Sunday, August 31, 2008

Life Fragment - 08.30.08

Note in small notepad i carry with me:

i feel out of touch --- ashamed of my education. i talk over people's heads and have a hard time relating.

Advisers Say Conservative Ire Pushed McCain Away From Picking Lieberman

Published: August 30, 2008

WASHINGTON — In the end, the choice of his running mate said more about Senator John McCain and his image of himself than it did about Sarah Palin, the little-known governor of Alaska whose selection has shaken up the presidential race.

For weeks, advisers close to the campaign said, Mr. McCain had wanted to name as his running mate his good friend Senator Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut, the Democrat turned independent. But by the end of last weekend, the outrage from Christian conservatives over the possibility that Mr. McCain would fill out the Republican ticket with Mr. Lieberman, a supporter of abortion rights, had become too intense to be ignored.

With time running out, and after a long meeting with his inner circle in Phoenix, Mr. McCain finally picked up the phone last Sunday and reached Ms. Palin at the Alaska State Fair. Although the campaign’s polling on Mr. McCain’s potential running mates was inconclusive on the selection of Ms. Palin — virtually no one had heard of her, a McCain adviser said — the governor, who opposes abortion, had glowing reviews from influential social conservatives.

Mr. McCain was comfortable with two others on his short list, Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota and former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts. But neither was the transformative, attention-grabbing choice Mr. McCain felt he needed, top campaign advisers said, to help him pivot from his image as the custodian of the status quo to a change agent like his Democratic rival, Senator Barack Obama.

Not least, Mr. Obama’s decision to pass over Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton as his running mate opened the possibility for Republicans to put a woman on the ticket and pick off some of Mrs. Clinton’s supporters.

(Click here for full story)

Cindy McCain on ABC Today: Palin Has National Security Experience Because Alaska Is Close To Russia

From Greg Mitchell at The Huffington Post:

When a Fox News morning host, Steve Doocy, testified to Sarah Palin's national security experience on Friday by saying that her state, Alaska, was so close to Russia, it drew hoots across the media and blogosphere (and even, no doubt, from a few Fox viewers).

This morning, on ABC in an interview with George Stephanopoulos, Cindy McCain endorsed this very view.

Asked about Palin's national security experience, Cindy McCain could not come up with anything beyond the fact that, after all, her state is right next to Russia. "You know, the experience that she comes from is, what she has done in government -- and remember that Alaska is the closest part of our continent to Russia."

She added that Palin has "was more experience than...." but Stephanopoulos cut her off before she could say, for example, "Barack Obama" or maybe "others give her credit for."

Earlier, she said that Palin was "heavily experienced" in general, citing her going from the PTA to mayor to governor -- and having a son headed for Iraq. She actually said that she started her political career at the PTA "like everybody else." She also said she met her just before Palin's meeting with McCain on Thursday and came away impressed that she too was a "reformer."

Meanwhile, Palin's mother-in-law, Faye Palin, told a New York Daily News reporter that she didn't agree with Sarah on everything and hadn't yet decided how she would vote. She added: "I'm not sure what she brings to the ticket other than she's a woman and a conservative. Well, she's a better speaker than McCain," Faye Palin said with a laugh.


What the Alaska media is saying about Sarah Palin

By Jimmy Orr 08.30.08

While the media, pundits, insiders and know-it-alls continue to blab endlessly about the pros and cons of new McCain running mate Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, there is a fair amount of blabbering going on up in Palin’s home state as well.

Surprised, shocked and stunned seem to be words thrown about most often in describing first reactions to hearing the news. In fact, Alaska’s Attorney General compared it to landing on the moon. Not Palin landing on the moon. Although if it polled well - and chances are the McCain team has already polled it - she’d be giving her speech next week from orbit.

Regardless, the headline of the day came from an article written by a disaffected writer named Alan Suderman in Juneau admonishing the national media for mispronouncing Governor’s last name. His headline, “Note to nation: Palin rhymes with Van Halen” sets the record straight.

“The most notable gaffe was the mispronunciation of her last name on television and radio,” Suderman writes. “Several pundits called her PAL-IN, instead of PAY-LYN (rhymes with Van Halen) as Alaskans call her. Even McCain’s spokesman, Tucker Bounds, got her name wrong.”

Other media commentary from the 49th state include:

Anchorage Daily News

McCain’s choice of Palin was somewhat surprising because she most definitely is not a standard-issue Republican. She worked with liberal Democrats in the Legislature to pass a multi-billion-dollar tax increase on Alaska’s oil industry. She went back to Democrats again to win approval of her natural gas pipeline deal, which bypasses Alaska’s major oil companies in favor of a Canadian company.

In fact, Palin is almost totally alienated from the Republican Party establishment here. She tried and failed to get rid of ethically compromised party Chair Randy Ruedrich; they’re not on speaking terms. In the August primary, Palin urged fellow Republicans to desert long-time Congressman Don Young in favor of her inexperienced and uninspiring lieutenant governor, Sean Parnell.

Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

Most people would acknowledge that, regardless of her charm and good intentions, Palin is not ready for the top job. McCain seems to have put his political interests ahead of the nation’s when he created the possibility that she might fill it.

It’s clear that McCain picked Palin for reasons of image, not substance. She’s a woman. She has fought corruption. She has fought the oil companies. She’s married to a union member. These are portrayals for campaign speeches; they are not policy positions.

Juneau Empire

In a few short years, Sarah Palin moved from small-town mayor with a taste for mooseburgers to the governor’s office and now - making history - to John McCain’s side as the first female running mate on a Republican presidential ticket.

She has more experience catching fish than dealing with foreign policy or national affairs. Talk about a rocketing ascent.


Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Daily Show on Palin

Thanks El.

The inadequate image epidemic

My close friend Travis sent the following expert to me via e-mail today. What a wonderful section! This passage comes from one in a series of interviews in the book Herzog on Herzog. Let me know what you think. Also, you may interested in Travis' recent post of a letter from Ebert to Herzog and also a video interview.


Do you have an ideology? Something that drives you beyond mere storytelling?

Well, I would have to say that 'mere' storytelling, as you call it, is good enough for a film. When I sit down to write a script I never attempt to articulate my ideas in abstract terms through the veil of an ideology. My films come to me very much alive, like dreams without logical patterns or academic explanations. I will have a basic idea for a film and then over a period of time, when maybe I am driving or walking, it becomes clearer and clearer to me. I see the film before me, as if I were in a cinema. Soon it is so perfectly transparent that I can sit and write it all down. It is as if I were copying from a movie screen. I like to write fast because it gives the story a certain urgency. I leave out all unnecessary things and just go for it. A story written this way will have, for me at least, much more coherence and drive. And it will also be full of life. For these reasons it has never taken me longer than four or five days to write a script. I just sit in front of the typewriter or computer and pound the keys.

Whether I have an ideology is not something that I have ever given much thought to, though I do understand where the question might come from. People generally sense I am very well-oriented and know where I have come from, where I am standing now and where I am going. But it is not an ideology as most people think of the term. It is just that I understand the world in my own way and am capable of articulating this understanding into stories and images that seem to be coherent to others. Even after watching my films, it bothers some people that they still cannot put their finger on what my ideology might be. Please, take what I'm saying with a pair of pliers, but let me tell you: the ideology is simply the films themselves and my ability to make them. This is what scares those people who try so hard to analyze and criticize me and my work. I do not like to drop names, but what sort of an ideology would you push under the shirt of Conrad or Hemingway or Kafka? Goya or Caspar David Friedrich?

I have often spoken of what I call the inadequate imagery of today's civilization. I have the impression that the images that surround us today are worn out; they are abused and useless and exhausted. They are limping and dragging themselves behind the rest of our cultural evolution. When I look at the postcards in tourist shops and the images and advertisements that surround us in magazines, or I turn on the television, or if I walk into a travel agency and see those huge posters with that same tedious image of the Grand Canyon on them, I truly feel there is something dangerous emerging here. The biggest danger, in my opinion, is television because to a certain degree it ruins our vision and makes us very sad and lonesome. Our grandchildren will blame us for not having tossed hand-grenades into TV stations because of commercials. Television kills our imagination and what we end up with are worn-out images because of the inability of too many people to seek out fresh ones.

As a race we have become aware of certain dangers that surround us. We comprehend, for example, that nuclear power is a real danger for mankind, that over-crowding of the planet is the greatest of all. We have understood that the destruction of the environment is another enormous danger. But I truly believe that the lack of adequate imagery is a danger of the same magnitude. It is as serious a defect as being without a memory. What have we done to our images? What have we done to our embarrassed landscapes? I have said this before and will repeat it again as long as I am able to talk: if we don not develop adequate images we will die out like dinosaurs. Look at the depiction of Jesus in our iconography, unchanged since the vanilla ice-cream kitsch of the Nazarene school of painting in the late nineteenth century. These images alone are sufficient proof that Christianity is moribund. We need images in accordance with our civilization and our innermost conditioning, and this is the reason why I like an film that searches for new images no matter in what direction it moves or what story it tells. One must dig like an archaeologist and search our violated landscapes to find anything new.

Palin, eh?

From Jack:
"Some early observations: McCain is desperate to win the same votes that Sen. Clinton won in the primaries, so he tries to find the "Republican Hillary." And by "Republican Hillary," McCain means a woman. There is no "Republican Hillary."

From Daily Kos:

Sarah Palin was had political experience only as a small town mayor until less than two years ago. What we don't know about her could fill a book. Here are a few things we're learning about Palin.

Sarah Palin left the finances of her town Wasilla in tatters when she moved on in 2002 (h/t xgz). She wanted a legacy as mayor, it seems, and pushed hard for the town to build a hyper-expensive sports complex. But Palin screwed the process up badly. Instead of buying the land for the complex when it was offered, her administration allowed a developer named Gary Lundgren to snap it up. Then Wasilla tried to seize the land from Lundgren through eminent domain. In the end, what with court costs Wasilla paid at least $ 1.7 million for land it could have bought for less than one tenth that sum - if the purchase had been handled properly. For this incompetence, Wasilla is still paying a steep price: higher taxes and cutbacks in services. In other words Palin is about as efficient as Michael Brown, onetime head of FEMA.

Diarist loyalson, a resident of Wasilla, has more to say about the damage Palin did to his town while she was mayor.

On the single most debated issue of our times, the Iraq war, Sarah Palin similarly was out to lunch until as recently as last spring. Shortly after becoming governor, she was asked her views on the surge (h/t LizzyPop):


An excerpt of a letter i received from today:

"Yesterday was John McCain's 72nd birthday. If elected, he'd be the oldest president ever inaugurated. And after months of slamming Barack Obama for "inexperience," here's who John McCain has chosen to be one heartbeat away from the presidency: a right-wing religious conservative with no foreign policy experience, who until recently was mayor of a town of 9,000 people.


Who is Sarah Palin? Here's some basic background:

  • She was elected Alaska's governor a little over a year and a half ago. Her previous office was mayor of Wasilla, a small town outside Anchorage. She has no foreign policy experience.1
  • Palin is strongly anti-choice, opposing abortion even in the case of rape or incest.2
  • She supported right-wing extremist Pat Buchanan for president in 2000. 3
  • Palin thinks creationism should be taught in public schools.4
  • She's doesn't think humans are the cause of climate change.5
  • She's solidly in line with John McCain's "Big Oil first" energy policy. She's pushed hard for more oil drilling and says renewables won't be ready for years. She also sued the Bush administration for listing polar bears as an endangered species—she was worried it would interfere with more oil drilling in Alaska.6
  • How closely did John McCain vet this choice? He met Sarah Palin once at a meeting. They spoke a second time, last Sunday, when he called her about being vice-president. Then he offered her the position.7"
Some of my own opinions:
Like Jack, my first impression is that McCain has selected a "Republican Hillary" --- a shallow choice that is further evidence of the common criticism that he is "out of touch." i view his selection as an insult to women nation-wide, laden with the underlying assumption that Hillary supporters chose her as a viable candidate, not because of her policies and experience, but because of her gender. The "we'll replace the kids dead pet with one that looks just like it and they'll never know" ideology is a slap in the face to female voters. My criticism is more of McCain than Palin, really. Though, of course, Palin did accept the job. It's difficult to imagine past Hillary supporters voting for an anti-abortion rights, creationist, gun-toting member of the NRA. i guess we'll just have to wait and see.

McCain is also surely trying to strip away the "historical precedence" card from Obama, a potentially wise move that could swing votes. Many who are planning on voting for Obama solely on the historical nature of his candidacy will now reconsider. Like Will says over at Hopolis, McCain now has a "change" ticket like his Democrat counterparts. Perhaps i'm a bit biased, but the Palin story is a lot harder to sell than the Obama story. Some experience looks shinier when placed next to no experience. So it goes.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Thursday, August 28, 2008

AP's Babbington Finishes Critique Before Obama Finishes Speech

But, of course, Olbermann wouldn't let him go that easy. Check out more of the story at Daily Kos. You would think a professional would worry more about posting a headline to the wire seven minutes early.


Barack Obama: To Chairman Dean and my great friend Dick Durbin; and to all my fellow citizens of this great nation.

With profound gratitude and great humility, I accept your nomination for the presidency of the United States.

Let me express my thanks to the historic slate of candidates who accompanied me on this journey, and especially the one who traveled the farthest -- a champion for working Americans and an inspiration to my daughters and to yours -- Hillary Rodham Clinton. To President Clinton, who last night made the case for change as only he can make it; to Ted Kennedy, who embodies the spirit of service; and to the next vice president of the United States, Joe Biden, I thank you. I am grateful to finish this journey with one of the finest statesmen of our time, a man at ease with everyone from world leaders to the conductors on the Amtrak train he still takes home every night.

To the love of my life, our next first lady, Michelle Obama, and to Sasha and Malia -- I love you so much, and I'm so proud of all of you.

Four years ago, I stood before you and told you my story -- of the brief union between a young man from Kenya and a young woman from Kansas who weren't well-off or well-known, but shared a belief that in America, their son could achieve whatever he put his mind to.

It is that promise that has always set this country apart -- that through hard work and sacrifice, each of us can pursue our individual dreams but still come together as one American family, to ensure that the next generation can pursue their dreams as well.

That's why I stand here tonight. Because for 232 years, at each moment when that promise was in jeopardy, ordinary men and women -- students and soldiers, farmers and teachers, nurses and janitors -- found the courage to keep it alive.

We meet at one of those defining moments -- a moment when our nation is at war, our economy is in turmoil, and the American promise has been threatened once more.

Tonight, more Americans are out of work and more are working harder for less. More of you have lost your homes and even more are watching your home values plummet. More of you have cars you can't afford to drive, credit card bills you can't afford to pay, and tuition that's beyond your reach.

These challenges are not all of government's making. But the failure to respond is a direct result of a broken politics in Washington and the failed policies of George W. Bush.

America, we are better than these last eight years. We are a better country than this.

This country is more decent than one where a woman in Ohio, on the brink of retirement, finds herself one illness away from disaster after a lifetime of hard work.

This country is more generous than one where a man in Indiana has to pack up the equipment he's worked on for 20 years and watch it shipped off to China, and then chokes up as he explains how he felt like a failure when he went home to tell his family the news.

We are more compassionate than a government that lets veterans sleep on our streets and families slide into poverty; that sits on its hands while a major American city drowns before our eyes.

Tonight, I say to the American people, to Democrats and Republicans and independents across this great land -- enough! This moment -- this election -- is our chance to keep, in the 21st century, the American promise alive. Because next week, in Minnesota, the same party that brought you two terms of George Bush and Dick Cheney will ask this country for a third. And we are here because we love this country too much to let the next four years look like the last eight. On November 4, we must stand up and say: "Eight is enough."

(Click for full speech...)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Umm... me.

i've been tagged by El, so i can't help but oblige. Here it goes (no word limit):

What is missing from my life? :: The clarity to know what i'm missing
Will I find love? :: i have.
Will I become rich? :: i can fathom becoming rich or living the greater portion of my life poor. i suppose it's a matter of chance.
Does someone have a crush on me? :: i often think people do. Probably not true :)
What is my favorite sexual position? :: i don't discriminate.
Am I good looking? :: Sure. i always think i was a more handsome teenager though. My wife disagrees.
What makes me the most happy? :: Truly feeling alive.
What is my biggest regret? :: Oh my. Umm... where do i start? :) Breaking hearts.
How will I die? :: Unexpectedly?
Do I act my age? :: i usually act younger than my age or like an old man, depending on the time of day.
What type of tattoo should I get? :: i want to tattoo "And what shall i love if not the enigma?" on my upper back.
What is my spirit animal? :: Since i experienced the Navajo medicine wheel, a deer.
Do I like pain? :: No, but i recognize its benefits. My constant migraines have humbled me many a time.
Is there anyone else like me out there? :: Not sure. i'd love some advice from them.
Do I love to party? :: i enjoy get-togethers. Does that count? Above 15-20 becomes a bit much for me. i like hosting parties though.
Where should I move to? :: A big city in the states, Europe, or back to Asia.
Am I secretly gay? :: No, but i have wondered before.
Will I ever be president? :: A more appropriate question would be: Would i ever want to be President? No.
What is fun for me? :: Movie watching, day-dreaming, talking, politics (strangely), and other stuff.
Will I ever learn to fly? :: i wish. i can't even fly in my dreams.
What is my super power? :: i'm super sensitive to vibes.
What can I do to move on? :: Accept the inevitability of past, present, and future mistakes and regrets. Also, keep a child's curiosity.

to carry on the tradition, i tag: andrew, jolyn, jack, and dave.

Wake Up America!

Sorry for the hiatus. Here's a treat. Wake up!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Friday, August 08, 2008

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Life Fragment - Talk With Mom Pt.2


How to Write With Style

by Kurt Vonnegut

Newspaper reporters and technical writers are trained to reveal almost nothing about themselves in their writings. This makes them freaks in the world of writers, since almost all of the other ink-stained wretches in that world reveal a lot about themselves to readers. We call these revelations, accidental and intentional, elements of style.

These revelations tell us as readers what sort of person it is with whom we are spending time. Does the writer sound ignorant or informed, stupid or bright, crooked or honest, humorless or playful-- ? And on and on.

Why should you examine your writing style with the idea of improving it? Do so as a mark of respect for your readers, whatever you're writing. If you scribble your thoughts any which way, your readers will surely feel that you care nothing about them. They will mark you down as an egomaniac or a chowderhead --- or, worse, they will stop reading you.

The most damning revelation you can make about yourself is that you do not know what is interesting and what is not. Don't you yourself like or dislike writers mainly for what they choose to show you or make you think about? Did you ever admire an emptyheaded writer for his or her mastery of the language? No.

So your own winning style must begin with ideas in your head.

(More from source...)


My friend Andrew brought this to my attention. You better believe i'm excited.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Are you kidding me?

The McCain camp can't do better than this?

And, last but not least, from the RNC:

A few good articles that address these ads can be found here, here, and here (all from The Huffington Post).

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Life Fragment - Jan. 7, 2001

i guess saying it's been a while since i've written would be an understatement. Yet, when you're captured in everyday materialistic and worldly nonsense, it's easy to neglect the pen. Which, in a sense, is my dissecting point because the pen was always my psychiatrist. i've been so secretive my entire life. i don't know the driving force behind it, but it's definitely a fact. i remember my first weeks at Pineville. People perceived me as so strange because of this little book. i carried it around as a vice --- a vice for coping with my alter-ego depression side. The ridicculous "Kurt, you're nothing" rants and raves. It's not quite like that anymore. It's been two years since i drove down the highway with my dad. A year relationship with Karma and a life of indulgencies. A year of experience, learning, truth, lies, and all around life!

i'm writing this in the basement of my aunt's house in Utah --- my new living quarters. i've just came back from k-zoo where it couldn't have been more mediocre. Crack, cocaine, blah, blah, blah! i can't believe kids these days :)

But none of it surprises me. i was in quite a manic despressive sickness up there. Sick as ever. But, on to happiness. It's Kalamazoo that does it. i was always happy after adjustment in Louisiana. But dreary days get to ya. i was so confused. Must've been the weather. i'm half by-polar, half strange. The important thing is that i feel good now. i won't let sadness consume me like i have in the past many times. A lot of my sadness was directly linked to mind-altering substances, and i'm planning on being clean now. So, i guess i won't worry. Why should i? i can directly link depression to the time i started smoking weed. Yeah, it seems all gravy at the time, but so did New Kids on the Block to twelve year old's in the early nineties. But we all have room for flexibility and change so, like the infamous words of the late night West Main Shell employee, "Why not?" Time has changed me. Not drastically to the point that i wear Marilyn Manson t-shirts, but i'm definitely different. i'm a man now. And i truly believe this. Some might disagree, but that's cuz of the baby face and all.

i'm excited for my opportunities out here. i miss my mom and dad, but i need to do this to keep my life in order and around all positive influences that can gear me towards the right path. i'm not saying i'm gonna go on my mission and change my name to Peter Priesthood, but at least i can attempt to make some drastic changes and cut off any life excesses. So, anyways, i'm very excited about the future. i have a good feeling about the future, plain and simple.