Leaked memo of McCain camp's future Hail Marys

by Brad Jacobson

Tactic: Dress a small band of Alaskan National Guard troops in Russian military attire and stage an invasion of the Alaskan border, sending the rest of Alaskan National Guard troops, on Palin’s orders, to successfully capture or kill the “Russian invaders.”

Strategy: Ends questions about Palin’s national security credentials.
Tactic: In addition to claiming McCain invented the Blackberry, assert that he also invented the wheel, sliced bread, fire, the missionary position, whiskey, apple pie, sliders, cleavage, Beanie Babies, oxygen, blow jobs, sunlight, bikinis, pasteurization, nuggies, the handshake, ice cream, poll dancing, Penicillin, the wave, hot dogs, the Theory of Relativity, beer nuts, New Journalism, indoor plumbing, low-rise jeans, Method Acting, rap, Twister, funnel cake, the printing press, soft pretzels, the phrase “dude,” the color blue, moving pictures, “bringing sexy back,” nougat, and baseball.

Strategy: Highlights McCain’s superior record of accomplishment. Bonus: no time left in the campaign season for media to fact-check effectively. Continue reading

The latest GOP idea for the economy? LIE some more!

by JS O’Brien

Republican Representative Candice Miller of Michigan has a truly marvelous idea for getting the economy back on track:  lie through your teeth.  I suppose this shouldn’t be surprising, since it seems to be the first option for Republican politicians everywhere.

So, let me explain what she wants to do.  Currently, accounting rules require banks to value assets (like mortgage-backed loans) at their current market value.  Miller wants to allow banks to … well … value them differently … somehow.  I mean, it’s not what you can actually sell those assets for, it’s what you can … ahm … pretend you can sell them for!  If you can pretend those assets are worth more than they are,  you can make the bank look as though it’s more solvent than it is.  Then, if the other lenders are butt stupid, they’ll lend money to you based on what you say about your bank’s solvency instead of what the situation really is.

What a great idea!  Let’s convince lenders to lend money based on underlying value that isn’t there.

Oh, hey, haven’t we done that already????

Pundit reveals startling discovery: race = ideology

An interesting man said an interesting thing the other day.

Unfair, you say? Voters shouldn’t judge a candidate by his skin color. Maybe, but is it any more unfair than, for example, saying that because McCain and President Bush are both Republicans that a McCain administration would produce a third Bush term? No, it isn’t.

Ummm … you’re kidding, right? I mean, surely this taken out of context or something. Surely.

Well, read the whole thing and judge for yourself. It seems, at a glance, like Rothenberg is attempting to make a fairly valid point about how blind, uncritical preconceptions still exert a powerful influence on how people vote. So far, so good. Continue reading

You make the call

In an Ohio campaign rally today, John McCain defended his decision to “suspend” his campaign last week and fly to Washington to help broker the financial bail-out deal. “I know that many of you have noticed,” McCain told the crowd, “but it’s not my style to simply ‘phone it in.'”

But what did McCain do when he got back to Washington? Well, on Saturday, he actually spent the day at his campaign headquarters in Arlington, Virginia–on the phone.

Senior campaign adviser Mark Salter told CNN.com that McCain wasn’t going to Capital Hill because “he can effectively do what he needs to do by phone. He’s calling members on both sides, talking to people in the administration, helping out as he can.”

So, perhaps what McCain really meant was that it’s not his style to “phone it in using long-distance.'”

He must not have a very good calling plan.

Nota Bene #42

Link of the Week (as opposed to the Weakest Link):

It’s Judgment Day for McCain” at the Wall Street Journal Thomas Frank writes: “Last week, Republican presidential candidate John McCain called for a commission to ‘find out what went wrong’ on Wall Street. … Mr. McCain has a special advantage to bring to any such investigation — many of the relevant witnesses are friends or colleagues of his. In fact, he can probably get to the bottom of the whole mess just by cross-examining the people riding on his campaign bus.” [Emphasis added.] Continue reading

Country Ambition First

“This bill failed because Barack Obama and the Democrats put politics ahead of country.” 

That’s John McCain’s take on why the House failed to pass a bipartisan Wall Street bailout bill today, according to Douglas Holtz-Eakin, McCain’s economic adviser.  The McCain camp cites Nancy Pelosi’s “strongly worded partisan speech” that “poisoned the vote” as the deal-breaker.

So, let me see if I understand this correctly.  McCain’s campaign theme is “Country First.”  McCain, in step with President Bush, championed the passage of this compromise bill.  And a host of House Republicans refused to get on board because they were upset at Pelosi’s rhetoric, so they sulked, rejected their own president’s impassioned insistence, and voted no. (Identify them here.)

Legitimate concern about the bill’s specifics aside, if that is indeed why it failed, McCain is shooting himself in the foot to suggest that such pettiness reigns among Republicans that they cannot– or will not – rise above partisan sensitivities for the nation’s welfare.

Continue reading

US politicians pass an important threshold with negative House bailout vote

by JS O’Brien

I am in my 50s.  In my lifetime, I have seen partisan politics become increasingly bitter, increasingly childish, and increasingly focused on personal, political wins at America’s expense.  When the chairman of the Federal Reserve and Warren Buffet tell me that the American financial system needs an influx of capital in order to keep from collapsing, I tend to believe they believe it, and if they believe it, given their level of expertise, I would generally take their advice.

Today, American politics passed a threshold.  If anyone thought that our politicians, especially in the GOP, still care more about America than their own re-election campaigns; if anyone thought they still had a core of political courage that could, in extremis, overcome their own, petty rivalries; if anyone thought there was still a kernel of greatness in an American political landscape that produced the likes of Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and Abraham Lincoln, I doubt they still believe today.  Their OWN PRESIDENT, their PARTY LEADER, came to the House Republicans and told them that this is a grave crisis, and even then they scuttled the agreement. Continue reading

Worst Week: Gonna be a big one for John McCain

This could be a Very Bad Week for Sen. John McCain.

Last week, McCain attempted a stunt for the ages, announcing that he was “suspending his campaign” so that he could rush back to Washington, where he was apparently desperately needed in order to pull together an economic bailout package. He called on Sen. Barack Obama to stop stomping the shizzle out of him on the campaign trail join him in pursuing a non-partisan solution that would ease the suffering of his cronies on Wall Street the American people.

Needless to say, the plan fizzled, and for a variety of reasons.

The debate that never happened, but should have: Science Debate 2008

Back in February, Andrew Revkin, climate and environment reporter for the New York Times (and fellow SEJ member) wrote in his DotEarth blog that there were a number of people and organizations hoping to have the Presidential candidates debate on various science topics. The group most directly involve in trying to organize this debate was Science Debate 2008, and while they were unable to get Barack Obama and John McCain to agree to a science debate, they were able to get a list of 14 questions submitted to the campaigns, and responses to those questions back.

The 14 questions were, with the help of several science organizations, culled from 3400 questions submitted by scientists and engineers representing nearly every American science organization, Nobel laureates, and over 100 universities. I’ve excerpted the questions and answers below in an attempt to understand and explain why the questions, and the candidates answers to each, matter. If you want to read the complete questionnaire and the actual answers to each instead of my summaries, check out this link. Continue reading

Global Carbon Project says 2007 CO2 emission higher than worst-case IPCC estimate

The Global Carbon Project (GPC) released its Climate Trends 2007 update, and there’s some sobering news within the latest update:

  • The concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere was 383 parts per million (ppm) in 2007, 37% over pre-industrial revolution concentrations (280 ppm), higher than any concentration over the last 650,000 years, and “probably” higher than any concentration in the last 20 million years.
  • Actual emissions of CO2 over the period of 2000-2007 are higher than the highest (worst-case) IPCC emissions scenario.
  • Growth in emissions from cement and coal power plants in developing nations (mostly India and China) now account for more than 50% of all CO2 emissions and a related stagnation in carbon intensity (amount of GDP per unit of carbon).
  • The amount of CO2 extracted from the air by natural carbon sinks is rising, but slower than CO2 emissions. In addition, natural carbon sinks have lost efficiency over the last 50 years.
  • The GPC concludes that all of the above combine to produce stronger CO2-driven climate forcing, and sooner than the IPCC estimates.

So, then, what does this all mean? Continue reading

The end of the Millennial Generation

By Greg Stene

We may be witnessing the absurdly quick end to the Millennial Generation.

This coming Monday, September 29th may take care of it all.

For years:

  • we had the advertising world getting a handle on the Millennials at a huge cost and professional upheaval of all it once held true
  • we had the world of employment turning itself upside down to accommodate the Millennials’ justified lack of employer-loyalty, work performance on their own terms, and the quick-shift from employer-to-employer they represented Continue reading

Motives for McCain's intervention strategy begin to emerge (updated)

by JS O’Brien

Yesterday, Senator John McCain announced that he was suspending his campaign to return to Washington to provide leadership in the effort to save the American economy from what George W. Bush says will be a “long and painful recession.”  By yesterday afternoon, Senate leadership had announced that they were very close to a bipartisan agreement on the Bush Administration’s plan to buy up bad debt, thereby freeing capital markets to continue to provide crucial lending to businesses and consumers; lending that many call “the life’s blood of the economy.”

Senator McCain, Senator Obama, President Bush, and congressional leaders met yesterday afternoon with the congressional leaders thinking they were near a deal.  By the end of the meeting, there was no deal, participants were visibly upset, and an attempt by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson to convene an evening meeting failed, as the House minority leadership refused to send a negotiator. Continue reading

Electoral math and campaign strategy: What needs to happen for Obama or McCain to win

by JS O’Brien

Political polls give us joy or despair.  Rabid sports fans understand this.  They often subject themselves to emotional roller coaster rides, watching games where the score is too close even for desperate toilet breaks.  For those of us following this year’s presidential election closely, each morning can bring good or bad news as the latest national polls are posted.

In the fever sweats over which candidate has posted a 2% lead across the nation today, it’s all too easy to forget that presidential elections are won in the Electoral College.  Candidates must win states.  They can win most states by a single vote (theoretically) and take all its electoral votes.  They can lose the popular election count and win the White House, as George W. Bush did in 2000.  What really counts is how the polls add up to enough electoral votes to win.

So, today, I take a close look at what Obama and McCain must do to win sufficient electoral votes (270) to take the White House, some of the scenarios that can get them there, the odds, likely campaign strategies going forward, and who is really in the lead. Continue reading

Project Censored 2009: the stories your corporate news whores are ignoring

If you have a pulse and an IQ of at least 70, you probably realize that our mainstream press sucks. The silly bitches at the networks (and way too many newspapers, as well) fall all over themselves address the pig/lipstick story. They treat the price of John Edwards’ latest haircut like they would news that Lower Fucktardistan just nuked Annandale (although they don’t seem nearly as concerned over John McCain’s $5K celebrity makeover). And their fair and balanced coverage can’t seem to distinguish between the truth and a bald-faced lie.

In short, we know – at an abstract level – that they aren’t telling us the important stories. But … what are those stories that they aren’t telling us? When they send a “reporter” to cover the latest Sarah Palin photo-op, what story have they decided not to cover? Continue reading

Krugman to Democrats: do you want Phil Gramm to have Paulson's new powers?

There seems to be an unspoken rule in politics that the Republicans have broken at least a couple of times over the course of the Bush Administration – don’t create precedents and new powers that you don’t want used against you when you next fall out of power. The failed idea of a permanent GOP majority was probably the reason for the Republicans’ crossing of this particular line, but nonetheless it’s useful to remind all politicians every once in a while that you really don’t want to give your ideological opponents tools they can use against you.

This morning I stumbled across a blog post Paul Krugmam made to his Conscience of a Liberal NYTimes blog on Tuesday. In it he says that he’s been pointing out to liberals that Paulson’s dictatorial powers could well fall to Phil Gramm, John McCain’s unofficial economic adviser, in a little over four months. In case you don’t know why this should be downright terrifying, Phil Gramm was responsible for the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999 that eliminated Depression-era laws requiring that banking, insurance, and brokerage activities be kept separate. In other words, it’s some of Phil Gramm’s work in the Senate that’s responsible for today’s financial meltdown. Continue reading

Pew Research sees different polling results when cell phones are included

My wife’s younger siblings don’t have land lines. Several of my friends don’t have land lines either. Their cell phones are their only phones, and from what I’ve read, this is entirely normal for people my age and younger. So I’ve read claims that land line-only (LLO) polling is as accurate as land line plus cell phone polling with a bit if disbelief. And so it’s with great interest that I read a blog that hit my screen this morning from Future Majority.com that the Pew Research Center has identified a 2-3% shift in results in three Pew polls that were conducted twice each, one land lines only and the other land lines plus cell phones. Continue reading

The Weekly Carboholic: traditional media errs on latest permafrost study


Scientists are understandably concerned about the impact that thawing and decaying permafrost will have on the world’s climate. Methane is a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide (CO2), and there’s a massive amount of organic matter stored in the world’s permafrost, up to 1/6 the entire amount of carbon in the atmosphere just in North America’s permafrost, never mind offshore methane hydrates and permafrost in Asia that is already showing signs of melting. Continue reading

Gov. Palin and the press: Micheal Deaver redux

In some grand Rovian afterlife, the late Michael Deaver, Republican image machinator extraordinaire, is smiling, even laughing.

You remember Mr. Deaver, don’t you?

As the White House deputy chief of staff during the first term of the Reagan presidency, Deaver orchestrated Reagan’s every public appearance, staging announcements with an eye for television and news cameras. From a West Wing office adjacent to the Oval Office, Deaver did more than anyone before him to package and control the presidential image.[emphasis added]

Were Mr. Deaver with us today, he’d be overweeningly proud of whoever’s handling — abusing, actually — the press for Gov. Sarah Palin, the Republican candidate for vice president.
Continue reading