Sunday, September 28, 2008

bite me

There's nothing quite as damning as your own words coming back to bite you in the ass.

I really admire the voice over in that ad. It's calm and understated and yet it seems that a dark, ominous rage is just under the surface. I wish I could do that.

Of course, I'm sure McCain's comments about lobbyists were just attempts to explain the reality of Washington.

But the stuff about working so hard for W, long after W was fashionable... that was was just asking for it.

Sometimes you don't have to wait years for your words to come back and bite you. Sometimes they start nibbling right away:

Saturday, September 27, 2008

dueling jewelry

Without any major soundbites produced, it seemed like a draw to me.

It strikes me that neither party got the candidate they really wanted. The Democrats really wanted, but couldn't get, Al Gore. The Republicans wanted, but couldn't get, Ronald Reagan.

I think John McCain's low point was when he labeled himself a "maverick". That's a word other people have to put on you and they've pretty much stopped that except within quotation marks.

I bravely predict that the SNL sketch tonight will revolve around who has the most meaningful jewelry.

McCain mentions his victory bracelet, Obama counters with his never-again bracelet.

McCain shows a Georgia-in-NATO earstud, Obama matches that with a they-love-me-in Germany nipple ring...

...and by the end they're both down to their underwear.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

not a blank check

I just need to point out that it's not really a "blank check" if the amount is filled in.

See? Nothing to worry about!

Stephen Colbert explains the urgency of it all:

Jon Stewart and John Oliver do an exercise in "What could be worse?":

Sunday, September 21, 2008

three times is enemy action

The 700 billion dollar bail-out of the investment bankers really means the end of the United States as a world power. No country can remain strong with the level of debt we have taken on and must repay to foreigners.

The only comparable example I can think of might be the reparation debt Germany was forced to pay after World War I. We know that didn't turn out well.

A blogger on dailyKos has posted a lucid history of the Republican hands behind the deregulation that created this disaster:

Three times is Enemy Action

update: that DailyKos article is getting traction; it's been put on the front of The Nation's website

Friday, September 19, 2008

the hyphenated adjective that dare not speak its name

An ad running in California to defeat a proposed ban on same-sex marriage:

If you can't say it out-loud in California, it must be just about hopeless.

The producer of the ad explains that "same-sex" doesn't resonate with the voters as much as "rights" do.

I imagine that's true. I'm sure that for most straight men the right to marry another man is about as dear as the right to live without cable television.

If they could make an ad that suggested your cable television would go away if same-sex marriage were banned (who do you suppose makes all those shows, anyway?) then they might have something.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

a fatwa for you

Cleric demands death of Mickey Mouse because mice are "corrupting".

A few thoughts...

-How do you qualify to issue fatwas? It must be as difficult as becoming a conservative blogger.

-Christians carefully limit edict issuing to the Pope for Catholics, and for Protestants you have to have good hair, a TV show and a phone bank:

(When Robert Tilton speaks it's a "fartwa")

-If Mickey is bad then Pegleg Pete is good.

jumping the moose

(When a TV series runs out of ideas or gets desperate for ratings and introduces some wildly out-of-place element, that is often called "jumping the shark", after the episode of "Happy Days" where motorcycle hood Fonzie somehow decides to take up waterskiing and does a giant stunt jump over a shark.)

On a completely unrelated note, here she is giving her most thorough defense of why she's ready for whatever...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

New York Jews for Minnesota

I grew up in Minnesota so I still take note of what happens there. It used to be a solid Democratic state when Hubert Humphrey was around but has varied more over the last 30 years. You do see things in Minnesota that you don't see anywhere else. Like the nation's first Islamic congressman or a professional wrestler winning the Governor job.

In 1990 the Senate race between Rudy Boschwitz and Paul Wellstone turned on "who is a better Jew" and this year the race between Norm Coleman and challenger Al Franken has them debating which one is too much of a "New York Jew."

Al Franken notes that he's "the only New York Jew in the race who actually grew up in Minnesota."

I like his explanation of why he's running and his thesis that government policy can make people's lives better:

Although not at all amusing, here's an effective ad against his opponent, Norm Coleman:

Saturday, September 13, 2008

ads attack

Here in Texas you wouldn't know there is a presidential election going on. It's a "safe" Republican state (although we did elect a lesbian for Dallas Sheriff in 2006); little campaign advertising makes its way here. I have to go to the YouTube to see what everyone else is seeing.

Well finally... someone on the left has made some attack ads that aren't a complete embarrassment to the fine tradition of attack ads:

That one would have been more effective if they had been shooting panda bears but I guess wolves will have to do.

Rebuttal ads are only about half as effective as the attack ad they are trying to undo, but I think the fat guy drinking beer while he watches kids get off the school bus is a clever touch:

Unfortunately neither of these is from the Obama campaign; I don't think they know how to do a proper attack ad. How is he going to run a country when he can't even smear a political opponent with lies, innuendo and distortion? Did he not take that class when he was at Harvard?

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

jong ill?

There's a report that North Korean ruler Kim Jong Il might be ill.

Gee, do you think? The guy's been wandering around in pajamas with one leg longer than the other for five years.

His father, the previous ruler, is basically a god in North Korea and the object of numerous adoring paintings like this one:

Ths style is much like the bland art I recall in paintings of Jesus at Sunday School.

Here you can sample more of DPRK propaganda paintings.

ageing not quite gracefully

I don't know what the right age to wear too much mascara is, but it's not Cindy McCain's age.

John McCain's skin looks like my dad's which would be fine except that my dad is 92.

It's got to be challenging to photograph him for close-ups in campaign ads, but he looked pretty decent in this one:

It is entirely possible, however that that is just a wax muppet they created for such shots.

Monday, September 08, 2008

framing the answer

I noted that Obama didn't sit well in interviews. His other problem is that he doesn't cast his answers in terms that are advantageous to him.

Here's how I'd answer some common questions if I were Obama:

Q: Why don't you admit "the surge" worked?

A: The surge is a great step forward. Unfortunately, it's only one step forward after five steps backwards. It doesn't even restore Iraq to the level of stability it had before the war. General Petraeus tells us that the gains of the surge are very fragile and could easily disappear.

George Bush, John McCain and the Republicans want us to reward them with another four years for leaving us four steps backwards from where we started and for having wasted a trillion dollars to do it. How many more steps backwards should we give them the chance to take us?

Q: Sarah Palin has more executive experience than you. You've never made an executive decision in your life. What makes you ready to be President?

A: It's true that we elect Presidents to make decisions. But if previous executive experience led to good decisions then George Bush, after six years as Governor of Texas and eight years as President, ought to be doing expert work by now. Unfortunately he's still making lousy decisions that are going to handicap this country for many years to come.

The key to making good decisions is to first understand the problem you're dealing with. George Bush never bothered to understand what he was looking at, he just wanted to feed his fantasy of being "the decider".

Q: Should the government bail out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac?

A: This could have been avoided if the Bush Administration had properly regulated those companies over the last eight years. A lot of rich people got richer because George Bush and John McCain looked the other way, and now this bailout kicks the responsibility for this disaster to the next administration. George Bush can claim he's saved the financial system today, but the next president is going to have to find a way to pay for his foolishness.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

I told you not to tell me that

Here's a bit of a report that appeared in The New York Times about some cost-cutting measures a certain newspaper was implementing:

The paper would not say how much money the moves would save, though some executives, insisting on anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter, put the savings at several million dollars a year.

The odd thing is that the newspaper they are reporting about is themselves, The New York Times.

Friday, September 05, 2008

my favorite right-wing kook

I don't know why the Republicans didn't put Huckabee on the ticket.

Well, yes, I do... they're as spooked as the rest of us by someone who actually believes all the right-wing dogma and doesn't just give it lip-service (Romney? McCain?) in the run-up to an election.

But he has comic timing and wit that rarely shows up in career politicians. Here he is holding his own on the Daily Show:

Don't get me wrong... he's a kook, but he's a fun kook.

p.s. I recall Huckabee is also a competent bass player. Music is all about timing. I'm sure that helps.

p.p.s. I'll bet you a dollar he shows up hosting SNL sometime next season.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

bad posture Barack

Obama does great in speechs, lousy in interviews. A lot of it is his body language. Look at this shot from his O'Reilly interview:

He's bent over, he's looking down, while O'Reilly is upright and looking directly at him. This happened often and the camera angle FOX has chosen accentuates this.

I wouldn't surprise me if FOX got to that room early and sawed an inch off his chair legs to make him sit more awkwardly.

The lighting is giving him Frankenbrow, too:

The Democrats should be sophisticated enough to send someone along on every interview who can flag these bad stagings before the tape is rolling, but they don't do that.

If Obama loses, I think much of it will be because of his un-commanding performance in interviews, even with non-hostile interviewers.

I don't see what the advantage of doing this interview was. FOX won't cover him any more favorably for it and FOX viewers aren't going to be switching sides to vote for Obama.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

no mule named Sal either

I just watched a WWII movie called "Guadalcanal Diary". I didn't see a single canal in it! The whole thing was about fighting the Japanese on a small island in the Pacific. I am doubtful that there would even be a need for a canal on Guadal Island.

I'm sure this was quite a striking movie in 1943. Today it seems to contain every war movie cliche imagineable, but it might well be the movie that originated them so you have to give it a pass.