Showing posts from July, 2008

the shame of John Edwards

The National Enquirer may be a rag, but it looks like they nailed John Edwards hard . In a nutshell, they stalked Edwards while he attempted a covert late-night rendezvous with a mistress at a Los Angeles hotel. There's a definite pattern here: Bill Clinton, Elliot Spitzer, and now John Edwards. Is there something inherently misogynistic about a white male lawyer who enters politics? Since all three have (to varying degrees of success) been considered presidential material, I speculate that they were seduced by a kind of celebrity syndrome. After all, this sort of behavior is usually reserved for the Hollywood scene (where it is practically the norm). Let's note that the pattern extends backwards as well - Gary Hart, JFK. And it extends across the aisle - Newt Gingrich, and of course John McCain, who much like Edwards, ditched an ailing wife for a fresher model. Still, the Republican dalliances are less of a concern to me than these Democratic icons, who are supposed to b

Barack Obama's strategic coup on public finance

Just one week ago, Patrick Ruffini at The Next Right was declaring the Obama campaign's decision to forgo public financing a " strategic miscalculation ". This analysis, made before the Obama campaign had actually released any actual numbers for June, was widely quoted and seized upon in almost desperate fashion by the increasingly panicked right-wing blogsphere. Ruffini made a case that the (predicted) poor fundraising numbers for June, rumored to be under $30 million, suggested that the 2008 general election was lacking in intensity relative to the primary or the 2004 general. It should be noted that the Obama campaign just released its numbers for June - and it was a doozy . $52 million, well above (reasonable) expectations. In fact, Jerome Armstrong argued it could have been higher: I believe that Obama could have raised $100M in June if that's what they wanted to do. In fact, there may have been plans to do just that too, but they changed. Notice that just $2M w

in defense of the New Yorker cover

Many liberal bloggers are up in arms about the cover of the New Yorker, which succinctly replicates every right-wing frame, stereotype, and smear against Barack Obama that has been trotted out to date: However, I have to disagree with the critiques - i think it’s brilliant satire. The rightwing pundits will try to argue that their critiques of Obama are “on the merits” but if you take their attacks literally (he's a crypto muslim, an extremist, a marxist, etc.) then the cartoon on the cover is in fact the logical portrait that results. Its a mirror reflecting all the ugliness about Obama in the right wing media at once. I think that the right cant be given a pass on the implications of their rhetoric. This is what they are describing on talk radio and The Washington Times and Fox News. Lets hang this around their neck. I think if we are too unforgiving of the risk that the New Yorker took in runnin this cover, we are part of the problem of diluting political discourse into “safe” c

The wonderful flip-flops of John McCain

Flip Flops on the River Originally uploaded by Stuck in Customs Daily Kos diarist DaveFromQueens has compiled a list of 50 flip flops of John McCain , on the topics: Privatizing Social Security, Iraq Troop Withdrawal, Tax Cuts, Judges, Torture, Negotiating With Hamas, Bush Third Term, Agents Of Intolerance, 527s, Gramm's Whiner Comments, Economic Expertise, Illegal Wiretapping, Habeas Corpus, Everglades Restoration, Gay Couple Legal Contracts, GI Bill, Military Service Exploitation, Roe v. Wade, States Rights On Abortion, ANWR, Offshore Drilling, Role of States in Drilling, MLK Holiday, Windfall Profits Tax, Filibustering of Judges, Confederate Flag, Civil Unions, Constitutional Ban On Gay Marriage, Yucca Mountain, Undue Lobbyist Influence, Abortion Exceptions, Defense Cuts, Waterboarding Mandatory Caps, Citizenship for Immigrants, Flying the Confederate Flag, Bush Tax Policies, South African Divestment, Alternative Minimum Tax, Estate Tax Repeal, NOrth Korea Negotiations, Iraq + S

The audacity of Advani

L.K. Advani, of India's BJP party, is better known for fiery, nationalist, partisan rhetoric than he is for unity and change. At 80 years old, he's more McCain than Obama. However, as he makes his bid to be India's Prime Minister, he's trying to poach from the Obama playbook : For a few months, a small team of political strategists, computer specialists and management graduates in New Delhi has been studying Obama's speeches and slogans, Web site, campus outreach and rhetoric of change. "About 100 million first-time voters will enter the election landscape next year. That is a staggering number of young people. And the Indian youth is impatient for change," said Sudheendra Kulkarni, who heads up strategy for the campaign. ... "We want to project the image of Advani around the idea of change the same way that Obama's message resonated with people's hunger for change," Kulkarni said. More than two-thirds of India's 1 billion-plu

Stop oil speculation now?

I've been forwarded one variant or another of the following email by several friends: Subject: Help Fight America's Oil Crisis An Open letter to All Airline Customers: Our country is facing a possible sharp economic downturn because of skyrocketing oil and fuel prices, but by pulling together, we can all do something to help now. Visit For airlines, ultra-expensive fuel means thousands of lost jobs and severe reductions in air service to both large and small communities. To the broader economy, oil prices mean slower activity and widespread economic pain. This pain can be alleviated, and that is why we are taking the extraordinary step of writing this joint letter to our customers. Since high oil prices are partly a response to normal market forces, the nation needs to focus on increased energy supplies and conservation. However, there is another side to this story because normal market forces are being dangerously amplified by poorly re