Best line of the election (IMHO)

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Because it could come from either side of the aisle and it so APTLY describes the state of the media during this election:

“They seize on an innocent remark, try to take it out of context, throw
up an outrageous ad, because they know that it’s catnip for the news
media.”  (emphasis mine)

So damn true!!! Catnip for the news media. HAH!

(Quote by Barack Obama at a campaign stop today.)

Must read and see for the day

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Done laughing? Head is not spinning too much from the hypocrisy is it? OK. Now read this wonderful fact checking article on Sarah Palin’s speech from last night.

I had to delve into politics again because the whole internet world was abuzz with Palin reaction and my brain was literally spilling over with it. Twitters were on fire! One of my dear progressive friends pretty much could have been the source for that article because she was debunking the speech just about sentence by sentence (and cracking me up in the process with her wit). Then a thread was started in our August moms group just as I was ready to shut down for the night. I had Palin on the brain as I went to bed which for me is not really a good thing. I actually woke up with night mares at 4:30am, barely dozed off again after turning my alarm off at 6am and had more bad dreams. Acccck! Perhaps I need to disconnect from the political stuff for a bit eh?

This Week(end) In Politics – special Palin edition

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I am very glad that I had the first weekend of Pop Warner to distract me from posting a knee-jerk reaction to the Sarah Palin as GOP VP pick announcement. My word, the things I would have missed out on!!

I know that I did not do a Biden edition for the Dem side. I should have, but I cannot remember what distracted me from that :-) Oh yeah, the Olympics and such. Anyhow, the veep stake outs were insane weren’t they? The media really went over the top perching themselves outside the homes of the prospective choices for the Democrats. For me, the tables tipped to Joe Biden as soon as Obama revealed that his criteria had been someone who is an independent thinker who will challenge him when necessary. Perfect description of the oft-blunt to the point of foot in mouth Biden!. Plus, there was the obvious need to pick someone with more government experience to balance out Obama’s biggest weakness. To me, it was a politically wise choice as well as a good pairing for Obama personally. OK, so that was (and still is) my opinion on the Biden pick. In case you did not catch their interview together on 60 mins last night, here it is on the web. I really like them together. Good chemistry. From the beginning of this campaign 18 months ago, I have been very impressed with Obama’s judgement in picking who is on his team and in his ability to lead a campaign. I stand by my opinion that the team he has built – and led – is highly indicative of his leadership abilities.

If Obama’s VP choice shows good judgement as I think it does, then John McCain’s choice shows just the opposite. Now, I get her positives. I really do. The voices on his side saying he needed a woman were probably quite strong and also quite politically shrewd. However, it was not just *any* woman that would work! Let’s just start out by listing some of the very much more highly qualified GOP women out there who have been supporting McCain vociferously and/or actually working in his campaign: Meg Whitman (former CEO of Ebay), Carly Fiorina (former CEO of HP), Christine Todd Whitman, Kay Bailey Hutchinson, and even Condoleeza Rice would all have been brilliant selections. In fact, the choice of one of those would probably have made me nervous! I mean, talk about a boost to the GOP ticket. However, the McCain camp apparently thought they needed to combine their deepest needs and appeal to the religious right as well as women. I guess the previously listed women would not have passed the evangelical smell test? I don’t know. What I do know is that we are saddled with the prospect of a Vice President Sarah Palin. On a ticket with a potential president who is older than any other potential first term candidate and has had health issues. A governor of a state with the “population of San Bernardino” as Bill Maher put it. For the non-Californians, that’s a suburb of LA :-) As I said – I get her positives. Great personal story as far as taken on the establishment GOP politicians in her state head on, dethroning an entrenched old boy governor, mother of 5, husband a blue collar union worker, and well established social conservative stances. I am sure that was looked at as a good balance to McCain much as Biden is to Obama. She shores up that right wing religious base that has been wary of him. But…

As the days have passed, it seems like every day something new comes out about her that makes you just shake your head at this choice. Exactly what judgement did McCain use here? First off, no, she does not even have close to the experience she should have. I don’t care what the idiots on Fox news (parroted back by Cindy McCain) say, but governing a state that is ‘next to’ Russia does not equate to forgein policy knowledge! And shoot – why is Canada getting no love? It’s a forgein country and Alaska shares a much larger border with it! Then there is the vetting issue. Did he do any?  By their own admission they spoke on the phone ONCE and then met in person ONCE before she was asked to join the ticket. All in the span of the last 30 days. And now McCain says they are soul mates? Ew! Thank you, but no. We’ve already had a ‘shoot first, think later’ team in the White House. I really don’t want another!! And honestly I am so disappointed in McCain. I cannot figure this man out. He was so darn interesting and impressive back in 2000. What happened to him? He is a maverick no more I am afraid. In fact, I am convinced that Palin was forced on him by the GOP leadership. I’ll bet anyting that he wanted Joe Leiberman. Sure, Leiberman would have been rough for the hard core conservatives to swallow, but at this point I think he would have been preferrable! Stories are flying left and right about Palin. Some of them stupid of course which is inevitable. But some which do need investigating. And always keep in mind that if a Democrat was in a similar situation, the GOP would be all over it ad nauseum – especially the stupid ones! It appears as if the vetting is being done NOW through the media which is really risky. You want to be on the offensive about these rumors, not defense (which the GOP is normally so brilliant about), but it seems today particularly as if some scrambling to cover some butts is going on. The truly cynical side of me thinks they waited until the media was busy with hurrican coverage to drop a couple of stories about Palin that could be touchy.

Any way I look at it though, Palin is much too extreme to truly pull in any disgruntled Clinton voters. At least not any who support Hillary for her positions vs her gender. Palin is pro life to the point of even telling rape victims they don’t have a choice. Yikes. Also advocates the abstinence only policies. Double yikes. I can tell you from personal experience that does not work! I think her daughter can vouch for that too. I could go on about why I am pro choice, but someone already wrote that essay for me today :-) This diary from Mother Talkers says it all for me on that topic.

I do applaud the GOP for scaling back their convention right now in response to hurricane gustav. I also applaud the many area local government agencies and the national response team for learning from Katrina and making sure the Gulf Coast does not suffer as it did 3 years ago. Things look good as far as hurricanes go which is a relief.

This election season is not going to be boring is it?

5 years ago today

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On 8/27/03 I picked up the keys to this house. My first and only home purchase. Five years? Really? I had to go double check on my escrow papers!! Wow. You know what that means? In my adult life, I’ve lived in this house the longest. Since I was renting before, it was nearly impossible to stay anywhere longer than 2-3 years. No more. I remember when I was painting these walls the rather bold colors that I chose and was told that I’d have to repaint to more neutral tones when I sold the house. I replied that I didn’t intend to sell this house for 10-15-20 years so as far as I looked at it I could paint every wall with unicorns and rainbows :-) I didn’t quite do that. Instead I chose food colors (as one August mom put it when she came to visit). Butter, milk and dark chocolate, paprika, plum, & tangerine. Yes, just looking at my walls will make you gain weight – that’s why I have to work out so much ;-)

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School – two days in and he’s still excited. Says he likes it. I am sure that will change in a month! The only homework has been in math which was to be expected since he is in 8th grade level honors algebra. They get started fast! He’s happy so far about his class assignments. One of the 8th graders in his math class is a boy we’ve known through baseball forever (was on his LL team the last two years) and who lives around the corner which will be a great resource for a study pal or backing up on assignments if needed. He got his first choice elective which is a video/film class that will be involved in documenting school activities and will keep him connected to the school community. After I walked him in the first day, he’s had to get himself out of the door on his own because I leave just after 7:30 to go to work and his first bell is not until 8:25 so he has to set an alarm to remind himself to get up and go. I do make sure his backpack is packed before I leave, but that is all I can do.

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Football – they had their last scrimmage yesterday against a team from up north with really big kids! And they did not do well. I’m not confident that this team will be as successful as prior years. I hope I am wrong, but there were holes yesterday on defense to be sure. Also, #55 was only in one series all night. I could see his frustration at that and while we were walking back to the car after he was fighting tears. It’s tougher this year! His coach properly got the best of the best at his level which means the 28 best kids in the draft which means no ‘minimum play’ kids. He started off by telling the kids they have to prove themselves every week to break into the starting lineup. So he is going to talk to coach today to find out just exactly what he needs to do and perhaps find out why he saw so little playing time yesterday. Their first game is Saturday – it is technically a pre-season game that will not count in the standings, but it will be a Real Game to the teams.

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The DNC – Naturally I am soaking up the convention coverage this week! Tuning into to MSNBC at home with Morning Joe when I get ready for work and then listening online while I work and then recording the evening coverage when I cannot watch it. I’ve only watched Monday night all the way through and I was very moved by Ted Kennedy showing up and talking and then by Michelle Obama’s speech. As all the pundits said though, it was little Sasha grabbing the mic to say “Hi daddy!” that was THE highlight. I’m following the communications from my blogging friends who are onsite in Denver and it sounds like a very well secured, organized event with some seriously good vibrations going on. They report that the energy in the main hall is pretty electric. I’t s pretty exciting to KNOW people who are there!! Shoot, on Morning Joe they did a spot on bloggers in the Big Tent and he interviewed one of the editors from DailyKos and she was great (no cheetos, not a Star Wars fan, and her mom doesn’t even *have* a basement for her to live in!).  Of course with all this intense coverage, the media has been grasping at anything to talk about all day. It’s so funny to watch the pundits not only throw up any idea that floats into their heads, but then also (at least on MSNBC) to start debating with each other very emphatically. I really think the only reason Rachel Maddow has NOT drop kicked Pat Buchanan is because she has a new show starting with them after the conventions! Otherwise, boy that was dangerous seating them next to each other ;-) OTOH, it is damn fine entertainment. Perhaps Rachel should make sure she has Pat on her show now and then to keep this debate going. Oh, and please don’t forget to keep FactCheck as a bookmarked site. Better than Snopes for checking up on political smears/claims/commercials. I actually had an email exchange with someone yesterday that just made me shake my head. It’s amazing to me how deeply people will believe something which is founded solely in rumors. Ooh, that may have been the opening of a debate on religion! Unintentional, but right after I wrote it, I realized the parallel. Hmmm…the only thing that can follow that is….cats!

Clean dishes must always be properly inspected before unloading.

No worries if you splatter a little water from the dispenser in the refrigerator door. The clean up crew will be there instantly to do their job.

TWIP – Houses and Veeps – UPDATED

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It just hit me what an amazing 4 week period we are in! Well, amazing at least, if you are an Olympic and political junkie like :-) Two weeks of Olympics leading into two weeks of conventions. I know I am going to check out the convention coverage this weekend and set my DVR for a lot of it. It figures I have a board meeting following a scrimmage on Tuesday night. Plus with the Wii and SportsBoy in the house, it will be hard to watch very much live. IOW – I wont be sleeping until sometime in the second week of September!

You know the phrase “Like shooting fish in a barrell”? Well, sorry folks, but I just cannot pass up on House-gate. It is just TOO easy!! Twitter yesterday was buzzing with commentary. Sarcastic statements like mine about just how gosh darn hard it is to keep track of all those houses. Queries of “how many do YOU have?” and “More cars or houses?” and “Can you get your staff to get back to me with that?” Hilarious stuff.And as bad as McCain looked yesterday asking his ‘staff’ to respond to the house question, his wife has appeared even *more* detached. They want to paint Obama as an elitist? I think he can tell you how many houses he has (1). I don’t think it was his wife who talked about buying a private jet because “that’s the only way to get around Arizona.” Or said that she bought a second multi million dollar condo in Coronado because they just “couldn’t get into the first one” due to all the family using it. Oh yes, a rough rough life there. And I wonder why you need two condos in Coronado AND one in downtown LaJolla? For those unfamiliar with my city, those two are locations are about 20 miles away from each other along the same coast. You need three? Yes yes, I know that this is all her money. She’s an enormously wealthy heiress and this is what you do when you have that kind of money. I’m just not so sure you should appear to be bragging about that during a Presidential campaign during what is very economically tenous times for those of us NOT quite so wealthy, you know?

Kagro X on DailyKos described McCain as “phumpering” his through a question and answer session. PERFECT description. He’s done that quite a bit already and it often ends with him snapping in irritation to end the discussion.  It saddens me really to see it, because I’ve always liked and respected McCain. Unfortunately the politician I liked is the McCain of 2000. And I didn’t quite pay attention to him after that other than to thoroughly enjoy his many appearances on The Daily Show. Considering the path the GOP has been going down in the last decade, I always thought of him as one of the Good Ones. And I was honestly not unhappy that he won the nomination because he was less scary to me as a liberal than any of the other choices from that side. However, he seems to have completely embraced the Dark Side of the GOP now. He is a maverick no more. Jack Cafferty put it so well in his essay this week. So so true. Please, no more embarassment!

Meanwhile…where is my VP??? I want my VP??? It’s lunch time on the west coast and still no magical text message??? Just tell us!!!!!!!! I gotta say I am thoroughly impressed with how well this has been kept under wraps. Just goes to show you that when they want to, they CAN shut out the press. If there is a leak..it’s because they wanted it leaked.

Update #1 (I say #1 since I will probably comment WHENEVER they finally fricking announce this thing!): Ramblingmom said in a comment that it’s all marketing. It’s much more than that. Announcing the VP name via a text message to those who sign up via his web site is utter brilliance! He’s totally neutered the media. They will not be the first to know. We will! Along with them of course as I assume every last one of them signed up for the Magic Text Message :-) But I just love the way he has eliminated the middle man.

Update #2 – Apparently it all started unfolding about 30 mins *after* I went to bed last night! I received my text message at around 2:00am pacific but some people seem to have received theirs up to two hours eariler according to the comments on Dkos. It seems that after the process of elimination (confirmation that other front runners did not get picked) and other activities at the Biden house, the networks finally went out on a limb at night and stated it was Joe Biden. Anyway, pretty funny overall how this was pulled off. And I am happy with Biden. When the ‘gang of three’ final contenders was put out there, he was my favorite. When we still had about 9 people running early in the campaign, he was the winner of a coulpe of those debates. He coined the phrase “a noun a verb and 9/11″ to summarize Rudy Guliani’s campaign strategy which was a hoot. He’s tough, he has experience in Washington and he will NOT let the other side smear without response. It becomes kind of a Good Cop/Bad Cop team.

Now, I’ve heard a few talking heads already say that Biden’s foreign policy experience *exposes* Obama’s lack thereof. Oh my gawd! What? Showing some bias are you? Isn’t a VP pick SUPPOSED to balance out perceived weaknesses? And did even ONE of you make the same statement when Bush picked Cheney? Just wondering.

TWIP – Survey SAYS!

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Thanks so much to everyone who answered my question last week! Of course it was not enough of a sampling to be anything scientific or official, but it did confirm my suspicion that there are more anti-Obama viral emails out there than any others. Note that a check over at Snopes or FactCheck.org wasn’t also an indication of that! At Snopes, Obama is #1 on their ranking and McCain is #11. Click on his – the claims are actually rather pathetic and are ones I’ve never heard of. Now click on the Obama link there and just keep on scrolling folks! Amazing really. You see a similar pattern over at FactCheck. That site is particularly usefull as it goes about checking out the claims in the campaign advertisements. Wonderful tool. There are corrections of ads form both sides, though again, a much higher percentage of McCains are found to be false and/or misleading.

For lilymae123 – I am not quite inclined to get into an email war with that pastor, but you can use the fact check site and also this chart which is right off of CNN.com to send a debunking response yourself:

(click on the above for a larger image)

All of this goes back to one of THE huge issues I’ve had with the GOP since Clinton was in the White House – their main campaign strategy is to spread smears and heighten fears. IOW – all negative.  And it has worked so well partially because of the way they have so skillfully manipulated the media. As this post details, it does not take much and the truly sad thing is how quickly the so called main stream media picks it up and runs with it without any fact checking of their own. In 2000 and 2004, Al Gore and John Kerry made the fatal assumption that the media would not cover unproven stories or smear campaigns. Or that, if they did, they would do it to expose the lies. This time around, the Obama campaign is not making the same mistake, and to some extent I have witnessed a few times when the MSM has actually done it’s fact checking job. OTOH, considering how many people asked had not received ANY forwarded smear mails (that includes me), it is interesting how much they are talked about on the tv. You have to wonder if it is the actual emails, or the coverage of them, that still has a percentage of the population convinced that Obama is a Muslim (apparently this problem even exists in Canada – crazy!) Oh, and for the record, he’s not *sigh*.

So why haven’t the Democrats learned how to play this same game? They are criticized frequently for being “whimpy” “spineless” and other words that are not very indicitive of a fighting spirit – and that’s by their own supporters ;-) But, do I want them to win that way? By being bullies? I don’t personally. I hate it. I am thrilled to see Obama fighting back and defending himself much more strongly than Gore and Kerry did. I am also thrilled to see, for instance, that his ad buy during the Olympics has so far been just a positive one about what he offers vs the attack ad that McCain ran for the first few days. But, I know I am not necessarily in the majority. Clearly the negative tactics have worked. People do respond to it. It’s a Catch22. Personally though, I *hope* Obama can *change* this. I believe that his policies will be better for the country at this time and I believe that he can go a long way to change the tone of political discourse.

TWIP – Take The Survey Edition

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Even if you are not into politics, this applies to you dear reader. All you need to qualify for this survey is an email account which I know you all have so don’t be silent/shy! I am just really curious so I am asking this all around the internet this week:

  1. Have you received any political chain emails?
  2. If so, how many? (go ahead and count repeats, if a different person sent you the same email, count it again)
  3. How many of those received were targeting Obama?
  4. McCain?
  5. Clinton?
  6. Others?
  7. Have your forwarded any of those emails yourself?

That’s it! Please answer in the comments. I’m even allowing anonymous commenting if you are really really shy, but I am also doing this as part of a larger discussion with SportsBoy, so please help a mama bear out. Thanks :-)

This week in politics – A brave new world

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Two thoughts have rambled through my head this week as I watched coverage of the presidential campaign. The first is the rise of Free Ad Time. (dontcha love that it spells out FAT!) The media – again in their desperation for something to say – is now in the business of giving each candidate FAT. So far, this has benefited John McCain the most since it is his ads which have been receiving all sorts of scrutiny the last two weeks. In the primaries, Hillary Clinton benefited from the first big round of FAT thanks to her “3am ad”. What happens is that every single major news outlet runs an ad in its entirety and then spends entire segments analyzing it. Often their analysis is mind numbingly vapid, but still, that candidate is ever so thankful I am sure for the FAT considering how expensive actual advertising time is. Many ads are initially just regional buys since the candidate is just targeting a particular state at a time given financial contraints. However, the media ends up exposing the ad to the nation with their FAT segments. Now, the reason it has benefited McCain is because of the tone of his last two ads. The first one accusing Obama of ignoring the troops on his overseas visit ostensibly because cameras were not allowed was first all completely debunked right away since that was *not* the reason he skipped that last visit ni Germany and then was largely panned because the images they showed in the background of the ad were of Obama *visiting troops* in Iraq! It’s since been revealed that the McCain camp was prepared to critize Obama either way – for using the troops as props or for avoiding them. Funny stuff since again, it was McCain who pushed for that overseas trip!! Anyway, forgetting how silly some of the ads are, the really funny thing is how the media gets into them. They essentially reward the campaigns for outlandish ads. Now, the Obama camp has rightly pointed out that so far all McCain has done in his ads is attack Obama rather then promoting McCain and his positions on key issues. However, why should they? A drab ad telling you how McCain supports the gas tax holiday or drilling offshore would not give them anythign to yammer about! Which means no FAT. I also love the standard issue reponses from both campaigns. I know they have flash cards handy with these things. Both camps have the same ones, just depends on which name they need to insert :-) For example: “Senator X has again proven he does not understand what is important to the American people.” “Senator Y has again lowered the tone of this campagin by attacking Senator X rather than focusing on the issues” Rinse, repeat.

On a more hopeful note (yep, had to say it!), I’ve seen this mentioned in a few other places, but it really hit home to me as SportsBoy and I watched the tv last night. He is growing up thinking it is perfectly normal for women and minorities to hold positions of power in our country. He is not phased in the least by Obama’s race or his name. On his own he initially was rooting for Hillary to win the nomination. Given that this is the first presidential race that will be in his memory banks, I am so thrilled that it is not again another race between two older white men!! It’s always been my belief that it takes more than one generation to really change things. Equality for women, race relations, sexual orientation acceptance, those are things very very recent for our country. It takes time for those things to sink in. Time as in, generations of efforts. Here’s hoping that his generation is the one that really does get past the race/gender issue and makes even deeper inroads for same sex marriage and acceptance.

This week in politics – so (not) proud of SD Representatives!

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Before I do something that I said I would not do (ahem, it’s a political topic, going back on my word is not inconsistent with the topic!), I must address the week’s big events. Well, really just one Big Event. The most over hyped overseas trip by a presidential candidate EVER! Now, let’s be real here – it’s kind of all John McCain’s fault that this trip by Obama was Big News. After all, McCain challenged him to the point of even putting up a countdown clock on his campaign sign counting UP how many days had passed since Obama’s last trip to the middle east. The media covered the topic quite a bit when that countdown clock went up – I mean, I know about the clock not because I was on McCain’s site, but because I saw it covered on the news! So, really, he asked for it. He’s also been attacking Obama on the foreign policy inexperience (as he should since it is initially Obama’s weakest point) so of course the media had to cover what is Obama’s biggest opportunity for a counter point. Though I am not sure they needed to send all three major network anchors!! Hello! The sitting president doesn’t even rate that (of course personally I am glad he doesn’t but since he embarasses me but hey, I am trying to be fair here and the contrast is rather stark). I think they were all just salivating over SOMETHING to do since it’s been pretty boring since Clinton dropped out. Until the VP announcements drop – which has to be before the Olympics start on 8/8, there is really nothing new that is going to happen before the conventions. I think they were dying for ratings in July and this was their one shot :-)

As an aside here, hey, my conservative friends, can we talk frankly? Is McCain’s campaign about *the* worst run one since Kerry? Seriously, I *like* McCain for the most part – wouldn’t vote for him since I disagree with so much that he has suddenly decided to stand for, but I’ve always genuinely liked him. But seriously, the people running his campaign are making him look like possibly a bigger boob than Bush! In fact, this clip from Jon Stewart’s Wednesday night show pretty much says it all about the week in Obama vs McCain.

Compare/contrast what the candidates are doing!

OK, that aside since Jon did a perfect job of making fun of the whole thing….now I turn to bashing a Republican. I know, I said I wouldn’t, but…..ARGH! The San Diego GOP reps are such a bunch of…well…let’s just say that my 50th district representative Brian Bilbray is the *best* of the bunch! Mostly because he’s managed to just be quiet and not insert foot into mouth (something the congressman he replaced, Duke Cunningham, was quite famous for along with the small matter of taking bribes, but I digress) We have Darrell Issa who recently rather callously turned a resolution to honor the recently desceased Tim Russert into a speech about offshore drilling. Yeesh. Now there are reports of Duncan Hunter, former presidential candidate, looking into doing a little big game hunting in Africa. Illegal big game hunting. Oh, but it’s ok, it was for a good cause! He was offering to donate the meat from the animals he killed to feed refugees! Oh, such a generous heart! Yeah, thankfully, the nation of Chad declined his request. LorDY! One would think that, even though he is retiring this year, he would at least maintain some decorum since his son is running to replace him. Not that it matters since he lives in a very safely GOP district. Let’s hope the apple fell a little farther from the tree than the name (Duncan Huneter Jr) implies. So, c’mon people! Stop embarassing the lower left corner of the states!! Duke Cunningham did enough of that to last decades. The rest of you just shush!