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Yes, we can. Yes, we have. Yes, we will. November 5, 2008

Posted by Robert in Election 08, Not Political, Politics, Social Commentary.
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Congratulations to Barack Obama, the 44th President of The United State of America.   I had the privilege of watching the results from Rockefeller Plaza in Mid-town Manhattan.   It was absolutely packed to the gills with humanity.  Yes, it was overwhelmingly a Democratic and Pro-Obama crowd, but if you were there it seemed like more than that.  The word catharsis comes to mind.

Congratulations to John McCain, who ran a strong race and gave a moving and unifying concession speech.  He gave me hope that the John McCain that I grew to love and admire 4 years ago is still in there somewhere and will hopefully reemerge as a stalwart of the senate that all Americans can look to for a cool head and an honest opinion.   His party did not let him be himself during this election, but now that it’s over, I hope he goes back to answering only to himself.   That’s the McCain I loved.

Tonight, my wish was granted.  Now lets see if we, the American People, can stand up and answer my prayer.

In closing…


Oh… wait what? October 8, 2008

Posted by Robert in Election 08, Politics, Television.
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McCain/Palin, you sit on a throne of lies. September 16, 2008

Posted by Robert in Election 08, Humor, Politics.
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Well, it would seem that running roughshod over the campaign with the reckless abandon of an 11 year old boy who just had 3 Capri Sun’s would seem to be a fleeting strategy.  The McCain/Palin campaign has certainly enjoyed quite a boost from the addition of the sexiest governor ever to strike fear in the heart of a moose.   They’ve jumped in the polls, although they have seemed to settle down. They’ve even enjoyed some favorable press.

But then, they got greedy.

They decided to see how far they could push their luck.  They released some ads that were, ironically, liberal in their definition of “truth”.

They attacked Obama for wanting to teach “comprehensive sex education to kindergartners”.  In fact, they called it his only accomplishment on education.   Laughable. First off, the bill was trying to protect young children from sexual predators. Second, it didn’t pass and Obama really had very little to do with it. Luckily, there are people who keep track of these things and this ad has been completely dismissed as false by several independent political fact checking organizations.  Here’s one.

They continue to spew lies regarding Obama’s tax plan.   Just for the record, Obama is NOT going to raise taxes on any American household who earns less than $250,000 a year. Check out this page to see how much you’ll save if Obama is elected. Here’s an interesting video that I found on a little cable news outlet that shares it’s name with animal that English nobleman hunt.

Wow, first Toby Kieth and now Fox News?  I predict this isn’t the last time we see Fox be critical of the McCain campaign.  Rupert Murdoch is a semi-closeted Obama fan and he owns the place.  He also owns all this stuff.

And after they released an attack ad so unfounded that CBS News forced it to be removed from Youtube because of it’s use of Katie Couric.  Today, John McCain admitted that Obama was not referring to Sarah Palin when he said “lipstick on a pig”.  He did say that he believes Obama “chooses his words very carefully”.  Maybe McCain should take a lesson from that.

But who am I to say that the McCain campaign has gone too far?  I mean, I certainly don’t have any clout in the political world.  Well, certainly not as much as this guy.

Now of course Rove is going to bash Obama and say he’s lying in his ads.  But if you’re the Republican candidate and Karl Rove is saying you need to be more truthful, you’ve got a problem.

Maybe the pursuit of trivial issues in the campaign last week called down the gods of clarity because today the country got over 500 reasons to focus on the real issues like the sub-prime mortgage crisis and whether or not the government should be bailing out banks.   This is unfortunate for McCain because he’s not in his element answering questions on the economy.   He now says when he’s referring to the “fundamentals” of the economy, he’s referring to the American Worker.

Is this the kind of worker he was talking about? Because that’s the kind we’re going to see more and more of if we don’t get a leader who takes this issue seriously and knows the plight of the middle class working American.

Have we learned nothing from Shakira? If her hips continue to not lie a full 31 years after they were created, why can’t John McCain stay honest?

Obama/Biden Vs. McCain/Palin – Of Lipstick and Pigs September 10, 2008

Posted by Robert in Election 08, Humor, Politics.
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Well, by now you’ve probably heard all about the what some are dubbing “Swine-gate”.  If you haven’t, here’s the clip.

Now this “Lipstick on a Pig” line may be many things.  It’s certainly an old hack line.  It’s not funny.  It’s true in that “rather than just say my opponents are liars I’m going to say something folksy that gets the point across” sort of way.  But for the life of me what I cannot see it as is a personal attack on Sarah Palin.  Anyone with a 1st grade level knowledge of sentence structure can tell you that the subject of Obama’s comment was not Sarah Palin, who was never even mentioned once, but the proposed policies of John McCain.

I’m well aware that Palin said the equally hack “difference between a hockey-mom and a pit bull” line at her acceptance speech.  And I’m also equally aware that political pundits on both sides of the spectrum pounce on loose connections like this all the time.  These are called gaffes and the campaigns are just sick with them.   But it seems that the McCain-Palin campaign is once again being very liberal, yes liberal with their ability to throw together a campaign ad with out of context clips that are meant to distract and take focus away from the overwhelming dissatisfaction with 8 years of republican rule in this country.

Here’s the ad that the McCain campaign swiftly responded with.

Notice anything missing?  Like context?  Like logic?  Like a vampire in a battle of wits with a rabbit?

McCain should really check youtube from time to time for things other than this and this.  Because if he did, he might notice that certain things that he has said in the past are still alive and well.  He may also notice that little box on the top of the screen marked “search” where if a person were to write something like “McCain lipstick on a pig” in that little box and then press the “enter” key on their keyboard, this page will pop up on the screen.

If you look on that page, you’ll find this video.

Oops!  Well I guess his use of the phrase was completely different because Hillary never compared herself to a pet with cosmetics.  But you can’t be surprised that he didn’t find this obvious personal inconsistency.  He’s admitted that he doesn’t know how to use the glowing box you see before you.

“Blasted Internet!!”, said the aging candidate after reading the progressive bloggers post. “When I get in power these futile bed-wetters will feel my wrath!!  Now hand me my Tiajuana Bible and lets go to a Brooklyn Dodgers game!!”

Update!!: It appears that CBS News has forced YouTube to remove the “Lipstick” McCain ad because it was “misleading”.  Ben Smith from Politico explains here:

YouTube has removed a webad that casts Sarah Palin as the victim of sexism on the request of CBS, whose anchor Katie Couric was featured in the ad.

YouTube’s page displaying the ad now tells visitors, “This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by CBS Interactive Inc.”

“One of the great lessons of that campaign is the continued and accepted role of sexism in American life,” Couric is quoted in the ad.

In the original clip, which aired months before Palin entered the race, Couric was talking about Hillary Clinton. The ad applies her words to Palin.

Asked about the ad, CBS spokeswoman Leigh Farris said, “CBS News does not endorse any candidate in the Presidential race. Any use of CBS personnel in political advertising that suggests the contrary is misleading.”

Empathy. Let’s all give it a try, shall we? September 9, 2008

Posted by Robert in Not Political, Social Commentary.
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I respect your right to be on fire. I myself, choose not to be.

I respect your right to be on fire. I myself, choose not to be.

I’m taking a break from political commentary for a post.   I’m sure you’d be upset if the stuff wasn’t coming at you from every corner of television, the Internet, radio and ‘gasp’ printed news outlets.  But I’ve been doing quite a lot of thinking lately, and I wouldn’t be doing my URL justice if I didn’t take at least one post out of all these politically charged ramblings to speak some truth, or at least what I consider truth.

True thing the first: No matter what happens in November, a crap-ton of Americans are going to be mad.  Really mad.  Really, really mad.  Like so mad that many of them will consider (at least in empty statements uttered to equally mad friends) that they’re moving to another country because this one is broken.  People will be mad because they feel like they’ve already figured out the perfect way to run this country/planet and anyone who disagrees with them is wrong.

True thing the second: Right now, you’ve inserted yourself in one of the two roles that I’ve just described.  You’ve either placed yourself in the role of the person who knows what is correct for this country, or you’ve placed yourself in the role of the person who feels the rest of the country is against you and somehow there is some confederacy stacked against you and those who agree with you.

True thing the third:  You are both those people.

Why then is it so hard for us to understand that there are other opinions out there besides our own?  Why do we seem to be completely unable to respect another persons right to disagree? Why must we fear different perspectives?

Simply put, we no longer seem to place any value on empathy.  It’s almost as if it has become a character flaw, like if you for a second try and empathize with a person or group who completely disagrees with your views, than somehow you’re betraying your beliefs.

We spend far to much time surrounding ourselves with people and things that reinforce the things that separate us.  If we’re fundamentalist Christians, we hang out with fundamentalist Christian people and attend fundamentalist Christian schools.  If we’re atheist, we spend our time surfing the internet looking for sites that reassure us that we’re on the right side of the ideology debate.  If you’re liberal, you read liberal blogs and listen to liberal pundits.  Conservative, you surround yourself with books offering unending “evidence” that can make you sleep easy at night knowing you’ve placed the correct label on yourself.

No matter what labels we choose, we seem to spend an inordinate amount of time making sure that we come into as little contact with those who would disagree with us as possible.   But that begs the question, what is more important? Identifying yourself as a believer Or the belief?

Of course, there’s no right or wrong answer, only a right or wrong response when someone else gives a different answer.  That’s why your homework for this post is to sit, think, and acknowledge that you are both the person with all the answers and the person with all the opposite answers.  You are the liberal and the conservative.  The fundamentalist and the progressive.

That’s where the empathy comes in.  Murder, war and torture do not stem from conflicting beliefs. They stem from a cultural lack of empathy or, as I prefer to call it, extremism.  We’ve seen what the absence of empathy can do in every culture on the planet, from 9/11 to Darfur to Abu Ghraib Prison.  We’ve also been warned about this folly from every major religion and philosophy, from charity toward “the least” of your brothers to “The Golden Rule”.  These are not new ideas, they just seem to be the easiest to forget.

We must learn that to exist is to co-exist.  Or to put it another way…

Still Scrubbing… The McCain/Palin campaign keeps forgetting about Google Cache September 3, 2008

Posted by Robert in Election 08, Politics.
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Ben Smith over at Politico, noted the following today in his column.

Back in 2006, the Eagle Forum Alaska sent out a questionnaire to all the potential gubernatorial candidates.  Sarah Palin was one of 2 candidates that responded.  The group recently removed the results of the questionnaire from their site.  Looks like the McCain/Palin Internet Ghostbusters are at it again.

Luckily for us, Google knows all, sees all and forgets nothing.

A few highlights:

3. Will you support funding for abstinence-until-marriage education instead of for explicit sex-education programs, school-based clinics, and the distribution of contraceptives in schools?

SP: Yes, the explicit sex-ed programs will not find my support.

… that one doesn’t even need a comment.

10. Do you support the Alaska Supreme Court’s ruling that spousal benefits for state employees should be given to same-sex couples? Why or why not?

SP: No, I believe spousal benefits are reserved for married citizens as defined in our constitution.

There’s more of that compassionate conservatism we can expect from Mrs. Reform.

11. Are you offended by the phrase “Under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance? Why or why not?

SP: Not on your life. If it was good enough for the founding fathers, its good enough for me and I’ll fight in defense of our Pledge of Allegiance.

I’m not even sure where to begin with this one.  First off, the Pledge of Allegiance was not written until 1892 by Frances Bellamy.  Frances was a Baptist Minister and a Christian Socialist just like Martin Luther King Jr. So that’s pretty good company.  Either way, not one “Founding Father” had anything to do with the pledge of allegiance.  Next up, say what you want about the “Under God” part of the pledge (I personally think it has a nice ring to it) but it wasn’t in the original text.  It wasn’t added until 1954.

So there you have it.  This is probably just me “running scared” because obviously John McCain has picked the perfect person to be his VP.  I’m probably just lashing out because she’s had such an energizing effect on the Republican base.  But maybe, just maybe, I’m mad because this it doesn’t seem like this person could pass a 6th grade history test much less stare down Putin.  But what else should I expect?  We’ve already had a VP who couldn’t pass 4th grade spelling.

DNC Day 1: Michelle, My Belle or How Teddy Got His Groove Back August 26, 2008

Posted by Robert in Election 08, Politics, Television.
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Dem's Do Denver - Day 1

Dem's Do Denver - Day 1

Well, it would appear as day 1 of the DNC has come to a close.  Your humble author is currently watching Tom Brokaw, one of the greatest journalists and broadcasters in the history of televised news, discuss the speech that Michelle Obama just finished.

She and Senator Ted Kennedy were, in a word, perfection.   In two words, Spot On.  In three words, Better Than Ezra.

Starting with the powerful Ken Burns tribute to Senator Kennedy, the whole air about the room seemed to be electric, at least from what I could tell from my couch in New Jersey.   As soon as the lights came up after the short tribute, the announcer came on and confirmed what fevered rumors were mentioning all day.  Senator Kennedy was not just going to be in attendance at the convention, he was in fact being given a microphone, a podium and the ear of everyone in the room, country and with the help of all these tubes, the world.

Teddy sent Americans a clear message tonight,  the Lion of the Senate has a few hearty roars left in him and he’s not going to lay down and be resigned to anything.   He promised that he would be there in the new year to make sure that not one vote would be  lost for his ever present cause of universal healthcare.   He spoke perhaps with a few more breaks in his cadence than we’re used to hearing.  He may not have looked as fresh and clean as the presumptive Democratic nominee.  But tonight, Ted was absolutely just what the doctor ordered.   He spoke the Democratic Party’s basic principals in a way that anyone on either side of the aisle would be hard pressed to refute.   His words were so simple and so pointed, that it makes one wonder why people can find anything to argue about at all when it comes to politics.

The torch of Camelot has been passed to an Obama and for tonight at least, it was passed to…


Michelle, you beautiful vision of intelligence, grace and poise. You did it.   If there was a catalyst for healing for the Democratic Party, you may have delivered it tonight.   It was as if this party (and the country as a whole) had skinned it’s knee on the playground and you as the wonderful mother you are bent down, kissed the boo-boo, told us everything was going to be ok and mad the hurting stop.

Michelle Obama did everything that was expected of her and so much more.  She gave us a window into a Presidential Candidate who she knows better than anyone.  She told the story of her own life, which is as much a tale of the American Dream as has ever been told.  She demonstrated what true balance and respect in a marriage could yield.  And finally, she introduced us to herself in a way that was a long time coming in this process.  I can only hope we see more of Michelle in the days and years to come.

Pride in my country is something that I feel very often.   That may surprise some of my more conservative readers, but it’s true.  Tonight’s two main speeches at the DNC gave me even more to be proud of.  In two very different ways they illustrated what is good and right and pure about life in America.

Tomorrow will be about dissecting and analyzing and rebutting these speeches.  The Republicans will need to tell us why these speeches were not good for the Democratic Party; the Democrats will need to tell us why these speeches were the last nail in the Republican’s hopes in the November elections.  Neither of these points will really matter.  That’s why I urge you to watch these speeches in their whole before you hear a whole lot of pundits tell you how you should feel about them.

Don’t let the people on your televisions tell you how to feel about this sort of thing.  Don’t let people like me tell you how to feel.   Just feel for yourself. The first step to getting rid of our surplus of cynicism in this country is to make up our own minds.

The Choice Has Been Made! Obama-Biden ’08 – The Choice of a New Generation August 23, 2008

Posted by Robert in Election 08, Humor, Politics.
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"Check it out... Nachos.  Awesome."

Check it out... Nachos! Awesome!

Well, looks like the good folks at ABC News have taken some of the mystery out of the Democratic Vice-Presidential game of Guess Who.

My nose itches... damn it.

My nose itches... damn it.

According to the story, a “source” has stated that the United States Secret Service is en route to the home of Smokin’ Joe Biden.   So that, as they say, would appear to be that.   The Secret Service doesn’t eff around and they don’t make a habit of protecting people who they don’t have to.   They are also not currently protecting, Bayh, Kaine, The Clinton Brothers or any of the other people that I think would make awesome Vice Presidents.

So there you have it America.

Update: Looks like Obama’s plan to get the word out to his supporters before the MSM was not quite as successful as he would have liked.   Many (many, many, many) sources both inside and out of the mainstream media reported that Biden was in-fact the choice well before the official announcement was made via text messages and emails at about 3:28 EST Saturday morning.  Ah well…  It’s a very good choice. You know how I know?  Because the McCain campaign, has immediately flipped it’s sh*t and put out another knee jerk campaign ad with video of Joe from one of the Democratic primary debates where Biden calls Obama (you guessed it), inexperienced.

Is anyone else seeing a pattern here?  The McCain campaign just can’t seem to get any momentum talking about McCain.  I can’t say I blame them.  I mean the guy is just plain not compelling.  He’s basically running a “lesser of two evil’s” campaign during an election where people are actually motivated and actually are voting because they like one of the candidates.   John, wake up.  It’s late August and the early bird special is only served until early September.  Also, this place has a nice salad bar and the waitresses are rarely rude.

And now for something completely different…

How many homes do you own? How is this a hard question to answer? August 21, 2008

Posted by Robert in Election 08, Humor, Politics.
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Um... yeah... well it's like... you know?

Um... yeah... well it's like... you know?

Recently, during a press conference in Las Cruces, NM, John McCain stumbled on a question and had to yield to his staff.  Now this is not an uncommon occurrence in the political world.   Candidates would much rather not give an answer at all than give a wrong answer or come off as uninformed.  Normally, this wouldn’t be news.   But this was not a normal political question.   This was a question that if you or I or 99.99999% of the citizens of this country were asked, we could answer with complete certainty without having to check with our “staff“.

The question that John McCain was unable to answer was “How many houses do you own?”

I’ll let that sink in for a second.  John McCain, the candidate that is trying to portray himself as the friend of the common and downtrodden while portraying his opponent as “elitist”, was unable to answer how many different places of residence he holds the deed to.   This wouldn’t be a difficult question for me if I was playing 4 separate games of Monopoly at the same time.

How the hell is this even possible?   Did you buy one property during one hell of a bender in Vegas?  Did you lose a bet on a bear baiting match? Could you not remember if that Bakery/Realty Agency sold houses in regular dozen or bakers dozen?

2, no 6, no 12. BAKERS DOZEN!

2, no 6, no 12. BAKERS DOZEN!

The way I see it, there are 4 possible reasons why John McCain would have been unable to answer that question.

  1. He doesn’t know the answer to the question because he and his new beautiful wife (as opposed to his old wife) are so wealthy they simply lost track of all the houses that they have bought.  Kinda like I couldn’t tell you exactly how many DVDs I own. The answer to that one is, a lot.
  2. He doesn’t know the answer to the question for the same reason my grandfather might have trouble coming up with exactly how many grand-kids he has.  McCain’s really old, get it!?!
  3. He’s lying.  He knows the answer to the question, but the answer would put him in an echelon of society reserved only for the kind of person he’s trying to paint his opponent as.

    If you can see them, it's already too late.

    If you can see them, it's already too late.

  4. Ninjas kidnapped his family.

This in essence is the mystery that is the Republican party.  This single act of personal ignorance (or question avoidance if you wish) is the reason that I don’t understand why so many members of the lower class tend to skew pachyderm.   I’d like to speak to that section of society for a second.

Ahem…  Hello registered Republican voter who happens to be in the lower economic class of society.   My name is Rob.   Does your job offer health insurance?  No? OK.  Is it better to spend $570 Billion dollars here in our country or on some foreign country? Here… right of course.  Last question I promise.  How many homes do you own?  One, right, that’s what I thought. Me too.  Maybe it’s time then to reevaluate your party affiliation.  Because you’re supporting a party that doesn’t seem to be very willing to relate to your day-to-day problems.

Oh and if you’re wondering how many homes John McCain and wife own, the answer is 9, well 10 if you include their rental property in Phoenix, AZ.  That answer would make half of the stars of MTVs “Cribs” blush. The official answer from the McCain campaign is 4, but that doesn’t take into account their rental property or homes that he and Cindy have purchased for members of their family.  They own 10 properties worth over $14 Million in real-estate value.  Now, I have no problem with that.  They are wealthy and in this country people are allowed to become wealthy and own land and property.  Hell, it’s sorta what we like to refer to as “The American Dream“.  But what I do have a problem with is phony people.   Trying to hide the fact that you are in-fact extremely wealthy is something that a phony would do.  I don’t want my president to be phony.  I want my president to be honest.   It would also be nice if he could keep it in his pants, but that may be asking a lot of any elected official regardless of political party.  So lets just start with the honest part.

Update: The Obama campain says that the answer to the question is 7.  Either way. Burn, total burn.