Friday, October 31, 2008

Socialist?

Why do so many Republicans keep endorsing a socialist like Barack Obama? From Steve Benen:

So, on the one hand, we have the McCain campaign and its cohorts working assiduously to convince voters that Obama is terrorist-sympathizing Marxist. On the other, we have Obama getting endorsements from Ronald Reagan's national security advisor, solicitor general, and White House chief of staff.

And Duberstein joins, of course, former Sen. Larry Pressler, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, former Gov. William Weld, former Gov. Arne Carlson, Charles Fried, Scott McClellan , and Ken Adelman as notable Republicans who've announced their support for Obama over the last couple of weeks.

I doubt this will affect the McCain campaign's smear efforts, but for those paying even a little attention, it's tough to characterize Obama as a radical leftist when high-profile Republicans -- including top officials from Reagan's White House -- keep announcing their support for him.

Could it be that he's not socialist at all, and it's just another label McCain is using to scare people?

Rob

Excuses, Excuses

People make excuses for John McCain. "It's just a nasty campaign all around." "This isn't the way he's like to run, but he's doing whatever it takes to win." "He needed Sarah Palin to shore up the base." "They're making him run this way."

With all due respect: Bullshit.

McCain's choice of Palin was political opportunism at its worst: He has elevated a woman who is clearly unfit to lead the country to a candidate for the second-highest office in the land. It's a sign of palpable disrespect for our judgement to suggest that she is qualified or even ethically fit for the office. She's a disaster, and even McCain supporters know it. Even if he were fit as a fiddle, the idea that he would still put her in line for the Presidency is astounding... and kind of heartbreaking, in respect to the good man I thought McCain was. I thought John McCain would put country first, long before he adopted that as his slogan. With that nakedly political decision, he's shown us otherwise.

Second, when did "whatever it takes" become a virtue? Are there any lines that shouldn't be crossed in pursuit of victory? Someone with a sense of honor would think so.

McCain has been running a disgraceful, race-baiting campaign for a long while now, and this latest bit, smearing the name of a Palestinian professor--who McCain himself gave money to on several occasions--because he's friends with Barack and Michelle Obama is reprehensible. At its core, it's about one thing: saying the name Barack Obama as many times as possible in the same sentence as Rashid Khalidi. Because Khalidi has an Arabic name, and McCain is trying to get people scared of Obama, and he's betting that we find Arabs scary.

I'm not calling John McCain a racist. But he is an opportunist, and he's hoping, deep in his heart, that the American people are racist. He's hoping enough of us are the type of people who will be swayed by garbage like this. Like words like "welfare" in his ads. At the "secret Muslim" nonsense. He's counting on more people being drawn to his tactics than repelled by them.

I hope to God he's wrong.

John McCain is clearly, manifestly unworthy of being President. He shows palpable disrespect for our judgement by proposing that Sarah Palin is qualified in any way to lead us. And this is his campaign, no one else's. He is ultimately responsible for every ad, every smear, and every lie... and every bit of horrible race-baiting that should have been left in the 19th century, to say nothing of the 20th.

Rob

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Y'know What's Weird?

I'm at work today, on my way to tidying some stuff up for people. It's a big job.

But that's not what's weird. (Well, that is weird, but I've made some peace with it.)

It's the fact that when I'm on the street, strangers are congratulating me and assuming I feel great, because I'm wearing this:It's some of the strangest emotional disconnect I've ever felt.

Rob

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Context

Looking down at the post I wrote last night, I can't help thinking that it would read a lot angrier had I written it after I was laid off this morning.

Vote Obama. I'd like to get a new job as quickly as possible.

Rob

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Show Me The Money

Anyone who's gone through my recycling bin and meticulously pieced together my shredded bank statements knows I don't have a lot of credibility on this issue, but I want to say this once:

Barack Obama is a better investment than John McCain.

A while back, Kevin Drum posted this piece based on a paper by Princeton economist Larry Bartels, showing that 95 percent of the country does better economically with a Democrat in the White House than a Republican. Here's part of what he wrote:

Under Democratic presidents, every income class did well but the poorest did best. The bottom 20% had average pretax income growth of 2.63% per year while the top 5% showed pretax income growth of 2.11% per year.

Republicans were polar opposites. Not only was their overall performance worse than Democrats, but it was wildly tilted toward the well off. The bottom 20% saw pretax income growth of only .6% per year while the top 5% enjoyed pretax income growth of 2.09% per year. (What's more, the trendline is pretty clear: if the chart were extended to show the really rich — the top 1% and the top .1% — the Republican growth numbers for them would be higher than the Democratic numbers.)

I thought it was pretty eye-opening. You should follow the link and see the charts and read the whole thing.

A couple of weeks ago, a friend at work forwarded me this graphic, from The New York Times:


Now that... even having read Drum's post three years ago, my mind still boggled a little bit. If I invested $10,000 in the S&P Index only through Democratic administrations, I'd have 30 times that amount of money now (over 39 years)? And over the other 39 years, if I'd invested it in solely Republican administrations, I'd have only five times my investment? And that's only if you don't count Herbert Hoover? Ulp.

There's more to this chart at the Times. It's a really informative graphic, making 80 years of economic rises and falls easy to grasp at a glance. The rest of it illustrates the yearly averages of the six Democratic Presidents (ranging from 6.5 to 8.2, with the exception of economic superstar Bill Clinton at 15.2), and the seven Republican administrations (four did better than the Democratic average, but the other three--Nixon, Bush, and the generously weeded-out Hoover--saw considerable shrinkage instead of even low growth).

Viewed as an investment, Democrats are a safe, steady, solid-yield choice. Republicans are a lot riskier. There are promises of big rewards (though none as big as Clinton's), but there's also the risk of failures like Nixon and Bush.

And considering there's not a lot of daylight between Bush's economic policies and McCain's... well, I know where I'd put my money.

Rob

The World Series Bomber What Bombs at the World Series

I was glued to Game Five of the World Series last night, and there was one part that really freaked me out. (Other than the non-ending ending, this is—have we learned nothing from The Sopranos?)

It's raining, and the ground crew is working furiously to spruce up the pitchers mound. The shot is framed looking down on the mound in the center, and a bunch of guys with rakes are spreading moisture-absorbing Science all over the hump. And suddenly, the whole thing explodes.

What it was was the explosive wipe graphic Fox Sports is using to signify a replay. But the way the shot was framed before the graphic rolled, it looked like the pitcher's mound was exploding, taking the ground crew with it.


Seriously, I sat straight up in my seat. I nearly knocked my laptop to the floor.

So to have Game Five be postponed on account of rain—after going through all that—was kind of a letdown. Don't let the sacrifice of the ground grew be in vain. Play ball!

Rob

Monday, October 27, 2008

United.

"Because despite what our opponents may claim, there are no real or fake parts of this country. There is no city or town that is more pro-America than anywhere else--we are one nation, all of us proud, all of us patriots. There are patriots who supported this war in Iraq and patriots who opposed it; patriots who believe in Democratic policies and those who believe in Republican policies. The men and women who serve in our battlefields may be Democrats and Republicans and Independents, but they have fought together and bled together and some died together under the same proud flag. They have not served a Red America or a Blue America--they have served the United States of America."



Approves:


Rob

McCain Gets Kinky

John McCain has called Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid a "dangerous threesome."

Seriously.

I can think of a much more dangerous threesome.


And now you'll never sleep again.

Rob

Friday, October 24, 2008

Politics as Sports

Whose idea was this?



Fire them.

Rob
(Photo from the Washington Post; John McCain speaking at Anselm College in New Hampshire.)

It's Like The Three Doctors... But With Opie

I first saw this on Mark Evanier's blog, and Val has it up, too. But because you guys aren't necessarily peering over my shoulder while I'm surfing, I present this double-reunion for your viewing pleasure.



(exits, whistling)

Rob

Thursday, October 23, 2008

He'll Kick You Apart! He'll Kick You Apart!

The Bastard showed this to me the other day, and I haven't been able to get it out of my head since.



Not safe for work, by the way... unless you have my boss, who totally cracked up.

Rob

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Hold Steady

...and the weight weight weight.

After two weeks of listless moping, and generally eating what I pleased? No change at the meeting today.

Good news, I guess. But not exactly the negative reinforcement I was kinda hoping for.

Rob

Just a Thought

Why might someone divide the country into "pro-America" and "anti-America" areas? Why might someone divide our people into those who are "real Americans" and those who are not?

Is it possible that the sorting isn't the point of this hateful little exercise? What if the goal is the division itself?

Why would someone want to tear us apart? Who benefits from this manufactured culture war, delivered every four years like clockwork? Who has benefited in the past?

Rhetorical Rob

Monday, October 20, 2008

A Word of Advice From Sam Elliot

"When ya go through a jumbo box of Kleenex in a single day,
it's probably a good idea to trim yer bushy mustache."


Words to live by.

Rob

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Three Words I Wish I'd Never Heard

As I was getting the ferrets ready for bed tonight (scooping litter boxes, refilling food bowls--the usual routine) I decided to watch The Girls Next Door, the show where Playboy Playmates fawn over Hugh Hefner and have adventures and stuff. It just so happened that this episode was celebrating Hef's birthday. (It's possible that every episode celebrates Hef's birthday--which is kind of appropriate. Hef leads the kind of life that must make it tough to tell the difference between his birthday and the other 364 days of the year.)

Anyway, after making chocolate molds of their body parts for him, the girls throw Hef a surprise party. And as they all sing "Happy Birthday"--it pains me to even recount this:

One of the Playmates is singing "cha-cha-cha" in between every line.

I never did this as a kid. My friends never sang cha-cha-cha at any of their birthday parties. You know where I first heard it? At a birthday party for one of my nieces or nephews.

I am horrified.

No one--man, woman, or cocker spaniel--wants to realize how much older they are than a Playboy Playmate. But boy, did those three words bring it home.

I think T.S. Eliot said it best:
I grow old, I grow old. I would break a chocolate mold.

Rob

Friday, October 17, 2008

Thursday, October 16, 2008

On the Debate


A few moments of the debate that stuck out to me:

When the candidates were asked why their respective VP choices were qualified to be president, I had to pause the Tivo until I stopped laughing. I wanted Obama to say "Not only would Joe Biden be a fine president...but he's also a member."

I did start drinking around an hour in, when John McCain insisted on having us examine Joe the Plumber's* pipes one more time. Hooray, Scotch!

Was McCain even trying to win over moderates? He spoke in this weird shorthand that I don't think translated well to any but political junkies. I thought that when he scoffed during the abortion discussion and said "health of the mother," it came off especially dickish... like womens' health doesn't matter to him. I know that's not what he meant by that, but it's how he came across. Women's health is obviously a liberal issue, because vaginas have a well-known liberal bias.

And Ayres. There's just so clearly nothing there. All McCain has is the man's name and a 40-year-old rap sheet. I thought Obama's retort—here's who I associate with—was really well presented. The Ayres association is like a prop gun on a theater stage. Wave it around all you like—pepper his name in shady email forwards and 527 commercials—and it looks menacing. The name conjures up radicalism, but the reality is something as boring and normal as an education committee. There's nothing damaging in the association, other than implication of the association itself. It's a popgun, offering a loud noise but no result.

Ultimately, I'm not even sure the policies of the two candidates matter at this point, in terms of us making up our national mind. There's a sense of the personalities of the two men that trumps all their promises. Obama is analytical and intelligent, young, vital, and cool in a fight. He's strong, charismatic, and in control.

McCain has consistently shown himself to be his opposite in almost all ways. He's not particularly charismatic, but he's used to being thought of as such, and interrupts with little barbs and goofs off after the debate in a way that lets us know that he thinks we think he's adorable. He's whining and cranky and simply can't believe he's losing to Obama, when it's obviously his turn to be President. He's an old soldier who has already given his country his best days, and he's running against a man whose best days are still ahead of him, and are ours for the asking.

As Americans, we don't always vote with our heads. But this year, our gut is pointing us in the same direction.

Rob

*Note: Not an actual plumber. He just plays one during presidential campaigns.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

All. Right.


Rob

Secret Identity Ballot

Caleb Mozzocco (who did the awesome Justice League Ice Cream Social last summer) is going around interviewing superheroes to see who they're endorsing for President.


So far he's heard from Superman, Batman, Iron Man, Ares, Green Arrow, Hawkman... and I might have missed one or two. And check out who talked him into the idea!

Rob

Sexy Beasts

If I hadn't spent a late night in the city last night, I'd be watching the debate here.

What fun!

Rob

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

WWJCVDD?

I've heard from two people who saw this at the Toronto Film Festival that this is a little slice of awesome. Behold!



Rob

Just So You Know

Kathy made some criminally delicious lemon-ginger frozen yogurt the other day, and you should all be jealous of me because I got to eat it two nights in a row, and you didn't have any.

Petty, I know. But I take my pleasures where I may.

Rob
(Seriously -- it's better than you can even imagine.)

Monday, October 13, 2008

Something in the Okeechobee Water?

Apparently Rep. Tim Mahoney (D-Fla.), the guy who replaced Mark Foley after his sex scandal, is having a sex scandal of his own. Said to be vying for his seat (metaphorically... but in this district, I don't blame you for wondering) are Paul Reubens, Heidi Fleiss and the corpse of Fatty Arbuckle.

Rob

Chum, Frankincense and Myrrh


Welcome, Shark Jesus.

Rob
(Dreaming of a wet Christmas)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Philly to Palin: Puck Off

VP candidate Sarah Palin came to Philadelphia to drop the puck at a Flyers game. Seems like a natural fit, right? Hockey mom, hockey game, attended by some of the six-packiest of Joe Sixpacks?

But this was Philadelphia. If there's one thing Philly sports fans know, it's how to express disapproval. They pelted Santa Claus with snowballs, for cryin' out loud.



Flyers fan Gina was there:

The announcer introduced Palin seconds later, and the crowd errupted into angry boos. Some fans around me were on their feet, cupping their hands around their mouths to be sure their boos were heard above all the others. It lasted for minutes (throughout the puck drop), these deafening jeers that ordered Palin off the ice. I wondered aloud to Mike if they would broadcast this incident on the news, and when I got home, I immediately turned on the news and Googled “Palin booed at Flyers game” to get the story. Of course, most places got it wrong. On NBC10, Sports Reporter Via Sikahema mentioned Palin’s appearence at the game, but not the boos. There are some other reports that say Palin was booed at first, but then welcomed with polite applause. I am here to tell you this didn’t happen. She was booed feverishly by Flyers fans, and it was all loud and clear. In the clips that appear on YouTube and elsewhere, it seems that the music was turned up in the arena to drown out the fan reaction. Hmpf. We didn’t hear that in the Wachovia Center. What we did hear was a unified expression of disapproval for the VP candidate, gosh darn it (insert wink here).
I'm of mixed feelings about this. I've got some juvenile glee at seeing Palin booed, of course. But then, I can't help but noticing her daughters with her, happily waving and smiling through the jeers. (Congrats to whoever coached them; the girls did great.) I can't say I like booing a mom in front of her kids. It's rude and it's mean.

Then again, Palin knows her favorability ratings across the country, and she knows that Obama is leading in Pennsylvania by double digits--likely much more in Philadelphia itself. And as a sports fan, surely she knows Philly's rep. So she had to know going in there was a decent likelihood of her getting booed, and brought the girls anyway. It turns out that kids are less effective human shields than one might think.

Ultimately, I think it's particularly significant that she's getting booed in a hockey arena, supposedly her place of strength. It's like hundreds of hockey moms and Joe Sixpacks are letting her know they're not with her. Unlike Palin, they have only one shot at expressing this on a national stage, and they took it.

You don't speak for me, they're saying. Stop putting words in my mouth.

Boo.

Rob
(Fun Fact: I'm also putting words in their mouths! It's easy and fun, and everyone can play.)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

My Tribe

Walking up the steps out of Penn Station this morning, I passed a man riding the escalator down. He looked to be in his mid-fifties. We were both wearing Phillies caps. We shook hands as we passed each other. "All the way," he said.

Best moment of the day, today. It usually is, when a stranger takes a moment to shake your hand.

Rob

Friday, October 10, 2008

Where's the Hitchhiker's Guide When I Need It?

So, um.

That post, two down from here? That's me, panicking. I had a really rough morning/afternoon today, and I'm not even sure what set it off. But I think I'm starting to get a grip on things, and have started to ease away from a certainty that by next week our economy would be pelt-based.

Needless to say, I still think the situation is serious, and we need a strong leader to get us through it, and the only person in our field of two that has the intellect and the cool head for it is Barack Obama. It's obviously not me. I've got the temperament of a spider monkey on speed.

Rob

Friday Sponsor



Rob

Can We Be Fucking Serious?

The economy is going down the toilet. We're fighting two wars. We need leadership. Leadership.

The idea that anything -- anygoddamnedthing -- is served by yammering on about a guy who made bombs when Obama was fucking eight years old is... I have no words for it.

...

I've been trying to be measured in this election. I've been trying to be calm. And I really think Obama is going to win.

But what McCain is trying to do here, this distraction, this fucking dance amid the slaughterhouse, has me fucking terrified. Suddenly -- SUDDENLY -- I am in the grip of terror. This man cannot win. We cannot have four more years of him dragging us down farther and farther as we choke on the shit of the insanely rich and willfully ignorant. The people who've already got theirs, so fuck you very much.

He used to be a man of honor, but he kicked that shit to the curb a long while ago. Now he stands by while people call Obama a terrorist at his rallies. McCain knows that's bullshit, it's slander and only, only stirs up hate, but still he sits idly by, waiting for someone to light the match and set Rome burning.

There is so much trouble right now, so much, and McCain wants to tell us fairy tales about the 1960s. He is blatantly, willfully changing the subject from anything that is important, because on any issue that matters, he is completely bankrupt. He has nothing to offer. He is a charlatan and a deceiver and a desperate, venomous snake.

He is the opposite of a leader.

Rob

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Sure, I Knew It Was Coming, But...

So I avoided any spoilers for Action Comics 870, even though I knew in my heart what was coming. After buying my comics, I sat down to eat lunch at my regular Thai restaurant and read my comics. I pull Action 870 out of the bag and before I even open the cover, my waiter (who, after months, I wasn't even certain spoke more English than might be needed to recognize orders), says, "Is that the one where SPOILER DELETED?"

Why, yes. Yes, I suppose it is.

Rob

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

I Have Been Annointed

I'd suspected this for a while, but now that MariaC has jumped into the fray, I'm pretty much certain that the McCain campaign (or an enterprising group of volunteers, but I'm banking on McCain, since Kean Troll Jill Hazelbaker is at the communications helm) has an operative commenting on my site. (Or two, I guess.) So far someone named SergeantMajor (Roadrunner ISP 24.28.189, in El Paso, Texas) has dropped a lot of pro-McCain comments and links on my "How Much Will You Pay" post, and then left. Now MariaC (same details, down to the server. Like Sarge, joined blogger in October 08) has come to his defense.


What fun!

In case you're wondering what desperation smells like... take a whiff of the McCainites. They've targeted me.

Rob

When I Stand Here, It Makes Me Human

Alan M., from whom all good Internet things flow and who has the finest-named (if infrequently updated) blog in the universe, pointed out this little wonder of a video.



So here's a long-distance dedication to my wife: Honey, I'd take a cartoon wrench to the noggin for you, you know I would.

Rob

Tomorrow's Fake News...Today!

I'm going to a taping of The Daily Show for my birthday tomorrow. It was bound to be a good time, but now I'm doubly psyched. The scheduled guest?


None other than the Next Lady of the United States.

Aw, Yeah.

Rob

Monday, October 06, 2008

I'm Getting Chills

Here's why.

Rob

Asking For Whom The Bell Tolls

Well, I got a new cell phone. And to date, I haven't gotten a call on it. Which means that every time I hear a cell phone ring, I check mine, because I have no idea what the little wonder sounds like.

Rob

Under the Bridge

Hmm.

Hmmm.

Hmmmmm...

I flatter myself, I know. But—just specalatin' on a hypothesis, here—imagine how desperate the McCainites must be if they really are trolling my l'il ol' insignificant blog?

Rob

Sunday, October 05, 2008

One For My Mom



Mom, you never told me Dad needed a Welk-ian intervention...

Rob

Friday, October 03, 2008

Friday Sponsor



Ah, Bernie. You left us too soon.

Rob

Post-Debate Snark

Sarah Palin's Debate-Prep Flowchart.

Rob

Danger Bunny!

Years ago, on our honeymoon, Kathy and I were amused by these safety stickers on the Paris Metro. I found a photo of one online, and figured I'd throw it up here as a safety tip.


“Danger! Do not trap your hands on the door: you risk being crushed strongly.”

Butter Mountain, the blog that provided the translation above, posts that the safety ad has also been parodied.

Go, Danger Bunny!

Rob

Veep Debate

Watched the vice presidential debate tonight, and I have just a few (completely immaterial) observations.

1) I'd much rather watch Obama debate McCain again. This was a debate with three very fast talkers (including Gwen Ifil), and I'm not certain I could watch another with my heart exploding. Say what you will about McCain, but the man can pause. Sometimes even inexplicably.

2) Cutest moment of the debate? I'd have to say when Palin mistakenly called Biden "O'Biden," and then continued talking, slowly realizing what she'd done as Biden grinned from ear to ear. It was a really nice, human moment for both of them. (Not that she's the only one who flubbed words. I think Biden at one point referred to Israel as "Obama." Maybe I misheard.)

3) Filthiest talking point? Hands down, it was when Palin said, "In that arena, John McCain has already tapped me."

4) Sarah Palin's debating style seemed to be all about dodging questions and saying her talking points over and over again in all of her answers. It reminded me of the "death blossom" maneuver in The Last Starfighter, in which Alex Rogan (Lance Guest) initiates the special attack, in which his spaceship spins around and discharges all its weapons at the same time. Maverick, Small Town, Washington Outsider, Maverick, Lower Taxes, Maverick, Surge. It should be awesome:



But it's not. Maybe it was more impressive back in 1984 when Reagan did it.

Still, Palin kept it together and avoided any of the ridiculous moments she's been plagued with these past two weeks. Only one of her answers seemed laughable to me -- when she talked about global warming she threw so many disparate elements into one sentence that parts of my poor copy-editor brain nearly shot out my left eye.

Judged as a debate, with arguments backed up by logic and fact, Biden blew Palin out of the sky. But that's not how these things go, and overall, Palin easily stepped over the low bar that was set for her. I'd be surprised if it moved a lot of votes, though.

Rob

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Two Out of Five Ain't Bad

I found this video at Jayananda's place, and despite my intentions to go to bed early last night, sat and was fascinated for the nearly 20 minutes of its runtime. Quite a feat for someone with my truncated attention span.



The speaker, Jonathan Haidt, examines the differences in the underlying morality of conservatives and liberals; I thought it was pretty illuminating. Then again, I'm a liberal, so what works for me might not work for you. But if you have a few minutes, give it a look and let me know what you think.

Rob

Wednesday, October 01, 2008