Monthly Archives: October 2008

A Brief Digression…

Fed up with politics? Me too.

From a TED lecture, John Hodgman rambles hilariously through a nonsensical tale about aliens, physics, lost time, space, sex pyramids, sandworms and how all of these disparate things “somehow contribute to a sweet, perfect memory of falling in love.”


Filed under Humour

“The Soul of Germany”

An advocate for Proposition 8 on the California ballot — an initiative that would outlaw SSM — here draws a convoluted parallel between Hitler and gays. It’s an argument that’s entirely beyond stupid (not to mention highly inappropriate when considering historical realities), but nevertheless it gets rousing support of the crowd in attendance.


Filed under 2008 US Election

Backstage With Bill Clinton

I tuned out most of last night’s Obama “infomercial” but did watch Clinton’s passionate endorsement. Whether you agree or disagree with him for whatever reason (and there are plenty), it can’t be denied that he’s a superlative speaker and gifted politician.


Filed under 2008 US Election, Barack Obama

“Joe the Aspiring Country Music Singer”

Olbermann on the fraudulence of “Joe the Plumber” and his extended 15 minutes of fame.

What? Doesn’t every “middle-class” Joe six-pack (or for that matter Phil the Bricklayer, Rose the Teacher, Tom the Carpenter, Tito the Builder, et. al.) have a publicist?

Update: How Sharper than a Serpent’s Tooth is an Ungrateful Rogue. (Videos work for Americans only — stupid CRTC. Everyone else has to go here.)


Filed under 2008 US Election, John McCain

Rock Bottom

Sad to say, but it’s come down to this…

I have to confess that I share Christopher Hitchens’ sentiment to an extent regarding the “Brights movement” as being a rather silly, risible concept, but when something as utterly loathsome as this advertisement surfaces… then it make me reconsider and think that it might not be such an altogether bad idea after all.

This is really the most shameless and despicable kind of bigotry and a sign of complete desperation on the part of down-ticket Republicans like embattled North Carolina Sen. Elizabeth Dole, who’s frantically trying to retain her seat, but apparently, is so totally bereft of anything remotely positive to offer voters that she’s dredging the gutter in an attempt to mobilize the religious right by appealing to their presumed fear and hatred of atheists.

Oh, and by the way… almost everything in this ad is false and misleading, even to the extent that the statement “voiced” by Democratic candidate Kay Hagan is actually a track laid on by an actor — she never said what’s being attributed to her. In fact, she’s a Presbyterian elder.


Filed under 2008 US Election

The McCain-Palin Mob

Is it any wonder than people like this support McCain-Palin?

Clearly, there’s some kind of atavistic appeal at work here that scrapes directly from the very bottom of the barrel.

“You need gloves to touch him.” — Child of Palin supporter

Now cast your mind waaaay back to two weeks ago and look at this:

And the answer to Lawrence O’Donnell’s quandary? “Joe the Plumber”


Filed under 2008 US Election, John McCain

Make it Stop!

Another of the sad, semi-hilarious TPM “Day in 100 Seconds” montage videos:

Meanwhile, The Times carries on its curious feature whereby “a panel of experts” has ranked all of the past Commanders-in-Chief. Yesterday, it started with the “10 worst presidents to have held office” and has now moved on to the “men in the mediocre middle.” I wonder where they could possibly be leading…


Filed under 2008 US Election

Après Dion

The introspection continues…

In related news… Frank McKenna has begged off running in any forthcoming leadership race, citing a “longer time commitment” than he’s prepared to make at age 60 to what he feels would be needed in order to “repristinate” the LPC.

Update: But here’s something that looks rather promising.

Update2: “There’s no air of excitement.” — Ipsos pollster. Duh.


Filed under Liberal Party of Canada, Stéphane Dion

Palin: “Sharin’ the Wealth”

KO: “You Governor… are a fraud!”

It’s almost come the point of shooting fish in a barrel…

…or wolves from an overhead chopper, as the case may be.

Meawhile… In other hilarity:

Update: Heh. From Hendrik Hertzberg in the latest New Yorker magazine:

The state that she governs has no income or sales tax. Instead, it imposes huge levies on the oil companies that lease its oil fields. The proceeds finance the government’s activities and enable it to issue a four-figure annual check to every man, woman, and child in the state. One of the reasons Palin has been a popular governor is that she added an extra twelve hundred dollars to this year’s check, bringing the per-person total to $3,269. A few weeks before she was nominated for Vice-President, she told a visiting journalist — Philip Gourevitch, of this magazine — that “we’re set up, unlike other states in the union, where it’s collectively Alaskans own the resources. So we share in the wealth when the development of these resources occurs.” Perhaps there is some meaningful distinction between spreading the wealth and sharing it (“collectively,” no less), but finding it would require the analytic skills of Karl the Marxist.

So much for the “North Korean-style totalitarian ant heap” that McCain and his running mate are desperately attempting to conjure into existence as the nightmarish shape of things to come should Obama and any other Democrats down ticket be elected next week…


Filed under 2008 US Election

Revisiting “The Great Depression”

While I happened to be stopping by the Hoover Institution site the other night, I ran across this video concerning a new book by Amity Shlaes (syndicated columnist for Bloomberg and a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations) that challenges what many people assuredly think they know about the Great Depression from received wisdom — i.e., that it occurred because of a systemic breakdown in capitalism and that it ended because FDR, and government in general, came to the rescue.

I love alternative interpretations like this that just completely upend the “official” version of history as it’s retailed to us through the media, generally taught in schools and otherwise widely disseminated.

Given the present economic crisis, maybe it would be a good thing to study up on this subject in more depth (that is, beyond John Hodgman’s entirely counterfactual account and the hundreds of wonderfully evocative fantasy hobo names he generated as one of his supposed “areas of expertise”…). Ironically perhaps, the new Fed chairman Ben Bernanke has focused much of his scholarly work in the past on the economic and political causes of the Great Depression.

According to Shlaes, it was “the government” that exacerbated problems associated with the Great Depression and made them even worse. Moreover, she contends that this opened the door to FDR’s “progressivism” that… according to her intractably convoluted logic has led us right back to square one.


Filed under Economy, US Politics