Saturday, May 24, 2008

McCage a kind of Buddha (if the Buddha had an alabaster, misshapen head and dizzy spells when standing up) 


During his first presidential run, eight years ago, McCain disclosed hundreds of pages of records to reporters as he sought then to counter what aides called a "whisper campaign" questioning his mental fitness. In those records, medical personnel concluded that his years in prison, including solitary confinement, left him with no psychological wounds. Aides said McCain has had no mental evaluations in the past eight years.

So let's see:

1) He gets tortured in a cage for five years and walks out with "no psychological wounds." I'm reminded of that David Foster Wallace story "Girl with Curious Hair," whose narrator is evidently unaffected by the ingestion of LSD.

2) Hasn't seen a shrink in 8 years.

Now that's what I'm lookin for in a president!!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Hillary: Still Time Left to Assassinate Obama 

Hey, man, she said it:

"My husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somewhere in the middle of June, right? We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California. I don't understand it," she said, dismissing the idea of dropping out.


Blicero's favorite Jeff Sharlet will be on This is Hell tomorrow. Tune in or get it on podcast to hear his discussion of "the secret fundamentalism at the heart of American power".

Race Not Over Till Lady in Pants Suit Wins 

Has everyone noticed how Hillary sort of started to kind of seem like she was going away--and then totally didn't keep going away, and in fact like the opposite is happening?

My sense of dread from Wright Redux is starting to creep back in.  Rachel Maddow thinks we're on the verge of a serious calamity--that Hillary is really going to do what she says she's going to do and appeal the FL/MI rules all the way to the convention, which it is totally within her right to do.  This is Maddow's solution:

So, how does the Democratic Party get a nominee before the convention? Seems to me there's two things that need to happen. One small, one big.

First, Obama's campaign should stop believing what most of the press says, and start believing what Clinton says -- she isn't budging. If they don't mind the prospect of a divided convention, then fine -- if they do mind that prospect, they'll have to fight for their desired outcome. Clinton is now arguing that taking the fight to the convention is OK for the Democrats -- even noble. This argument won't be defeated if it is ignored -- Obama's camp will have to rebut.

Second, if the Democrats are to avoid a divided convention, the Florida and Michigan dispute will have to be taken off the table -- settled in a way that avoids the risk of a rules dispute that stretches the nominating contest out through the convention. I can think of only one way to do that, but there may be others.

Here's my way: based on my read of NBC's delegate math, I think if the Clinton campaign won 100% of what they wanted on the Florida and Michigan dispute, Obama could still clinch the nomination -- even according to the most pro-Clinton math -- if 90 of the remaining 210-or-so undeclared superdelegates declared for Obama.

If they so declared before May 31st, the Rules and Bylaws committee would have no reason to take up the Florida and Michigan dispute because it would be a moot point -- Obama's camp could concede every Clinton demand on the subject and still win the nomination.

What do you think? Will this definitely happen? Maybe happen? What?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

South Hymietown to Let Down Obama 


Mr. Obama is Arab, Jack Stern’s friends told him in Aventura. (He’s not.)

He is a part of Chicago’s large Palestinian community, suspects Mindy Chotiner of Delray. (Wrong again.)

Mr. Wright is the godfather of Mr. Obama’s children, asserted Violet Darling in Boca Raton. (No, he’s not.)

Al Qaeda is backing him, said Helena Lefkowicz of Fort Lauderdale (Incorrect.)

Michelle Obama has proven so hostile and argumentative that the campaign is keeping her silent, said Joyce Rozen of Pompano Beach. (Mrs. Obama campaigns frequently, drawing crowds in her own right.)

Mr. Obama might fill his administration with followers of Louis Farrakhan, worried Sherry Ziegler. (Extremely unlikely, given his denunciation of Mr. Farrakhan.)
“You watch George Bush for a day, and you know where he stands,” said Rabbi Jonathan Berkun of the Aventura Turnberry Jewish Center.

Many here suspect Mr. Obama of being too cozy with Palestinians, while others accuse him of having Muslim ties, even though they know that his father was born Muslim and became an atheist, and that Mr. Obama embraced Christianity as a young man. In Judaism, religion is a fixed identity across generations.

“His father was a Muslim and you can’t take that out of him,” said Ms. Chotiner, 51, who said she would still vote for Mr. Obama, out of Democratic loyalty. “Do I have very strong reservations? Yes, I do,” she said.


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Jews apparently not for Jesus 

JERUSALEM: Orthodox Jews set fire to hundreds of copies of the New Testament in the latest act of violence against Christian missionaries in the Holy Land.

Or Yehuda Deputy Mayor Uzi Aharon said missionaries recently entered a neighborhood in the predominantly religious town of 34,000 in central Israel, distributing hundreds of New Testaments and missionary material.

After receiving complaints, Aharon said, he got into a loudspeaker car last Thursday and drove through the neighborhood, urging people to turn over the material to Jewish religious students who went door to door to collect it.

The books were dumped into a pile and set afire in a lot near a synagogue, he said.

Jews burning books.

Sorry, let me say that again in case you're afraid you've become a victim of spontaneous dyslexia:

Jews burning books.

Members of a tradition that rightly prides itself on its prodigious intellectual heritage burning books. Members of a religion in which, in order to be considered a full adult one has to demonstrate to the community that one is literate...burning books.

Is there anything that is beautiful about Judaism that Zionism cannot or will not desecrate and despoil?

Members of a minority group whose historic slaughter was perpetrated by fanatics who infamously burned books...burning books.

Is there one victim of the Holocaust whose grave Zionism has not pissed on?

arms race escalates 


At a press conference today in Moscow, opposition leader Gary Kasparov announced the successful development of a Russian Missile Defense shield. The chess-player turned political candidate launched his press conference with a strong rebuke of the current leadership, "Putin has failed to protect Russia. His mishandled foreign policy has only strengthened the strategic position of the US in Europe. It is time for a change. It is time to do away with the politics of appeasement and work for a strong defense of our homeland.", Kasparov said.

He continued, "Today we are unveiling the Mark I prototype of the new RMDS system. It has been thoroughly tested and is impenetrable. We cannot allow the rape of our country to go on. Elect me and I will end once and for all these unsolicited advances by the US and Russia's virtue will be unmolested!"

With that attendees gasped in awe as Kasparov demonstrated the Mark I. At the end of the demonstration, spectators were gleeful. Anna Bronkskaya, a volunteer on the Kasparov campaign enthused, "Size doesn't matter anymore. With the Mark I and Kasparov's leadership, Mother Russia will no longer have to get on her knees."

Reached at his ranch in Crawford President Bush had little to say about the developing situation, "It appears that the Mark I is indeed operational and would make Russia impervious to conventional approaches. But Americans should not be cowed by this brazen act. Myself, Cheney, and the boys at the Pentagon are currently exploring what we call...uh...'back-door' options. We will find the crack. That's what we do. We're crack-finders."

video courtesy: Fixin's

Random question 

Does anyone know why Al Gore's Intrade (prediction market) price, which has been flat the entire campaign (as he's not running for anything) spiked by like 21 points yesterday, up to 23%, then immediately dropped back down to his previous 2% level? Was there some news item I missed?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

So f-ing sad 

Lost Bearings/Moisture 

Evidently I've engaged in the ongoing--and indeed vital--critique of John McCage's "face"and "head" area--its material and structural deficits, even paradoxes, aporiae or singularities--without actually having seen/heard much of McCage himself lately. I haven't listened to his stump and haven't heard his speeches on primary returns nights since I realized, after South Carolina, that he was going to continue repeating that line about Americans not being "history's victims."

Anyway, I watched this video from TPM showing the recent back-and-forth with Obama on Iran, and I was genuinely suprised at how poor a presidential figure McCage cuts. I had been under the impression that he was actually quite verbally dexterous--even at times keenly witty--but here he seems to have adopted Bush's relationship to language: the voice stumbling around and over words and phrases as though they're threatening, alien structures thrown arbitrarily in the path of the sound coming out of one's mouth. Not only that, but:

1) Not to be "ageist," but his voice sounds breathy and raspy and distinctly moist, in a way that can't but repulse people.

2) His right eye has developed a palsy or something that makes it appear on the point of failure, as if it's just going to collapse inward or shrivel to a small dark point or suddenly seize up into a fixed, terrified glare.

This can't bode well for McCage.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Scenes from the culture 

Yesterday in Egypt, President Bush called on the leaders of the Arab world to "treat their people with the dignity and respect they deserve.”

Meanwhile, Colorado Springs hosted the "ninth annual Father-Daughter Purity Ball."

Some highlights:

“The culture says you’re free to sleep with as many people as you want to,” said Khrystian [sic] Wilson, 20.... “What does that get you but complete chaos?”

“Something I need from dad is affirmation, being told I’m beautiful,” said Jordyn [sic] Wilson, 19.... “If we don’t get it from home, we will go out to the culture and get it from them.”

Recent studies have suggested that close relationships between fathers and daughters can reduce the risk of early sexual activity among girls and teenage pregnancy. But studies have also shown that most teenagers who say they will remain abstinent, like those at the ball, end up having sex before marriage, and they are far less likely to use condoms than their peers.

In a ballroom after dinner, bare but for a seven-foot wooden cross at one end, the fathers and daughters gathered along the walls. Kevin Moore, there with his three girls, told the men they were taking a stand for their families and their nation. Then he and Mr. Wilson walked to the cross with two large swords, which they held up before it to make an arch.

Stephen Clark, 64, came to the ball for the first time with Ashley Avery, 17, who is “promised” to his son, Zane, 16.

If most teenage girls would not be caught dead dancing with their dads, the girls at the ball twirled for hours with their game but stiff fathers. Every half-hour, Mr. Wilson stopped the dancing so that fathers could bless their daughters before everyone.

A somewhat unfortunate pose captured in this shot.

Meanwhile, you too can order a Purity Ball Planner from the Abstinence Clearinghouse. I hearby proclaim the First Annual AmCop Purity Ball, to be held at a location TBD this summer.


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