Occasional musings, Geistesblitze, photos, drawings etc. by a "resident alien", who has landed on American soil from a far-away planet called "Germany".

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Endgame: Hope vs. fear

The PUMA thread has far outlived its initial topic, but there seems to exist a real desire among some of my readers to continue a discussion of all things campaign-related. This, then, is the thread where we can do this.

170 comments:

Ulrich said...

Whenever the McCain campaign seems to have reached a level so low that it couldn't sink any lower, it responds with a resounding "Yes, we can!" Palin now appears willing to use the kind of language that could incite to violence the unhinged among her supporters.

The few moderate Republicans that were among my friends and acquaintances all have left the party by now over the Iraq war. I therefore have no personal contact with Republicans anymore. I wonder if there are any decent Republicans left who are also appalled and would be willing to speak out against this type of gutter campaign.

fikink said...

I applaud your issuing this invitation, Ulrich. I will be interested to hear some plausible reason, beyond personal greed and myopic isolationism to support McCain. One of my favorite conservatives was William F. Buckley, Jr. I wish he were still alive to comment on this race.

mac said...

Something odd is going on. I have received several emails from the McCain campaign, even after unsubscribing (odd term when you never subscribed) after the first. Also, today we received a piece of mail from Sarah Palin.

foodie said...

@Mac, do you think they're randomly broadening their efforts, or have gotten a hold of some new database?

Clearly, they're acting more and more desperate. And even though I have always been an Obama supporter, it makes me sad for John McCain, that he is letting himself be dragged down by the campaign process to be less than he can be. Here is someone whom I respected even though I did not agree with him. I used to think for example that it might be interesting to meet him. I'm really not so sure any more, and that is too bad. For someone who has taken so much pride in what he has done for his country, it must be hard to discover that people don't find you likable any longer. It's a big price to pay.

I really feel the republicans have miscalculated badly in this campaign. It was an uphill battle to start with, but the gimmicks, the Sarah Palin vice presidency, the "I'm suspending my campaign and going to save the country" and this latest wave of nasty attacks are being seen as signs of desperation by all but the most gullible... It's actually remarkable to be out there claiming that someone is friends with a terrorist, and still see his ratings go above yours...

So, Ulrich, I'm hopeful that the American people will actually make the right choice.

Ulrich said...

@foodie: If you look at this article, you may have second thoughts about meeting McCain personally. It seems clear by now that the undeservedly good press he enjoyed for a long time was based not so much on his real character, but on his careful cultivation of media relations (including the by now famous barbecue for tire swingers).

Ulrich said...

We have to keep another thing in mind when it comes to the electorate: the so-called Bradley factor (people claim in polls to be ready to vote for a black candidate, but cannot bring themsleves to do so in the booth). Conventional wisdom has it that a black candidate (in a predominantly white district/state) needs a lead of at least 4-5 points just to offset this factor. But nobody really knows how things stand w.r.t. Obama. I, for one, will not relax until election day.

Anonymous said...

@foodie - if John McCain had been serious in his comment "I'm suspending my campaign and going to save the country" or if Mr. Obama had agreed with that sentiment, it might have mattered to me. The bailout bill fiasco has turned me off to all politicians. I definitely thought it should have contained language supporting the non-speculative home buyers that are really getting squeezed in this mess. Something like, the federal government will provide assistance to homeowners unable to pay their mortgages by lending them the funds that they need to meet their monthly payment. When they sell their house, the loan will be repaid with an appropriate amount of interest (refunded to the taxpayers who supported them of course). Am I naive? Seems like a reasonable idea to me, though neither candidate will espouse it.

Having trouble getting Google blogger to recognize me,

imsdave

Ulrich said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ulrich said...

@dave: There was definitely a group of Democrats advocating a "bottom-up" plan; even the Dem. leaders wanted to allow judges to modify the terms of predatory leases (it may also have one of Obama's five points). But the Republicans were totally against this, and it never made it into the law.

I'm pretty convinced that it would have been much better if both candidates had stayed completely out of the negotiations--so as to avoid any campaign-induced politicization (sp?). But that became impossible with McCain's "stunt", which was never serious b/c a) he did not suspend his campaign; and b) he didn't really contribute anything to the proposal--it was all pure window-dressing.

fikink said...

Ulrich, my current nightmare is that the voting process, itself, (registration, computers, voting machines) will be hacked. I share Barack's superstitions (don't count your chickens...) and grow more anxious as Nov. 4 approaches. What WILL we do if McCain is elected?
Re: the Bradley factor, I think the kids are underpoled and immune to the Bradley effect. They have grown up with black, Hispanic, gay and Jewish friends, male and female. I am banking on them (viva la!)
@foodie, shake your daughter's hand for me for the good work she is doing in the Republican enclaves.
@imsdave, I hear you! We were just lucky we built our home when we did (2002) just BEFORE everything started going up and when the interest rate was at a low. I don't remember if "nothing-down" mortgages were even available then. But Brother Dit just moved into a new house in St. Louis last year and he is now seeing for sale signs on his neighbors' lawns and his house is worth less than he put into it and he is trying to retire. A real bummer!

Ulrich said...

My question as to moderate Republicans protesting against the tactics used bt the McCain campaign has been answered yesterday positively on several occasions, the most remarkable being an article by Chris Buckley, brought to my attention by fikink via gmail--thanks, Deborah!

This article also answers a question I posed a while ago in the PUMA thread, namely, if there will be "Obama Republicans". Buckley outs himself as one--amazing!

ArtLvr said...

I have mixed feelings about Chris Buckley -- not easy to follow a famous father, let alone two admirals in the family as McCain had -- but I'm glad he came out for Obama.

My one encounter with Wm Buckley was quite memorable in that he was debating Norman Thomas at Yale -- Buckley got booed when was losing the arguments and resorted to ad hominem attacks. Imagine that!

Note: tonight (Sat.) at 8 on CNN Dr. Gupta is supposed to give more detail on McCain's medical records.

foodie said...

Ulrich, thanks for the link to Chris Buckley's endorsement. I don't love the way he writes (too jaunty for my taste, with all the dear old dad stuff), but I like the way he lays out his logic. In a way, I was saying the same thing about McCain, that first and foremost,he has let himself down. I did read the material you pointed to about his bad temper, which is of course famous. Somehow, though I do not admire it by any stretch, I've cut him a lot of slack because being a prisoner of war for years on end has to take a toll on one's personality. During times of such adversity, if you cannot allow yourself to be depressed you have to find some other tool, and anger is a common one. Some people, like Mandela, are truly unusual, though I don't know the details of the two situations. But I cannot accept McCain lowering his moral standards, and participating or approving the kind of behavior that his campaign has promoted.

I do hope that the momentum continues for Obama, because this job requires both character and intelligence, and since I have been in this country, I have not seen a president or candidate with a better combination of both qualities. America is full of amazing people and I've always wondered why we don't choose our best and brightest to lead us. May be we have a chance this time around.

@finink, I passed your kudos on to my daughter and she thanks you!

Ulrich said...

@Madam Foodie: I should have added my admiration to fikink's for what your daughter is doing, but as they say: Better late than never.

I so hope that all of this work will pan out in the end b/c it means there is a whole new generation of politically engaged, rational citizens in the making with first-hand experience in political action. I can't even imagine how frustrating and morale-sapping it would be if the other side wins inspite of all of this effort.

foodie said...

Thank you Ulrich!

You know I asked this question of Katie (my daughter)-- what if he loses? And she said that no matter what, history has already changed. She said Obama is young, and he will run again, and the fact that he has gotten this far is beyond anyone's dreams. And the process has already changed her generation.

One more tidbit while I'm on this.. Katie makes two kinds of calls. One kind is to recruit volunteers from the local community for neighborhood events, door to door canvassing and helping get out the voters on election day (there are a lot of elderly and disabled people who for example had never thought of absentee ballots); and the other kind is more content based-- e.g. calling voters and asking what questions they have about the issues, candidate positions, etc. She says while she tells people she's from the Obama campaign, she never tells them how to vote. She tries to give accurate information and explain why she has chosen to work for Obama, but leaves it up to them to decide. And oftentimes, she tries to help with their specific problem, like explaining how they can contact their senators or representatives about a specific issue, or how to access other types of resources. So, the idea is to really listen to people, give them information and help if possible, and they can conclude what they wish about Obama vs. McCain.

So, you're absolutely right that this is a whole new generation. Not only engaged, but more sophisticated, thoughtful and compassionate. I'm grateful to Obama for seeing the potential of young people and letting them make a difference and be proud of it. Like you, I hope their efforts pay off.

Ulrich said...

I have never participated in canvassing by telephone (I assume my accent will turn people off) but my wife has in connection with the Lamont against Lieberman campaign here in Ct, and she found it frustrating. She was assigned blue-collar Democrats and ran into a wall of resentment. They did not want to listen, not b/c of any issues, but b/c of what they believed were the people who supported Lamont, i.e. the better-educated and better-off, who were summarily referred to as "Socialists" or "Communists", a particularly ridiculous charge given that Lamont is a self-made millionaire. I wonder if Katie has run into the same kind of problem (which, of course, manifests itself in the most virulent form in the Palin rallies).

mac said...

Desperation seems to be setting in among the McCain followers - I'm glad the guy who spread the silly emails about Obama causing the economic crisis was found out.
It's surely a sign of my Angst that my first thought when hearing that the markets abroad were up, was that this might benefit McCain.....
Yesterday I was shopping for linens at Bloomingdale's in NYC, and you certainly couldn't tell that people were worried.... Especially the second floor, the young fashion section, was packed with people. I guess they, or their parents, still have jobs.

fikink said...

Re: the "Socialist" charges, evidently old smears die hard:
http://www.prospect.org/cs/articles?article=is_john_lewis_right_after_all

Ulrich said...

@fikink: Thx. This is a very illuminating article with stuff I didn't know before.

mac said...

I have to admit that last week, when Palin and McCain were going on about Obama's connection to Ayres(sp?), I actually said that it made me think of the McCarthyist period, where every thought, written phrase and connection was seen as treason.

ArtLvr said...

Amazing bit on TV last night, about the possible copycat wrong-doing of Sen. Ted Stevens' -- not having reported work worth a quarter of a million on his cabin as gifts/income -- by none other than Sarah Barracuda and First Dude in building their new Wassilla home!

Wassilla apparently doesn't require building permits, etc., only a form attesting to completion. However, a reporter tracked down the contractors of record on the building of the Wassilla stadium and found that the main one was the builder involved with Stevens as well as the Palin's new lakeside place. The timing was such that the latter was done just a couple of months before the overly-expensive stadium contract work began. Also, the architect of record was the son of Sarah's political mentor!

Wonderfully cozy. It's too bad there isn't much time left for a full investigation into this windfall for the supposedly modest income level of the Palin family!

Ulrich said...

@artlvr: Aside from this deal being one more instance of the total hypocrisy of that clan, it boggles my (architect's) mind to learn that building permits are no longer required in that Alaskan paradise.

The highlight of MSNBC last night, to me, was Rachel not giving in when David Frum's attempted to equate the negativity of the McCain campaign with that of the Obama campaign (and hers). And she does this with style and humor on top of being as sharp as a tack (you really have to be able to think fast on your feet if you encounter an unexpected attack on live TV)--Frum, in the end, looked like a complete jerk, to me, at least.

ArtLvr said...

Ulrich -- I don't think it's necessarily true of all Alaska, but might have been only Wassilla, or even unincorporated land outside the town limits. (?)

I agree that Rachel's instant comeback last night was highly impressive -- so glad she got the recognition she deserves, with her own show! At least we'll only have to put up with daily doses of sleaze from the Republican campaign for three more weeks.... Furthermore, if the outcome of the election means McCain/Palin will be running things, I may look into emigrating to Canada, or ? (somewhere else!) Enough is enough...

fikink said...

Rachel certainly made me proud last night! I watched it unfold and was delighted that she kept her voice level and her response keen. She has been a member of my personal intellectual pantheon for some time now. I can't believe that she is on television.

Ulrich said...

@artlvr: By "Alaskan paradise", I meant Wasilla. BTW I got my first Alaska state quarters today--the design is quite good: A grizzly hunting salmon is the main motiv.

@fikink: I'm so glad some sharp TV exec figured out that liberals form a sizable demographic, and one with money to boot--a very attractive target group for commercials (their number got completely out of hand during Countdown last night--I walked off in disgust).

mac said...

I watched Rachel with pride as well last night! What a rude man this Frum is.
@Ulrich: what is your last paragraph to Fikink about? I've been away and not chained to the tv and the computer for a day or two.....

Ulrich said...

@mac: I felt that during Countdown, the commercials were taking over--it felt as if they occupied 60% of air time. But my larger point is that some TV execs seem to have discovered liberals as an attractive (in a business sense, which is key in private TV!) audience, and that makes me happy.

mac said...

@ulrich: now you mention it, I also noticed that Keith kept disappearing, even after a barrage of ads. I think you are right, MSNBC has figured out it is profitable to be the counterpoint to Fox...

ArtLvr said...

The excessive commercials last night may have been a try at making up for lost ad time during the debate tonight? Just a thought.

The news about McCain's "transition team" head having been a lobbyist for Saddam in the '90s was an eye-opener, to say the least. "GOP" sounds like Greedy Oily Pals. Palin fits right in too, boasting of a natural gas pipeline under construction when the contracts haven't even been finalized yet.

Palin's blatant claim that she was cleared of both legal and ethical abuse of power just emphasizes her compulsion to lie, even in the face of truth. If there's one thing we don't need, it's more outright lies by governnent leaders after eight years of lies! It would be great if the Alaskan legislature would act to censure their Gov. on the basis of the report finding that Palin violated the State Ethics Code!

Note that Cheney is having more heart trouble -- and he's five years younger than McCain! I hope the voters will end up deciding McCain is just too old to start a new and highly demanding job, if nothing else sways them. And he's not only erratic, he was never as bright as Obama -- finished 5th from the bottom in his Naval Academy class of nearly 600... Too weak a reed to depend on as a President, and his poor judgment is vividly shown by his choice of Palin and the rest of his entouarge.

Please excuse me for preaching to the choir? ∑;(

ArtLvr said...

P.S. One more point not well covered: the Iraq War. Obama has the better point there on getting out a.s.a.p., not just because of the cost. I saw a TV interview with Gen. Sir Michael Rose (Brit., ret.) and he said the US really cannot stay on alone. The Brits are withdrawing from the Basra area, where they essentially had our back. We can't make up the difference ourselves. We've hardly anything left of the original coalition, and are over-extended with our exhausted forces forced into more tours of duty than they can stand. Bush is negotiating from weakness now and everyone knows it except McCain and Palin, who still cry out for victory, pouring shame on Obama's realism.

fikink said...

Ulrich, after this is all over and once we are assured that we might escape with our lives and livelihoods by putting Obama and Biden in charge, maybe we should put our heads together and figure out just how it has evolved that intellect, philosophy and introspection is so lacking in our politics. This is hell!
(ok, girding up to watch this last debate - ugh!)

Ulrich said...

@fikink: This is one the pitbull hunter's favorite topics--she thinks Hofstadter's Anti-Intellectualism in American Life is a good start for a discussion. I think it's a splendid idea to talk about this in November (although I won't be able to contribute more than a few anecdotes).

mac said...

@fikink, deborah, girding up is right! During the last debate I realised how tense I was, all my muscles were taut - this is not healthy! And they have been at it for almost 2 years. I don't know any other Western, or civilized, nation that will allow that. In Holland we have very strict rules about advertisement: all parties (and there are many) have exactly the same amount of time on tv. No voter is ever asked for money. I had a pleasant surprise this afternoon, I was called by the Fairfield Democratic party, who wanted to know who I would vote for in the election, didn't ask for money and thanked me very pleasantly.

I'm tensing up already - hope Obama does well. I'm sure he is well prepared!

@ulrich: anti-intellectualism has been a real issue for a long time in the US and it is showing its ugly face in many areas, most prominently in the declining educational levels. It's very sad.

fikink said...

Goodness, your and Frau Hunter's conversations sound so much like Mr. Fikink and me here on the prairie! I swear the Internet was invented for us - just in time. It is so nice to know that others lose sleep over this. Tell Frau Flemming we are checking out Hofstadter's book and thank her for the recommendations, please!
(Can you tell I am still preparing myself for this debate? I hope you saw the Batman vs. The Penguin debate which Olberman aired tonight.)

fikink said...

@mac, Marion, we were posting at the same time and I hadn't read yours until just this moment.
That IS a nice experience! A dear friend of mine went to Fairfield University and runs the campus bookstore at Wash U. She has wonderful tales to tell, having just worked the VP debate two weeks ago - and she always speaks lovingly of her school days in Fairfield! Looking forward to hearing them all when she comes north for a visit soon.

mac said...

@fikink: I'm very involved with Fairfield University and especially their Open Visions Forum. Lots of fantastic speakers and some not so much..... (Bill O'Reilly certainly wasn't better than on Fox....)
@artlvr: Keith just commented on the advertisement last night, apparently it was a contest between him an O'Reilly and Keith won! Ulrich, and everybody, let's be patient with the ads.....

ArtLvr said...

Final debate -- McCain doing his personal attacks, and Obama is speaking calmly to the details. Good! Obama is making his points very clearly. Hurray! He also speaks deliberately to who is currently on his advisory board. McCain is still coming back with lies.... old lies.

As to V.P. candidates, McCain is getting excited about Palin, too cutesy re Sarah and First Dude. McCain is saying Biden had cockamanie ideas on the first Iraq war, etc. Ha. He was probably right about setting up three countries, in retrospect!

McCain thinks more nuclear power is doable in 7 to 10 years -- most experts say 20. Mccain speaks of clean coal -- that's a stretch. Cleaner is still not totally clean.

Trade agreements -- Obama is right about getting fairer terms. Retraining is not sufficient answer. McCain thinks Mexico is on board with the drug traffic, not so much.

Obama's overall goal of more efficient transport is important. McCain zips back to Herbert Hoover, non-sequitor.

Job layoffs and the link to loss of health insurance -- Obama wants delay on immediate loss, plus making the system more attuned to prevention. McCain trying the "Obama will fine you" line again, Obama refutes with details, even handling McCain's "Joe the Plumber" tie-in with fluency! McC tosses in Big Government bugaboo... plus "privatization" (just like privatization of Soc. Sec.)

Oho -- Supreme Court nominees? McCain refers to the "Nuclear Option" which led to Senate's forced compromise in glowing terms. It was blackmail at the time! Obama speaks to separation of church and state, while McCain believes states should be able diverge from national standard Roe v. Wade!
McCain favors ban of "partial birth abortion" without exception, and says "mother's health" consideration is meaningless, just a ruse! Obama says teen education has to include birth control.

Obama -- National security depends of getting the education system up to snuff as well as economic recovery. McCain -- likes setting up competing charter schools, less certification for teachers. Obama -- Bush education bills were underfunded. He makes a good example of McCain's lack of priority for public education. McCain defends Bush in the poor execution of "No Child Left Behind" as just a first try -- wrong! It was a paring back of prior programs. McCain wants vouchers (again), Obama wants a more comprehensive overhaul...

In sum: McCain --America wants a new direction. (He should stop there.) He says he has the record and also the new ideas. He wants to be of service. Obama -- We need change that is fundamental, including growing the middle class and a spirit of sacrifice and service from everyone.

Rachel -- grabbed the ridicule of McCain for life of the mother concerns as a crucial mistake. Also eye rolling and facial grimaces, growing exasperation and interruptions. Obama was best ever!

mac said...

It's so odd: my husband and I watched it together, thought Obama clearly won and seemed so much smarter and well-spoken, but didn't see this big difference in this debate that the people polled seemed to see. I'm very happy, I guess they are really listening.
Thanks artlvr for this run-down, very helpful and very accurate.
Bottom line: the Supreme Court.

Ulrich said...

Even a Martini did not relax me enough to discuss this debate calmly. So, let me report this: Frau Hunter said something very interesting this afternoon when we talked about the apparent unflappability of Obama. She has met successful African Americans in various positions and was often struck by this seemingly unshakable poise. She believes that this is a trait they had to develop in order to succeed in a culture that knowingly or unknowingly may have insulted them.

Ulrich said...

@fikink: This is what Frau Hunter suggested when I told her about the planned discussion: "Another book pertinent to the discussion is Russell Jacoby's The Last Intellectuals, who explains, partially at least, how and why intellectuals dug their own grave. Please note, though, that both Jacoby's and Hofstadter's books are dated. Still, they provide a lot of insight."

@all who expressed an interest in Dia/Beacon: A few days ago, the NYT had a write-up.

Ulrich said...

Dia addendum (pardon the thread drift, but a little relief may be welcome!): On our recent visit, we discovered by accident that south of Beacon on Route 9D in Garrison is Manitoga - The Russell Wright Design Center. Russell Wright is my favorite American designer of ceramic kitchen ware (he did other stuff, too)--I collect his stuff to the degree that I can afford it. What I didn't know is that Manitoga is the house he designed for himself and his wife on a large wooded tract that had suffered tremendously through human exploitation and that he let grow back to a natural state. It's now a design center open to the public. It was closed when we hiked up to it on a Sunday, but it's on my list of things to visit before the fall is over--it should be gorgeous amidst the tress!

mac said...

I collect teapots and own a Russell Wright one! I admire his simple lines and earthy colors. I have to make note of Manitoga and visit when we next go to the Dia.

ArtLvr said...

The anti-intellectual thing is a sore point with me! When first starting out in academia, my ex was on the faculty at what was Cal State LA, part of the second-tier system which I believe was renamed California State Universities, totally distinct from the University of California system. The latter has its own Board of Trustees and much more autonomy... insulated from political control.

Thus when then-Gov. Ronald Reagan was so furious about the student demonstrations at U.C. Berkeley, he could not retaliate -- so he cut the salaries of the "pinko" faculty in the Cal State system mid-year to punish them, and got away with it! Thee John Birch Society and their ilk were delighted. His Calif. Supreme Court held that our contracts were not valid and the Gov. could slash our pay in the middle of the school year if he so chose. Totally irrational and unfair -- our students were never involved, a good many older than normal college age etc., but nobody stood up for us including the legislature.

Needless to say, we left as soon as we could, as did many others. How to wreck years of good academic development with one fit of pique! You can't rebuild something like that without years more effort, if ever. Typical Republican hypocrisy.

ArtLvr said...

I loved the roast last night, with both Obama and McCain showing a lighter side with grace. It reminds us that the Senate tradition of civility is one of our most worthwhile... Too bad McCain did not hew to that line in the rest of his campaign, despite all his years as a member of that body!

Ulrich said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ulrich said...

@mac: If you plan to visit Manitoga, you should call them first. It appears to be a very small outfit that itsn't open all the time.

@artlvr: I agree with you about the roast. Needless to say, I found Obama more appealing in his delivery when he chuckled over his own jokes--made him look human. McCain's smiles looked again strained most of the time. But still, what a difference!

As to the Reagan episode: It's an early indication of the vindictive streak in the Republican Party, which has come out in full force in the Bush Adminstration (with all those Evangelical good Christians on board!). When you cross them, they go after you, and if they can't get you, they go after your family--remember Valerie Plame?

ArtLvr said...

Yes, Ulrich -- It's been dire since the Nixon days, the Enemies lists and the belief of Cheney/W that they are rulers above the law. I just thought I'd mention Reagan because he's generally held up as such a wonderful guy, never mind his feet of clay with the arming of Contras in direct defiance of the prohibition by Congress, etc. Let's hope we can undo the recent damage to the Supreme Court too in the years ahead! Horrid, haunting legacy...

fikink said...

Seeing McCain's deft delivery of funny lines last night had the perverse effect of making me thankful he has run such a nasty campaign. Had he been his "charming" self, he might have been better able to mask his underlying moral bankruptcy.
Election Day be swift!

miriam b said...

I think I met Richard Hofstadter as a really little kid while visiting Marxist friends in NY.

I have quite a cache of Russel Wright pottery inherited from an aunt who was a sculptor. It really is beautiful. I use it only when entertaining responsible non-klutzy guests.

As to the subject at hand: I wish I were more politically astute, and it's high time I worked on becoming better informed. I used to call myself apolitical, but that's not a Good Thing these days.

My ignorance is not complete; I'm not saying the equivalent of "I don't know much about art, but I know what I like." I am, however, absorbing what I can from you "guys". The depth and breadth of your political knowledge is most impressive.

Good night. fellow insomniacs.

mac said...

So many impressions and pieces of information every day.... Every time someone mentions Reagan and Bush Sr. as such good, decent guys I think of the Iran/Contra situation. I wasn't very interested and involved in politics at the time, what with having no right to vote yet and a small child and many, many moves, but I remember very clearly thinking that these men broke the law, didn't consult Congress! They should have been impeached, and for much more serious reasons than a snog with an ambitious California intern.

In addition to that, in his campaign, Reagan used many sort of hidden racist codewords to "energize the base".

I just heard that the Obama campaign is requesting an inquiry in the connection between the Republican campaign and the White House in regard to the voter fraud they are trying to pin on the Democrats. I always wondered about all those ballots in one sort of handwriting - doesn't sound like a Democrat, does it? Too dumb.
Sorry for the rant, I'm just, as usual, too upset about the gullibility of too many people. There seems to be a lack of intellectual integrity even among quite bright people.

fikink said...

@mac, snog is a good xword puzzle word - have you seen it on any?

mac said...

@fikink: didn't we see it just recently? I have to say that when I lived in England and heard it used in the tv-shows, it sounded like a bit more than a kiss.

Ulrich said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ArtLvr said...

That's neat, Ulrich -- Hope it goes well! I played cello too when young, never a first chair though.

For those who missed the roast the other night, it will be repeated on MSNBC at 5 p.m. today (Sat.), and Palin is supposed to appear on Saturday Night Live... Maybe Hollywood will make her an offer she can't refuse? That would be nice! Her lakeside home with dock and float planes outside Wasilla is supposed to be worth at least a half million. How did they afford that, just two years ago? Working class, my foot! And they didn't pay all the taxes they should have, either...

ArtLvr said...

Happy Sunday... Colin Powell has endorsed Sen. Obama, saying the Republican Party has become too narrow, that we include Arabs as patriotic citizens who have given their lives for this country and we need a leader who speaks for all... Hurrah!

Powell's full statements will be on MSNBC again later today, and should help Obama win over many old-time conservatives who deplore the flagrant racism of the McCain campaign. Fingers crossed...

mac said...

I was so happy with Powell's statement, I had tears in my eyes! He is a brave man, I can just imagine the flack he is going to get for this....

My husband, just for fun, checked out Fox headlines a minute ago: Obama's huge fundraising proves that elections can be bought!

miriam b said...

I'm so thrilled by Powell's endorsement and its almost certain positive results that I feel as if I've won some sort of lottery. I agree, mac, that Powell will be roundly criticized for this act of courage.

Ulrich said...

Much to catch up with--BTW I got my niece's instrument wrong: she plays the viola. It was really thrilling to see 15-19 year-olds forming a really credible orchestra. They ended with the Enigma Variations by Elgar and handled them with great aplomb--no hint of amateurishness.

@mac and miriam b re. Wright: Yes, the "organic", simple lines are positively seductive. I'm envious of Miriam's collection. The bulk of mine comes from a deal a store offered in Pittsburgh a decade ago: 20 pieces for $45. Together with a teapot, sugar and cream containers bought separately, I could serve tea for four. The shops around Pittsburgh were filled with his stuff--haven't found anything here in CT. I'm still looking for the tall and slender pitcher (haven't found one in a color yet that I like)--I do have what I call the "brooding hen" pitcher--the very first Russell Wright I bought and the occasion when I discovered him.

Back to politics: I, too, am thrilled by the Powell endorsement, while increasingly concerned about the narrowing of the gap in polls. With all the racial ugliness surfacing, I'm again worried about the Bradley effect.

Ulrich said...

Re. voter suppression: Here's a historical perspective--it turns out, it goes back to southern Dems after the Civil War and is now alive and well with the other guys.

miriam b said...

Ulrich, I've been worried about the Bradley effect from the outset.

Don't envy my Russel Wright collection too much. I have a number of salt and pepper shakers, a covered casserole, various serving pieces and a gorgeous big green platter. I don't have the capabilities of serving tea or lunch. I don't know whether my aunt had any plates - a mystery which will remain unsolved.

The concert sounded wonderful. One of my daughters is a pretty good violinist. I always got a thrill out of hearing her perform in high school. She's a busy mother of three now and a teacher of young autistic children, but she plays occasionally for pleasure. BTW, she's an alumna of Hofstra University, scene of that last debate.

ArtLvr said...

Congrats to your niece, Ulrich, and to Miriam's daughter too! I've often thought that if I could come back in another life, I'd opt to be a great violin. The right player would find me... Bliss!

mac said...

I'm a little tired after planning, preparing and serving a real Sunday dinner, and I'm also already worried about the backlash on Colin Powell's endorsement. The ugliness started almost immediately with Pat Buchanan. He, the Republican voice of reason, has been irate since Sarah Palin was instated by McCain. When Powell was speaking, I told my husband that much would be made of the fact that a black ex-secretary of state would endorse a black candidate. Here we go.....

ArtLvr said...

@ mac -- I agree! I've always been surprised that Pat Buchanan has been included on as many panels as he has. He just gets worse year by year, continually interrupting and shouting down other commenters. He was in full ridiculous rant last night! Time to retire him.

Ulrich said...

I'm for letting Buchanan stay on, for the same reasons that I'm happy that Bill Kristol is commenting in the NY Times. Whe I first learned that he would be a regular op-ed contributor, I was appalled--but then I read the first idiotic piece of his, and I thought, "How brilliant of the Times--let him hang himself (fig. speaking) week after week in front of as many people has possible." I, at least, think now that he is genuinely stupid. Listening to Buchanan has a similar effect on me--let the world know again and again how ridiculous these guys are!

ArtLvr said...

Ulrich, it's a good thought -- but on the panels everyone else gets drowned out as Buchanan loudly repeats himself. Maybe viewers will indeed see the racist lurking, as when he pooh-poohed the Powell endorsement, saying "hey, it's only a black guy backing another black guy." No respect.

Limbaugh says the same: "it's totally about race."

Thank goodness Powell laid out all his reasons, and they will be rebroadcast and hashed over in detail...

mac said...

I just read today's comments and typed out a response to Evil Doug after his selfrighteous one, but I decided not to feed the troll and deleted it.... You could actually, with Alaska and "gotcha" in it, see this puzzle as a shout-out to the Republicans!
Morning Joe confirmed all my fears, now Colin Powell is going to be attacked savagely by them.

Ulrich said...

@mac: You did the right thing--unless you do it ironically, which I'm still considering, i.e. with mock, exaggerated agreement. But DNFTT will probabaly win, in the end, b/c I've learned that irony is always misunderstood by some: Did you know that Swift was attacked for his Modest Proposal by people who thought he was serious?

mac said...

@ulrich: I'm surprised Rex hasn't deleted the post yet. I thought it was quite offensive. And you are so right, irony doesn't always translate in a comment....

ArtLvr said...

@ mac -- My sympathies too! "Feeding the troll" is a neat expression... I'll have to keep it in mind, when moved to meow. People like Evil D are scratch-proof -- I correspond now and then with a client in Florida who voted for W because he liked Laura, and now he thinks Palin is cute. Cute!

(Sorry, but "think" is the wrong word.) He should have had to live in another country, back in the day, but as is he's just as lacking in understanding the real world as W... After Katrina, he thought New Orleans should just be abandoned, etc., not with irony! So you can unload here, and many thanks again to Ulrich for providing the forum to share. ∑;)

Ulrich said...

@artlvr: scratchproof is the word: I just got off a masochistic exercise I get trapped in occasionally, when I click through comments on blogs that do not self-select with a liberal bias: The level of uninformedness, or the even more astounding readiness to vote for someone based on the most spurious of attributes, on the part of the McCain supporters is positively mind-blowing. Our friend evel dog actually is a case in point: There was not a single issue-related barb. The closest he got was the "inexperience" of Obama--duh! Is that worse than the "experience" of a guy making (almost) always the wrong decision?

ArtLvr said...

Hi again -- Such a shame that Obama needs to suspend campaigning for a few days to go to Hawaii because of his 86-year-old grandmother's very serious decline in health...

I was cleaning out my desktop accunulation and an across this:

William Jefferson Clinton quotation -- "There can be no Them in America, there's only Us."

It was the theme of crossword = dr081003.puz
and I just wondered if anyone knew where and when it was said? Wish Bill would get out there and say it again! So very sorely needed at this point!

ArtLvr said...

p.s. -- Google says the quotation was from an Inaugural Address. I didn't check whether it was Bill Clinton's first or second...

mac said...

I want Bill back....
I think I was most incensed by ED's comment on Hillary. I jumped on my husband's words this evening when he said "the Clintons" instead of Hillary Clinton when talking about Obama's opponent in the primaries. I tell you, the Republicans have a point, when you repeat something often enough it will be come true to some of the people.
Again, I'm surprised Rex didn't delete ED's comment. Incredible that we were berated for talking politics!

mac said...

@ulrich: I was just thinking of your comment on other blog sites on politics. I think it is scary how many basically illiterate people are spouting their venom on some of them. A friend of mine told me to check out WOWOWOW; I don't read it on a daily basis, but it is a lot more intelligent than most.

mac said...

A possitive post: just found out that our son went to an Obama rally in New Delhi and voted for him!

Ulrich said...

@mac: You can't mean New Delhi, India, or do you? That's where my avatar actually comes from--well, more the Old Delhi, but close enough!

mac said...

I do, and it's where we will be celebrating Christmas this year!

ArtLvr said...

Wow -- very interesting, mac! I hope you (and we) will have an Obama victory to celebrate too....

Nightmare episodes on Rachel's show tonight and not just Palin repeating her plans for running the Senate, according to the "flexibilty" she thinks the Constitution affords her! No, it was mainly the depressing Robt. F Kennedy Jr. interview in which he described the scope of actual voter suppression engineered by the GOP.

Tens of thousands of voters are already legally disenfranchised, including a projection of nearly 20% of new voters' registrations in swing-state Colorado alone because the information may not be a "perfect match" with other documents used as ID. In his own case, he said his would be rejected if one paper presented said "Robert F. Kennedy" and another had "Robert Francis Kennedy, Jr."

In other cases, the machines in largely Democratic precincts are older and more likely to be faulty. Even new machines have been shown to record a vote for GOP candidates although the voter had pressed a screen on a slate line saying Democrat. A paper trail is not even required in some states!

Since 2000, statewide control of elections was removed from the traditionally bipartisan local boards and handed over to each state's Secretary of State -- thus institutionalizing a partisan bias. The Florida scenario, where Kathleen Harris put a stop to the recount in 2000, has been promoted across the country where Republlicans hold sway at the state level.

Bottom line -- the potential for deliberate GOP fraud is greater than ever this year, even though the main perpetrators of these changes, such as Abramoff, are currently in jail for other offenses.

ArtLvr said...

p.s. Another nightmare took on greater detail tonight, as Bush has failed in negotiating with Iraqis (from weakness, as noted above). The UN sanction for our presence in Iraq expires at the end of December. Bush is walking away, from the mess there and in Afghanistan and also from the required closing down of the Guantanamo prison, leaving it all to the next Pres. to clear up belatedly.

Meanwhile, in the last six weeks Palin has been the smug recipient of roughly $150,000 of tax-payers' money furnished by the RNC for clothing, styling etc. at Neiman's, Macy's et al. She also got travel money to take her family to scheduled events where they were not invited, and was seen to alter receipts to make sure all expenses are deductible. We knew she was "ethically challenged" anyway... but egads, how quick and blatant and extensive the grab! Stunning too, her refusal to make public her medical records with only two weeks until the election! Too busy appearing on SNL? Eerie world in which she lives and gets her way in everything.

Ulrich said...

Yes, the interview with Robert Kennedy was very sobering. The silver lining: If Obama gets elected, he has a Democratic Congress, and together, they will be able to give the power back to the election boards.

fikink said...

Yes, Ulrich, keep the faith.
After all these polls showing Obama's lead and the enthusiasm of the early voters, I think if Obama does not win this election, evidence of fraud will be concluded and this country will see an uprising that will make the Vietnam protests pale. (That is what I am hearing from all my old "pinko" hippie friends and the "kids," anyway.)

mac said...

I had to comment this afternoon when Rex stated the "NYers love themselves to death". I bite my tongue most of the time, but this was too much.

Ulrich said...

@fikink: After retirement, I lost contact with the "kids", and my old pinko hippie friends are retired in Germany. So, I'm out of touch, and what you tell me about the level of political involvement and passion of these patriotic Americans is as new to me as it encouraging, to say the least. Thx.

@mac: Perhaps we should take it as a tease--I have the feeling that the New Yorkers I know would be able to live with it.

mac said...

@ulrich: it feels gratuitous, and not very nice. I consider myself a NYer, and I felt offended. Sorry, but there are many times that I don't like Rex's tone, but I bite my tongue. This time it was over the line.

fikink said...

@mac, count your blessings, you are in "cultured" Connecticut. A lot of people think that the arts and intelligent culture are localized on the East and West coasts of this country and the middle of the country is devoid of intellect.
Okay by me. I am not interested in seeing this "culture" in my wildlife refuge.
Ulrich, didn't you say the frau is from Kansas?

mac said...

@fikink: you're in a wildlife refuge? Sounds great to me. Love animals, any animals, and have taken care of much flora for many years. Rex is located not too far from here, he has no reason to be this defensive (offensive).
What do you mean by being not interesting in seeing culture in your wildlife refuge?

fikink said...

mac, we maintain acreage as a wildlife habitat for turkey, quail, pheasants, deer, et. al., (the other day, Mr. F saw a mink) under the Conservation Reserve Program (USDA); we plant food plots for said wildlife; engage in water and soil conservation; and do not allow hunting on said property (I am told a former governor of Iowa, Branstad, hunted these woods).
We have thought about a wind farm, but are told that the turbines scare the wildlife. We are interested in leaving a legacy of land stewardship, and I agree with Obama - this is question of morality.
Re: not wanting culture on my property, the better word is "civilization." I was saying I am fine being thought of as a rube. Reminds me of the rush to California in the 70s. I believe the old residents of California called it "Californication."

mac said...

@fikink, even though we are so close to "civilization", we try to do the same thing. Ten acres may not sound like very much to you, but around here that's 4 - 5 prime building lots, and we let the deer roam, the turkeys multiply and enjoy feeding the birds. I've had to chase away guys in funny, feathery suits with power bows and arrows, who had been allowed by former owners to hunt the animals.
We've only cultivated a little bit of land right around our house, the rest gets cut once or twice a year (I say once, husband says twice.....) and is fair game for the wild life. It's great to see the deer come back to where they were born.
And this under the smoke of NY!

fikink said...

mac, that is totally cool in my book. I really think we are blessed and possibly the last generation of such a life choice. Who can complain if their alarm clock is a flock of geese flying overhead?

mac said...

@fiking and ulrich: I think this last conversation on this blog and Rex's (I'm taking all the blame now) was an example of being hurt or incensed by the way someone puts something in an email or other internet exchange; you have got to be so careful.....

foodie said...

@mac, actually your exchange with Rex was kinda funny, so I would not worry about it. And crosscan was good as he got it going into another direction.
I'd like to ask Rex offline sometime, unless he reads this, whether he has a conscious philosophy about the management of his blog, or whether he relies mostly on his gut instinct. There are things that he does that I sometimes wonder about, and then come to see their wisdom -- e.g. the number of posts, when he argues back and when he does not, etc.

On a different front, thank you Ulrich for the link to the Russel Wright site. Boy, I know and love a lot of these designs but never knew they emanated from one designer, and how early in the 20th century he came up with them! I can see why you really like him.

ArtLvr said...

Hi all -- Mac, your rebuke to Rex probably rolled off his back, really! He does like to be King of his Blog, to toss off teases now and again (tongue in cheek), to see who bites, etc. At first it amazed me that he teaches about comic books (!) but who knows what goes, these days.. With all the quirks and pop-culture stuff, it's still good that he's so motivated to blog every day -- and we get to meet a fascinating group of people who'd otherwise have been unknown to us.

Somehow I'm not getting as much done as I should, but with the election distraction and the economy woes there's not the incentive for me to be more productive! Just glad to chat and hear about other peoples' concerns -- from trips and cultural interests to wildlife conservation. Bravo to you and Deb for your care in looking after your ecological niches, a passion I share too.

∑;)

Ulrich said...

@fikink: If you mean meine Frau, she's third-generation Italo-American (there are thousands here in CT) from North Haven, first generation PhD.

@fikink and mac: Against youse guys, our 3 acres appear measly. But they do abut a larger piece of woods, which hosts deer that love everything we plant, it seems. The woods are mainly a fount of stray cats that wander into our backyard to get adopted.

Re. Russell Wright: Once the election is over, I'll start a thread to discuss why this (and similar) stuff, which is as good as any modern design by Europeans, never became popular over a longer period and a broader range of people in this country. But until then, please hold your fire--I'm really interested and can't concentrate on it right now, with new tales of horror from the McCain campaign coming in on a daily basis.

ArtLvr said...

Ulrich, I don't suppose you saw the send-up of Palin's 18 K per week wardrobe this morning, but it was a suprise to find it on CNN news. Photos showed the range of the "fashionista's" clothing from various recent rallies, plus a shot of a small daughter toting a $700 handbag by Louis Vuitton, with the charitable speculation that she was probably carrying it for her mother...

The RNC is at least doing the right thing by cutting off funding for all last ads and other expenses of incumbent Rep. Michelle Bachmann of MN, after her weird rant last Friday demanding a "media expose" of which members of Congress are anti-American. By contrast, her less-known Democratic challenger has suddenly been the happy recipient of about a million dollars in contributions in the last few days, from all over the country!

Less funny was the clip of the joint McCain/Palin interview with Brian Williams of NBC, where McCain got in a couple of three-second answers and Palin then interrupted with a run-on sentence which lasted about two minutes -- all her trite phrases rolling on and on non-stop. Brian was poker-faced, and McCain was white with anger. After the election the wound-up old warrior is going to need more treatment for post-traumatic shock syndrome...

ArtLvr said...

p.s. Total hoot -- McCain just made the same sort of remark as Rex today -- something along the lines of "New Yorkers just love themseves to death"! Wish I had a videotape going...

∑;)

Ulrich said...

@artlvr: I saw a similar series last night, probably on Countdown. The best part: The campaign spokesperson asked for a comment supposedly said that "everything will probably go to charity after the campaign"--now, isn't that the handout of all handouts--from people who are against handouts on principle?

fikink said...

ulrich, I hope this puts a smile on your face (and I hope I heard this stat correctly):
Thus far, of the early voters in Florida, 31% are black and Florida's black population comprises only 14% of the state.
artlvr, do you have a way to confirm this?

I hope you "guys" saw that I mentioned Michelle Bachman in Rex's blog on Saturday. It seems the "underground" is in full flower - Dowd mentioned her again in her column yesterday and the story grew legs far beyond MSNBC and it now looks like she may lose.

Ulrich said...

I love the new name for Bachman: "The gift that keeps on giving".

I have no idea what the Republicans are thinking when they hammer away at the difference between the "real America" in those rural "pockets" (Palin) as opposed to the other parts of the country that, presumably, are not real (but where considerably more votes are). Wilder, the former Gov. of Virginia, now Mayour of Richmond, said, when asked by St. Rachel about the characterization of the people in N. Virginia as Communists and un-patriotic: "Keep on saying it!" What are they thinking?

Ulrich said...

Here are some gems collected from the blog I have been perusing:

Proud supporter of Barack Who's Sane Obama

Politics is like driving. To go backward, put it in R. To go forward, put it in D.

[Sarah Palin] was never a hockey mom, she was always the prom queen sitting in the back of the convertible waving to the hockey moms.

The Palins are a family of grifters, and McCain and Co. (and us, if we're not careful) are being fleeced. (Jon Stewart--exactly what I feel, but wasn't able to put so eloquently into words)

And when you think about it, this $150,000 was a small price to pay to get the Republican Party to finally talk about climate change. (Comment on the campaign’s claim that all these clothes were needed b/c of the differences in climate between the 50 states--BTW did they ever have a 50-state strategy?)

ArtLvr said...

Ulrich -- Love your collected gems (a.k.a. ANA) and especially the last one, justification of the Super Duds via climate change reasoning? Still chuckling.

Deb -- I don't know the figures relating to early voters in Florida, black or otherwise, but I was appalled at Rachel's revelation tonight of the curtailments imposed on them by the GOP in FL in the last few years. Their excuse? Saving money...

The FL hours were cut, with targeted early polling places not opening until 10 a.m.-- and lines were longer, so that many would-be early voters could not manage it and still keep their jobs. On top of that, the weekend hours were cut in half, yet spread over both days, so one might wait in a line for hours, yet not even get in that day.

I think we should start a list to present to our new President in January -- including all the wrongs he might set right by executive order, if possible. Top of the list should include uniform access to polls, paper trail and return of control to bipartisan boards... Also, full access to medical choices for women in the military, now drastically restricted in what we'd call totally unconstitutional ways, based solely on ultra-right religious beliefs.

mac said...

Wow, it is such a break to get together with all of you, and I can't wait to get to know your faces in February!

@artlover and foodie: twice when I was really perturbed about something happening in the blog I contacted Rex directly and he was very nice and reasonble. I don't think he has any reason to &%$#@? me, though, at any time.

@artlover: I know exactly what you mean. I don't get as much done, and I also don't read as much, and the books are piling up.... I'm bringing some to Holland, life is quieter there. Also, there is no computer at my stepmother's house.

Wow: Rex sounded like McCain or vice versa? Our rex should know about this!

@ulrich: your using "youse" makes me laugh: I have this conversation with my very CT friend all the time, YOU IS PLURAL ALREADY, because that what it is about!

With all this stuff going on about the huge amount of money spent on Palin's wardrobe, I just have to think of the evening when Cindy's outfit/jewelry was tallied up and came to $ 150.000, mainly because of the earrings, and some commentor on a news site said: at least she's saving a lot of money by doing her own hair.....

ArtLvr said...

Mmhm, I heard something about Cindy's attire. Can you picture the personal dynamics between Sarah Barracuda and Cindy? Arctic chill? Note that we still don't have Palin's medical records!! So out of it... Unbelievable.

Mac, are you going to Holland before the election? Will you stay long?

mac said...

I'm going to Holland, from London, next Wednesday, and I'm returning to the US on the 6th. Don't worry, I already voted! It seems a lot of people are voting ahead of time this year.

mac said...

Just had a funny word verification: kabulted, and the next one is olent!

Ulrich said...

@mac: Have a good trip! I hope you will not have to change planes at Heathrow--I had to do this two years ago and swore never again to book a trip that involved changing planes at that airport. The organization (incl. signage) and personnel were at a level of amateurishness that had to be seen to be believed.

Ulrich said...

Addendum: Here's what McCain said in the interview with Williams when asked where the elitists live:

"Well, in our nation's capital and New York City. I've seen it. I've lived there. I know the town. I know--I know what a lot of these elitists are. The ones that she [Palin] never went to a cocktail party with in Georgetown. I'll be very frank with you. Who think that they can dictate what they believe to America rather than let Americans decide for themselves."

It's not really what Rex said.

miriam b said...

I'm ateending yoga classes regularly and trying to meditate and employ relaxation techniques lest I worry myself into a catatonic state during this countdown. I've been allotting an hour or so a day to knitting, which I find extremely tranquilizing. Look at what I noticed today on a yarn retailer's website:

The Presidential Poll of Knitters and Crocheters
October 23rd, 2008

The results of our presidential poll are in. With 9,009 people voting, here is the breakdown:

John McCain - 40.0%

Barack Obama - 56.2%

Other - 1.5%

Undecided - 2.3%

ArtLvr said...

Ulrich -- Thanks for finding the McCain quote, which I'd half heard. It does stress McCain's idea that NYC dwellers think of themselves as an elite (the ones he knows, to be sure), which was what Rex was implying -- but one can hope Rex's was parody or tongue in cheek. He likes ironic apery!

Bon voyage, Marion -- no computer for a week, but some TV I'm sure. We'll miss you... I've noticed these Id tags getting funnier too: "bhooil" now..

Miriam, do hang in! So glad your yoga is helpful, and congrats to the huge needlework group -- very impressive! I'm encouraged too, but sometimes get depressed thinking about the last eight years.

BTW, the story of a hate crime against a McCain worker was confirmed to be a hoax. Sick!

mac said...

Goodbye everyone, I'll check in every once in a while.

ArtLvr said...

Virginia moved from toss-up to "lean Obama". Hurrah!

Ulrich said...

The story of the "hate crime" in Bloomfield (I know that part of Pittsburgh well) is one more illustration of the fact that the McCain campaign is an endeavor that adheres to no moral principles whatsoever. Yes, the hoax itself could be attributed to a deranged campaign worker, but the fact that the local campaign manager immediately jumped on it and embellished it with time-tested race-baiting details cannot be explained that way--does anyone know if he has been fired yet? Probably not (see the above).

I also wonder wonder how my old friends in Pittsburgh feel about that city being portrayed in the national media as a bastion of bible-thumping, gun-toting, inanities-spouting morons.

ArtLvr said...

It's a shame that the local McCain campaign person tried to make race-baiting hay out of that Pittsburgh story, but I'm sure it will pass quickly! By contrast, being from Chicago when abroad usually brought the instant response everywhere: "Gangsters"! Egads... Movies, I guess. (My current verification word is fab -- cringite.)

ArtLvr said...

Hi Ulrich -- too funny, your exchange elsewhere on irony! Was he mad at Jane Doh for the PERT DOPE, etc. or just the idea about getting back to phone banks? Maybe there was a different comment with unpleasant tone??? Still wondering why the icon allowing self-editing is gone...

Watching various authors speaking about recent non-fiction on C-SPAN2 early this morning, the one that struck me most was Michael Klare, on his "Rising Powers, Shrinking Planet". e.g. How we pushed China closer to Russia by nixing their proposed purchase of Unocal -- not in our best interest long-term -- and other observations bearing on our need to convert cars away from gasoline faster and work with other nations on the future of energy alternatives, not war over oil.

Ulrich said...

@artlvr: re. self-delete--I thought it was only my browser that no longer displays the orange registered blog icon and trashcan. I'll post that question also on the xword blog.

Ulrich said...

The newest from Reuters:

1) Sen. Stevens of Alaska convicted on all corruption charges by a court in Washington, DC

2) Plot by neo-Nazi skinheads to assassinate Obama and other blacks uncovered:

An official from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said police found the men in the Jackson, Tennessee area with a number of guns, including a sawed-off shotgun, in their car.

"They wanted to go to a place where they could shoot as many non-Caucasian as they could," the official said, noting that the men first planned to rob a gun dealer. "They also had a plot to assassinate Sen. Obama."

ArtLvr said...

Mind-boggling all -- but the worst may be Bush's authorizing airstrike inside Syria with the killing of one supposed terrorist and kidnapping two other guys by helicopter. Who, and where are they now?

As Rachel pointed out, that's in addition to our forays into Pakistan from Afghanistan -- two cases of violation of another country's boundary. "Is he trying ro get us into more wars as a grim parting gift?" she asked,

Other costly "parting gifts" -- contracts for the building of at least two new embassies, one in Bagdad for around $675 million and another for about 2/3 of that (not sure where). Is the one in Bagdad going to be a fancy bunker, bombproof and 60 feet underground??

Then there are the portraits to be painted of Bush cabinet etc., including a second one of Rumsfeld for $30-40 thousand (who's no longer there -- and who'd want even one of him anyway?) Total in lame-duck art contracts, who knows? What else? Outrageous unconscionable spending spree in the face of the trillions already flying out the window.

Yes, I'm thankful that those kooky skinheads are in custody before they got too far! So much dire sickness around, stoked by the ultra-right... Ugh.

Ulrich said...

If anybody wants to know how I feel, here's a description, accurate to the last dot on an i.

miriam b said...

Voter fraud is on the top of my list of worries. Also, memories of the chad problem in Florida have come back to haunt me.

Having read both the NYT and The new Yorker articles, I'm apprehensive.

I'll need rehab (one way or the other) when this thing diansuis over.

miriam b said...

Of course I meant "is over". Polly Dactyl likes to walk on my keyboardist.

miriam b said...

KEYBOARD. Vey iz mir.

ArtLvr said...

@ miriam -- I thought you meant "this thing on steroids" or something! Your Polly is a very cool cat... mine doesn't Send so much as Erase.

Again, I say "Hang in!" Florida's governor removed the recent restictions on voting hours, and there will be plenty of scrutiny this time around. Also, there was a touching essay in Alternet today about the changes in attitude in formerly knee-jerk GOP Bucks County PA, where Jane Doh is manning phone banks...

∑;)

Ulrich said...

@artlvr: I hear you and desperately want to believe you--the ratings for last night's informercial are unblievably good.

But the Zweckpessimist in me will make sure that I'll be a nervous wreck come Tuesday, with McCain gaining a point/day for the third day in a row now.

ArtLvr said...

Okay, what's Zweckpessimist? I had my German dictionary at hand just two days ago, and now I can't find it!

And I don't know which poll you are going by, when you say McC gained a point in each of the last three days??? The ones like Gallup are less accurate, because they extrapolate from their sample to the whole country. Those that go state by state are more accurate, given the electoral college system... Obama's campaign does its own polling, knowing Gallup's to be worthless.

Many factors can skew results! A good example early on (2007) had Rudy Guiliani and Hilary Clinton as the front runners, presumably on name recognition alone. In fact, Guiliani never won anything when it came to state caucuses, as I remember, and Hilary proved to be more of a "national" candidate too after about half way through, even if she didn't realize it and fought the defeats. Probably still doesn't know what hit her.

David W Moore's book "The Opinion Makers" was featured on CSpan2's BookTV a couple of weeks ago, with many great insights in questions' varied contexts and responders' tendencies -- only 20% of a given selected sample will respond at all, and many will agree with the way a question seems to be put, due to a factor of just wanting to "go along". Those who disagree are often found to be more knowledgable, etc.

Also, most polls force a choice, not allowing for "no opinion". They say, "if you had to vote today"... Another of Moore's examples was on the Iraq War: the Bush Administration skewed results by asking only if one approved of going to war "to remove Saddam from power". Most went along with that!

ArtLvr said...

p.s. If Hilary hadn't fallen for the idea that she was clearly the front runner, she (and Bill) might have handled her whole campaign differently! As it was, she let the strong opposition flummox her into wrong attitudes and dire mistakes.

ArtLvr said...

p.p.s. -- See Moore's website at www.pollster.com where he has Obama winning even without the few states still "leaning"... (He did work for Gallup at one point, knows whereof he speaks.)

Ulrich said...

@artlvr: "Zweckpessimismus" was the July Word of the Month. A Zweckpessimist is one who engages in Zweckpessimismus--it basically means being purposefully pessimistic about some outcome so that, if you will be surprised, it will be a pleasant surprise.

As to polls, the first thing I read every morning, even before coffee, is the composite on Daily Kos. It showed a one point gain for McCain each day over the last 3 days, narrowing a 8-point lead to a 5-point lead (approaching the statistical margin of error). And that sort of thing turns a dedicated Zweckpessimist like me into a nervous wreck: If the trend continues, they will be tied come election day!

ArtLvr said...

One brighter spot (re SC) ... don't miss this nugget from Princeton Survey pollster Evans Witt: cellphone respondents tend to back Obama by a greater percentage. "Unlike many state polls during the 2008 campaign, this survey included interviews on both landline phones and on cellphones in South Carolina. Among the landline interviews, McCain holds a 50% to 42% margin. But among cellphone interviews, the candidates are tied: McCain 48% and Obama 49%. Those interviewed on cell phone are more likely to be young and young voters heavily favor Obama."

fikink said...

Okay, Rachel just ruined my day, which thank goodness is almost over - She is in Florida and says she doesn't feel a rush to Obama, despite Chris's prompting. That's all it takes these days to ruin my day.
Ulrich, I think your zweckpessimismus is a very healthy way to go, but my HOPE keeps overriding my attempts at it.
I am now at a point where I am just looking forward to being put out of my misery!

Ulrich said...

Deborah: You're pouring oil into my flames--thanks a bunch:-) I don't watch Chris b/c his breathless delivery doesn't jive with me, but Keith is up in less than an hour, and I'm bracing myself for the worst.

Could you ask Mr. Fikink if he knows of a drug that puts you to sleep for 5 days and then lets you wake up to the best news possible--or just puts you to sleep, never mind what news you wake up to?

fikink said...

Ha!
The good news is the talking heads on the financial channels keep talking about monetary policy in an Obama administration.
Don't forget Rachel has an interview with Obama tonight. Imagine, two bright people talking to each other on television! (agree with you about Chris' "breathlessness.")
Also, what Obama said to Brian Williams tonight about vetting a Supreme Court candidate was spot on! Can you imagine Bush trying to have a conversation about Constitutional law?

ArtLvr said...

"Google for Government"= Instant transparency, so that we can see where our funds are going... wow! Also, a pragmatic approach to Pakistan, just as well since our British allies there are still short of properly armored vehicles for their own troops. Thanks to Rachel for an interview with Obama that had lots of meat to it, remarkable! As Deb said, a most refreshing engagement of two bright minds...

Then there was Giuliani elsewhere, big foot in big mouth, trying to smear Obama by proximity with Palestinian radical Khalidi -- to whom McCain had actually funneled serious money more than once!

foodie said...

I haven't been here for a while. You guys have been busy, even with Mac away! Ulrich, I like that German has a concept for organized pessimism, something I practice a great deal. What a great term. Yes, we need Zweckpessimismus because if we really believed it was going to happen and it did not, it would be too much to bear.

For years, I've thought how could this country be so great and have such mediocre leaders? I came here during the Nixon era, and since then, the only person who seemed to have any real talent was Clinton-- except he squandered it. For the first time, I see a candidate and I think: Yes! This is someone worthy of the ideals of this country, of the great thoughts of the founding fathers, someone who is not only smart but inspiring (I'm watching my daughter and her friends literally working day and night). We really, really, really cannot screw this up. Especially considering the alternative.

If people get the leaders they deserve, then I really hope we deserve better than Palin, or the guy who picked her and who says: I don't defend her, I praise her!

PS. I liked the Joe the Plumber mini-fiasco today when McCain called on him with great fanfare, and he wasn't there... They are so ridiculous with this guy. And actually if you watch the whole interaction between Obama and Joe the plumber, it reflects so well on Obama, because he was extremely courteous and warm and ended it by saying: "And even I don't get your vote, I'm still going to be working hard on your behalf", and Joe the plumber was actually smiling.

fikink said...

foodie, absolutely right. Obama has more intelligence and class in his pinkie finger than the whole McCain crew. It is just impossible for me to even entertain the possibility that this country would turn down the opportunity to have this man lead us in favor of ignorance and racism and chauvinism! I am having a hard time understanding why he has to work SO hard.
When Joe the Plumber (the new iteration of McCain's choice of Palin) was a no-show, I L'dMAO!

ArtLvr said...

Yes, so ironic that Joe the P stood up McCain -- and pathetic that McC had to fill up another rally venue with school children too young to vote... Then there was Palin, banned from opening hockey games, booed again today with her shout-out to the Phillies in the wrong end of PA. A hoot!

I saw ex-Gov. Wm Weld (R) endorsed Obama: all the guys with brains are following Peggy Noonan and Colin Powell in lining up to back our Barack, who has so brilliantly avoided ranting against Republicans in general, just the" incompetent and idealogue subset" which "kidnapped" the GOP. The saner ones can desert the wackos with honor.

Poor Elizabeth Dole -- after a good long career in the Senate and as commander-in-chief of the Girl Scouts, as I recall, stooping to call her challenger "Godless". The attack ad was a low that one would never have expected from her in years past -- loss of honor there... Alas. Hilary has redeemed her lapses, but Libby will not get the chance.

What a day of wseird contrasts!

Ulrich said...

@artlvr: As far as I remember, Libby Dole has a history of screw-ups. As transportation secretary, her proudest achievement was resisting a smoking ban in airplanes (those were the days when she and husband Bob were shills for the tobacco industry--remember him claiming even very late in the game that smoking does not cause cancer?). As director of the Red Cross, she proved inefficient--many blame her legacy of inept management for that organization's recent problems. So, I'm not surprised that she could not orchestrate an efficient re-election campaign.

Today's good news: Daily Kos's tracking poll does not continue the trend from the previous three days: The 5-point lead from yesterday is now a 6-pointer, with Obama picking up one point (51%) and McCain holding steady (45%)--which, of course, does not explain what these 45% are thinking.

ArtLvr said...

Ulrich -- You're right, it was the Red Cross for Dole -- and I take it back about her "better days"! (A college classmate either preceded her or succeeded her.) Still, inefficiency is not the same as lying smears, and I hope she sinks from sight along with Palin...

Glad to hear that the Daily Kos poll sees the down trend reversed. Do you want to start a third thread for your faithful companions to get to the end of Nov. 4 or whenever this struggle is resolved? Thx.

Ulrich said...

@artlvr: Why don't we let this run its course up to Tuesday and then start a new political thread no matter how it ends?

As far as the thread itself goes, I hope we can continue to stay under the radar screen of most political bloggers, especially those on the far right: With the trashcans gone, I couldn't even delete the SPOOR of some right-wing troll or far-right whack job (a great term I just learned a few days ago).

miriam b said...

@ulrich: I agree that a new thread post-election makes a lot of sense. I hope, with you, that we don't need to be overwhelmed by a plague of trolls.

One of the morning TV shows quoted somebody or other calling Caribou Barbie a whack job as well as a diva. For my own well-being, I'm trying to limit my exposure to media. My new cat, Polly Dactyl, had to have a shot today, and it was a relief to see Animal Planet on the vets' waiting room TV.

CNN and MSNBC continue to sing their siren song, though, and at times I feel that I'm trying to drive past a horrendous road accident, but can't help looking.

Zweckpessimismus я us.

Ulrich said...

Great news: Dick Cheney endorsed McCain. Here's Obama's reaction:

"I'd like to congratulate Senator McCain on this endorsement because he really earned it. That endorsement didn't come easy. Senator McCain had to vote 90 percent of the time with George Bush and Dick Cheney to get it..."

ArtLvr said...

Sun. eve.-- more good news! Obama holds over McCain at 53 to 46, but also in polls Sarah P's unfavorable rating climbs to highest point yet, now at 48, and more people think their taxes will be higher in 4 years under McCain than under Obama in spite of McCain's constant distortions on that subject...

The illegal leak about Obama's father's half-sister living in the Boston area without benefit of asylum status she'd sought will be investigated (shades of Valerie Plame, unauthorized searches of Bill Clinton's passport etc.), and is likely to remind voters of why they need a Change from Republican regime, rather than do any damage to Obama.

Neat that Bruce Springsteen is introducing Obama at the rally in Cincinnati this evening!

Unconnected but timely: BookTV just featured Liza Mundy, author of book "Michelle", speaking with great warmth about Mrs. Obama's humor as well as her background and accomplishments, plus insights into her close family relationships which refute the garbage the GOP has tossed at her. Bravo! Further, here's been so much publicity about Palin's youngest child to elicit sympathy, but note that the Obamas don't make anything public about Michelle's father's long illness with MS.

ArtLvr said...

p.s. Okay, they are in Cleveland now, going well.

Ulrich said...

Yea, the Boss always had his heart in the right place.

I'm starting to feel SLIGHTLY less paranoid as I read the latest polls and commentary. It's just that the mere IDEA of the other ticket winning sends such shivers up my spine that I won't be able to relax until Tuesday night.

Ulrich said...

This is priceless: We all know now about the prank call where Sarah Palin thought she was talking to President Sarkozy for 6 min. w/o realizing she was being had (my wife actually thinks this was TOO cruel a hoax).

But here's the follow-up:

Breaking: Paris, Fr.
French President Sarkozy was described by his staff as "angry and offended" when U.S.presidential hopeful John McCain blurted out an obscenity and slammed down the phone receiver as the French President attempted a courtesy call to wish McCain well in the coming election.

The Senator's spokesperson, Rick Davis, described it as an unfortunate incident that happened as the result of an earlier prank that targeted Governor Palin. In that case, pranksters pretending to be Sarkozy attempted to embarrass Ms.Palin. Davis explained that Senator McCain assumed "It was more of the same and ended the call."

It was reported that Mr. McCain had made several attempts to contact Mr.Sarkozy and apologize but his calls were not returned.

ArtLvr said...

Ulrich -- I hadn't heard that one. Poor McCain! But it doesn't sound true, in that someone else must always answer the phone for the candidate?

The problematic thing about getting results Tuesday night is the question of provisional ballots not getting validated until perhaps 48 hours afterward. Let's hope the race is not close enough for those to matter...

Good trend-- latest Gallup poll was 53 vs 42, a drop of 4 for McCaiin nationwide. Colorado shows a 2 point gain for Obama to 51 vs 45, and VA the same 51 vs 45.

The Palin poll showed people are opposed to her running for Pres. 59 anti vs 40 pro (still a huge number of idiots out there)! Did anyone notice that her hairdo is now sporting "sausage curls" which may remind one of Shirley Temple at age 10?

ArtLvr said...

p.s. That make Sarah a wienerschnulze wannabe?

Ulrich said...

...and with a Schlabberschnüss!

Ulrich said...

I had planned to post this tomorrow, but can't wait:

Election night primer: What to watch for

Let's recapitulate: Since there has been no new census since 2000, every state has exactly the same electoral votes in 2008 as it had in 2004, which makes that year's election a good base line. In that election, Bush won 286 electoral votes, Kerry 251 (he should have had 252, but one of the delegates from DC cast a blank ballot in the electoral college). So, if McCain holds on to every state Bush won in 2004, he wins--he could even lose a few of the sparsely populated western states.

That's where the polls come in. Just about everyone who can afford some degree of objectivity agrees that McCain will not hold on to every 2004 Bush state. In fact, the whole thing may be decided this side of the Mississippi, with PA, which voted for Kerry in 2004, playing a key role:

1) If Obama holds on to PA and all other Kerry states (which is likely, with NH being a possible exception--but it has only 4 electoral votes), McCain has his back against the wall b/c he now must hold on to both OH and FL--if he loses just one of them, he is toast. That's why he is fighting like hell in PA in spite of the polls showing a consistent Obama lead. So, the first state to keep an eye on is PA: If Obama holds on to PA and the other Kerry states, he may collect the other 18 votes he needs in various combinations--as I said before, either OH or FL would do it just by itself.

2) If Obama loses PA, McCain gets a lot of breathing space b/c he gains 21 votes on Kerry. The game is not lost for Obama, but he now needs to pry at least 31 votes away from 2004 Bush states--FL plus OH would do it, provided he holds on to all other Kerry states (actually, he could lose NH). This is not impossible, based on current polls, but it will be a long night, one way or other.

In short: watch PA, FL and OH in the early evening hours!

ArtLvr said...

"My fellow prisoners..." It's 5:55 am and I think I'll go vote now, though there's usually no waiting... Wish McC weren't so cocky, as if he knows the fix is in! Thanks, Ulrich for the early warning signs.

Polls in PA last showed a 52/43 edge for Obama, with OH tighter at 50/46 and FL still a toss-up at 49/48. Nationwide polls at 54/43. Let us not get robbed this time... RIP, Obama's grandmother.

fikink said...

Good Morning, All!
Ulrich, you have a success on your hands. You must, this is the first place I've come to on the Web this morning. I plan to have you on my toolbar all day as I watch the results come in.
I tried to get Mr. Fikink to take the day off, but nobody wanted to fill in for him - which is good news, I guess. And he thought he could not just close the pharmacy for Election Day as people still need their medications. So, we are connected via Yahoo Messenger.
Hope to hear from all of you with your own tidbits from this historical moment. Today, I am happy to be alive!
Foodie? Mac? Are you out there?

Ulrich said...

The day starts with good news from Rex's blog: Starbucks handing out free coffee in New York, and an employer sending employees to vote and telling them not to worry about being late--wish all employers were that enlightened. What a relief from the divisiveness and ugliness spread by the McCain campaign whereever it went!

@fikink: Mac is in Holland--she voted before she left.

fikink said...

Yes, I saw that - I am hoping she checks in today if she can and tell us how we are being viewed there.
We have early voting in Iowa so all three of us (FIL, included) voted already too. I am loving watching how surprisingly smoothly some voting is going because of early voting, especially in parts of Florida.
Other things I am hearing is that turnout is "off the charts" - is it possible we will be a PROUD country again?

Ulrich said...

Voting is smooth here, too, even with greater than usual turnout: The scanners seem to be working.

But problems seem to occur in Virginia: Can you believe it, one polling place opened late b/c the guy responsible "overslept"? Machines are breaking down or jam...

fikink said...

yes, I couldn't believe that. He has to be a Republican!
How about the polling place in Virginia (I think) where the machine wouldn't take the ballots and they suggested that the voters leave their ballots with the poll workers to put them into the machine when the had it repaired? NO WAY, HOSEA!

miriam b said...

I voted early and noted a healthy turnout, as did my daughters, who voted at different times of the morning and early afternoon. My free Charbuck's coffee gave me the jitters, either because I'm primarily a tea drinker or because I'll be on the edge of my seat until this is over. Or both. The good folk of Dixville Notch knew what they were doing. I hope this was a good omen.

Later on I had my teeth cleaned. I didn't divulge my choice of candidate - it's my business only - but the hygienist revealed that she was for McCain and Caribou Barbie. I maintained a poker face, as she had both hands in my mouth and was wielding lethal instruments.

This whole thing s making me feel spacey.

Ulrich said...

What is it about hygienists? I've heard a similar story.

One more thing about watching returns from PA--I watchted them for 20+ years, and this is what you have to keep in mind: Philly and Pittsburgh are always the first to report, which invariably makes the liberal candidate jump in front in early returns. For the rest of the evening, that lead will be shrinking, as results from the rural areas trickle in. If I remember correctly, the liberal candidate has to be roughly 4-5 points ahead at the half-way mark to win, and this mark may be higher this time b/c race seems to play a role. Actually, I've never been aware of the racism in the rust-belt towns surrounding Pittsburgh until this election b/c I lived in a double liberal cocoon, first academia and then the city itself, where Dems have a significant advantage over Reps--I never knew what was happening farther out.

Ulrich said...

...and if you need some pick-me-up:
Here's one for you.

One thing is absolutely clear: I will be crying tonight, either from happiness or from utter despair.

ArtLvr said...

PA holds for Obama! McC miscalculated with Palin there, for sure... Chicago's Grant Park is expecting about half a million people, my brother among them with bow tie in case you're watching! Tall slim and handsome, dark hair with distinguished graying at the temples. ∑;)

Ulrich said...

Yes, great! Now we have to wait for the first red state to turn blue.

ArtLvr said...

Three Senate seats picked up so far:
NH -- Shaheen (D) beat incumbent Sununu (R)
NC -- hagan (D) beat incumbent Dole (R)
VA -- Warner (D) beat Gilmore (R) for open seat

And both FL and NC seem to be leaning to Obama!

ArtLvr said...

BIGGIE -- Ohio flipped! Whoopie.... The End. ∑;)

Ulrich said...

@yes--I'm just about ready to start crying!

ArtLvr said...

One more flip -- NM -- and one more Senate seat
NM -- Udall (D) beat Pierce (R) for open seat

More cheers! (save tears)

ArtLvr said...

Well, okay -- Weep a bit, I will too. If Barack has 200 electoral votes now, then just add CA (55) plus WA (11) and HI (5) and you have 270. OR (7) too makes 277. Nice number.... the rest is gravy!

Ulrich said...

Absolutely--I do not see how McCain can flip a single one of the remaining blue states. The only thing that gives me pause (a little): all we have are projections so far. So, both the tears and the champagne will have to wait a little longer.

ArtLvr said...

That was HI (4)...

fikink said...

Ahem! I HOPE YOU NOTICED WE DELIVERED IOWA!!!
YES!
It's over. We won!
Champagne for all!

Ulrich said...

And Indiana is still in play!! I remember it being the first state to be called in previous elections b/c their polls close so early.

fikink said...

What a night! I wish you were across the road and we could toddle on down the hill with our bottle under our arm. We have popped a cork and are toasting our future! To you!
Comrad!
Vive la revolucion!

Ulrich said...

The tears dropped into the champagne--an unbelievable relief of pent-up tension, overwhelmed by a sense of the sheer magnitude of this historical moment--I'm still shaking my head that it really happened--I will never forget this night.

Ulrich said...

I'll be starting a new thread tomorrow, but as a delicious finale to this one, read this opus. It's rather longish, but worth reading word-for-word b/c, as the source I got it from said, it's an "instant classic" when it comes to utter delusion mascerading as insider knowledge on the right.