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Sundries
...a sweatshop of moxie

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Drinks On Hillary!





Poor Hillary. Drowning her sorrows after a fifth of Glenfiddich, press corps holding her hair back.

Actually, you know, she looks down-to-earth in these photos, even if she resembles her daughter Chelsea after a night out clubbing.

It's yet further proof of the biggest revelation of this Presidential race: how much she's rehabilitated herself in my eyes.

Sure, I still think she's corrupt, egomanical and with an ambition which knows no bounds -- but at least she's not Obama and his cadre of compadres.

It'll be I on the sauce if he gets in.

BREAKING: The DNC voted to award half-votes for the Florida and Michigan primaries to each of the candidates. Bizarre.

Here's a just published commentary by a fellow blogger, Advance Indiana:

The DNC today voted to restore delegates to the Democratic National Convention, both pledged and unpledged delegates, to half-vote status. In Florida, where Clinton defeated Obama 50%-33%, she will net a 19-vote edge in pledged delegates. Where it gets really screwy, though, is the DNC's decision to automatically award pledged delegates to Obama in Michigan where he did not even appear on the ballot. Under the plan approved, Clinton receives 34.5 delegates to Obama's 29.5 delegates in Michigan. Clinton stalwart, Harold Ickes, condemned the DNC for substituting its judgment for that of more than a half-million Michigan voters. He promised a credentials fight at the convention, even though Clinton supporters on the panel voted for the proposal. Clinton supporters repeatedly disrupted the meeting to protest what they saw as a disenfranchisement of Florida and Michigan voters. MSNBC said today's decision will now push the magical number to win the nomination to 2,118 delegates. According to their count, Obama is about 65 delegates shy of winning the nomination.

Can someone explain to me how Senator Obama could receive ANY delegates from Michigan, as he strategically withdrew his name from the ballot?

Either way, still continuing the fine tradition of being the Party of Half-Measures, Half-Votes, and the Half-Hearted.

IN THE COMMENTS: My blogger colleague friend from the left side of the political spectrum, Eli Blake, reminds us that:

The Republican party ALSO penalized Florida and Michigan by taking away half their delegates. I'm surprised that as a Florida Republican you were unaware of that.

Absolutely, and thanks for the reminder.

But my greater point is that the Republicans stuck to their guns. The candidates in both primaries knew what the ground rules were in Florida and Michigan, going in. It was the Democrats, however, who changed their rules at the zero-hour and awarded half-votes.
To suddenly make a volte face given future circumstances strikes me as particularly weak.

Had circumstances been the same on the Republican side, and if Huckabee had decided to challenge the rules, I would've thought the same thing had the RNC caved into pressure.

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An Inconvenient Opera

It had to happen eventually. Al Gore's An Incovenient Truth is being turned into an opera. You heard me. An opera.

This musical extravanganza, as it will no doubt prove to be, is the brainchild of Italian composer, Giorgio Battistelli. The idea just came to him one day, and he's been working on transforming Al Gore's Nobel baby into an opera for a year now.

Fortunately for the ex-Veep, Battistelli has never shied away from creating operas from unusual topics. Some of his previous opera topics include:

  1. - Jules Verne (Strasbourg, 1985)
  2. - Keplers Traum (Linz, 1990) (Kepler's Dream)
  3. - Ascolto di Rembrandt (Rome, 1991) (Rembrandt Listens)
  4. - Frau Frankenstein (Berlin, 1993)

And if you thought Mrs. Frankenstein was scary, just wait 'til you see the sets being created for the melting polar caps!

I can see it all now.

Act 1, Scene 1.

Alberto, the cruelly misunderstood and overweight tenor, is sitting on a slushy mound of snow. His crampons give way under him, but the world's last baby seal breaks his fall, killing it instantly. Tipper, the coloratura soprano, consoles him with a beautiful aria which brings down the house. She exits.

He belts forth bravely with "O! Dio! Con Oscar non parlo da un mese!".

All of La Scala erupts.

Sean Penn and Glenda Jackson throw pregnant chads on the stage. Madonna adopts another baby right then and there.



I tell you, I'll be circle middle in 2011 at Milan's La Scala -- right behind Leonardo di Caprio, even if I have to invent an inconvenient truth myself.

Related

Treehugger says "Please No"
Astronomers Await "The Inconvenient Truth", the Breakfast Cereal
WaPo hoped for an interpretive dance but you know, "whatever"
Blogging is Like Opera

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Defrock Him Now

One thing is a preacher who doesn't represent my religion, but not one little bit in the name of Jesus Christ, saying abominable things from the pulpit.

But it's quite another thing to hear this foul-mouthed hate-speech from a Roman Catholic priest.

I'm livid.

Words cannot describe how I feel about this man. I merely laughed at Reverend Wright, the clown of Trinity United Church.

But Father Michael Pfleger, a supposed shepherd of my Church...well, it's done gone personal now.



Disgraceful.

There is a serious problem at the church where the almost certain nominee of the Democratic Party, Senator Obama sat for 20 years, listening to similar "sermons".

Never mind that. I am not a fellow Christian or a fellow human being in their eyes, due to my skin colour. I'm just another oppressor.

But I am a Roman Catholic, and it is to my fellow co-religionist that I say:

Cardinal George of Chicago, how can you allow this man to represent Catholics everywhere? You should be ashamed for all of us. Have the guts to defrock him, now.

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Ugh

I just bought Scott McClellan's weasely book, What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington's Culture of Deception.

(Scott, you were incompetent then. You're incompetent now. You want respect? You should've been a whistleblower, not a backstabber)

...and this after I promised I'd saw my arms off with my bare teeth than contribute to this man's 30 pieces of silver.



Since it costs only $9.99 on the Kindle (the only place it's available as of now) instead of a 30-something dollar hardcover, eh, it's worth it to see what he has to say.

I'll be blogging on it, later. Maybe.

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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Remembering Sarah Palin

JSU brings timely word that Governor Sarah Palin (R-AK) is next on deck, for Vice-Presidential consideration.

Ex-Reagan adviser, Arthur Culvahouse, has been seen in Juneau, Alaska, ahead of this proposed meeting.

(Incidentally, two thumbs up to Senator McCain for choosing Culvahouse to run his VP selection search. Senator Obama astonishingly chose Jim Johnson, who was Walter Mondale's campaign manager. Not only do we know how that campaign turned out..., but he was key to selecting Geraldine Ferraro as Mondale's running-mate. Oh, sweet irony, on so many levels)

UPDATE: Jim Johnson has since become another victim of the Obama bus when he had to resign during the Countrywide Corp. scandal.

Palin, of course, has been spoken of a lot by bloggers as a very serious contender for Vice-President.

I really have to study her positions better, since I am the last person on earth to care about such insignificant traits as gender, race or anything which doesn't involve values.

But I suspect your average voter's first reaction might go several ways.

McCain chose a woman because:

1- He wanted to compete in the politically-correct stakes versus a black man

2- He wanted to gather up some disaffected Hillary voters, if Obama/Clinton doesn't happen

3- He wanted a fresh start, with an unknown player, to prevent partisans from shouting "Bush 44"

4- He wanted youth on his ticket (she's 44)

I think Number 1 will occur to a lot of people, the most.

Few can forget the look of bewilderment Senator McCain had on his face, when a question was posed him about considering himself a "typical white person".



Given that the segue was Senator Obama's offensive remark about his grandmother being a "typical white person", he answered this bizarre question well.

But back to Governor Palin.

I'll have to research her better, but I do want to say that if he does genuinely consider her, the timing of the announcement has to be crafty.

A Wizbang commenter suggested:

"McCain should announce NOW or VERY SOON, rather than later towards the convention.

There's currently a growing chorus for Obama/Hillary (as VP) ticket (in fact the Dems are likely aware of the Palin phenomenon). If the GOP waits while movement for Hillary as VP grows -- even worse until after it is solidified that Hillary will/could be VP pick -- selecting Palin will be portrayed by Dems/liberal media more as a reaction by GOP selecting its own female (overshawdoing Palin's own remarkable assets), rather than McCain taking the lead on this.

Selecting Palin now or early (contrary to the punditocracy) will mean McCain will be seen as driving the course of this campaign overwhelmingly, and the DEMS will be seen as merely reacting. And, there's absoultely no down-side to this because even if Hillary is a no-go as VP for Obama, the GOP gains by acting early.

McCain the maverick. Palin the maverick. Do it now!"
And I couldn't agree more.

So, is this the face of the next candidate for Vice-President of the United States?



CORRECTION: I had mistakenly used a photo of an Overstock.com model. Due to a Blogger glitch, I wasn't able to fix this post for content until today, as I couldn't access it (I believe it was a video-related code problem). AL has been changed to AK, as well.

Related

Is This The Face Of McCain's Running Mate? (29 August 2008)
Sarah Palin Does That To People (30 August 2008)

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Under Barack Obama

Ever wanted to see Barack and Hillary in bed? Now you can!

NSFW, obviously, but here is MadTV spoofing Rihanna's "Umbrella" song, with a racy twist.

Wait 'til you see 1:22.



(Works too if you ever wanted to imagine Princess Diana doing Urkel, or hear what Ellen DeGeneres sounds like in bed with, uh, never mind)

At least Hillary got one of her wishes, even if she didn't get any "strange". She really is under Barack Obama.

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Sunday, May 25, 2008

BHO stands for "Barack's Habitual OMGs"

(UPDATED: Senator Obama's latest gaffe, but a positive point regarding Hugo Chavez. Scroll down)

You've got to be kidding me. Walking Gaffe Man strikes again!

During his whistle-stop tour of Sunrise, FL (very close to spring break capital, Ft. Lauderdale), Senator Barack H. Obama let out this howler:

"THANK YOU! It's good to be in Sunshine!"



Maybe it's the capital of one of our 57 States?

Either way, the Junior Senator from Illinois needs to get a lesson in geography fast. I mean, Christ on a swing set, who does he think he is? George W. Bush?

UPDATE Sunday 14:00: Senator Obama gave an important foreign policy speech in Miami, and there's good news, and bad news. WGM struck YET again!

But he also used a word in a context few in his Party have ever used towards a certain Latin American leader.

Here is what he said:

"Since the Bush Administration launched a misguided war in Iraq, its policy in the Americas has been negligent toward our friends, ineffective with our adversaries, disinterested in the challenges that matter in peoples’ lives, and incapable of advancing our interests in the region.

No wonder, then, that demagogues like Hugo Chavez have stepped into this vacuum."

First of all, this is factually incorrect.

President Hugo Chavez "stepped into" his position of power on 2 February 1999, after his election in 1998.

To those who wish to reply that Obama meant the Bush Administration's policies exacerbated the situation, allowing Hugo Chavez to exploit it, I say, which Bush Administration are you referring to?

Perhaps GHW Bush's in 1992, when Hugo Chavez first attempted a military coup? Which was successfully defended and he was then imprisoned for it?

Because this Bush's foreign policies certainly didn't create any vacuum that allowed a man like Chavez to rise, two years after his incarceration. From 1994 to 1998, the haughty arm's length remove of the Clinton administration contributed to this rise.

It took President Clinton nearly 5 years into his term before he deigned to set foot on South American soil, doing so only on October 13, 1997 (!).

Do you remember his first stop? I do. It was Venezuela.

Gosh, President Clinton. Thanks for keeping your eye on the ball.

But wait, there's good news, as I mentioned. Senator Obama did mention a significant word that the Bush Administration has failed to use in its almost 8 years of existence.

Although some bloggers failed to preface the above quote, they did note that Obama called Chavez a "demagogue".

I realise he was speaking to a largely Cuban/Latin-American crowd here in Miami, as the Senator is desperate to be more amenable to Hispanics in his campaign, having to date failed dismally.

But at least he said it.

Now let's see how Hugo Chavez replies, as last time he called President Bush a queer ("pajarito", the universal Spanish slang word for a homosexual man) a "burro", and a coward.

And so there was no doubt of his displeasure, he also called President Bush "Meester Danyer" (Mr. Danger).

Don't believe me? Look at it yourself.



We await with baited breath to see what he will call Senator Obama.

UPDATE 28 May 2008: Wow, there's a slip of the tongue, and then there are "I invented the internet" mental boners.

How else can you explain Obama claiming his uncle was part of the American brigade which liberated Auschwitz, in Poland?

Which, of course, was liberated by the Soviet Army on January 27, 1945...

Related

Hello Sunshine!
Oops He Did It Again
Someone Buy This Man an Atlas!
Blinded By the Sunshine

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Bogie Does Sundries

Ron has a fantastic masthead idea for me.



Bogie and Sundries. Brilliant! What an eye that Ron has.

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Sarkozy Fan Tutte

Very rarely do left-wing politicians get the same amount ferocity of opinions, as do right-wing politicians.

Whilst General Pinochet was reviled as a tinpot hatchet man, and gruesomely villainous dictator, a certain lawyer by the name of Fidel Castro gets a pass from those who hate Pinochet for the same, if not worse atrocities.

Not having lived during the Nixon era, I can't say if Bush Derangement Syndrome trumps the vitriol lobbed at that man's head.

I have seen it manifest itself in France, though, even from a distance.

Now it's official. A French psychiatrist has coined a phrase for their equivalent of BDS:

Obsessive Sarkosis

("Doctor! Doctor! Is it fatal? No, Madame, you will be cured in 5 years, unless Ségo is still around.")

Dr. Serge Hefez assures us that in his surgery, a lot of his patients suddenly start referring to President Nicolas Sarkozy by name.

“He’s penetrated some of their deepest fantasies. I noticed all this passion in people speaking of him, and I thought there is something particular about this man — he’s like a reflection of us in the mirror.”

The French have even poked fun at themselves about this new phenomenon in cartoons. One had this patient saying to her shrink:

“I’m very worried.

Sunday, at the Louvre, I asked a guard where to find the room of Egyptian Sarkozycophagi. At dinner with a musicologist, I said twice that my favorite opera is ‘Sarkozy Fan Tutte.’ I’d like to know if this is serious and how to cure it.”

Only the French could joke about an obsession and reference an opera. The article continues:

Television covers Mr. Sarkozy’s every gesture, in both homage and mockery, itself an effort to create distance from the phenomenon that it perpetuates and magnifies. It is all part of what the French have come to call the “pipolisation” of political life, a term, presumably derived from People magazine, that refers to the idolatry of celebrities and soap opera. Dr. Hefez considers the trend an example of “democracy turning against itself, as Tocqueville foresaw.”

The shock of finding out the French might bury their noses into People Magazine (!) almost made me faint. Who reads that in the States in such quantities, that it should be exported to La Belle Snobe??

I must be out of circulation.

(A little publishing humour for you)

Really, I can't say that I blame the French. I'm not a big fan of Sarkozy. I know he may be pro-USA, or as much as an inhabitant of the Elysée can be, but I still see him for what he is.

President Bling-Bling, a slightly oily demagogue who never met a Mont Blanc pen he didn't like.



Related

If Sarkozy is a Mirror, What is Rudd?
Bona Fide Love Story
French Projection

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

O Party Of Obama

Sundries commenter, Zeb Quinn, paid me a compliment in my recent blogpost, A Dissenting Voice.

You might recall it was about a black American lady saying she wouldn't be voting for Obama, citing one reason that in her opinion, he was a Communist.

I replied in disagreement:

I've been around very genuine, very scary Communists to know the difference between someone merely influenced by Marxism, as would include the majority of politicians in the world today, to a real one.

To which Zeb commented:

That was good. I liked it. Some of us on the right throw around the terms and accusations "socialist" and "communist" too easily. We lose some cred when we do.

And I have to say, I agree.

One's opinions are not taken as seriously by neutral parties if you have a penchant to label people with such terms. That is true whether you are likening President Bush to Hitler and thereto, Fascism/Nazism. But also, if you bandy the word Marxist or Communist about to Senator Barack Obama.

However, I have noticed something about Senator Obama, specifically those in his social orbit.

For a man of his political ideals, he must accept that a certain chunk of his co-idealogues are indeed Marxist or Socialist. At the very least, they are amenable to Marxist ideas, which include visual and audio cues.

(More on this, momentarily)

A politician of the Left with Presidential aspirations doesn't have the luxury to ignore Marxists, or the fringe Left as they are euphemistically called in the USA.

His circle of associates must include people like Bill Ayers, ex-WeatherUnderground terrorist. He must tolerate the Black Liberation rantings of Reverend Jeremiah Wright. If Code Pink wish to meet with him, he cannot say no.

Of course, the crucial difference here is that Senator Obama has shown a willigness to befriend, associate or be courted by such people, in a very puzzling manner.

But there are some gestures that are possibly beyond him.

This past weekend, campaigning in the State of Oregon, the Illinois Senator drew over 75,000 to his campaign rally. It was a riotous success, and he cemented his incredible 16% lead over Senator Clinton, that following primary Tuesday.

It transpired though, that local Portland band, The Decembrists had been the "opening act" for the rally...and, as seems to be common with them, had started their show with the following well-known anthem.



Do you recognise it? Ahh, the Cold War was but a short while ago, but how some of us have forgotten.

That is the national anthem of the USSR, and here are its opening stanzas:

Unbreakable Union of freeborn Republics,
Great Russia has welded forever to stand.
Created in struggle by will of the people,
United and mighty, our Soviet land!

CHORUS:
Sing to the Fatherland, home of the free,
Bulwark of peoples in brotherhood strong.
O Party of Lenin, the strength of the people,
To Communism’s triumph lead us on!

To Communism's triumph lead us on?

Why is it that a modern US politician seeking to run for the Presidency did not have the foresight to inquire about content? If nothing just to avoid misunderstandings with a wider electorate, who are tired of the spin, and just want to know what he values?

But consider this.

Can you imagine if a Senator McCain rally featured a heavy metal act who launched into the Horst Wessel Lied?

It's unthinkable, and will never happen in modern US politics because Nazism is discredited...but Communism lives on, invoked by grunge protest bands without an eyeblink.

Yet, Senator Barack Obama doesn't have that luxury of being especially picky because he's unprepared, and consequently, his message is amateurish, even muddled.

Is it a wonder that when you see the iconography his supporters evoke about him, like this:



And this:



Plus this:



And so there's no doubt whatsoever, in Russian, this:



H/T: Simon

When do the signals become too much for neutral parties? Is it when his supporters constantly evoke Che Guevara or Maoist iconography? Or when they call him Tovarich Obama without a hint of irony?

In a twist of fate, given my recent Wikipedia critique, the following line was removed from The Decembrists' entry:

"The band’s use of the National Anthem of the Soviet Union as an introduction at many concerts has sparked controversy as it is seen by some as an endorsement of the Soviet system.[citation needed]"

Which is factually correct, as you saw. It was deleted by an anonymous user, but is back again after a blog's post on it brought it to Wikipedia's attention.

Why was this statement excised? Was it shame or the realisation that such a song would be harmful to the Senator's campaign?

Perhaps they felt it sent the wrong signals.

But make no doubt of it, the messages are there and this is why that black American lady voter may be forgiven her opinion.

She didn't base it on any of these signals above, she said. But perhaps others are reading them loud and clear.

IN THE COMMENTS: Ron points out a literary analogy and asks a question.

A friend of mine noted even the reason we read Baudelaire as opposed to his German equivalent, Novalis, is that the French writer is perceived as being from 'the left', while the German writer is from 'the right', however false those labels would be! [...]

When will the romance of Communism end?


Certainly not with the death of Old Communists.

Related

Let A Thousand Posters Bloom
The Obama Aesthetic
Obama Appeals To the Far Left
Obama - Cult Leader Imagery?

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Three Up

As the nomination saga continues in the Democratic Party, Senator John McCain has revealed he's meeting with three candidates for the Vice-Presidency.

"A McCain campaign official said on Wednesday McCain would host former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal at his ranch in Sedona, Arizona. A total of 10 couples were invited."

Just in case these names are a little hazy to you, and thus so would their faces, here we go.

Ex-Governor Mitt Romney of Massachussetts



The Governor of Florida, Charlie Crist



The Governor of Louisiana, Bobby Jindal



That would be Governor Jindal on the Jay Leno Show, which JSU brought to my attention a while ago. He was funny, charming, a star-in-the-making.

But that's just it. In-the-making.

My impression is that, with the exception of Mitt Romney, these are not Senator McCain's first choices.

In fact, with Romney, it could be that he's giving him a courtesy inspection since they are said to be as antagonistic as Senators Clinton and Obama are to each other.

Governor Crist (pronounced to rhyme with list) is also a much-touted choice, but I don't see our Governor on the ticket. He's a bachelor, with whiffs of rumours about his private life, and though fairly popular, I'm not even sure he would resonate in the Deep South which is the whole idea of a Floridian choice.

Governor Jindal is a delight, but he would be as out of his element at the moment, as Senator Edwards was in 2004.

So we'll see. The next round might look like this:

Ex-Mayor Rudy Giuliani
Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty
Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour


UPDATED: JSU points out that Senator Fred Thompson has already said he won't be available for VP consideration. The suggestion put forward was Mark Sanford, the Governor of South Carolina. I think Governor Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota might be in the next trio, if McCain sticks to 3 at a time.

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Dr. Doofus



What is up with Presidents who, in their last year in office, play the fool?

I remember President Clinton doing similar ridiculous gestures in 2000. Aren't they aware that this just feeds into the incumbent fatigue the American public feel, at the end of an 8-year term (whomsoever's term it is)?

Don't fall for bloggers who just want to make you look like a doofus, Messers President. Oops, too late.

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Monday, May 19, 2008

Kindle Spiel

I've been thinking of getting Amazon's e-Book reader, the Kindle.

Positives: Portability. Vague likeness to iPods, which I adore. Various newspaper and blog subscriptions, updated instantly. Good power reserve. Bestsellers are only $9.99, no waiting.

Negatives: $400. Often limited whispernet coverage. No colour LCD, backlight. Still 1.0 version. Did I mention it's $400 freaking dollars?

There are some dead zones for the wireless connectivity. Here is the map, to check to see if your area is included.

My question to Sundries readers is the following:

Would you, if you could or would want to, buy the Kindle?

Please note that the 2.0 version is rumoured to be far off, still, though ideally one should always wait for the update. My guess is Christmas '08, though.

Here's a CNET review of the gadget, in case you yourself might be hazy about it (as I was very recently).



I read about this product via Pajamas Media, having gotten my Gadget Queen's immediate attention with the juxtaposition of coffee, eggs, and John Stuart Mills. Yum. I read on:

This morning, I decided to drop down to my local coffee establishment for a breakfast of coffee, eggs, and some morning reading. I had a lot of new things, and pre-coffee I’m not up to making decisions, so I just brought several things to read: Peter Kramer’s Against Depression; Marianne Williamson’s The Age of Miracles; Wayne Dyer’s Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao; and for a little more rigorous reading of Buddhism I brought The Dhammapada, D.T. Suzuki’s Manual on Zen Buddhism, Steve Hagen’s Meditation Now or Never, and Buddhism Is Not What You Think — great title, that — the complete works of Edgar Allen Poe and Mark Twain; Sun Tzu’s Art of War and Musashi’s Book of Five Rings; a couple of novels; some books on Ruby and Python programming; the most recent issue of Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine; Locke’s Essay Concerning Human Understanding and Second Treatise of Government; John Stuart Mills’ On Liberty; Paradise Lost, Shakespeare’s Sonnets; and some Larry Niven.

“What, in a wheelbarrow?” you’re thinking? No, in my Kindle. Of course, it’s only about 30 percent full."

Please, you had me at Sun Tzu.

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Saturday, May 17, 2008

Ted Kennedy Suffers Possible Stroke

Just hitting the news wires:

Senator Edward Moore Kennedy (D-Mass) has been airlifted to a Boston hospital, after being rushed to a local hospital from his Hyannis Port family compound. He went from the Barnstable Airport to Mass General in Boston with "stroke-like" symptoms.

His original stay at a local Cape Code hospital's Emergency Room was for two hours, but the situation must've been more than they could handle.

The Senator is one of only 3 surviving Kennedy children, of the much ballyhooed Irish-Catholic family of 9.

They include his eldest surviving sister, Eunice Kennedy Shriver (86), mother-in-law to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. She suffered a stroke herself in November 2005; and Jean Kennedy Smith (80), ex-Ambassador to the Republic of Ireland, in President Clinton's administration.

The Senator is the last surviving son of Ambassador and Mrs. Joseph P. Kennedy. He just turned 76 this February.

He has survived a devastating airplane crash, suffering severe back injuries, seen here below rehabbing in the pool wearing his brace. He was not very hurt after his car plunged into the Chappaquiddick river, during the now infamous incident near Martha's Vineyard.

He is the longest-surviving Senate member, having been elected to his brother, President Kennedy's old seat, in 1962.



I'll update this post with news later in the day.

UPDATE: Commenter JSU points out that newer reports downplay the "stroke" wording.

"...A family spokesman later characterized his condition as a seizure, the Associated Press reported.

CNN said Kennedy relatives were optimistic he would recover. Other reports said Kennedy made a phone call after being transported to the hospital to cancel a luncheon.

The Cape Cod Times said local fire officials received a call from the Kennedy compound around 8:30 a.m. Eastern time. Kennedy, 76, was treated at Cape Cod Hospital before a helicopter transfer to Massachusetts General around 10:15 a.m., the report said.

Kennedy's hospitalization comes seven months after the senator underwent surgery to remove blockage in his left carotid artery."

(Via Marketwatch)

UPDATE, Monday 19 May 2008: Senator Barack Obama called the Senator to inquire how he was, and though groggy from the medication, he was in good shape.

"Obama said he does not want Kennedy rushing back to the campaign trail and expects the senator's wife, Victoria Reggie Kennedy, to enforce doctors' orders, once his course of care is established. "All of us believe that he probably needs to rest up," Obama said.

"Obviously, we were all very worried yesterday," Obama said.

"I had spoken to Vickie, and she had indicated that the initial prognosis was better than what may have been reported in the press."

After watching the Red Sox game yesterday, Kennedy planned to view a few rented movies to pass the time: "The Great Debaters, "Best in Show," and some old Fred Astaire movies, Cutter said."


Fred Astaire movies! Ron, can you hear me now?

UPDATE 20 May 2008: With regret, I have to post that Senator Ted Kennedy has been diagnosed with brain cancer.

In cynical terms, this means Senator Obama will be deprived of a very staunch supporter in his campaign since this precludes any further campaigning, certainly in the near future. Also, noting the seniority issue above, vis-à-vis the Clintons, Kennedy will not act as a bulwark against the Clinton Machine at the convention.

But let's leave that aside for now. I wish him only the best. Prayers to him and to his family, for the best possible outcome.

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Thursday, May 15, 2008

A Dissenting Voice

(Welcome The Bit Maelstrom readers!)

A reader at Althouse replies to the question, "What's with those 10% of black people who don't support Barack Obama?"

I quote her response, in its entirety:

"As one of the 10%, I'm not an airy-fairy, pie in the sky person. I want to hear policy positions so that I can sift them to determine their feasibility. Hope and Change are meaningless substitutes for genuine policy positions to address difficult issues. I read history, and I know that Hitler offered hope and change; Germany is changed by his change to this day.

Moreover, I'm not interested in ram-goat, rum, and roti politics (that's Caribbean for race politics). Race is not enough to convince me to vote for someone. As long as the ideas, ideology, and policy offerings are acceptable, the candidate could be any race he wants. Suppose I vote for Obama on the basis of race; how does that address our terrorism problem? Am I to believe that because Obama is from a Muslim Kenyan father that that gives him some sort of extra power in addressing terrorism issues? I don't think so. Muslims are killing Muslims daily. What else is Obama offering besides talk?

I want a candidate who knows American history, who understands the Constitution, who understands the importance of American symbols, and who respects those symbols, who can speak with pride of American exceptionalism. Obama is not that man. Nobody spends 20 years listening to anti-American rhetoric, confesses to being fortified by the anti-American rhetoric masquerading as "sermons" and emerges as a great believer in this shining city on a hill. It is impossible to believe, just from listening to Michelle Obama, that Barack Obama is untouched by 20 years of Jeremiah Wright and Louis Farrakhan. There's an old saying, 'birds of a feather flock together.' If Wright is an anti-American, anti-Semitic racist, then so is Barack Obama.

Furthermore, I know a communist when I hear one. Barack Obama lacks the basic understanding of capitalism and how it informs a market economy; of taxation and how changes to it can either uplift or degrade the lives of the people functioning within an economic system; of the role of government as the Founding Fathers envisioned it—not cradle to grave.

Finally, I'm a Christian, and I KNOW that no man comes to Christ on his own terms. We come to Christ on Christ's terms, which is naked, poor, weak, filthy, sinful, and in need of salvation. No man who sets the terms for his "acceptance" of Christ is a Christian. After all, the vessel cannot tell the potter how it wants to be made. That's what Obama did before he decided to "walk the aisle." Cheap grace, faux conversion.

My thinking has been influenced by the Bible, the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights, Bastiat, and Hayek. There is no way on this God's green earth I shall ever vote for Barack Obama."


Our internets with The Google is wonderful, but let's be honest. You have to sift through a lot of dross, before you find that rare diamond.

But when you do, it hits you with a life force so potent, it may just give you hope to keep searching for more.

That's how I felt when I read her reply.

It's not that I agreed with all her conclusions (e.g.: I've been around very genuine, very scary Communists to know the difference between someone merely influenced by Marxism, as would include the majority of politicians in the world today, to a real one). But then I'm not seeking agreement.

I'm just glad to actually hear something of substance in clearly defined terms without knee-capping us with rage.

A black voice amongst the thousands we've heard these many months, fortified by her conviction but not being hardened by it. More importantly, not pointing an accusing finger at people like myself, for her fate.

How I miss this communion of thought, and how I long to speak to people about race and Senator Obama in these terms. But my words and intentions are always misunderstood the moment they see the colour of my skin, let alone when I reveal how I vote.

Dialogue becomes accusation. And I, who usually takes life in her stride, feel depressed beyond recognition.

So before it's too late, I will say this so that it's on the record:

Speak to me like a fellow traveller on life's treacherous roads, not a jackal who feasted on you for ages. If you do that or tolerate that around you, I will tune you out, and run as fast away from you as I possibly can. I know others will too.

Fortunately, we have places to run to.

But what of a black person who doesn't feel the need or desire to vote for Barack Obama? Those 10% of Democrats and even less of Republicans, not in the primaries, but those faced with voting against Barack Obama in the general election, when the choice is more stark -- those who will know few valleys of acceptance and shelter.

I shudder to think how depressed they can get, so courage. Courage, courage.



Remember, people like me are trying to find you down those valleys.

We'll find each other yet.

Related

I May Be Black, Mr. Obama, But...
Black Republican Woman And Voting for Obama
The Black Vote by Akindele Akinyemi

Size of the Soul
"Get With the Programme"

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Insidious Wikipedia

After Honest Reporting, a fairness-in-reporting watchdog, exposed the Anti-Israeli hijacking of Wikipedia entries, I was reminded of a similar topic.

Wikipedia has a project website called "Simple English".

It is like its better known brother, an user-generated encyclopaedia which allows anyone to add or to change entries. The only caveat is, it has to be in...Simple English.

Wordy is in. Verbose is out. Literally.

So far, so good.

And who knows, maybe it might help foreigners just learning English; or immigrants to the US who 40 years hence, still don't speak a lick of the local language -- but that's just me the ex-English instructor talking snarkily.

Our original point was that Wikipedia had an anti-Israel bias, but I contend it's part of a larger bias: one to do with a progressive bias.

There are so many articles I've screen-captured in the past to illustrate my point, in hopes I would write precisely this type of post, but sadly, my database imploded when my last Hard Drive went to meet its Maker.

But I do recall two entries which do give you a flavour of what I mean.

Without further ado, I give you two Simple English entries -- one for ex-President Bill Clinton. The other for President George W. Bush.

(Remember, this is most probably intended for children doing their homework, or foreigners trying to grasp the complexities of topics in their simplest English terms)

GEORGE WALKER BUSH - 43rd President of the United States



George Walker Bush (born July 6, 1946) is the current President of the United States of America. He is a Republican, and Dick Cheney is his Vice President. He is from Midland, Texas. He has a ranch in Crawford, Texas, which is near Waco.

He is the son of former U.S. President George H. W. Bush. Before he was President, George Bush was Governor of Texas. He is married to Laura, and they have twin daughters, Jenna and Barbara.


Early years


Bush was born in Connecticut. He went to school at Yale University, which is famous for a high standard of education. He lived briefly in Midland, Texas on a ranch. He joined the Texas Air National Guard (part of the United States National Guard) during the Vietnam War, but did not fight in Vietnam.

2000 election

During the 2000 United States presidential election, Florida was a state where the election was not clear. It took more than a month to know who won. The Supreme Court made a decision to stop recounting votes, and at that time Bush was declared the winner. The election is still controversial.

2004 election

In the 2004 United States presidential election, Bush won again. His opponent was Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, a Democrat.

Iraq

After the attacks of September 11 2001, Bush ordered an invasion of Afghanistan. Later he wanted something done about Iraq. Bush asked the United Nations to take away all Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction. The United Nations refused because there was no proof Iraq had any weapons. He sent the United States Army into Iraq on March 20, 2003 and took control of the country. Saddam Hussein was captured and Iraq killed him as punishment for War Crimes. Even today, no weapons of mass destruction have been found. Elections happened for the first time in the country, but violence continues.

Bushisms

Bush sometimes has trouble speaking in public, and sometimes makes a mistake or says something opposite to what he means. These mistakes have lead to the creation of the phrase "Bushism". Many websites on the Internet collect Bushisms.

Controversy

A lot of people have made arguments against Bush because of his views, mainly on the War in Irag.


WILLIAM JEFFERSON CLINTON - 42nd President of the United States




William Jefferson Clinton (born August 19, 1946), better known as Bill Clinton, was the 42nd president of the United States. He served from 1993 to 2001. He was 46 years old when he was elected. His major opponents were George H. W. Bush and Bob Dole. Clinton was the first president from the Baby Boom generation and was the third youngest president in the U.S. He is a Democrat. Clinton's supporters say he helped bring the economic boom of the 1990s. His presidency was very controversial to most Republicans.

Before he was president, Clinton was also governor of Arkansas (1979-1981 and 1983-1993).

In 1994, during Clinton's first term in office, the Congress switched to a Republican majority. However, Clinton still beat Republican Bob Dole in the 1996 election.

President Clinton was accused of wrongdoing by the U.S. House of Representatives in December 1998 during the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Although he lied that she did not give him oral sex, he was found to have done nothing wrong by the U.S. Senate in February 1999. The scandal had little effect on his popularity, and he left office with some of the highest approval ratings of any president.

He is married to Senator Hillary Clinton and now lives in New York.


...the differences in tone between these two entries are as chalk and cheese.

In the Bill Clinton entry, gone are the niggling details regarding controversies with the exception of the Monica Lewinsky case. But they could have hardly avoided mentioning HER.

Simply nothing about Whitewater, his law licence suspension for 5 years in Arkansas stemming from his perjury charges, his ignominious last day in Office Presidential Pardons. Nada.

In the George Bush entry, the emphasis is completely different. Let me give you a few examples.

- Bill Clinton gets a pass for being a draft dodger, but George Bush's entry mentions that though he served in the National Guard, he didn't fight in Vietnam.

- Bill Clinton is "controversial" to most Republicans, without mentioning he was controversial to a whole slew of people, regardless of affiliation, making it seem it was an one-way street of hatred.

- George Bush's handling of the Iraq War is, of course, fair game. However, it would be helpful if they could actually spell the country's name correctly...

But no mention of Bill Clinton's diplomatic failures as President are mentioned at all, even for purposes of historical clarity. The entry for Iraq ends on a sour note, by noting violence still continues. Since none of President Clinton's foreign policies are mentioned, we can only speculate how they would've been phrased.

- Whilst George Bush's linguistic laspes and popularity receive their own specialised, inherently negative entries, Bill Clinton has NO sub-categories; in fact, though as mentioned, the Lewinsky scandal is noted, the entry ends with a cheery:

"The scandal had little effect on his popularity, and he left office with some of the highest approval ratings of any president."

Wikipedia, on paper, is a fantastic and handy online guide for people who need quick information on topics. I use it all the time.

But to ignore their slithering insinuations, no matter how many times they cite certain topics have been flagged for their controversial or biased tone, the fact remains:

Many of their entries tend to highlight the negative whenever a conservative subject is referenced, and they are more forgiving when the liberal viewpoint is being discussed.

Transferring the blame to the users should not fool anyone.

Bias is always top-down.

Related

Pope Benedict/Margaret Thatcher's Entries Hijacked
Anti-Israeli Subversion on Wikipedia
BackSpin's Commenters Weigh In
Matt Sanchez' Wiki-Whacked Exposé
Avid Editor Notes Similar Behaviour on Digg.com

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Monday, May 12, 2008

Colour Me Blue

As a born writer, I have a natural eye for detail. It can actually be a little overwhelming, as details are often trivial in nature -- and therefore, exasperating to most people.

Take for example, the fact that I've noticed President George W. Bush has a go-to colour for important events.

If someone were to tell us its his talisman, I wouldn't at all be surprised. You know how superstitious baseball players and fans can be; I know I am (one day, I'll show you my 1997 World Series Florida Marlins t-shirt. I look like a hobo wearing it, it's so ripped).

But the guy has a thing for blue ties for the most important occasions of his Presidency. It's uncanny.

Here he is at his first inauguration, on 20 January, 2001.



Two years later, during the 2003 State of the Union, the now famous "Axis of Evil" speech, another strong coloured blue tie made its appearance.



For his other inauguration, on 20 January, 2005, a slightly paler blue tie with black speckles was on show.



And though this is the best photo I could take of the event, that very same tie graced his neck for his last State of the Union speech, just this year.



I just knew then, that when his daughter Jenna got married this weekend to Henry Hager, that we'd see a repeat of the pattern.

After all, something borrowed, something blue, right?



But I do believe the President finally succumbed and bought a spanking new satin silver tie for his little girl's wedding.

Good show. Doing his bit by infusing money into the sluggish economy.

Here's wishing the President's daughter, her new husband, and the President's new tie, well.

(Really)

More Photos Here:

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Saturday, May 10, 2008

Meltdown

Not only is Senator Clinton down to one superdelegate lead over Senator Obama, some reporting she's even lost the lead, but today, President Clinton had a public meltdown. He faced a heckler and took the bait.



An ex-President of the United States shouting at a woman in public, preceeded by a withering "What" and ending by blaming Robert Dole and the Republicans for blackmail (regarding the national healthcare debate in 1993-4), both of which are not seen in this one clip.

I'm not sure he gets it.

His wife has lost the contest for the nomination. Getting feisty now is the last thing the Democratic Party needs. This merely adds to the bloodletting their Party is getting due to this protracted battle. What's worse, is that he's done it repeatedly before.

The worst thing about the Reverend Wright fiasco, is that suddenly everyone is legitimised to act and react by shouting, posturing, and playing to the crowds in the most bizarre way. But President Clinton is a seasoned pol, not a vicious race-baiter.

Is he out of his mind, or just out of control?

At this point, our best hope is it's the latter. And that pretty much sums up the Clinton legacy.

UPDATE: SNL twisting the screws on Hillary.



"My Supporters are Racist"

They have a lot in common with the other side.

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Friday, May 09, 2008

Presidential Race Quote Of The Day #1

"Also don't forget that Ron Paul raised more money than any other Republican, and raised more money in a single day than any U.S. presidential candidate in history - and pretty much has had zero dealings with "monied interests". So please tone down the cynicism just a notch and be a little more practical.

It's going to take a minimum of at least two more presidents at two terms each to clean up bush's disaster.

Maybe it will take longer. That doesn't change the fact that Obama will be one of the top five presidents in our country's history.

The sooner you stop wishing for someone/anyone to save you, the sooner we'll get on the right track.

I don't want someone/anyone - I want a freakin' genius like Barack Obama or Ron Paul."

H/T: Instapundit

I was remarking to JSU that there's an enormous disconnect between Obama supporters, and the way reality may pan out for them in November 2008. They just do not see it coming.

But adding Ron Paul to the mix above made my eyes water. Awesome.

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Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Don't Be Estes Kefauver, Hillary

After a disastrous North Carolina and Indiana primary (at the time of writing, the latter is down to the wire, but it's already a moral defeat for the New York Senator), it is time for Hillary Rodham Clinton to evaluate her chances to stay in this race.

Does she soldier on, undeterred, counting on her own pluck, drive, and just plain naked ambition? Or does she call it a day and concede the nomination?




If the latter, what is next for Senator Clinton?

A lot of pundits and voters are already shouting "Veep", in an obvious allusion to her being offered and accepting the Vice-Presidential spot, which suddenly looks to be her only bet this year.

Will this woman, who was already an allegorically romantic heartbeat away from the Presidency, decide to ride shotgun to Senator Barack Obama?

There are so many variables, our heads fairly reel.

First, it's not a given that his position is strengthened with Mrs. Clinton as his Vice-President. She is still divisive enough (and this is an important point) in their OWN Party, not to warrant this offer.

Having brought the Democratic Party to where it lies today, 7 May 2008, battered by the constant primaries, hungry for direction, and finality, a lot of Democrats are placing the blame directly on Hillary Clinton for it.

Secondly, there is no love lost between the candidates.

This has never stopped marriages of convenience in politics, (and indeed, Senator and President Clinton are no strangers to this cynical modus vivendi) which one only has to mention John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson to bear witness to that fact.

But whereas Jack Kennedy later fashioned a rogue's appreciation for the Texan, Senators Obama and Clinton might have precious little commonality of experience, generational or perhaps even ideological, to do so.

This strikes people as impossible, given that their positions are rather similar on paper.

But when you consider that as insiders the Clintons had all the pull in the Democratic Party until now, as moderate DLCers, and they now have to kowtow to their more fashionally liberal and younger counterparts in Barack and Michelle Obama, this is a daunting task for them.

In a few months, they both went from the future of their Party, to its discarded, tawdry past.

I genuinely think they won't be able to do it.

And yes, it's going to be a dual-decision (or else the Clintons might go their separate ways...at last).

As ex-President Bill Clinton looked on, haggard and disquietened beyond recognition, Hillary Clinton gave perhaps her last real hurrah in tonight's premature victory speech.

A man who won it all, as he has, perhaps knows the margin at the time was ludicrous, and she stood no chance from thereonin.





Above all, I believe it's a tactical mistake for Hillary Clinton to continue to challenge for the White House in 2008. Furthermore, I think it would be political suicide for her to accept any Vice-Presidential approaches from Senator Obama.

If she does, and what I believe will happen, does; namely that Senator McCain will win handily over Senator Obama come November, she'll have hitched her wagon to a loser.

Just like Estes Kefauver did in another very tight nomination process, albeit for the Vice-Presidency itself, in 1956.

You'll remember it was he and the self-same Jack Kennedy who were vying for the second spot, which was thrown to the convention delegates to decide. Estes won that, but lost the general election behind an aloof, elitist, and intellectual candidate in the person of Adlai E. Stevenson.





Stevenson, that other soigné man from Illinois who spoke in ringing phrases, and whose intellectual talents were greatly esteemed by his supporters, was amongst the first modern Democratic politicians to fit the progressive mold of today: dismissive of the very electorate he sought to court.

When he was told that most thinking people were behind him, he chuckled saying that's not enough. "I need a majority."

...an attitude but one remove from "bitter voters" who cling to their guns and religion.

Years later, when the election was over, and Kennedy had won the Presidency on his own, he reminisced on what would've been.

He remembered his fallen brother Joe Jr., saying that in all probability he might've fought harder for the Vice-Presidential spot in '56, but then he would've been tagged a loser in the American psyche after losing the general election (something very few men can overcome, like his eventual opponent, Richard M. Nixon miraculously did).

The loss rankled him deeply, but with his keen political instincts, he knew later it had been the absolutely right decision.

Gracefully uniting her Party, by her own yielding, could put Hillary Clinton back on the stage, in a much more favourable light than she currently has now with so many Democrats.

And it could set up a very successful run at the whole enchilada again, in 2012, especially if President John Sidney McCain III turns out to be an one-termer -- by dint of age, failure of leadership or economy, or just plain voter fatigue.

It will be a very interesting night, perhaps day, and certainly months ahead.





Perhaps she can take her cue from Adlai Stevenson himself, who with the wisdom of the twice vanquished said,

"The hardest thing about any political campaign is how to win without proving that you are unworthy of winning."


Related

Jasmyne Cannick Reports Obama is the Future, Hillary is the Now
Is Barack Obama the Second-Coming of Stevenson?
Malkin references Hillary's Electibility Shield Being Deactivated
Instapundit links to the Power of Political Staging
Power Line Thinks Hillary Will Stay In It
Clinton Aides Po-Faced

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Monday, May 05, 2008

The Willie Hortoning of Obama

People frustrated with the lingering Reverend Wright situation are now going into silly overdrive. They're desperately trying to beat the racist tom-toms regarding the Obama-Wright controversy.

As if Mrs. Ben Bradlee's incoherent appearance on Charlie Rose last week wasn't enough, now we have a Washington Post opinion piece by Shankar Vedantam asking if Reverend Wright is the "Willie Horton of 2008"?

You'll recall Willie Horton as the guy who did Michael Dukakis in, as far as Democrats are concerned.

According to them, it is these dirty tricks such as "Swift-Boating" and bringing up the spectre of Willie Horton, that sabotage a candidate's presidential bid, and never, oh perish the thought, of the ridiculous ineffectiveness of the politician himself.

This allows them to constantly make the same mistakes, Presidential campaign after campaign, having learnt nothing from them, but to point fingers at the Machiavellian shenanigans they so fetishise, rather than to examine, like a reflective body politic, their own failings (starting by having chosen the wrong candidate).



You saw this attitude most vividly in 1972, in 1988, and 2004 -- the three most meaningful elections, which were supposed to be "message" elections.

That is, they were supposed to have sent a message to Conservatives and its Republican leader that The People were not amused by the status-quo and wanted radical societal change, led by a change at the very top.

Guess what happened?

If Sally Quinn's (the above-mentioned Mrs. Bradlee) viewpoint is to be believed, the latest railroading of a fine man has nothing else to do but with his race.

"And a message of black liberation theology is basically Confucius` message of do unto others as you would have others do unto you. We are our brother`s keepers. Obama has said that many times. But you look at a lot of the white Christians, and we`re 90 percent religious in this country. Most people in this country are Christians, and you look at the Christians and they go to their white churches. And you wonder how they can call themselves Christians and still look at other people as though they are inferior."

I'll let you ponder how she arrived at the conclusion that the Golden Rule sprung from Confucius. But contrast this to what Mr. Vendatam quotes:

"What this Wright guy has done is tagged Obama as a black guy," Neuberg added. "He is more aggressive and attacking, and that engages in people's minds and that makes race salient.

If Neuberg is right, Wright might well be the 2008 version of Willie Horton, the black Massachusetts inmate whose case was used against Democratic candidate Michael S. Dukakis in 1988. Talking up the controversy, moreover, gives Obama's opponents a potent weapon: They can hook into voters' hidden fears and racial attitudes without ever saying a word about the radioactive subject of race."


Only to those who are voting for a man because of his race, because it feels good above all else so to do, can they imagine that race is the paramount concern of other voters against choosing him.

...and not his kryptonic choice of associates, and the nauseating anti-American rhetoric they (of all colours) vocalise.

By constantly putting this idea into people's minds, I suppose they are even trying to bypass Reverend Wright all together, and prepare the narrative already. The failure of Senator Obama's election as US President will be due to race and these nasty dirty little political tricks, they'll say. In effect, he'll have been his own Willie Horton, without any need of an assist from crazed pastors.

I have news for you, guys.

Reverend Wright is only relevant because he made a spectacle of himself in so bald-faced, malevolent a way, as to make it an impossibility for anyone to cover his antics live. He was the best show in town for 3 days, without a single solitary Republican having been behind it.

This is not one you're going to be able to pin on Rove or Haldemann.

Related

Put the Blame on the Dame
Confederate Yankee Says Dukakis Never Had Willie Horton to Dinner
Hot Air Reminds Readers Al Gore Brought Up Horton First

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Friday, May 02, 2008

I Touch Myself

In fact, we all can now, if this latest gadget takes off.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the crotch-keyboard.




Described as a possible "mysterious Dutch design student", Erik De Nijs the inventor of the crotch-keyboard, is laying low given the utter hyper-geekiness of his invention.

What do you think? Would you buy one for yourself?

I mean, look at the advantages of having a qwerty keyboard near your g-spot.



Only one "joystick" joke per reader, please.

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