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The Exact Moment That Decided This Election October 8, 2008

Posted by Robert in Election 08, Humor, Politics, Television.
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Both candidates have these same expressions right now.

Both candidates have these same expressions right now.

There have been many gaffes during this campaign.  Both Republicans and Democrats have put their feet in their collective mouths  more times than one blog can cover.

But McCain managed, in 3 short seconds, to (at least in my humble estimation) loose his last remaining chance at winning this election and the last remaining shred of respect that I had for him.

Here’s what he did.

Oh. My. Rude. Senator.

I really can’t think of a time where I’ve had such an appalled reaction while watching television.  Well, maybe season 2 of HEROES.   But my wife, myself and I’m sure a great many American’s all shared a collective “WTF” moment when the Arizona senator referred to his opponent as “That One”.

I mean good Lord.  Barack Obama has a title, sir.  It is “Senator”.  Just like yours is.  You could have probably gotten away with “my opponent”, “Barack” or even “Barack-man Turner Overdrive”.  But “That One”?  Hell ta’ tha’ no.

I will now offer at no charge a retort for Senator Obama to use during the 3rd and final debate.

Who was it that voted with the Bush Administration over 90% of the time? Who was having cake with Bush while people drowned en masse in the wake of Katrina?  Who can’t smile without it looking really, really creepy?  You may not be able to guess, but it’s “Gramps” over there.

Use it in good health, Senator Obama and feel free to thank me later after your inauguration.

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Hey McCain!! Cheer Up Gloomy Gus! September 30, 2008

Posted by Robert in Election 08, Humor, Politics.
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The video above contains a recent gaffe that McCain made while discussing US independence from foreign oil.  He makes the mistake of saying that we need to end our dependence on oil provided by “Hugo Chavez or other parts of the Middle East” that can be easily destabilized.

Now of course he made a goof.  But honestly that’s not what I’m talking about here.  I’m sure he knows that Venezuela is not in the Middle East.

What I want to draw your attention to, is how freaking sad he looks.  It’s as if all the wind has been taken out of his sails.    Sure he’s down in the polls since this financial crisis has been the topic of choice in the MSM and the campaign trail alike.  Sure he’s getting some flack from even the most conservative republicans for choosing Sarah Palin as his running mate.   Sure, he programmed his Tivo wrong and it taped “John and Kate Plus 8” instead of the John Wayne marathon on AMC.  But is that any reason to look like a sad sack?

If you’re not happy, then embrace your unhappiness and tell us about it.  Don’t worry about being seen as grumpy, It’s ok.  Grumpy is cool now.   Maybe you can capture the emo vote.

Good Depression? GOOD DEPRESSION? Screw that, this is gonna be the best depression ever!! September 29, 2008

Posted by Robert in Humor, Politics.
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(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

So how the hell did we get here?  As I type, the Dow is down over 600 points and the house has failed to pass the bailout bill that everyone except an overwhelming amount of normal Americans believe we need.  Sure, this is most likely just a very scared market working it’s way though a whole lot of bureaucratic uncertainty, but in case

Democrats are once again blaming the Republican’s for not getting their party unified.  Republicans are once again blaming the Democrats because they feel that the bill that was put forth was lacking any real substance and would end up doing more harm than good.

Of course, the answer lies somewhere in the middle.  But that’s always the trick isn’t it?

While you’re waiting to see what’s to come of your 401(k), perhaps you’re still a little confused as to why you’re in this situation if you’re like the majority of Americans who do their jobs and pay their taxes on time and are just looking to live comfortably.

His aim is also truth.

His aim is also truth.

Well very (very, very, very) good folks over at Public Radio International’s “This American Life” put together a wonderful program called “The Giant Pool of Money” that does a wonderful job explaining exactly what happened to bring us here.  It goes through the sub-prime debacle with enough interesting narrative to please the easily bored and enough hard facts and figures to please the more analytical among us. It’s a bit long for you short attention span web 2.0 types, but it might just be the most important thing you did today to better understand the situation that the world markets have found themselves in.

Best of all, you can listen to it in it’s entirety here.

And please do listen, because then you will know and knowing is half the battle.

McCain wins debate, loses staring contest. September 27, 2008

Posted by Robert in Election 08, Humor, Politics, Television.
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(AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)

(AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)

Well, it wasn’t quite the slug-fest that I wanted it to be, especially from Obama, but we did gain some key insights as to how both sides have decided to play their hand in these debates.

Honestly, I do have to give a narrow win to McCain on this one, but very narrow and won solely based on sharp direct and often times, dare I say it, unsportsmanlike attacks on Obama.   But in an age where the sound-bite rules, he definitely got in some good punches.   The only problem is, he did it at the expense of looking very un-presidential.

I was absolutely amazed at McCain’s inability to make eye contact with his opponent.  It was downright eerie.   Even after being told several times to direct their retorts at each other, McCain refused to give his opponent the satisfaction of even acknowledging him with one fleeting glance. He did, however, manage to correctly use the word “Festooned”. But that is certainly not going to silence any of the people saying his age is an issue.

As a quick aside, this is my attempt to recreate a text message from one 7th grader to another that correctly uses the word “Festooned”.,

nce nu jckt. it’s 100% festooned w cul stf.

Ok, now that I got that out of my system…

McCain also made one of his strongest and most shrewd moves when he said that he thought that Obama “Didn’t possess the knowledge or experience” to serve as President. I’m really sorry, but I thought that one of the things that the Right keeps repeating is that Obama is too “Ivy League”.   There are certainly things that someone looking to find fault with Obama could find, just read those chain emails from your weird aunt.  But I haven’t seen one crazy email that has challenged Obama’s intelligence.

If you’re confused as to where I’m going with this, here’s a hint.

Obama is smart.  Really smart.  Possibly too smart for some who try to paint him as a sort of  douche-bag valedictorian type.  But personally, I want my president to have a higher SAT score than I did.

Now, I know that John McCain is smart as well, but even if he wasn’t I think Obama proved that he has the demeanor of a person who realizes that personal attacks like that don’t belong in the political discord.  Obama may have not had as many sound bites as McCain, but he did have a few very good ones and more importantly than anything else, he continued to look Presidential as McCain continued to look sloppy.

Did I mention that the hardened Navy Pilot/POW who supposedly looks everyone in the eye wouldn’t look the skinny Harvard grad in the eye?  Yeesh…

Now I certainly thought that Obama missed some chances and was being a bit too polite.  Several times you could tell he really wanted to set something straight after McCain took a swing at him but either let McCain steamroll him or allowed the subject to be changed.   This is something that he will most definitely need to correct in the future debates.

So if you’re keeping score, McCain squeaked by with a victory by taking the low road.  The good news for Obama fans is that this was the debate where everyone said McCain would have the upper hand.  So because he was able to stand up and not get completely crushed, it’s a moral victory.   Now on to the VP debate and the second and third Presidential Debates.

If the McCain campaign want’s some advice for the coming debates, Number 23 has some.

Update: Well, it looks like I saw the debate differently than most uncommitted voters.  That’s what this CBS poll says anyway.

CBS News and Knowledge Networks conducted a nationally representative poll of approximately 500 uncommitted voters reacting to the debate in the minutes after it happened.

Thirty-nine percent of uncommitted voters who watched the debate tonight thought Barack Obama was the winner. Twenty-four percent thought John McCain won. Thirty-seven percent saw it as a draw.

Forty-six percent of uncommitted voters said their opinion of Obama got better tonight. Thirty-two percent said their opinion of McCain got better.

Sixty-six percent of uncommitted voters think Obama would make the right decisions about the economy. Forty-two percent think McCain would.

Forty-eight percent of these voters think Obama would make the right decisions about Iraq. Fifty-six percent think McCain would.

We will have a full report on the poll later on. Uncommitted voters are those who don’t yet know who they will vote for, or who have chosen a candidate but may still change their minds.

The margin of sampling error could be plus or minus 4 percentage points for results based on the entire sample.

The First Debate: It’s on like Donkey Kong! September 26, 2008

Posted by Robert in Election 08, Humor, Politics.
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The McCain campaign confirmed that John McCain will in fact be at the debate tonight.   There’s still no resolution about the proposed bailout, so I’m not sure what exactly has changed other than possibly coming to realization that having either Obama or McCain in Washington trying to help figure this out was a huge mistake, but either way the political junkies of the world are rejoicing.

This means that the VP debate that has everyone in the media and blogosphere salivating will in all likelihood occur, as the McCain campaign’s only excuse to do away with it is now gone.

Oh man, I’m so excited.  I’m not sure what the tone of the debate tonight will take, but I am sure that you’ve probably will never hear so many foreign policy questions answered with domestic finance responses again in your life.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that the debate will look something like this…

or this.

Meet Billy, the Bus Driver on the “Straight Talk Express” September 17, 2008

Posted by Robert in Election 08, Humor, Politics.
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Well, we can all speculate all we want about the true nature of a candidate.  But if you want the real story, you’ve got to ask someone at the source.

Luckily for us, John McCain’s bus driver Billy Mires has mad a vlog about his adventures on the campaign trail.

Enjoy!  Subscribe to his YouTube vids here.

To the uninitiated, “Billy Mires” is actually comedian Billy Merritt of The Upright Citizens Brigade.  He’s been a long time staple of the New York/LA/Chicago improv-comedy scene and currently is the host of the wine-centric “Uncorked” on MOJO HD, a cable network dedicated to programming in high definition.

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…

Real reasons to be uneasy about Sarah Palin. September 3, 2008

Posted by Robert in Election 08, Humor, Politics.
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So my posts here have been silent the last few days, and a few regular readers of my blog have asked why I haven’t chimed in on a few of the more juicy tidbits that have been recently rumored or publicly released by the McCain/Palin campaign.   Of course I am speaking of the rumored pregnancy cover-up turned real pregnancy announcement by the presumptive Vice-Presidential nominee.

My opinion is the same now as when I first heard the rumors rumbling through this series of tubes;  I feel that whether her daughter is, was or will ever be pregnant is non of our business.    What is our business is the multi-leveled hypocrisy that this VP selection has brought to the forefront of this election.  The Republicans seem to be keen on using Sarah Palin to be their Swiss Army to fix what was wrong with McCain’s campaign.

First and foremost (and as I previously mentioned), Palin is not the middle of the road reformer that the Republicans have been trying to paint her as.  Among other extreme right-wing sentiments,  she is anti-choice even in cases of incest, rape and incidences where the mother’s life is in danger.  So let me get this straight, when your teenage daughter gets pregnant  and decides to keep it, it’s a private matter that should be removed from the national discussion.  Ok, agreed.  But why then should the bigger issue of a women’s right to choose be paraded around like a political mace and legislated?

I guess what I’m trying to say is, I agree that your daughter’s pregnancy and how she chooses to handle it is none of my business. How is my daughter’s pregnancy and how she chooses to handle it any of your’s?

I've had one of these since 1993. I can say with confidence that I have had more foriegn policy expirience than Governor Palin.

I've had one of these since 1993. I can say with confidence that I have had more foreign policy experience than Governor Palin.

Next up on the hypocrisy scale is the issue of foreign policy experience.   Why can’t people just tell the truth on this?  Barack Obama, while admittedly not having the most experience on the tickets, has far more foreign policy experience than Sarah Palin.  Sarah Palin did not even hold a US passport until 2007.  She needed to get one to visit her state’s troops stationed in Kuwait.

Here’s a fun video of “Republican Strategist” Tucker Bounds squirming away from explaining Palin’s foreign policy experience.

In other news, the Republicans have been pushing a startling train of thought since the VP pick was announced.  They seem to be trying to really push the idea that it’s only the top of the ticket that matters.   You heard it in that last embedded video and if you’re a news junkie like me, it’s a sentiment that’s been echoed many times since the RNC got off the ground.

In case anyone didn’t pay attention in 1st grade social studies, the Vice-President is actually expected to take the oath of office the second the President is no longer able to fulfill his duties in any way, shape or form.  I don’t care what political party you belong to or who you support, but please tell me how anyone in their right mind could think for a second that Governor Palin would be the most qualified VP candidate to take over the role of president should she end up like the 1 in 5 of United States Vice President’s who have been forced to do so.  That’s not even including the 5 who were democratically elected into the office.  Those are staggering numbers.  I do not appreciate the Republicans making it seem like there is only an outside possibility that she will need to take over the highest office in the country.

Obama’s choice of a Vice-President might have been controversial, but no-one disputes Biden’s ability to step into the role of president at a moments notice. Or maybe there are those who do, but they would be hard pressed to say that Palin would be more qualified to take on the VP’s true responsibility.

Speaking of the VP’s true responsibility, here it is.

UPDATE:  MSNBC just reported that the New York Times just posted a retraction regarding the following story about Sarah Palin’s supposed membership to the Alaskan Independence Party.   It appears the chairwoman of the party gave out false information.

Lastly, it should be mentioned that there is a distinct possibility that Sarah Palin was at one time a member of the “Alaskan Independence Party”.    This little tidbit has only begun to surface in the mainstream media, but already the McCain campaign has come out and denied this claim using old voter registration records as proof that Palin was not a member.  We’ll see where the chips fall, but in the meantime it looks like at the very least her husband was in fact a member of this political party who strives to allow the state of Alaska to break off from the union and become and independent country.

So there you have it.  There’s just a whole lot of reasons why this woman scares me.

But John McCain and I do agree on one thing about her…