Nota Bene #44

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

From a McClatchy blog, on something called the Reverse Bradley Effect: “. . . a new study today says that polls may be UNDERestimating Barack Obama’s support by 3 percent to 4 percent nationally [in] a reversal of the so-called Bradley effect, in which support for African-American candidates is overstated when people talk to pollsters but then vote against the candidate in the privacy of the polling booth. ‘If you call people on the phone today and ask who they will vote for, some will give responses influenced by what may be understood locally as the more desirable response,’ [psychologist Anthony] Greenwald said.” And then, apparently, vote for who they want. Continue reading

False conservatives lie that Fannie and Freddie caused the subprime mortgage crisis

Some conservatives have been blasting Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, as well as the Community Reinvestment Act, as the source of the mortgage crisis and subsequent financial meltdown. On Tuesday, October 7, Daniel Gross wrote a commentary on Slate titled Subprime Suspects in which he names (with quotations so they can’t claim otherwise) some of the people responsible for this: John McCain, Charles Krouthammer of the Washington Post, and Neil Cavuto of Fox Business. Gross’ proposition in his Slate piece is that, when Cavuto says “Loaning to minorities and risky folks is a disaster.”, Cavuto is blaming the poor and brown among us for the financial meltdown. And if that’s not racism, Gross doesn’t know what else it is.

Unfortunately, the general tone of Gross’ commentary is a bit too confrontational in order to convince most non-liberals that he’s right (even though, if you can get past the tone, he clearly is). That’s where a new piece (Private sector loans, not Fannie or Freddie, triggered crisis) out of McClatchy comes in. Continue reading

Lexical analysis of debates finds Obama and McCain startlingly similar

My colleague, Dr. Sidicious Bonesparkle, had a bit of sport last week with a Global Language Monitor analysis showing that Sarah Palin spoke at a higher grade level in the VP “debate” than did Joe Biden. As it turns out, the GLM isn’t alone in examining the language used by the presidential and vice presidential candidates. Continue reading

CNN runs extremely misleading Obama headline

(Updated Below)

by Brad Jacobson

The day after the second Presidential Debate, one of CNN’s top online headlines was:

Ticker: Obama actions called ‘not presidential’

Naturally, readers might think this refers to something Barack Obama did or said during last night’s debate. That it’s possibly a response from a cross-section of undecided voters in a new poll. Or readers might think, having nothing to do with the debate, the headline refers to something Obama has done in the past, or something he may have even done today.

Whatever readers might think, they would have no idea — unless or until they clicked on it — that this egregiously misleading headline was actually referring to a new John McCain attack ad. Continue reading

How DARE you?

by Nan Rhyner

How DARE you stand on that stage, on the shoulders of generations of women who have struggled and sacrificed to allow a woman to achieve what you have, and spit in their faces the way you have done over the past few weeks? For a serious candidate for vice president to turn in such a poor performance in interview after interview that the fact that you managed not to pee on the stage meant that you exceeded many people’s expectations is a crying shame. Continue reading

Nota Bene #43

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

From American Raj, a new book by Eric Margolis: Abdullah Azzam “ran a dingy little rooming house next to his office for Muslim mujahedin headed for Afghanistan that came to be known as ‘the base’ or ‘the centre,’ and in Arabic, ‘al-Qaida.’ Rarely in history has an international revolutionary movement sprung from such modest origins.” From humble beginnings, a little acorn grows.

From “Reversal of Fortune” by Joseph Stiglitz at Vanity Fair: “We learned from the Depression that markets are not self-adjusting — at least, not in a time frame that matters to living people.” There’s only so long you can put off your retirement because of a down market.  Continue reading

Saturday Video Roundup: Lee Camp LIVE at the Big Tent

We’ve mentioned Lee Camp’s performance at the DNC in Denver a time or three, and our friends at Eccentric Production/Zero Coordinate have now posted it for your viewing pleasure. Funny stuff – enjoy…

Continue reading

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

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 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

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

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

Nota Bene #41

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

Stop the presses: John McCain tells the truth. Laurence Vance at explains: “In an interview with 60 Minutes in 1997, McCain mentioned the confession his North Vietnamese captors forced him to write: ‘I was guilty of war crimes against the Vietnamese people. I intentionally bombed women and children.’ The truth, of course, is that what McCain wrote under duress is actually an accurate statement.” Continue reading

Pakistanis offer their two cents on catching Bin Laden

At the rate we’re going, we won’t apprehend Osama Bin Laden until he’s an octogenarian. We’ll drag this broken old man, dialysis wires trailing behind him, out of his cozy bungalow near Peshawar.

Haven’t we seen this before? Oh yeah. Remember how we used to drag Nazi war criminals out of the dens of their houses in towns like Ypsilanti, where they were working at jobs like church custodian. Even though it’s imperative that criminals of the magnitude of Nazis and bin Laden be caught, capturing an individual of advanced age who’s been harmless for decades doesn’t make for a lot of p.r. bang for the buck. Continue reading

Here's Hoping—Review: McCain's Promise by David Foster Wallace

When David Foster Wallace climbed aboard John McCain’s “Straight Talk Express” media caravan in the early days of the 2000 presidential primary season, he hoped to understand why McCain generated so much excitement, so much attention, so much hope. In fact, Wallace was amazed by “the enormous hopes and enthusiasm [McCain’s] generating in press and voters alike.”

Much has changed in the past eight years. McCain, the maverick “anticandidate” who peddled change and hope, who raged against the Washington establishment, now is the Washington establishment. As the 2008 republican nominees, his current campaign lacks the spontaneity and access of his first bid for the White House, and “Straight Talk” has been replaced by on-message scripts written by political marketers. The hope is gone.

And Wallace is dead, victim of an apparent suicide earlier this month. Continue reading

McCain caught on tape, terrified of Palin: "it doesn't help your legacy if ten minutes after you die everyone is living in caves trying to survive the Apocalypse"

By Lee Camp

Editor’s Note: Lee Camp and Michael Weingartner continue sneaking around the Campaign Trail with a hidden microphone. This time they capture Sen. McCain’s true concerns about VP nominee Sarah Palin.

Listen now.