Thursday, October 30, 2008


I have been wondering about this issue of massive crowds to hear political speeches. I don't know if people are really critically thinking about the issues or are they just following a political redeemer.

As the late Nobel laureate Elias Canetti observes in his great book, "Crowds and Power" (first published in 1960), the crowd is based on an illusion of equality: Its quest is for that moment when "distinctions are thrown off and all become equal. It is for the sake of this blessed moment, when no one is greater or better than another, that people become a crowd." These crowds, in the tens of thousands, who have been turning out for the Democratic standard-bearer in St. Louis and Denver and Portland, are a measure of American distress.

The morning after the election, the disappointment will begin to settle upon the Obama crowd. Defeat -- by now unthinkable to the devotees -- will bring heartbreak. Victory will steadily deliver the sobering verdict that our troubles won't be solved by a leader's magic.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Basically this argument is that libertarians would rather face Obama's economically intrusive policies as opposed to McCain's alliance with social conservatives.

Monday, October 27, 2008


Playing both sides of the issue.

Two contrasting views of the Democratic Party’s use of the abortion issue in this year’s election have emerged in recent press reports. When one reads them together, a fascinating picture emerges of how the Dems are deploying and funding anti-choice messages in the conservative House districts that they hope to pick up from Republicans while simultaneously playing up pro-choice messages in districts where that works for them. Pragmatic or just smarmy?

The strategy is pretty clear: say whatever works on the social issues in order to capitalize on the wave of anger and frustration bordering on desperation that is about to sweep Obama into office and possibly change the face of Congress. And hey, I’ve got no desire to stand in the way of that.


Michael Malone (ABC News) on slanted press coverage.

The sheer bias in the print and television coverage of this election campaign is not just bewildering, but appalling. And over the last few months I've found myself slowly moving from shaking my head at the obvious one-sided reporting, to actually shouting at the screen of my television and my laptop computer.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Pew Research Center Report. McCain and Palin obviously get hit with negative coverage far more than Obama and Biden. FOX has a study on late night jokes which also shows McCain/Palin are the butt of far more jokes. Here is a collection of election jokes.

Voters say media wants Obama to win according to this Pew report.


Interesting. I wonder if there are more loopholes out there?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Fat women produce conservative offspring!

Conservatives, on average, outweigh liberals. Maybe it’s just a regional thing, as conservatives tend to congregate in parts of the country where the daily diet consists of fried food, meat and potatoes, and that sort of stuff (my own preferred cuisine, I confess). But maybe, just maybe, there’s more to the weight-political ideology link than cultural geography.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Monday, October 20, 2008


I just finished reading James Parker's review of Religulous in The Atlantic Monthly. The most perceptive, and saddest, quote if you are a practicing Christian is the following:

Religulous should make the faithful wince. The average Christian--as if we needed reminding--makes a piss-poor apologist for his own faith.

As I thought about this, maybe there is something worse--it's scientists who try to defend their evolutionary world view and tenure battles in the movie Expelled. When Richard Dawkin's raises the issues of aliens jump-starting earth, is it any different from Christians trying to justify their faith? Then again this type of film-genre may lead to these kind of responses or omit the more serious arguments.

Monday, October 06, 2008


‘Watch money. Money is the barometer of a society’s virtue. When you see that trading is done not by consent, but by compulsion — when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing — when you see that money is flowing to those who deal not in goods, but in favors—when you see that men get rich more easily by graft than by work, and your laws no longer protect you against them, but protect them against you — when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice — you may know that your society is doomed.’

Ayn Rand


From Catholic.Vote.Com--I haven't seen anything this well-produced by any group on the Religious Right. The message comes across clearly without loud stridency.

Sunday, October 05, 2008


David McCullough's 1995 speech at the National Book Awards.

We, in our time, are raising a new generation of Americans who, to an alarming degree, are historically illiterate.

The situation is serious and sad. And it is quite real, let there be no mistake. It has been coming on for a long time, like a creeping disease, eating away at the national memory. While the clamorous popular culture races on, the American past is slipping away, out of site and out of mind. We are losing our story, forgetting who we are and what it's taken to come this far.

Saturday, October 04, 2008


The Washington politicians have failed us. Famous last words:

"We will not Christmas-tree this bill," Sen. Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat promised a few days ago. "The times are too urgent. Everyone has their own desires and needs. It's going to have to wait."

(Includes a chart which shows where the billions are going.)

Thursday, October 02, 2008


A collection of post-debate comments at The Moderate Voice.

Who made mistakes:

Michael Totten on Biden:

In Thursday night’s vice presidential debate between Senator Joe Biden and Governor Sarah Palin, Biden said the strangest and most ill-informed thing I have ever heard about Lebanon in my life. “When we kicked — along with France, we kicked Hezbollah out of Lebanon, I said and Barack said, “Move NATO forces in there. Fill the vacuum, because if you don’t know — if you don’t, Hezbollah will control it.” Now what’s happened? Hezbollah is a legitimate part of the government in the country immediately to the north of Israel.” [Emphasis added.]

What on Earth is he talking about? The United States and France may have kicked Hezbollah out of Lebanon in an alternate universe, but nothing even remotely like that ever happened in this one.

Nobody – nobody – has ever kicked Hezbollah out of Lebanon. Not the United States. Nor France. Not Israel. And not the Lebanese. Nobody.

Fact Check:

ABC News independently fact checked some of these claims and found both vice presidential wannabes were guilty of stretching the truth during the debate

TaxProf: Palin made more mistakes on tax policy.


From the Wall Street Journal: a collection of quotes by politicians on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in 2003.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008


TaxProf has a good summary of the issues involved.

All Mr. Paulson’s proposal aimed to do was to put lubricant back into the engine, to get short-term money flowing again to prevent our economic engine from freezing up. Now that the proposal has gone down to defeat, we can only hope that Mr. Paulson was wrong.


Der Spiegel reports:

George W. Bush has grown old, erratic and rosy in the eight years of his presidency. Little remains of his combativeness or his enthusiasm for physical fitness. On this sunny Tuesday morning in New York, even his hair seemed messy and unkempt, his blue suit a little baggy around the shoulders, as Bush stepped onto the stage, for the eighth time, at the United Nations General Assembly.

And now, of all times, the world is faced with a preeminent power that no longer seems capable of leading and a US president who is not even able to unite his divided country in an hour of need.

For weeks, Bush ignored the crisis, insisting on the strength of the market and telling Americans: "Everything will be fine."

In a televised address to the nation last Wednesday, Bush gave his oath of disclosure. He warned Americans that they could face a "long and painful recession" and that "millions of Americans could lose their jobs" unless swift action is taken.

But nothing happened swiftly, at least not at first. The crisis is happening while the United States is in a political vacuum. Bush lacks the power needed for decisive leadership, and his potential successors, John McCain and Barack Obama, seem more concerned about making a strong impression on voters.


If news reporters want to support a candidate that is fine, but should they report the news or moderate a debate? I want to see a real debate that is impartial. If Sarah Palin fails, I want to be sure it is her failure and not because the moderator is favoring Joe Biden.

Thursday's Vice Presidential Debate between Governor Sarah Palin and Senator Joe Biden will be moderated by a staunch Obama supporter.

Gwen Ifill wrote a book on her friend, Barack Obama, that will be released on January 20, 2009... Inaugural Day.

It is beginning to look like Hillary can make a good case for the media holding her accountable in ways it didn't Barack Obama. Joe Biden has been given a walk for his statement that he "was shot at in Iraq"--Hillary wasn't given this light treatment for saying she was fired at on a Bosnia visit.