Friday, October 31, 2008

Best and worst campaign ads

Over at the WaPo, Chris Cillizza, the Fix is asking for nominations for the best and worse ads of this election season. Elizabeth Dole's "Godless" ad is leading for worst ad (see my post God and Politics for the ad). Here are two of the ads that have been suggested for the best, one from Barack Obama and one from Bill Richardson.

Here is the Obama ad:

Here is one video showing two "job interview" ads from Bill Richardson:

David Cook Walmart Soundcheck Preview

David Cook's eponymous album drops on November 18th. Leading up to that are a bunch of tv appearances and other events, including being the featured artist on Walmart's Soundcheck. (aarrggghhh, yuck I HATE mentioning Walmart.) Anyway, on the Soundcheck
site there are 10 pictures of David with his band. Here is the preview video:

Dave is sounding a little pompous here, hope the album is not pompous. BTW, here are Cook's latest download sales figures from USA Today's Idol Chatter: David C.'s Light On, after falling 43-77 last week, rebounds and then some to 35, selling 34,000, a 123% gain, for a total of 189,000. Meanwhile, The Time of My Life also bounces upward, 118-94, selling 13,000, up 34%, for a total of 970,000.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

God and Politics

Religion has moved to the forefront in this election in a way that I never imagined. Somehow John McCain- not a regular church-goer (I understand Cindy is a Baptist and John attends her church) - has become the darling of the religious right, while Barack Obama, a born-again Christian and faithful church-goer, is portrayed as a Muslim and a socialist. Topsy-turvy.

Then there is Elizabeth Dole and Kay Hagans. This is really close to my heart as Hagans is a Presbyterian, teaches Sunday School, and is an elder in her church. Here is an attack video that Elizabeth Dole put out, accusing Hagans of being "godless."

Here is Hagan's response ad:

I guess in North Carolina you have to be a Christian to get elected. That is a shame.

Then today Jim Wallis called out James Dobson for a "slanderous" letter he wrote about an American in 2012 under Obama. In the preface to the letter Dobson wrote, "Of course, there are many evangelical Christians supporting Senator Obama as well as many supporting Senator McCain. Christians on both sides should continue to respect and cherish one another’s friendship as well as the freedom people have in the United States to differ on these issues and to freely speak their opinions about them to one another." The actual 'fictional' letter, however, goes way over the top, visualizing a worst-case scenario where America is not longer the "land of the free and the home of the brave." The 'fictional' letter concludes:

"Has America completely lost God’s favor and protection as a nation? If it has, is this surprising? How can God continue to bless a nation whose official policies promote blatant violation of God’s commands regarding the protection of human life, and sexual morality? Why should God bless any nation that elects officials who remove people’s freedom of religion and freedom of speech and freedom even to raise their own children? His Word says, “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (Prov. 14:34)."

On his "God's Politics" blog, Wallis calls on Dobson to apologize for the letter, saying that the letter "crosses all lines of decent public discourse. In a time of utter political incivility, it shows the kind of negative Christian leadership that has become so embarrassing to so many of your fellow Christians in America. We are weary of this kind of Christian leadership, and that is why so many are forsaking the Religious Right in this election."

Wallis continues to blast Dobson, writing: [links are Wallis']

"Such outrageous predictions not only damage your credibility, they slander Barack Obama who, you should remember, is a brother in Christ, and they insult any Christian who might choose to vote for him.

Let me make this clear: Christians will be voting both ways in this election, informed by their good faith, and based on their views of what are the best public policies and direction for America. But in utter disrespect for the prayerful discernment of your fellow Christians, this letter stirs their ugliest fears, appealing to their worst impulses instead of their best.

Fear is the clear motivator in the letter; especially fear that evangelical Christians might vote for Barack Obama. The letter was very revealing when it suggested that “younger Evangelicals” became the “swing vote” that elected Obama and the results were catastrophic.

You make a mistake when you assume that younger Christians don’t care as much as you about the sanctity of life. They do care—very much—but they have a more consistent ethic of life. Both broader and deeper, it is inclusive of abortion, but also of the many other assaults on human life and dignity. For the new generation, poverty, hunger, and disease are also life issues; creation care is a life issue; genocide, torture, the death penalty, and human rights are life issues; war is a life issue. What happens to poor children after they are born is also a life issue.

The America you helped vote into power has lost its moral standing in the world, and even here at home. The America you told Christians to vote for in past elections is now an embarrassment to Christians around the globe, and to the children of your generation of evangelicals. And the vision of America that you still tell Christians to vote for is not the one that many in a new generation of Christians believes expresses their best values and convictions.

Christians should be committed to the kingdom of God, not the kingdom of America, and the church is to live an alternative existence of love and justice, offering a prophetic witness to politics. Elections are full of imperfect choices where we all seek to what is best for the “common good” by applying the values of our faith as best we can.

Dr. Dobson, you of course have the same right as every Christian and every American to vote your own convictions on the issues you most care about, but you have chosen to insult the convictions of millions of other Christians, whose own deeply held faith convictions might motivate them to vote differently than you. This epistle of fear is perhaps the dying gasp of a discredited heterodoxy of conservative religion and conservative politics. But out of that death, a resurrection of biblical politics more faithful to the whole gospel—one that is truly good news—might indeed be coming to life."

Elective Compulsive Disorder

Elective Compulsive Disorder - this is something all the best people have. I admit to having it. I am admitting it in public, just like I have admitted having OCDCD (Obsessive Compulsive David Cook Disorder). People with ECD endlessly watch the cycle of political shows on MSNBC, frequent sites like and and entered the Pick a President contest at the Washington Post. People with ECD get uncomfortable if they miss a post at The Fix, or the Swamp, or even the Top of the Ticket. They read Politico, Daily Kos, and Huffington Post religiously.

Patt Morrison has a cute little Opinion piece in the LA Times on ECD. She writes,

"I'm just glad I'm not the only obsessive. The Associated Press delivered some advice for the likes of me from Lisa Miller at Columbia University Teachers College. "Turn to those things which are more eternal and more important, such as nature and family," she says helpfully. "It's a great time to go into nature. Go camping."Camping? Like some guy who sees sex in every Rorschach blot, everything makes me think of politics. Miller's advice sent me back 20 years, when vice presidential hopeful Dan Quayle allegedly told voters in American Samoa, "You all look like happy campers to me."

Rachel Maddow is another ECD sufferer. She is travelling in elevated spheres lately; it was Obama campaign staffers who tried to reassure her that early voting is really going okay.

Even Joe the Plumber has ditched McCain

You know how lately there have been a string of Republican endorsements of Barack Obama? Then there were rumors of strife and blame-laying in the McCain campaign. Next came the reports of Sarah Palin going ROGUE.

Well, poor John McCain. According to this MSNBC article, even Joe the Plumber has deserted John McCain.

While it is humorous to think about Joe standing John up, what was not at all funny about the rally that Joe skipped was that hundreds of school children were bussed in to it. According to the article, a school district official reported that "The entire 2,500-student Defiance School District was in attendance, ... in addition to at least three other schools from neighboring districts, one of which sent 14 buses." This is incredibly creepy - I would go absolutely through the roof to the point of investigating a law suit if my child were involuntarily bussed to a Republican political rally.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

DAVID COOK SNL, IPOD app and more!

It's a big news day for David Cook fans!

  1. There is a new app available with "Light On" downloads that will light up your Iphone or iPODtouch when you play Cook's single "Light On." Nuts to me because I don't have either of those, plus I decided not to download anymore from ITunes after my frustrating experience trying to get "Light On" onto a CD. (What's the deal with spelling these "I" apps, anyway - are they capital or lower case i's???)

  2. David will be appearing on Saturday Night Live this Saturday, November 1st!!! with his new band. The band includes Neil Tiemann and Andy Skib from Midwest Kings, and 2 new guys who were selected by audition. One of the new guys is bass player Joey Clement, check out his MySpace page, he looks a lot like John Mayer to me. The other one is Kyle Peek (thanks, misskatieleigh). Here is Kyle's MySpace page. And if we're doing all this linking, Andy's page. I don't know if Neil has a page.

  3. David has filmed the music video for "Light On" at a football field "somewhere in LA" - the video is below.

  4. David will be appearing on Good Morning America on November 17. And if my friend Lynne signs up on Dave's official website, I might have a chance to win a ticket to the show!

  5. The cover and song titles from David's eponymous album have been available for awhile. Here are the song titles, and below is the cover: 1 Declaration, 2 Heroes, 3 Light On, 4 Come Back to Me, 5 Life on the Moon, 6 Bar-ba-sol, 7 Mr. Sensitive, 8 Lie, 9 I Did It for You, 10 Avalanche, 11 Permanent, 12 A Daily AntheM, and BONUS TRACK The Time Of My Life.

6. Rolling Stone's new article about David is headlined "David Cook Crafts Heaviest "American Idol" Album Yet. "

7. David Cook's upcoming TV appearances: (courtesy of here)

Saturday Night Live - 11/01/2008, NBC, 11:30PM/10:30PMc. David will be the musical guest, singing two songs. Many of us are hoping and praying that he'll be in a sketch, too, since we know how funny he is, so be sure to tune in for (or record) the whole thing!

The Tonight Show with Jay Leno - 11/14/08, NBC, 11:35PM ET/PT

Good Morning America - Fall Concert Series - 11/17/08, ABC, 7AM ET/PT

Live with Regis and Kelly - 11/19/08, Various times and networks

VSpot Top 20 Countdown - 11/22/08, VH1, 9-11AM ET/PT

The Ellen Degeneres Show - 11/26/08, Various times and networks (usually NBC)

MJ's blog has the casting details for the video:

"All American guy. Not looking for a male model. Need someone with acting ability and a great attitude…young charming looks please.” And for the female lead, “All American pretty girl next door. Must having acting ability and a great attitude. Not looking for model.”

Some of the other roles: Young fit All American football hero types. Character actress with an all American Mom look. Punks, skaters, hiphop types, nerds, cowboys. All looks shapes and sizes."

Here is another video, an interview with Entertainment Weekly:

Here is what the lighter application actually looks like - pretty cool~!

TV tonight

What a great night for TV-

8:00 PM on CBS, NBC, and Fox - BARACK OBAMA

8:37 PM on Fox - PHILLIES!!!

11:00 PM on Comedy Central - BARACK OBAMA on the DAILY SHOW with JON STEWART

"With Mother Nature calling the shots, the Phillies and Rays remain tied, 2-2, going to the bottom of the sixth inning. A victory would clinch Philadelphia's first World Series championship since 1980, and though the Phillies grumbled on their way out last night, a possible celebration remains on their minds if they can outlast the Rays.

"That's all that's important to us, that's all that we think about," Manuel said. "We've got 3 1/2 innings of baseball -- we get to bat four times, they get to bat three. We get 12 outs, they get nine. We're definitely coming with the mind-set that we're going to win that game."

Due up for the Phillies will be a pinch-hitter for the No. 9 spot, as Cole Hamels will be lifted from the game, followed by Jimmy Rollins and Jayson Werth. Right-hander Grant Balfour is in the game for Tampa Bay, though Rays manager Joe Maddon declined to say if he was entertaining a pitching change, a distinct possibility with left-hander David Price available. "

VERIFY YOUR VOTE before leaving the voting booth

Here is a video of a touch screen voting machine flipping to a different selection before AND AFTER re-calibration. The audio is hard to hear. Moral of the story: Be sure to verify that the machine registers EXACTLY who you voted for, and IF IT DOESN'T, contact the Judge of Elections at your polling place.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Common Cause is holding an election protection briefing tomorrow

Common Cause is holding a phone briefing for activists and supporters about the "Protect the Vote" campaign. The call will feature Common Cause President Bob Edgar, and members of the election protection team from both the national office and key states. You can click here to go to their website to sign up to participate in the conference call tomorrow, Wednesday, October 29th, at 3:00 PM.

Heyday of Atwater and Rove is over

In the October 27th NY Times, Bob Herbert wrote, "The heyday of Lee Atwater and Karl Rove is over." I sure hope so, but John McCain just didn't get the message. Herbert quotes Obama, “the time has come to move beyond the bitterness and pettiness and anger that’s consumed Washington. To end the political strategy that’s been all about division, and instead make it about addition. To build a coalition for change that stretches through red states and blue states.” And then he adds, "John McCain didn’t get it. He seemed as baffled by the new politics as an Al Jolson aficionado trying to make sense of the Beatles."

Judging from the polls, the Atwater/Rove politics of fear no longer sways a majority of American voters, although there are still plenty who buy into it. What will replace the Atwater/Rove Swift Boat-style attack? Please let it not be more Joe the Plumber.

John McCain: You're no Maverick!

I know McCain is not a Maverick because the REAL Mavericks say so, right in this video: (they even sing, too)

Live with less stuff

LIVE WITH LESS STUFF - Stan Cox, a plant breeder and writer has an article on AlterNet that talks about how the financial crisis can have a beneficial effect on the environment if we all are forced to live with less stuff. He discusses the concept that negative economic growth is essential to keeping atmospheric carbon dioxide below 445 parts per million (ppm). Cox writes,

"But in all scenarios, however rosy their assumptions, economic growth will have to be thrown into reverse or else. Everything depends on how that economic contraction is handled.
The US economy declined by about 55 percent in just four years at the start of the Great Depression, with the well-known catastrophic outcomes . . .

There is still time to cure the malignant economic growth that we've unleashed, but the solution won't come from those people and institutions that have managed to wreck both the global economy and the global ecology. A new way of thinking and acting will have to come from the bottom up, and from both hemispheres of this ailing planet. We'd should be ready; the unsettled times that lie ahead may offer the opening we've been looking for."

Brave New Films ACORN support video

The concept that ACORN is committing voter fraud is just like the concept that Iraq was responsible for 9/11: it gets in peoples' heads and just sticks there. The voter registration/vote suppression issue is a little complication, lots of people don't understand it, so they believe the right wing talking points.

Here is a video that presents the vote issue from ACORN's point of view:

Science and McCain-Palin - they just don't get it

Ever since McCain first brought it up, I have been wanting to write about earmarks - how some earmarks, such as those for hospitals, universities, libraries, and municipalities, are actually a good use of money. For instance, this is true of the 3 million dollars for the "overhead projector" that Obama asked for. The projector is actually a plantetarium projector for the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, which is used to teach science to kids; the current projector is over 40 years old.

In todays LA Times, Lawrence M. Krauss, from the Origins Initiative at Arizona State, has written an excellent opinion piece about science and the McCain/Palin campaign, called "McCain Science Earmark Error." Krauss highlights three main examples that show McCain and Palin "just don't get" science:
  1. About McCain's comments about wasting money studying bear DNA, Krauss writes, "That may not be the highest item on a presidential agenda, but to claim that it is a waste of money is outrageous. Protecting grizzly bears may be expensive, but many would argue that preserving such a U.S. treasure is priceless."
  2. The second example is the Adler Planetarium projector, about which Krauss writes, "The National Academy of Sciences has targeted science education as a key goal in preserving the economic competitiveness of our nation. Similar "overhead projectors" in Los Angeles and New York have recently been replaced with the help of federal funds. McCain's gleeful attack sends this message: Encouraging science literacy is not worthy of government support."
  3. During her first "policy" speech, Palin also took aim at earmarks as wasting money that could be spent to fully fund government initiatives such as IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act). One earmark she ridiculed was for "fruit fly research in Paris, France." Krauss writes, "Maybe Palin also should have been told that a University of North Carolina fruit fly study last year demonstrated that a protein called neurexin is required for nerve-cell connections to form and function correctly. That discovery may lead to advances in understanding, among other things, autism, one of the childhood disorders that has been stressed by the McCain-Palin campaign. " (Palin's nephew Karcher is autistic.)

When the United States lags so far behind other countries in math and science education, this fundamental misunderstanding of scientific research and its importance shown by the McCain-Palin campaign is a red warning flag that they are not equipped to lead the US into the 21st century.

Synchronized debate video

This is a funny, but also intriguing/thought provoking video, which synchronizes footage from all three debates on the candidates' talking points.

Get the latest news satire and funny videos at

Monday, October 27, 2008

Bias in the press

There has been so much written during this election about the press being biased in favor of Barack Obama.

I have to post this video of Joe Biden being interviewed by Florida WFTV anchor Barbara West. You have to love how Joe handled this - firsts refuting her assertions firmly and forthrightly, but after a few questions of similar ilk he asks her if the questions are a joke, and later wonders who is writing the questions for her.

SNL: Solid Like Barack

Here is one of the skits from Saturday Night Live, featuring Michelle and Barack explaining how they're going to fill the half hour of air time the Obama campaign has purchased for Wednesday night.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sunday, October 26 in the NY Times

Today's NY Times features a must-see special election section. Many OpEd columns were held to appear in this edition. If you can't buy the paper edition, check out the online version.

The OpEds as usual are fantastic. Let's start with Frank Rich, "In Defense of White Americans." Rich's premise is that, contrary to the claims of McCain/Palin (who follow in the footsteps of George "Macaca" Allen), most of us are NOT bigots. At the conclusion of his discussion of Obama's race speech, describing how Obama spoke about his own grandmother's fear of black men on the street, Rich writes, "Such human nuances are lost on conservative warriors of the Allen-McCain-Palin ilk. They see all Americans as only white or black, as either us or them."

For a lighter note, there's Maureen Dowd, who's column "A Makeover with an Ugly Gloss," is about Sarah Palin and her clothes, make-up/hair, and speech coach expenses. Dowd writes, "The sartorial upgrade was bound to turn into a strategy downgrade, as Palin pressed her case as a homespun gal who was ever so much more American than the elite, foreignish Obama, while she was gussied up in Italian couture."

Then we move on to the sad, David Brooks' column "Ceding the Center." Brooks argues that though we have but two parties, there are really three political positions in America: orthodox liberalism, a belief in using government to maximize equality; free-market conservatism, the belief in limiting government to maximize freedom; and the third, progressive conservativism, which understanda and valuea traditional institutions but also seea the pursuit of wealth as a way to enhance America's greatness. Brooks concludes his essay, "McCain would be an outstanding president. In government, he has almost always had an instinct for the right cause. He has become an experienced legislative craftsman. He is stalwart against the country’s foes and cooperative with its friends. But he never escaped the straitjacket of a party that is ailing and a conservatism that is behind the times. And that’s what makes the final weeks of this campaign so unspeakably sad. "

Paul Krugman's OpEd piece is called "Desparately Seeking Seriousness." Krugman writes that he would like to believe that Obama's surge in the polls - which coincided with the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the beginning of the financial crisis - is due to Americans' recognition that "the right’s economic ideas are wrong and progressive ideas are right. " Krugman, however, postulates that economics is not the real reason Obama is looking close to success. He writes, "But I suspect that the main reason for the dramatic swing in the polls is something less concrete and more meta than the fact that events have discredited free-market fundamentalism. As the economic scene has darkened, I’d argue, Americans have rediscovered the virtue of seriousness. " He points to McCain's inability to speak convincingly about the economy, but more importantly his focus on trivial issues with roots that are well in the past. Krugman likens our current situation to post-9/11:

"But the Barack Obama voters see now is cool, calm, intellectual and knowledgeable, able to talk coherently about the financial crisis in a way Mr. McCain can’t. And when the world seems to be falling apart, you don’t turn to a guy you’d like to have a beer with, you turn to someone who might actually know how to fix the situation."

Like Dowd, Judith Warner also has something to say about Sarah Palin in her OpExtra column, "No Ordinary Woman." Warner's thesis is that, with Sarah Palin, woman have finally reached equality by Bella Abzug's measure - that a mediocre women can be promoted as quickly as a mediocre man. Warner writes,

"... Clinton was a lifelong overachiever, a star in a generational vanguard who clearly took to heart the maxim that women “must do twice as well as men to be thought half as good,” and in so doing divorced herself from the world of the merely average. In that, she was not unlike Barack Obama — taxed by his race to be twice as reassuring, twice as un-angry, twice as presidential as any white candidate . . . Palin is a woman who has risen to national prominence without, apparently, even remotely being twice as good as her male competitors. On the contrary, her claim to fame lies in her repudiation of Clinton-type exceptionalism."

Then there's Thomas Friedman's "If Larry and Sergey Asked for a Loan ..." (which has the terrific line "Some things are true, even if George Bush believes them.) This piece is a warning about some possible consequences of the government taking over banks. In the Larry and Sergey example Friedman uses, a government-controlled bank would not likely have extended the loan needed to launch Google. Friedman concludes,

"Bottom line: We must not overshoot in regulating the markets just because they overshot in their risk-taking. That’s what markets do. We need to fix capitalism, not install socialism. Because, ultimately, we can’t bail our way out of this crisis. We can only grow our way out — with more innovation and entrepreneurship, which create new businesses and better jobs.
So let’s keep our eyes on the prize. Save the system, install smart regulations and get the government out of the banking business as soon as possible so that the surviving banks can freely and unabashedly get back into their business: risk-taking without recklessness. "

The remaining NY Times opinion pieces are Gail Collins' "Blue State Blues," a humorous look at how the Electoral College results in some states being more important than others; Nicholas Kristof's "The Endorsement from Hell," which talks about why an al Qaeda- affiliated website endorsed John McCain (4 more years of non-nuanced American policy toward Islam); and Timothy Egan's "The Party of Yesterday," an indictment that the Republican party has written American cities ("vibrant, prosperous places where a knowledge economy and cool things to do after hours attract people from all over the country") off as not part of "real" America.

(On a totally gratuitous side note, look at the similarity in names between NY Times rural cultural columnist Verlyn Klinkenborg and Minnesota Representative Michelle Bachmann's opponent Elwyn Tinklenberg.)

Obama close-captioned for the "bad-ass impaired"

I'm going to celebrate Phillies, USC, Penn, Penn State and Cal wins yesterday with a little humor on this beautiful Sunday afternoon.

Extra points for Cal beating UCLA! For one of the reasons I did not want my kids attending Penn State, check out this article about the rioting in State College after Penn State beat Ohio State. USC might be the University of Spoiled Children, but at least they don't behave like this - and most seasons they have a lot more reason to than Nittany Lions fans.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Spreading the Wealth Around

The McCain campaign has being making a big deal of Barack Obama's remark to Joe the Plumber : “I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody,” implying that Obama is advocating socialism, or even communism. As a Christian, I think it is very, very important to "spread the wealth around." As a church secretary, my salary is paid by the contributions of hard-working, dedicated, loving people. As a result, I feel compelled to spend my money in a way that respects those who pay me and honors God. As Matthew 19:24 says, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.”

Someone much more articulate than I am, Jim Wallis, has enumerated his "personal faith priorities" for this election on his God's Politics blog.

Wallis writes,
"In 2008, the kingdom of God is not on the ballot in any of the 50 states as far as I can see. So we can’t vote for that this year. But there are important choices in this year’s election — very important choices — which will dramatically impact what many in the religious community and outside of it call “the common good,” and the outcome could be very important, perhaps even more so than in many recent electoral contests."

Here is a condensed list of Wallis' priorities:
  1. fight poverty
  2. turn swords into plow shares
  3. consistent ethic of life
  4. protect the environment
  5. protect human rights and dignity
  6. strengthen families

In his blog, Wallis encourges each of us to develop our own list of "faith priorities." My "1st draft" list looks like this:

  1. universal health care
  2. eliminate hunger at home, then abroad
  3. education - not just of children but adults as well - everyone needs to have higher level thinking skills, especially criticial thinking and analysis
  4. media reform - control of the mainstream media does NOT belong in the hands of 6 companies.
  5. promulgation of peaceful and diplomatic solutions worldwide

Obama: Better days ahead

Here is the latest Obama ad. Thank goodness! I much prefer the ads where Obama talks; I was getting very sick of watching John McCain tell us he'd voted with Bush 90% of the time. Here in eastern PA that commercial runs about once an hour.

Anyway, this new one is much better, though not as stirring as it could be. I think Obama is very, very tense, fearing that something could go wrong in these last few days.

Philly for Obama (and World Series champs, too!)

Here is a very inspirational video of Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter challenging Obama campaign workers to give everything they've got in the remaining days before November 4th.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Who's afraid of the Boogie Man?

Here is the trailer for the film "Boogie Man," which is the story of Lee Atwater, father of sleaze politics. Karl Rove is Atwater's protege. Buzzflash's review says, "For Atwater, politics wasn't personal; it was just about winning by disemboweling your opponent and then desecrating his grave." The DVD will be available on October 28th. You can order it from Buzzflash for a $30 donation (free shipping). I think it is very important to understand this kind of sleaze politics that not only kept Democrats from being elected (and consequently keeping Republicans out of jail) but also almost brought down a sitting US president. That Barack Obama is apparently winning this election is testament to his campaign's ability to minimize the effects of these destructive, "Swift Boat"/Willie Horton-style attacks. Or maybe Americans are finally just getting sick and tired of the sleaze.

Ugly video of protests at last presidential debate

Here is some IWitness video that was taken outside Hofstra University at the time of the last presidential debate. It shows police officers on horseback forcing protestors back onto the sidewalk, crushing and knocking down those in front who could not move back because of crowds behind them. We saw the same technique in Minneapolis and Denver. In the video, Iraq vet Nick Morgan is knocked down, then stomped in the head by a horse. According to AlterNet: "Iraq vet Nick Morgan will undergo surgery at the Veterans Administration hospital in Philadelphia to help repair the bones in his face which were broken when a police horse trampled him at a protest outside last week's presidential debate."

It is appalling that in the US in the 21st century you take your life in your hands when you stand on a sidewalk to protest a war. I don't see anything here that makes you proud of America. The video does make me feel sorry for the horses who are forced into this kind of ugly situation.

SNL: Bush endorses McCain/Palin

Here is the video from Thursday's Saturday Night Live (how weird does that sound) opener, in which Will Ferrell returns as G.W. Bush. Tina Fey reprises her role as Sarah Palin, but -at least in my opinion - she can't quite duplicate one of Palin's more sleazy mannerisms, that "fancy pageant walking" in which her tight skirt reveals way more of a VP candidate than we (ok maybe women and priests) want to see.

Here's the video from THURSDAY Night Live:

How low can you go???

No, I don't mean the tone of the McCain-Palin campaign. Unfortunately, I mean the stock market. According to my "breaking news" e-mail from the LA Times this morning, "In the first minutes of trading, the Dow fell 417.67, or 4.81 percent, to 8,273.58.Broader stock indicators also fell. The S&P 500 index fell 50.26, or 5.53 percent, to 857.85, and the Nasdaq composite index fell 86.75, or 5.41 percent, to 1,517.16."

Right at the beginning of the financial crisis I remember hearing Suze Orman on CNN saying that the market could drop as low as 8000 or 8200 and thinking she was an alarmist. Guess not.

Here is what she said on AC 360:
Anderson: Panic produces paralysis. People need action. How low do you think the markets can go? In terms of stock market, the credit markets matter, but you talked about the 8,000 range for the stock market.
Suze: 8,200, 8,000. Hopefully that is as low as it goes. But I do think we are about 1,000 points from where the bottom should be.

Here is the video if you want to watch it, Suze has some good analogies that make it a little easier to understand the bailout:

Obama: Caring for family, caring for others

Here is the video of Harry Smith's interview with Obama just before Obama left the campaign trail to visit his grandmother. To me, this video confirms that Obama really does care for others the way we as Christians are called to. But others view it so very cynically - doing a search for the video that I had seen last night but didn't bookmark, I came across some comments on the Home Shopping Network Forum that view Obama's trip to Hawaii as just a ploy for more attention. It is very interesting to get glimpses of people's belief-sets through their comments on forums, and also interesting to see what kind of forums people post on!

Anyway, here is the video, and here's to the Obama-Smith bromance!

Here is the transcript for those who have been misquoting Obama, and adding "people will see" to his statement about caring for others.

Harry Smith: Lincoln said, 'All I ever hoped to be, I'd owe to her,' in speaking about his mother. Your grandmother was very much like a mother to you. How important is this trip? Barack Obama: It's very important to me. That - my mother was a single mom, so she raised me with the help of my grandparents. And so, my grandmother, my grandfather, and my mom, they're really the people who took care of me, all throughout my childhood. My grandmother's the last one left. She has really been the rock of the family, the foundation of the family. Whatever strength, discipline - that - that I have - it comes from her."
Harry Smith: You've said in the past that you regretted - your own mother's illness - and her death came so quickly. You didn't have time to get back to see her.
Barack Obama: Yeah, got there too late. ... We knew - she wasn't doing well. But you know, the diagnosis was such that we thought we had a little more time, and we didn't. And so I want to make sure that I don't - I don't make - the same mistake twice.
Harry Smith: Some people say there's risk involved in this, with so little time left.
Barack Obama: Yeah, well - the - yeah, I think most people understand - that if you're not - caring for your family - then - you're probably not - the kind of person who's gonna be caring for other people.

And fuel for the bromance:

Harry Smith: Whoever gets elected president somehow has to put their arm around the whole country and say, 'We're in this together.'
Barack Obama: Yeah.
Harry Smith: Can you do that?
Barack Obama: I can.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

A campaign even a telemarketer can’t love

You have to love Gail Collins, OpEd columnist for the NY Times. She's what Sarah Palin wants to be - just like us, only smarter and funnier. Her column today is called "Confessions of a Phone Solicitor." It's just another column pointing out all the lovely ways that Republicans have divided "real" America from "liberal" America, except that her focus in not on the politicians, but on Ted Zoromsky, a telemarketer. Collins' conclusion about the McCain campaign: "Truly, if you can come up with something that would send a telemarketer over the edge, you have really overachieved on the offensiveness front." Great reading!

Huff Post Pick Comment to a GREAT ARTICLE

Robert Creamer has a great essay on the Huffington Post sharing what he believes America and this election are really about. Creamer writes,
"Division and fear are not American values. In fact the "real" American values are the traditional progressive values that have defined the soul of America from the moment that Thomas Jefferson crafted the words of the Declaration of Independence.In the election thirteen days from now, Americans will make a choice of leaders. But they will also determine whether those traditional progressive American values will replace the radical conservatism that has usurped their position as the defining frame of American politics . . .
The decision voters face November 4th is in fact a choice of what will be the "real America". It is a decision about the vision and values that define what America will be in the future.
Barack Obama understands that society is not a zero sum game. He understands that you don't have to be poor for me to by rich; that you don't have to be sick for me to be healthy; that by giving every child a good education, the growing store of human knowledge will make all of us smarter. "
A comment I posted in reply to a comment on this piece was marked as a "HuffPost Pick." Here is the original comment:
barnettkyspr - I have to ask, where does it say that just because I went to school (and actually spent my time learning and taking full advantage of the public education I recieved), then later spent years learning a trade, serving my time as an apprentice, and journeyman at jobs making crappy wages but worked hard, made the sacrifices and took the risks it took to start a very small business and finally made a little bit of a success of myself, that I owe those who AREN"T WILLING TO DO THE SAME a check every month? Notice, I didn't say unable, I said unwilling. From where I come from, you make your own way in this world. Nobody, especially the Government, (which is us taxpayers) owes us a successful life. If being "progressive" means going out in this world and working hard and making something of yourself and then giving away all of your hard earned income to those who aren't willing to do the same, then what is the point of being successfu?. It kind of takes away your ambition doesn't it?
My reply:
HuffPost's Pick
You have a very warped persepective. First of all, paying taxes does not take away "all" of your income, as you state in your comment above. Secondly, it is well-proven by objective studies that those in the upper tax brackets are not motivated solely by money, so increasing the amount of tax they pay will not affect the amount or effectiveness of the work they do. And this is the very top of the income heap we're talking about, not the small businessman making $300,000 but Carly Fiorina with her $42 million golden parachute. Thirdly, much of what Obama is talking about is not actually raising taxes, but ENFORCING the tax laws that we have to close the loopholes that allow many corporations and high income people to pay NO TAX WHATSOEVER or very little tax. Fourthly, are you a Christian? If so, I guess your Bible is missing the part about how it is easier for a camel to get through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God. Fifthly, whereas no one owes anyone a "successful" life (your words) a decent society provides for the education and well-being of its children, its elderly, and its ill. THESE are the people who will benefit from Barack Obama's policies - not the kind of "slacker" you seem to envision.

I'm the star of ANOTHER video -

I'm LOVING this new technology that puts your name in videos. There's a new one sent to me from MoveOn, starring me - the ONE person whose non vote elects John McCain President. {No way I will not get out and vote - I will be at the polls almost the whole day!} I would post it here, but it starts automatically and that drives me nuts. When (if?) I figure out how to change the code, I'll post it. For the time being, you can click here for the video with YOU as the star, it is REALLY COOL!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Obama + Phillies

There are so many things we could talk about today - Sarah Palin's $150,000 wardrobe, the Dow dropping another 600 points, the latest polls. But, since tonight is the first game of the Wolrd Series, let's watch some Jon Stewart talking about the candidates talking about BASEBALL instead:

And for some more interesting baseball talk, read this column in the LA Times by Bill Plashke. He's got some great ideas for the World Series - hold in a warm, neutral location every year; play one game each day for 7 days and designate it World Series Week, featuring national heroes throwing out the first pitches and top musical acts doing the national anthem. Sounds like a pretty good plan to me!


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Unbelievable Palin

There is no comment necessary to this unbelievably stupid video.


AARP (American Association of Retired People) has had a great campaign going - Divided We Fail - which states that health care and financial security are the most pressing domestic issues facing our nation. The ads are great and make a lot of sense, the logo is half elephant, half donkey.

Just today I received an e-mail with a video from AARP which I would like to share with you - Just fill in your name and click to view the video. (It is important to fill in your name, but it won't put you on a mailing list or anything.)

AARP 08 Video
Enter your name to see who can bring real change to Washington.
First Name:
Last Name:

Monday, October 20, 2008

McCain campaign staffer confronts anti-Islam supporters

Here is an interesting video posted on Huffington Post today. It depicts McCain supporters and a staffer confronting some folks at a rally who were handing out bumper stickers tying Obama to Islam and socialism. The McCain staffer says that he is Muslim. Several Muslim McCain supporters as well as a Christian argue against discrimination against Islam.

Spartacus with a Plunger!

OK, I give in. I have steadfastly avoided ANY references to Joe the Plumber, the Ohio bald guy that everyone is talking about. But today in the AlterNet daily peek e-mail was a link that made me change my mind. The link led to an article called "Enough With the Spartacus-With-a-Plunger Already"posted by Warren Street ( I am a big fan of colorful, erudite language, so I really want to call attention to this image. Spartacus with a plunger. I like it.

Secondly, Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman (how weird yet cool does that sound?) also had a column today mentioning JtheP, called "The Real Plumbers of Ohio ." The strength of Krugman's arguement is not in his language, but in his numbers. Numbers like:

"...The average Ohio plumber’s income in that 2007 report was only 15.5 percent higher than in the 2000 report, not enough to keep up with the 17.7 percent rise in consumer prices in the Midwest. As Ohio plumbers went, so went the nation: median household income, adjusted for inflation, was lower in 2007 than it had been in 2000. "

And more numbers that show we were better off in 2000 than in 2007:

"According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, in 2007 only 45 percent of companies with fewer than 10 employees offered health benefits, down from 57 percent in 2000."

In the end, though, Krugman makes his point with words, plain and simple words:

But the typical plumber would pay lower, not higher, taxes under an Obama administration, and would have a much better chance of getting health insurance.
I don’t want to suggest that everyone would be better off under the Obama tax plan. Joe the plumber would almost certainly be better off, but Richie the hedge fund manager would take a serious hit.

But that’s the point. Whatever today’s G.O.P. is, it isn’t the party of working Americans.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

MUST READ article from the NY Times

Matt Bai has a terrific article on Barack Obama in today's NY Times called "Working for the Working-Class Vote." In the article, Bai takes on one of Obama's seminal, but most mis-interepreted remarks, the one about bitter Pennsylvanians clinging to their guns and religions. Bai quotes Obama as saying,

“How it was interpreted in the press was Obama talking to a bunch of wine-sipping San Francisco liberals with an anthropological view toward white working-class voters. And I was actually making the reverse point, clumsily, which is that these voters have a right to be frustrated because they’ve been ignored. And because Democrats haven’t met them halfway on cultural issues, we’ve not been able to communicate to them effectively an economic agenda that would help broaden our coalition ...

Obama went on.

“To act like hunting, like somebody who wants firearms just doesn’t get it — that kind of condescension has to be purged from our vocabulary. And that’s why that whole ‘bittergate’ episode was so bitter for me. It was like: Oh, this is exactly what I wanted to avoid. This is what for the last five or six years I’ve been trying to push away from.”

It's a long article, but definitely worth reading.

Palin on SNL

Here is the video of Palin's appearance on Saturday Night Live. Surprisingly, I didn't think she was very funny. Palin showed great timing in her big speech at the RNC, which she has honed in tons of speeches since. Maybe because it wasn't exactly a friendly crowd, but she seemed uncomfortable and stiff. IMO, she looks ridiculous (not ridiculously funny, just ridiculous) in the first segment. But I am humbled by Amy Poehler and the moves she's got even when she's pregnant out to there.

150,000,000 dollars

David Plouffe, campaign manager for Barack Obama, sent out an e-mail this morning with a video announcing the Obama campaign's financial figures for September. 632,000 NEW people donated to the campaign, bringing the total of individual contributors to Barak Obama to 3.1 million. The total collected by the Obama campaign for the month of September was more than $150,000,000. The average contribution was $86, according to Plouffe, with the most contributions coming from retirees and students.

I can't help but think that this enormous sum of money could be used for something better than having to refute the McCain/Palin campaigns smear ads and disgusting robocalls.

Saturday, October 18, 2008


I'll write more tomorrow after we see what Colin Powell has to say on Meet the Press, but Barack Obama has so far received some stunning endorsements, including from the LA Times, the Chicago Tribune, which has never endorsed a Democrat, and Philadelphia-area conservative talk radio host Michael Smerconish. According to the count kept by the Huffington Post, Obama is leading McCain 58-16 in editorial endorsements.

UPDATE: Appearing on Meet the Press this morning, Colin Powell endorsed Barack Obama, expressing "disappointment in the negative tone of McCain's campaign, as well as in his choice of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as the Republican vice presidential nominee. Powell says he does not believe Palin is ready to take over as president, if necessary." (LA Times)

Here is the video of Colin Powell endorsing Barack Obama:

I am so glad that Powell addressed the question which we all should be asking: What's wrong with being Muslim? And he did it in such a beautiful, moving way. Powell has redeemed himself a little bit.

Obama Rally in St. Louis draws 100,000!!!!!

CNN and the Wall Street Journal are reporting that Obama's rally in St. Louis has drawn more than 100,000 people, the largest crowd ever in the US for Obama. Here is a picture from CNN:

(Photo: Matt Hoye/CNN)

The Obama campaign says they've been told by the St. Louis Police Department that about 100,000 people gathered to hear Obama's rally in St. Louis earlier Saturday.

Rep. Michelle Bachman wants to revive the House Committee on UnAmerican Activities

Appearing on Chris Matthews' show "Hardball," Minnesota Representative Michelle Bachmann stated that Barack Obama has a leftist, liberal, and anti-American agenda. She called for the media to launch a thorough investigation of Congress to identify those who are anti-American - namely, anyone whose views are different than hers. Matthews succeeded in manipulating Bachmann into saying that those members of Congress, including Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, who are liberals are anti-American. Apparently Bachmann missed the signifiance of the title of Matthews' show, and was un-prepared for him to play hardball.

A private individual has launched a campaign to call for Congress to censure Rep. Bachmann because of her remarks. Visit to see the video of Bachmann's appearance on "Hardball" and to sign the petition to call for Congress to censure her.
UPDATE 3: has 47,887 signatures so far - updated 10/20 12:44 p.m.

UPDATE: Even better than signing a petition to censure Bachmann, why not donate to her opponent? Go here:

UPDATE 2: Here is The Nation magazine editor Katrina Vanden Heuvel responding to Bachmann's remarks to Chris Matthews: (and also a little Pat Buchanan)

Friday, October 17, 2008

Not good taste, but really funny

I shouldn't be posting this video because the star is Piper Palin, but I think it is really funny:

VERY FUNNY - both candidates at the Al Smith dinner

Here are videos from Fox News and the Rachel Maddow show of Obama and McCain's speeches at the Alfred E. Smith dinner at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in NY. The candidates traditionally roast each other, then close their speeches with some sincere remarks. Highlights from Obama: You can see the Russian Tea Room from the doorstep of the Waldorf Astoria; he got his middle name from someone who never thought he'd run for president; Barack is Swahili for "that one." Highlight from McCain: Joe the Plumber is now in charge of his campaign; Obama's pet name for him is "George Bush."

Obama's jokes in 2 parts:

McCain's jokes:

Voter fraud vs. vote suppression

Legal manoeuvering is starting to rival political manoeuvering as we get closer to election day. Charges, counter-charges, appeals and counter-appeals are flying fast and furious. Some of the major events of the last few days:

  • During the third presidential debate on Wednesday, October 15th, John McCain charged that ACORN "is now on the verge of maybe perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country, maybe destroying the fabric of democracy."
  • The day after McCain made this pronouncement in front of 56.5 million television viewers, ACORN offices across the country were vandalized, and ACORN workers received threatening e-mails and phone calls. (see this post for more info about ACORN.)
  • Anonymous officials "leak" to the Associated Press that the FBI is investigating allegations of voter registration fraud by ACORN registration workers. The officials are anonymous because "Justice Department regulations forbid discussing ongoing investigations particularly so close to an election."
  • The NY Times reports today (October 17) that: "law enforcement officials sought on Thursday to ratchet down speculation that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had begun a broader investigation into the group’s activities. Some officials said privately that they were wary of being pulled into a highly partisan controversy so close to Election Day."
  • The Obama campaign has sent a letter to Attorney General Mukasey requesting that the Special Prosecutor looking into the firing of US attorneys include in his investigation recent Republican attempts to suppress voters' rights by casting aspersions on the validity of recent voter registrations. (The actual letter is available on Talking Points Memo.) The link between current voter suppression efforts and the Special Prosecutor's investigation is that there is evidence tying the firing of US Attorneys to their reluctance to pursue voter registration fraud prosecutions that were politically motivated.
  • The McCain-Palin campaign complained that, by writing to Attorney General Mukasey, the Obama campaign is "attempting to criminalize political discourse." They characterize the letter as "outrageous."
  • Ohio vote in the courts - A Washington Post headline today reads, "Ohio Litigating Its Way Through Election Cycle." According to the article, the Ohio Secretary of State, Jennifer Brunner, is involved in 8 court cases against the Republican party this election cycle, and she predicts the number will rise to 12 by the time a winner is decided. In the most recent case, Republicans filed to require that 200,000 new registrations be verified before election day because some aspect of the data provided did not match data entered in other databases, such as Social Security or motor vehicles. The Ohio Supreme Court made an emergency ruling supporting Brunner, overruling a federal appeals court that had ordered her to do more to help counties verify voter eligibility. Jennifer Brunner is the Democrat counterpart of Republican Kenneth Blackwell, who was the Republican Ohio Secretary of State in the 2004 and Katherine Harris, the Florida Secretary of State during the 2000 election. It seems elections in this century have brought state secretaries of state into the public eye.
  • BBC journalist Greg Palast and voters' rights attorney Robert Fitgerald Kennedy, Jr. warn in Rolling Stone magazine that "if Democrats are to win the 2008 election, they must not simply beat McCain at the polls - they must beat him by a margin that exceeds the level of GOP vote tampering." Their year-long investigation of voter suppression allegations reveals a systematic program of "GOP vote tampering" on a massive scale.

The moral of all these stories is: TAKE VOTING SERIOUSLY. Make sure in advance that you are registered, and that your registration is in order. Allow plenty of time to vote. Visit to download a comic book with tips to avoid your vote being "stolen." To be pro-active and help others, sign up with MoveOn or the Obama campaign's GOTV (Get Out The Vote) activities. And when you go to vote on election day, TAKE FIVE FRIENDS WITH YOU!

UPDATE: The LA Times is reporting on a group called YPM, operating in California, that has fraudently registered people as Republicans under the guise of signing a petition. According to the Times report, datelined Sacramento,

"Dozens of newly minted Republican voters say they were duped into joining the party by a GOP contractor with a trail of fraud complaints stretching across the country. Voters contacted by The Times said they were tricked into switching parties while signing what they believed were petitions for tougher penalties against child molesters. Some said they were told that they had to become Republicans to sign the petition, contrary to California initiative law. Others had no idea their registration was being changed."

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Women Against McCain/Palin ad

Last night John McCain again spoke disparagingly of women's health, using "air quotes" when talking about abortion when the mother's life is "in danger." Here is an ad that talks about Palin and McCain's contempt in plain English.

Al Jazeera video at Palin Rally in Ohio

And McCain said last night that he is proud of these people.

From the comment section for this video on Youtube:

pezcore640 if it sounds like an idiot, and is proud its an idiot... must be a bigot republican. lol

My second "Editor's Selection" from the NY Times

This morning I had a second comment tagged as an "editor's selection" in the NY Times. About "editor's selection" the Times website says: " editors aim to highlight the most interesting and thoughtful comments that represent a range of views." Today my edidtor's selection was a comment posted to Gail Collins' piece about the third debate, "Three Guys and a Table." My comment was:

October 16, 2008 10:19 am
It is a shame that what we're hearing from the candidates now is devoted to that small number of "undecideds." I have lost a lot of my passion for Barack Obama as I listen to his relentless appeal to the "middle class." What about the millions living in poverty? What about the poor - who, if they were marginalized before in our fully functioning economy, are now completely below the radar? What about the global food crisis, which has been pre-empted by the global financial crisis, but which is a life-or-death issue, not just an matter of income redistribution. I see this as one of the biggest failings of the way democracy has developed in America - what it takes to get elected in the US today is completely different than what it takes to govern wisely and justly. My fervent hope is that the Barack Obama who believes in fighting poverty and starvation still thrives beneath the politician's veneer.
— Ann Wong, Durham, PA

I had one other comment tagged as an "editor's selection" - a comment on Roger Cohen's piece "How Home Became Homeland." My comment was:

September 04, 2008 11:12 am
As many previous commenters have written, your commentary resonates strongly with me. In the last 24 hours I watched videos of journalists and photographers knocked to the ground and beaten on the streets of St. Paul, followed by the delegates at the RNC roaring with approval as Sarah Palin denigrated Barack Obama for wanting to read terrorists their rights. I heard Rudy Giuliani say that it is not its GOVERNMENT that makes America great, but its PEOPLE. As one who, like you, has lived and traveled overseas, I know that there are countries full of hard-working, religious, conscientious people all over the world. Stable governments with a Constitution and Bill of Rights like ours are much fewer and far between. What the Bush administration and the Republican right has done in eroding the fundamental rights and freedoms of our Constitution is far worse than what they've done in allowing our infrastructure to deteriorate.
— Ann Wong, Durham, PA

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Some music for ya, from Mock, Paper, Scissors

This is another one of those funny Sarah Palin songs. BEWARE - even though the link was sent to me by my father, there is some bad language (F word). Catchy tune, funny lyrics, enjoy!

PS Why did they schedule this last presidential debate on the same night as the NLCS??? Go Phillies! photo

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Joe Biden fights back!

I've said it before, I'll say it again, I LOVE JOE! Huffington Post has a slide show of moments of affection among the Bidens and the Obamas. Several folks made the comment that it seems as though Barack has finally found the father figure he has been searching for in Joe Biden. In the ad below, Joe is sticking up for Barack against the "smears" of the McCain campaign.

Here is one of those "feeling the love" pictures from the HuffPost:

(There are no picture credits to reproduce here)

Monday, October 13, 2008

Poll finds very religious are good to others

Jim Wallis has done more than anyone else to bring to worldwide attention the fact that there are many more things than abortion and gay marriage that most Christians care passionately about: poverty, social justice, education, peace. Gallup conducted polls in 140 countries worldwide that asked three questions: Have you given to charity; have you volunteered your time; and have you helped a stranger? In each case, those who identified themselves as "highly religious" responded "yes" more often than those who are less religious.

Gallup concludes:

"The "religion effects" we see in these questions are consistent not only across the major global regions, but also consistent across the world's largest faith traditions, including Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Judaism. Among respondents who identified with each of these major religions, those who fall into the highly religious category are more likely than those who are less religious to say they've engaged in all three helping behaviors, with differences for helping a stranger ranging from 7 percentage points among Buddhists to 15 points among Jews."

ACORN refutes fraud claims

From the ACORN website:

When a department store calls the police to report a shoplifting employee, no one says the department store is guilty of consumer fraud. But for some reason, when ACORN turns voter registration workers over to the authorities for filling out bogus forms, it gets accused of “voter fraud.” This is a classic case of blaming the victim; indeed, these charges are outrageous, libelous, and often politically motivated . . .

The goals of the people orchestrating these attacks are to distract ACORN from helping people vote and to justify massive voter suppression. That’s the real voter fraud; the noise about a small fraction of the forms ACORN has turned in is meant to get the press and public take their eyes off the real threat, while those hurling the charges are stealing people’s right to vote in broad daylight. They have already tried to prevent Ohio from registering voters at its early voting sites. In Michigan, they planned to use foreclosure notices to challenge thousands of voters. And if this year is like past years, they are preparing to use this so-called voter fraud to justify massive challenges to voters in minority precincts on Election Day.

Fact: Most election officials have recognized ACORN’s good work and praised our quality control systems. Even in the cities where election officials have complained about ACORN, the applications in question represent less than 1% of the thousands and thousands of registrations ACORN has collected.

Fact: Our accusers not only fail to provide any evidence, they fail to suggest a motive: there is virtually no chance anyone would be able to vote fraudulently, so there is no reason to deliberately submit phony registrations. ACORN is committed to ensuring that the greatest possible numbers of people are registered

ACORN will not be intimidated, we will not be provoked, and in this important moment in history we will not allow anyone to distract us from these vital efforts to empower our constituencies and our communities to speak for themselves.

Are you a Kirk fan or Spock fan??

I never thought of it this way:

My entry in the Washington Post "Pick your President" contest

Here is the electoral map I submitted for the Washington Post "Pick Your President" contest:

<p><strong>><a href=''>2008 Election Contest: Pick Your President</a></strong> - Predict the winner of the 2008 presidential election.</p>

The toughest picks were W. Virginia, Indiana, and Missouri. I had to pick Missouri for Obama, as it has been the bellweather in presidential elections. W. Virginia I gave to McCain because of the redneck factor, and Indiana I gave to McCain because of his 2-3 point lead in the polls and the fact that Indiana went 60% for Bush in 2004.

UPDATE: I am a little worried that Missouri will stay red, as a result of reading an article about this billboard in the Ozarks:

UPDATE 2: Today I am worried about Nevada. I didn't think too much about it, but I have reservations now that it will flip to blue.