Obama Wins Debate

With all the fury surrounding the economic bailout and the proposed bill failure it's easy to lose track of the contest for president.  According to a USA Today/Gallup poll released Sunday 46 percent of debate watchers thought Obama did better than McCain. 34 percent thought McCain performed better. The following is from Politico's Alexander Burns:
The poll surveyed 701 adults who watched Friday's debate, and all interviews were conducted on Saturday. Obama's numbers have ticked up nationally since the debate, the first of three scheduled this year, along with next Thursday's vice-presidential face-off. In the Sunday update to Gallup\'s daily tracking poll, Obama widened his lead over McCain to 50-42 percent. Friday, in polling that preceded the debate, Obama had a five-point, 49-44 percent advantage.
Obama was also up in polls conducted by the Rasmussen Reports, Opinion Research Corp., Bloomberg/LA Times, and CBS/Knowledge Networks. Most polls show Obama ahead of McCain by more than the margin of error.


Startling! Shocking! McCain Replaces Palin

In a shocking move, even for a "maverick" like John McCain, the campaign has replaced vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin. It appears that her performance in the ABC and CBS interviews coupled with recent criticism by conservative commentators has had an impact on the decision. The new nominee, in keeping with McCain's "maverick" image, is a political unknown and is a hoofed mammal known as Bucky Deer. This "news" from the Huffington Post:
The Arizona senator supposedly brushed aside concerns that a startled deer would wilt under the pressure of a televised debate, telling aides, "At least a goddamn deer won't go on about Alaska being close to Russia."
The McCain campaign said today that Sen. McCain's new running mate, Bucky the Red Deer, would not be made available to the press prior to the debate.
"Bucky is very much a work in progress," said McCain campaign manager Rick Davis. "Right now we're working on keeping him from bolting off the stage."
Bucky's opponent in the upcoming debate, Delaware senator Joseph Biden, appeared today to be trying to manage expectations for the high-stakes face-off with his four-legged rival.
At least Bucky will have a good excuse for having that "deer caught in the headlights" look during this Thursday's debate. Also in other news, McCain is sinking in most nationwide polls.


Good News Bad News

The good news is everyone is so preoccupied with the financial bailout of the US of A that they haven't noticed that Sarah Palin gave an interview to Katie Couric where she sounded stupid. Then, because she's "one tough lady" she bravely took four questions from reporters. What do you think Wonkette?
If she learned anything at the Idaho community college of local sports commentary, it’s “filling air time.” Exactly like the infamous airhead  Miss Teen South Carolina, Palin has been coached to mindlessly say phrases such as “younger generations of Americans” and to dully repeat variations of any vaguely familiar phrase she stumbles upon: “never forgetting,” “never repeating,” “never allowing a repeat,” etc. This is called “autism.”
She continues:  "I wish every American would come through here. I wish every world leader would come through here, and understand what it is that took place here and more importantly how America came together and united to commit to never allowing this to happen again.”  It’s a sweet platitude, and wouldn’t come off quite so dim if “every world leader” hadn’t already paid their respects at Ground Zero, about seven years ago, when Palin hadn’t yet learned New York was part of the United States.
The bad news is the US is seriously F'ed up because some other brainless republican started a war, pissed off the world, tortured some people, ignored a destroyed US city, and now allowed rich people to anally rape the financial markets. How much is 700 billion dollars? 
 Slate: If the federal government siphoned off  Florida's gross domestic product , we could cover the bailout. Invading the Netherlands might be advisable—that nation's GDP was  $768.7 billion last year. Of course, invasions cost a lot of money.  Back in 2003, the Bush administration told Congress that the Iraq war would cost between $60 billion and $100 billion, but it's estimated that, so far, we've spent about $600 billion. Should the Treasury receive authority from Congress to borrow $700 billion, the national debt will rise by only about 7 percent. Right now, it's sitting at $9.6 trillion.
And here I was worried that there would be no money left in Social Security when I retired. It looks like there be no money as soon as next week for groceries. Slate:
Lastly, in apocalyptic terms, $700 billion really isn't all that much. If nothing is done to change the way we finance Social Security, the trust fund reserves will be exhausted by 2041. This means that, in 75 years, there'll be a shortfall of $4.3 trillion —or about six bailouts.


McCain Campaign Manager Helps Create Economic Mess

The Obama campaign has been airing commercials here in Florida that say McCain's staff is filled with evil, baby-eating Washington lobbyists. You know you can't believe a thing from the campaigns in September and October. Well, as it turns out Obama was right and McCain is still a liar. Here's some information from the New York Times:
WASHINGTON — One of the giant mortgage companies at the heart of the credit crisis paid $15,000 a month from the end of 2005 through last month to a firm owned by Senator John McCain’s campaign manager,  according to two people with direct knowledge of the arrangement.
The disclosure undercuts a statement by Mr. McCain on Sunday night that the campaign manager, Rick Davis, had had no involvement with the company for the last several years.
Mr. Davis’s firm received the payments from the company, Freddie Mac, until it was taken over by the government this month along with Fannie Mae, the other big mortgage lender whose deteriorating finances helped precipitate the cascading problems on Wall Street, the people said.
If McCain wins, this guy can be in charge of your 700 bazillion dollars! Now McCain blames the newspaper for his troubles. It looks like two more people in the McCain campaign also hate you, William Timmons Sr. and Mark Buse. Both have ties to Freddie Mac.


McCain-Palin Mute During Largest Economic Crisis in History

The McCain-Palin campaign likes to talk about reform and experience and other presidential sounding stuff. But lately they've been mostly mute on the largest economic disaster in recent history. And how do they feel about endorsing the re-election campaign of beloved republican Senator Ted Stevens from Palin's home state? ABC News' Jake Tapper wanted to know, so he asked:
The response from the McCain-Palin campaign was as simple as the question I'd asked: Will get back to you.
It looks like McCain and Palin like to talk, but like that stuck-up friend you had in high school, only about things they want to talk about. They don't like talking to reporters because they're mavericks. Tapper:
Combine that with the facts  that Sen. McCain has gone 41 days without taking questions from the press corps following him around, and that Gov. Palin has gone every one of the 25 days since she was introduced to the nation as McCain's running-mate without holding a press conference. 
It all adds up to a campaign that seems to think it should be handed over the keys to leadership of the Free World without having to answer straight-forward, substantive, tough questions from the Fourth Estate. That's called lack of accountability.
It's not nice to make network television news reporters mad by not answering a simple question -- if you want to be president. Maybe it's a good thing that McCain hasn't called a press conference. He'd just get all mad and red-faced and start yelling at the reporters to get off his lawn.


Palin Rumored to Be Secret Muslim

There's been much rumor and speculation surrounding John McCain's vice presidential pick. Sarah Palin, a 44 year old former beauty queen has been called unqualified and unready to lead. It appears that new information has surfaced about the Alaska National Guard's commander-in-chief. This information courtesy of The Onion:

  • An evening-gown-clad Palin personally drilled a clumsy but functional oil well during the talent portion of the 1984 Miss Alaska pageant
  • Actually a Muslim
  • A lower-back tattoo of Alaska can be seen when Palin wears low-riding jeans
  • In addition to the five children that the media are aware of—Track, Bristol, Willow, Piper, and Trig—Palin also has nine secret children: Frag, Moss, Scoot, Skiffer, Minnow, Plow, Snatch, Twiglet, and Drum

America's Finest News Source - indeed.

Bush Just Sold America to China

I don't know how to put this without sounding queer but sometimes Ken Layne channels Hunter S. Thompson and brings a truth and beauty to modern life. As you all know Republicans defeated the Soviet Union. Well, it seems like history is repeating itself. Today the US is the Soviet Union and the Republicans are defeating us. Here's Mr. Layne to explain:
Your editor was standing in the bowels of LAX a few weeks ago,waiting for the antiquated baggage conveyor to deliver whatever was left of his war suitcase, when he had the overwhelming feeling of being stuck in some early ’90s Eastern Bloc rundown government facility, maybe a train station in the Ukraine or a “department store” in Serbia. Everything was dirty and broken, dull people stood in dull clumps, afraid to talk or bitch too much as there were heavily armed cops everywhere, as always. The fluorescent lights blinked and buzzed sickly in the windowless chamber, there wasn’t even muzak or a Starbucks around.
It’s what America looks like, increasingly. The roads are potholed, the bridges collapsing, metro trains crash and kill as dull-eyed engineers peck text messages, airlines have become Aeroflot, dams and levees busting apart, yearlong waits to get a passport, maimed soldiers sent back to the endless war again and again, and a book-banning big-government cipher from Siberia is briefly popular for being a nasty moron.
Even in recent weeks right-wing-nuts were wailing about how Barack Obama was going to turn our country into some sort of communist workers paradise. Please speak the truth to these morons Mr. Layne:
Turns out we didn’t need “stealth socialist” Barack Obama to pervert capitalist America into a crumbling nationalized economy run in private by a dome-skulled kleptocracy as our nation’s battered military wastes away in the forgotten bummer of a civil war in Afghanistan. WAIT A MINUTE that is exactly what happened in the Soviet Union! And the so-called Republicans did it, because they are Fiscal Socialists!
Some robot on one of the Sunday talk shows were talking about how the next president would have to clean up this mess. How naive. How about the next three generations? One more nugget of truth about the futility of the so-called "government action".  Mr. Layne, please?:
America just sold another half-trillion dollars of itself to China, all to keep the markets flat for a week in September.

McCain - Not Ready to Lead

As the election approaches it's becoming clearer and clearer that John McCain is not ready to lead. His reaction to last weeks financial meltdown was troubling. Waffling and flip-flopping should be better left at the IHOP. Here's a clear example of the unsteadiness of McCain from an editorial in the Buffalo News:
McCain’s views, meanwhile, remain no better than muddy and often contradictory. One day he says the fundamentals of the economy are sound, while they next he says they are troubled. On another day he opposes a bailout for AIG, while the very next, he says a bailout was unavoidable. Before this campaign, he waved the conservative flag of deregulation; now, he says lack of regulation helped bring about the current fiscal crisis.
I'm no spring chicken, but I think McCain is just too old to keep up with the changes and the rapid pace of today's world. It takes more than someone with wits and resolve, it takes someone with stamina to keep up with a 24-7 world. McCain is at that age where he should be thinking about relaxing, fishing, and playing checkers with his old friend Bob Dole.


Vote McCain - Kiss Your Retirement Goodbye

McCain Will Privatize Social Security: John McCain has repeatedly said he will privatize Social Security, but has now flipped the biggest flop. In light of this week's financial meltdown, it seems as though Sarah Palin is not the only poor choice McCain has made.

On the Rasmussen Report website, Joe Conason says McCain was still advocating the Bush privatization plan earlier this year in an attempt to please the conservative base and win the nomination.
...he told the Journal editors that he generally opposes regulation, he explained his plan to "reform" Social Security. "I believe that private savings accounts are a part of it," he said, "along the lines that President Bush proposed.
Obviously such remarks no longer serve Sen. McCain's political purposes, and certainly won't attract voters, who never liked the Bush plan -- and probably like those ideas even less as they watch the market ravage their pension funds and equity accounts. Listening to the Republican nominee promise this week to "protect "their retirement accounts, they might wonder how he will do that when so much of the value of those accounts has disappeared already. They might also wonder what would happen to the elderly and other beneficiaries of Social Security if the privatizers like him had succeeded in consigning their future to the same Wall Street sharks he now denounces for their greed and irresponsibility.
 Of course John McCain can be cavalier with your future because he doesn't have to worry about his retirement. He's a rich guy. His wife, Cindy "Woozy" McCain, has all the money in Arizona she made from being some rich guy's daughter. And you will have to eat cat food when you're old.


John McCain is Clueless

John McCain can't be serious when he says the fundamentals of our economy are strong. Spoken as only an out of touch, well-heeled, 72 year old man can. I would have to agree with Ken Layne's Outrage!
That he still has no idea America is crumbling -- its middle class, infrastructure, manufacturing base and banking system -- is almost funny.
Of course it's not too funny if you're one of the 605,000 people who lost a job this year, or one of the 2 million homeowners who lost their house to foreclosure in 2008, or somebody ready to retire on a 401k that lost 30% or 40% in value in the past year.
It's true that Ken Layne's opinion skews a bit left of center. But now even McCain's supporters on the right are starting to turn on him. See the following:


Palin - Corrupt Republican Politics

It\'s taken time but a true picture of Sarah Palin's experience and political record is coming into focus - and it looks a lot like the Bush administration. If you thought the disaster of Katrina and the FEMA director's job was the last word in cronyism? Here's another example  of the "heckofa job Brownie" school of human resources pointed out by the Washington Post's Eugene Robinson:
 And the New York Times  reported Sunday that as governor, Palin appointed a high school classmate, Franci Havemeister, to a $95,000-a-year job as head of the State Division of Agriculture. Havemeister "cited her childhood love of cows as a qualification for running the roughly $2 million agency," the Times reported, noting her as one of at least five schoolmates to whom Palin has given high-paying jobs in state government.
Nothing against cows. Nothing against high-school BFFs and being true to your school. But a different picture of Sarah Palin is beginning to emerge. The McCain campaign would like us to see a straight-talking, gun-toting, moose-eviscerating, lipstick-wearing frontierswoman. Instead, we're beginning to discern an ambitious, opportunistic politician who makes no bones about rewarding friends and punishing those who stand in her way -- and who believes that truth is nothing more, and nothing less, than what she says it is.
Wikipedia defines cronyism as "...partiality to long-standing friends, especially by appointing them to positions of authority, regardless of their qualifications." Palin's record is beginning to show a portrait of politics as usual - that's corrupt Republican politics - the same as we've had for the last eight years.

McCain - Putting Self Before Country

There's no way to trust a man that is so irresponsible as to choose an inexperienced, unqualified, uneducated beauty queen to be his running mate. Since the Republican Convention, maybe before, it's become clear that "Walnuts" McCain is doing the exact opposite of his campaign slogan - he's putting himself before his country.

He is so desperate to become president that he has stooped to new lows. Here's a quote from The Washington Post from Joe Biden on McCain-Bush:
"Eight years ago, a man ran for president who claimed he was different, not a typical Republican. He called himself a reformer. He admitted that his party, the Republican Party, had been wrong about things from time to time. He promised to work with Democrats and said he'd been doing that for a long time," Biden told the group in Michigan.
"That candidate was George W. Bush. Remember that?" Biden said. "Eight years later, we have another Republican nominee who\'s telling us the exact same thing: This time it will be different, it really will. This time he's going to put country before party, to change the tone, reach across the aisle, change the Republican Party, change the way Washington works."
From his admitted lack of economic knowledge, to his latest sleazy attacks on Barack Obama, to his desperate VP pick, McCain has proved he's no maverick. McCain may have been honorable once, but today he's a different man. That's not change we can get behind.


The 21st Century Economic Depression

My father was in his teens during the 1930's and the Great Depression. He use to tell me all kinds of tales -- some true, some not, and some that were true but were unbelievable about growing up during the Depression. It looks like we are in for another bumpy financial ride this week. This descriptive and dramatic story from yesterday's New York Times tells the story of the beginning of the end for many Wall Street high-rollers:
Dinner parties were canceled. Weekend getaways were postponed. All of Wall Street, it seemed, was on high alert.
In skyscrapers across Manhattan, banking executives were holed up inside their headquarters, within cocoons of soft rugs and wood-paneled walls, desperately trying to assess their company’s exposure to the stricken Lehman. It was, by all accounts, a day unlike anything Wall Street had ever seen.
There's a lot that sounds familiar in this excerpt from Wikipedia on the causes of the Great Depression:
...in the 1920s, American consumers and businesses relied on cheap credit, the former to purchase consumer goods such as automobiles and furniture, and the latter for capital investment to increase production. This fueled strong short-term growth but created consumer and commercial debt. People and businesses who were deeply in debt when price deflation occurred or demand for their product decreased often risked default. Many drastically cut current spending to keep up time payments, thus lowering demand for new products. Businesses began to fail as construction work and factory orders plunged.
Massive layoffs occurred, resulting in unemployment rates of over 25%. (US) Banks which had financed this debt began to fail as debtors defaulted on debt and depositors became worried about their deposits and began massive withdrawals. Government guarantees and Federal Reserve banking regulations to prevent such panics were ineffective or not used. Bank failures led to the loss of billions of dollars in assets.
The debt became heavier, because prices and incomes fell by 20–50% but the debts remained at the same dollar amount. After the panic of 1929, and during the first 10 months of 1930, 744 US banks failed. (In all, 9,000 banks failed during the 1930s). By 1933, depositors had lost $140 billion in deposits.
Bank failures snowballed as desperate bankers called in loans which the borrowers did not have time or money to repay. With future profits looking poor, capital investment and construction slowed or completely ceased. In the face of bad loans and worsening future prospects, the surviving banks became even more conservative in their lending. Banks built up their capital reserves and made fewer loans, which intensified deflationary pressures. A vicious cycle developed and the downward spiral accelerated. This kind of self-aggravating process may have turned a 1930 recession into a 1933 great depression.
It looks like today's economy is in a kind of slow motion death spiral too. A vicious cycle indeed. The government couldn't stop the economic depression in the 1930's and they won't be able to stop the next one either.

Palin OK's Charging Rape Victims

Imagine you've been raped. It's devastating. You feel degraded, demoralized, and violated. After the ordeal of reporting it to the police and undergoing a test, you get to go home. Later you find that you've been billed for the rape kit. Suddenly you feel violated all over again.

It's been revealed that vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin charged rape victims or their insurance companies for rape kits needed to help collect evidence of the crime. The following is from the Huffington Post
Despite denials by the Palin campaign, new evidence proves that as mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, Sarah Palin had a direct hand in imposing fees to pay for post-sexual assault medical exams conducted by the city to gather evidence.
Palin's role is now confirmed by Wasilla City budget documents available online
Under Sarah Palin's administration, Wasilla cut funds that had previously paid for the medical exams and began charging victims or their health insurers the $500 to $1200 fees. Although Palin spokeswoman Maria Comella wrote USA Today earlier this week that the GOP vice presidential nominee "does not believe, nor has she ever believed, that rape victims should have to pay for an evidence-gathering test...To suggest otherwise is a deliberate misrepresentation of her commitment to supporting victims and bringing violent criminals to justice," Palin, as mayor, fired police chief Irl Stambaugh and replaced him with Charlie Fannon, who with Palin's knowledge, slashed the budget for the exams and began charging the city's victims of sexual assault. The city budget documents demonstrate Palin read and signed off on the new budget. A year later, alarmed Alaska lawmakers passed legislation outlawing the practice.
Women everywhere should be very concerned about this nominee. There's still much to be learned about Palin's other views, policies and actions. If, as a small town mayor, she would charge victims for rape kits, what would she do as vice-president?


Sarah Palin is Petty and Vindictive

So just when I thought Sarah Palin was a different kind of politician. One who was smart and genuinely interested in making the world a better place, along comes these New York Times reporters who went to Alaska and started talking to people. Here's an example of what they heard
But an examination of her swift rise and record as mayor of Wasilla and then governor finds that her visceral style and penchant for attacking critics — she sometimes calls local opponents “haters” — contrasts with her carefully crafted public image. Throughout her political career, she has pursued vendettas, fired officials who crossed her and sometimes blurred the line between government and personal grievance, according to a review of public records and interviews with 60 Republican and Democratic legislators and local officials.
Maybe poor Sarah just wants to be liked. She was, after all, a beauty queen. One who lost to a black person.


Palin: A Clear and Present Danger

Just when I thought "media-elite" Charlie Gibson would lob a few softballs at Sarah Palin and she would emerge unscathed, she opened her mouth and proved how woefully inadequate she is.

If you thought the war in Iraq was bad, hey, Palin would have us at war with Russia. The following is from a Washington Post transcript of the ABC interview:
Palin continued to take a hard line on national security issues when asked whether war with Russia could be necessary if Georgia were to join NATO and Russia crossed its borders again. Palin replied, "Perhaps so."
Palin swallowed the Bush administration's lie that Saddam Hussein had a hand in the 9/11 attacks. But unlike the rest of the thinking world, she still believes it.
FORT WAINWRIGHT, Alaska, Sept. 11 -- Gov. Sarah Palin linked the war in Iraq with the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, telling an Iraq-bound brigade of soldiers that included her son that they would "defend the innocent from the enemies who planned and carried out and rejoiced in the death of thousands of Americans." The idea that the Iraqi government under Saddam Hussein  helped al-Qaeda plan the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, a view once promoted by Bush administration officials, has since been rejected even by the president himself. But it is widely agreed that militants allied with al-Qaeda have taken root in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion.
The Bush Doctrine states that the United States has the right to preemptively attack a hostile nation. Does Palin know what the Bush Doctrine is?  The answer is no. The following is from the Los Angeles Times
She also appeared stumped when Gibson asked whether she agreed with the Bush Doctrine, which holds that the United States can wage preemptive war against hostile nations. And Palin, whose critics see her as unqualified for the vice-presidency, said she was "thankful that, under Reagan, we won the Cold War." The Soviet Union collapsed three years after Ronald Reagan left the White House.
I\'m interested to see how this former beauty queen behaves when she is faced with real tough questions like these from another tough lady, Maureen Dowd
What kind of budget-cutter makes a show of getting rid of the state plane, then turns around and bills taxpayers for the travel of her husband and kids between Juneau and Wasilla and sticks the state with a per-diem tab to stay in her own home? Why was Sarah for the Bridge to Nowhere before she was against the Bridge to Nowhere, and why was she for earmarks before she was against them? And doesn’t all this make her just as big a flip-flopper as John Kerry? What kind of fiscal conservative raises taxes and increases budgets in both her jobs  —  as mayor and as governor? When the phone rings at 3 a.m., will she call the Wasilla Assembly of God congregation and ask them to pray on a response, as she asked them to pray for a natural gas pipeline? Does she really think Adam, Eve, Satan and the dinosaurs mingled on the earth 5,000 years ago? Why put out a press release about her teenage daughter’s pregnancy and then spend the next few days attacking the press for covering that press release?
It looks like it's going to be a long road to election day for Sarah Palin. Any thinking voter would have to say, "Who is better prepared to be president, Palin or Biden?"


McCain Drug Abuse Cover-Up

It looks like being the wife of a high-powered, national politician was not only difficult for Betty Ford but also for Cindy McCain. New details are emerging regarding Mrs. McCain's taste for prescription narcotics and possible attempts to cover it up by Mr. McCain.  In an article for the alt-news website The Raw Story, whistleblower Tom Gosinski, a former employee of a medical-aid charity is speaking out publicly for the first time.  Gosinski:
...says he can't buy the official McCain camp line that Cindy's drug abuse was kept from her husband, he saw and heard too much for any of their stories to make sense -- like the time Cindy was allegedly taken to the hospital after an overdose and John rushed in to berate the doctors and nurses there before moving Cindy to their secluded Sedona ranch. Then there were the Hensley family interventions and the fact that Cindy's drug abuse came to be something of an open secret among employees of the charity.

9/11 - Call It What It Is

Words matter -- and on this day, words matter more than ever. It's September 11, 2008. Seven years since terrorists flew planes into the World Trade Center in New York City.  Terrorists. That's what I call them and there's not much argument there. Most everyone agrees they were terrorists.

Sure, you can call today the seventh anniversary of 9/11. Like Bloomberg News, The Washington Post, and The Los Angeles Times have.

I'm not sure I like to use the word anniversary for such a serious, solemn, and meaningful occasion. Seven years is not a long time. Memories are still fresh.

My anger has faded, but I can still remember those feelings of disbelief, uncertainty, and yes, terror. I'm not what most people would consider a right-winger, but because of the uncertainty of that day I was checking my guns and ammo, just to be sure, in case. In case what I didn't know. I was thinking about my life, home, and family as I sat stunned watching the television that whole day. I hope to never see another day like it.

According to dictionary.com the first definition of the word anniversary means "the yearly occurrence of a date or event".  Sure that describes 9/11, but it's a little cold. The second definition is "the celebration or commemoration of such a date".

I would prefer to use the word commemoration to describe today's date. Today is the seventh commemoration of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. I'll reserve the word anniversary for joyous events like weddings, engagements, friendships, graduations, etc. Today I'll solemnly and with respect remember all the victims, living and dead, of that terrible day. Today I'll commemorate 9/11.


McCain-Palin Scandals Are Brewing

I have a feeling that the Republicans made a lot of very powerful enemies when they attacked the media during their convention. A number of speakers made it a point to call out the mainstream media, or MSM as they like call them, for bias and distortions. That plays well to the base, but the presidents of NBC, CBS, ABC, and CNN's news divisions, as well as the Washington Post, New York Times, and just about all the other big city newspapers don't really like being called distorters and liars.

Now they may be getting their revenge while driving up viewership and readership. They don't have much time before the election but now the investigations have begun. This from yesterday's Washington Post is a fine example:
ANCHORAGE, Sept. 8 -- Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has billed taxpayers for 312 nights spent in her own home during her first 19 months in office, charging a "per diem" allowance intended to cover meals and incidental expenses while traveling on state business.
Here's a snippet from E.J Dionne Jr.--
John McCain campaign acknowledged this weekend that Sarah Palin is unprepared to be vice president or president of the United States. McCain\'s advisers clearly don't trust Palin to answer questions about policy and don't want her to answer many of the questions that have been raised about her tenure as governor of Alaska.
How about some CNN love on McCain's connections to high-powered Washington lobbyists?
"John McCain says that he is going to tell all those lobbyists in Washington that their days of running Washington are over, which sounds pretty good until you discover that seven of his top campaign managers and officials are -- guess what? -- former corporate lobbyists," Obama said recently in Flint, Michigan.
It's true: Seven top McCain officials were lobbyists, though the campaign stresses that none is currently registered to lobby Congress:...And here is the New York Times with  Palin's sad story of the bridge to nowhere (but I'll keep the money, thank you!).

This morning she was still talking about her opposition to “The Bridge to Nowhere,’’ even though there has been widespread reporting that Ms. Palin supported federal funding for the bridge from Ketchikan to Gravina, an Alaskan island of few inhabitants, before she opposed it.

I saw Michael Isikoff of Newsweek on TV last night in Alaska. I'm sure there are a number of reporters digging into these and other scandals like Palin's "Troopergate". It won't take long before something sticks and the McCain campaign will finally get a taste of a truly "biased" mainstream media.

John McCain's Creepy Smile

When it comes to humor, it works on so many levels. And in politics humor often reveals more truth than "serious" reporting. following article The Onion sums up what I've thought for a long time -- that McCain's weird "please accept me" smile is strange and creepy.

McCain Speechwriter Trying To Write Lines That Don't Lead To Creepy Smile
PHOENIX, AZ—According to campaign sources, Joseph Chappel, a 38-year-old speechwriter for Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), has spent the last two weeks attempting to combine words and phrases in such a way as to not provoke a tight-jawed, dead-eyed smile from the presidential hopeful. Dreading a repeat of last month\'s speech to a group of businesswomen in Ohio, during which McCain followed a mention of his wife with an awkward and eerie smirk, Chappel has avoided personal anecdotes for the new speech, omitted any mention of "God" or "this great nation," and cut several phrases that had the potential to draw the 72-year-old candidate's mouth open in a horrifying display of teeth and gums.
"I've managed to make two out of every three sentences a question, but I'm not sure that will help," Chappel said shortly after deleting an introductory paragraph in which McCain welcomes the crowd. "Jesus, that [smile] makes me feel cold inside."
Chappel told reporters that if he is not able to write an appropriate, smile-free speech in time for the Republican National Convention, he will resign his position and return to his previous job, taking photographs of abused children for police reports.
I've had the same problem with George Bush for years. Sometimes he gets that smile that's creepy, condescending, and insecure all at the same time.


Palin's Road to Nowhere

I can't say it much better than Radley Balko in this post to Reason Magazine's blog Hit and RunThe Anchorage Daily News tells us that the money for the so-called "bridge to nowhere", was not returned but is now being used to build a road to nowhere.
The Alaska governor campaigned in 2006 on a build-the-bridge platform, telling Ketchikan residents she felt their pain when politicians called them "nowhere." They're still feeling pain today in Ketchikan, over Palin's subsequent decision to use the bridge funds for other projects -- and over the timing of her announcement, which they say came in a pre-dawn press release that seemed aimed at national news deadlines.
"I think that's when the campaign for national office began," said Ketchikan Mayor Bob Weinstein on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Weinstein noted, the state is continuing to build a road on Gravina Island to an empty beach where the bridge would have gone -- because federal money for the access road, unlike the bridge money, would have otherwise been returned to the federal government.
Now it appears that some Alaska Republicans are angry over Palin's actions and say she is playing politics for her own benefit while Alaska's infrastructure suffers.
Bert Stedman, a Sitka Republican who represents Ketchikan in the state Senate, told the Ketchikan Daily News he was proud to see Palin picked for the vice-president's role, but disheartened by her reference to the bridge.
"In the role of governor, she should be pursuing a transportation policy\ that benefits the state of Alaska, (rather than) pandering to the southern 48," he said.
Businessman\r\nMike Elerding, who helped run Palin's local campaign for governor, told the paper he would have a hard time voting for the McCain ticket because of Palin's subsequent neglect of Ketchikan and her flip-flop on "Ralph Bartholomew Veterans Memorial Bridge."
Not exactly "country first" but more like politics as usual. Up next: Palin faces "Troopergate" as soon as Friday.

USGP Will Return (But When?)

There has been some renewed talk about bringing Formula One racing back to the United States in a couple of years. During Speed TV's coverage of the race at Spa last weekend, pit lane reporter Peter Windsor said that this renewed interest is mainly being driven by the manufacturers. Apparently they want access to the lucrative US market.

Windsor asked F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone about the rumors and he confirmed that a number of venues were being talked about. Windsor speculated that Ecclestone's preferred location was Las Vegas. Bernie does have a thing for desert racing (see Kuwait).

Living in Florida, I would have to endorse an F1 race in Miami. I would also get behind a race at the historic home of the USGP, Watkins Glen.

This story from crash.net says that Indianapolis is not being considered. Tony George says he's not been contacted by Formula One Management about hosting the event at IMS again.

It does seem clear from the intensity of the rumors that a United States Grand Prix is coming.


Web Hosting

I will soon enter the world of web hosting. I believe I've found a great source (which will remain secret).  Mrs. Howell works for a company that needs a web site so I've been helping her get her site together. Now they will need a host soon. I might as well help them out.