Friday, August 29, 2008

palin = milf?

does mark halperin of time magazine have a sudden boy-crush on sarah palin?

one look at his "blog" the page and you see a whopping five photos of her, a reference to her (albeit from comedian rush limbaugh) as a "babe," and then...there's this: what halperin calls a list of "essential, finely-culled sarah palin facts."

policy info? nope. vital information about the candidate like, "she owns a float-plane" and "she and her father often went rabbit and moose hunting."

remember, this is time magazine.

sarah barracuda

who's that celebrity on the cover of vogue? it's none other than republican vice-presidential nominee sarah palin. (they called her sarah barracuda in high school.)

don't you think the guys at fox news are jumping out of their anchor chairs? here's part of a great little conversation started on facebook:

roberta: if i were a republican woman, i would be insulted! does he really think women are that stupid????

lisa: yes he does and he thinks female democrats will switch over too!

roberta: well he is wrong! she doesn't even vote FOR women's issues. 18 months as a governor? what a joke. and if i were a republican congresswoman, i'd be incensed!

lisa: they called her an outsider on cnn, but really she's a newbie. It's pandering and its obvious. if (god forbid) she is vp, she'll be sent to funerals and weddings and it will have absolutely no influence.

roberta: yup..she looks good in black.

(just a note: a few folks have asked about that vogue cover.  yes, it's fake.  palin did appear in vogue, but not on the cover.  and wearing something much more alaska.)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

this man...

...kicked major ass tonight. if you had any questions about barack obama being a tough mofo, they were put to rest tonight. bring it on, grampa.

the regular folk

the democratic convention tonight featured some amazing testimonials from ordinary americans. standing alone onstage in front of an estimated 80,000 people, they spoke from their hearts of their personal struggles. you probably didn't see any of them since the major cable networks featured only the "big" speeches. luckily, wnet in new york (mm-hmm, pbs) broadcast the speeches in full.

there was pam from pittsboro, north carolina. pam talked about how she and her husband had lived the american dream. they did everything they thought they were supposed to do. worked hard, educated themselves, tried to get ahead.

eight years ago that dream "turned into a nightmare," pam said. her husband needed open heart surgery, he lost his job, and with it the family's health insurance. pam was a nurse, and couldn't afford to pay for health insurance on a nurses salary. five years after that, pam had a quadruple bipass. their health care bills grew "unbelievable."

"i am a lifelong republican, who voted for nixon, reagan, bush and bush," pam told the crowd, "but i can't afford four more years like this."

then there was barney smith, from marion, indiana. he and his father both worked for rca, manufacturing tubes for tv sets. in 2004, the plant closed and jobs were shipped overseas. after 31 years, barney received 90 severence pay and was unemployed.

"america can't stand more of the same" said barney. "we need a president who puts barney smith before smith barney."

seventeen minutes

c'mon. what are you doing for the next seventeen minutes?

it's august 28th. barack obama is the first african-american to be a major party's nominee for president of the united states. this is history.

and it's august 28th.

you owe it to yourself to watch this. especially if you've never seen it before (and i'm sure there are those of you who have not seen it.)

what's your obama tax cut?

a website to calculate how much of a tax cut you will get under an obama administration. most people think barack obama would raise their taxes. and republicans want you to believe that.

i accept your nomination

Franklin D. Roosevelt
July 2, 1932

"Never before in modern history have the essential differences between the two major American parties stood out in such striking contrast as they do today.

Republican leaders not only have failed in material things,
they have failed in national vision, because in disaster they have held out no hope, they have pointed out no path for the people below to climb back to places of security and of safety in our American life."
John F. Kennedy
July 15, 1960
"All over the world, particularly in the newer nations, young men are coming to power--men who are not bound by the traditions of the past--men who are not blinded by the old fears and hates and rivalries--young men who can cast off the old slogans and delusions and suspicions.

The Republican nominee-to-be, of course, is also a young man. But his approach is as old as McKinley. His party is the party of the past. His speeches are generalities from Poor Richard's Almanac. Their platform, made up of left-over Democratic planks, has the courage of our old convictions. Their pledge is a pledge to the status quo--and today there can be no status quo."
Jimmy Carter
July 15, 1976
"As I've said many times before, we can have an American President who does not govern with negativism and fear of the future, but with vigor and vision and aggressive leadership—a President who's not isolated from the people, but who feels your pain and shares your dreams and takes his strength and his wisdom and his courage from you.

I see an America on the move again, united, a diverse and vital and tolerant nation, entering our third century with pride and confidence, an America that lives up to the majesty of our Constitution and the simple decency of our people.

This is the America we want. This is the America that we will have."
William J. Clinton
July 16, 1992
"Tonight every one of you knows deep in your heart that we are too divided. It is time to heal America.

And so we must say to every American: Look beyond the stereotypes that blind us. We need each other - all of us - we need each other. We don't have a person to waste, and yet for too long politicians have told the most of us that are doing all right that what's really wrong with America is the rest of us- them.

Them, the minorities. Them, the liberals. Them, the poor. Them, the homeless. Them, the people with disabilities. Them, the gays.

We've gotten to where we've nearly them'ed ourselves to death. Them, and them, and them.

But this is America. There is no them. There is only us."

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

almost famous

one of these reader's dissents to andrew sullivan's daily dish is from your's truly. can you figure out which one it is?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

no way, no how, no mccain

from hillary clinton's speech tonight at the democratic national convention:
"John McCain says the economy is fundamentally sound. John McCain doesn't think that 47 million people without health insurance is a crisis. John McCain wants to privatize Social Security. And in 2008, he still thinks it's okay when women don't earn equal pay for equal work.

With an agenda like that, it makes sense that George Bush and John McCain will be together next week in the Twin Cities. Because these days they're awfully hard to tell apart."

Monday, August 25, 2008

pitch perfect

from michelle obama's speech tonight at the democratic national convention:
"All of us driven by a simple belief that the world as it is just won't do - that we have an obligation to fight for the world as it should be.

That is the thread that connects our hearts. That is the thread that runs through my journey and Barack's journey and so many other improbable journeys that have brought us here tonight, where the current of history meets this new tide of hope.

That is why I love this country."

even more embarrassing? or...hmm.

republicans love my hometown girl debra bartoshevich so much they arranged a press-conference in denver this morning so she (and others) could tell folks how "okay" it is (really!) that they've switched from hillary clinton to john mccain. all was going well when midway through the event, debra was asked if mccain's pro-life voting record was a problem for her. bartoshevich did waterford proud by saying:
"Going back to 1999, John McCain did an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle saying that overturning Roe v. Wade would not make any sense, because then women would have to have illegal abortions."
cue scooby-doo: arrrrrgh?!?

keep in mind, my fellow waterfordite (waterfordian?) was standing at a podium paid for by the republican national committee, with mccain flack carly fiorina standing close by.

was deb wrong about that interview? certainly not. in 1999 mccain did say he "would not support repeal of Roe v. Wade" because it would force "X number of women in America to [undergo] illegal and dangerous operations."

but what is mccain's position today?

John McCain believes Roe v. Wade is a flawed decision that must be overturned, and as president he will nominate judges who understand that courts should not be in the business of legislating from the bench.
listen. i know what you're thinking. poor debra. some hick from southeastern wisconsin. some dumb cheesehead.

well, i'm here to tell you – there are some pretty smart folks in wisconsin. lot's of 'em in waterford, wisconsin. my brothers live there. my dad. my dad's neighbor jack is pretty smart (anyone who can fit the phrase "tight as a cow's ass at fly time" into everyday conversation is okay by me.) people from waterford are actually pretty darn smart.

this is why i am now convinced that debra bartoshevich is a mole.


this video hurts my soul. 

debra bartoshevich is from my hometown of waterford, wisconsin.  she was a pledged delegate for hillary clinton who is now not only supporting, but doing political commercials for john mccain.  (ooo, did you see deb on teevee?!)

does she have any idea what john mccain stands for, and what he will do to this country?  how many sons does she have to send to war, do you think?  'cause we're gonna need 'em.  sons from wisconsin.  sons of my friends and my family.  my own nephew, perhaps. 

but, deb tells us, "a lot of democrats will vote mccain," and then reassures (oh so cute!) "it's okee.  really."  (far be it from me to point out a major wisconsin accent, but does deb have one? oh ya der, hey!)

there's nothing wrong with having strong beliefs, with having the courage of your convictions. i just find it difficult to believe that anyone who seriously supported hillary clinton for president and has voted democratic all of their life could possibly vote republican for president at this time in our history and after the last eight years.  

and not just any republican.  this one.

a noun, a verb, and P.O.W.

how does john mccain answer the charge that he's out of touch with the average american because he owns...well, because he can't remember how many houses he owns? (it's somewhere between seven and ten.) why not use the answer that works for every situation...

Sunday, August 24, 2008

quick thoughts on a sunday morning


i like him.  always have.  look, my knowledge of politics doesn't go terribly deep, despite my willingness to throw opinions out there whenever i feel riled up.  but i have always watched biden and seen a man who just talks (and talks and talks.)  i don't hear lot's of political blah-de-blah, you know?  "well, let me say this about that and tell you about these and those while i take this time to think of what my answer should be and now that we know these facts and now that this game plan is in place i can finally get to the heart of your question which by this time i've forgotten anyway."  i like a politician who says "the answer is yes and let me tell you why." that way if i don't care about the why, i can change the channel.  and biden's "verbal gaffe" tendency, i think, is a result of his being straightforward and honest. 


i liked it.  (so many people have asked.)  i liked it a lot.  it made me laugh, it made me tear up a little (i'm a sap) and i think "dancing queen" is a wonderful moment on stage, and on film too.  i had a great time.  but then remember, i saw it in a theater packed with mamma-mia-philes – a totally different experience than seeing it with a small group of civilians in peoria.  and a good friend who's in the broadway company (who was there that preview night as well) saw the movie again a few weeks later with family in the midwest and said, "it doesn't hold up." 


why are teenage girls from new jersey so exhausted!?  they come (in droves) to the palace theater to buy a t-shirt or a hoodie (and to see some show, i guess) and while seeming to struggle to stay awake, sort of move their lips and make a low whiney noise while rolling their eyes toward the ceiling.  something about a shirt.  then their mothers (also exhausted) mumble something.  something motherly like "she wants a shirt."  maybe they're so tired from putting on all that eye make-up, or smacking that gum so incessantly.   seriously, i don't know how these girls have enough energy to bathe even, much less put on those pink sack dresses and four inch spike heels that make them look so classy. (come to think of it, i know some people who live in new jersey, and they're not exhausted.  maybe it's a teen thing...)

(hat tip: rob)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

utterly wimpy

theda skocpol nails it at talking points memo.

on the last month of the campaign:
"The last month has been excruciating for Obama supporters, watching him and his campaign squander so many hopes and resources on an utterly wimpy campaign."
on the saddleback civil forum:
"You don't go into Saddleback and give a ridiculous, distanced, abstract, evasive, talmudic answer to the abortion question you knew was coming! You look the television camera/voters in the eye and crisply explain your own personal moral perspective in clear, plain language..."
on going after mccain:
"Make the really obvious point that no candidate for President at this time can really be putting country first if he runs a dirty, lying campaign of false smears..."
and on a veep choice:
"I never expected to believe this --it might be time to turn to Hillary. She is at least a fighter, and this election really matters to a lot more than you and her."
read the entire post here.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

what would thomas jefferson do?

kathleen parker gets it right on saddleback
in today's washington post:

What's next? Interrogations by rabbis, priests and imams? What candidate would dare decline on the basis of mere principle?

...Is the American electorate now better prepared to cast votes knowing that Obama believes that "Jesus Christ died for my sins and I am redeemed through him," or that McCain feels that he is "saved and forgiven"? What does that mean, anyway? What does it prove?

Nothing except that these men are willing to say whatever they must -- and what most Americans personally feel is no one's business -- to win the highest office.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

the cone of purpose driven silence

someone got some 'splainin' to do.

our good friend rev. rick warren (author of the purpose driven life) hosted a "presidential forum" saturday night at his mega-fantastic-house-of-worship, saddleback church (which holds, like, a million people at one time.)

in his church, during a "forum" designed by him, with two presidential candidates he invited (via cell phone, none-the-less!) warren told the audience that while he asked barack obama a specific set of questions, john mccain was in a "cone of silence" so as to not hear the questions or obama's answers. the questions were the same for each candidate. the answers were not.

in fact, pundits have talked all day about how obama was thoughtful, took his time answering the questions, seeming very much at ease in the setting, but giving complex and nuanced answers, while mccain was strong, to the point, and often began answering the questions before warren had even finished asking them.

how interesting that today we learn that during obama's questioning, mccain was NOT in a "cone of silence" at all, but in his motorcade on the way to the church. he wasn't even in the building. mccain's camp swore on a stack claimed the senator did not hear the questions beforehand. (he didn't hear them. remember what the definition of "is" is?)

actually, my question is not for senator mccain, but for rev. warren: are we really to believe that as you began questioning senator obama, you were unaware that mccain was not even at the church? at this big honking party coordinated by you? one of the main party guests was late and you didn't know?!

today on cnn, warren said just that: he was not aware that mccain was not in the building. but warren also said he intended to give both candidates a piece of paper with the first question written on it "so they'd be relaxed." and yet he says he wasn't able to give it to mccain. huh. was that perhaps because mccain wasn't there? where did you think he was, rev. warren? in the bathroom? wandering around the church grounds somewhere? "hey guys, when someone finds grampa, would you give him this note from me?"

something's fishy here, and it ain't the friday fish fry.

UPDATE 8/18/08 -- warren continues to be vague about that first question thing in this interview with
"the only question (mccain) knew, i gave them the first question and i was changing the questions within an hour (before the forum began.)"
this is completely at odds with what he told cnn yesterday morning:
"there was actually a question i got to senator obama in advance that i didn't get to senator mccain because he wasn't there. i actually wrote down on a piece of paper the first question because i wanted them both to be relaxed..."
UPDATE 8/18/08, 7:20 p.m. -- now a spokesman for rev. warren, a. larry ross, is saying something completely different: the candidates had three of the specific questions ahead of time. from the new york times caucus blog:
"On Thursday night, Mr. Ross said, Mr. Warren told Mr. Obama three of the questions he would be asking: What is your greatest moral failing? What is America’s greatest moral failing? And who are the three people you rely on most for wise advice?

On Friday, Mr. Warren gave the same three questions to Mr. McCain"

Friday, August 15, 2008

dad remembers...

in response to this post, my dad writes:
"i remember the first 78s i bought were night and day by sinatra and put your little foot right out by sammy kaye. sammy kaye had a sweet big band, as did guy lombardo, franky carle, and others.

the old victrola had a broken spring, so i would put the record on and turn it with my finger. it wasn't always an even sound but it still amazed me to hear songs i loved coming out of that old phono."
– mickey clements

Thursday, August 14, 2008

six degrees of seperation

u.s. troops deployed overseas contribute nearly six times as much money to barack obama's campaign as they do to grumpy mcgrumperson's.

the joys of blogging

you mention being reproduced in goo-covered apple fritter dough one day, and not too long after you get four of these in the mail:

here's where you can get them, too. (thanks laura.)

coming out of the snatch, part 2

if you enjoyed that last video (the all drug olympics - phil hartman on snl) you'll love this one. hungarian weightlifter janos baranyai suffered a frightening injury in beijing on wednesday, trying to snatch 148kg in his third lift in the men's 77kg division. (there were no broken bones, and baranyai is now in the hospital, recovering nicely and watching the rest of the games on television.)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

coming out of the snatch

surprisingly, you don't get to hear phrases like "clean jerk" and "he's got the jerk under control" and "coming out of the snatch" on msnbc very often. (with all the coverage of the john edwards affair, you might think they'd be more common.) that is, unless you're watching olympic weightlifting. and then, there's this...

middle america undercover

brett goes behind enemy lines.

Monday, August 11, 2008

palistinian leader is a dancing queen?

i love a good mistake. lord knows, i make plenty of them. and when you make a mistake, make it "loud and proud" as my friend james says. at least you were making a strong attempt at something.

mark halperin is editor-at-large and senior political analyst for time magazine. he also has a... well, a page online. it's sort of a blog, but not really. this was one of the articles, er...headlines today, on (which, amazingly enough, is called "the page.") it links to an article in blender magazine in which john mccain and barack obama list their top 10 favorite songs (p.s. neither one has any beatles.) as you can see from mark's "page," john mccain lists "two songs from ABBAS..."

mark must think that palestinian leader mahmoud abbas sings dancing queen and take a chance on me. and who am i to say...both songs have been covered by some pretty interesting artists...

want more war?

then vote mccain.
"From his knee-jerk Cold War posture over Georgia to his Rovian campaign tactics... McCain's trigger-happy temperament, shallow understanding of the complexities and passion for military force as the answer to everything... is a recipe for more, wider and far more destructive warfare..."
– andrew sullivan, the daily dish

"His instincts are always toward force and the people advising him come squarely from the Cheney wing of the current administration. In comparison to Bush he's not just more of the same. There's every reason to believe he'd be much worse. The current situation in Georgia and his response should make clear to everyone how dangerous a president John McCain would be."
– josh marshall, talking points memo

favorite albums of all time #3

(i wrote a post nearly identical to this one about a year ago. interesting. you can see it here. none-the-less, i think the idea is worth revisiting. and it's either signs of early dementia, or i really do miss listening to music.)
i don't think most people listen to music the way i did when i was younger. (i think i could safely say "we" – meaning people my age.) i certainly don't. and to be honest, i miss it.

back then, my dad bought me a good share of albums. hello dolly. annie. (uh, dad?) and lot's of beatles, too. but every so often, on a saturday when i'd finished my chores early (not milking cows, or mowing the lawn, or raking leaves – dusting in the living room – ugh! slave drivers!) my mom would take me to the record store in burlington, wisconsin – off the record i think it was called (a name later stolen by me for my critics column in the high school newspaper) – and i would spend the seven dollars and ninety-nine cents i'd saved up (or my mother had given me) on a big, square, colorful thing, shrink-wrapped in plastic, that i would then touch, fondle, and stare at all the way home. sometimes it was too much to handle – the waiting – and i'd slide my thumbnail along the side, into the groove, and break open the plastic. that way i could open it up and see the pictures inside: elton with the band, barbra clowning in her superman t-shirt, the captain looking longingly at tennille.

sometimes it was enough to see the inner sleave and read the lyrics:
Two drifters on the morning sky,
Two drifters sailing wide and high,
When summer breezes blow across your mind,
With you, I will walk the line.
how would that melody go? what would jeff lynne sound like singing it? was it a ballad or uptempo?

today at the gym, i listened to one of the best albums of all time. if you asked me, ten minutes before it popped up on my ipod, "what do you think are the best albums of all time?" i would have included it in my list: songs in the key of life – stevie wonder.

and i remembered how i (we?) used to listen to it:

from start to finish. in one sitting. with headphones on. no interruption, no distraction. just me, the headphones, and the album cover. reading along with the lyrics, looking at the liner notes. wondering who michael sembello was. or whad did w.g. "snuffy" walden do, and who gave him that goofy nickname?

today, when i heard the first notes of "love's in need of love today" (the first song on the album) i thought to myself, imagine hearing this record for the very first time. when it was brand new. when those notes had not been played over and over again a thousand times in everyone's head.

and i realized, i did that. in 1976. i sat there, in my bedroom with the headphones on and listened that way. fresh. new. and then i listened to "have a talk with god". and "village ghetto land". and eventually "sir duke" and "i wish" and...well, the rest.

today, as i neared the end of each song, i realized how different it is – the way we listen to music. because as one song was ending, i could easily tell you which song was next, even sing the opening notes for you. this is true through the entire album, one song after another, until the collection of songs ceases to be that – a collection of songs – and becomes a whole unique experience. an experience we don't have very often today, if at all.

if you haven't heard songs in the key of life lately, or – i'm sorry for you – ever, find it on your ipod, or in your itunes, or better yet, find the actual cd, and take time to listen to the whole thing. one song after another.

put on some headphones if you've got them. not those earbud things, headphones. and don't let anyone interrupt you. go hide in your bedroom.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

grampa wants to be president

if you've ever had any inkling that john mccain is, oh, kinda forgetful, or maybe has trouble reading a teleprompter, or is perhaps in the early stages of...well, i wouldn't wish that on anyone (but i wouldn't be the first to suggest it: see here, here, and more importantly -- here.) seriously folks, this great video collection of mccain gaffes comes from josh marshall and talking points memo. and it makes me think the mccain / obama debates could be quite interesting.

you know you're a new yorker when... grow up in wisconsin and the news that brett favre is going to be wearing jets green makes you happy. (and yes, i just said "wearing jets green.")

one quote, and then i'm done:
"The simple yet mind-boggling fact (is) that Packers management thinks Favre isn't good enough to win. If it thought otherwise, Favre wouldn't be the quarterback of the New York Jets today."
and hey, there's always room for another drama queen in new york.

Monday, August 4, 2008

what a week that was!

nothing much happened this week.  can't quite believe it's actually been an entire week since i last posted anything.  but nothing much happened this week. what do you want, an olivia newton-john video?

i'll attempt to collect my thoughts and make something up.  soon.

in the meantime, political junkies read this.
favre junkies, read this.
and theatre junkies...

...stay out of show business.
UPDATE  9:34 a.m. -- and now, sadly, i realize the last two post titles have ended with exclamation points.  ugh!