Nota Bene #40

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

Jonathan Freedland at the Guardian: “Until now, anti-Americanism has been exaggerated and much misunderstood. … But if McCain wins in November, that might well change. Suddenly Europeans and others will conclude that their dispute is with not only one ruling clique, but Americans themselves. For it will have been the American people, not the politicians, who will have passed up a once-in-a-generation chance for a fresh start — a fresh start the world is yearning for.” [Emphasis added.]

Naomi Foner at Huffington Post asks: “What kind of misplaced chivalry would keep the Democrats from calling Sarah Palin what she is? An ignorant, misinformed, inexperienced, bigoted fraud. And unless we find a way to do it, she will be running the country before we have time to turn around.”

From a New York Times article,Once Elected, Palin Hired Friends and Lashed Foes“: “The Wasilla High School yearbook archive now doubles as a veritable directory of state government.”

Paul Begala has been as good on McCain-Palin as anybody: “McCain and Palin also claim the Alaska governor opposes earmarks — despite the fact that she’s gotten her state so much pork she’s at risk for trichinosis.”

Taibbi on Obama’s appeal: “Obama manages to appeal somehow to that part of us that is tired of there always being another side of the story when it comes to our presidents. We don’t want to live in a world where there’s always a set of lurid secret tapes that will come out someday, or a mistress with a cigar in her twat hidden off-camera somewhere, or a backroom deal to juice a prewar intelligence report for a bunch of oil-fat-cat golf buddies.”

In “What small-town America is saying about Obama” on Salon, Dan Hoyle shares this: “Gary Ball, a former coal miner and editor of the firebrand Mountain Citizen newspaper that is published in Inez [KY], points to an authenticity gap for Obama. ‘People around here see Obama as being privileged,’ he said. … “We know Obama’s plenty book-smart. . . but I liked Harry Truman, the last president to have a simple high school education.” Even though this guy’s an editor, a college education is capable of disqualifying a candidate in his eyes. You see what Obama is up against.

Comic actor Paul Reiser (remember Mad About Us?) at Huffington Post: “Now everyone is calling for Obama to ‘get angry.’ ‘Get out there and frown this way, curl your lip that way, and clench your fist like so.” [But there’s] only so much the guy can do. It’s going to have to be us.”

Maybe the election isn’t about about the economy. Glenn Thrush at Politico writes: “Added a Democratic pollster: ‘Don’t look at the unemployment rate. The key metric is the percentage of voters who think Obama is ready to lead. So far, that’s been around 50 to 58 percent. If that number stabilizes in the mid-50s, he’ll win.”

Steve Benen at Washington Monthly quotes an old E.J. Dionne column: “A very intelligent political reporter I know said the other night that Republicans simply run better campaigns than Democrats. If I were given a free pass to stretch the truth to the breaking point, I could run a pretty good campaign, too.”

Billmon on the how minorities are only decades away from becoming the majority in the United States: “If you watched any of the Republican National Convention last week — that sea of milky faces, celebrating its own pasteurized homogeneity — you got a good, hard look at the party’s greatest strength: Its hammerlock on the political allegiances of a majority of white Americans. But I think you also saw the party’s greatest weakness: White Americas hammerlock on the party’s future. The time is fast approaching when the weakness will outweigh the strength.”

Lionel Beehner of the Guardian writes: “Interestingly, if Saakashvili is a ‘political corpse‘, as Russian President Dmitry Medvedev described him in a fit of anger, then Cheney’s recent meeting with the Georgian leader was just one political corpse talking to another.”

A victim of the Los Angeles train collision speaks: “‘Within an instant I was in my friend’s lap. It was so quick. It was devastating,’ he said. … The man said he was involved in a devastating 2005 Metrolink crash in Glendale and was talking about it with the other passenger when Friday’s crash occurred.”


At Sports Illustrated, Dr. Z write: “The AP had this postgame non sequitur: “Vince Young was on crutches after injuring his left knee against Jacksonville. . . Titans coach Jeff Fisher didn’t think the injury was serious.’ Just backs up my longtime contention that coaches have a remarkably high threshold for other people’s pain.”

Also at Sports Illustrated, Peter King writes about the player who injured Tom Brady: “‘I tried to apologize to him,’ Bernard Pollard said. … ‘But I’m not sure he heard me. He was screaming.'”

4 replies »

  1. Thanks, Russ.

    The Freedland quote is interesting and important. I’ve been to my fair share of places (and never, ever, tried to pass myself off as Canadian…even though i can because i actually sound like one), but only experienced “anti-Americanism” once or twice that was directed at me personally. I found that people like Americans a great deal, regardless of whether they like America or not. This is especially true if the American in question exhibits an open mind about the place he or she is visiting. I, too, fear that this may be changing. When the government is advertised as of, for and by the people, the people can only shirk their responsibility for the government’s actions for so long.