch Sen. McCain debate himself on his similarities with President Bush. And watch as he tries to convince voters that he doesn't intend to privatize Social Security by attempting to redefine what 'privatization' means. And Keith Olbermann reports on on McCain's connections to Big Oil and Enron.

He also reports on the inevitable 9/11 fearmongering being introduced into the campaign.

The band Oded Gross has a new music video on how gays destroyed marriage.

Finally, Mr. Colbert looks at the GOP's use of language to rebrand their failed foreign policy-

Thursday, June 19, 2008

"This is our time to unite in common purpose, to make this century the next American century."

Earlier this week, Sen. Obama gave another speech on the economy, this time in Flint, MI... a city that exemplifies the economic betrayals of the last few decades. Watch the whole speech (nearly 50 minutes) here-

Matthew Yglesias is really impressed with the vision of economic reform Obama is promising-
[A]s a policy speech it's pretty awesome, one of the best efforts to chart a truly progressive, forward-looking approach to the big picture questions that I've seen from a practical politician. Rather than a world in which we try to whether economic storms by slashing taxes and cutting services to the bone, or by sealing our borders to trade and immigration, Obama is outlining a vision in which government plays a crucial positive role in providing human capital (i.e., education), physical infrastructure, basic R&D, and in putting our energy policy on a sustainable basis.

This is the clearest example I've seen of Obama as education reformer, talking about universal preschool and investing more resources in the most challenging classrooms, but also noting that "resources alone won't create the schools that we need to help our children succeed" and we "need to encourage innovation – by adopting curricula and the school calendar to the needs of the 21st century; by updating the schools of education that produce most of our teachers; by welcoming charter schools within the public schools system, and streamlining the certification process for engineers or businesspeople who want to shift careers and teach."

With the economy looking to be front and center this November, and with people becoming more progressive again on the issue, it's no surprise that Sen. McCain has been struggling to avoid the issue, and continue to focus on the cliched national security memes that worked so well for the Republicans... pre-2006 anyway. But the many, severe problems we face are not going away by themselves or by some magical market fix. It'll require people both smart and invested enough in solutions to fix them.

Sen. Obama's ability to convince swing voters that he's that guy will be key to victory.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


The Daily Show once again provides the most hilarious take on a top issue... in this case, all the smears and attacks against Sen. Obama. Wake up, white people!!

The First Affirmative Action President

Conservapedia's entry on Barack Obama is the most hilarious thing, and is just basically a storage depot of all the right-wing smears and distortions about him.

Here are my favorite highlights-
Barack Hussein Obama, Jr. (b. Honolulu, August 4, 1961) is the presumptive 2008 nominee of the Democratic Party for president.[1] Obama has served as a freshman Democratic Senator from Illinois for three and a half years. In 2007, Obama was the most liberal Senator.[2] If elected, Obama would be the first Affirmative Action President.

Obama claimed to have visited 57 states while campaigning for president of the United States, which of course has only 50 states. He could never explain where the false number of 57 came from, but it has been observed that there are 57 Islamic states and Obama was educated at an Islamic grade school while he lived in an Islamic country.[3]

Obama has declared himself to be a Christian, yet never replaced his Muslim name with a Christian one as many do.[4] Obama downplays his Islamic background by claiming that his Kenyan Muslim father was a "confirmed atheist" before Obama was born, but in fact less than 1% of Kenyans are atheists, agnostics or non-religious.[5]

This is great not just because it tries to perpetuate the Obama = Muslim rumors, but because it sees conspiratorial evidence in everything he says or does to prove that he is, in fact, a terrorist Muslim.

We also learn that-
Obama's campaign "is proud to be actively participating in over 60 local and state wide homosexual Pride events over the summer."[20]

Conservapedia readers have, ahem, a well-documented obsession with homosexuality.

And, of course, the patriotism obsession-
Obama's campaign has been financed largely by leftist donors opposed to the war and to the American military in general. Obama has encouraged this by refusing to wear the customary flag on his lapel during appearances (asserting that he would prefer his patriotism to be represented through his actions rather than an arbitrary symbol) and by other less-than-patriotic gestures and symbols, such as declining to put his hand over his heart during a patriotic recitation. In an appearance on May 16 where he addressed President Bush's statements that some politicians would prefer appeasing terrorists through negotiations, Senator Obama once again wore the flag pin as he did following 9-11.

Wow, does this gay-loving Muslim hate America or what???!!!

Under his 'Political Views', we are told-
Obama's political views have been subjected to controversy even before he put himself forward as a presidential candidate. Former House majority leader Tom DeLay has described Obama's record in the Illinois Senate as that of a “Marxist leftist".[63] In May 2007, Obama (and Sen. Hillary Clinton) voted against funding the Iraq War for the first time.[64][65]

Well, if Tom Delay said so, case closed! Mr. Delay's entry, by the way, is surprisingly brief, very odd for a once powerful man whose career ended under such criminally delicious circumstances.

And a little below-- re: Iraq-- it reads-
Barack Obama in his short stint as Senator of Illinois, has made clear his opposition to the U.S. Military in policy and in rhetoric. Obama has spent much energy to remind America of the war that should have never been waged and that we should not be there at all, in any way. In 2002, as an unknown Chicago representative to the state of Illinois, he declared his opposition to the Iraqi conflict. At the time, America was united in the stance against terrorism and the prospects of a rogue enemy with WMD worried the United States. Since elected to Congress, he voted against the Emergency War Supplemental. Obama did not oppose his party debating the bill long past the timeframe requested. This action directly affects troop deployment in combat zones. Obama has repeatedly called for the return of troops in Iraq. Barack Obama has a no confidence vote for the 'Surge' before the measure was put forth by General Petraus to Congress. Obama would not denounce's slander NY Times advertising against the General.

Wow! He opposed that disastrous and unpopular war?!? This terrorist is going down!

And, finally, in the section under his religion, it states-
Obama and his wife (reared a Baptist) have been active members since 1988 at the Trinity United Church of Christ[76] in Chicago. A church that embraces black liberation theology and its emphasis on empowering oppressed groups against establishment forces. Merging Marxism with Christian Gospel may show the way to a better tomorrow. This denomination was the first in America to ordain gays, women and blacks as ministers.[77] According to his sister, Obama was baptized at this church the same year.[78] Obama describes his conversion in The Audacity of Hope. The title of this book is taken from one of Pastor Wright's sermons.

Just in case you forgot that he's a Marxist who loves the gays. But he's also a Muslim too.

For contrast, you have to read John McCain's entry. I'm beginning to think there's bias here.

Odds and Ends

Is it Friday again yet? No? Oh, darn. Here's some news...

As another story of broken levees this week in the Midwest floods brings further destruction, you would think we would finally have that conversation about our national priorities and protecting our faltering infrastructure. But we won't.

The devastation brought the Obama campaign to Illinois this past weekend to pitch in.

Later this summer, the Obama campaign may be doing more extensive traveling: "Barack Obama may depart this summer from his road-warrior tour of election-battleground states to take a trip around the world, one intended to shore up his credentials on foreign policy."

He's also confirmed that trips to Afghanistan and Iraq will happen before the election.

Meanwhile, in Iraq: "The Bush administration's Iraq policy suffered two major setbacks Friday when Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki publicly rejected key U.S. terms for an ongoing military presence and anti-American Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr called for a new militia offensive against U.S. forces." Aka, 'progress'.

Sen. McCain has found the long-term solution to our energy woes... off-shore drilling.

And Honda, meanwhile, begins commercial production on a hydrogen fuel-cell powered car.

Hey, look at you Congress, doing stuff! "Lawmakers voted Thursday to subpoena nine companies responsible for analyzing the most dangerous food entering the country as part of an investigation that gained more urgency with an outbreak of salmonella from tomatoes."

In court news, a federal judge rules in Bush's favor on the missing White House emails issue.

And finally, the Supreme Court "made it easier Monday for some foreigners who overstay their visas to seek to remain in the United States legally."

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Quote of the Day

"So Barack Obama tells Jake Tapper that we can fight terrorists and follow the constitution at the same time ('for example, the first attack against the World Trade Center, we were able to arrest those responsible, put them on trial'), and we get the standard talking point reaction from the McCain team. You know the drill: naive, September 10th mindset, etc. etc. All the usual dumb little campaign comments.

But wouldn't it be nice if we could have a real conversation about this? We could compare, say, the amount of terrorism we've stopped via police work, intelligence, international cooperation, financial interdiction, and so forth, and compare it to the amount of terrorism created by our military intervention in Iraq. And then we could talk about how the real September 10th mindset is the one that says it doesn't matter what other people think of us because, you know, we've got the biggest military in the world and we can squash 'em all like bugs anyway.

I say: bring 'em on. Let's talk about who's naive vs. who's learned some lessons from 9/11. The sooner the better."
--The Washington Monthly's Kevin Drum on McCain's cliched 9/11-oriented attack strategy.


Via Wonkette, this hilarious juxtaposition of stories on


To quote Stephen Colbert, "reality has a well-known liberal bias".

The BBC has details on the truce-
Israel and militant group Hamas have agreed to end months of bitter clashes with a six-month truce starting on Thursday, Palestinian officials say.

A Hamas official said he was confident all militant groups in Gaza would abide by the agreement, brokered by Egypt.

Israeli officials said they were "looking to see if this is serious"...

...The BBC's Tim Franks in Jerusalem says a ceasefire should lead to an improvement in people's everyday lives in southern Israel and Gaza, but any talk of political upheaval or breakthrough is premature.

Palestinian and Egyptian officials say the truce is to come into effect at 0600 (0300 GMT) on Thursday. As well as a halt to all hostilities, this stage of the deal also envisages a partial reopening of Gaza's borders, they add...

Grain of salt and all that, but obviously this is a step in the better direction.

Al Gore Endorses Obama: "Take it from me, elections matter."

I've been waiting to see this moment for many months now. I wish Gore himself were on the ticket, but his support is enough. He did a great job elaborating on what's at stake here.

[Gore endorses Obama and attacks Bush in Detroit (AP)]

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Weekend Video Theatre: Guantanamo Baywatch

In light of the Supreme Court's big habeas corpus ruling on Guantanamo detainees, here is Jon Stewart's take on the trials there from earlier in the week-

[Related reading-- The Enemy Within: Who are we more afraid of: enemy combatants or federal courts? (Slate)]