Tuesday, September 30, 2008

i can't resist...

Worth your attention...

From The Huffington Post:

Today, the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz reported on potentially embarrassing clips of Sarah Palin being interviewed by Katie Couric that haven't yet been aired. The Politico has more information on one in particular:
Of concern to McCain's campaign, however, is a remaining and still-undisclosed clip from Palin's interview with Couric last week that has the political world buzzing.

The Palin aide, after first noting how "infuriating" it was for CBS to purportedly leak word about the gaffe, revealed that it came in response to a question about Supreme Court decisions.

After noting Roe vs. Wade, Palin was apparently unable to discuss any major court cases.

There was no verbal fumbling with this particular question as there was with some others, the aide said, but rather silence.
[original link]

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The thing is, my friends...

Monday, September 22, 2008

My candidate, myself

i often enjoy the articles written over at salon.com. Once again, my sister has come through with another interesting piece written by neurologist, Richard Burton. As always, let me know what you think.
---

Sept. 22, 2008 | "Let's make sure that there is certainty during uncertain times" -- George W. Bush, 2008

Last week, I jokingly asked a health club acquaintance whether he would change his mind about his choice for president if presented with sufficient facts that contradicted his present beliefs. He responded with utter confidence. "Absolutely not," he said. "No new facts will change my mind because I know that these facts are correct."

I was floored. In his brief rebuttal, he blindly demonstrated overconfidence in his own ideas and the inability to consider how new facts might alter a presently cherished opinion. Worse, he seemed unaware of how irrational his response might appear to others. It's clear, I thought, that carefully constructed arguments and presentation of irrefutable evidence will not change this man's mind.
Perhaps the single academic study most germane to the present election is the 1999 psychology paper by David Dunning and Justin Kruger, "Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One's Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments." The two Cornell psychologists began with the following assumptions.

  • Incompetent individuals tend to overestimate their own level of skill.

  • Incompetent individuals fail to recognize genuine skill in others.

  • Incompetent individuals fail to recognize the extremity of their inadequacy.

  • To put their theories to the test, the psychologists asked a group of Cornell undergraduates to undergo a series of self-assessments, including tests of logical reasoning taken from a Law School Admissions Test preparation guide. Prior to being shown their test scores, the subjects were asked to estimate how they thought they would fare in comparison with the others taking the tests.

    On average, participants placed themselves in the 66th percentile, revealing that most of us tend to overestimate our skills somewhat. But those in the bottom 25 percent consistently overestimated their ability to the greatest extent. For example, in the logical reasoning section, individuals who scored in the 12th percentile believed that their general reasoning abilities fell at the 68th percentile, and that their overall scores would be in the 62nd percentile. The authors point out that the problem was not primarily underestimating how others had done; those in the bottom quartile overestimated the number of their correct answers by nearly 50 percent. Similarly, after seeing the answers of the best performers -- those in the top quartile -- those in the bottom quartile continued to believe that they had performed well.

    The article's conclusion should be posted as a caveat under every political speech of those seeking office. And it should serve as the epitaph for the Bush administration: "People who lack the knowledge or wisdom to perform well are often unaware of this fact. That is, the same incompetence that leads them to make wrong choices also deprives them of the savvy necessary to recognize competence, be it their own or anyone else's."

    [click here to read full text]

    Monday, September 15, 2008

    Tina Fey as Palin

    i'm sure you have already seen this, but just in case, check it out:

    Note to the naive: Racism still very much exists...

    Saturday, September 13, 2008

    Paul Reiser on 23/6

    By Paul Reiser:

    "So everyone's talking about the nasty spike of nastiness in the presidential race--a spike brilliantly orchestrated by the Republican machinery--and Republican John McCain takes a moment to point out that even this is Barack Obama's fault.

    Y'see, all the crap being thrown at Obama--the fear-mongering, the half-truths, the full lies--all the character assassination hurling Obama's way, is in fact, his own doing.

    "I think the tone of this whole campaign would have been very different if Senator Obama had accepted my request for us to appear in town hall meetings all over America," the Senator from Arizona tells us.

    Am I just losing my friggin' mind? Seriously. I keep looking around the room to see if I'm living in some suddenly altered state where everything we know is now called the opposite, and nobody notices. Or can stop it.

    "I wish I didn't have to take your lunch money, but you shouldn't of hadda brung it."

    We're in the 3rd grade again. The skinny, smart kid who just moved in to the neighborhood is getting roughed-up by the asshole bully. The kid who hits you in the head with your hand and says, "Why're you hitting yourself? Why're you hitting yourself?"

    "Um, actually I'm not. You're hitting me."

    "You calling me a liar?"

    "No, I'm just pointing out that..." SMACK!

    "Why're you hitting yourself?"

    And there seems to be no one to appeal to. There're no grown-ups around when you need 'em. No one to step in and say, "Alright, that's enough now. We don't do that here, fella." And in the absence of any authority, the asshole gets to keep doing it.

    "Why're you hitting yourself? SMACK! Why're you hitting yourself?"

    [click here for link to full text]

    And a few comics for you from Political Graffiti:

    Some interesting articles on Palin, feminism, and the like from Salon.com

    i thought you might be interested in some of these articles from salon.com. My sister brought them to my attention earlier this week. Both of these pieces are well written and entertaining. If you have a minute, let me know what you think.

    "Zombie feminists of the RNC"

    How did Sarah Palin become a symbol of women's empowerment? And how did I, a die-hard feminist, end up terrified at the idea of a woman in the White House?

    By Rebecca Traister

    "Sept. 11, 2008 | I have been dreaming about Sarah Palin. (Apparently, I'm not alone.) I wish I could say that I'd been conjuring witty, politically sophisticated nightmares in which she leads troops into Vancouver or kindergartners in the recitation of "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God." But, alas, mine have been nonsensical, kiddie-style doozies in which she kidnaps my cats, or enjoys a meal with my girlfriends while I bang on the restaurant window. There's also a chilling one, in which a scary witch stands on a wind-swept hill and leers at me.

    What troubles me most -- aside from the fact that there is suddenly a Republican candidate potent enough to so ensnare my psyche -- is my sense that these are dreams in which it matters very much that Palin is a woman.

    I have been writing about feminism for more than five years; I have been covering the gender politics of the 2008 presidential election for more than two. And I am absolutely gobsmacked by the intensity of my feelings about Sarah Palin. I am stunned not only by the way in which her candidacy has changed the rules in the gender debate, or how it is twisting and garbling the fight for women's progress. But I'm also startled by how Palin herself is testing my own beliefs about how I react to women in power."

    [click here for full text]

    and the other one:

    "The dominatrix"

    Sarah Palin is trying to seduce independent voters. But she comes across like a whip-wielding mistress who wants to discipline a naughty America.
    By Gary Kamiya


    "Sept. 9, 2008 | Sarah Palin has thrown a big-time scare into Democrats. The GOP ticket received a huge bounce after the convention, according to a USA Today/Gallup poll, and McCain now leads Obama among registered voters, 50 percent to 46 percent. And it's mostly Palin's doing. The "elite media" that Palin and her fellow Republicans so lovingly excoriated in St. Paul, Minn., is reporting that her entrance into the race may have put crucial states like Ohio in play. The tough-talking, gun-toting "hockey mom" who believes that America's wars are God's will has fired up social conservatives, restarted the culture wars so beloved of Republicans, and shifted the election from being about issues into a personality contest.

    Post-convention polls are highly unreliable. But the same Democrats who were crowing with glee a week ago about McCain's off-the-wall choice are suddenly panicking. And you can't blame them. Four years after Americans looked at the first term of the worst president in modern history and decided they liked what they saw well enough to sign up for four more years, it's all too plausible that just when victory is in sight, the most crucial election of our time could be tipped by the 11th-hour appearance of a slick, unqualified, right-wing extremist and religious zealot in designer glasses.
    Call it Moose ex Machina."

    [click here for full text]

    Thursday, September 11, 2008

    Olbermann

    What do you think about this video?

    Wednesday, September 10, 2008

    Saturday, September 06, 2008

    Donny Deutsch on Sarah Palin

    So, i'm not sharing this video with you for purely altruistic reasons. Mostly, i just need you to commiserate with me. i will never get my 2:45 back. The least you can do is join me.

    i have a suspicion

    ...that anyone who actually enjoys the talks from the Relief Society/Young Women's speakers at General Conference will dig Palin. Personally, i've never been a fan. i know that's not super generous. Forgive me.

    My mother told me to never tell a lie

    i admit it. This election is consuming me. It is four in the morning and i'm up reading political editorials and playing my regular cut and paste game. i wish i could be cynical enough not to care. That would at least free up approximately two hours a day that i spend reading news reports and watching Democracy Now! Also, that would most likely squelch the feeling of impending doom lodged in the pit of my stomach at the thought of a McCain/Palin presidency. This should not be new to me. i thought i was going to rip my hair out (the little amount i'm holding onto) when Bush was re-elected for his second term.

    i seemed to have survived that. i can think of a number of other human lives that literally have not survived his second term. Some of old age. Some of "collateral damage" and the like.

    It's not that i think Obama is the ideal candidate. i do like him a lot better than i ever liked Kerry. Today, while listening to my audio CD of The Audacity of Hope, i felt like Obama was my friend. i don't ever want to feel that again. That is a bad road to go down, full of blindness and an inability to properly criticize and object to inevitable policy blunders. Plus, politics are simply semiotics, right? You are always voting for the abstract idea of a person. The rags to riches charismatic candidate versus the maverick. Change versus change (now they really have me confused. i understand dealing with one change candidate, but two!)

    But, i must divulge, an Obama/Biden ticket does give me some hope. It gives me hope that i might get health care (something that has been a little bit out of our 11,000 dollar a year income). It gives me hope that more attention will be given to our severely flawed social services. i understand that Obama will have to maneuver through a corporate-owned system, which will be highly regulated by the Democratic Party monster, but maybe he can make some changes, right? Bush made some. Can't we make changes for good too? Perhaps.

    i wish i could have substantive hope. i wish political slogans and propaganda worked on me. That could free me of my incessant desire for "facts." i think i'll probably live if McCain is elected. i don't think it will be easy. In fact, i can't help but think that it will royally suck (insert preferred suckable thing here). i did sit through a Hannity rally. i also sat through a Cheney commencement speech at BYU and felt completely disenfranchised from my religious culture. The crowd did cheer louder for Cheney than President Hinckley. That was pretty repulsive. Then again, a couple hours isn't really comparable to four years, is it? And, of course, there is the whole war thing. Oh, and the fact that i can't think of anything in the Republican platform that i agree with. Don't blame me, it's not my fault. It's not that i want to disagree with everything. i even think that's a bit narrow-minded. Maybe it is due to life experiences, an engrained worldview, or my type of education. What am i expected to do when, in my heart and mind, i disagree with the Republican conception of economy, social issues, values, the war, guns, political tactics, energy, etc?

    One incentive of McCain winning: i think that The Daily Show will be funnier. i'm sure Obama will provide sufficient absurdity from time to time as well, but it won't be the same. Downside of him winning: Umm, refer to previous paragraphs.

    To clarify, i absolutely think Obama will make a slew of mistakes if he is elected. i'm excited for the possibility of new mistakes. Even a change of mistakes will suffice. Also, won't it be nice to have a President that can speak English well again? i guess that's the elitist in me, but i do appreciate a slick sentence here and there. If they contain truth and substance, that is an obvious bonus, but not completely a prerequisite for my aural pleasure. Okay, i'm babbling. i'm done.

    i could move to Thailand, but let's be honest, they have their own problems.

    Extra, extra, read all about it!

    About Sarah Palin: A Letter From Anne Kilkenny

    What follows is an open letter written by a resident of Wasilla, Alaska named Anne Kilkenny.

    I am a resident of Wasilla, Alaska. I have known Sarah since 1992. Everyone here knows Sarah, so it is nothing special to say we are on a first-name basis. Our children have attended the same schools. Her father was my child’s favorite substitute teacher. I also am on a first name basis with her parents and mother-in-law. I attended more City Council meetings during her administration than about 99% of the residents of the city.

    She is enormously popular; in every way she’s like the most popular girl in middle school. Even men who think she is a poor choice and won’t vote for her can’t quit smiling when talking about her because she is a “babe”.

    It is astonishing and almost scary how well she can keep a secret. She kept her most recent pregnancy a secret from her children and parents for seven months. She is “pro-life”. She recently gave birth to a Down’s syndrome baby. There is no cover-up involved, here; Trig is her baby. She is energetic and hardworking. She regularly worked out at the gym.

    She is savvy. She doesn’t take positions; she just “puts things out there” and if they prove to be popular, then she takes credit. Her husband works a union job on the North Slope for BP and is a champion snowmobile racer. Todd Palin’s kind of job is highly sought-after because of the schedule and high pay. He arranges his work schedule so he can fish for salmon in Bristol Bay for a month or so in summer, but by no stretch of the imagination is fishing their major source of income. Nor has her life-style ever been anything like that of native Alaskans. Sarah and her whole family are avid hunters. She’s smart.

    Her experience is as mayor of a city with a population of about 5,000 (at the time), and less than 2 years as governor of a state with about 670,000 residents. During her mayoral administration most of the actual work of running this small city was turned over to an administrator. She had been pushed to hire this administrator by party power-brokers after she had gotten herself into some trouble over precipitous firings which had given rise to a recall campaign.

    Sarah campaigned in Wasilla as a “fiscal conservative”. During her 6 years as Mayor, she increased general government expenditures by over 33%. During those same 6 years the amount of taxes collected by the City increased by 38%. This was during a period of low inflation (1996-2002). She reduced progressive property taxes and increased a regressive sales tax which taxed even food. The tax cuts that she promoted benefited large corporate property owners way more than they benefited residents.

    The huge increases in tax revenues during her mayoral administration weren’t enough to fund everything on her wish list though, borrowed money was needed, too. She inherited a city with zero debt, but left it with indebtedness of over $22 million. What did Mayor Palin encourage the voters to borrow money for? Was it the infrastructure that she said she supported? The sewage treatment plant that the city lacked? or a new library? No. $1m for a park. $15m-plus for construction of a multi-use sports complex which she rushed through to build on a piece of property that the City didn’t even have clear title to, that was still in litigation 7 yrs later–to the delight of the lawyers involved! The sports complex itself is a nice addition to the community but a huge money pit, not the profit-generator she claimed it would be. She also supported bonds for $5.5m for road projects that could have been done in 5-7 yrs without any borrowing.

    While Mayor, City Hall was extensively remodeled and her office redecorated more than once. These are small numbers, but Wasilla is a very small city. As an oil producer, the high price of oil has created a budget surplus in Alaska. Rather than invest this surplus in technology that will make us energy independent and increase efficiency, as Governor she proposed distribution of this surplus to every individual in the state.

    In this time of record state revenues and budget surpluses, she recommended that the state borrow/bond for road projects, even while she proposed distribution of surplus state revenues: spend today’s surplus, borrow for needs.

    She’s not very tolerant of divergent opinions or open to outside ideasor compromise. As Mayor, she fought ideas that weren’t generated by her or her staff. Ideas weren’t evaluated on their merits, but on the basis of who proposed them.

    While Sarah was Mayor of Wasilla she tried to fire our highly respected City Librarian because the Librarian refused to consider removing from the library some books that Sarah wanted removed. City residents rallied to the defense of the City Librarian and against Palin’s attempt at out-and-out censorship, so Palin backed down and withdrew her termination letter. People who fought her attempt to oust the Librarian are on her enemies list to this day.

    Sarah complained about the “old boy’s club” when she first ran for Mayor, so what did she bring Wasilla? A new set of “old boys”. Palin fired most of the experienced staff she inherited. At the City and as Governor she hired or elevated new, inexperienced, obscure people, creating a staff totally dependent on her for their jobs and eternally grateful and fiercely loyal–loyal to the point of abusing their power to further her personal agenda, as she has acknowledged happened in the case of pressuring the State’s top cop (see below).

    As Mayor, Sarah fired Wasilla’s Police Chief because he “intimidated” her, she told the press. As Governor, her recent firing of Alaska’s top cop has the ring of familiarity about it. He served at her pleasure and she had every legal right to fire him, but it’s pretty clear that an important factor in her decision to fire him was because he wouldn’t fire her sister’s ex-husband, a State Trooper. Under investigation for abuse of power, she has had to admit that more than 2 dozen contacts were made between her staff and family to the person that she later fired, pressuring him to fire her ex-brother-in-law. She tried to replace the man she fired with a man who she knew had been reprimanded for sexual harassment; when this caused a public furor, she withdrew her support.

    She has bitten the hand of every person who extended theirs to her in help. The City Council person who personally escorted her around town introducing her to voters when she first ran for Wasilla City Council became one of her first targets when she was later elected Mayor. She abruptly fired her loyal City Administrator; even people who didn’t like the guy were stunned by this ruthlessness.

    Fear of retribution has kept all of these people from saying anything publicly about her.

    When then-Governor Murkowski was handing out political plums, Sarah got the best, Chair of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission: one of the few jobs not in Juneau and one of the best paid. She had no background in oil & gas issues. Within months of scoring this great job which paid $122,400/yr, she was complaining in the press about the high salary. I was told that she hated that job: the commute, the structured hours, the work. Sarah became aware that a member of this Commission (who was also the State Chair of the Republican Party) engaged in unethical behavior on the job.

    In a gutsy move which some undoubtedly cautioned her could be political suicide, Sarah solved all her problems in one fell swoop: got out of the job she hated and garnered gobs of media attention as the patron saint of ethics and as a gutsy fighter against the “old boys’ club” when she dramatically quit, exposing this man’s ethics violations (for which he was fined).

    As Mayor, she had her hand stuck out as far as anyone for pork from Senator Ted Stevens. Lately, she has castigated his pork-barrel politics and publicly humiliated him. She only opposed the “bridge to nowhere” after it became clear that it would be unwise not to.

    As Governor, she gave the Legislature no direction and budget guidelines, then made a big grandstand display of line-item vetoing projects, calling them pork. Public outcry and further legislative action restored most of these projects–which had been vetoed simply because she was not aware of their importance–but with the unobservant she had gained a reputation as “anti-pork”.

    She is solidly Republican: no political maverick. The State party leaders hate her because she has bit them in the back and humiliated them. Other members of the party object to her self-description as a fiscal conservative.

    Around Wasilla there are people who went to high school with Sarah.

    They call her “Sarah Barracuda” because of her unbridled ambition and predatory ruthlessness. Before she became so powerful, very ugly stories circulated around town about shenanigans she pulled to be made point guard on the high school basketball team. When Sarah’s mother-in-law, a highly respected member of the community and experienced manager, ran for Mayor, Sarah refused to endorse her.

    As Governor, she stepped outside of the box and put together of package of legislation known as “AGIA” that forced the oil companies to march to the beat of her drum.

    Like most Alaskans, she favors drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. She has questioned if the loss of sea ice is linked toglobal warming. She campaigned “as a private citizen” against a state initiaitive that would have either a) protected salmon streams from pollution from mines, or b) tied up in the courts all mining in the state (depending on who you listen to). She has pushed the State’s lawsuit against the Dept. of the Interior’s decision to list polar bears as threatened species.

    McCain is the oldest person to ever run for President; Sarah will be a heartbeat away from being President. There has to be literally millions of Americans who are more knowledgeable and experienced than she. However, there’s a lot of people who have underestimated her and are regretting it.

    CLAIM VS FACT

    •“Hockey mom”: true for a few years
    •“PTA mom”: true years ago when her first-born was in elementary school, not since
    •“NRA supporter”: absolutely true
    •social conservative: mixed. Opposes gay marriage, BUT vetoed a bill that would have denied benefits to employees in same-sex relationships (said she did this because it was unconsitutional).
    •pro-creationism: mixed. Supports it, BUT did nothing as Governor to promote it.
    •“Pro-life”: mixed. Knowingly gave birth to a Down’s syndrome baby BUT declined to call a special legislative session on some pro-life legislation
    •“Experienced”: Some high schools have more students than Wasilla has residents. Many cities have more residents than the state of Alaska. No legislative experience other than City Council. Little hands-on supervisory or managerial experience; needed help of a city administrator to run town of about 5,000.
    •political maverick: not at all
    •gutsy: absolutely!
    •open & transparent: ??? Good at keeping secrets. Not good at explaining actions.
    •has a developed philosophy of public policy: no
    •”a Greenie”: no. Turned Wasilla into a wasteland of big box stores and disconnected parking lots. Is pro-drilling off-shore and in ANWR.
    •fiscal conservative: not by my definition!
    •pro-infrastructure: No. Promoted a sports complex and park in a city without a sewage treatment plant or storm drainage system. Built streets to early 20th century standards.
    •pro-tax relief: Lowered taxes for businesses, increased tax burden on residents
    •pro-small government: No. Oversaw greatest expansion of city government in Wasilla’s history.
    •pro-labor/pro-union. No. Just because her husband works union doesn’t make her pro-labor. I have seen nothing to support any claim that she is pro-labor/pro-union.

    WHY AM I WRITING THIS?

    First, I have long believed in the importance of being an informed voter. I am a voter registrar. For 10 years I put on student voting programs in the schools. If you google my name (Anne Kilkenny + Alaska), you will find references to my participation in local government, education, and PTA/parent organizations.

    Secondly, I’ve always operated in the belief that “Bad things happen when good people stay silent”. Few people know as much as I do because few have gone to as many City Council meetings.

    Third, I am just a housewife. I don’t have a job she can bump me out of. I don’t belong to any organization that she can hurt. But, I am no fool; she is immensely popular here, and it is likely that this will cost me somehow in the future: that’s life.

    Fourth, she has hated me since back in 1996, when I was one of the 100 or so people who rallied to support the City Librarian against Sarah’s attempt at censorship.

    Fifth, I looked around and realized that everybody else was afraid to say anything because they were somehow vulnerable.

    CAVEATS

    I am not a statistician. I developed the numbers for the increase in spending & taxation 2 years ago (when Palin was running for Governor) from information supplied to me by the Finance Director of the City of Wasilla, and I can’t recall exactly what I adjusted for: did I adjust for inflation? for population increases? Right now, it is impossible for a private person to get any info out of City Hall–they are swamped. So I can’t verify my numbers.

    You may have noticed that there are various numbers circulating for the population of Wasilla, ranging from my “about 5,000″, up to 9,000. The day Palin’s selection was announced a city official told me that the current population is about 7,000. The official 2000 census count was 5,460. I have used about 5,000 because Palin was Mayor from 1996 to 2002, and the city was growing rapidly in the mid-90’s.

    -------------------------------------------------

    Some have been claiming this letter is an "internet hoax." Unfortunately for them, some reporters decided to actually track her down. Check out a three minute radio piece produced by NPR here.

    From Daily Kos

    Is this an attempt to counteract Olbermann? :)

    "Talk about stacking the deck. This is one of MSNBC's most recent "text question" poll:

    What do you feel McCain's speech accomplished the most?

    A. Inspired the nation

    B. Explained what motivated his presidential run

    C. Outlined his policy priorities if elected

    D. Positioned himself as the tough maverick for change

    Notice anything missing from those options? I mean, besides the after-sex cigarette?"

    [Original Link]

    Biden bites back

    Thursday, September 04, 2008

    Palin and the GOP continue stretching truth

    Thanks to the Incredible Julk's blog for directing me to this piece. My goodness.

    By JIM KUHNHENN, Associated Press Writer Wed Sep 3, 11:48 PM ET

    ST. PAUL, Minn. - Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and her Republican supporters held back little Wednesday as they issued dismissive attacks on Barack Obama and flattering praise on her credentials to be vice president. In some cases, the reproach and the praise stretched the truth.

    Some examples:

    PALIN: "I have protected the taxpayers by vetoing wasteful spending ... and championed reform to end the abuses of earmark spending by Congress. I told the Congress 'thanks but no thanks' for that Bridge to Nowhere."

    THE FACTS: As mayor of Wasilla, Palin hired a lobbyist and traveled to Washington annually to support earmarks for the town totaling $27 million. In her two years as governor, Alaska has requested nearly $750 million in special federal spending, by far the largest per-capita request in the nation. While Palin notes she rejected plans to build a $398 million bridge from Ketchikan to an island with 50 residents and an airport, that opposition came only after the plan was ridiculed nationally as a "bridge to nowhere."

    PALIN: "There is much to like and admire about our opponent. But listening to him speak, it's easy to forget that this is a man who has authored two memoirs but not a single major law or reform — not even in the state senate."

    THE FACTS: Compared to McCain and his two decades in the Senate, Obama does have a more meager record. But he has worked with Republicans to pass legislation that expanded efforts to intercept illegal shipments of weapons of mass destruction and to help destroy conventional weapons stockpiles. The legislation became law last year. To demean that accomplishment would be to also demean the work of Republican Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana, a respected foreign policy voice in the Senate. In Illinois, he was the leader on two big, contentious measures in Illinois: studying racial profiling by police and requiring recordings of interrogations in potential death penalty cases. He also successfully co-sponsored major ethics reform legislation.

    PALIN: "The Democratic nominee for president supports plans to raise income taxes, raise payroll taxes, raise investment income taxes, raise the death tax, raise business taxes, and increase the tax burden on the American people by hundreds of billions of dollars."

    THE FACTS: The Tax Policy Center, a think tank run jointly by the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute, concluded that Obama's plan would increase after-tax income for middle-income taxpayers by about 5 percent by 2012, or nearly $2,200 annually. McCain's plan, which cuts taxes across all income levels, would raise after tax-income for middle-income taxpayers by 3 percent, the center concluded.

    Obama would provide $80 billion in tax breaks, mainly for poor workers and the elderly, including tripling the Earned Income Tax Credit for minimum-wage workers and higher credits for larger families.

    He also would raise income taxes, capital gains and dividend taxes on the wealthiest. He would raise payroll taxes on taxpayers with incomes above $250,000, and he would raise corporate taxes. Small businesses that make more than $250,000 a year would see taxes rise.

    (Click here for full text)

    i also got this little ditty from Moveon.org today:
    • "Palin recently said that the war in Iraq is "God's task." She's even admitted she hasn't thought about the war much—just last year she was quoted saying, "I've been so focused on state government, I haven't really focused much on the war in Iraq." 1, 2
    • Palin has actively sought the support of the fringe Alaska Independence Party. Six months ago, Palin told members of the group—who advocate for a vote on secession from the union—to "keep up the good work" and "wished the party luck on what she called its 'inspiring convention.'" 3
    • Palin wants to teach creationism in public schools. She hasn't made clear whether she thinks evolution is a fact.4
    • Palin doesn't believe that humans contribute to global warming. Speaking about climate change, she said, "I'm not one though who would attribute it to being manmade." 5
    • Palin has close ties to Big Oil. Her inauguration was even sponsored by BP. 6
    • Palin is extremely anti-choice. She doesn't even support abortion in the case of rape or incest. 7
    • Palin opposes comprehensive sex-ed in public schools. She's said she will only support abstinence-only approaches. 8
    • As mayor, Palin tried to ban books from the library. Palin asked the library how she might go about banning books because some had inappropriate language in them—shocking the librarian, Mary Ellen Baker. According to Time, "news reports from the time show that Palin had threatened to fire Baker for not giving "full support" to the mayor." 9
    • She DID support the Bridge to Nowhere (before she opposed it). Palin claimed that she said "thanks, but no thanks" to the infamous Bridge to Nowhere. But in 2006, Palin supported the project repeatedly, saying that Alaska should take advantage of earmarks "while our congressional delegation is in a strong position to assist." 10

    The plain fact of the matter is that Sarah Palin did a bang-up job delivering a Karl Rove-style political attack speech last night. That makes her a skilled politician but it doesn't make her views any more palatable for voters. Americans don't really want another far-right, anti-science ideologue in the White House."

    More on Palin (i'm sorry, it's just too fun)

    Palin Continues to Lie About Bridge To Nowhere

    Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 08:46:46 PM PDT

    Tonight Sarah Palin, obviously with the full approval of John McCain, repeated the lie that she opposed the infamous "bridge to nowhere."

    I told the Congress "thanks, but no thanks," for that Bridge to Nowhere.

    If our state wanted a bridge, we'd build it ourselves. When oil and gas prices went up dramatically, and filled up the state treasury, I sent a large share of that revenue back where it belonged - directly to the people of Alaska.

    Not just a lie, but a damned lie. As I pointed out earlier today:

    Via Balloon Juice:

    Remember that bridge to nowhere Sarah Palin was supposed to have opposed and stopped, since she is a mavericky reformer and soulmate of John McCain?

    Well, Andrew Halcro has some interesting quotes, including this:

    “Palin said Alaska’s congressional delegation worked hard to obtain funding for the bridge as part of a package deal and that she ‘would not stand in the way of the progress toward that bridge.”

    Ketchikan Daily News 9/2006

    Even better, though, is this picture of Palin and her team campaigning in Ketchikan, back when their votes mattered and the bridge was a good thing:

    Let's not forget what Sarah Palin said the night she was introduced to the nation as the potential 72 year old heartbeat away from the presidency:

    In fact, I told Congress — I told Congress, “Thanks, but no thanks,” on that bridge to nowhere.

    Well, maybe Sarah Palin is ready to be on the GOP ticket...she has the lying thing down pat.

    She's lying...repeatedly.

    (The above article is from Daily Kos. Read it here).

    Umm... not a grand slam, sorry.

    Wed Sep 03, 2008 at 09:39:43 PM PDT

    Wolf Blitzer called Sarah Palin's speech Wednesday night a "grand slam." It certainly had some slams in it, with the knife stuck in and twisted while she smiled, which might well be part of the governor's vaunted managerial experience. She got paid $75,000 a year for her on-the-job training in Wasilla. But, Alaska only pays her $81,648 for governing the whole state.
    Baloney is a big part of that experience, apparently, as noted by Jim Kuhnhenn at AP, (something bloggers have been noting since the weekend):
    PALIN: "I have protected the taxpayers by vetoing wasteful spending ... and championed reform to end the abuses of earmark spending by Congress. I told the Congress 'thanks but no thanks' for that Bridge to Nowhere."
    THE FACTS: As mayor of Wasilla, Palin hired a lobbyist and traveled to Washington annually to support earmarks for the town totaling $27 million. In her two years as governor, Alaska has requested nearly $750 million in special federal spending, by far the largest per-capita request in the nation. While Palin notes she rejected plans to build a $398 million bridge from Ketchikan to an island with 50 residents and an airport, that opposition came only after the plan was ridiculed nationally as a "bridge to nowhere."

    Wednesday, September 03, 2008

    A tribute to Amy Goodman








    This video has been floating around the internet. Check out more here, here, here, here, and here.

    MSNBC conservative commentators caught bashing Palin

    From Moveon.org:

    "Dear MoveOn member,

    It's funny what Republican pundits say when they think nobody's watching. Today, John McCain's former campaign chief Mike Murphy and former Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan were caught on tape after an NBC interview. They shared their real thoughts on McCain's judgment in selecting Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate.

    Noonan asked, "The most qualified? No." She called the selection of Palin "political [B.S.]." Murphy called McCain's selection gimmicky and cynical. The video and transcript are below. This is a breaking story today—it's on many top blogs and is climbing the YouTube charts."

    TRANSCRIPT:

    Mike Murphy, former McCain advisor: You know, because I come out of the blue swing state governor work. Engler, Whitman, Thompson, Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush. And these guys, this is all like how you want to (inaudible) this race. You know, just run it up. And it's not gonna work.

    Peggy Noonan, former Reagan speechwriter: It's over.

    Murphy: Still, McCain can give a version of the Lieberman speech to do himself some good.

    NBC's Chuck Todd: Don't you think the Palin pick was insulting to Kay Bailey Hutchinson, too (inaudible)

    Noonan: I saw Kay this morning.

    Murphy: They're all bummed out.

    Todd: I mean, is she really the most qualified woman they could have turned to?

    Noonan: The most qualified? No. I think they went for this, excuse me, political [B.S.] about narratives and (inaudible) the picture.

    Murphy: I totally agree.

    Noonan: Every time the Republicans do that because that's not where they live and it's not what they're good at and they blow it.

    Murphy: You know what's really the worst thing about it? The greatness of McCain is no cynicism and this is cynical.

    Todd: And as you called it, gimmicky.