Saturday, May 31, 2008

Plea to Olbermann

Not long ago, I posted some criticism of MSNBC's Keith Olbermann. I used to love Olbermann, but he jumped the shark when he got all self- important and self- promoting, and has been reduced to something of a hack with his outright campaigning for Barack Obama during his show Countdown and on campaign coverage.

Well, it seems I have an ally in Time's James Poniewozik. After Olbermann's latest over-the-top "special comment," in which he ripped Hillary Clinton's comments that alluded to the RFK assassination.

As the Huffington Post quoted:

"Even if we concede his argument--that Clinton was at best callously and at worst intentionally suggesting she should stay in the race because Obama might be killed--every time he turns up the volume to 11 like this lately, he sounds like just another of the cable gasbags he used to be a corrective to."

(Maybe Keith is down because, as Gawker reports, he's having some tax return problems.)

So this is a plea for Keith to come back to me, to all of us. Poniewozik writes that Olbermann can teach viewers like me a valuable lesson:
"... maybe the experience of being annoyed by someone you used to constantly agree with could teach political audiences something about how they have appeared all along to their adversaries... is it really they who've changed? Or are they simply less charming when they're not confirming your comfortable beliefs?"
I don't know or care. Keith needs to regain just a little credibility, maybe tone it down a little bit, even against the Bush administration. Obama's great-- we get it, Clinton's conniving-- I know. But it's gotten tired. And we sorely miss his astute, inspired and not-so obvious commentary.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Quote of the Day 5/ 30

"Scott McClellan says the president lied to get us into Iraq. That took balls, Scott... 5 years ago."
- Stephen Colbert

Picture of the Day 5/30

President Bush gave his final commencement address as Commander-in-Chief to the Air Force Academy. He gave a great speech (I'm sure) and then proceeded to chest bump and flex (not pictured) with some recent grads.

On McCain's Remarkable Buttocks

Check bellow and you'll see that Barack Obama released his medical records yesterday (Thursday afternoon). That was in response to John McCain doing the same with 8 years (1200 pages worth) of his records on the Friday before Memorial Day weekend (for 3 hours).

Here was Jon Stewart's (absolutely hilarious) take:

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Scotty Shines a Light

Former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan has been roundly criticized recently by the Bush administration for his new book (Karl Rove even likened him to "a liberal blogger").

You remember McClellen, he was the pudgy, beta- male that briefed the press early in the Iraq war and who (unwittingly, it would seem) lied about Karl Rove and Scooter Libby's involvement in the Valerie Plame debacle. He was pretty much a source of White House disinformation for a couple of years.

A Bush guy from Texas, McClellan came to DC under-prepared and ill-equipped to deal with the tremendous pressure of entrenched Washington neo-cons with their own agenda-- not unlike the president himself.

In his memoir, What Happened, McClellan puts a startlingly fine point on what most of us already know: The administration manipulated the facts surrounding Iraq, terrorism and WMD to get Americans to back a war under false pretenses.

McClellan was such an ardent "Bushie" that his words are even more striking than former administration and military officials that have also spoken out.

Watch McClellan's amazing interview with Today's Meredith Viera, where he details the personal side and professional roles of the president, Vice President Cheney, Secretaries Condi Rice and Don Rumsfeld--

Obama's Health Records Released

Barack Obama's long-time physician released his medical records, and proclaimed the Illinois senator "in excellent health."

"Senator Barack Obama is in overall good physical and mental health needed to maintain the resiliency required in the Office of President," Dr. David Scheiner wrote.

Obama's biggest problems are a history of smoking (he's chewing Nicorette to try and quit again) and a family history of cancer.

HIllary's Montana Ad

Hillary Clinton is still running for president, here's her first TV ad for the June 3 Montana primary.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Mission to Mars

NASA's Phoenix has sent pictures back from its Mars mission. Below is a video compilation of some amazing footage of the red planet. The probe touched down near one of Mars' poles, and will help discover if Mars' icy plains could have supported life. They are the first ever images of their kind.

The Whole World is Watching

Here's a brief clip from the NY Times with an international take on the US presidential election.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Every man's fantasy-- Pic of the Day 5/26

A Texas court decided that the state overstepped its bounds in removing children from their parents' (fashion- forward) polygamist sect. The court said the state failed to prove the children were in "imminent danger."

They might not have seen this pic...

... I think the one in the purple is actually an ex girlfriend of mine. We dated for a while, but then she told me she wanted to see other people, lots of other people....

(it took me 12 hours to come up with that joke)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Ellen & McCain go at it

John McCain went on the Ellen Degeneres' show, and Ellen addressed the "elephant in the room" by bringing up gay marriage. They had a strained, but cordial debate.

McCain is being smart by trying to maintain his independent appeal. He knows that '08 is the Democrats' year. They're going to increase their majorities in the House and Senate no matter what, he wants to be a candidate voters can pull a lever for, even while voting Democratic down the rest of the ticket.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Quote of the Day 5/21

"It was in this great state where we took the first steps of an unlikely journey to change America. The skeptics predicted we wouldn't get very far. The cynics dismissed us as a lot of hype and a little too much hope. And by the fall, the pundits in Washington had all but counted us out. But the people of Iowa had a different idea..."
- Presumptive Democratic Nominee Barack Obama giving a speech in Iowa on the night he secured a majority of the elected- delegates for the primaries.

According to CNN, Obama's five delegates from his crushing defeat in Kentucky give him 1627 of the total 3253, a majority. He is unlikely to reach the clinching 2025 without help from superdelegates.

Obama' s campaign really took off in Iowa, where a very young and predominantly white electorate gave his candidacy a sense of possibility and legitimacy. Before that, he even trailed among African- Americans, among whom he now leads at about 9:1.

Back in the Hawkeye State, Obama looked toward his general election showdown with Sen. John McCain, and said the Republican primary was a bunch of guys trying to "Out- Bush" one another, and that McCain won.

Meanwhile, he commended Sen. Clinton, and his campaign manager, David Axelrod wouldn't admit that the race is over. Of the secured majority he said, "It's an important milestone," but not the end of the race.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

There Can Only Be One

Saturday Night Live put a political spin on the NBA playoff ads that have been airing this spring...

Here's an example of the real thing:

And SNL's:

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Olbermann to Bush: Shut the Hell Up!

Keith Olbermann absolutely flew off the handle the other night. He used his closing comments to eviscerate the president for his insensitivity, dishonesty and callousness.

I've been critical of Olbermann on this site before. Parts of this clip bother me, I still think he's quite full of himself. But I respect his passion and sincerity.

As for what he says, I believe that he is factually correct. Bush was led all too happily down a path to unnecessary war by dishonest men like Ahmed Chalabi, Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld and other neo- cons. That's what happened.

They cooked evidence, twisted arms, intimidated, fabricated and scared us into Iraq. What's even worse is they had zero discernible plan for the aftermath, and were incompetent at every step of the way in building one as war unfolded.

Friday, May 16, 2008

One more thing...

In the clip in the post below, Chris Matthews takes a Righ- Wing radio host to task for comparing Barack Obama to Neville Chamberlain, but having no clue about Chamberlain's role in history. Watch it below, and read the post (if you want).

Toward the end, a thoroughly frustrated Matthews, who, if you've read any of his books, is a genuine history buff, calls James "a blank slate." He says, "This is pathetic... he's as bad as the White House press secretary who didn't know what the Cuban Missile Crisis was."

That's a reference to Press Secretary Dana Perino who admitted on NPR's Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me that she had no idea about that moment in American history.

Reason #243 to Hate Talk Radio: Kevin James

Last night on Hardball, Chris Matthews had Right-Wing radio host Kevin James on to argue that President Bush was right to use a speech in Israel to compare Barack Obama's call for diplomacy to those who wanted to appease Hitler in the late '30s.

Where to begin with this one?

From word 1 James is shouting and carrying on like a fake-tan ego maniac with severe 'roid rage. He also immediately changes his argument on whether or not President Bush referred to Obama.

Next, James had no idea what Neville Chamberlain did to appease Hitler. It's just a Ring-Wing talking point to compare anyone who wants to use diplomacy to the former UK PM. Matthews calls him out for about 3 mins, during which James, being the hack that he surely is, tries every trick to avoid the question and change the subject without admitting he just doesn't know.

To Matthews' credit, he doesn't let up. To (NY's own) Mark Green's credit (who was on to debate James) he astutely quotes Yitzak Rabin, points out the tired scare tactic of comparing everything to Hitler and gives the line of the show:

"Kevin, when you're in a hole, stop digging!"
Watch the clip and ask if there is something really wrong when a guy like this can host an open forum. I mean people actually listen to this man, and consider (even heed) what he has to say. Scary.

Every word he says in these 9-plus mins either factually incorrect or devoid of honesty. Why would Barack Obama go to the Knesset this week? It makes no sense, just like this guy.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Colbert and Papa Bear

You have probably seen the old clip of Bill O'Reilly blowing up at his Inside Edition staff, well here's a reaction from the O'Reilly's self proclaimed protoge Stephen Colbert:

Brokaw & Burgundy 1-on-1

Two giants of broadcasting went one on one on news and politics: Ron Burgundy and Tom Brokaw.

One way to put it: Quote of the Day 5/16

“This is bullshit, this is malarkey. This is outrageous, for the president of the United States to go to a foreign country, to sit in the Knesset ... and make this kind of ridiculous statement.”
- Sen. Joe Biden on President Bush's comments before Israel's Knesset on its 60th anniversary. Bush said that
"... some people [believe the United States] should negotiate with terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along."

We have heard this foolish delusion before. Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: 'Lord, if I could only have talked to Hitler, all this might have been avoided.' We have an obligation to call this what it is — the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history."

The comments seemed addressed to presumed Democratic nominee Barack Obama, who said he would open the lined of communication up with hostile forces like Iran and North Korea.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Ferrell's Bush on Climate Change

This is hilarious, Will Ferrell's President Bush imitation at its absolute best. It was for a TV special to raise awareness about climate change a while back. I haven't seen it in a while, and forgot how good it is.


One Special Election

Recently, Democrats captured two staunchly conservative Congressional districts in special elections. One was the Louisiana 6th, which Republicans controlled for over 30 years. The other (Speaker Hassert's old seat in Illinois) was held by Republicans for 76 years, save one 2- year term after Watergate.

Now, chalk up another one.

Last night, Democrats won Mississippi's first Congressional district, which President Bush carried with 62% in 2004. A Democratic Congressional candidate hadn't broken 35% in more than 15 years. Congressman- elect Travis Childers (D- MS*) narrowly defeated Southhaven Mayor Greg Davis.

The writing is on the wall- 2008 could be a re-aligning election. Democrats can win in places they haven't since LBJ, if they continue to focus on middle class issues (more on this later) and run with the change theme.

However, with such potential comes immense expectations from loyalists and donors. That pressure falls on Democratic leaders like Howard Dean, Rahm Emmanuel, Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and (of course, most of all) Barack Obama.

*- How weird does that look? It's like something out of 1954...

Quote of the Day 5/14

The bottom line is this: the White House is won in the swing states, and I am winning in the swing states... The question is: why do so many people keep voting? Why did 64% of Democrats say in a recent poll say they wanted this race to continue?
- Sen. Hillary Clinton after her huge 67- 26% victory in West Virginia.

Senator Clinton won the primary in Ohio, which decided the 2004 election, Florida (though Sen. Obama didn't campaign there), which decided 2000, and now West Virginia, which no Democrat has won the White House without since Woodrow Wilson in 1916.

The White House is indeed won in the swing states, that's what makes them swing states. The question that underlies Sen. Clinton's bottom line is: what are this year's swing states?

If the Democrats need West Virginia this time around, Sen. McCain can probably start measuring the Oval Office drapes now.

But Obama has beaten Clinton in Republican- leaning states that he could win November: Virginia, Colorado, New Mexico and Missouri among others. If Obama won a couple of these, West Virginia and other more traditional swing states might not matter.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Hill's 3 Key Points

SNL's Amy Poehler, as Hillary Clinton, outlined the New York Senator's three main selling points to super-delegates.

More Muslim BS

West Virginia is going out to the polls today in strong support of Sen. Hillary Clinton. It seems that many voters there have discounted her rival, likely Democratic nominee Barack Obama, because of the constant rumor that he's Muslim.

I had thought that perhaps the one positive from the Rev. Wright controversy would be the end of the Muslim rumor. Guess not...

On Clinton's Outcome

EJ Dionne wrote an interesting article on the extremes of Hillary Clinton's ultimately disappointing campaign for president. Here are a couple of positives he sees from her (and her supporters') POV:

1) Hillary is finally her own woman: She started the race unable to escape her husband's considerable shadow, yet throughout the campaign she was far better off in the spotlight than when he took the lead. Bill seemed to be in the news for all the wrong reasons, but Hillary was a legitimate force with talent beyond President Clinton's reach.

2) She did her party a favor: Newsflash-- Democrats struggle with white working class men. Al Gore and John Kerry could never connect with them, and it cost both men the White House. For all Barack Obama's lofty rhetoric, big crowds and bulging war-chest, he, too, was vulnerable on issues that mattered to these voters. He may have been sliding down the Gore/ Kerry path to confounding Election Night loss. But Hillary's campaign forced him off the stage and into the trenches, connecting with the country's middle class backbone.

As Dionne put it:

Clinton, widely seen as the champion of older, well-educated feminist women, could be remembered as the politician who brought the party back to its working-class roots.
For all she's accomplished, and surely these two matters are mere snippets, Clinton has lost a lot as well. She has enormous debt-- some $20 million. Also, her and her husband's reputation in the Black American community, once sterling, will probably never fully recover.

For all the gains and losses, Dionne hopes that Clinton and her supporters emerge from their defeat with a sense of possibility. They failed in a major respect, but Sen. Clinton is more independent, and in many ways stronger, than she ever would have been had she coasted to her "inevitable" mid- winter nomination. Also, one of her allies, like Evan Byah, will likely wind up on Obama's ticket.

Senator Clinton will be a force, to the extent she wants. Dionne hopes she accepts this, and tackles the possibilities of a new role with the same tenacity she pursued the elusive Democratic nomination.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Burn 'Em at the Stake!

Substitute teacher Jim Piculas was told he would not be asked back to Rushe Middle School in Land O Lakes, Florida. It seems Mr. Piculas performed a 30- second magic trick where he made a toothpick disappear and reappear.

The next day, he was called into the principal's office to face charges of "Wizardry."

Crazy right?

Afterward, Piculas was so upset and insulted that he hopped on his dragon and just took off. Calls to his castle for comment haven't been returned.

All Even

The New York Times, CBS and ABC are all reporting that Barack Obama has caught, and maybe even passed, Hillary Clinton in super-delegate support. These party officials had been Clinton's last refuge in her race for the Democratic nomination.

ABC actually has Obama with a one- delegate lead. Meanwhile, NBC News still puts Clinton on top, albeit by an ever shrinking margin- 273.5 to 267. I tend to trust NBC News, because I like Chuck Todd so much.

Whatever the case, it's only a matter of time now before Obama is his party's nominee for president.

Rahm Emanuel, the powerful Congressman from Illinois called Sen. Obama the "presumptive nominee." He leads in states won, votes cast and money raised, so this shift in super-delegates was really only a matter of time.

Thursday, May 8, 2008


Oliver Stone's W has started production. Stone's producers hope to have the movie out by October, at the height of the presidential race. Entertainment Weekly has an extensive article on the movie.

The director actually went to Yale with President Bush back in the 60s, before he dropped out to serve in Vietnam (Stone did, not Bush). Although, he says they never crossed paths. ''If I met him there, I don't remember. But I do remember John Kerry. He was big man on campus, head of the Political Union. I definitely remember him."

Stone insists he will be fair to the man in his portrait.

"Bush may turn out to be the worst president in history... But that doesn't mean he isn't a great story. It's almost Capra-esque, the story of a guy who had very limited talents in life, except for the ability to sell himself. The fact that he had to overcome the shadow of his father and the weight of his family name — you have to admire his tenacity. There's almost an Andy Griffith quality to him, from A Face in the Crowd. If Fitzgerald were alive today, he might be writing about him. He's sort of a reverse Gatsby."

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Picture of the Day 5/ 7

Here's a funny picture of protesters down in Texas. According to, the pair is protesting a police prostitution sting and the publication of women's photos in the newspaper the next day.

The "Jhon's" thing is funny enough, but check out the top sign the lady on the right is holding, you can just barely make it out: Adrress the Demand!

Obama puts it away

Last night, Hillary won the great state of Indiana. Maybe it was Monday's stop at the Dairy Queen down the corner from my house that put her over the top. But it was only by two points, 51- 49. And she's skipping the morning talk shows.

So basically, after his 14- point victory in North Carolina, the Democrats have their nominee. It's no longer a question of who, it's a matter of when.

Below is Obama's NC victory speech. Complete with his newly developed southern accent!

Gingirch Pleas to Republicans

At his website, Newt Gingrich sends out an appeal to his party to change its strategy or face defeat in November. He has some startling numbers and analysis to back him up:

This past weekend Louisiana held a special Congressional election in its 6th district. It's a district George W. Bush won by 19 points in 2004 and Republicans have controlled since 1975.

They lost it this weekend.

There was another special election earlier for former Speaker Denny Hastert's old seat in Illinois. That seat had been held by a Republican for 76 years with the single exception of the 1974 Watergate election when the Democrats held it for one term. That same seat had been carried by President Bush 55-44% in 2004.

The Democrats took it.

With these elections and Bush's approval rating at historic lows (no president has ever been under 40% this long), Gingrich argues Republicans need to adopt (or co-opt) a the message of change, or get blown out of Congress.

Polls show that Americans now trust Democrats more than Republicans to handle the deficit (52- 31), taxes (48- 40) and terrorism (44-37).

Gingrich notes that McCain's strong polling numbers suggest that his support exists independent of Congressional Republicans, and Republican candidates won't be able to count on a McCain bump come the fall.

To combat these bad Republican trends, Gingrich gives 9 issues for "Real Change" Republicans can use. Some aren't new (English as the official language), but others are interesting (slashing the Census budget, establish an earmark moratorium).

No Republicans should kid themselves. It's time to face up to a stark choice.

Without change we could face a catastrophic election this fall.

Without change the Republican Party in the House could revert to the permanent minority status it had from 1930 to 1994.

Check the above link for the full article.

Delegate Update

NBC News has allocated some of the pledged delegates from Indiana and Pennsylvania.

INDIANA: Clinton 35-31 (6 remain to be allocated)
NORTH CAROLINA: Obama 49-42 (24 remain to be allocated)

The Delegate Counts:
PLEDGED: Obama 1,572-1,415
SUPERDELEGATES: Clinton 272.5-256
OVERALL: 1,828-1.687.5

This would put Obama within 197 of the 2,025. (This, of course, does not include Florida and Michigan.)

NOTE: For those tracking popular vote and that metric at home, Obama has likely netted more of the popular vote out of North Carolina than Clinton did in Pennsylvania. With 98% reporting in North Carolina, Obama leads by 225,266 votes. Clinton netted 214,224 out of Pennsylvania.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Back with the Assault Paperback

My last final (ever) is behind me, so I'm back to the blog. The book that inspired the site is coming out on paperback: The Assault on Reason.

To launch the paperback, Al Gore wrote a message and had a chat on

I've dedicated my book, The Assault on Reason, to my father, Senator Albert Gore Sr., the bravest politician I've ever known. In the 1970 mid-term elections, President Richard Nixon relied on a campaign of fear to consolidate his power... my father was accused of being unpatriotic because he was steadfast in his opposition to the War--and as he was labeled an atheist because he dared to oppose a constitutional amendment to foster government-sponsored prayer in the public schools. The 1970 campaign is now regarded by political historians as a watershed, marking a sharp decline in the tone of our national discourse--a decline that has only worsened in recent years as fear has become a more powerful political tool than trust, public consumption of entertainment has dramatically surpassed that of serious news, and blind faith has proven more potent than truth. You have a chapter on the importance of checks and balances in government (in a sense, that's what the whole book is about), and we're seeing the effect that active oversight from Congress is having right now. For most of your eight years in office, you and Bill Clinton had to work with a Republican Congress. I'm sure that at times (say, 1998) that had its frustrations, but do you think it was valuable to have that balance, or did it prevent you from doing what you came into office to do?

Gore: Checks and balances are vital to the functioning of our system of government. Of course it can have its frustrations, but the Founders intended that we have a system whereby no one branch has too much control over the others. Ultimately, it is up to voters to decide the control of Congress and the White House and then for elected officials to work to serve the public interest and to try to implement policies that serve the country. These are core values that are at the heart of who we are as a nation. I wanted to ask about the Office of the Vice President. I think it's safe to say that the last two vice presidents, you and Dick Cheney, have been the most powerful and influential in our history. Why do you think that is?

Gore: I think the answer is very different in the two administrations, but in a world that is truly globalized, with a broader information ecology, with challenges ranging from a more complex system of international issues ranging from the climate crisis to asymmetric attacks, it is not a surprise that a President might choose to draw upon more advice from the office of the vice president than in the past. This is a trend that I would expect to continue under future presidents, as the range of the demands on the presidency will not diminish over time.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Carville Rages On: Quote of the Day 5/4

When I worked for James Carville a couple of years back, I was always amazed at his ability to find the perfect turn-of-phrase to fit any situation. They were sometimes crude, usually funny, and always insightful. That ability is on full display in a recent Newsweek article.

On Barack Obama's string of Superdelegate endorsements, Carville quipped,

"A superdelegate commitment and a four bucks will get you a cup of coffee at the Ritz Carlton."
He also took note of Obama's increasing vulnerability and perceived lack of toughness,
"Everything that's happened to him is not because of her. She hasn't laid much of a glove on him other than just being there."
Sen. Clinton, he argued is easily the tougher of the two candidates,
"If she gave him one of her cojones, they'd both have two."
How great is that?

Friday, May 2, 2008

Top Ten Surprising Facts about Barack Obama

Last night on Letterman Barack Obama delivered the Top 10 Surprising Facts about Barack Obama, live from South Bend, Indiana (home to many great Americans).