Tuesday, September 30, 2008

beneath the planet of no more

please stop by and check out the no more blog. tell your friends about it. send the link to your favorite republican or conservative. especially those you know are having some doubts about mccain/palin, so they know they're not alone.

we've had three more additions to the list in the last few days:

the depth of knowledge

it's just...ongoing, isn't it? really, maybe she'll be great in the debate thursday night and i'll shut up. (you can all hope.) but until then...i really, really just don't get it.

during the most recent sarah palin/katie couric chatfest, couric – damn her! – asked one of those "gotcha!" journalism questions: what newspapers do you read?

please. i challenge anyone, anyone to defend palin's answer. i know you're out there and i know you're reading this. i also know YOU could easily answer this question. there are no politics here. there is no judgement. WHAT NEWSPAPERS DO YOU READ?

here's the transcript:
COURIC: And when it comes to establishing your world view, I was curious, what newspapers and magazines did you regularly read before you were tapped for this — to stay informed and to understand the world?

PALIN: I’ve read most of them again with a great appreciation for the press, for the media —

COURIC: But what ones specifically? I’m curious.

PALIN: Um, all of them, any of them that have been in front of me over all these years.

COURIC: Can you name any of them?

PALIN: I have a vast variety of sources where we get our news.
you're kidding, right? i read whatever newspapers are in front of me. what? what kind of answer is that? how about the anchorage daily news? do you read that? how about vogue? maybe the issue you were in? did you read that? what if no one put any newspapers in front of you? would you then just read the back of the cereal box, or your starbucks receipt?

here's my answer. (i think palin could have said this and probably been fine. but hopefully her list would include a wider world view than mine. the jerusalem post, maybe. the daily star. and c'mon, she must read pravda or the moscow times, right? they're right there! they probably offer home delivery in alaska!)
COURIC: And when it comes to establishing your world view, I was curious, what newspapers and magazines did you regularly read before you were tapped for this — to stay informed and to understand the world?:
CLEMENTS: you know, katie, i read a lot of newspapers online. the washington post, the washington times, the wall street journal, and the new york times. i also read the milwaukee journal regularly, the st. petersburg times, the chicago tribune and the chicago sun times too.

i read newsweek, time, and sometimes people magazine, rolling stone, billboard – to look at the music charts – and i often enjoy the new yorker.

out of the uk, i read the telegraph, the times and the financial times.

oh, and i regularly check roll call, the l.a. times, and usually a few smaller, hometown type papers from middle america like the akron beacon-journal, the spectrum out of st. george, utah, the cleveland plain-dealer (i know, not exactly small town) and the appleton post-crescent. sometimes i go looking for smaller small town papers too, to try and stay in touch.
now, i understand that, according to my list, my "world-view" might be a little u.s.-centric. but at least i have an answer. that includes a newspaper.

what newspapers do you read every day?

yelling at the telly

a couple of things that are making me yell at the television this morning.

first of all, john mccain continues to say we shouldn't "affix blame" for the bailout bill's failure (although yesterday grampa said "fix blame") while in the same breath blaming obama, democrats, nancy pelosi, or all three. could someone please call him on that before one of the shoes i'm throwing actually hits the t.v?

and second, do we elect a senator or congressman to do what's best for us, or to represent us in a the most literal sense? what kind of position do these elected officials find themselves in when they honestly feel this bailout is the only real option but their constituents are phoning "100 to 1" to say don't vote for it?

it seems obvious that much of this back and forth is happening because we are basically leader-less. if we had a president with any "political capital," or a president voters trusted and listened to, he could have explained this economic crisis in terms we'd understand, asked passionately for our support, and we might have actually given it.

sadly, that's not the situation we're in.

Monday, September 29, 2008

what a week that was

no matter which candidate you support in this election, you have to admit that is a ridiculously fascinating time in american politics. i find it difficult to tear myself away.
  • sarah and tina: sarah palin did another interview, with katie couric. tina fey did another snl turn, only this time it was a little less funny because the entire palin situation is less funny and much more frightening. (only a little less funny, though.)
  • suspension of disbelief: john mccain said he was suspending his campaign to rush back to washington to solve the economic crisis. only he didn't actually suspend his campaign (his television ads kept running and his surrogates were still out there attacking obama.)
  • dissed and pissed: mccain dissed and pissed off david letterman and got two or more days of bad press because of it, and letterman got some of his best ratings in years.
  • the big hubbub: mccain first suggested, and then sat in a big crisis meeting and said basically zip, more than likely because he doesn't really understand any of it. shortly thereafter he began positioning himself as the man who swooped in to "save the bailout bill."
  • i'm not i won't okay: there was a debate which one candidate was refusing to attend, but in the end decided to show up. (can we just admit that the man is a drama queen?) i thought neither candidate won, but the american people have overwhelmingly suggested in poll after poll that it was obama's night. and the daily presidential polls seem to indicate the same.
  • the blame game: both candidates supported the huge bailout bill, with mccain claiming credit for the bill's passage even before it passed. when the bill was defeated by the house and the stock market dropped over 700 points in one day (the largest one-day drop ever in the history of our country) mccain announced that now was not the time to place blame and then proceeded to blame obama.
what's next!? well, there's a debate on thursday night...

i don't trust him because i don't know him

the issue of race has been a part of this presidential election since well before bill clinton's "fairy tale" remark last january (which in context, wasn't really about race, but about the consistency in obama's iraq war position, right?)

today's new york times tells a story of union workers canvassing for obama in wisconsin, and having a tough time. a couple of worthy quotes from my fellow wisconsinites:
“I think race is playing a major part. I think that’s why some people say, ‘Isn’t he a Muslim?’ ”
"I don’t trust him because I don’t know him.”
i don't know him, i.e. i don't know anyone like him. we fear what we don't know. and what is it that the far-right is so good at using in political races? be afraid of the terrorists. be afraid of the homosexuals. be afraid of the angry black man. be afraid of the muslim.

my dad recently sent me a dvd he got in the mail, or with his daily paper. he hadn't watched it, but he thought i might be interested. "i don't know if it's any good" he wrote.

the dvd? "obsession", a film warning viewers of the threats of radical islam being distributed by clarion fund, a right-wing, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded by filmmaker raphael shore, in partnership with the endowment for middle east truth. the organization has been mailing the dvd to millions of households in swing states, and paying to have it inserted in local papers in places like ohio, florida, north carolina, and wisconsin. they claim it is not an attempt to sway voters in swing states.
"Isn’t he a Muslim?”
and then there's this, from the associated press.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

stirring the pot

even if you don't understand every detail of the current economic crisis and the negotiations that are happening in washington, this washington post article about the big, white house economic "summit" last thursday provides a fascinating, engrossing look into washington politics (and it reads like a thriller.)

it also illustrates – in fact illuminates – something that was clearly on display in last night's debate: these are two very different men, with two very different styles, and two very different agendas.

sidewalk barack

senator barack obama as sidewalk art. new york's upper west side.

paul newman in a parking lot

paul newman died friday. he was 83.

two winters ago, my partner rob was cast in a play at the westport country playhouse, in westport, connecticut. prior to starting rehearsals, he and i drove up to check out the town and the theater. always good to know what you're getting into.

joanne woodward had taken over as artistic director a few years earlier. she and paul newman lived in westport. paul was about to open a restaurant, "the dressing room," in a building attached to the theater. we would have a lovely dinner there later that winter.

as rob and i drove around westport, i kept saying "we're gonna see paul newman, just you wait."

"we're not gonna see –" rob would grumble.

"they live here, you know. they live in westport. we're gonna see paul newman," i'd counter, my eyes darting from street corner to front yard to park bench to sidewalk.

we'd turn down another quaint street and i yell, "there he is! there's paul newman crossing the street!" or "there's paul newman, going into the bookstore!" or "there's paul newman trimming his hedges!"

it was never him.

we drove to the theater, our final destination, and took a little self-guided tour. charming. theatre history. the theater itself – an old red barn (which brings to mind images of an old red barn, but this is, like, a really, really nice old red barn.) as we were driving out of the theater parking lot, we passed a gold volvo station wagon. rob suddenly sat up straighter in his seat. "that was him," he said. "that was paul newman."

i made rob turn the car around and go back. this was a small lot, able to hold maybe 40, 50 cars or so. newman had pulled all the way to a back corner of the lot. we did the same, on the opposite end.

we watched. there he sat. paul newman. he rolled down the window. he put the seat back, reclined, and waited. presumably for joanne. was she in a rehearsal? at a board meeting? would she walk across the parking lot and say "hi honey, sorry that took so long, christopher plummer would not stop talking."

newman waited. we waited. time ticked slowly by. "what are we gonna do, sit here all day?" rob said.

i thought maybe he'd get out of the car, paul newman. i thought he'd get out, and that would be my big chance. i could get out too, walk casually towards him and then, i don't know, tell him...something. "mr. newman!" i'd say, "the sting!" and he'd smile. "ahhhh...butch cassidy!"

i'm not a what you'd call lightning-fast on my feet. if someone had written a "you meet paul newman in a tiny parking lot" monologue, i might have been okay. but on my own, under the gun? i suck.

in the end, he didn't get out of the car. we didn't sit there all day. but i saw paul newman in a parking lot. and that was pretty cool.

Friday, September 26, 2008

the no more blog

as the no more list continues to grow, it's become obvious that it should actually be more than just a list. thus: the no more blog. each blog post includes brief, wikipedia-based bios and quotes from the dissenters. clicking on a blog post title will take you directly to the source of each quote.

as the campaign continues, please forward suggestions for this list to me. remember, these are friends, colleagues, or supporters of john mccain who have now spoken out against his candidacy, his campaign, or his running mate.

i'll continue to update both lists, here on tuesdays, and on no more.

return to the planet of no more

today's update to the no more list (typical mccain supporters who finally say "no more") includes a former palin supporter who now, in backing away from palin, also backs away from mccain, and a republican strategist/former mccain campaign advisor who thinks "mccain blinked." newbies are in boldface. click on the names to read/view their dissents.

i'm not going! i'm going! i won!

via chris cilizza's blog the fix: here's a screen shot of the wall street journal online from earlier today. notice anything odd?

i'm sorry...what?

as closely as i follow politics, i don't pretend to always understand politics. in fact, there are times i listen to a politician speak and the details are so complex, the explanation so in-depth that i just don't follow.

and sometimes, it's just the opposite of that.

nose as long as a telephone wire

i don't think they rise (or sink) to the level of "he wants to teach your pre-schooler sex education," but the obama campaign has been running some television ads in the last two weeks that do a little more than stretch the truth. and they should stop.

not only does it make the outrage that many of us felt about mccain's deceitful campaign ads seem unfounded and silly, it tarnishes obama's credulity in general.

no matter how different or "new" he is, i've never had any doubt that barack obama is a politician, and a chicago politician at that. but the campaign had showed some restraint in this type of advertising. make no mistake, i want him to get down in the dirt and wrestle and dig and claw and scratch if he has to, in order to win.

i still think that can all be done with honesty and integrity.

(not sure who's bending your ear, pulling your leg, or just plain lying through his teeth anymore? politifact.com, factcheck.org, and the washington post's factchecker are all good, fairly neutral places to start.)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

eyes, senator mccain, eyes

john mccain can't focus. from the new york times:
"Senator John McCain said Wednesday that he would temporarily suspend his presidential campaign on Thursday to return to Washington to deal with the financial crisis and the $700 billion bailout package now before Congress."
mccain has also asked barack obama to delay the presidential debate scheduled to take place in mississippi this friday night.

let's get this straight: this morning, obama calls mccain to "ask him if he would join in issuing a joint statement outlining their shared principles and conditions for the Treasury proposal and urging Congress and the White House to act in a bipartisan manner to pass such a proposal."

this afternoon, mccain says "talk to the hand."

how anyone – mccain supporters included – could view this move as anything but political gamesmanship, i'm not sure. will the republicans now present a mccain plan to save our failing economy? obama reaches out to mccain in a bipartisan fashion, and what does mccain do? makes a totally unilateral decision. there was no agreement here. this was obama reaching out, mccain slapping back his hand, and standing up and saying "here's what i'm gonna do." remind me who's not playing politics with this crisis?

we have 40 days before we have to choose the next leader of the free world. 40 days. the mccain campaign won't allow sarah palin to have a press conference. they won't allow the vice presidential nominee the opportunity to answer reporters questions unfettered. and now, because the economic crisis is so large, mccain wants to suspend the process of picking our next president.

this is crucial. this is a crucial moment in the campaign. the man who would be our next leader, the man who chose a vice-presidential running mate with virtually no foreign policy knowledge when we are embroiled in two wars and on the precipice of a third, the man who has run one of the sleaziest campaigns in history, wants to take a break so "the country can come together" to solve this economic crisis. and yet, the fundamentals of our economy are strong.

what would mccain do when he's president and there's a crisis? or two? or four? why aren't the candidates suspending their campaigns to end the war in iraq?

this is the most important time for these two men to be campaigning. the most important time for them to be debating. if obama and the democrats are tough (and we know their history there) they'll stand up and tell the country exactly what this move is: a gimmick.


not to be nitpicky, but politico.com reports today that, while having a mixed record as chairman of the senate commerce committee...
"...(John) McCain’s tenure is not as simple to encapsulate as McCain’s economic adviser, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, tried to make it seem last week, when he held up a BlackBerry and credited its invention to McCain’s work on the committee. In fact, McCain voted against key legislation that paved the device’s way."

you can buy anything in new york

and it usually costs too much.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

jeep pike palin

that's what sarah palin would have named me if she were my mom. (but my full, legal name, would be shoulder frontier palin.) what's your sarah palin name?!

Monday, September 22, 2008

son of more no more

add two three four more dissents to the no more list (typical mccain supporters who say "no more.") today we have a repeater, and...a repeat. and the president of the alaska senate. the newbies are in boldface. click on the names to read/view their dissents.


thirty-two frightening words:
Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.


during the first two minutes of every school day – attendance-taking in mrs. paulson's fourth grade classroom – i can clearly remember john gibson shouting "president!" after mrs. paulson called his name.

not "present," but "president!"

that was funny, john. "president!" omg. i am splitting my side here.

see, while every other kid was saying "present," john thought he'd get a laugh by instead saying "president!" pretty funny, huh? never heard that one before, john. except for every day!

during his eight years in the illinois state senate, out of 4000 votes, barack obama voted "president" "present" 130 times. there's a talking point. if you don't live in illinois, or understand illinois politics or the voting system in the illinois state senate, that sounds pretty reprehensible, doesn't it? this guy doesn't even have the political cojones to take a stand! to say "you're either with us, or against us!" to say "we're gonna capture bin laden dead or alive!"

hold on.

from the university of chicago law school website:
Unlike Congress and the legislatures of most other states, each chamber of the Illinois Legislature requires a ''constitutional majority'' to pass a bill. The state Senate has 59 members, so it takes 30 affirmative votes. This makes a ''present'' vote the same as a no. If a bill receives 29 votes, but the rest of the senators vote ''present,'' it fails.
so voting "present" is a legitimate option in illinois: yes - no - present (there are actually three buttons.) and often a "present" vote means much more than just saying "okay mrs. paulson, i'm here!"

at times, obama was voting with a block of democratic senators, as strategy. sometimes he was voting with only a few others. a handful of times his was the only "present" vote. voting "present" is also, in the illinois senate, a way to signal to other lawmakers that you disagree with parts of a specific bill, but are willing to find compromise. (ahhhh...compromise. remember compromise?)

you may want to look into the record and talk about those specific votes, and why obama chose to vote the way he did on each. there certainly are some that, on the surface, seem like political cover. but i think the man is more intelligent than that, and may have had personal misgivings about specific bills.

obama's campaign website (there's politically unbiased for you) addresses the issue in a fairly thorough manner. abner mikva, former illinois state legislator, united states congressman, federal judge, and white house counsel gives an even clearer history/explanation of voting present in illinois. and interesting, since he's actually done it.

personally, i am completely comfortable with (and welcome) a president who finds nuance and complexities, and doesn't view every issue as black and white – yes or no. we just spent eight years with the other kind, the kind who reacts on "gut" and "cowboy instincts" and look where that's gotten us. (have you checked your 401k today? btw - 4169 dead in iraq so far. and counting.)

besides. i think, when obama was voting "present" – like john gibson, he really meant to say "president!"

obama meets bartlet

remember the episode of the west wing where barack obama meets former president jed bartlet to get his advice about obama's campaign for president?

i don't either. but at the (brilliant) suggestion of the new york times columnist maureen dowd, aaron sorkin has written the scene. it is essential reading, and if i had any say in campaign strategy david axelrod would be on the phone to martin sheen right now arranging to film it as a long-form political commercial.

a taste:
BARACK OBAMA knocks on the front door of a 300-year-old New Hampshire farmhouse while his Secret Service detail waits in the driveway. The door opens and OBAMA is standing face to face with former President JED BARTLET.

BARTLET Senator.

Mr. President.

You seem startled.

I didn’t expect you to answer the door yourself.

I didn’t expect you to be getting beat by John McCain and a LancĂ´me rep who thinks “The Flintstones” was based on a true story, so let’s call it even.

Yes, sir.

Come on in.

BARTLET leads OBAMA into his study.

That was a hell of a convention.

Thank you, I was proud of it.

I meant the Republicans. The Us versus Them-a-thon. As a Democrat I was surprised to learn that I don’t like small towns, God, people with jobs or America. I’ve been a little out of touch but is there a mandate that the vice president be skilled at field dressing a moose — ?
continue reading here.


"john mccain showed his personality this week and it made some of us fearful."
– conservative columnist george will
abc news this week
the roundtable segment from sunday's this week with george stephanopolis was a bit rough for one presidential candidate. it's worth a look.

Friday, September 19, 2008

more no more

the no more list continues to grow. a republican congressman and a national review alum jump aboard today. newbies are bold. click on the names to read their dissents.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

no more

it seems that every day i wake up to another article from another supporter of john mccain saying, essentially, "no more." and every day, i wonder how my republican friends feel about this (yes, i do have republican friends.) i wonder if they even read it.

many of the folks who would normally be out there trumpeting john mccain as a maverick, as an agent of change, are saying "no more."

the obama defectors aren't quite the same: this isn't like a nurse in wisconsin who didn't realize mccain wants to overturn roe v. wade, or a millionaire who flits between homes in new york and london, who is addressed as "lady forester de rothschild" and who thinks obama is an elitist (i insist that story is from the onion.) these are folks you would think might be in mccain's corner.

just to name a few:
know of others? let me know and i'll add them to the list. we'll keep a running talley.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


“Yesterday, John McCain actually said that if he’s president he’ll take on, and I quote, 'the old boys’ network in Washington.' I’m not making this up. This is somebody who's been in Congress for 26 years, who put seven of the most powerful Washington lobbyists in charge of his campaign. And now he tells us that he’s the one who’s gonna take on the old boys' network. In the McCain campaign that’s called a staff meeting!”
– Sen. Barack Obama

dewey-eyed over the first dude

from tpm tv: greta van susteren shows us what real, hard-hitting television journalism is all about and manages to look like a love-sick schoolgirl flirting with a hotshot snowmobile racer at the same time! (back in the olden days, we called them snowmobiles, okay?)

also note the snowmobile racer's thoughtful, in-depth answers.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

the mac-berry?

"If John McCain hadn't said that 'the fundamentals of our economy are strong' on the day of one of our nation's worst financial crises, the claim that he invented the BlackBerry would have been the most preposterous thing said all week."
– Bill Burton
Obama campaign spokesman

runnin' with the devil, part 2

more on the j.b. van hollen lawsuit in wisconsin. nathan adds:
To me it's part of a greater movement that has been going on now for the last several election cycles of targeted disenfranchising certain voters from heavily democratic districts in key battleground states. The Help America Vote Act should be renamed the Suppress Americans Vote Act.

I monitored some polls during the last presidential election and it was very clear to me then that The Republicans have targeted certain districts for voter challenges.

They wait until they see a large line forming in these heavily democratic districts, then they jump in and challenge a vote at the polls which then slows down the progression of the cue. People end up standing in lines longer sometimes up to several hours and then people leave the line because they need to get to work or have other business to attend to.

It is shady, (and) it is downright dirty and shameful. Out of all of the challenged votes during the 2004 election there were only a few that were truly illegal.

a dead moose with lipstick

um...required reading from that really elite magazine the new yorker. but hey, don't worry. you will still enjoy it, even if your only a regular.

runnin' with the devil

nathan wrote at 1:08pm:
I would like to hear your thoughts in your blog about Van Hollen's lawsuit here in Wisconsin.
i think van hollen was better with david lee roth than with sammy hagar, even though i actually don't like david lee roth. ick. he oozes ickiness and smarminess to me. he must be a republican, right? or, wait. that's ted nugent. he's way crazy. off the deep end crazy.

what does van halen have to do with wisconsin politics, anyway?

okay, honestly, i just heard about this the other day. some info from the milwaukee journal-sentinal:

(Wisconsin Attorney General J. B.) Van Hollen sued the state Government Accountability Board Wednesday, saying it must crosscheck voter names with driver’s license records for some voters who registered to vote or changed their addresses since Jan. 1, 2006.

The question that emerged Thursday was what would happen to voters who failed the checks if Van Hollen prevails ...One in five voters who were checked last month initially failed the tests, often because of typos or missing initials.

sounds like the "voter fraud" tactic, no? again: scare the voters. all i can tell you right now is that from an internet search i found a photo of van hollen leaning back in his chair looking smug (and aren't they all? smug? what is that? is there a smug test to get into the republican party? if so, joe lieberman is in!) and i wanted to smack him.

state democratic chairman joe wineke:
"(Van Hollen is) trying to distract and deny voters with fear-mongering. This ploy by the Republican attorney general is nothing more than a waste of taxpayer dollars and a cynical attempt to disenfranchise eligible voters less than two months before the November election."
government accountability board director kevin kennedy:
"The board believes it would be counter-productive to rush this effort and to create a significant risk, at best of unnecessary hardship and confusion at the polls, and at worst the disenfranchisement of Wisconsin citizens with a clear and legitimate right to vote.
my initial reaction, besides the smugness thing, is if van hollen was so interested in cleaning up the voter rolls, why did he wait until less than two months before the election to make a big deal about it?

let's also keep in mind here the more salient issue in all of this:
van hollen is john mccain's wisconsin campaign co-chair.

democrats stand to make major gains from new voter registrations in wisconsin: about 135,000 residents have registered to vote for the first time since the beginning of this year, bringing the total number of voters to more than 3.4 million. another 169,000 have updated their registration with their current address or new name.

with the polls in wisconsin tightening, could j.b. van hollen become 2008's katherine harris?

Monday, September 15, 2008

be scared! be really, really scared!

i find it fascinating that folks who live the furthest from new york and washington, d.c. (where those planes flew into buildings, remember?) are so quick to use 9/11 to scare the crap out of people for political gain.

check out this yard sign, from a jacksonville, florida front yard, outside a john mccain campaign event. see the cute little graphic? (click on it if you can't see it, and make it real big!)

the sign is from the good folks at the ronald reagan republican assembly of central florida (better known as the rrracf. i guess.) what's their response, when they hear that people might find this sign, mmm... kinda distasteful?
"It is they who are ashamed. It is they who want Americans to forget. They will say they otherwise, but they will be lying. They are the ones who took the images of 9/11 off your TV, not us."
the "they" they are referring to are "liberals who want to forget 9/11." i suppose when you live 700 miles from the pentagon, and 900 miles from ground zero, you tend to forget what happened on 9/11. luckily, those of us who live in manhattan have a great big hole in the ground to remind us! we don't need yard signs.

be marvelous

roger bean has been responsible for some pretty important (dare i say marvelous?) things in my life.

he was responsible for dying my hair jet black, putting me in dark brown contact lenses, and convincing me to teach audiences "the italian macarena." he was responsible for one of the quickest quick-changes i've ever had to do – by myself – from a mild-mannered gas station attendant to a big-busted, slightly unattractive, middle-aged diner-waitress named marge.

and he was responsible for getting me to knoxville, tennessee almost nine years ago to do a show at the clarence brown theatre. a show that changed my life in ways far beyond wearing brown contacts or a pre-padded bra.

he's also responsible for the new off-broadway hit "the marvelous wonderettes." the show began it's life at the milwaukee repertory theatre about eight years ago. vivid memories of that production, becky spice singing "secret love," laurie birmingham singing "lipstick on your collar," have stayed with me ever since.

those memories and more were brought to bright, shiny life last night as the show opened to a cheering, wildly enthusiastic crowd at the westside theater in new york.

the four actors in this production (bets malone – who has survived all the way from that original milwaukee production; beth malone – yes, there's a bets and a beth; farah alvin, and victoria matlock) are all delightful, charming, and just so much fun (truth be told, i have a major soft spot for suzy, but b.j. made me laugh until i peed, missy sings like a mofo, and golly, that cindy lou sure is pretty.)

the new york wonderettes have already gotten rave reviews from the associated press, theatermania and variety. it's gonna be a huge hit, it's gonna run forever, and when they make the movie, roger's gonna let me play suzy's spot-operator boyfriend richie, i just know it. and richie's probably a pockmarked redhead with a nasty harelip.

Friday, September 12, 2008

the reviews are in, part 3

because i have way too much time on my hands....

the reviews are in, part 2

reviews of governor palin's interview continue to pour in. many collected here, via the politico. i wanna see these lines painted on the side of a bus...
"She had me at hello Charley-- had me scared to death!"
– Norman J. Ornstein
American Enterprise Institute
"If she holds up...she could be a transformative woman in American history. If not, we will all be disappointed!"
– Zach Wamp
Rep. (R-Tenn.)
"A political consultant's dream, but a citizen's nightmare!"
– Kenneth Baer
Co-Editor, Democracy: A Journal of Ideas
"She did reasonably well for her first big interview...and she’s likely to get better!"
– Whit Ayres
Republican strategist
of course, i picked out the bad ones. there were so many to choose from.

my sense is that watching this interview is akin to watching your mom or your next-door neighbor perform in the local community theater production of "my fair lady"; if she's your mom or your next-door neighbor, she probably got you comp tickets, you probably sent some flowers backstage to her dressing room, and in the end, you'll meet her at the stage door and tell her she did "awsome!"

if she's not your mom or your neighbor, you're a lot less likely to give her a pass, or the benifit of the doubt, and you see through all the nerves and smiles and twitches to what's really there – a person reciting lines that she doesn't quite understand.

the reviews are in

the first part of the charlie gibson / sarah palin interview aired tonight on abc news nightline. afterwords, the round table at fox news was at least supportive, if not glowing.  elsewhere, reactions were pretty dark.  an example from the associated press:
John McCain's running mate Sarah Palin sought Thursday to defend her qualifications but struggled with foreign policy, unable to describe President Bush's doctrine of pre-emptive strikes against threatening nations and acknowledging she's never met a foreign head of state.
i actually felt badly for ms. palin during this interview.  clearly she is in over her head. again i was thinking, it really is a saturday night live sketch.  there is no way this person is ready to be a heartbeat away from the presidency of the united states.

however, the first part of the interview (parts two and three air tomorrow) contained my favorite line from the entire campaign so far. when gibson asked what insight into russian actions the proximity of alaska gives her, ms. palin answered:
"They're our next door neighbors and you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska, from an island in Alaska."
you can't make this stuff up.

one has to assume that she will do better in parts two and three of the interview, when the focus will likely shift to issues she is more comfortable with and has more experience discussing.

here, though, is a brief clip where palin struggles with that question about the bush doctrine.  this is painful.  even worse for me is the hokey attitude, the wink about new leadership, while discussing war:

Thursday, September 11, 2008

how the republicans will politicize 9/11 (again)

this afternoon's reporting on the two presidential candidates visiting ground zero to honor the victims of 9/11 began with images of barack obama and new york city mayor michael bloomberg standing and chatting; john mccain had yet to arrive. this was, of course, a chance for obama and mccain to come together, symbolically at least, just as the country had during the days following september 11, 2001.

when mccain did arrive, it was with wife cindy in tow. my first thought was, "why is cindy mccain there?" and wolf blitzers first thought? "why isn't michelle obama there? where is michelle obama?" to his credit, msnbc's david shuster followed "why isn't michelle obama there?" with, "or maybe i should say why is cindy mccain there?"

think michelle obama's absence won't be mentioned elsewhere? wait.

UPDATE 4:42 pm
– shuster is now reporting that michelle obama was in chicago with the couples children, but was invited.

UPDATE 10:14 pm – was i wrong?  conservative columnist and blogger michelle malkin questioned mrs. obama's absence, but didn't really.  abc news' jake tapper said his readers had asked.  other than that...people seemed a little more interested in this.

try to remember

on september 11, 2001, i was in cedar city, utah rehearsing the fantasticks.

when we met for the day, the group decided the best thing for us to do was to work. to attempt to have as normal a day as possible. so we continued with a scheduled technical rehearsal.

after the opening night performance, a reporter from the las vegas review journal found me and asked, "how can you sing those words? how can you not become emotional and break down while you sing that song?"

it seems silly now, but at the time i honestly didn't know what she meant.

for me, the song "try to remember" had become something personal, something about my own life. prior to september 11th, throughout rehearsal, i had discovered what those lyrics meant to me. and they continued to mean that to me throughout the run of the show.

"well, they meant something completely different to all of us in the audience tonight, after what happened on september 11th," the reporter said.

(jerry orbach, from the original off-broadway cast recording of the fantasticks)


i know you'll all be astounded to learn that i agree with a celebrity on this issue, but how do you argue with this? unless you think the thing about dinosaurs is...true...

more little facts

seems that whole "i put the plane on ebay" thing wasn't even palin's idea.  the state had been auctioning big ticket items on ebay for years (like an old ferry – shut up brett – for $389,500 in 2003.)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

little facts don't matter

from today's washington post:
"The more the New York Times and The Washington Post go after Sarah Palin, the better off she is, because there's a bigger truth out there and the bigger truths are she's new, she's popular in Alaska and she is an insurgent... As long as those are out there, these little facts don't really matter."
– John Feehery, Republican strategist
little facts, or as some of us like to call them, lies. like the bridge to nowhere lie. the obama will raise your taxes lie. the my running mate is against pork-barrel spending lie. the i sold that plane on ebay lie. the i fired the personal chef lie.

the post has them all laid out pretty well right here.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

on the record: the biggest sap on the planet

good, happy pop music can make me cry actual tears of joy.

i'm re-reading that sentence and it makes even me cringe. but it's true. one of my favorite ways to spend an evening is a gay boy record party: when a good friend is over and you play songs for them that you really, really love that they probably don't know and you both laugh and sing and listen and discover. (and p.s. you don't have to be a gay boy to do it.)

if you could all fit into my apartment right now, we'd put a tombstone pizza in the oven, pour a big glass of grandpa graf's 50/50, and listen to that lucky old sun by brian wilson. it's chock full of nostalgia, and harmonies, and silliness, and happiness. and california.

it's really – and unabashedly so – the new beach boys album. for me, as great as wilson's resurrected smile was in 2004, lucky old sun is even better. it's more cohesive, more fun.

how can you not love:
the sun burns a hole through the 6 a.m. haze
turns up the volume and shows off it's rays
another dodger blue sky is crowning l.a.
the city of angels is blessed every day

that lucky old sun smiles on me
wanna slide down the mountain
into the dancing sea
i've only listened to it a few times now, but i think i'm already more tan, more relaxed, and way, way more happy.

hit me with your best shot: the bitch slap

(and yes, i'd call it a bitch slap even if she weren't a bitch were a man.)

one of the funniest (!) lines in sarah palin's convention speech last week (and listen, i know what you're saying right now so let me nip this in the bud: we're talking about her because at least she's interesting. if we weren't talking about her we'd be talking about mccain sleeping) was the line about...hold on here, i have to collect myself and not laugh while i type this. hmmmmpft. okay. really, it's a good one. hold on.

okay – one of her funniest lines was this one, a direct shot at obama:
"Al-Qaeda terrorists still plot to inflict catastrophic harm on America and he's worried that someone won't read them their rights."
and i thought obama wasn't hitting back hard? here's what he said yesterday at that event in farmington hills, michigan, alluding to osama bin laden:
"First of all, you don't even get to read them their rights until you catch 'em..."
more here.

(hat tip: brett)

alaskan head scratchin'

thanks to tpm media, we have a real alaskan perspective on palin's bridge to nowhere confusion lies:

hit me with your best shot

last night on countdown with keith olbermann, olbermann asked barack obama "Have you thought of using on the campaign trail and in your speaking engagements, more exclamation points? Have you thought of getting angrier?"

here was obama's non-angry answer:
Well, I'll tell you what, with two months to go, I think everybody needs to feel a sense of urgency.

You know, when I hear John McCain suggest that he is going to bring about change, I am reminded of the cartoon that Tom Toles did in "The Washington Post" where he has McCain say: "Watch out, George Bush, with the exception of the economy, tax policy, foreign policy, health care policy, education policy, and Karl Rove politics, we're really going to shake things up in Washington."

i have no idea who tom toles is. neither does my dad. sorry to show my/our ignorance about political cartoonists. and i get the point, but i don't need to hear that obama thinks i need to feel a sense of urgency – i already feel it. i need him to feel it, and show it. not frustration, or anger, but urgency.

during his convention speech in denver, obama described the struggle and troubles of average americans, and then added, with great enthusiasm:
"Tonight I say to the American people, to Democrats and Republicans and independents across this great land — ENOUGH!"
there's an exclamation point. there's urgency. that should be the campaign's new slogan: enough!

i don't need a pitbull with lipstick. in fact, i see pitbulls on the street and think "why would anyone want one of those? they're ugly and mean and in-bred." lipstick can't cover that up.

obama has the nerve, the wit and the intelligence to land a punch smartly, and honestly.

he just needs to do it.

Monday, September 8, 2008


an email from michelle:
My niece says to me today, "I think someone ought to remind Mrs. Palin that Jesus Christ was a community organizer."
and pontius pilate was a governor.

lonely ol' joe

joe biden campaigned in green bay, wisconsin today.

all by himself. alone.

just joe, up nort' der in da badger state. no barack obama to keep him company, to coddle him, to share a brat with, to keep him from going off script.

joe spoke to a group of wisconsinites by himself. barack, it seems, was busy talking to voters in farmington hills, michigan. only about 290 miles as the crow flies, but a whole great lake between them.

when do you think little sarah palin will do that – campaign by herself? or wait...is she not ready? (oh but she's ready to be the president if grampa keels over.)

maybe an even better question right now would be, when do you think they'll let john mccain campaign by himself again? without his new running mate at his side? how big do you think those crowds would be if it was just gramps? it might be kinda embarrassing to find out folks are more interested in listening to a hockey mom than a real live p.o.w. (it's much more fun to hear about shooting animals from helicopters than to hear those icky torture stories again anyway.)

and what if lil' sarah headed a rally somewhere and got asked a question? one she didn't know how to answer, like "what is senator mccain's position on (fill in the blank with pretty much any one of his positions)?" that might be uncomfortable, huh?

but tomorrow, good ol' joe is going to be out there all by himself again.

poor guy. he must get awful lonely.

say what?

in november, tuesdays will be a year old. this blog has undergone some shifts and changes over that time. it began as a japan travelogue of sorts (remember kayobi.blogspot.com? kayobi is japanese for tuesday.) and has grown to include lots of politics, music, current events, and even olivia newton-john videos.

something i've loved over the last few months is the growing number of comments and commenters. there are now what i might call the old standbys: the folks that often have something to add, or a new point of view to share. love it. keep it up.

if you're out there, no matter whether you visit regularly or this is your first time, if you have something to say, don't be shy. join in the conversation. you can post your thoughts anonymously if you like, but why not use a first name – even if it's someone else's? (you don't need to sign up for anything.) if you have your own blog or a google account, you can use that too.

one last word: this is my blog. if i think comments are inappropriate, out of line, or offensive in any way, i'll delete them. watch me. that's only happened once or twice though.

so c'mon! let's talk!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

pray away the gay

a few years back, i had a nice little reunion with an old friend from high school. we hadn't seen each other for years, so there was a lot of catching up to do. despite the fact that i mentioned how happy i was with my partner of many years, she sent an email a few weeks later that included a cryptic message: "i know someone who can help you."

through mutual friends, i later learned what she had in mind: seems there was this church. in colorado.

now, i hear that sarah palin and this old friend of mine might have similar beliefs: i can be cured of my homosexuality by jesus christ.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

dear sarah

two interesting pieces to and about sarah palin.  one from author elayne clift.  the other from fellow alaskan anne kilkenny.

Friday, September 5, 2008

mccain gets even older

sarah palin is in cedarburg, wisconsin today. (oh, right...grampa is there too.) will someone please tell me the joke is over? this isn't a real person, is it? that accent! she could be from wisconsin. whenever she opens her mouth, i'm convinced it's a saturday night live skit making fun of my home state. and every time she mentions john mccain, i say out loud for her (in my best wisconsin/alaskan accent) "...whoo i just met a week agoo."

there she is in wisconsin giving her campaign speech again, word for word (which is good, because many people in wisconsin don't own television sets.) but – and this is telling – the cable news shows cut away from barack obama in a small town-hall meeting in pennsylvania (actually talking about something) to show palin (again dissing community organizers) speaking to a cheering crowd. bit of a reversal there? it's usually obama we see with the big, raucus crowds.

and she is talking about john mccain's brilliance in supporting "the surge". am i crazy? when palin or anyone else talks about how the surge has worked and it was mccain's idea and he knew all along it was going to be a huge success, why doesn't anyone point out the fact that john mccain is one of the reasons WE ARE IN THIS WAR IN THE FIRST PLACE!? if we'd all listened to obama back then, instead of "next up, bagdhad!" mccain, nearly 5000 families would have their kids or their dads or their husbands back. surge? surge?? what about being right on the war?

to me, with sarah palin standing next to him, mccain actually looks even older. his little ticks – his odd, forced smile at the end of sentences; his habit of repeating the catch phrase of a sentence two, sometimes three times; that grating "my friends" deal (good god, will he stop that? i am not john mccain's friend!) – it all looks, um...tired. and old. here's this young, energetic, snippy woman who bounds up to the podium and talks like the student council president, and look! she's brought along her grampa!

i think people will see that. (the republican party is probably thinking to itself, in another reversal, "maybe mccain could drop out.")

and whoops...there she goes again: "i'd like to introduce to you my friend (who i just met a week agoo) john mccain!"


i remember with great fondness a familiar sight from my childhood: my grampa schultz dead asleep in front of a blinking television set. it was usually thanksgiving or easter, after the big meal. wander into the living room and there was frank – head tilted back, mouth wide open, catching flies and sawing wood – with a football game playing in the background. or a charlie brown special (if i'd gotten to the set.)

tonight, grampa was on the tv and i'm the one who fell asleep.

one thing i did hear as i drifted in and out of consciousness (dreaming about salmon fishing, mooseburgers, and homeless polar bears) was something about stopping the rancor, divisiveness and partisan attacks that are commonplace in washington, d.c.

but what was that we heard for 37 minutes last night in minneapolis, mn?

Thursday, September 4, 2008

i don't know, but alaska

i would love to post something about sarah palin today. about her big speech last night at the republican national convention. but i'm still a bit stunned: i don't know anything more about her.

is she well-spoken? yup. can she deliver a zinger? sure can. is she really tina fey? nope (she's tracy flick.) do i know anything more about her today compared to yesterday? nope.

can you win a presidential race by being snide, cynical and sarcastic? why not – the republicans have done it before.

here's what i think: i think sarah palin has the republican base fired up, and rightly so.

  • she's as pro-life as you can get (not even in cases of incest or rape)
  • she wanted to ban books at the public library,
  • she delivers a heckuva bitter speech (for all her talk about bitter)
but i think sarah palin's speech last night was sorta like incredible, hot, sweaty (gay) sex when you're rip-roaring drunk (and gay.) it all seems unbelievable when it's happening...in the moment. but when you wake up the next day, you think, "what the F was that about?"

and seriously. what was that about?

tons of rhetoric, lots of slapdowns, but unbelievably short on substance. "i was a small town mayor earning $65,000 a year while you were a...pffft! community organizer!!?? (earning $13,000 a year a driving a beat up blue honda civic.) loser!!"

here's what else i think: democrats (and independents) are pretty damn smart. and the more you slap down our guy, the more you try to belittle him, or bully him, the more cynical and snide you become, the more hopeful and proud we will be. and the more pissed off we will get. and what happens when we get pissed off?

we vote.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

what we do in this country, part 2

"so then they put him in solitary confinement. for over two years. isolation. incredible heat. beating on a tin roof. a light bulb in his cell burning 24 hours a day. boarded up cell windows blocking any breath of fresh air. the oppressive heat causing boils the size of baseballs under his arms. the outside world limited to what he could see through a crack in the door...

...the guards cracked (his) ribs. broke teeth off at the gums. they cinched a rope around his arms and painfully drew back his shoulders. over four days, every two or three hours the beatings resumed. during one especially fierce beating he fell again breaking his arm. (he) was beaten for communicating with other prisoners, he was beaten for not communicating with so-called peace delegations, he was beaten for not given information during interrogations...

...for five and a half years this went on."
fred thompson
the republican national convention.

no, thompson was not talking about a prisoner a guantánamo bay. he was not talking about the torture practices of the bush/cheney administration.

but he could have been.