Wednesday, October 29, 2008

This pig's probably not circumcised

From the not quite Kosher department, Raw Story is reporting that the Obama campaign has been accepting donations from pre-paid credit cards. The problem with these cards vis-a-vis campaign finance law would be that there's no way to vet that someone using these cards is eligible to make a donation since they're pretty much untraceable.
"The problem with such cards, campaign finance lawyers say, is that [prepaid phone cards] they make it impossible to tell whether foreign nationals, donors who have exceeded the limits, government contractors or others who are barred from giving to a federal campaign are making contributions."

"They have opened the floodgates to all this money coming in," Sean Cairncross, chief counsel to the Republican National Committee told the Post. "I think they've made the determination that whatever money they have to refund on the back end doesn't outweigh the benefit of taking all this money upfront."
The Obama campaign claims they are doing a back end review of the donations to make sure everything's legit using the lame and inaccurate claim that it's not a standard check to match the name on a credit card to the donor's name. Of course, any review they are doing is performed after the cash has been deposited (it's amazing how much interest you can earn on $100 M).

My assumption is that the majority of these are most likely donations made by college kids whose parents have supplied them with pre-paid credit cards but the appearance of impropriety is sometimes as bad as actual wrongdoing so this is just a case of bad judgement being used to make things easier on the campaign. I'm sure the RNC will make sure we hear all about it for the next few days (and continue to hear about it even after the election if Obama wins).


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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Home Depot Hates Jesus But Hearts Jews

My pen-pal Don Wildmon just sent me a note to tell me about how those mean folks at Home Depot are dissing Jesus by refusing to make direct reference his birthday on it's brand-spankin' new holiday website. To make matters worse, according to Don, Home Depot hasn't just taken the Christ out of Christmas, they've added insult to injury by promoting some lame-ass Jew holiday above it
Home Depot has it's new holiday Website up and running. You can find many gifts for the holidays. You can even find gifts for Hanukkah. But Christmas? Home Depot's Website hasn't a single reference to Christmas. Not one. At Home Depot, Christmas doesn't exist!
Don't these people know that Christ was a Carpenter and that nothing says Happy Birthday Jesús like a gaily wrapped set of wooden planks and nails?


UPDATE (29Oct08): In the immortal words of Emily Litella, Never Mind. Don Wildmon's buddies at AFA got all huffy with Home Depot and the Home Depot folks pointed out that there are loads of Christmas things for sale there and lots of references to CHRISTmas itself (plus there are only, like, 13 Jew things). The fine folks at Home Depot will also make Christmas more prominent so the illiterate and/or cognitively challenged AFA members will be able to notice references even when they're not paying attention. Donny sent me this update as evidence that Home Depot has bent to his will

October 28, 2008

Dear Friend,

Thanks to all who took the time to contact Home Depot. The company has agreed to give Christmas a more prominent place in their promotions.

After a phone conference with AFA, Home Depot spokesman Ron DeFeo emailed the following statement to AFA:

Thank you for taking the time to speak with me today. As we discussed, The Home Depot has not censored Christmas. The Home Depot has and will continue to include the word "Christmas" in a variety of communication efforts, including advertising, store banners, our Web site and point of purchase displays near such items as Christmas trees.

We also use the word "holiday" in our outreach to customers, as many of our store displays and other marketing efforts cover more than one holiday from Thanksgiving to New Year’s and stay in place throughout the entire holiday season from November through January.

With that said, we are adjusting our Web site to make “Christmas” more prominent and to make our site more aligned with our advertising and point-of-sale in-store signage. Customers will start seeing the adjustments later this week.

As a point of clarification, AFA mistakenly reported the word "Christmas" was totally absent from Home Depot's website. A few product descriptions did, in fact, contain the word "Christmas." We have apologized to Home Depot for the error.

AFA has thanked Home Depot on your behalf. However, if you wish to thank them personally, please visit their website at

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Joe The Plumber: Foreign Relations Expert

It never gets old with the McCain campaign, does it? First, John McCain undermines his Obama is inexperienced and lacking in foreign relations meme by picking Sarah "my expertise in foreign relations comes from being able to see Russia from my house" Palin. Now, it seems, JoeSam the unlicensed plumber's role in the campaign has been expanded beyond domestic issues.
The all-out effort from John McCain's presidential campaign to scare voters into backing the Republican candidate continued apace on Tuesday as McCain surrogate Joe the Plumber agreed that a Barack Obama presidency would mean the "death of Israel" and end democracy in America.

The Ohio plumber, who has no license and is actually named Samuel Wurzelbacher, spoke at a McCain campaign event in Columbus Monday. A McCain supporter asked if "a vote for Obama is a vote for the death of Israel." JTP hardly batted an eye.

"I'll go ahead and agree with you on that," Wurzelbacher said. RAW Story
JoeSam's foray outside his expertise in economics is seen as a way to not only reinforce the foreign relations sentiments McCain surrogates have already rolled out to Jewish voters but also serves to prime the market for the campaign's upcoming ads. While the McCain campaign hesitates to distance itself from the future member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, even Shepard Smith of FOX NEWS felt compelled to push back:


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Monday, October 27, 2008

When Kosher Pigs Fly

First John McCain dismissed "women's health" then he decided that ensuring safety of nuclear power plants was some sort of silly suggestion from a babbling asshat. I, for one, will be really glad when this campaign is over. I'm sure I'm not the only one. In the spirit of campaign douchebaggery, I present a little campaign humor from Oded Gross


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Sunday, October 26, 2008

A Tale of Two Campaigns

This week marks yet another sad and strange turn of events that highlight the differences between the McCain and Obama campaigns: the handling of alleged attacks on campaign volunteers.

There's been a lot of press about McCain volunteer Ashley Todd's false claim that she was robbed & brutally attacked by an Obama supporter in response to seeing a McCain-Palin bumpersticker on her car. Immediately upon hearing the news, the McCain campaign, in the form of PA communications director Peter Feldman, was in contact with two media outlets embellishing the previously unvetted story in what can only be described as race-baiting. Both John McCain and Sarah Palin were in touch with Todd/her family to offer their support to the girl and the Obama campaign publicly offered well wishes for her speedy recovery and aprehension of the assailant. Now that it has been confirmed that Todd made the story up, the McCain campaign has remained mum and the wingnuts on the right are, of course, pushing stories that the Todd incident was really a nefarious plot by Obama supporters to make the McCain campaign look bad.

In contrast, Pam sadly reports that an Obama volunteer was attacked by a McCain supporter when she had the great misfortune of canvassing him at his home. The attacker admits to a heated verbal exchange that, regrettably, became physical when he pulled the victim's hair. When confessing, he expressed remorse for his actions. The media response to this attack has been measured, as has the Obama campaign's public statements on the matter:
"last night's unfortunate incident in Caledonia was isolated and extremely rare, and we are grateful our volunteer is doing well" WISN

UPDATE (26Oct08 - 19:48) - It just gets uglier as the day progresses. Via Phillybits, it looks like the College Republicans started the ball rolling in going to the press (OK, Drudge, but still) to promote the Ashley Todd attack story
TPM blogger "astral66" makes a very nice catch: since the photographer who took the picture first posted on Drudge (who had met Ashley Todd at a College Republicans mixer) only gave it to the police and the College Republicans, and since Drudge had it before there was any announcement from the police, guess who gave it to Drudge?


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Sarah Palin and the [Revisionist] Historian's Code

After being deposed by the independent investigator inspecting the TrooperGate TaserGate Scandal, Sarah Palin returned to the campaign trail with a new foe in sight: Katie Couric. This time Palin hit hard claiming the interview made her look bad because she was annoyed with Couric's frivolous line of questioning:
“Last time I was here I got to tell a crowd that I had to give a national interview that didn’t go so well,” she said. “And it was because I was kind of annoyed with the questions that I was being asked because I thought they were kind of irrelevant to, you know, national security issues and getting our economy back on track, so I kind of showed some of that annoyance.” CNN
Palin claims to have been frustrated with Couric demeaning and patronizing her by limiting her line of questioning to what romance novels she likes best and where she got her shoes instead of asking legitimate questions on issues of national interest such as:
  • what do you see as the role of the United States in the world?
  • I know the McCain campaign has called for a surge in Afghanistan. But that country is, as you know, dramatically different than Iraq. Why do you believe additional troops, U.S. troops, will solve the problem there?
  • Do you think the Pakistani government is protecting al Qaeda within its borders?
  • You’ve cited Alaska’s proximity to Russia as part of your foreign policy experience. What did you mean by that? . . . explain to me why that enhances your foreign-policy credentials.
It's an absolute shame when the Main Stream Media refuses to engage Sarah Palin in a way to showcase her vast knowledge on national/international affairs instead of overtly dismissing her by noting that nobody cares if she can answer [legitimate] questions. Worse yet, their insistence on changing the topic to her clothes, hair and make-up is something they would never dream of doing to a male candidate.


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Saturday, October 25, 2008

The most important question in the political attack hoax

The news is blasting through the blogosphere and, while the freepers are scrubbing their references to the Ashley Todd politically motivated attack hoax, TPM has pointed out that the worst part of the hoax was that Peter Feldman, the McCain-Palin campaign communication director for PA, was floating an embellished and extremely incendiary version of the now disproven "attack" to at least two media outlets prior to any investigation

John Verrilli, the news director for KDKA in Pittsburgh, told TPM Election Central that McCain's Pennsylvania campaign communications director gave one of his reporters a detailed version of the attack that included a claim that the alleged attacker said, "You're with the McCain campaign? I'm going to teach you a lesson."
The unprofessional provision of this sort of inflammatory information without any vetting is beyond reprehensible and Feldman (as well as anyone else involved in this matter) should have been fired by the McCain campaign immediately if/when any of the uninvestigated details he announced to the press were proven false. As it is, I don't see any announcement of his being fired or resigning from his position in the campaign and am left with one question: Did Ashley Todd or the police actually tell Mr. Feldman that the non-existent attacker said "You're with the McCain campaign? I'm going to teach you a lesson" or did he make that quote up himself?


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Jesus was born under the light of a spectacular fireworks display

Wow, no sooner had I mentioned that faux (or, more accurately, Faux News) "war on Christmas" than I got an email from that wild and crazy guy at the American Family Association called Don Wildmon. My gosh, it's not even Halloween yet and instead of telling everyone to hand out their favorite informative literature instead of a ghoulish and less than nutritional "treat" that will send a kid straight to the dentist's chair Hell the AFA has time-traveled all the way to December to complain about the upcoming Patchogue Holiday Boat Parade. Why all the fuss, you say? Well it seems as though, until this year, the event was the biblically correct Patchogue Christmas Boat Parade.

It's not just the AFA up in arms about the change, Philip Butler, VP of the Grucci company, has decided the company will no longer donate fireworks for the event because parade organizers were secularizing and plagiarizing all of the themes of Christmas for their unholy slap in the face to all things Christian. Of course, what do you expect when things like this are permitted to challenge religious observance by those dedicated to living biblically?
"Well, here we go again. Patchogue, NY, has changed the name of their parade from Patchogue Christmas Boat Parade to the Patchogue Holiday Boat Parade. Why? Someone complained. Some people will never stop until Christ is completely removed from our society." Don Wildmon, AFA
Oh my, the things you learn from the AFA's dedication to ensure that celebrations for the second most holy day in the Christian religion stay true to religious doctrine and practice. If you believe all the fuss about the change in the NY town's change to the parade's name, Joseph and a divinely impregnanted Mary must have traveled to Nazareth in a boat and the birth of Jesus was heralded not by the northern star but by the biggest, most spectacular fireworks display ever.

Christians who want to maintain the religious traditions of Christ's Mass and adhere to the biblical themes of his birth should read the bible and take note. If you want to keep Christ in Christmas, go to church, be with family and friends, be good and generous towards the "strangers" among you and, maybe, donate some time, money and/or presents to underprivledged kids. Shopping at the mall, parties and parades are all well and good but they have nothing to do with the religious aspects of Christmas so complaints that these things may no longer be limited to Christmas are ones associated who think the birth of Jesus is one to be exploited for material gain, not a religious holiday. If you love Jesus than you'll honor the birth of the son of Mary the Madonna instead of turning this into something more worthy of a child of Madonna the Marketing Genius.

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Friday, October 24, 2008

Well, that explains A LOT

The McCain campaign has paid more to Sarah Palin's stylist than they've paid their foreign policy adviser. Almost twice as much with the stylist being paid $22,800 for the first 2 weeks of October whereas the adviser received $12,500 for the same period of time. Well, I guess there's not as much need for a foreign policy adviser when the campaign is focused on domestic issues like Bill Ayers education policies and Joe Sam the unlicensed, tax evading Plumber's plan to restore the economy.


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What's the fuss? It's not as if they're Christians.

Last night, I put up a post called "It's OK, it was only a Jew". The post was about how one Army trainee gets to remain anonymous and face minimal, if any, punishment for attacking another trainee. The victim, 20-year old Private Michael Handman, was beaten badly enough he had to be sent to the hospital. The attack occurred a mere 4 days after Handman had spoken with his commanders about the [verified] antisemitic antics of a couple of drill sergeants. The Army, in it's infinite wisdom, has determined that the attack was not motivated by any bigotry and has authorized a non-judicial penalty against the attacker which guarantees the perpetrator's privacy and shields anyone outside the Army from having access to any information discovered during the investigation.

Today I came home to hear that a bunch of 6th-graders in a Missouri middle school thought a great bonding school spirit event would be to have "hit a Jew" day. It's kind of like obnoxious tie day, only cooler because you get to make sure the non-Christian kids feel part of the school with a heartfelt slap in the face (literally).

Now, I've noticed that there's been an increase in the amount of intolerance of Christians, even many non-religious Christians who pretty much limit their religious observance to everything Christmas and Easter baskets, since Right-Wing Christianity gained momentum as a political movement over the past 8 - 10 years. But, it seems to me, that the overt intolerance towards "others" has increased exponentially as the rhetoric of the past two years of the presidential campaign has heated up. It's not just against Jews, or Muslims or LGBT, there seems to be a rise in the overtly expressed disdain of anyone who doesn't at least pretend to be of the secular Christian variety (note: religious LGTB who are automatically excluded from being considered any type of Christian unless they're part of the "ex-gay" movement just because they are, somehow, mutually exclusive). The fiery rhetoric and increased reports of bigotry and what should be considered hate crimes seems sadly and disturbingly reminiscent of another time and other places in which the Christians were called to arms to protect their homeland. . .are we facing the beginning of a similar crisis now?

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

It's OK, it was only a Jew

On Sept. 24, Pvt Michael Handman, a 20-year old Army trainee was beaten so badly by a fellow trainee that he was hospitalized. Handman was attacked 4 days after speaking with commanders of his unit about letters he'd written to his parents in which he complained that two drill sergeants had been harassing him for being Jewish.
The Army later acknowledged one drill sergeant had ordered Handman to remove his yarmulke, which he wore with his uniform, as he ate in a dining hall. Another drill sergeant had called him "Juden" — the German word for Jews. USA Today
The Military Police have determined the attack wasn't motivated by religious bigotry so the trainee who beat him will get a nonjudicial punishment which means the attacker's identity, "punishment" and any other information related to the investigation of the attack remains private as this information is protected by federal privacy statutes.

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McCain-Palin explains elitism

The McCain-Palin ticket finally tells us who is elite and it's not the rich, erudite, ivy-leaguers most have been assuming they mean:

According to Sarah Palin the elitists are "anyone who thinks they're better than anyone else" and according to McCain the elitists are those "who think they can dictate what they believe to America instead of letting Americans decide for themselves - at least that's what they told Brian Williams.

In other words, they both admitted that their fundamentalist Christian base, who insist laws be based on their bible and that they are morally superior because they are "Christian" are the ultimate elitists. You know, people like this lovely "good = Christian" woman


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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Bay of PIgs?

John "I must really be off my rocker" McCain has just provided us with the reason he thinks he is best prepared to become President: he was tested and proved his worthiness for the Presidency during his time as a Navy pilot.
Republican John McCain is pointing to his days as a Navy fighter pilot as part of a renewed effort to argue that Democratic rival Barack Obama lacks the experience needed to be president.

McCain told a rally in Harrisburg, Pa., on Tuesday that he was already tested during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1963. McCain was serving on an aircraft carrier near Cuba during that confrontation with the Soviet Union. AP

When discussing the man who now tries to distance from George W. Bush, Rolling Stone summarized the comparison between the two men as such:

In its broad strokes, McCain's life story is oddly similar to that of the current occupant of the White House. John Sidney McCain III and George Walker Bush both represent the third generation of American dynasties. Both were born into positions of privilege against which they rebelled into mediocrity. Both developed an uncanny social intelligence that allowed them to skate by with a minimum of mental exertion. Both struggled with booze and loutish behavior. At each step, with the aid of their fathers' powerful friends, both failed upward. And both shed their skins as Episcopalian members of the Washington elite to build political careers as self-styled, ranch-inhabiting Westerners who pray to Jesus in their wives' evangelical churches.

In one vital respect, however, the comparison is deeply unfair to the current president: George W. Bush was a much better pilot.

Much hay has been made about McCain's skill as a pilot or lack thereof in the Navy. There are reports of him crashing up to 5 times due to his own carelessness as a pilot. disputes the claim and indicates only one crash that was definitively McCain's fault. But, despite having endured the horrors of being a POW, there are quite a few stories of McCain's time in the Navy that are not exactly complimentary nor do they show any sort of actual leadership.

I don't recall McCain playing some sort of leadership role helping us get out of the Bay of Pigs debacle. Frankly, when I hear McCain's name and any reference to pigs together in the same sentence, all that comes to mind is the porcine nature of his base (sorry, Porky).

So, can someone please tell me how being on an aircraft carrier near Cuba provides one with all the skills necessary to ascend to the presidency?


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Sunday, October 19, 2008

McCain and a Joe who's not a plumber (or an independent)

McCain and a Jew who's not a carpenter reached out to Jews in a teleconference with a Brooklyn born rebbe residing in Israel and decided not to discuss Obama's former Pastor, Jeremiah Wright because "the issue is pretty well known by Americans". The reason he's shying away from the Wright (or even Louis Farrakhan) connections is because he and Joe Lieberman know that American Jews aren't the stupid lemmings they want us to be and we're a little concerned about the Republican's lack of respect for the separation of church and state and his running mate's apparent love for Israel (or, more accurately, its role in her religious prophecy) and her own church's teachings on the failings of Jews.
Lieberman said Palin holds some views on social issues that he does not agree with -- but that she is "respectful" of different views. He hailed her "deep love for the state of Israel." WaPo
The problem is, Joe, the McCain-Palin administration plans to ensure legislation is consistent with their views on social issues (and, if you haven't noticed, when they say "Judeo-Christian" they don't really care about the Judeo part or any other ideology that doesn't match their own).

Oh yeah, McCain also praised his running mate as eminently qualified to be POTUS based on her background as Mayor of Wasilla and Governor of Alaska that ought to rally the Jews and keep us warm in the shtetls.


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McCain campaign looking for Obama's dealer

and I don't mean his car dealer. . .

In the letter released by the McCain campaign, attorney John Dowd notes that Cindy McCain's battles with drugs and the management of her charitable life have been long reported and then he wonders why the paper has not plowed more new ground with Barack and Michelle Obama.

"It is worth noting that you have not employed your investigative assets looking into Michelle Obama. You have not tried to find Barack Obama's drug dealer that he wrote about in his book, Dreams of My Father," Dowd wrote.

"Nor have you interviewed his poor relatives in Kenya and determined why Barack Obama has not rescued them. Thus, there is a terrific lack of balance here. Chicago Sun Times

Much has been said about Cindy McCain's prescription drug abuse, primarily because it happened during a period of time during which she was the adult spouse of a well known politician & put others at risk allegedly committing prescription drug fraud (obtaining prescriptions under the names of her charity's employees) - and it was rumored that her husband's connections enabled to to cut a deal to avoid facing felony charges. This makes her situation and any complicity of her husband a much more significant cause for concern than Obama's occasional recreational drug use during high school and college.

This being said, the rest of the report in the Sun Times indicates that an overly aggressive reporter, Jodi Kantor, went trolling for dirt on the McCain family using facebook to contact a friend of McCain's 16-year old daughter Bridget. McCain's spokesman described the final NYT profile as gutter journalism and Kantor's atempt to contact the teen as an attempt to

dupe the unsuspecting minor by soliciting 'advice' on how best to approach the story, as if a top-flight investigative reporter at the New York Times would need the assistance of an underage girl in writing a hit piece.

While I do think it was a bit much to contact teenaged school mates of a candidate's child, I have to wonder if the McCain campaign would have gone public with the complaint if the same tactic was used to write a complimentary piece. The email from Kantor was not as nefarious as the campaign makes it out to be and, frankly, considering how long McCain has been in Congress and that this is his second go at the Presidency, I can't imagine that the family doesn't expect their friends, relatives, neighbors and enemies to be contacted for dirt.
Jodi Kantor

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September 29 at 7:21pm

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I saw on facebook that you went to Xavier, and if you don't mind, I'd love to ask you some advice about a story. I'm a reporter at the New York Times, writing a profile of Cindy McCain, and we are trying to get a sense of what she is like as a mother. So I'm reaching out to fellow parents at her kids' schools. My understanding is that some of her older kids went to Brophy/Xavier, but I'm trying to figure out what school her 16 year old daughter Bridget attends-- and a few people said it was PCDS. Do you know if that's right? Again, we're not really reporting on the kids, just seeking some fellow parents who can talk about what Mrs. McCain is like.

Also, if you know anyone else who I should talk to-- basically anyone who has encountered Mrs. McCain and might be able to share impressions-- that would be great.

Thanks so much for any help you can give me.

Jodi Kantor
Political correspondent
New York Times
212 556 4596

While I understand the McCain family's concerns about getting dirt via acquaintences of their minor children, the suggestion of hunting for Obama's "dealer" just sounds like it's deflecting in a way to make his drug use more sinister (in other word, more scary black people from the ghetto like). Since Cindy McCain is out there giving stump speeches and casting her own aspersions on Obama, she should be fully prepared to have to face down her own demons.


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Meanwhile, a hawkeye's view from Sarah Palin's house

The police in South Ossetia (now a part of Soviet Georgia, against their will) have been directed to return fire if Georgian forces start firing against them. It's only a matter of time before the violence escalates and I have to wonder if the US backed Georgians will start a little something just in time to impact the US Presidential election.



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The endorsement is in

As expected, Former Secretary of State Colin Powell endorsed Barack Obama on this morning's meet the press
In regard to the financial crisis, which Powell called the candidates' "final exam," Powell said McCain appeared unsteady in dealing with it, while Obama had excelled in handling the situation.
John McCain responded to the news by indicating that Powell's endorsement of Obama was expected and noting that he has the endorsement of 4 former Secretaries of state, including Henry Kissinger who can't decide if he does or does not agree with Barack Obama on terms for diplomatic meetings with our enemies. Regardless, I fully expect the Republican base to spin the Powell endorsement as being racially motivated. After all, the McCain-Palin base is about as base as you can be with a sizable and vocal group spewing out and out hatred, ignorance & stupidity

Pam posted the video & transcript of Powell on Meet the Press.
I'm also troubled by, not what Senator McCain says, but what members of the party say. And it is permitted to be said such things as, "Well, you know that Mr. Obama is a Muslim."

Well, the correct answer is, he is not a Muslim; he's a Christian. He's always been a Christian.

But the really right answer is, what if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer's no, that's not America.

Is there something wrong with some seven-year-old Muslim-American kid believing that he or she could be president?

Yet, I have heard senior members of my own party drop the suggestion, "He's a Muslim and he might be associated terrorists." This is not the way we should be doing it in America.

This was a delight to my old yiddishe ears; the only thing I'd change about it is that I'd include the word Arab in there too (but you already knew I felt that way)

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Saturday, October 18, 2008

The D-man's big beef with the big C?

The effin' bandages
The oncologist thought the pathology report was as weird as I did (of course, she knows what she's talking about) so we're getting the slides (if the lab can find them) and sending them off to Penn. In the meantime, there seem to be no symptoms and Dud only started limping when he realized that doing so and walking up to me to show me his bandaged leg gets him some scoobie snacks. The healing power of a treat is nothing short of a miracle.


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Michele Bachmann's McCarthyist wet-dream

To my knowledge, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-MN) has only made 1 logical and coherent statement in her time in office and that was when she threw her own party (including John McCain) under the bus for claiming they'd voted against the initial less-porky bailout plan because Nancy Pelosi forced them to. The other day she proved she too has a case of the love that dare not speak its name, making an announcement on Chris Matthews that takes comments VP contender Sarah Palin made about real Americans and cranks them up a notch

"The news media should do a penetrating expose and take a look... at the views of the people in Congress and find out, 'Are they pro-America or anti-America?'" Bachmann said. "I think people would love to see an expose like that." RAW STORY
Bachmann included all "leftists" & "liberals" as those she considered as being anti-American so, one can only guess that as soon as she ousted those unpatriotic folks in office who would obviously protect the heathen liberals in our midst, those faux Americans that don't support the US as a "Christian" Nation would be the next group evaluated for un-American activities.

UPDATE (17:30): I knew Bachmann was a rabid Christian Nationalist, but if you check out the Dump Michele Bachmann blog you'll find even more examples of her frothy brand of good & wholesome. There's a new movement to censure Bachmann for her suggestion we resurrect Joe the Senator.

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Friday, October 17, 2008

McCain wins one face-off with Obama

I hate to say it but McCain did kick Obama's butt in last night's Alfred E Smith Memorial Dinner. McCain not only had better material, he has much better timing and delivery:

Despite not being as good as McCain in this venue, Obama did have some great lines (especially those addressing his name)


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Douché 3: Scrutiny of Joe the Plumber is Obama's fault

When SJ McCain speaks people listen know he's lying.

Sam "Joe the Plumber" Wurzelbacher caught the attention of The McCain Campaign Media Corporation FOX NEWS when he told Barack Obama about that he was "getting ready to buy a company that makes 250 - 280 thousand dollars a year" and complained that the Obama tax plan would penalize him for his success. He became an instant media sensation after John McCain used him as an example of how Obama plans to disincetivize people from achieving success during the last Presidential debate ("Joe" was mentioned 26 times during the debate).

The day after the debate, the McCain campaign released a web ad featuring Joe to attack the Obama tax plan. In the midst of the publicity and use of Joe as campaign prop, people starting asking questions about the man who oddly thought that if he earned enough money to make it into a higher tax bracket he would somehow end up with the same take-home pay (or less) as he had earning less. In very short time, it was revealed that not only was Joe not a licensed plumber who wasn't really "getting ready to buy" his company, his income was at a level at which he would benefit from a tax break and not the increase he (and McCain) complained about. Of course, issues related to any potential increase in taxes appear to be moot since Joe kinda owes about $1,200 in back taxes.

As a result, McCain has resorted to attacking Obama in order deflect criticisms of the illogical and inaccurate use of Joe as a folk-hero pretending to be hurt by Obama's tax plan:
“The response from Senator Obama and his campaign yesterday was to attack Joe,” Mr. McCain said. “People are digging through his personal life, and he has TV crews camped out in front of his house. He didn’t ask for Senator Obama to come to his house. He wasn’t recruited or prompted by our campaign. He just asked a question. And Americans ought to be able to ask Senator Obama tough questions without being smeared and targeted with political attacks. NYT

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Wingnuts on the verge of a nervous breakdown

You can tell that McCain's not doing too well because the rhetoric from the right is ramping up and now, just 3 weeks prior to the election, "Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West" will be shipped to neighborhoods across the country via your local newspaper. Of course we all know, there's nothing really incendiary about this, it's not like anyone would ever assume that all Muslims are radical terrorists or hurt innocent Muslim children for no apparent reason. . .

Plus, even if the actions and words of those at McCain-Palin rallies or Republican web-sites are bad, they're not any worse than the vicious & dangerous T-shirts and overall snark coming from the liberal elites

UPDATE: It looks like more of the anti-Islam DVDs already went out in 70 papers in swing states (including OHIO) last month


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Jesse's Jealousy of Obama helps McCain target Jews

Call me a cynic, but when Jesse Jackson started spewing to the NY Post (of all places), I knew the Hymie-hater was absolutely beside himself that Barack Obama and not Jackson himself had a real shot at ascending to the Presidency.
The most important change would occur in the Middle East, where "decades of putting Israel's interests first" would end.

Jackson believes that, although "Zionists who have controlled American policy for decades" remain strong, they'll lose a great deal of their clout when Barack Obama enters the White House.
Jackson of course knows that that a vote for Obama will put those uppity Jews in their place because, while he isn't an official adviser to Obama and his campaign, he is a supporter of Obama and
Obama has been "a neighbor or, better still, a member of the family." Jackson's son has been a close friend of Obama for years, and Jackson's daughter went to school with Obama's wife Michelle.
My uncle, being of another generation & living in a land with few "hymies", reacted the way the Christian Nationalists (who just love Israel so long as it provides them with their whole end of days scenario) want a little ol' Jew to act. He forwarded a copy of Jackson's comments, as part of a Ha'aretz article on the piece (of course), to a bunch of us in the family. I was in no mood for it at all and fired off a missive
Jackson's an ass (it's one thing I do agree with Al Sharpton about) and he's obviously really pissed someone other than him has a shot at the presidency. I think Biden's record on Israel is thoughtful so I doubt there's any plan to throw Israel to the wolves. McCain served on the board of the Council For World Freedom despite the ADL's concerns of that organization's close ties to its parent organization that was a gathering place for neo-nazi's and other assorted Jew haters. Take a look at Palin's connections - hers are not past tense, they are current associations with the fringe organizations and a church that pretty much hates Jews (she didn't leave or otherwise protest David Brickner's sermon at her church in which he blamed Israel's woes on Jews who won't convert).

Please think about the generations that would be left to deal with the hell of a McCain-Palin administration and the rights they would, most assuredly, abolish. American Jews can't do jack shit for Israel if we lose our rights here. You wouldn't have to deal with their end of days plans, but a lot of us will.
Shortly thereafter, he forwarded yet another article questioning Obama's character and his associations. My cousins joined in with our counters noting the guilt by association game is a dangerous one for McCain and Palin to play and I got really annoyed:
I don't know about you, but I've been annoyed at the sexism (towards Clinton) and assumptions of racism that came about during the primaries. This being said, I wasn't surprised by them, but I am absolutely shocked & disturbed at the how stoked the fringe element has become in the past few months and how McCain-Palin rallies have become brought them out in droves. . .

It's been bad under BushCo, my moderate self is now considered some sort of ultra granola liberal (g-d knows what the far left wingnuts are considered if I'm now a leftist). The rhetoric is so bad that I've heard regular (non-fundamentalists) buying into Bill O'Reilly's war on Christmas bs - while things are worse in fundie strongholds (an 11-year old interjected religion into an elementary school student council election for crying out loud), it's not just schools in the deep south or delmarva border in which non-fundamentalists are marginalized. Unfortunately, this election isn't just about running the country - it's about preventing this cultural/religious war from over-riding our ability to run our own lives, it's about repairing our image and relationships outside the US, it's about regaining at least a modicum of fiscal & corporate responsibility. . .
I am no Obamamaniac. He was not my first choice to receive the Democratic nod. He has grown on me as I see (and always believed) he is a thoughtful man (as in, he really does think things through). I may not always agree with him but I am confident he's not just looking for any lame reason to justify his actions after the fact and isn't creating fake reasons to do what he wants (yellow cake, anyone?). His first decision, to select Biden as a running mate, significantly improved my confidence in this ticket.

John McCain isn't the McCain that ran against Bush in 2000, frankly, I'm not sure he ever was the person he represented himself to be, but even if I were to give him the benefit of the doubt, McCain's selection of someone with a such a narrow world view that she didn't think it necessary to learn about critical issues and current events prior to agreeing to be McCain's running mate was cynical and irresponsible at best. If I have a greater depth and breadth of understanding of the world than someone, that person is most certainly not qualified for VP, let alone POTUS.

I'm tired of incendiary rhetoric, especially the kind that marginalizes people - the words "Muslim" (or muslin, if joe six-pack doesn't know the difference b/t religion and fabric) and "Arab" shouldn't be considered derogatory any more than "Jew" should be. Of course, to the McCain-Palin base, anyone who isn't "Christian" is suspect and the only way to defend those who are suspect is by pointing they are "Christian".

I, then, wondered when the McCain campaign would jump on Jackson's statements as further "evidence" of Obama's allegiance to terrorism, lack of patriotism, heinous status as a non-Christian, as well as a reminder to his overall blackness to rile their base and, now, Jews for whom the Holocaust and Pogroms are all too vivid a familial memory, and voila!:
"It should not surprise anyone that Obama’s supporters see what others, from the terrorist group Hamas to Iranian President Ahmadinejad, have seen: an Obama presidency would bring real change to America’s policy of support for Israel," said McCain senior foreign policy adviser Randy Scheunemann.
This ties in quite nicely with the emphasis on Obama's middle name, focus on his father being from Kenya and mis-identification of him as an Arab and a Muslim. Jesse Jackson will be the Republican Jews poster boy in next week's Jewish Exponent, of this I'm sure. The tact may appeal to some frightened folks who don't see that erosion of our rights here will just bring modern day pogroms here and abroad, but I don't think it will work on too many of us since we see the ploy for what it really is.

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Sunday, October 12, 2008

Honesty & Respect in Gay-Religious Discourse

This morning's Inky had an editorial from David Benkof, the frum Yid cursed with a Gay disposition, who writes the Fabulously Observant column for the Jerusalem Post. In his article, Benkof laments the lack of acceptance of a Fundamentalist/Orthodox perspective in organizations trying to bridge the gap between religion and homosexuality. In particular, he thinks an organization called Soulforce needs to be more open-minded about allowing "traditionalists" to challenge the notion that it's OK to be gay on it's annual Equality Ride

Now in its fourth year, the Equality Ride is currently traveling across the American South on a six-week bus trip with nearly 20 youthful gays and lesbians of faith. They are visiting seminaries, Bible schools, and historically black colleges to engage in dialogue with (and, where necessary, nonviolent protest against) traditionally religious institutions, in an attempt to make them more gay-friendly.


Unfortunately, Soulforce appears to be much more interested in echoing gay ideology than in exploring the diversity of ways religious people have legitimately approached questions of spirituality and sin, goodness and God.

Benkof's chief example is the group's slogan of "the debate is over" and their attitude that the sinful nature of "gay relations" is irrelevant. As far as he is concerned, Benkof thinks a debate hasn't even really begun or that it needs to start as it is abundantly clear to those who take the bible seriously that G-d may love 'teh gayz' but He is completely skeeved by their "relations". For having (and vocalizing) this view, Benkof and those like him are most certainly not welcome on the Soulforce ride.

If I want to engage in dialogue with pro-gay religious forces, I'm hardly going to start by declaring that the debate is over! I'm willing to listen respectfully if the other side is similarly willing.

But the Equality Riders do not appear to be similarly willing. A co-director of this year's Equality Ride, Katie Higgins, said in a news release that "we can't heal . . . until everyone has a place at the table."

Yet Higgins told me a traditionally religious gay or lesbian person like me who thinks gay relations are inherently sinful wouldn't be welcome on the Equality Ride, because such views are "contrary to the mission."

Benkof says this reeks of hypocrisy and that, if the organization is really trying to heal the rift between the gods and teh gayz, the orthodox "I'm sorry but you're a sinner" must not only have a seat at the table but must be allowed to make this clear before breaking bread.

To be honest, I'm a complete outsider to this debate. I am neither gay nor do I subscribe to an orthodox/fundamentalist view of religion. While I do know the despondence of a major depressive episode and suicidal ideation that I had to deal with as an adoloscence, I honestly don't think I can even begin to understand the emotional torture of what it is to be gay and subscribe to a religion that demonizes your very nature. I do not envy the position Benkof and those like him are in - I would not wish that on my worst enemy - but I feel a need to point out, with all due respect, just because people differ in how they interpret the bible from "a traditionalist" interpretation doesn't mean they take the bible or their religion less seriously than those who do.

I think this is a critical disconnect between the religious orthodox/fundamentalists and other denominations. Benkof addresses this to extent in his suggestion that these organizations be limited to conservative gay-religious communities, but his manner in doing so does come off a bit "elitist" & condescending - as if the conservative movements (in this he's specifically referring to Judaism but the intent is to apply to equivalent denominations of other religions). This is the exact reason people like him aren't welcome at Soulforce's table. Any discussion on whether gay relations is a sin in the bible is actually counter-productive to healing in that it insists on reinforcing the otherization of the gay and stands in judgment (and, by default, rejection) of those who disagree. To continue the debate in this context would be nothing more than an act of self-flagellation. Soulforce neutralizes this by stating up front, let's agree to disagree and move on to the healing from this point forward. There is no healing when you unnecessarily keep opening the wound & rubbing salt on it, there is only an increased chance for infection and pain.

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Saturday, October 11, 2008

If at first you don't succeed, there is no ethics violation

It looks like Palin's lawyer's are taking a page from the OJ murder trial playbook:
"I disagree," Palin attorney Thomas Van Flein said. "In order to violate the ethics law, there has to be some personal gain, usually financial. Mr. Branchflower has failed to identify any financial gain."

The statute says "any effort to benefit a personal or financial interest through official action is a violation of that [public] trust." INKY
In other words, it sounds like the Palinista's are admitting to everything she allowed those in her friends & family plan to do but are defending her actions as moral, appropriate and not an ethical violation because she had no great financial payout at the end of the day. Nice to know that the "sweeter" side of the McCain-Palin administration thinks it's A-OK for them to follow through with personal vendettas & advance the agendas of extremist cronies, among other things. Heck, Palin even gave us a preview of the McCain-Palin health plan for those their administration considers to be a threat and it's all legit courtesy of Jesus.

UPDATE: Palin has further defended herself by saying the report has cleared her.
"If you read the report, you will see that there was nothing unlawful or unethical about replacing a cabinet member," Palin said as boarded her campaign bus in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. "You got to read the report."
Except - I know you'll be shocked by this - that's not the whole story. The report does indicate that Alaska is an at will state and that you were allowed to fire pretty much anyone for almost any reason, but it also notes that you abused the power and authority of the Governor's office. As a matter of fact, Finding Number One (page 8) of the report unanimously adopted by the bipartisan legislative council clearly states
". . .Governor Sarah Palin abused her power by violating Alaska Statute 39.52.110(a)..."
Also noted on page 8 is Finding Number Three, that Harbor Adjustment Service of Anchorage handled the workers' comp claim of Gov. Palin's brother-out-law, Trooper Mike Wooten, properly despite the attempt of the Governor's Office (a director in the Dept. of Administration Risk Management division) to pressure the company to deny Wooten's claim (pp 46 - 47 of the report).

Yeah Sarah, I read the report. The actual report, I did not limit my reading to the one the McShame campaign put out in advance of what they knew would air some of your dirty laundry.


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Friday, October 10, 2008

Marriage Depreciation

I remember growing up, back in the good ol' days, when people spoke of divorce in hushed tones and references to divorcees were said in a way that you just knew the woman was used goods. Those were the days the Christian Nationalists look back on fondly, days when girls who'd gained a little weight went to live with relatives far away and returned slim as ever, days when people referred to a healthy looking baby as having been delivered "prematurely" (less than 9 months after the child's parents were married) and back when the word bastard still had some sting. Back then, the only people that did anything to devalue marriage were those uppity black men who married trashy women and the aforementioned divorcees.

Nowadays, it's those damned liberals trying to ruin the institution of marriage by letting teh gayz do it too and they're not limiting it to the granola states like California, they've pushed it through in Massachusetts and may soon have legalized gay marriage in Connecticut too. Terrance posted a diary about the CT Supreme Court's decision to overturn the ban on gay marriage and included some info on those trying to get Proposition 8 approved in California (that will overturn the decision to allow SSM). According to Terrance's post, Karen England, campaign manager for Yes on Proposition 8, was a bit put out that Brad Pitt (or anyone else, for that matter) would be trying to sway people against the initiative. Per England:
"Homosexual marriage will harm married couples and our nation's children. Redefining marriage means that all marriages will immediately be devalued. "
Can Ms England please supply some actual descriptions of how anyone's marriage is harmed the marriage of another couple. Is she saying marriage will be of less utility/worth (after all, it's been "devalued") because there will be some sort of decreased demand for marriage licenses or that married straight couples will suddenly divorce en masse (as if they're not doing that already) or straight couples will stop getting married because we're letting the riff-raff get married too? How, exactly, will marriage be devalued? If good Christian heterosexuals (3 words I gather they consider redundant) refuse to get married because gay couples can, and do so because they think a marriage license meaningless due to the fact that gay couples can marry, the straight couples are the ones who have suddenly decided to value marriage less. If they limit themselves to religious marriage without benefit of obtaining a state license, the institution of marriage hasn't been devalued at all - those couples have just chosen to get married without the option of obtaining the rights conferred on married couples by the government. In this case, their marriages can still be the picture of Christian Salvation marriage is supposed to be - just like those performed in polygamist sects claim their non-legal marriages are.

Ms. England goes on to say:
Young children will be exposed to all sorts of unhealthy variations on marriage: one man and three women, two men and a woman, and eventually marriage with minors. Destroying the government-transcending definition of marriage will have far-reaching implications that we cannot even predict at this time because no society has ever survived such an anti-social experiment.
Huh? Well at least England doesn't seem to have the same fixation on beastiality that Rick Santorum does but she does show an exceptional lack of logic in this argument. Children are already exposed to all sorts of different relationships as they are not always born in wedlock or raised within a stable "traditional" marriage and there's no assurance that those who are will be raised in a stable or healthy environment or that exposure to other relationships are, by default, harmful. As for SSM being sounding the death knell for society, one of the fundamentalist arguments against SSM is that it has never been permitted or accepted in other societies, so how can England rightly say that no society has ever survived it?

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Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Cindy McCain confuses Barack Obama for her husband

If candidates' families should be off limits, why the hell are they giving stump speeches? Cindy McCain, warming up the crowd in Lehigh Valley, PA today:
“The day that Senator Obama cast a vote not to fund my son when he was serving sent a cold chill through my body, let me tell you,” she told a Pennsylvania crowd before introducing her husband and Republican VP candidate Sarah Palin.

“I would suggest Senator Obama change shoes with me for just one day. I suggest he take a day and go watch our men and women deploying," she also said, to boisterous cheers from the campaign
Correct me if I'm worng, but it appears as though Mrs. McCain how now confused Barack Obama for her husband for the second day in a row. After all, it was just yesterday that Cindy Lou said that Barack Obama has
“waged the dirtiest campaign in American history,” and her husband Sen. John McCain will use tonight’s debate to correct the distortions.

“What I have found is that it’s necessary to make sure the American people understand what we have to say, what we stand for as a husband and wife, and what we will do for the American people if we’re lucky enough to be elected,” Cindy McCain said.

Cindy McCain, who has said she initially did not want her husband to enter the 2008 race after the contentious primary he lost to President George W. Bush, said this race is even nastier. FOX


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McCain Complains Obama Health Plan Cares about Children Post Birth

I have to admit, last night's debate was mildly entertaining at points. In particular, I was left scratching my head during the discussion of health care/health insurance.

MCCAIN: Well, thank you for the question. You really identified one of the really major challenges that America faces. Co-payments go up, costs go up, skyrocketing costs, which make people less and less able to afford health insurance in America.

And we need to do all of the things that are necessary to make it more efficient. Let's put health records online, that will reduce medical errors, as they call them. Let's have community health centers. Let's have walk-in clinics. Let's do a lot of things to impose efficiencies.

But what is at stake here in this health care issue is the fundamental difference between myself and Senator Obama. As you notice, he starts talking about government. He starts saying, government will do this and government will do that, and then government will, and he'll impose mandates.

If you're a small business person and you don't insure your employees, Senator Obama will fine you. Will fine you. That's remarkable. If you're a parent and you're struggling to get health insurance for your children, Senator Obama will fine you.


OBAMA: So let me -- let me just talk about this fundamental difference. And, Tom, I know that we're under time constraints, but Senator McCain through a lot of stuff out there.

Number one, let me just repeat, if you've got a health care plan that you like, you can keep it. All I'm going to do is help you to lower the premiums on it. You'll still have choice of doctor. There's no mandate involved.

Small businesses are not going to have a mandate. What we're going to give you is a 50 percent tax credit to help provide health care for those that you need.

Now, it's true that I say that you are going to have to make sure that your child has health care, because children are relatively cheap to insure and we don't want them going to the emergency room for treatable illnesses like asthma.

And when Senator McCain says that he wants to provide children health care, what he doesn't mention is he voted against the expansion of the Children's Health Insurance Program that is responsible for making sure that so many children who didn't have previously health insurance have it now.

Now, the final point I'll make on this whole issue of government intrusion and mandates -- it is absolutely true that I think it is important for government to crack down on insurance companies that are cheating their customers, that don't give you the fine print, so you end up thinking that you're paying for something and, when you finally get sick and you need it, you're not getting it.


MCCAIN: I don't believe that -- did we hear the size of the fine?

In making such a stink about Obama wanting to make sure parents are responsible about the lives, health and well-being of their children, is McCain saying that it's a horrible thing to make a parent obtain health insurance coverage that will better enable them to obtain treatment for a sick child (and do what they can to ensure their children don't get sick)?

Surely I'm not the only one who noted an exponential increase in the hypocrisy of the McCain-Palin ticket and the Republican "save the unborn zygotes" platform when McCain complained that Obama would hold parents responsible for not obtaining insurance for their children when affordable insurance was made available to them? I mean, seriously, the Republicans want to criminalize abortion to save the unborn babies but now they seem to be against any sort of fail-safe to ensure that child's health and well being?


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