Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Barack Obama Show – A Winner

As you all know, I have already endorsed Barack Obama for President. Even though I’ve decided how to cast my vote, I still wanted to watch the half hour “show” that the Obama campaign aired on Wednesday, October 29th. (If you didn’t see it, I have it below.)

I think it did an excellent job in conveying what Barack Obama plans to do if elected. It also seemed to convey some of the issues facing many Americans right now. We face tough issues, but watching the show, I felt nothing but hope and anticipation for great things for the country in the years to come. The message was powerful.

I am curious, though, as to what fault will any McCain supporter find in what Obama had to say? In my opinion, for them to cast any stones on anything presented in that half hour would be a horrific mistake. To do so would mean that they find fault with hope. It seems that the McCain campaign will have to settle for whining about the fact that they accepted public funding for their campaign, and that Obama changed his mind and did not, allowing Obama to raise enough money to cover the prime time advertisement. McCain could have changed his mind too. My guess is that even had he done so, he would not have been able to raise the record-shattering amount that Barack Obama had amassed.

But, back to the half hour show. While watching it, I was struck by the fact that not only was I watching an interesting presentation, but also I think I was watching the entire face of presidential campaigning be changed forever. Sure, Ross Perot bought prime time airtime during his presidential campaign in 1992, but it was low tech, simple, and not as well produced. The Obama advertisement was clearly done by talented professionals, and it put him in the best light possible. It sold the product, which in this case, was a person. The McCain campaign ads have been so overwhelmingly negative, and focused so much on Obama and not on McCain himself, that they were off-putting and really didn’t give viewers a good impression of McCain or help to advance his ideologies. I think it will be a long, long time before any presidential candidate uses such negative campaign ads.

Was that Obama “infomercial” worth it? I think so. It solidified the confidence that many have in Obama, and it may have won over some undecided voters. It may have even moved some McCain supporters. It had a bonus to me, as I felt I was watching history being made, not just in advertising, but in presidential politics. If, by any chance you watched it and weren’t moved by it in some way, please comment below, as I would sure like to hear those opinions.

But for me - I feel good about my choice, and feel like we may be on the cusp of something very good. I hope my hopes are fulfilled on November 4.

A reminder: please be sure to vote. Don’t let the stories of long lines keep you away. Every vote is important, and your time will be well spent.

Obama Half Hour Ad (It does not include the live footage)

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

McCain, Palin Visiting My Home Town October 30 – I Think I’ll Pass

My hometown of Mentor, Ohio and Lake County are no strangers to Presidents, or presidential politics. It is the home (now a National Historic site) of the 20th President of the United States, James A. Garfield. His home was named “Lawnfield” by reporters who used to wait outside Garfield’s front porch for him to deliver campaign speeches.

George H.W. Bush flew right over my house in a helicopter (accompanied by a group of huge military helicopters) on September 5, 1992 when he spoke at the County Fairgrounds a few miles away on US Route 20. I heard the helicopters coming and ran out to my front yard to wave, like if anyone could really see me. (Well, maybe they could, they were flying pretty low.) I stood in line for a few hours at Rep. Steven LaTourette’s office in Mentor to get a ticket to President George W. Bush’s September 2004 campaign appearance in neighboring Kirtland. (Sadly, when the big day arrived I was sick and couldn’t attend.) I got much closer to seeing President George W. Bush when he visited Mentor on April 15, 2005, and he stopped at a restaurant only a little over a mile from my home. I was standing at the curb on the corner of Mentor Avenue (US Route 20) and Center Street as his motorcade zipped by, going so fast that most of my pictures were worthless except for maybe one where the presidential limo was in part of the shot (below). It was the closest I’d even been to a sitting president.

G.W. Bush's limo. Not a great pic, I know.
It was the best I could get
The Republicans know that to win Ohio, they must win Lake County. According to a 2007 article by Associated Press. the voting record of Lake County, “mirrors Ohio's more accurately than any other county in the state, according to an analysis by The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer of voting in Ohio's 88 counties since 1960.” While it’s the smallest county in the state by area, the same report ranked it 11th with a population of 227,511. So it comes as no surprise that over the last few elections where Republicans felt they had to win Ohio that they made sure to visit the area.

But, with today’s news that John McCain and Sarah Palin are coming to town for a rally at Mentor High School, my first thought was indifference. My second thought was they won’t have Lake County. Not this time. At least, that is what I hope. So, despite that I’ve always been interested in politics and it would be interesting to go to the rally just to see the event, and document it, I just can’t do it. Why? Because I can’t bring myself to sit idly by in a crowd of McCain supporters. It would be hypocritical. And I hope that anyone else who wants to go out of curiosity would also just stay away. I don’t want anyone, even if it is one person like me, contributing to the impression that there is big support for McCain in Mentor, Ohio or Lake County.

So despite the fact that I’m curious as to how the event will go, my curiosity ends when I realize that by attending it makes it appear that I am supporting the ticket, which I am not. This time, I won’t be standing in line for a ticket, or waiting on the street corner for hours on a cold day to see someone drive by. Nope. Not this time.

But, if anyone else is interested , here is a link to information on Road to Victory Rally in Mentor, OH. I sure hope that road leads them to nowhere this time.

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Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Hypocrisy of Hasselbeck at Palin Rally

I cringed when I first heard a few days ago that Elizabeth Hasselbeck of The View would be speaking at a Palin rally this week. While Elizabeth was fighting for her own opinions when Rosie O’Donnell was moderator of The View, I defended Elizabeth’s right to have her own opinions many times. I still agree she is entitled to her own opinions.

But now, not only do I not have the desire to defend her opinions any more; I actually become sickened every time she opens her mouth. Elizabeth now has the nerve to accuse Palin opponents of being "fixated on her wardrobe" and "deliberately sexist."

I do not agree with Elizabeth, in fact, I think her comments show the hypocrisy in the republican campaign. The true sexism here was when John McCain chose Sarah Palin as his running mate to begin with. My opinion is that the McCain campaign so wanted to capitalize on the fact there were eligible voters out there who may have been disappointed that Hillary didn’t win her party’s nomination, that they were willing to select ANY woman as a running mate. It seemed that McCain believed that disillusioned female voters would be dumb enough to vote for any woman at all, regardless of qualifications, just because she was a woman.

That is sexism. And the McCain campaign only has themselves to blame by selecting someone with such thin credentials as Palin, which only has invited scrutiny on every level possible. By the way, if I recall correctly, it was the republicans that released the information on the wardrobe to begin with.

According to CNN, Palin stated at that same rally:

"This whole thing with the wardrobe, you know I have tried to just ignore it because it is so ridiculous, but I am glad now that Elisabeth brought it up, cause it gives me an opportunity without the filter of the media to get to tell you the whole clothes thing," she said.

"Those clothes, they are not my property. Just like the lighting and the staging and everything else that the RNC purchased, I'm not taking them with me. I am back to wearing my own clothes from my favorite consignment shop in Anchorage, Alaska. You'd think — not that I would even have to address the issue because, as Elisabeth is suggesting, the double standard here it's — gosh, we don't even want to waste our time."

Personally I do not have a problem with the campaign footing the bill for some clothing for her. But, I do have issue with the overall price tag. She did not need designer clothes. I’ve bought dress suits off the rack for years that look great and don’t cost a lot. Same for my dress shoes – I have 5-6 pair of dress pumps that look stylish and were priced reasonably. I probably could have done very well with less than one tenth of that $150K for my wardrobe for a political campaign. But, then again, I’m not one of those “elite” people that have to wear something with a designer label. So here’s one woman who isn’t being sexist when I say that Palin would have scored more points with voters - and women - had she resisted the urge to buy the expensive stuff. And frankly, if this is Palin’s biggest worry that she has to make it part of her campaign speeches, she’s not ready for the office of Vice President.

And Elizabeth, it’s time to put a zipper on it.

Clip of Elizabeth at Tampa, Florida Palin Rally

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Saturday, October 25, 2008

McCain and Palin: Honeymoon Over?

Apparently, there is trouble in the McCain/Palin campaign. CNN is reporting that advisors and sources close to the campaign say that Palin seems to be “going rogue” and has been going off message. In all honesty, in the recent interview that McCain and Palin had with NBC’s Brian Williams, I swear that McCain seemed a little uncomfortable every time Palin opened her mouth and added something to comments he had made.

It seems that the trouble between the presidential candidate and his running mate are getting harder to hide. One aid reported to CNN:

"She is a diva. She takes no advice from anyone," said this McCain adviser. "She does not have any relationships of trust with any of us, her family or anyone else.

"Also, she is playing for her own future and sees herself as the next leader of the party. Remember: Divas trust only unto themselves, as they see themselves as the beginning and end of all wisdom."

They also report that "A second McCain source says she appears to be looking out for herself more than the McCain campaign. "

While I am sure that all presidential campaigns have some friction between running mates, it seems clear that it this case, the nature of the problems seem to validate the fact that Palin isn’t ready for the big leagues, and McCain should have chosen someone else as his running mate.

You can read the entire article on the CNN web site, here. The interviews with Brian Williams are also below.

The NBC Nightly News Interviews with Brian Williams
Part 1

Part 2

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Who Regulates the Regulators?

With hearings going on right now by the House Government Oversight and Reform Committee to review the recent financial crisis, something is becoming very clear to me.

The regulators haven’t been regulating. And it seems like none of them – Alan Greenspan and his successors, the banks and financial institutions, etc. – didn’t see the financial collapse coming. Some financial people and regulators made comments before the implosion that things were going to go bad, but they did nothing to alert the right people or to take corrective action. A perfect example of the attitude could be found at Standard & Poors, as evidenced by an email from 2006 (yes, 2006) that stated “Let’s hope we are all wealthy and retired by the time this house of cards falters.” So, even in 2006, some knew that the country’s financial framework was shaky at best.

It seems that the regulators have been derelict in their own duties. Was it their own greed? Was it that they were just terrified what would happen if they blew the whistle? Was it incompetence? Laziness? Indifference? Fear?

The more the hearings continue, the more I realize that there isn’t anyone minding the store. Sure, we have regulators, but it appears that their role was nothing more than to be window dressing.

The first thing that comes to mind is that we may need some “grand, all-knowing, all seeing overseer” who is in charge of all these financial processes and will take care to make sure they all are doing their jobs. But wait, what happens if the “grand, all-knowing, all seeing overseer” doesn’t do their job? And why must we add more government and more bureaucracy just because some people aren’t doing the jobs they are supposed to be doing?

We need to first look at those government agencies that are in charge right now and assess the level of competence of the people at the top, and clean house and bring in new blood, starting with the Fed and the Treasury. While the SEC is not the apparent cause of the stock market’s recent collapse – the collapse being an after-effect of the financial crisis – it does seem that some trading methods and practices need to be reviewed and possibly eliminated or re-tooled. Tight controls need to be put in place for hedge funds, which operate as if this is the Wild West. And companies like Standard & Poors or Moody’s that evaluate and rate stocks need to be audited themselves and if evidence that they ignored signs of trouble in the housing market and/or with financial companies and they did not reflect it in their ratings, they should be charged with fraud and face stiff fines. And, since it appears that these places profited from the housing market as long as they continued to rate companies favorably I think there was definitely too many conflicts of interest that go unchecked in the financial markets.

I admit, I don’t know the answer to the problem. I suppose that a “grand, all-knowing, all seeing overseer” would help, but I would prefer that these agencies just do the job they are paid to do. Is that too much to ask? But where does it end? The buck must stop someplace. Whatever the government decides to do, the American people should ask for complete transparency in everything these people are doing, and even the smallest tidbit of information on what these people do should be made public. I am sure there are millions and millions of Americans who would be more than happy to help keep an eye on the country’s financial health and would be quick to blow the whistle if anything improper is discovered. Count me in!

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Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Frequent Critic Endorses Barack Obama for President

AP Photo Obama in St. Louis Oct 18
The big endorsements for the presidential elections are starting. We recently had the Washington Post , The LA Times, and the Chicago Tribune endorse Senator Barack Obama for President. My local metro area newspaper, the Cleveland Plain Dealer also endorsed Obama, along with several other Ohio newspapers. And today, on NBC’s Meet The Press, Former Bush administration Secretary of State Colin Powell gave Obama his seal of approval.

So, now is a good time as any to throw in my 2 cents. I know I am just a tiny speck compared to these large national newspapers, but I felt it important that I make it official that “The Frequent Critic” also endorses Barack Obama for President. This should be of no surprise to any regular readers of my blog.

I admit that I can’t add much to all the wonderful things that the other “endorsers” have had to say about Barack Obama. But I do feel the need to add something. He’s the first politician in a long time that I truly believe that I can trust to do the right thing for the country and for its people. He is intelligent and is able to convey his thoughts and ideas in a calm, rational, and respectful manner, and this talent can help him to restore world respectability to the United States of America. I actually donated money to his political campaign. Not very much, mind you, but it was more a symbolic gesture for me. I have never felt the need to add to a politician’s campaign fund until Obama became the Democratic nominee, and my desire to see him succeed made me actually open my wallet and put my money where my mouth is. To say it plainly – I like him, and that's something that I have been unable to say about any political candidate since I started voting in 1973.

If you haven’t had a chance to read all the other endorsements, which are much more thoughtful than mine, I have some of the excerpts below.

And most importantly, whomever you want to win on Election Day, just be sure to actually VOTE. That’s the only way to make sure that your candidate of choice is represented.

Excerpts from Endorsements:

Colin Powell: "I think he is a transformational figure, he is a new generation coming onto the world stage, onto the American stage, and for that reason I'll be voting for Sen. Barack Obama,"

Washington Post : Mr. Obama is a man of supple intelligence, with a nuanced grasp of complex issues and evident skill at conciliation and consensus-building. At home, we believe, he would respond to the economic crisis with a healthy respect for markets tempered by justified dismay over rising inequality and an understanding of the need for focused regulation. Abroad, the best evidence suggests that he would seek to maintain U.S. leadership and engagement, continue the fight against terrorists, and wage vigorous diplomacy on behalf of U.S. values and interests. Mr. Obama has the potential to become a great president. Given the enormous problems he would confront from his first day in office, and the damage wrought over the past eight years, we would settle for very good.

The LA Times.: Our nation has never before had a candidate like Obama, a man born in the 1960s, of black African and white heritage, raised and educated abroad as well as in the United States, and bringing with him a personal narrative that encompasses much of the American story but that, until now, has been reflected in little of its elected leadership. The excitement of Obama's early campaign was amplified by that newness. But as the presidential race draws to its conclusion, it is Obama's character and temperament that come to the fore. It is his steadiness. His maturity.

Chicago Tribune : We have tremendous confidence in his intellectual rigor, his moral compass and his ability to make sound, thoughtful, careful decisions. He is ready…This endorsement makes some history for the Chicago Tribune. This is the first time the newspaper has endorsed the Democratic Party's nominee for president.

Cleveland Plain Dealer : He is young and obviously cannot match the government experience of his Republican opponent, John McCain. But from the moment he electrified the 2004 Democratic Convention by declaring that America's shared values must trump its racial, religious and ideological divisions, Obama has demonstrated uncommon grace, confidence and intelligence.

Obama has challenged Americans to dream and to hope, to be realistic in the face of great problems and to trust in one another. To minorities and other Americans on the margins, he offers living proof that this nation can fulfill its ideals. To the world, he offers quite literally a different face, one that embodies America's diversity and boundless opportunity.

That is a recipe for the fresh leadership this nation desperately needs. And it is why we urge his election as the 44th president of the United States.

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Enough of “Joe The Plumber” Already!

First and foremost, last night’s debate was very good, and Bob Schieffer was an excellent moderator, probably the best of the bunch this election season. And I liked the format better than all the other debates because it actually made it seem like a debate.

The person who got the most media coverage from last night’s presidential debate wasn’t one of the candidates. No – it was Joe the Plumber.

The fact that McCain brought up Joe the Plumber – his real name is Joe Wurzelbacher – makes me think that Joe was a republican plant in the crowd when Barack made his appearance.

But, now there are allegations that Joe isn’t even a registered voter. Hopefully, there is someone out there in the national media that can verify this and determine if this allegation is true. If it is, this could make McCain look bad for not completely vetting Joe out before he used him as an example in the debate.

But registered voter or not, I think that for McCain to focus on one person’s plight so heavily in the debate tells me that he’s out of touch. Sure, the American Dream is to earn lots of money and have lots of nice things. But the problem is that most Americans can still only dream of buying a company as Joe the Plumber said he was going to be doing. There are many people out there who are having trouble just putting food on their tables, gas in their cars, and paying their utility bills. While I can understand Joe feeling squeezed because he may have to pay a little more in taxes, I think that there are many Americans who would be happy to pay a little more in takes if they made even half or less of what Joe dreams to make.

So Joe, don’t expect many Americans to have a pity party for you. There are many people out there who wish they had your problem of having too much money.

By the way, check out the pictures after the video.

Here’s the debate excerpt

Here’s the encounter in question:

PS: Here are two pictures of the same scene taken from last night’s debate. They look like they couldn’t possibly be real, but I assure you they are not doctored in any way. What kind of a face is that on McCain? One of the pictures, from Reuters, was captioned with this:

US Republican presidential nominee Senator John McCain (R-AZ) reacts to almost heading the wrong way off the stage after shaking hands with Democratic presidential nominee Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) at the conclusion of the final presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, October 15, 2008. (REUTERS/Jim Bourg (UNITED STATES) US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION CAMPAIGN 2008)

(Reuters - above)

You can write your own captions too. It could be fun!

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Voter Fraud, Voter Registration Fraud, or Red Herring?

There has been a lot of coverage in the news about the group ACORN and allegations of fraud. Many people are calling it voter fraud, but since there seems to be safeguards in place to make sure that voter registrations are validated, I don’t think any voter fraud has yet been committed .

Republicans are having a fit over ACORN and their registration practices. Let me go on record here that I think that ACORN’s methods in some cases are questionable and deserve scrutiny. It is possible that their method of compensating their workers is partly to blame for so many multiple registrations for one person. And ACORN says that they validate the registrations and flag any that are questionable. But, I put even more blame in the hands of people who are dumb enough to register more than once.

There is no reason to believe that various election boards don’t already have solid processes in place to catch multiple registrations. Since in many states some form of ID with the voter’s address must be presented at voting, it’s another way to prevent multiple votes for the same voter. I can’t se ACORN being a part of a larger operation to fake the registrations AND the identifications.

Here is an article from The Guardian, a UK publication. It has an interesting report on this situation, and since it’s a UK paper, many American may not have even see it. Here’s is an except, you can read the full story here.

…Despite the screaming wall-to-wall coverage of "Democratic voter fraud in 11 swing states" as seen on Fox News and even the once-respectable CNN, none of it's true. None of it.

In just the last week, we've had a phoney stunt raid in swing state Nevada (where Acorn had been cooperating with officials for months, concerning problem canvassers they'd long ago fired); a Republican election official in swing state Missouri tell Fox News that she's being beseiged with fraudulent registration forms from Acorn (in a county where they've not done any registration work since August); a Republican sheriff in swing state Ohio, who, the very next day, suddenly requested the names and addresses of hundreds of early voters (with evidence of exactly zero wrong doing, but lots of Democratic-leaning college student in the particular county, and John McCain's state campaign chair as a partner in the investigation); and a screaming front page headline in Rupert Murdoch's New York Post about a guy who claims he was somehow tricked by Acorn into registering 72 times (but read the article closely to note he says he registered at the same address each time, which, even if true, would allow him - you guessed it - precisely one legal vote.)

It's an old Republican scam, but it's never been carried out with more zeal than this year. The Republicans have been putting so much time, money and resources into the propaganda leading up to this over the last four years, we should have expected no less.

All this said, I think ACORN does deserve some scrutiny for their registration practices. In fact, I don’t know why it has to be so hard to register to vote that we even need an organization like ACORN. The whole process needs to be reviewed.

But voter fraud – not quite.

PS: Here's something that I just got in my email after I made this blog entry. It looks like the RNC is using this ACORN issue now as an excuse to ask for more money. The XXXs are where they inserted my name. (By the way, I get RNC & McCain emails just so I can see what they are saying.)

Dear XXX,

Every election, it's the same old song and dance from the Democrats and their liberal allies when it comes to donor and vote fraud.

This year, the Obama-Biden campaign broke their pledge to accept public financing during the general election. Now it turns out they padded their coffers with contributions from "mystery" donors that don't exist (as reported by Newsweek).

They will soon be trying to pad their totals at ballot boxes across the country with votes from voters that do not exist. From Ohio and Florida to Wisconsin and Nevada, there are reports of fraudulent voter registration forms being submitted by the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), a liberal group that is dedicating its resources to electing the Obama-Biden Democrats.

What's worse is the Obama-Biden campaign has funneled more than $800,000 to ACORN for work on get-out-the-vote activities conducted by the left-leaning organization.

XXX, we must fight back against attempts by Democrats at vote fraud and ensure the integrity of our democracy. Please join our effort to keep our elections clean and fair by making a secure online contribution of $2,000, $1,000, $500, $250, $100, $50 or $35 to RNC Victory 2008 today.

The Democrats have proven they will do and say whatever it takes to win this election. This isn't the first time they've tried to inflate voter rolls with false names and take money from questionable sources -- and it won't be the last.

But this time we are ready for the liberals' deceitful tactics. We will not stand for the stealing of elections -- the tainting of our democracy -- by those who wish to subvert the rule of law.

Your secure online contribution of $2,000, $1,000, $500, $250, $100, $50 or $35 to RNC Victory 2008 will support Republicans committed to building a safer, more prosperous America and help hold the Democrats and their left-wing allies accountable for their actions.

XXX, voting is one of our nation's most sacred rights. Do your part to protect the integrity of our elections -- support RNC Victory 2008 today. Thank you.

Best Wishes,
Robert M. "Mike" Duncan
Chairman, Republican National Committee

P.S. XXX, the outcome of the 2008 election is too important to the future of our country to be conducted unfairly. Please help us fight back against vote fraud and elect Republicans committed to the rule of law by making a secure online contribution of $2,000, $1,000, $500, $250, $100, $50 or $35 to RNC Victory 2008 today. Thank you.


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Sunday, October 12, 2008

The McCain Town Hall Wander

John McCain’s performance in last week’s “town hall” debate caught the eye of the late night talk show hosts and comedians. It seems that John just couldn’t manage to remain seated while Barack Obama spoke, and seemed to wander about the stage. I was also interested in the weird gestures and facial expressions he sometimes made while Barack was speaking. Not only did the wandering show disrespect to his political opponent, but so did the gestures and facial expressions. Was John trying to show how comfortable he is in “town hall” sessions? If that was the case, it didn’t work for me. He seemed a little too much like a caged animal who couldn't wait to get out.

So you also can enjoy McCain’s wanderings, here is a video of a group of clips from the late night and comedic talk show hosts.

The McCain Wander

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Thursday, October 9, 2008

Sarah Palin’s Newsweek Moustache: Tempest in a Teapot

Newsweek Cover
Fox News (AKA Faux News) and Republican pundits/bloggers seem to be having a hissy fit over the recent cover of Newsweek Magazine featuring Sarah Palin for their main story “The Palin Problem”. Why? Because Newsweek didn’t retouch, airbrush, or photoshop the picture of Palin, and her facial flaws, including a faint moustache, are showing.

Fox (Faux) seems to forget that Newsweek is not a fashion magazine. It’s not a beauty magazine. It is a NEWS magazine. I don’t expect fake news nor do I expect fake pictures in a publication like Newsweek. But apparently, Fox (Faux) likes its photos retouched, in the same manner it appears to handle its coverage of the news.

But let’s think this situation through. If, for example, I knew that I was going to have my picture taken for a magazine – or for any reason for that matter - I would be sure to have on my makeup and make sure that I don’t have any hair on my face that I don’t want there. Sure, if someone zooms in up close they may see imperfections. But that’s just the way it is. If Sarah is not bright enough or concerned enough to make sure that she doesn’t take care of a little moustache hair before a photo shoot, then this whole thing is of her own doing.

Fox (Faux) News wants to have all their news retouched so it is flattering to their candidate of choice. That’s their way. They say they are fair and balanced; I say they are consistently UNfair and IMbalanced. Sure, they try to bring on a talking head or two every now and then that supports the other side or a differing opinion, but they frequently, if not always, try their best to argue with the person for having an opinion counter to whatever agenda Fox (Faux) is pushing that day. In fact, being a Democratic talking head on Fox (Faux) News is akin to being a "red shirt" on Star Trek - you know when you get to the alien planet, you'll be the one who gets killed by the aliens, instead of the stars of the show.

In case you didn’t see it, here’s the video of the Fox (Faux) News meltdown over Sarah Palin’s moustache. It’s pretty pathetic. With all that’s going on with the economy right now, I guess that a little facial hair on a woman is more important to Fox (Faux).

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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

McCain: “My Fellow Prisoners”; Is His Mind Going?

Yes, you read that right. John McCain had a bit of a slip-up when, in a speech today in Bethlehem PA along with Sarah Palin, he referred to the American people as his “fellow prisoners.”

Here’s the clip, and the transcript of the segment of the speech if you don’t believe me. I think it speaks for itself. But, after seeing a few slip ups he made several months ago where Joe Lieberman, standing behind him like a puppet master, had to help correct John when he got confused, I worry that John McCain is of sound mind. No one seemed to correct him this time, though. I guess Lieberman has better things to do?

Let’s not forget in the debate last night when he referred to Barack Obama as “that one.” That probably was no slip of the tongue; I think he meant that to be demeaning. That clip is also below.

I think the pressure is getting to him. It almost reminds me of the movie “2001 A Space Odyssey” where the Hal 9000 computer is having his memory chips pulled, and he says, “My mind is going…”

My Fellow Prisoners

"You and I together will confront the $10 trillion debt the federal government has run up and balance the federal budget by the end of my term in office. Across this country, this is the agenda I have set before my fellow prisoners and the same standards of clarity and candor must now be applied to my opponent."

McCain Calls Obama “That One”

Here’s McCain being corrected by Lieberman, back in the spring, just as a memory refresher:

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Monday, October 6, 2008

Keating Five Documentary Released by Obama Campaign

As I mentioned earlier today, the Obama Campaign released today a 13-minute documentary that covers John McCain’s involvement in the Keating Five scandal. The scandal involved a huge failure of some savings and loans, where it was believed some elected officials, McCain being one of them, were complicit in the fraud involving these S&Ls along with financier Charles Keating.

It is important to note that while John McCain was cleared in the actual scheme, the Ethics Committee did not approve of his behavior in the matter. Here’s a brief entry from Wikipedia that summarizes the Ethics Committee’s take on McCain:

The Ethics Committee ruled that the involvement of McCain in the scheme was also minimal, and he too was cleared of all charges against him. McCain was criticized by the Committee for exercising "poor judgment" when he met with the federal regulators on Keating's behalf. The report also said that McCain's "actions were not improper nor attended with gross negligence and did not reach the level of requiring institutional action against him....Senator McCain has violated no law of the United States or specific Rule of the United States Senate."

But the video explains a little more of McCain’s involvement, which does seem to cofirm that John McCain’s judgment was certainly poor.

If you have the time to spare, watch, or simply listen to the YouTube video below. There is also a scathing article from the 1989 Phoenix News, which referred to McCain as “The Most Reprehensible of the Keating Five” (excerpt follows)“ :

You're John McCain, a fallen hero who wanted to become president so desperately that you sold yourself to Charlie Keating, the wealthy con man who bears such an incredible resemblance to The Joker.

Obviously, Keating thought you could make it to the White House, too.

He poured $112,000 into your political campaigns. He became your friend. He threw fund raisers in your honor. He even made a sweet shopping-center investment deal for your wife, Cindy. Your father-in-law, Jim Hensley, was cut in on the deal, too.

Nothing was too good for you. Why not? Keating saw you as a prime investment that would pay off in the future.

So he flew you and your family around the country in his private jets. Time after time, he put you up for serene, private vacations at his vast, palatial spa in the Bahamas. All of this was so grand. You were protected from what Thomas Hardy refers to as "the madding crowd." It was almost as though you were already staying at a presidential retreat.

Like the old song, that now seems "Long ago and far away."

Since Keating's collapse, you find yourself doing obscene things to save yourself from the Senate Ethics Committee's investigation. As a matter of course, you engage in backbiting behavior that will turn you into an outcast in the Senate if you do survive.

They say that if you put five lobsters into a pot and give them a chance to escape, none will be able to do so before you light the fire. Each time a lobster tries to climb over the top, his fellow lobsters will pull him back down. It is the way of lobsters and threatened United States senators.

And, of course, that's the way it is with the Keating Five. You are all battling to save your own hides. So you, McCain, leak to reporters about who did Keating's bidding in pressuring federal regulators to change the rules for Lincoln Savings and Loan.

When the reporters fail to print your tips quickly enough--as in the case of your tip on Michigan Senator Donald Riegle--you call them back and remind them how important it is to get that information in the newspapers.

The story of "the Keating Five" has become a scandal rivaling Teapot Dome and Watergate. The outcome will be decided, not in a courtroom, but probably on national television.

Those who survive will be the sociopaths who can tell a lie with the most sincere, straight face. You are especially adept at this.

It goes on, and you can read the rest at this link.

I have very strong recollections, and also strong feelings about the whole Keating Five matter. One of the Savings and Loans in which my husband had our life savings and checking accounts with were temporarily closed when the scandal first broke, amid concerns that certain S&Ls outside the failure of Lincoln Saving and Loan were somehow connected and also possibly not solvent. Imagine not having access to any of your money for even a few days, when you are unable to write a check or withdraw cash. It is unsettling to say the least. And while McCain was cleared of the actual fraud, just in the fact that he was called out for his poor judgment tells me that he did have some involvement in this mess. While it technically wasn’t fraud, it seems like he stepped on the line.

So, if you have time to watch or listen to the video, you should do so. If not, take a moment to read some of the articles at the link I’ve provided here and just read a bit to get a flavor for the magnitude of this mess. Yes, it happened long ago. But to me, it is paints a picture of the real John McCain.

If you have trouble loading the video above, it can also be viewed at the following link from .

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McCain Campaign: The Smell of Desperation

Probably one of the lowest blows to come out of the McCain campaign is Sarah Palin's accusation where she attempts to create a connection with Barack Obama and a former member of the Weather Underground, William Ayers. But this tactic may backfire.

According to CBS News:

“Before her campaign plane took off for a Sunday fundraiser here, CBS News asked Sarah Palin to respond to an analysis by the Associated Press that concluded her attempts to establish a friendship between Barack Obama and Weather Underground member William Ayers were “unsubstantiated and carried a racially tinged subtext that John McCain himself may come to regret.”

"The Associated Press is wrong,” Palin said. “The comments are about an association that has been known but hasn't been talked about, and I think it’s fair to talk about where Barack Obama kicked off his political career, in the guy's living room.”

Palin was referring to an event that Ayers hosted for Obama early in the Illinois senator’s career. But the AP notes, “No evidence shows they were ‘pals’ or even close when they worked on community boards years ago and Ayers hosted a political event for Obama early in his career.”

Associated Press goes on to say that Palin’s comments are “a deliberate attempt to smear Obama” and “exaggerated at best if not outright false”

With McCain rapidly losing ground in the polls in swing states, apparently he is becoming desperate by trying to make this an issue. What is even more pathetic is that McCain now seems to be relegating his dirty work to the inexperienced newbie Sarah Palin, who at this point seems to be willing to parrot anything that she’s told by the campaign.

The Obama campaign isn’t taking any of this lying down. Later today, the Obama campaign will be releasing a 13-minute documentary about the Keating Five scandal called "Keating Economics: John McCain and the Making of a Financial Crisis". I have some very personal recollections of the Keating scandal because one of my banks was affected by it, so I followed the issue very closely when it happened. Frankly, I don’t think John McCain should be trying to point fingers about a person’s association with someone, as flimsy as it was, when McCain’s own past has the Keating scandal.

On the lighter side, if you haven’t seen the Saturday Nigh Live version of the Biden/Palin debate, here it is:

PS: I can't stand MSNBC's Keith Olbermann, but I have to admit his fact checking of Sarah Palin's statements at the debate was very interesting. The first two minutes gives you most of it. Watch and listen:

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Saturday, October 4, 2008

McCain Pulled Out of Michigan Long Ago

McCain and Palin in Michigan (AP Photo)

The news is all over the place about John McCain shifting his campaign resources away from the state of Michigan, essentially ceding the state to Obama. This is also a decision, according to CNN, on which his VP running mate, Sarah Palin, disagrees.

The fact is, John McCain mentally pulled out of Michigan in January of 2008 during the primary, when he told Michigan voters that the lost jobs in Michigan "aren't coming back." He lost Michigan to Mitt Romney in the primaries, seeing that voters probably weren’t buoyed by McCain’s defeatist tone. So it should be no shock now to McCain that he can’t win Michigan. After all, he basically told the people in that state in January that there was nothing he could do to help them to recover from the job loss.

This could come back to bite him in other states being hit hard by job loss. One state comes to mind: my own state of Ohio, which has been hit very hard with job loss in the last 8 years. McCain made an appearance in Youngstown in April, where the message was the same as it was in Michigan - jobs are gone. An excerpt from a New York Times article titled McCain: These Jobs are Gone, Gone, Gone says it very plainly:

Is NAFTA a four-letter word?

No, Senator John McCain told an Ohio voter on Tuesday, he didn’t think so.

“I am prone on occasion to make a mistake,’’ the presumptive Republican nominee told Jack O’Connell, a retired labor leader, at a town hall-style meeting at Youngstown State University. Still, he said, “last time I checked, NAFTA has five letters, not four.’’

Mr. McCain was responding to a question from Mr. O’Connell, who called NAFTA, or the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement, “a bad four letters,’’ then asked Mr. McCain what he thought of the deal. Mr. McCain’s answer made the crowd laugh, even if his more substantive response –- the overall result of NAFTA has been “a benefit to our country’’ — was politically unpalatable to many Ohio voters who blame the trade deal for lost American jobs.

Nonetheless, Mr. McCain kept up his free-trade-is-good message in this economically depressed city, a contrast to his Democratic competitors, Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama, who both have called for renegotiating NAFTA. Mr. McCain also repeated his message that lost manufacturing jobs would not return, a position that polls show may have helped him lose the Michigan Republican primary in January to Mitt Romney.

But Mr. McCain, who compared the struggles of Youngstown to his own back-from-the-dead campaign, insisted that in the end workers would be better off through retraining and education programs in technology he has promised them as president.

“I can’t tell you that these jobs are ever going to come back to this magnificent part of the country,’’ Mr. McCain told another questioner, Sam Carbon, a student at Youngstown, who asked Mr. McCain about how he planned to save American jobs. “But I will commit to giving these workers a second chance. They need it, they deserve it. I know that’s small comfort to you, but I can’t look you in the eye and tell you those steel mills are coming back.’’

Now, he’s giving voters in Michigan the “I don’t care about you” attitude by pulling out of the state because he can’t win there. He also doesn't have the campaign money to even try. I have a feeling that Ohio voters who live in what is now considered a swing state leaning toward Obama won’t take kindly to McCain’s flip and thoughtless comments about job loss in Michigan or Ohio.

The old saying goes – “Never say never.” While McCain thinks that some states have permanently lost jobs and that they will never return, I don’t see that as a hard fact. Just looking in the city of Cleveland, the city is trying very hard to recover lost manufacturing jobs from the steel and automotive industries by gaining new jobs in medicine. In fact, Cleveland is one of the best places to be in the world if one needs medical treatment, and medical field continues to grow here by leaps and bounds. While it hasn’t made up for all the “blue-collar” job loss, it certainly has helped to slow the complete decline of jobs in the area.

So while John sees no hope, I see a chance for these areas hit my manufacturing job loss to reinvent themselves to attract a new kind of employment boom, in things like medicine, renewable energy, technology, etc. Some of those industries could very will bring some blue-collar jobs back that McCain says are gone for good. And NAFTA probably does need a second look, and changes to that could bring even more blue-collar jobs back, but McCain doesn't seem to think NAFTA is broken. Things do not have to be hopeless…well, except maybe to John McCain, who has no real vision for the future.

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Friday, October 3, 2008

Palin’s Debate Performance: Style over Substance

After watching the Vice Presidential debate with Joe Biden and Sarah Palin, the differences in each candidate became obvious.

Biden’s “bar” to measure his performance was set very high.
Palin’s “bar” to measure her performance was set very low.

Biden would focus on the issues and John McCain.
Palin would focus on the cameras and appealing to Joe six-pack and hockey moms.

Biden’s responses seem to be effortless and drawn from experience.
Palin’s responses seemed rehearsed (almost memorized) and shallow.

Biden would smile and laugh, seeming very loose and comfortable.
Palin would wink at the camera, as if there was an inside joke going on.

Biden respected his opponent’s title and addressed her as “Governor”.
Palin asked immediately if she could call him "Joe".

Biden appeared Vice Presidential and likable.
Palin appeared cute and folksy.

All in all, I think while Palin did not give the media any real sound bite to be used to mock her (unlike the Katie Couric interview), she seemed to be more concerned with how she looked on the camera. Biden, because he knew that all eyes would be on him for a gaffe or to make sure he didn’t bully poor Sarah, may have shown too much restraint. However, his game plan to debate the issues and the platform of John McCain rather than focus on Palin’s responses or recent gaffes of her own worked in his favor. He exuded confidence and experience. I didn’t get the same feeling from Palin.

I admit I am biased, seeing that Palin has not impressed me one bit before the debate. But the key thing here is that she did nothing last night that was remarkable enough to question my original opinion of her. So I’d have to say that Joe Biden was the clear winner, and I suspect that John McCain will not see any measurable “bump” in his poll numbers after this debate.

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Thursday, October 2, 2008

Sarah Palin: Give A Straight Answer Already!

Chance for VP

In one of my favorite movies – “Being There” the main character, Chance the Gardener (played by Peter Sellers) is a sheltered, simple minded man, whose life revolved around watching television and gardening. He finds himself thrust into the world of politics when he’s mistaken for a genius by people who mistake his name as “Chauncy Gardener”. Everyone sees what they want to hear and hears what they want to hear when it comes to Chance. While Chance looks distinguished and his brief comments about tending his garden are taken to be deep philosophical musings, he’s thrust into a the powerful world of money and politics. When, at a high-class social gathering, Chance is asked by someone about whether he’d write a book, we get this dialog:

Ron Steigler: Mr. Gardner, uh, my editors and I have been wondering if you would consider writing a book for us, something about your um, political philosophy, what do you say?

Chance the Gardener: I can't write.

Ron Steigler: Heh, heh, of course not, who can nowadays? Listen, I have trouble writing a postcard to my children. Look uhh, we can give you a six-figure advance, I'll provide you with the very best ghostwriter, proofreaders...

Chance the Gardener: I can't read.

Ron Steigler: Of course you can't! No one has the time! We, we glance at things, we watch television...

Chance the Gardener: I like to watch TV.

Ron Steigler: Oh, oh, oh sure you do. No one reads!

I’ve come to the conclusion that Chance really would do well in politics these days. The problem is, his answers are truthful, direct, and right on target. That would never work!

Direct answers seems foreign to Sarah Palin, who seems to have difficulty answering the simplest of questions. Case in point, the continuing saga of the Katie Couric interview, where Palin is asked about what newspapers she reads: (video and transcript below)

COURIC: And when it comes to establishing your world view, I was curious, what newspapers and magazines did you regularly read, before you were tapped for this, to stay informed and to understand the world?

PALIN: I've read most of them again with a great appreciation for the press for the media, I mean...

COURIC: Like what ones specifically? I'm curious that you...

PALIN: Um, all of 'em, any of 'em that um have been in front of me over all these years, um...

COURIC: Can you name any of them?

PALIN: I have a vast variety of sources where we get our news too. Alaska isn't a foreign country where it's kind of suggested it seems like, wow how could you keep in touch with what the rest of Washington, DC may be thinking and doing, when you live up there in Alaska. Believe me, Alaska is like a microcosm of America.

What is so hard about this question? Even, if like Chance the Gardner, she doesn’t read a newspaper, she can say something like: I don’t have time to read the paper, but I watch CNN, or Fox, or check the internet, or get updates from my advisors….. She must be getting her news from somewhere, no? Just for a point of reference, I’m not running for public office, but I read, daily, two local papers (The Cleveland Plain Dealer, The News Herald), and the Wall Street Journal. I read Barrons on Saturday and Investors Business Daily on Monday. I check the Internet often, I watch the news – local and national – several times a day. I would have NO problem answering Katie's question. But Sarah Palin seems to be stumped by it. It’s almost as if she is afraid that Katie will use her answer against her. I don’t know how that could be, at least it couldn’t have been worse as how her non-answer is being used against her. (Or could it?)

I’ll be watching the Vice Presidential debate tonight, but not for reasons one might think. I’m watching it because I want to see how this “great debater” Sarah Palin will fare with Joe Biden when she actually has to provide a definitive answer to a question. So far, she avoids specifics so she can’t be pinned down to anything, turning avoidance of a question into an art form. Maybe she should watch the movie “Being There” before the debate and take a lesson from Chance – answer the question completely and honestly, and talk about television and gardening. There really is no way to fail if one can do that.

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