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October 15, 2008
Break time!

Looks like those of us making excuses for John McCain and the nastiness of his campaign should rethink our positions. I read this, I rethought--and I agree. McCain owns his campaign. If he's too impotent to control it, he's certainly not suited for the Presidency.

Truth Is Not Subjective. I read this speech, or at least excerpts from it, a few days ago, and it stuck with me. Worth blogging.

Democrats. Are better for the economy. So, Democrats are better for capitalism than Republicans. (Someone remind me again--why do we need Republicans at all?)

Go wash your hands.

I'm sitting here, working hard and keeping my head down. I barely managed to avoid a political conversation with a coworker today. I cannot have an discussion with someone who starts a sentence with, "I was listening to Rush Limbaugh, and he said...."

Posted by AnneZook at 04:42 PM | Comments (1)
Once Around the 'Net

A quick whirl through the headlines before I buckle down to serious work today.

George Bush is the torture president.

And, speaking of Bush failures, more signing statements. We all saw one of them coming:

In the authorization bill, Mr. Bush challenged four sections. One forbid the money from being used “to exercise United States control of the oil resources of Iraq”

(And to think, he didn't think his "legacy" would be known until after he died!)

Is Iraq the "forgotten war? Is Afghanistan?

This Gerson column was an--interesting--take on the campaigns. McCain is a great man sabotaged by the financial meltdown. Obama isn't much and doesn't have much to offer, but he's riding a historical tide, so all he has to do is stay afloat. (I hate it when someone makes my head spin that hard this early in the morning.)

When I read Are We Rome? Tu Betchus! Mostly? I want to learn Latin.

Does overeating make you stupid? I don't know (although I feel sludgy, and stupid, when I overeat), but it's worth considering that you might avoid Alzheimer's disease by eating less.

I miss the occasionally fabulous photos from the Hubble telescope.

One of the coolest things about Twitter? The entities you get to chat with. The MarsPheonix is my favorite.

And, to end on a funny note? How about that campaign ad I saw on television last night? It said that "liberal deregulation in Washington" caused the financial mess.

Posted by AnneZook at 09:04 AM | Comments (0)
October 14, 2008
I Should Read Before I Blog

Because it would be easier to just point you to someone else saying what I wanted to say, but better.

A country that refuses to properly educate its young people or to maintain its physical plant is one that has clearly lost its way. Add in the myriad problems associated with unnecessary warfare and a clueless central government that wastes taxpayer dollars by the trillions, and you’ve got a society in danger of becoming completely unhinged.
Posted by AnneZook at 01:16 PM | Comments (0)

Some things may be legal, but that doesn't make them right. I think herding people into facilities meant to hold cattle is one of the Not Right things. (I might feel just a tad differently if any of the presumably legal UsofA residents sitting in the corporate penthouse offices had been herded into cattle pens alongside the workers they hired.) (But probably not. Wrong is wrong.)

And, speaking of "wrong" and "the Bush Administration", I've been thinking about this one since I first read it a week or two ago. The Bush Administration: Reaping the Whirlwind.

History rolls around more quickly these days, so George Bush got to see his "legacy." Ten trillion dollars of national debt, before the stock market bailout is completed. (Gottal love those "small government" conservatives!)

Okay. More than 10,000 people have signed an online petition urging the Army to let an Iraqi puppy come home with a Minnesota soldier, who fears that "Ratchet" could be killed if left behind. What about the human beings left behind? How many people have signed a petition urging the government to let them out of the war zone? (I'm not dissing people for signing a petition for a dog. I'm dissing them for not signing a petition for a human being.)

Via Ahistoricality, our Today In History moment, from 96 years ago. Do follow the link and read the entire speech. It's interesting on so many levels....

Voter suppression (or planned intimidation) in Ohio. I had to go look up, "voter caging".

I like satire but I felt that mocking McCain's POW experience (even though he's used it for currency so many times he essentially devalued it himself) was a bit low.

You can read Lies, Damn Lies, and (Conservative) Statistics, but I don't think manipulating stats is confined to one side of the political spectrum.

(Congratulations to Jeremy and Andrew.)

Posted by AnneZook at 01:10 PM | Comments (0)
Jesus Wept

I pick on religion a lot. I should probably mention that I acknowledge that religion has been responsible for encouraging some of the best in people, as well as providing an excuse for them to indulge in their worst instincts.

Religion can bring out the very best in people. It can bring out a goodness in people that even they didn't know existed. It can inspire, uplift, and solace. I know this, and I don't say that often enough. For those who believe, their belief can support them in the face of unimaginable catastrophes.

And there are good people in those ranks. A whole lot of them.

It's just that it's mostly the worst of religion in the UsofA is that's on public view these days. The loudest voices are the crazy ones.

*Sigh.* Even when I'm trying to prove I'm not an anti-religious hatemonger, I start ranting and almost prove otherwise. But, I'm not.

I just think that, while it's all very well for the meek to inherit the earth, I think a few of them would like to wait out their inheritance without fear of being tied to a remote fencepost and beaten to death by ignorant, drunks. Or, you know, being tied to the bumper of a truck and dragged for a few miles until their body starts to come to pieces. I'm thinking, James and Matthew probably wanted that. I'm not making charges that Christianity killed them--but it has to be said that most of the hate-talk I've heard for the past ten years comes from the 'Christian Right.' They do, at least, encourage this kind of brutality by dehumanizing and demonizing the populations they select as targets.

So, you liberal, unbigoted, or at least tolerant Christians? You might just mention, the next time the occasion presents itself (god forbid), that Jesus Wouldn't Do That.

Posted by AnneZook at 08:28 AM | Comments (0)
October 13, 2008
When Did We All Go Mad?

In his America's Political Capitalism, Chris Hedges warns us:

It is no longer our economy but our democracy that is in peril. It was the economic meltdown of Yugoslavia that gave us Slobodan Milosevic. It was the collapse of the Weimar Republic that vomited up Adolf Hitler. And it was the breakdown in czarist Russia that opened the door for Vladimir Lenin and the Bolsheviks. Financial collapses lead to political extremism. The rage bubbling up from our impoverished and disenfranchised working class, glimpsed at John McCain rallies, presages a looming and dangerous right-wing backlash.

This mystifies me. Why, when it's the meltdown of the Rightwing, Neocon policy structure (if that's what they call it) that's causing these problems, is there the threat of a "right-wing backlash"? (With "against the Left" being implied.) Are they nuts?

Well, no. They're not. Because history shows that a "right-wing" backlash is exactly what can happen.

I don't get it....

Hmmm.... Okay, now I have to delete the next 600 words of my rant. (I hate wasting a good rant. I'll save it for later.) Because I just put the pieces together.

Considering that most "adults" are actually just tall twelve year-olds, no, it's not surprising that when things start to fall apart, they get scared and they want a Big Daddy to come along and tell them how to fix it all.

Or that they'll pretty much do whatever Daddy Says until the memory of the catastrophe starts to fade in their minds. Except that by then, it can be far too late....

Meaning no particular offense, but I think this is the same instinct that leads so many people to profess faith in an all-powerful "god." They cling hopefully to the idea that there's a Real Grown-Up somewhere out there, keeping an eye on events and in charge of making sure it all turns out ok.

And there's no way to combat that. You can't argue someone into rational belief.

Posted by AnneZook at 03:22 PM | Comments (2)
Not Quite Right (with caveats)

I don't agree with Melissa McEwan that McCain saying he was going to "whip [Obama's] you-know-what in this debate" was inappropriate.

While "owning the context is precisely the pity phrase I was struggling to find in my own post on the topic, I disagree with her that it's impossible to extricate a person's race and/or gender from any discussion.

Like with anything, there has to be a line. Certain words ("uppity" or "boy") are loaded with racist baggage. "Uppity" is also freighted with anti-feminist baggage. Other words, and we all know them when we see them are loaded with baggage.

A threat to whup someone's butt is not. It's a kind of quasi-folksy patois that's in common usage in a thousand ways in this country, essentially none of which (in my experience) have any particular or specific racial context. (If I'm wrong, please correct me.) Specifically, it's the kind of "just plain folks" colloquialism that many Republicans adopt when speaking to "the base."

It's the kind of language that makes like the auto mechanic with grease under his fingernails and a worrying balloon mortgage payment looming on the horizon think that the rich, old, white guy running for office is really, underneath it all, "just like me."

Which is not to say some individuals somewhere in the boonies haven't used this specific expression as an insult, but by that criteria, none of us would ever be able to say anything. There is nothing that some lunatic somewhere hasn't used as an insult at one time or another.

Anyhow. I'm making this post mostly to say I'm green with envy that I wasn't able to distill my thoughts down to "owning the context." And stating, on the record, that I'm going to steal it and use it.

Posted by AnneZook at 12:26 PM | Comments (0)
Linky Linky

If McCain were a Democrat ... Basically, if McCain were a Democrat, the Right would be tearing strips off of him for flipflopping, lying, and generally being a bad choice for the White House.

Congratulations, Paul Krugman. A Nobel! (P.S. Your books are fascinating.)

An amusing (although very shallow) little view of the traveling with a candidate. Air Apparent The differences between Air Obama and McCain Airways

More seriously, how is the economic crash affecting small populations like Iceland's?

The right to a timely and public hearing, and to be told the charges against you, might be reaffirmed--in the U.K.

Turing tests always fascinate me.

I agree with Warner. The Twitter Election 2008 feed is mesmerizing to watch.) He has interesting things to say about the value of an informed population questioning and fact-checking candidates. Although I think he's a bit hard on the candidates. It's simply not possible to answer all of the questions or participate in all of the discussions that happen online. Most of us regular bloggers have to create very narrow windows of focus to even try to keep up with everything. Even if these guys each hired a full-time Internet Responder, that person wouldn't be able to keep up with half of it.

Jam for cancer protection! (I prefer strawberry.) (*singing Mary Poppins style* A spoonful of sugar....)

Presumably, what McCain means is a "respectful" campaign along the lines of his "suspended" campaign a short while ago. Because, unless McCain has actually come up with plausible solutions to the problems we face? He has nothing but angry rhetoric to use to fight Obama's increasingly popular ideas.

How do you teach your country's history? Australia is thinking about it.

In the arena of, "hey, this is cool" I found a Google News feed of Biden Campaign Quotes and Moments.

And FOX keeps doing this part to misinform the world. The Man Behind the Whispers About Obama

Remembering Matthew Shepard. (What's up with this?)

Posted by AnneZook at 10:30 AM | Comments (8)
October 12, 2008

This video is the funniest thing I've seen in a while.

For those of you who, like me, find links to a video clip instead of a proper blog entry to be annoying? Let me tell you where the funny is, which is everywhere, but mostly in the opening music.

When Johnny comes marching home again,
Hurrah! Hurrah!
We'll give him a hearty welcome then
Hurrah! Hurrah!
The men will cheer and the boys will shout
The ladies they will all turn out
And we'll all feel gay,
When Johnny comes marching home.

I know I said McCain wasn't a poster child for diversity. I take it back. How much more inclusive can you get? Elect John McCain and we'll all be gay!

Other than that the clip is of a pro-McCain "march" of indeterminate size (I'm guessing 40-50 people) in Manhattan (?) running into a lot of patented New Yorker indifference, quite a few "thumbs-down" signs, and a handful of middle fingers raised. (The clip makes the f-you population look larger than it was by using multiple shots of the same people.)

The kicker? The essential message of the clip is that Liberals are supposed to support people who are being picked on and bullied. So we should vote for McCain, because Manhattan is picking on him. (And, by the way, if you believe liberals want to build a bridge of understanding? The Corner would like to sell you Palin's Bridge.)

Posted by AnneZook at 11:08 AM | Comments (6)

Nostalgia for the good old days--of August, 2008.

Posted by AnneZook at 10:37 AM | Comments (0)
Unforeseen Racism?

To be honest, I think the McCain campaign is using much of the same kind of inflammatory rhetoric that has worked for the Republican Party in the last two elections. They're just (and this is so often my complaint about the Right), not smart enough to understand what they're doing.

Their language, setting aside for the moment the context of this specific campaign and the response of their audience, is just political gasbagging. With a campaign that has tried and failed to find a "hook" McCain can run on and lacking, as they do, any actual reason people should vote for yet another Republican Administration, they're falling back on vague generalities and empty threats.

"We might not have a Plan to save the country, but Those Other Guys do and it's a bad one!" "It's a mess now but they're going to make it so much worse!" Or, the old standby, "Liberals! Dangerous!"

This would be fine, if eye-rollingly oh, so boringly political in any other Presidential campaign, but this is not just any Presidential campaign. McCain's opponent is a Black man. I'm honestly not sure if McCain understood that that changed the nature of the game. As a result, his campaign is being--not racist, but culturally, racially insensitive.

In the USofA, there are cultural stereotypes that many of us deplore, but we have to be adult enough to admit that they exist. I think one of the biggest mistakes McCain has made is not understanding that. I honestly do not think he set out to whip up racist hysteria.*

When you call your opponent "dangerous" and he's an upper-class white man, that's one thing. When it's a Black man, the word 'dangerous' suddenly picks up a lot of baggage.

McCain could have made exactly the same remarks about any white, male opponent (the Right has been calling the Left "dangerous" for years) and they would have passed unnoticed. Where he failed, was in being color-blind. He did not factor Obama's race into the equation.

Unfortunately, a loud-mouthed part of the Republican base is racist. They took Obama's race and McCain's political rhetoric and created an ugly marriage of anger and hate. And then another truckload of the Republican base jumped on the bandwagon. Because they're not only die-hard Republicans, they're ordinary people who see the economy faltering around them, and their way of life in serious danger. They don't understand what caused the mess and they don't want to. What they want, is someone to blame--someone to be angry at.

These people might have gone through their entire lives with their thin veneer of racial tolerance unscratched, but they feel threatened. And, as I said in an earlier post, finger-pointing is much easier and more emotionally satisfying than fixing the problem.

Understand that these are not people who want to be part of the process of governing. They want to cast a vote every four years and then leave the rest entirely up to someone else. They want to get fired up, elect "our guy" and go back to their lives where everything keeps going pretty much the same--except that he landscape is changing and now they don't know what tomorrow is going to bring. They're scared.

Things are different. There's this guy, and he looks different and he says different things and that's not what they're used to in a political campaign. Everything is changing and they don't like it. (This is why they're "conservatives" after all.) And, hey, he's Black and "everyone knows" that Black People are different--and dangerous--and "our guy" says he's a socialist and I'm not sure what that is, but I'm pretty sure it's dangerous too, and now I'm getting really scared.

And thus, what looks like a tidal wave of racism suddenly overtakes McCain's campaign.

McCain has made a few remarks over the last few days. Not many, not loudly, and not often, but enough to convince me that he's becoming aware of the situation and that he regrets it. I don't think he has the political courage to really stand up and say, "stop" though. And, even if he did, the Republican leadership would have a meltdown over him alienating this significant part of their "base."

P.S. Maybe it would be worth it for someone to compare how much naked racism is on display at McCain speaking events, and how much at Palin's events? (Entry also talks about McCain trying to calm his supporters.)


* Let me be clear. I can't say the same for some of his advisors and certainly not his VP pick, but I don't think Senator McCain personally intended any racism. From what I've read, he always mentally "demonizes" his opponents in a campaign. It's how he fires himself up to run. He may not be a poster child for diversity, but I've never seen or read anything to suggest that he's a closet KKK member, either.

Posted by AnneZook at 09:58 AM | Comments (0)
Count Me OUT

I don't have a story to tell, but count me as Out as a supporter of the "homosexual agenda" of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Posted by AnneZook at 08:26 AM | Comments (0)