Lipstick on a Pig

Why didn't we see this coming? It's another example of how Caribou Barbie is just like every other normal Joe Six-Pack in the country. It looks like the highest paid member of the McCain campaign is Sarah Palin's makeup artist. Makeup artist?
Ms. Strozzi, who was nominated for an Emmy award for her makeup work on the television show “So You Think You Can Dance?”, was paid $22,800 for the first two weeks of October alone, according to the records. The campaign categorized Ms. Strozzi’s payment as “PERSONNEL SVC/EQUIPMENT.” The payment on Oct. 10 made Ms. Strozzi the single highest-paid individual in the campaign for that two-week period. (There were more than two dozen companies that got larger payments than Ms. Strozzi). She easily beat out Mr. Scheunemann, who received $12,500 in the first half of October, and Ms. Wallace, who got $12,000.
If Sarah Pain is so pretty and has all this "experience" as a beauty contestant, why does she even need makeup?


Central Florida's Finest

Sarah Palin - Now With Even More Elitism!

I've written before about the gross hypocrisy in portraying Sarah Palin as anything close to an average American. The money she and her husband makes and her job simply remove her from consideration. How can you consider the governor of a state the same as an ordinary working class citizen. By definition, as a governor you are part of the ruling class. And now surprise! Palin has spent more than what I make in FIVE YEARS on clothes.
Yet Republicans expressed consternation publicly and privately that the shopping sprees on her behalf, which were first reported by Politico, would compromise Ms. Palin’s standing as Senator McCain’s chief emissary to working-class voters whose salvos at the so-called cultural elite often delight audiences at Republican rallies. 
That possibility was brought to life, for instance, on “The View” on ABC, as Joy Behar, a co-host, noted the McCain campaign’s outreach to blue-collar workers — like an Ohio plumber who recently chided Senator Barack Obama over taxes — after another co-host, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, defended the expenditures.“I don’t think Joe the Plumber wears Manolo Blahniks,” Ms. Behar said.
The argument from Republicans is that Palin needs to look good and if she didn't, the press would criticize her for it. They could have turned this to her advantage if they had purchased clothes at Wal-Mart or Sears. The Republicans, who were a formidable political force just a few years ago, are now so out of touch with real Americans that it's no surprise that Democrats will be sweeping them out of the White House, the Congress and the Senate in just 12 days.


Sarah Palin - Tax Problems

The Wall Street Journal today reports that a number of tax experts believe VP nominee Sarah Palin is required to pay federal taxes on reimbursements from the State of Alaska.
While several tax experts have raised serious questions about whether the payments to Gov. Palin are taxable income, they said the case was clearer cut for treating the reimbursements for the children's expenses as taxable income. "The kids are a slam dunk problem," said Robert Spierer, a partner with the accounting firm Perelson Weiner LLP in New York City. "The husband you could make an argument that he had to be there because it was required for spouses to be there."
But not the children, he said. "I don't think I would ever claim that on my clients' returns. I can't think of a real strong argument for it."
Gov. Palin also accepted $17,000 in per-diem meal payments for nights spent at her home in Wasilla, 40 miles from the governor's office she used in Anchorage, Alaska's largest city. Gov. Palin often used that office rather than traveling to the state capital of Juneau, more than 800 miles away. Several tax experts have argued this should be counted as taxable income.
Palin was reimbursed $25,000 for her children's travel. According to Texas Tech University School of Law tax professor Bryan Camp the IRS would ask questions to find out whether the travel reimbursements were reported properly.


Today in History

On Oct. 20, 1973, in the so-called Saturday Night Massacre, special Watergate prosecutor Archibald Cox was fired. For their refusal to dismiss Cox, Attorney General Elliot L. Richardson resigned and Deputy Attorney General William B. Ruckelshaus was fired.

In 1944 Gen. Douglas MacArthur stepped ashore at Leyte in the Philippines, 2 1/2 years after he'd said, ''I shall return.''

In 1968 Former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy married Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis.

In 1977 Three members of the rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd were killed in the crash of a chartered plane near McComb, Miss.

Thanks to The New York Times.


Something's Fishy About the Bailout

I can't put my finger on it but I just have this feeling that this whole bailout thing is simply a poorly conceived and executed plan to provide political cover for our so-called leaders. And to especially help Bush leave office in less disgrace than he will already.  Is there a true economic crisis?  Especially of the magnitude that\'s been reported. The economy's been in trouble for quite a while already. Here's an excerpt of a minnpost.com report from a panel of economists at the University of Minnesota's Humphrey Institute for Public Affairs Tuesday night:
The Bush administration has acted in this crisis the same as it has acted for the last eight years, Chari said. "The consistent message is: We're grown-ups. We understand the real problems. You don't. We need to go into Iraq. We need to spend $720 billion. Because we have the information that you don't. "The publicly available data don't support the need for the type of bailout bill pushed by the president, Chari said, and if the administration has more telling data, it should be disclosed. Without seeing what they're seeing, the bailout appears to be "remarkably unwise," he said. "They're not telling us what we're not seeing that they are seeing," Chari said. "There is this nagging fear maybe they're reacting to weird things in their heads."
Stinson acknowledge the problem that many people believe they are being misled, but said he believes the threat to the economy is credible. "This isn't Mr. [Ahmed] Chalabi reporting visions of mobile bio weapons labs running around the streets of Baghdad," Stinson said of a key figure in the run-up to the Iraq war in gathering information that turned out to be false. Instead of a grainy satellite image in a Colin Powell slide show, what economists are seeing is a widening gap in the rate banks are charging each other compared to what the Federal Reserve charges.
Something's fishy about this "bailout". Time will tell whether the administration's response was warranted or whether it was just a "let's cover our ass" move. People don't trust the Bush administration's version of the "crisis". Well,  I have no idea why that would occur.


Sorry McCain

The final debate is over and it appears, by all objective measures, that Obama won. I can say now with some certainty that McCain will be losing the election. I'm starting to feel a little sorry for McCain. I think that history and other cultural factors have simply made this Obama's time. E.J. Dionne Jr. said in the Washington Post:
What's striking about the past month is that the great American middle has shifted Obama's way. Recent polls by The Post and ABC News, Gallup, and the Pew Research Center suggest that Obama's gains since mid-September have been especially large among whites, particularly white men, and also among independents and moderates. At this crucial juncture, the contours of the 2008 contest are remarkably similar to those of the 2006 midterm elections that ended with a Democratic victory. Strikingly -- and no doubt unintentionally -- McCain echoed the Democrats' 2006 campaign theme when he said that voters want the country to move in "a new direction." That's McCain's problem.
McCain had a chance in 2000 to be the party's nominee and he lost to Bush. The 2008 McCain is a much different man. Since 2000, his attitude has seemed to be "wait my turn and win at any cost". Unfortunately, McCain is no longer a maverick -- he's changed for the worse.


McCain Implosion Wrap-Up

Tonight is the final debate of the 2008 race for the White House. It's 18 days before the election and a good time to start analyzing where McCain went wrong. Take it away Maureen Dowd!
On Tuesday, Matthew Dowd, the former Bush strategist who offered a famous apologia for helping get W. re-elected, offered a scorching assessment of Palin’s not being ready, saying that McCain “knows that in his gut. And when this race is over, that is something he will have to live with. ... He put somebody unqualified on that ballot, and he put the country at risk.”
Christopher Hitchens endorsed Barack Obama on Slate on Monday, calling Palin’s conduct “a national disgrace” and writing: “Given the nasty and lowly task of stirring up the whack-job fringe of the party’s right wing and of recycling patent falsehoods about Obama’s position on Afghanistan, she has drawn upon the only talent that she apparently possesses.”
Christopher Buckley endorsed Obama on The Daily Beast, writing of McCain’s embrace of Palin: “What on earth can he have been thinking?” (The endorsement led to Buckley’s resigning from The National Review, founded by his father.)
On “The Colbert Report” on Monday, the conservative columnist Kathleen Parker stuck by her assertion, which she said caused the base to treat her like a traitor, that Palin should have bowed out. She said she’d gotten some secret e-mails from Republicans in the White House agreeing with her.
Unless there's another catastrophic event before the election, it looks like McCain's campaign has imploded, falling in upon itself like a deflated cake. There's always Palin in 2012!


Investigator: Palin Violates Ethics Law

I believe that Sarah Palin is not only unqualified to be vice-president, but is also unfit to be Alaska's governor. Now here's proof. Palin unlawfully abused her power as reported  by an Alaska legislative panel.

This from Matt Apuzzo:
Investigator Stephen Branchflower, in a report to a bipartisan panel that looked into the matter, found Palin in violation of a state ethics law that prohibits public officials from using their office for personal gain. Palin and McCain's supporters had hoped the inquiry's finding would be delayed until after the presidential election to spare her any embarrassment and to put aside an enduring distraction as she campaigns as McCain's running mate in an uphill contest against Democrat Barack Obama.
It looks like this isn't the end of Palin's troubles. The investigation may expand into new territory.
The report was made public the same day an Anchorage judge issued a temporary restraining order forcing the state of Alaska to preserve any government-related e-mails that Palin and top aides sent from private accounts in what critics contend was an effort to conceal that they were doing political business while working at state government jobs.
I think we're going to find that this issue of Palin's unethical behavior is just the tip of the iceberg and that she may be guilty of criminal behavior. We've had criminals in the White House for eight years. Please, no more.


McCain - That One

In the final weeks of the campaign John McCain simply cannot keep up. He says age is not a factor but it looks more and more like he's being worked to death. His campaign is like a sinking ship - springing leaks right and left. Now there are calls to hold the election early and get it over with.
Can we skip the next debate and hold the election the first Tuesday of next week? It's time to put this POW horse out of its misery. John McCain used to crash planes and bang strippers, and now he's wandering around the stage, looking for his car keys. A lifetime in politics, obliterated at the very end by Steve Schmidt and that Palin creature. Asking himself what kind of country prefers a black guy with a name as Arabic as Mohammed Atta's to a decorated war hero.
John, it this really how you want to go out?  Calling Obama a terrorist behind his back and a "one" to his face?  You've come this far without snapping, but you're turning into Grandpa at Christmas dinner. You don't like how any of the grandkids turned out, your dentures hurt and you're two scotches away from calling Grandma a slut.
An accurate portrayal of McCain? Take a look at tape from the last debate.


GW Bush: Worst President Ever

As the presidency of George W. Bush winds down we will begin to see more and more articles that take "a look back". Many are not looking kindly on Bush 43. Consider this article  from the Boston Globe written by H.D.S. Greenway:
The hubris and arrogance of Bush's first term still poisons the wells of good will this country once enjoyed. The undermining of the Constitution, the secret torture chambers have besmirched this administration more than any tawdry intern scandal ever could. Today we are bogged down in two wars and an unprecedented deficit, with a financial crisis of a magnitude not seen since the days of Herbert Hoover. The president has so little respect it's as if he has already left the stage.
Why does it take the perspective of history to see clearly how incompetent George W. Bush was/is?The Texans tried to warn us.  Here's the late, great Molly Ivins:
So what manner of monster is behind these outrages? I have known George W. Bush slightly since we were both in high school, and I studied him closely as governor. He is neither mean nor stupid. What we have here is a man shaped by three intertwining strands of Texas culture, combined with huge blinkers of class. The three Texas themes are religiosity, anti-intellectualism, and machismo. They all play well politically with certain constituencies.
Ivins wraps it with this:
Bush's lies now fill volumes. He lied us into two hideously unfair tax cuts; he lied us into an unnecessary war with disastrous consequences; he lied us into the Patriot Act, eviscerating our freedoms. But when it comes to dealing with those less privileged, Bush's real problem is not deception, but self-deception.
I couldn't agree more and it makes me feel like I did about the Vietnam War. What a colossal waste of time, energy, money, and humanity. There's nothing so wrong than to waste the lives of good people. There are a lot of good people dead now because George W. Bush was not smart enough to be president.


Palin Lives Up to Low Expectations

The vice presidential debate is over and the analysis is beginning. Predictably, those who liked Palin before like her now and those who liked Biden before like him now. In a poll taken immediately after the debate by CBS News/Knowledge Networks uncommitted voters say Biden won. To try to get an unbiased look at the debate I turned to Politco.com.

Here's some debate analysis from writers John F. Harris and Mike Allen that says Palin met the low expectations set for her and that the McCain campaign needs more help than Palin can bring:
ST. LOUIS — Millions of Americans were watching Thursday night’s vice-presidential debate waiting for a demolition derby moment — another crash by GOP running mate Sarah Palin, another serving of raw material for the writers at "Saturday Night Live." By that standard, she got out alive, though there were white-knuckle moments along the way: questions that were answered with painfully obvious talking points that betrayed scant knowledge of the issue at hand, and sometimes little relevance to the question that had been asked.
But recent days have given John McCain’s team little reason to suppose that not-that-bad is good enough. The Republican ticket’s sliding polls and narrowing electoral map gave it a different imperative in her showdown against Joe Biden. That was to alter the trajectory of the race in a way reminiscent of how Palin first enlivened Republicans—it seems long ago now—when she joined the ticket in late August.
What is little talked about this morning but is frightening is Palin thinks Cheney somehow changed the U.S. Constitution and thinks the Vice President now has  more control over running the Senate.
I'm thankful the Constitution would allow a bit more authority given to the vice president if that vice president so chose to exert it in working with the Senate and making sure that we are supportive of the president's policies and making sure too that our president understands what our strengths are.
Let's go back to Harris and Allen at Politico for an unvarnished look at Palin's performance.
To the contrary, it is hard to count any objective measures by which Biden did not clearly win the encounter. She looked like she was trying to get people to take her seriously. He looked like he was running for vice president. His answers were more responsive to the questions, far more detailed and less rhetorical. On at least ten occasions, Palin gave answers that were nonspecific, completely generic, pivoted away from the question at hand, or simply ignored it: on global warming, an Iraq exit strategy, Iran and Pakistan, Iranian diplomacy, Israel-Palestine (and a follow-up), the nuclear trigger, interventionism, Cheney's vice presidency and her own greatest weakness.Asked which is a greater threat, a nuclear Pakistan or a nuclear Iran, Palin seemed to be stalling, or writing a term paper, when she said: “An armed, nuclear armed especially Iran is so extremely dangerous to consider.”
The bottom line is today's vote in the House on the financial rescue or bailout is making last night's debate forgettable pretty quickly.  Every poll now shows Obama leading McCain in electoral votes continuing an upward trend for Obama-Biden.

The next debate is Obama versus McCain on Tuesday October 7.


Palin Debate Meltdown

Tonight is Sarah Palin's chance to show the world she's ready to be a heartbeat away from the presidency. After all she's Joe six-pack! Whatever that means. So here's some things Katharine Q. Seelye from The New York Times wants you to keep in mind while watching Sarah Palin's debate meltdown tonight.
Polls show that an increasing number of people think she is not qualified to be vice president. Will she try to counteract that impression by just keeping her head down, or will she try something dramatic? Will she go after Mr. Biden, or wait to see if he goes after her first? Something dramatic is probably a clue that Senator John McCain, who named Ms. Palin as his running mate a month ago, thinks he’s in trouble.
If she blunders, she won’t necessarily sink the ticket’s chances in November, but it sure would reinforce the story line that he exercised bad judgment by picking her in the first place.
Her level of preparation should be evident early on. Watch to see whether she can answer questions with a specificity that has so far eluded her in  TV interviews
I have to disagree. If she loses, McCain loses. If she wins, McCain could still lose. Dan Quayle came back from a humiliating thrashing by Senator Lloyd Bentsen and actually became vice-president but his political fate was sealed as an empty-suited loser.
Ms. Palin has been referring to herself lately as Joe Six Pack. This is an attempt to cast Mr. Biden as a creature of Washington and lay the groundwork for her to deflect policy questions — she may not know how to fix the nation’s financial system but she knows the price of diapers and gasoline. Watch for her to emphasize that she understands the needs of people like you.
It doesn't take an Einstein to argue that Joe Biden is a creature of Washington. McCain is too. In fact, when you compare Biden to McCain, the democratic nominee for vice-president has more experience than the republican nominee for president. Palin has no idea what the needs are of ordinary Americans. And as I pointed out yesterday, Palin is a state governor and not an ordinary citizen. I predict a win for Biden and in about a month the residents of Alaska will have their governor back.


Sarah Palin - Elitist

Sarah Palin says she's just like you and me (except for that being governor of a state thing). I can't speak for you, but both she and I went to college and studied journalism. And like my wife Palin is also a woman!

Yesterday Palin was "interviewed" by right-wing radio host Hugh Hewitt. Palin said the following as reported by TPM Election Central
Sarah Palin did a radio interview yesterday with Hugh Hewitt, declaring that the media has gone after her because she represents the average person. "It's time that normal Joe six-pack American is finally represented in the position of vice presidency," Palin said.
I started to wonder. Maybe Palin is like me. Maybe she's worried for her job. Maybe she's having trouble paying for gas to put in her car. Maybe she's troubled by rising food prices. So I looked up her salary as governor of Alaska. From the Handbook on Alaska State Government:
AS 39.20.010. Annual Salary of Governor. The annual salary of the governor is $81,648.

Without giving away my salary, I can say that this is considerably more than what BOTH MY WIFE AND I MAKE PUT TOGETHER! This is also much more than the median earnings of men who worked full time. How about this from Wikipedia and the U.S. Census Bureau
The real median earnings of men who worked full time, year-round climbed between 2006 and 2007, from $43,460 to $45,113. For women, the corresponding increase was from $33,437 to $35,102 
So Sarah Palin alone earns more than double what other women make. More than men and more than entire households - $50,233. I'll bet the healthcare expenses for her whole family are being taken care of too. Palin is so much NOT like the average American and she's either in denial, lying, or simply ignorant of what real Americans are facing every day.

Hey, we've got a guy like that in the White House now.