September 30, 2008

Signage

The wingnut up the street who accosted me at my front door about the reverend of Obama's church now has his Republican yard signs out. I'm tempted to respond with a yard sign that reads: "Vote Republican: Four More Years of Looting the Treasury" but that's just too long.

Really, that's not much national interest in a red state like this, though I would love to see our Senator lose in a massive upset. I suppose it could happen if the Senator is stupid enough to stand up for this bailout. I think that's the only thing at this point that could alienate enough wingnuts. One thing the bailout does is increase the peril of all incumbents, no matter the party.

The Obama campaign hasn't been very helpful with yard signs this year, but from what I've read, their research shows that yard signs are just a nuisance, a time sink, and only help when name recognition is needed. Dealing with the hassles of yard signs takes away time from more valuable activities like working phones or knocking on doors, and they've run a smart campaign, so I see no reason to doubt this.

Personally, I like to see yard signs and bumper stickers just because then I don't feel so lonely in my support. It boosts my morale a little bit, though nothing could've boosted my morale more than attending that caucus when a few hundred Democrats showed up and stood aside for a few Republicans to slither in to their caucus. I never actually got to go to the caucus because I just didn't have several hours to kill, but I was there for a while until I realized it was hopeless. I didn't think that many Democrats even existed around here. We sure aren't represented in the local "liberal" media, I can tell you that!

And so once again this Fall, I imagine our local newspaper will endorse more or less a straight Republican ticket as usual, and then I'll spend the NEXT four years reading letters to the editor about how liberal and socialist it is.

Posted by Observer at 11:09 PM | Comments (1)

September 29, 2008

Letterman

Bartcop quotes David Letterman:

McCain and Sarah Palin were in town all week over at the U.N., and he was introducing her to all of the world leaders. It was like Take Your Daughter to Work Day.

Posted by Observer at 03:32 PM | Comments (0)

Comfort Level

I like to watch FiveThirtyEight.com to keep up with polls and the election picture, and it is looking very good for Obama. Even a 60-seat Lieberman-proof Senate is appearing on the horizon as a slim possibility. The debate was huge for Obama, not just because of all the nonsense prior to the debate by McCain, but because Obama looked, spoke and acted presidential. Even the craziest wingnuts writing columns about how horrible he is are admitting that the country wouldn't go completely to hell if Obama were president (while at the same time everyone on both sides is openly worried about a president Palin).

The Cowboys game yesterday was weird. It's not that they played bad. There were really no huge, awful mistakes or poor plays. Washington just wanted it, played the game like it was their Super Bowl. They won. It's not that the Cowboys lost. I guess it is good to get that first loss out of the way before the "0" in the loss column starts playing head games with them. The next four weeks are a real creampuff schedule, starting with Cincinnati at home, so I'm not worried.

Stupid Philly! How do they let Chicago beat them? That's the first time an NFC East team has lost outside the division this season. It's got to suck to be a very strong team like Philly and be in last place. Wouldn't it be crazy if all four NFC East teams made the playoffs?

Posted by Observer at 07:53 AM | Comments (1)

September 27, 2008

Missed It

We were out, so I missed the debate. I'm glad to see our side is doing a good job framing the stupid narrative. In 2000, the day of and the day after, everyone agreed that Gore won the debate convincingly. By a week later, wingnuts had blanketed the airwaves with cranked up audio that showed Gore was "sighing" when Bush got something wrong (as if his sighing was more of a problem than Bush lying or being ignorant), and so now Gore is condescending, etc.

Today, though, our side is getting out the story that McCain weirdly wouldn't make eye contact with Obama during the debate. That's the kind of juicy little detail (supposedly telling some deeper truth) the traditional media will run with, so much so that it is likely to break through and get to the low-information voters.

It doesn't matter what was said or who "won" the debate. What matters is the ultimate message from the night that filters through the usual "both sides say they won" noise, and I hope it is McCain acting weird. God knows it won't be that Mr. Keating Five and Phil Gramm's best buddy is hip deep in the shit engulfing the financial system right now, although it damned well ought to be.

Posted by Observer at 02:34 PM | Comments (1)

September 26, 2008

No Show?

Oh please oh please oh please don't show up to the debate, Republicans.

You know, I think maybe what excites me the most about Obama as president is that we may actually have someone in the office again who knows how to act presidential, someone we can be confident is on top of things and handling them. Right now, I think the biggest reason the country is in a panic about Wall Street is because we are being told we have no choice but to trust the Executive Branch of Idiots to fix everything, and they've shown already that they lack competence on so many basic aspects of governance.

Posted by Observer at 10:06 AM | Comments (1)

September 24, 2008

Another Hail Mary?

Now it seems McCain is saying he wants to "suspend his campaign" so that he can focus on fixing the financial system. Uh, John? Your buddies in the Bush administration have apparently been planning to propose a fix like this for months. A week ago, you should the fundamentals of the economy are strong. Didn't you know?

The best thing both candidates can do right now is keep on campaigning so the people have a clear choice of which leader would best lead us through this crisis, assuming it even is a crisis. Last week, the secretary of the treasury said everything is great. This week, he says we need to panic and give him a trillion with no strings attached. What will he say next week?

And I just can't wait to hear what sort of wisdom will come out of Sarah Palin's piehole on this. Talk about a moose in the headlights. Is McCain suspending the campaign just a Hail Mary to try to get the VP debate cancelled because he's seen enough dry runs to know it will be a flaming wreck?

McCain's move today feels like desperation, kind of like how the Palin pick felt. Sometimes, when you're behind 20 points on your own 5 yard line and it is 4th and 20, you should just go ahead and punt. I hope McCain keeps going for it so we can run up the score. The goal now is not just an Obama win, but coattails for a 60-seat Senate.

Dems had better not do a goddamned thing about this bailout until they have the virtually unanimous support of both parties, and I would prefer it if they would just give a little bit now and wait until after the election to give more. It's going to cost $700 billion? How fast can they spend $700 billion? How about $100 billion for three months, and then when we see what happens there, we'll get back to you with a new Congress?

Sorry about the lack of links, too lazy tonight, but I can find 'em if anyone wants 'em.

Posted by Observer at 10:50 PM | Comments (7)

September 23, 2008

Horrible Choices

This whole bailout situation is a potentially horrific disaster for the upcoming election, and I think the Dems are smart enough to see that. If they pass something now to bail out all the Republicans on Wall Street in an effort to keep the economy afloat (I have yet to hear a convincing case as to why this is necessary, but I have an open mind), it is an absolute guarantee that the Republicans who created this mess in the first place are going to be yelling at the top of their lungs about Democrat BETRAYAL and taxpayer dollars going to BIG CORPORATIONS AND RICH EXECUTIVES.

I honestly hope that any major action waits until after the election with the onset of the next Congress. We can't trust the Republicans to fix this mess, and the Democrats don't dare because they'll be screwed in the elections.

I mean, the ideal situation would be Republicans owning up to this, admitting that this mess is due to the lack of oversight, the corruption, the gaming of the system by big corporations who donated big time to Republicans for permission to do this. The Republicans would then apologize and propose a massive bailout, undoing all the stuff they broke, and it would be financed by huge tax increases and fines on the people who made the money off of this, not to mention jail time for those responsible and Phil Gramm's head on a platter.

But we all know Republicans taking responsibility for anything only happens in fantasy land.

Posted by Observer at 10:46 AM | Comments (4)

September 22, 2008

Cowboys!

The game last night wasn't nearly as good as the Philly win last week, but it was still a nice win on the road against a very good team. Once Green Bay got their first two field goals, they basically couldn't move the ball, so after the lead was 13-6 at half and then we built it to two scores, Dallas was never really threatened. Sure, GB got a touchdown late, but that was 7 yards at a time against a prevent defense that was happy to let 4 minutes tick off the clock with a 3-score lead.

I was glad to see no face mask penalties this week after 3-4 last week. I would've thought the Philly defense would be better at getting to Romo compared to GB, but GB had three sacks and lots of pressure while Philly only had very spotty pressure. One thing that bothered me for much of the game is that Dallas was doing so poorly on 3rd and long.

Of course, as soon as I started thinking with 8 minutes to go that on 3rd and 20, we should just run it or dump it over the middle to run more time off the clock, Tony throws deep. He's not supposed to do th--OH YEAH TOUCHDOWN! That brought back the good feelings of last year when I loved 3rd and long and when Dallas dared teams to blitz.

Surely they'll trip up once or twice in the weeks to come, maybe even at home against Washington this week, but it is very possible that they'll be 8-0 going into the Giants game in week 9 thanks to a soft schedule between now and then.

Posted by Observer at 02:47 PM | Comments (0)

First Reaction

You know, I mentioned something like this below, but here's what is so surprising to me about this bailout deal.

Here we have America facing a huge crisis, and our first instinct is to hand the Bush administration unprecedented, far-reaching and very expensive authority with little oversight to handle it however they see fit?

Seriously?

Posted by Observer at 01:24 PM | Comments (0)

Neutral Observer?

I like it when ultra-super-duper-Dan-Rather-Is-A-Commie Liberal CBS decides to analyze the tax plans of McCain and Obama as a service to the American people. Heck, those good folks at CBS even offered to have a real professional run the numbers for a few representative families and report his neutral, unbiased results to us.

Should it bother me that CBS failed to tell viewers that the unbiased observer who ran the numbers and reported the results back to CBS is also the treasurer of the Ohio House Republican Campaign Committee?

Care to guess how those "unbiased" numbers came out?

Thanks, "liberal" media!

Posted by Observer at 01:15 PM | Comments (0)

Who Pays?

This sounds good. If the investment banks (including foreign banks now?!?!?) are going to get bailed out by the US government, then let's soak the rich who have reaped the vast majority of the profits from these deals. Why should the middle class have to pay for this?

Posted by Observer at 10:27 AM | Comments (0)

Big Shitpile

Say, friends, do you have assets that you think are worth more than anyone is willing to pay for them? They don't have to be fancy Wall Street things like Collateralized Debt Obligations or sub-prime mortgage insurance policies. Hell, it can be anything! Have you got an old beater that is worth double blue book value because you've driven it so carefully and taken good care of it over the years?

And if you COULDN'T sell it for what you think it is worth, would that result in some economic distress for you?

Then I have some great news for you, friend! You qualify to add your undervalued assets to Big Shitpile! That's right, you, too, can join the investment banks of Wall Street and let the government take your undervalued assets off your hands. Just fill out this form and be honest about what you think your assets are worth, and your check will be in the mail next week no questions asked! After all, the well-being of the economy will be at risk if Congress doesn't act quickly to give the Bush administration unlimited power to do everything it wants.

Yes, yes, you have heard something like that argument before, and it is hard to believe it would work again, but believe it!

Posted by Observer at 10:08 AM | Comments (0)

September 21, 2008

Clean House

This is just one of a thousand examples of why the entire government needs to be cleaned, scrubbed and sterilized thanks to the horrific stench of Republican corruption:

Last week the public learned through an inspector generalís report about the antics of a group of Bush political appointees in senior positions at the Department of the Interior. One of the subjects, Gregory W. Smith, managed relations with the oil and gas industry and was found to have taken gifts from clients. The IG report also detailed Smithís illicit sexual relationships with subordinates, his purchases of cocaine at his office, and improper outside consulting deals that allowed him to earn more than $30,000. The IG report suggested a pattern in which bribes and sexual favors were used to help secure valuable government contracts.

So the ever vigilant Public Integrity Section at the Bush Justice Department is right on top of this matter, prosecuting the wrongdoers to uphold standards of public decency, right? Wrong. To the shock of the Inspector General, the Justice Department has decided that it will take no action in the case involving Smith and another senior political appointee at Interior. Why? The Justice Department believes it doesnít owe the public any explanations, and it has the power to prosecute or not to prosecute as it sees fit.

Similar good news is arriving at the doorstep of former Florida Representative Mark Foley, whose sexually suggestive text messages to House pages stirred a national sensation in 2006. Foley refused to waive his legislative privilege, making it very difficult for law enforcement officials to probe much further into the matter. Now the Associated Press reports that the Justice Department appears prepared to let the Foley matter drop without criminal prosecution. If youíre trying to understand why the Justice Department under Bush has reached a modern low water level in public confidence, look no further.

Or perhaps consider some of the public integrity cases which are being prosecuted, at a cost of millions in taxpayer dollars. Graft, cocaine and sexual favors at Interior is considered nothing serious. Improper dealings with minors and the texting of sexually explicit solicitations apparently can just be overlooked. Compare this with Sue Schmitz, the Alabama legislator who allegedly underperformed on a series of consultancy contracts, and was sued for fraud as a result: the prosecutionís thundering condemnation was that she kept bad time records on a contract to promote the interests of a secondary education contractor at the legislature. Schmitzís first trial, at a cost to the public of some $2 million, produced no conviction, so now the Justice Department indicates it will try a second timeórushing to get the prosecution done before regime change in Washington brings an end to the charade.

Or consider the case of Pittsburghís Cyril Wecht, also prosecuted in a high-profile case on a series of bizarre petty offenses. That prosecution also failed. In the Wecht case as well, Justice insists on a new trial, and is racing to complete it before the coach turns into a pumpkin on January 20. In the Wecht case, the appeals court has just removed the George W. Bush-appointed judge who presided over the case and whose consistently less-than-even-handed management of the case was the subject of widespread comment.

So how to differentiate the decision not to prosecute the coke-snorting, party-animal Bush appointees at Interior and the party-animal Congressman chasing after young pages from the 63-year-old school teacher in Alabama who kept bad time records and the prominent Pittsburgh medical examiner who had the indecency to make personal use of his fax machine? The latter two are Democrats.

In this administration, loyalty trumps competence, and the loyalty rewards go up and down the ladder.

Posted by Observer at 05:11 PM | Comments (0)

September 20, 2008

Horsey

When I lived in Seattle, David Horsey was my favorite cartoonist. Back then, I couldn't believe the bunch of tools running the Times. Their editorials were laughable, just parroting the right-wing talking points of whatever local hothead came on the radio after Rush. I always read the P-I, which was a lot more even-handed, plus it came in the morning while the Times was an afternoon paper. I was pretty shocked when I woke up this morning to see the Times had endorsed Obama and provided a laundry list of reasons for doing so.

Palin's "new car" shine wore off quick, and I think all the news from Wall Street helps even Moron Americans understand that the rich are systematically looting the government while no one minds the store. Bush finds new ways to humiliate himself every day, including a 2-minute uncomfortable press conference to explain what's happening on Wall Street and repeated flyovers of the Galveston-area (reminiscent of his Katrina behavior, though still smarter than visiting personally and ending up with embarrassing video of people from his home state yelling at him for being incompetent).

Katrina is going to be the one-word summary of the last eight years. Everything he has touched has turned into a Category 4 disaster, and now Obama is going to have to be the grown-up administration and clean up the mess. The only question now is whether he'll have a Congress that can help him do it. He needs 60 in the Senate (or preferably 61, so we can avoid counting on Lieberman), and right now, that looks unlikely, but if Obama keeps building his lead and enthusiasm for McCain keeps dwindling, chances increase that Obama coat-tails will earn him a filibuster-proof Senate, and then we'll see some real change.

Wouldn't it be awesome to have a Senator Al Franken? He's not perfect, but he's a Democrat and would be fun to watch. He's going to have to win, among a few other unlikelies, for us to have a chance at a 60-vote Senate. Election night 2008 may be the first time ever that I purposely turn on the TV to watch Fox News, just to watch all the sour grapes pundits, especially that liar O'Reilly who hates Franken so much.

That last one I want to turn into a campaign sign: this is what happens when you vote for Republicans. Privatize the profits, and socialize the losses.

Posted by Observer at 05:51 AM | Comments (2)

September 19, 2008

Assuming Debt

Is there some reason that the government, in addition to assuming all of the bad debt that all of the investment banks have acquired, can also assume the balance of everyone's credit card debt as of today? I mean, why just bail out the rich people?

Of course, most of us knew all along when the details of Big Shitpile became known, there would be some dancing around for a little while but then when the music stopped, the person left standing in the middle of the room without a chair would be John Q. Taxpayer. Just like the Savings and Loans scandal. What a surprise.

Remember the bankruptcy bill that Republicans (and stupid Dems who were desperate for campaign cash) rammed through Congress? The one that gave credit card companies all kinds of power in chasing down debt, even if those who would traditionally declare bankruptcy were working families with big medical expenses, that sort of thing? I heard all kinds of stern words about how awful these delinquent debtors are, how the companies need to make a profit, etc. Can we pass a bankruptcy bill for the investment banks now, please?

Posted by Observer at 02:01 PM | Comments (3)

Pass Me the Gravy Like a Ninja

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the next great webcomic, which I would describe as sort of a cross between X-Men and the Far Side: Dr McNinja.

Please to enjoy.

Posted by Observer at 12:20 PM | Comments (0)

September 18, 2008

If There's Nothing to Hide...

I hear Sarah Palin (aka Caribou Barbie) had her public email account hacked, and wingnuts are in high dudgeon over this nefarious crime. But wait a minute...

If she did nothing wrong or illegal, then she should have nothing to hide, so why should anyone be worried that someone hacked into and may publish all of her private emails?

I mean, that's why I'm not supposed to worry about warrantless wiretaps, right?

Posted by Observer at 02:35 PM | Comments (0)

A Lieberman of Their Own

It's nice to see that Republicans have to suffer with disloyalty from time to time. Problem is, Chuck Hagel may talk like an independent guy, but when the chips are down, he's a reliable Republican vote. Just like Lieberman, whatever comes out of his idiot mouth, will still vote to elect a Democratic majority leader in the Senate, which means we don't have the luxury of tossing him overboard. It would be nice to unseat the guy with a real Democrat in the next election, but we had our chance two years ago, and the voters sent him back to Washington. Ick.

Oh, and I prefer to think of this as an "indulgence blog" rather than a vanity blog. If it were a vanity blog, I would actually do something proactive to try to get attention from somewhere. I don't do this for attention. I do it to vent or sometimes as an impetus to do something besides gaming on my computer, like be creative, do some research or get something constructive done like read a book or research a constellation, though I appreciate the occasional thoughtful comment from my five readers. Not so much the asshole comments.

Posted by Observer at 09:52 AM | Comments (0)

September 17, 2008

When I Grow Up

I want to start a company, and I want to pay off my Congress person so I can write a loophole into the law that allows my company to make a lot of money, then I want to take a big severance package so I can retire and play golf at 30, then the government can take over my business and liquidate all the assets for what they're really worth, which is nothing.

Then I want to go around giving speeches about how great are Republicans and the unregulated free market.

Oh, and throw in some hookers and booze.

Atrios adds:

People who prattle on about "the free market" are usually too stupid to have a clue how complicated and pervasive the "rules" had to be to to get a well-functioning modern market system: sophisticated concepts of contracts and enforcement, property rights, legal entities, proper accounting, bankruptcy, limited liability, etc... etc..., did not descend from the heavens but were, in fact, created.

If you keep this simple quote in mind every time a Republican comes on to the teevee to talk business or economics, the world will make a lot more sense.

Posted by Observer at 03:17 PM | Comments (3)

September 16, 2008

Paging Al Gore

Apparently, John McCain is now taking credit for the invention of the blackberry. If there is a fucking billionth of an ounce of justice in this world, McCain will be mocked for claiming to invent the blackberry about 1,000 times during the next four weeks, which would still be a factor of 100 less times than I've heard the same stupid, inaccurate claim about Gore.

Posted by Observer at 10:22 AM | Comments (1)

September 15, 2008

Crazy

What an awesome game. It is so nice to have a good offense, a good QB, a good kicker. The defense can get torched, we can give away 14 points with turnovers and we're still in it. 41-37 over the hated Eagles. WOO!

This is the second week in a row that the defense looked horrible to start the game. The difference is that last week vs Cleveland, the offense had a couple of very long drives, and so the coaching staff was able to use that time to make adjustments. In this game, the Cowboys didn't have the ball for more than a couple of minutes at a time before they scored or turned it over. It was halftime until the defensive staff could really make adjustments, and once they did, they pretty much shut down Philly (allowing only 7 pts in the second half).

The first two weeks tells me that anyone who thinks Dallas is a big favorite to be in the Super Bowl is crazy. Dallas will have to win two games over Philly/New York/Green Bay to get there, and each one of those is basically going to be a coin flip with maybe Dallas favored a little bit. I hope none of those four teams has any huge injuries, because this is setting up to be a really fun regular season and playoffs.

Too bad little Ben isn't awake so he could be like his favorite Wubbzy and go "Wow wow wow!" for me.

Posted by Observer at 10:56 PM | Comments (0)

If Only

You know, after 9/11, I kept hearing conservative voices in the media repeat the (stupid) meme of "Thank God George Bush was president when this happened," as if Bush didn't run and hide and/or do nothing on that day. But, whatever, some people felt that way, and it was widely reported.

Well, on days like this, when Wall Street is melting down, and stocks are projected to drop 20% over the next short while and so on, I thank God that Democrats stopped the Republicans from fucking up Social Security. Remember how Republicans wanted to privatize it and invest social security funds in the stock market for glorious higher returns over those shitty government returns? Everyone will make their own investment choices, and let's not mention that those people who make poor choices are going to end up on the government dime anyway, so the only real change is to dump a lot of money into the stock market and temporarily boost prices.

I also thank God that the Democrats passed a bill bringing oil market speculation back under control, as the price of oil has dropped below $100 per barrel again for the first time in a while. Of course, gas prices are through the roof, but gas prices have always been more closely tied to our (fixed) refinery capacity compared to the price of a barrel of oil. Republicans who are screeching "drill, drill, drill!" in response to higher gas prices would, if they were smart, be instead yelling "build, build, build" more refineries.

Posted by Observer at 11:52 AM | Comments (0)

September 14, 2008

Capitalism

Atrios has spent much of the day tracking stories describing the meltdown of several big Wall Street investment banks over the weekend, victims of a chain reaction started by Republicans who thought Big Gummint was interfering in free market capitalism too much and so relaxed a lot of the oversight on the loan industry (thanks, Phil Gramm!), just like what happened with oil speculation (thanks, Phil Gramm!) and the savings and loan debacle back in the 80's (thanks, John McCain!).

All this talk of government bailouts of Bear Stearns, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, etc. makes me wonder what the hell ever happened to capitalism? Apparently, capitalism today means privatize the profits and socialize the losses. Do you suppose any of the executives who have made millions over the past decades at these firms are going to give back their salaries to help bail out the company? Or are they going to wait for a government handout and jump ship if nothing materializes?

Posted by Observer at 10:06 PM | Comments (0)

September 13, 2008

Not Bad

I was hoping for something more dramatic, but all we got from Ike was a half inch of rain and a cool day. Not bad for September, and they say the wind flow is going to drag a cool front across us, which is again not bad for September.

My big accomplishment of the week was getting through to Verizon customer service, after which I got all the extra charges on the kids' cell phones reversed that they accumulated during the first three days of owning the phones. I was told from the start that all extra features were disabled, but I guess the sales guy didn't know what he was doing because they were trying to download ringtones by texting numbers on MTV and such, and it was costing them $10 a pop or more.

Anyway, the kids now officially owe me Big Favors, and I intend to collect.

Posted by Observer at 11:17 PM | Comments (1)

September 12, 2008

The Right Equivalence

My first thought was that Palin is the new Dan Quayle, but maybe with even less experience. Of course, Republicans want to try to equate her with Hillary, which is pretty laughable from an experience standpoint not to mention the fact that they are diametrically opposed on so many issues.

But now a helpful columnist has come up with what I think is the correct equivalence: Clarence Thomas.

Sarah Palin is Clarence Thomas, completely unqualified but cynically chosen for being a member of a demographic group that usually votes Democratic. No wonder so many women are insulted by the choice.

This is absolutely correct.

Posted by Observer at 07:25 PM | Comments (0)

September 11, 2008

Change I Can Believe In

Maybe Obama is doing the right thing in response to the stupid Republican attacks by taking the high road, but I don't know. When Obama/Biden refer to McCain, they always go to great pains to note that McCain's service was honorable, that he was a war hero, etc (which, in my opinion, is not a closed subject, but whatever), and then they go on to bash McCain's policies.

When Kerry was running, do you remember any Republicans opening their speeches by talking about what a war hero Kerry was (and he was a genuine war hero)? No, they trashed him, and they ridiculed his service. Then they ridiculed his wife and his family, then they ridiculed (and distorted) his politics, saying he flip-flopped or was "the most liberal Senator" (apparently, now that Obama is the candidate, it is now *Obama* who is "the most liberal", funny how that works).

Sadly, the Moron Americans seem to respond to the negative campaigning, and people like Bartcop wonder why the Dems don't wake up and hit back. I have to admit, it would be really cool to see Obama show up at a McCain function and demand McCain explain the ad where McCain says Obama wants to teach sex ed to kindergarten kids when it was really support for a bill that teaches kids the basics about avoiding sex predators.

I think the media would stop down and cover that, and I think it would make McCain reluctant to do it again. Instead, though, Obama seems to want to play it safe, sit on a slim lead, and hope his ground game is enough to win the election. It's kind of like how the Dems in Congress have been acting, refusing to do anything major to stand up to Bush (like impeach the bastard) because they like how the dynamics of this election look for them and don't want to change them. Maybe it will, but right now, their poll ratings are in the toilet, and furthermore, while they may pick up some seats, chances are extremely slim they'll get 60 Senate seats, so it's not going to be all that great.

I think Obama needs a blowout election, and that includes a big change in the numbers of seats in Congress. It's the only way we'll get genuine change. It would be risky, but I would like to see Obama get a lot more aggressive, and I would like to see him confront McCain about so many things that McCain would look like a real loser on, like lobbyists in his campaign, his support of and association with Gramm, oil prices coming down thanks to Obama's anti-speculation bill in Congres, his support for the Iraq war, his opposition to health care reform, his incredibly bad running mate, the various lies he's told about Obama. I mean, it's a long list, and it would be easy.

Moreover, it would be exciting and interesting, and the media would definitely cover it, showing what both candidates say and not just talking over it like they did at the conventions. Obama would have a chance to cut through the biased corporate filter and speak directly to Moron Americans and for once, maybe make them vote for someone who is watching out for their best interests instead of whatever the oil companies want.

Posted by Observer at 03:22 PM | Comments (1)

September 10, 2008

Ike

After 3 near misses in the past month, it looks like Ike is likely to pass close to our neck of the woods. Last time a storm came close to the TX mid-to-upper coast was Rita. It caused an enormous evacuation of the Houston area (because people feared a Katrina-like storm), so much so that I-45 was a 300-mile long parking lot between Houston and Dallas for a couple of days. Then the storm blew through well East of Houston, and everyone who left their homes in Houston felt like complete idiots.

This time, though, Ike looks like the real deal. I wonder what fraction of people in the direct path (which is changing by 100 miles in either direction along the coast every six hours due to model uncertainty) will eventually try to get out. Best link for Ike information is National Hurricane Center, Kos Diaries by millwx and Jeff Masters' blog at Weather Underground.

Hard to imagine, but the forecasts are saying there's a 5% chance or better than Galveston will be swamped by the tidal surge despite the seawall there. Forecast tracks are flipping back and forth between hitting near Corpus Christi and hitting near Houston/Galveston.

Posted by Observer at 10:52 PM | Comments (0)

End of the World

For lots of good reasons, I don't think the end of the world will happen when the Large Hadron Collider turns on, not least of which because the kinds of energetic reactions that everyone is worried about take place in the upper atmosphere at least once a day when we are struck by particularly energetic cosmic rays known as fastballs.

At any rate, that didn't stop me from briefly considering this amusing theory about Gamma Ray Bursts. GRB's are extremely energetic and brief explosions of energy that seem to occur in random directions on the sky extremely far away, and much has been written in speculation about what this actually is. Lots of effort has gone into finding the optical counterparts of these explosions, to the point that we have telescopes designed to slew to the source of a burst within seconds with great accuracy.

So the amusing theory? Perhaps GRB's are the result of civilizations that have developed to a sufficient point of capability in various places across the Universe that they can turn on the equivalent of a Large Hadron Coll- BOOOOOOOM!

Humbaba includes this helpful link: http://www.cyriak.co.uk/lhc/lhc-webcams.html

Can't put it in comments probably because some .co.uk website tried to spam my comments at some point in the past.

Posted by Observer at 12:31 AM | Comments (4)

September 09, 2008

Polls

Lately, nationwide polling has had some troubling trends. It has appeared as though McCain got a big bounce from the convention, which I honestly can't imagine anyone actually watched much of except maybe to see Palin speak. Now according to the polls, it seems like a virtual tie, though the electoral map is much more favorable for Obama. It will be nice this year to be able to say "fuck you" to Ohio and Florida and win anyway, but it would also be nice to win those states and make it a bigger landslide.

Anyway, I'm not sure how to explain this, but it seems as though in the past couple of weeks, the pollsters have been taking their responses from a more heavily tilted Republican population. Instead of asking a representative sample of likely voters (most of whom currently identify as Democrats), they're forcing the sample to be even or tilting it to oversample Republicans. Well, then, of *course* McCain's numbers will improve.

Surely the pollsters who are doing this have a good reason to do so. I'm not THAT cynical to think it's a big conspiracy to make it look close, but it would be a lot easier to give pollsters the benefit of the doubt if I knew why they were doing it. I mean, polls over the past few years have shown Dems outnumber Reps in the US by a significant amount (something like 42 to 31 and "independents" lean Dem 15-10), and if anything, it would seem the enthusiasm for getting to the polls this year would be through the roof for Dems because of Obama.

My main concern is that if the polls are close, even if they are wrong, then Reps can steal another election without people complaining.

Posted by Observer at 09:10 PM | Comments (0)

Bad Seed

I sure hope there are other "last hope" repositories of human DNA besides this one. Of all the authors in the world whose DNA will be stored as a template to resurrect the human race in case of some improbable disaster, they chose Tracy Hickman. Just imagining a human race based on one of the authors of the Dragon Lance series makes me very afraid.

Posted by Observer at 07:16 PM | Comments (0)

September 07, 2008

28-10

I was a little worried at first because it looked like the defense couldn't stop Cleveland, and we fans have been hearing all week that the Cleveland offense was sharp last year, averaging 25 points a game, 5th best in the NFL or the AFC or something. Then I guess someone upstairs or on the sidelines made some adjustments, and suddenly Cleveland couldn't complete a pass.

Meanwhile, our offense, despite many penalties, marched right down the field and scored 3 TD's in four possessions for a 21-7 halftime lead. From that point forward, it seemed to me that Cleveland was treating this as a pre-season game, not really trying to win but instead just going through the motions. That became really apparently when they were behind 28-7 with 10 minutes to go, had a long drive to get down to our 20 and a 4th and 3.

And they kicked a field goal.

Huh? Well, ok, thanks, I guess the game's over, and in fact, it was. The Cowboys' took the ball over after that and ran almost every play (only throwing when they had to for a first down), draining the last 10 minutes off the clock just like the great Cowboy teams of the 90's used to do with Emmitt piling up yards. So it ended 28-10, and perhaps most importantly, the Cowboys didn't really have to show too much of their offense it didn't seem like. They ran mostly the same plays as last year with only a few new wrinkles.

Romo was great except for one really poor interception in the end zone that kept the score from being 35-7 at one point. And I hope they managed to save up some ammunition for when Philly comes to town next Monday night. Can't wait for that one.

Posted by Observer at 08:18 PM | Comments (3)

September 05, 2008

The I's Have It

When Hillary uses "I" 20 or so times in a speech, that's big news because the narrative is that she's self-absorbed. When McCain uses "I" over 100 times in roughly the same time period, your "liberal" media doesn't seem to care because he's a mavericky straight-talking regular guy with no ego.

At least, that's what the supposedly liberal media keeps telling me.

Posted by Observer at 09:00 PM | Comments (0)

September 04, 2008

Talking Heads

I tried to watch a little bit of the convention last week, but on any network, it was unwatchable. Whenever a major speech was taking place, did they show the speech? No! Instead, the speech was "background chatter" as the talking heads prattled on about whatever they felt like in a roundtable. What the hell was that? If I want to tune in to listen to a bunch of pundits, I'll tune in on Sunday morning or on a cable news network. If I want to listen to a convention speech, how about allowing a speaker some time to give a speech without having the filter of punditry telling us what to think about it in real time?

C-Span was much better.

Of course, last week, virtually all of the pundits commenting on the Democratic convention were Republicans or "independents". So you would think that this week, at least SOME of the pundits commenting on the Republican convention would be Democrats.

You'd be wrong, you crazy "liberal media" myth believer.

Posted by Observer at 01:40 PM | Comments (1)

The Answer Doesn't Matter

Oh God, I think the worst part about four more years of Republicanism is that we have to keep asking the question: is he lying or simply ignorant of the facts?

After eight years, don't people realize that the answer doesn't matter? Either way, if you have to ask that question pretty much every day for eight years, the subject shouldn't be in office.

Posted by Observer at 09:25 AM | Comments (0)

September 03, 2008

Minister Problems Again?!?

So Obama's church pastor said something stupid again:

Judgment is very real and we see it played out on the pages of the newspapers and on the television. Itís very real. When he was in Jerusalem he was there to witness some of that judgment, some of that conflict, when a Palestinian from East Jerusalem took a bulldozer and went plowing through a score of cars, killing numbers of people. Judgment ó you canít miss it.

He has at an earlier date said that terrorist attacks on Israelis are Godís "judgment of unbelief" of Jews who havenít embraced Christianity.

Oh wait a minute, did I say OBAMA's pastor?

That was SARAH PALIN's pastor who said all that!

Oh dear.

I guess that means we're going to have a big media firestorm over Sarah Palin's pastor now! I guess that means my neighbor is going to come over and wonder why I'm not all up in arms about Sarah Palin's pastor and what he said. I guess the "liberal media" is going to have a HUUUUUGE field day with 24/7 coverage of this guy along with a day of reflection and review on everything controversial he has ever said.

Or maybe none of that is going to happen because the reality is that there is a huge double-standard and the media is about as liberal as I am a ladybug.

Posted by Observer at 09:43 PM | Comments (0)

Stage Presence

Apparently, Sarah Palin's 17-year-old daughter got knocked up by a high school kid, and the two of them will appear together on stage tonight as a part of Palin's family. I couldn't believe this, but Atrios was able to find a conservative who has a problem with this!

It's one thing for delegates to be understanding and compassionate about the fix these two teenagers have gotten themselves into. It's another to actually celebrate it. And, given what we've learned in the last few days, if Johnston is up on stage with his girlfriend and the Palin family, and Republicans are wildly cheering, it will certainly look like they are celebrating this situation.

I don't usually engage in these scenarios, but I'll do it here. If the Obamas had a 17 year-old daughter who was unmarried and pregnant by a tough-talking black kid, my guess is if that they all appeared onstage at a Democratic convention and the delegates were cheering wildly, a number of conservatives might be discussing the issue of dysfunctional black families.

You don't say!

In other news, it's kind of funny what happens when Republicans have an unexpected pregnancy in the family. They say it's a private matter, and their family will get together to make a choice about what to do. A choice! Imagine that! Of course, if wingnuts have their way, there's no choice at all. If you have a pregnant daughter, no matter if it is from rape or incest, then the government is going to FORCE her to have that baby.

And then the wingnuts can proceed to not give a flying fuck about the baby once it is born.

Posted by Observer at 02:29 PM | Comments (0)

September 02, 2008

Better Commentary

If more political commentary were written like this, I think more people would pay attention.

Things are looking up for John McCain. Last week ended with a bang with the announcement of his fresh-faced new running mate Sarah Palin, who should provide McCain many more years of extended existence through gradual consumption of her life force, and, if needed, a new host body should his current vessel fail him. But McCain's true masterstroke is his planned convention trip to the permanently hurricane-ravaged wasteland of New Orleans, where he will demonstrate his awesome powers of Presidentiality by climbing atop a mountain of corpses and emitting a series of ear-piercing shrieks before unfurling his once-gnarled bat wings to absorb the radiance of the city's succulent Death Energy.

I'm not saying people would be better informed, just that they would read more, and that would be a good thing.

Posted by Observer at 01:44 PM | Comments (1)

Experience

At poker last night, all of the predictable Republicans there were talking about how, sure, they were a little concerned about the possible Palin scandals and such but they still support McCain. As if the fact she might have illegally fired a brother-in-law is more important that she is essentially a neophyte with almost zero experience. Of course, their response is that, hell, she's got as much experience as Obama.

Really?

I still say if Obama picked someone like Cindy Sheehan as his VP pick, it would have created panic among most Democrats. Oh sure, the whole anti-war-give-the-finger-to-Iraq-war-supporters thing would be cool, but how do you pick someone with so little experience as VP? Whether they like it or not, Obama is a serious candidate with enough experience to matter but not so much that he has become a creature of Washington (like Biden). For the low-information voter, though, the McCain camp has succeeded in the effort to make Obama and Palin roughly equivalent, I fear, and that's where the gamble of the pick has paid off. It didn't eliminate the experience argument. It accentuated it.

Oh well, I had the last laugh. Finished with $640 last night from my $100 buy-in. I had pretty good cards and actually played fairly well. I could've finished up closer to $800, but a couple of times, I fairly aggressively bet top pair on each street only to find that my only caller picked up a second pair to go with his middle or bottom pair on the river (i.e. Jacks and fours against my Queens with K-kicker). I also could've finished much lower. I won about $400 on a couple of hands with the almost-nuts (e.g. KK in Omaha-high and a board of K5332 could've lost a huge pot to 33 but beat 55).

Posted by Observer at 07:20 AM | Comments (0)